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Comment: Re:There are people who want to learn and not go t (Score 1) 116

by Copid (#49386691) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast

This statement gets thrown around a lot when discussing college, but I just don't see how it holds up. It is very rare for an undergraduate to do any significant research, so most of the learning comes from assignments and probably a little group work.

I'd argue that a big part of it is being given assignments that stretch you more than you've been stretched. You don't have to do original research to be geniuinely challenged and grow from the experience. You just have to be given an assignment that requires you to dig for answers and fail. You have to exhaust most of your options when trying to figure something out. It's something we should probably be doing much more to kids well before they get to college, but college seems to be where we start doing it, so that's where the value is.

Since this is slashdot, there will be a million posts by clever college students who are doing really well in their classes and see them all as a waste of time. "Nothing at a university can challenge me! I'm the hottest shit that ever was shat!" All I can say is that they either didn't choose programs that were challenging enough for their level of talent or they're unusually talented people--the most brilliant of the most brilliant--and the world was not really designed for them. Or they're badly overestimating their level of talent, but that almost never happens.

Comment: Printing press (Score 3, Insightful) 116

by Copid (#49383847) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast
What I want to know is why anybody would expect online education to replace traditional education any more than the printing press and wide availability of books made traditional education obsolete. Widely available course materials are great and we're a richer world now that we have them, but the fact that universities survived the democratization of books should tell us that real schools still add some value above and beyond the raw information.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Copid (#49376011) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You
You're going to have to come with an explanation for why this historical percentage holds true in the US but not in any other country. My theory is that it's what we generally prefer and when we adjust our tax policies, we do so within that narrow range. There's no magic economic force that reduces the government's take below 20% no matter what we do. We just choose not to raise taxes that high (and when I say, "We choose not to," I really mean, "We elect officials with enough variety in their preferences that they don't all agree to raise taxes that high"). A couple of other points:

1) The difference between 16.9% and 19.2% of GDP is massive. At our current level of GDP, it's well over $300B. The idea that changing tax rates so that the receipts bounce around in that range has no real effect is just silly.
2) I'm happy to give the Republican congress the credit for the things they were involved in, but let's not rewrite history. The deficit trajectory reversed direction before 1995. The 1993 budget was passed with no Republican support and over screams that it would destroy the economy. To my knowledge, there was nothing particularly special about the 1995 budget in terms of deficit reduction.

Comment: Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 1) 308

by Copid (#49375759) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead
If you're guarding an NSA facility, your job is to risk your life for the people and secrets inside that facility, not people trying to force their way in. If you try to strong arm your way into an NSA facility, you're probably up to no good. At best you're an unstable person trying to make a political statement and you don't mind putting others in danger to do so. At worst, you're carrying an assault team or a car bomb and things will get infinitely worse if your vehicle is allowed to hit one of those buildings.

The "Let's just see how this plays out" response is the response you get before you try to breach the outer perimter. That's your not-getting-shot-at freebee. Once you've used up that freebee, you don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore. It's kind of like breaking into somebody's house at night while their family is sleeping. You get the benefit of the doubt if you stay outside the front door. Once you climb in the window, you've burned through all of your goodwill and nobody really owes you any deference.

Comment: Re:nice try but waste of legal fees (Score 1) 331

by Copid (#49366255) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

Overly broad non-competes are almost universally unenforceable. The lawyers writing this non-sense know this.

So why, in a world with a professional class of licensed legal experts who write contracts, are lawyers allowed to put obviously illegal and unenforceable stuff into contracts and pay no personal or professional penalty for it? A pilot who regularly disobeyed FAA regulations or a doctor who consistently gave bad medical advice would be penalized, but attornies can write contracts that don't mean anything and the only thing that happens is a judge draws a line through their nonsense and gives them credit for whatever they got right. WTF? With a system like that, *I* could write contracts and take fees from clients.

Comment: Re:Good Luck (Score 1) 331

by Copid (#49366201) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

You really think Amazon wants to take the PR hit by suing a contractor who worked in their warehouse for 10 dollars an hour?

Yeah, I've heard that stuff a lot from employers trying to get ridiculous bullshit into contracts with me. "It says we can burn your home to the ground and sow your fields with salt for no reason, but we'd never actually do it. What? Remove the clause? Well... no."

