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Comment Re: What do you mean... (Score 4, Insightful) 110

They're just haters. No modern computer user can honestly say they'd prefer searching through dropdown menus over the ribbon that focuses on putting the most used features at the users fingertips.

*Raises hand*

I dislike the ribbon. But then I'm a keyboard shortcuts guy. I know dozens of them for MS Office, and whenever there's a feature that I use often, I look up a keyboard shortcut if possible.

Which means the ribbon is useless to me. It takes up a bunch of space with buttons I don't need, and on the rare occasions when I need a feature advanced or rare enough that I don't know a shortcut, it's often not even on a ribbon button -- I end up going through advanced feature dialogs anyway. I use a Mac at work, so luckily I still have the drop down menus, which are usually at least twice as fast as wading through a bunch of non-intuitive icons in a half-dozen ribbon tabs with 20 buttons each.

Text was invented for a reason -- it communicates quickly, clearly, and efficiently. So I find it a lot easier to navigate when I'm searching for a feature I don't know -- which is the only time my mouse generally goes up to that part of the screen.

If you actually use the ribbon for common everyday tasks, I can understand how it might be useful for you. I'm not against offering a ribbon interface, but I do think it should be one option rather than the only one. I'm not a "hater." I just work differently and I'm just glad Mac versions of Office still give the menu options.

Comment Re: The science is not settled (Score 1) 529

The common ancestor we share looks nothing like either humans or great apes (speculated to look much like a Lemur).

While the common ancestor may look quite different from modern humans or modern great apes, the common ancestor of both most certainly would be classified as an ape according to evolutionary biology taxonomy.

Furthermore, lemurs split off into a separate taxonomic Order nearly 65 million years ago. Apes separated from monkeys from 25 million years ago. Great apes separated from lesser apes 15 million years ago. Estimates are that human ancestors separated from chimp ancestors only about 7 million years ago.

Bottom line -- human ancestors were "apes" and "great apes" long before they separated from other species. While evolutionary biologists debate the exact last common ancestor between humans and other species, there's little doubt that that common ancestor was very much a "great ape."

Comment Re: The science is not settled (Score 1) 529

We evolved from apes. The science is settled. I think you just proved my point by quoting a fact that the science does not support. Humans did not evolve from apes or any currently living species of primate.

Humans did not evolve from modern apes. They did evolve from prehistoric great apes. While the exact common ancestor between humans and the closest other species is still under debate, evolutionary biologists firmly agree that that common ancestor was an ape -- just not a species still around today.

Comment Re: The science is not settled (Score 1) 529

We are "AN APE" a particular type of APE.

Assuming there is more than one human in the world, we are "apes" not a [single] "ape."

We are not several species of APE.

Never said we were. But the entire human species includes more than one exemplar of "ape." I was using the plural in that case to refer to individuals (and because it was grammatically more convenient), not to imply that humans are more than one species. Sorry for the confusion.

Comment Re:Education is getting better (Score 2) 214

Sets. Venn Diagrams. We always called it "New Math" but maybe it had some other term at that point.

Well, set theory and stuff like Venn diagrams were part of some New Math curricula beginning in the 1960s, but mostly at the primary (or maybe middle-school) level. They were intended to teach things like Boolean algebra, which would be relevant to new trends (at that time) in computer programming. Again, the emphasis was on getting students up-to-speed to participate in the Space Race, etc.

And I also should note that Venn diagrams were in fact meant to be visual aids to support the new abstract concepts (like Boolean algebra and set theoretical relationships), kind of like the visualizations you're arguing for in Common Core.

Anyhow, they certainly weren't supposed to displace algebra and geometry in high-school curricula. If your school did that, they were doing the "New Math" wrong.

Comment Re: The science is not settled (Score 1) 529

Your point would be so much better expressed if you understood the difference between having a common ancestor and evolving from

Well, you're both a little wrong. Humans ARE apes. Specifically, we belong to the taxonomic classification that includes all Great Apes. Strictly speaking non-human apes and human apes both descended from apes. And even if you use the common meaning the the word "ape" to mean only non-human apes, humans still descended from apes, just not the extant species of modern non-human apes. (If GP had said humans descended from monkeys, on the other hand, you'd have a valid point.)

Comment Re:No problem (Score 1) 630

Or just block the ad-blocker blocker script. Just like one can do for most of these sites trying to block ad blockers.

I don't agree with this strategy. As far as I'm concerned, ad blockers are fine -- there's no moral obligation to download ads. But when a site publicly declares it won't give you content without ads and puts in place a script to deny access to people who use ad blockers, I think you should respect that. Go somewhere else. Read other stuff. It's one thing to say "I'm going to only download part of the content sent by a site" (effectively what ad blockers do). If it's a publicly accessible website, that's your choice. But it's a different thing to circumvent or disable measures that are designed to prevent your viewing -- that's stepping over a moral line and taking content that the owner says you're NOT welcome to take.

Comment Re:Education is getting better (Score 3, Interesting) 214

I disagree. In fact had the opposite effect: New Math as taught in the late 1970s/early 1980s was unsuccessful in teaching pre-college math.

Sorry, but I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. The New Math in secondary education was developed in the 1950s and implemented in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, the New Math movement was largely dead.

By replacing basic Math education like algebra/geometry with the screwed up "New Math" they ruined math for those of us who actually had to take it in college for engineering. You can't learn Calculus without a solid understanding of Algebra and Geometry.

I'm not sure you know what you're talking about. In the mid-1950s, high school enrollment in Algebra was down to about 25% of all high students, and enrollment in Geometry was down to less than 12% of high school students. The New Math was about encouraging students to take such courses, by combatting an anti-intellectual populism in the previous generation of educational reformers. It also encouraged clarity in concepts and algorithms in these classes which would line up better with advanced math taught in college. Also, the very idea of teaching calculus in high school was a product of the New Math reform.

New Math didn't teach what we needed to know to be successful in college math.

Without the reform of New Math curricula in the 1950s and 1960s, you may not have even had the option of taking math like geometry or algebra in high school, let alone calculus. How would missing out on such things be better preparation for college math??

I think you're focusing too much on the reforms to primary education, and you don't seem to know what secondary New Math curricular reform was about. It was mostly about emphasizing the math you think claim it was jettisoning from curricula.

I'd suggest you read about what the New Math reform actually was about. Here's a short intro to curricular reforms over the 20th century, here's a longer history of the New Math movement, and here's an intro to the sorry state of secondary math education in the U.S. around 1950 -- which definitely included little decent prep in geometry or algebra. One of the main goals of the New Math reform was to incorporate "a solid understanding of Algebra and Geometry" into the U.S. high school. At times, the reformers did go too far into abstraction, but I'm really not sure what you're talking about.

Comment Re:Education is getting better (Score 2) 214

The teaching "experts" who came up with "New Math" were not seeing anyone. They were idiots and ruined math for decades.

Um, no. Well, you can argue that they "ruined" math education, but they weren't "idiots." The New Math was developed in the 1960s mostly by college professors and advanced math people in reaction to the "Space Race." The idea was to introduce mathematical abstractions (set theory, formalizations of analysis, etc.) at lower levels in education, which might be beneficial to students who were heading toward engineering and science degrees.

As you rightly point out, there were a number of problems with the execution here. First, not every middle-school student has the talent or interest in becoming an engineer or scientist, so the New Math came across as increasingly irrelevant and confusing. Second, teachers often weren't clear on the rationale for the methods either, which led to poor implementation. Third, the New Math took basic algorithms of computation (which would be useful to everyone, whether they were heading for college in science or not) and made them seem complex and arcane (e.g., doing arithmetic in other bases), thus alienating less-talented students even from basic math.

I'm not sure what you were studying in the 1980s, but that was well past the heyday of the New Math.

In any case, the goals of the New Math were very different from Common Core -- the New Math wanted to increase output of scientists and engineers from our schools (focusing on abstract math for talented kids), regardless of the negative impact it had on the rest of the population's education. The Common Core instead is trying to be about better math pedagogy and better understanding for kids in general. We can argue about the details of the implementation, but the aim is different.

