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Comment: The above argument to ban powerpoint is ... (Score 1) 313

by CptJeanLuc (#49780607) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

... oversimplified and omits the complexities of the issue.

The problem is not powerpoint. The problem is most people not being able to condense and simplify information, or structure it in a way which tells a coherent story in small chunks, using the presentation as a minimalistic tool. They have no clue how a meeting should be run or the role of a presentation in a meeting, plus they are afraid of forgetting any information or talking without a script, so you end up with these massive overloaded slide packs with presenters basically reading most of the slides. Which goes on for a while until someone more senior in the meeting gets fed up, takes control and hijacks the meeting.

Another place where people fail is being too attached to their presentation, in the sense of "I made this thing so I must go through it from start to finish". If the meeting takes another direction, e.g. because the person you are meeting suddenly changed their priorities, (much of) the material may no longer be relevant. Or starting to run out of time, and still trying to go through everything instead of skipping to the key slides.

Powerpoint is a decent tool. If anything should be banned, it is probably the monopoly it has been allowed to achieve. Having the whole business world essentially running their meetings on one piece of software from one single vendor, is not good. Powerpoint as a tool could be improved, and businesses should be able to run without paying the MS tax because business partners keep insisting on sending or receiving .ppt(x) formats.

Comment: Re:Played for a few hours and got bored (Score 1) 85

by CptJeanLuc (#49757129) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

Whether the game is challenging depends on what you consider a challenge. Even though money becomes less of a problem, I found that designing effective road and public transportation infrastructure is indeed quite challenging. Not just making it work, but making it work well.

I wouldn't get too caught up in how the game deals with certain numbers of citizens, rather think of it as a micro-simulation which is scaled down compared to the real thing. E.g. 10,000 Cities-people equals 100,000 RL-people or some other multiplier.

I had great fun with the game for several hours, what made me stop playing was after a while it started to feel more like work than playing a game. But glad I bought the game and tried it out,

Comment: Then make some SW to replace pen and paper (Score 1) 387

I would have liked to invite Lia De Cicco Remu to take a few high school math tests, no pen and paper allowed. The test should be answered as a Word document, using the equation editor for all math including lengthy interim calculations. I'll toss in a couple linear equation sets with three unknowns, some polynomial divisions and differentiating some reasonably complex functions, so there will be plenty of math to type in even though the problems themselves would not be too hard. The test would of course be time limited.

I have looked for all sorts of possible replacements for pen and paper for math and physics for high school students. There is no electronic tool which gives you the freedom and creative flexibility of pen and paper. I love using chalk, prefer it over whiteboards, and only rarely use powerpoints when teaching - which also helps me slow down to the same speed as the students are operating. The technologies that are supposed to be a replacement for the complete solving of a problem (not just a tiny piece such as drawing a graph or solving an equation) including any initial scribbling and eventually documenting the solution, such as tablet apps with free-hand drawing, smart boards, or software such as GeoGebra, have cumbersome interfaces that get in the way and interrupt the creative flow, or have other major limitations. With a pen and paper you have complete control.

You want students to focus on the subject matter and the stuff they are supposed to be learning, not mastery of some SW interface. The math and physics you learn will stay with you forever. The SW you use in school will not.

Comment: Initial fossile fuel no problem in reboot (Score 1) 365

by CptJeanLuc (#49473691) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Pollution = average pollution per capita times population. In a post-apocalyptic scenario after an event on a scale that would cause a "reboot", there would not be 8 billion people around. Burning some fossile fuel for a period in order to get enough of an economy going that would allow the infrastructure to then build a better green infrastructure, should not be an issue.

Comment: Request: enable april fools button in profile (Score 3, Insightful) 113

by CptJeanLuc (#49386221) Attached to: Coup in Arrakis Capitol Leaves Region in Flux

Assuming Slashdot sees its target audience as on average at least moderately intelligent, it would be nice to give us a way to opt in (or at least opt out) to the whole April Fools mess. Some of us come here to browse some hopefully interesting stuff. If the reaction of your online audience is mainly "oh [insert favoured deity here], not those 2-3 days on Slashdot again", maybe you are going about this the wrong way.

Comment: You cannot protect against this type of incident (Score 1) 385

by CptJeanLuc (#49357063) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

There is no protection against a sufficiently crazy pilot determined to crash an airplane. To be quite blunt about it, here is how it might go. Pilot brings hammer or other heavy blunt object into some bag he has in the cockpit. He pretends he is about to visit the bathroom. The other pilot has no idea anything is wrong, and after one whack with the hammer there is only one functional person in the cockpit.

Really, there is no defense. Ok, so in the above scenario, there is a sort of filtering of crazy people that only the ones who are willing to go Dexter on someone else and go through that experience, in addition to the more abstract idea of suicide-murdering a plane full of people without having to observe the result, will be able to go through with it. But this is just one random idea, and there must be lots of other ways. E.g. use chloroform, and put the other pilot to sleep.

There is no point trying to invent defenses against indefensible scenarios. All we can do is decide whether having planes flown by people is an acceptable risk. This week's happening was a tragic event, but one that historically happens extremely rarely - it is the first time I hear of anything like that happening on such a scale - in a span of decades.