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 494

by Copid (#49329765) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
I've found that exercise changes what I want to eat far more than the amount I want to eat. The amount probably follows from what I'm eating. If my body is screaming out for celery and I'm eating celery, it's unlikely that I'll eat the equivalent of "one bag of Doritos" in celery. It's celery. I eat it until I've had enough celery and I'll stop. If my body isn't screaming out for celery and I pick up a bag of Doritos, I may eat the whole bag without even noticing it.

I'm guessing that if I were to eat the same food whether I was exercising or not, I would probably not be inclined to eat less. It's just that when I'm working out, my brain starts to see food as fuel, so I acquire the fuel and move on instead of engaging in whatever habitual behaviors normally drove my eating patterns.

Comment: Re:It's simple. Eat less and eat less crap (Score 1) 494

by Copid (#49329683) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
And at your size, any exercise at all ramps that number up pretty quickly. My wife was always jealous that when I started exercising at or near her exercise schedule, I burned a ton more calories than she did. The analogy I used was, "You're a Toyota Prius cruising along on electric half the time. I'm one of those Hummers with the tattered American flag rumbling down the freeway." I'm not as big as you are, but I was surprised at how quickly I dropped weight just by doing yoga, which isn't exactly high on the list of calorie burning exercises. There's a world of difference between what it takes to do some of those movements when you weigh 115 pounds vs 205.

Comment: Re:Move more, eat less (Score 1) 494

by Copid (#49329605) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

But isn't eating more than you need just another way of "wasting food"? :)

This is a really excellent phrasing that I've never heard before. I'm stealing that and spreading it far and wide.

I've seen plenty of people who are stuffed to the gills eat a little more food to keep it from "going to waste." Hell, I've done it myself. But you don't need the nutrition and you clearly derive no pleasure from it, so how is that any less wasteful than smearing it all over your face or throwing it into a lake? It achieved nothing good. The only thing you can say about it is that the food is gone. At that point, you're just using your body as a waste receptacle.

I guess the major lesson from this is that you waste food when you make or take too much food. Once that's done, it's waste no matter what you do with it, so solve the waste problem at the front-end.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 3, Interesting) 494

by Copid (#49329493) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
It also recenters your brain's assumptions about what is "sweet enough" in other foods. If you've been drinking soda regularly to the point where a good apple tastes like cardboard, the calories from the sweet drinks has become only part of the problem. I know people who knocked off the zero-calorie diet sodas and suddenly found their overall eating habits improved because they didn't crave as much sweetness in other foods.

Comment: Re:to read it another way (Score 1) 337

by Copid (#49303015) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden
Legally that's not how it works. The Fed can create money and buy bonds and Congress can issue bonds. But if they reach the debt limit and decide not to issue those bonds, the fact that there's infinite money sitting in an electronic account at the Fed makes no practical difference. They're still not going to be able to pay their bills.

The possibility of minting high value coins was an interesting one, but it seems to me that if they ever got to the point of minting trillion dollar platinum coins, they'd have gone so far beyond parody that it would be pretty hard to go back to normal operations. Then again, the Republicans have been agitating to get Reagan's face on some money forever. A trillion dollar platinum coin with his mug on it would work on a lot of levels.

Comment: Re:Why is bitcoin popular again? (Score 1) 254

by Copid (#49284965) Attached to: Evolution Market's Admins Are Gone, Along With $12M In Bitcoin

The question is do you have any cases where the fdic didn't have to make people whole because they stopped the bank from collapsing?

The historical record strongly implies that the very existence of the FDIC has prevented a lot of banks from collapsing. Just look at the rate of bank failures per year pre-FDIC and post. The idea of a "bank run" was a quaint historical thing for decades after the FDIC came into being, and bank failures for any reason declined enormously until the 1980s.

The most recent failures are sort of a vindication of a deposit insurance and regulation scheme. As people moved from insured accounts to uninsured money markets to get higher rates, they exposed themselves to the possibility of a "run" on the money market. That happened in 2008, and it looked in many ways like an old-fasioned bank run. So it's a bit of a natural experiment. A massive run on money markets didn't turn into a run on insured accounts simply because the accounts were insured.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 340

The parent makes an interesting point. If the same data they ostensibly have every right to inspect in unencrypted format were printed out in its encrypted form and you agreed to open the case, would they have the right to compel you to tell them how to read it? Or would the act of opening the case and giving them the coded papers be sufficient for compliance? If they can't compel you to decode the papers after opening the case, I don't see why they should be able to compel you to decode your digital papers after handing over the device.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.