Bottom line: the New Math was developed by experts in math not pedagogy. They weren't idiots -- they just didn't care about teaching the masses how to compute a tip when paying for dinner. They were trying to win the Cold War. And while their efforts arguably screwed up primary math education for the majority, the New Math reforms to secondary education were largely successful in improving pre-college math training in American high schools.

Comment Re:Correlation != Causation (Score 1) 590

Midwestern American here, and lots of rural roads here are unpainted (and always have been) and, with the understanding that they are in sparsely populated areas, people do speed very fast there as well.

I would qualify this a bit further and say that drivers who are familiar with the roads and the area tend to speed a lot on rural roads, regardless of markings. Those who are less used to driving on unpainted roads or who are less familiar with the area will likely drive more slowly.

I don't know about the UK, but rural roads in the US that lack a central line generally also lack outside lines as well (without marking the barriers on the edges of the road). When you drive on a road with no paint on it, you're forced to pay more attention to the actual curves of the road, rather than just pointing your car a little to one side of that center line. That's inherently a more complex cognitive task, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it caused most people to slow down -- unless they knew the road very well.

Anecdotally, I saw this growing up in a semi-rural area where roads with central lines were initially uncommon. By the time I was older, many roads in the area had been painted with central lines. While I always remember occasional cars driving fast, I did observe a LOT more "speed demons" racing around those roads after the lines were painted. (This was also recognized by the municipality, which voted for increasing the number of posted speed limit signs, where before no signs were necessary.)

Again, that's just my own experience, but I wouldn't dismiss the psychological and cognitive effects of having a "guideline" to point your car at and how that might make you feel safer at a higher speed.

Comment Re:Insanity (Score 1) 590

I don't know about you, but here multi-lane roads are common, where you have 2-5 lanes of traffic all going the same direction.

Removing the 'interior' lines would be suicidal.

Uh, I'm pretty sure GP was talking about what this thread is about, mostly two-lane roads (with one lane going each direction). The claim higher in the thread is that erasing a middle (white) line in such a road would make it more difficult to see where the road is. GP was proposing that lines on edges of roads could be maintained to solve that problem.

Again, I don't think there was any suggestion that we erase all lane markings from 4-lane or 6-lane highways or whatever.

Submission + - The Advanced Math Education Revolution in the U.S. (theatlantic.com)

AthanasiusKircher writes: The Atlantic has an extended article on the recent surge in advanced math education at the primary and secondary levels in the U.S., arguing that last year's victory for the U.S. in the Math Olympiad was not a random anomaly. Participation in math camps, after-school or weekend math "academies," and math competitions has surged in recent years, with many programs having long wait lists. Inessa Rifkin, co-founder of one of these math academies, argues that the problems with math education begin in the 2nd and 3rd grades: "“The youngest ones, very naturally, their minds see math differently.... It is common that they can ask simple questions and then, in the next minute, a very complicated one. But if the teacher doesn’t know enough mathematics, she will answer the simple question and shut down the other, more difficult one." These alternative math programs put a greater focus on problem-solving: "Unlike most math classes, where teachers struggle to impart knowledge to students—who must passively absorb it and then regurgitate it on a test—problem-solving classes demand that the pupils execute the cognitive bench press: investigating, conjecturing, predicting, analyzing, and finally verifying their own mathematical strategy. The point is not to accurately execute algorithms, although there is, of course, a right answer... Truly thinking the problem through—creatively applying what you know about math and puzzling out possible solutions—is more important."

The article concludes by noting that programs like No Child Left Behind have focused on minimal standards, rather than enrichment activities for advanced students. The result is a disparity in economic backgrounds for students in pricey math activities; many middle-class Americans investigate summer camps or sports programs for younger kids, but they don't realize how important a math program could be for a curious child. As Daniel Zaharopol, founder of a related non-profit initiative, noted in his searches to recruit low-income students: "Actually doing math should bring them joy."

