I'd completely forgotten about those pads of paper!
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Square? Not on my old Trash-80! Heady days indeed, populating that 128x48 grid of monochromatic pixels. The aspect ratio really screwed with attempts to generate graphics using trigonometry.
This older story comes to mind whenever I see a new article about military robots.
The BBC series "Ashes to Ashes" also finished up over the weekend, and it was a far more satisfying conclusion to both that series and its predecessor "Life on Mars." Well done, and a great send off for DCI Gene Hunt. I highly recommend both BBC series to folks who enjoyed Lost. Avoid the American remake of LoM though...
Why is the Education Department bad, even if all it did were collating info? It's the smallest Cabinet agency, with only 5000 employees in about 30 offices. Its work in organizing finance is of course essential, and has just been reformed to kick out the worthless middlemen banks previously given free profit for little work or value, recapturing all that money and reinvesting it in direct financing to students. Its other activity is in enforcing "No Child Left Behind", which is also being dismantled after a decade of failure. The total budget is about $70B, which it spends on those activities along with enforcing Federal privacy and civil rights laws ensuring equal access to education, and restricted access to personal information generated by our educational systems where most people spend at least 20% of their lives.
"Abolish the Department of Education" is, however, a bedrock agenda of Republicans. Is the reason you want it gone because you're a Republican?
You're unusual, because you pieced together seemingly every possible source of revenue and savings to pay for your tuition, which people around the 50th %ile of HS grads generally can't figure out how to do. And you did it by both working a job enough time while going to school that your loans were smaller than your income taxes, which makes it harder to get the most out of school - especially for people around the 50th %ile of HS grads. And you did it I expect without going to a public school as expensive as, say, UC Berkeley. But even a school like SUNY at Albany costs over $12,500 a year, for students commuting from their family home (ie. room & board is extra). $12,500 would be a lot for a $30K income family of five.
It's not impossible to get an education in the US for free (net after many years working to earn it, and not just in the classroom). Your achievement is a testimony to both your own effort and to the fact that it is at least barely possible. But what I described was a system that would increase the value of millions of Americans' entire future lives, every year, for half what we're spending on Iraq and Afghanistan; for about 5% of what we spend on our entire defense system - but which would create a lot more value even in just our national security. You yourself, under a system like that, would have spent probably up to double your time during college learning, instead of flipping burgers, and likely gone to a better college - even if the same school, but with more tuition money to spend on educating more students with more focus on their education.
That shouldn't be just possible. It should be the baseline.
Public school should be free at least through college. At the very least loans should have their interest rates set, or be refundable, depending on one's graduating scores.
If we spent $10,000 a year on only the (1.5 million) top half of graduating students for each of four college years, that $60B would buy more than the $120B+ a year we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan (plus the "business as usual" $TRILLION+ annual expenses for the Pentagon and intelligence budgets). That's free education and expenses for every American above the median performance. If we gave $1000 to everyone who graduated high school on time, and $500 to everyone graduating only a year late, cash and no strings attached, the extra $1.5B would pay for itself in the drop in people who instead "graduate to jail" at $40,000 a year (plus the cost of whatever damages put them there, and the loss of their taxable productivity).
And more Americans who can think and research for themselves would reduce how often we go into these expensive wars.
Education investment is the best investment. We've got plenty of places from which we can redirect the wasteful expenses instead into education, where the public is really building something that protects and benefits the public.
The problem with farmed fish is that their environment is not as varied and robust, as diverse, as the natural one they evolved to thrive in. Which is why salmon farms, for example, breed unhealthier fish, and not infrequently collapse. Even land farms turn into incubators for very serious diseases, like mad cow etc.
Free range farming is the most sustainable. When the eel population collapses, there's more going wrong than just less eels for our sushi. The canary in the coal mine problem isn't fixed by simply keeping canaries in zoos.
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