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Comment: Re:Lame Lame Lame! (Score 1) 105

by ColdWetDog (#48949069) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

You of course realize that what you are doing is quite a ways from the universe discussed in TFA. You've already made it to the point where technology is a tool for you. You're on the right side of the bell curve.

What TFA is talking about is tech in the public school system as a vehicle, for 'mass improvement' - dragging the whole curve upward. I don't think anyone argues that SOME people figure out how to use tech to better themselves. Where it sits for the hoi polloi is the question.

Comment: Re:I really think it depends (Score 1) 105

by ColdWetDog (#48949045) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

As we always said, a week in the lab could save an hour in the library....

Not that I would wish the current funding situation on anyone, but the tools available to grad students and other grunts, compared with the 1980s, are just astounding. Of course, I'm sure they said the same between the 1950s and 1980s - that's progress. But it could take weeks to get an article - even if you knew of it. Graphing huge datasets with a little Texas Instruments calculator that had a little slice of magnetic tape for memory took up many hours of my graduate student life.

I recall one of my professors trying to do early polyploid genetics calculations on an Osborne I. His tech spent hours swapping floppies back and forth - but it was easier than trying to get mainframe time.

I'm not even sure we had lawns back in those days....

Comment: Re:The web can be a great tool... (Score 1) 105

by ColdWetDog (#48949019) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

I'd sortof maybe agree. I started out with a time shared BASIC terminal equipped with the finest punch tape reader available in 1972. Hooked up to a mainframe. The ONLY thing we could access was BASIC. So it wasn't a general purpose computer in the sense that we couldn't browse porn, news or even anyone's grades. All we could do is learn how to program. So, the half dozen of us who played with the machine (instead of going to pep rallies) learned something.

We were 1) antisocial and 2) more or less intellectually motivated to do something. Even if it was calculating trajectories for potato bombs.

Come forward a couple of decades, kids get a shiny machine that can browse the Internet, play games, take pictures, play music. Yeah, the half dozen kids that are 1) antisocial and 2) more or less intellectually motivated might load python on the machine (can't do BASIC AFAIK) or use it to learn something. The rest of the kids are going to screw off. If you just left it at the punch tape / BASIC level, most kids would not touch it with ten foot pole - they'd go to the pep rally (or whatever the hell they call it these days).

Comment: Re:Why not distribute this as a basic income to al (Score 2) 88

by ColdWetDog (#48941925) Attached to: US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

Because the Alaska Permanent Fund takes a small amount of revenue from the oil recovery fees and puts it in a managed fund whose interest is dispersed to the couple of hundred thousand humans left in this mosquito infested swamp. It has a total capitalization of about 45 billion dollars, roughly the same as the spectrum sales.

However, Alaska's population is roughly 735,000, the US 316,000,000. Assuming the same long term returns, the average US citizen would get about $1.80 per year. On a good year.

Disbursement of government money to the masses doesn't really do much. It is arguably different in Alaska since outside the 'big' cities, a significant fraction of the population is at a subsistence level and the close to $1000 we get each year makes a big difference. But many people have argued that the fund would do better if it were more intelligently managed. Of course, that term is defined differently by different people,

Comment: Re:in an unrelated news event (Score 0) 111

by ColdWetDog (#48941715) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

Now, this is completely off topic but reminds me of a funny paragraph in a recent Atlantic article about writer Jeff VanderMeer.

Sometimes, you have to change your coffee shop, too. At the end of one increasingly jittery week of writing, the barista asks me, “Feel any different?” “In what way?” I ask. “I dunno,” she replies, “I’ve been adding more espresso shots to your coffee, gradual, to see what would happen.”

With a shameless plug for his recent Southern Reach trilogy (as is the whole article).

But you have to wonder about coffee shop regulars. This might explain some of their behavior.

Comment: Re:Shows the immaturity of the political system (Score 1) 172

You sir, are an idiot. The Aleutian Islands encompass some of the most productive fisheries in the world. You want you King Crab to glow in the dark? Your salmon to grow flippers?

Sea water causes things to corrode. Unless you vitrify the waste (and the vitrification works), it will leak into the ecosystem. There is a reason water is called the 'Universal Solvent'.

I'd rather be led to hell than managed to heavan.