Comment Re:Let vs Lets (Score 1) 125

"Organization do" (singular) is proper British usage and is dominant in most English speaking locales. "Organization does" (singular) is Americanized pidgin.

No, this is completely wrong, regardless of what English-speaking country you live in. First, in a case like "organization do," the implication is still plural, not singular. "Organization" is here interpreted as a collective noun, meaning that while it is singular in form, when used this way it emphasizes the plural nature of the composition of the organization. "Germany is a nation," but "Germany have won the tournament." The latter does not mean that "Germany" is plural, but rather is a collective noun standing in for "members of the German team" which is plural and take a plural verb.

Second, your use of the word pidgin is inaccurate. A pidgin language is a second language, a simplified version of one language used as a form of communication between communities which do not share the same language. Americans do NOT have a different primary language other than English. Therefore, American English by definition cannot be a "pidgin." You can claim it is a dialect, and you can object to characteristics of it, but it's not a "pidgin" language.

Third, in British English the usage of a plural verb in this case is by no means mandatory. For some types of organizations or groups of people, a plural verb is common. For others, a singular verb is more common. Some show a mixture depending on context (whether the collective nature or the individual volition of members is being invoked). Also, corpus studies have shown that the use is dependent on formality, with plural verb forms being more common in very formal language and very informal language, but less common in "everyday" polite language.

Fourth -- and perhaps most importantly -- in this specific case, your claim doesn't accord with examples used prominently in British English journalism. The Pirate Bay *IS* largely considered singular there. Numerous examples at the BBC website, for example, show that the BBC would prefer the singular "American" verb when referring to The Pirate Bay ("The Pirate Bay lets"). A few quick looks on other UK sources seems to indicate that the singular verb form is much more common.

Get some elementary knowledge, stop the uninformed insults, and lose the provincial attitude.

Maybe you could try getting some more advanced knowledge and realizing that your oversimplified statements are wrong.

TL;DR -- Your assertion about British English in general is overbroad and inaccurately phrased. While there is more usage of plural verbs with singular collective nouns outside of the U.S., that usage is not always "proper" -- it depends on the particular noun and context. And regardless, your opinion does not reflect common journalistic practice from the UK regarding the specific word "The Pirate Bay."

Comment Re:And who trusts Financial "Advisors"? (Score 2) 71

Investing in a diversified selection of index funds and staying the course will beat that vast majority of professional advisers.

While this is certainly true, I do think there is some use for professional advisers, especially if they participate in financial planning (as many do), rather than just managing investments. (If they only do the latter, you really have an "investment manager," rather than a financial adviser.)

Several years ago I was convinced by my spouse to go talk to one of these people. We had a recommendation from a family member who is in the financial sector. What was useful was NOT the possibility of ongoing investment advice (which, the parent said, could mostly be summed up with "diversify" and "track the average with index funds or related securities").

Instead, the utility of financial advice was the overall state of a person's financial "health" in general, and how to get things organized. Stuff like assessing whether you have an adequate liquid "emergency fund," whether you have enough insurance (and of what types), whether you are saving enough for retirement, for kids' education, etc., how to approach making major financial decisions/investments, how to diversify types of assets and accounts to maximize tax advantages, etc.

Sure, you can do all this yourself. I certainly had the ability to research all of this myself, but frankly I hadn't before I met with this adviser. Some of it I just wasn't interested in learning a lot about, some of it was stuff I hadn't really thought about yet (or considered various aspects in managing risk, etc.).

To me, once I knew all the stuff after a few meetings, I could run stuff basically myself. Other people aren't as savvy financially, or they really can't be bothered to sort it out (just like many people can't be bothered to do their own taxes) -- so maybe paying for a periodic consultation and assessment could be helpful.

The problem, from my perspective, is that "financial advisers" focus too much on investments, since their goal is often to grab as much of your assets as possible so they can extract fees for "management," etc. That's where things get stupid. If they really focused on "consultation fees" for providing more comprehensive planning, I think it would be a more legitimate business. But that's hard work. It's much easier to skim a few percent off the top of investment accounts which are "managed" (but really often just designed to track index funds).

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