If you have to choose between secure or insecure cockpit, I would prefer the locked cockpit - as it seems the frequency of pilots causing such incidents is a lot smaller than the chances that someone - i.e. anyone in the world who is not on a flight ban list - will board a plane with bad intentions.

Comment: Re:Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 1) 662

by CptJeanLuc (#49352337) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear
Strictly speaking this is true that there are few facts available to us the public, but BBC for sure must have plenty of facts, there must have been lots of witnesses if this happened on a set, and BBC clearly would not let one of their few global stars go unless they saw no other way. I would say those are pretty good indicators.

Comment: A very sad reality check (Score 1) 737

by CptJeanLuc (#49348095) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

First of all, this is a horrible and tragic incident, and I can only imagine what people directly affected are going through.

Unfortunately, this type of incidents is something we as a society can never fully protect against. If you think about it, knowing human nature and the number of people with psychological issues out there, one might think it is a miracle that such dramatic events do not occur more often. Also one can never simultaneously protect everyone and all assets, that is just not feasible - for crazy people or terrorists there will always be soft targets available.

What actually _would_ help is if media could write more responsibly about this type of events, and now I am not just thinking about this particular event but other crazy people acts (which may incentivize other crazy people to want to get attention) and acts of terrorism. If some of the events that haunt our media for weeks were only barely mentioned and sticking to relevant facts rather than always making it about personal stories and tragedies, then terrorist acts or any attention seeking of crazy acts would lose their effect.

I really hope that becoming infamous was not part of the pilot's plan, because if that is so then media must bear a big part of the blame.

Comment: Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 3, Informative) 662

by CptJeanLuc (#49347833) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

I hate how the media is spinning this, that because 1 million people or whatever want someone back in a TV show, a TV star should somehow be above the set of laws and expected normal social behavior that the rest of us have to deal with. When someone starts hitting co-workers over the lack of warm food, they should get severely reprimanded - why is this even a discussion. The answer is of course because - and I will put this in tabloid terms because that is the only thing that seems to get across these days - of the way media works this day, how everyone now has a voice through the Internet, and the few voices of common sense gets drowned by moronic opinions of idiots. Why should you care about the opinion of a labour law expert when for each such expert ten thousand average Joe's and Jane's have touchy feely opinions that tell them something different.

The behavior in question seems to be some type of inflated ego syndrome, that people get so full of their own success that they feel petty stuff like following rules and being civil to one another is beneath them, that such things apply only to other people (which by the way includes their fan base). It is always sad to see how someone sympathetic get famous, then are starstruck by themselves, and shortly after enter a downward spiral and discover their dark side.

It is even sadder to watch the fan base. If the average fan turned away from this type of behavior and actually stopped watching a show for a period if the host has done something particularly offensive, that would send a clear message. Instead the shows probably get higher ratings because of the extra attention.

Comment: Obvious from just looking at your own network (Score 1) 112

by CptJeanLuc (#49263533) Attached to: Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies

Of course there are too many (useless or only marginally useful) scientific studies. Just look at the people who are working as scienctists that you know personally or that you otherwise vaguely know, how smart they are (everyone cannot be an Einstein) and your estimate of the quality of knowledge artifacts that they would produce, and what is the research they do, not just limited to your own field of schooling or expertise. And what do your friends and connection who are researchers have to say about the publish or perish regime, and whether they are happy about how they are able to go about their research. There is no need for some scientific study to tell us what most people who are not working as scientists ourselves - and thus have no need for convincing ourselves that the world of science is so fantastic and perfectly objective - can plainly see bright as day if we just open our eyes.

Comment: In a privatized correctional facility system ... (Score 1) 305

by CptJeanLuc (#49263131) Attached to: Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders

... it makes sense to receive money to teach inmates a skill which is very unlikely to result in employment opportunities, while preventing the inmate from spending the time on other and more productive training, thus effectively reducing the chances of employment, and increasing the chances of another stay and the chance to take a follow-on course in advanced programming.

Ok, so this is slightly cynical and based on not even reading the article, maybe there is something else going on here ... but after watching too many hours of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and similar, this is the most probable explanation that comes to mind.

Comment: Re:Not at all surprising (Score 1) 187

by CptJeanLuc (#49211567) Attached to: China's Arthur C. Clarke

The thing about sci-fi authors is they can live in the land of ideas and alternative worlds without being constrained by the realities of where we are today. There is plenty other sci-fi covering similar ideas without anyone branding it propaganda.

It is easy to talk about propaganda elsewhere, but seriously we are a bit brain-washed here in the West as well, thinking that our cold-hearted capitalist system with increasingly dumbed-down media and culture is so much better than everything else in every way possible.

Ok, I need to stop because I am about to go on a rant and blood pressure is increasing. Just look through a backlog of about a year or so of the Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, and probably some others I have not been monitoring - and yes these days you actually need to turn to comedy in order to get something which resembles critical investigative journalism and real unpolished news, the world once again needs a court jester. The list of examples of a broken system is quite overwhelming.

So let's not celebrate our broken system too much, and let's not be too quick about branding alternative ideas as propaganda.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier