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Comment: Re:MOOC is designed like a physical classroom (Score 1) 182

by JanneM (#47896993) Attached to: The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

"Also some of the science and tech courses are very demanding but the teachers don't simplify it leading to many whooshing sounds for the student throughout the courses. Such courses could benefit from a simplified overview of the course material."

How many employers would like to hire people that can't understand the actual content and need "simplified overview" to get a grade? If you really don't grasp it to the point where you can actually apply the math for new, novel problems, then you don't actually know it, do you?

MOOCs have a serious credibility problem already. The very last thing they need is to dumb things down. If it becomes common knowledge that, say, an engineering MOOC graduate can't even handle a system of differential equations in an intelligent manner, or don't understand the implication of Green's function, then the credits will become truly worthless.

Comment: Re:Abject brand mismanagement (Score 1) 351

by Alioth (#47887895) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

Not only is does it have negative value in the phone marketing, it's confusing and disappoints people - they think because it's Windows it will have more compatibility with their PC and will run PC applications and then find "yes it's Windows but it doesn't run Windows apps". Apple didn't call the iPhone the Mac Phone for a reason (even though it reputedly runs the same OS kernel).

Microsoft would have been better off just calling it Metro instead of Windows. Or pretty much any other easy to pronounce name.

Comment: Re:Traditional crimes (Score 1) 140

by bsDaemon (#47884059) Attached to: Accused Ottawa Cyberbully Facing 181 Charges Apologizes

I should say, that this had a lot of bearing on the status of California, the South West and Louisiana being Community Property states. Washington and Wisconsin and Idaho are as well. The status of most of these states as community property states is a direct result of a system inherited from Spanish rule.

Comment: Re:Traditional crimes (Score 4, Informative) 140

by bsDaemon (#47883355) Attached to: Accused Ottawa Cyberbully Facing 181 Charges Apologizes

I think the term you are looking for is 'civil law', not 'letter of the law'. US legal system at the federal level is heavily influenced by common law, as it is in most states. States which cover areas originally colonized by France or Spain have a tradition of civil law.

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/l...
http://www.economist.com/blogs...

The history of common law in the US is why you'll hear in trial coverage or in shows like law & order, lawyers will use precedents when raising their objections or filing motions. This is usually called 'case law', as it is law which hasn't been written by the legislature, but which has come into common practice as a result of a judge interpreting a written law and setting a precedent. If subsequent judges agree to that ruling, eventually it because sort the way things are, until the Supreme Court weighs in, or the legislature spells it out (in a statute).

Comment: Re:COBOL - it's all about the data (Score 1) 380

by Alioth (#47878805) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

COBOL is just as disadvantaged in dealing with an SQL database. All that DATA DIVISION syntax is about reading and writing flat files, not interacting with a database engine in a separate executable. (It's a while since I've done any COBOL so perhaps matters have changed now, but COBOL was always about fixed width record flat files).

My Java code needs no changes if table formats changed (things like added columns) because I try to use the supplied classes and the JDBC properly (and also take the time to make sure the database is designed right - such as using views, so the underlying data format can be changed without requiring all the things that depend on it to change).

Comment: Re:My take on COBOL.... (Score 1) 380

by Alioth (#47878781) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

SQL didn't exist until long after COBOL was a major thing. What COBOL is good at is dealing with fixed width record format flat files, which was a common way of storing stuff when COBOL was first invented. When you have a large complex system that's been going for decades, is fully debugged, and just works there is a huge cost in rewriting it that may just not be worth it.

Comment: Re:If you think medical funding is bad (Score 1) 347

by JanneM (#47876003) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

It does depend on the size of the field as well, though, as well as the funding. I can well imagine astronomy having major problems; everybody has heard of astronomy, and lots of people dream of being astronomers.

A friend of mine is working in paleogeology. As you might imagine there's not a huge amount of money in the field. On the other hand, few people have heard of it either, and there aren't that many people dreaming of working there. There's no movies starring daring paleogeogists with hat and bullwhip in hand ducking poison arrows and swinging across pits of snakes in order to determine the local sea bed temperature during the cambrian. The end result is that funding is pretty stable and dependable. People that are qualified and willing find funding. I bet there's a fair amount of other obscure fields in a similar situation.

Comment: Re:Holy shit! (Score 2) 198

by JanneM (#47870507) Attached to: UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

You could write an open source application in C++ rather than the much less mainstream R language and you'd have lots of people ready skilled to maintain it.

You may be right in general. But R is not a general-purpose language. It's a programmable tool for statistical computing; you'd have to spend a lot of time to reimplement a set of high-quality statistical libraries to do the same. Doing that correctly is very non-trivial and not quick. Very similar to saying you can replace Matlab with your own C++ code.
 

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