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Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 1) 660

by Evtim (#49354791) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Yhea, right!

And that is why this show is watched by many people who don't even own a car (me, for instance).

Also, do you know who introduced me to the show? My wife! That's right! Somehow, the obnoxious, sexist, racist Clarkson drew the largest female audience of a car show in the world. Meditate on this you should....

People without imagination and scene of humor are always offended by those who do....

Comment: Re:I've read them all (Score 1) 299

by Evtim (#49244479) Attached to: Sir Terry Pratchett Succumbs To "the Embuggerance," Aged 66

I think he is very loved in Eastern Europe too. The online edition of one of the most popular newspapers in my country [BG] runs 7 articles at the moment. The comments are full of exuberant praise for Sir Terry.

As for me, well, he is the first person that I do not know personally, who's death made me cry [came very close to tears for DNA].

His books felt to me like having a delightful conversation with an incredibly smart, knowledgeable, wise and extremely witty humanist, who, at the same time shares with me a certain fury against the state of man. Much like Vimes's fury and willingness to arrest even the gods for not doing it right. What a feast!

+ - Terry Pratchett dies age 66->

Submitted by Evtim
Evtim (1022085) writes "It is a sad day for at least 100 mil people around the world. The amazing sir Terry Pratchett has left this world. I have no words, only tears. Can anybody even make a short obituary for this man? No. It would take hundreds of pages to illuminate the vast scope of his work, the million word-plays. He touched every contemporary issue in his works; presented us with many ours of pure delight.
I have always felt that his books are like having the most delightful conversation with a very wise, knowledgeable and witty person. I often had the feeling that he is talking specifically to me — -that is how personal and deep I felt his work.
The world won't be the same without him.
I was hoping we will see the 42nd Discworld novel before he stops writing (was always secretly hoping for a last minute breakthrough that would save his life). Alas, it was not to be...RIP, you great , great man!"

Link to Original Source

Comment: How about human dignity? (Score 4, Insightful) 187

by Evtim (#49144889) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

I had the very bad luck of dealing with a loved one with 3 suicide attempts provoked by psychosis. The problems followed heavy depression which in turn was provoked by...unemployment.

Once the person recovered, she went on restoring her brain faculties and although some portions of [very few] faculties could not be restored to previous levels. Nevertheless the doctors showed us that she has "dropped" from "extremely smart" to "very smart". Some faculties were better than before because she developed them further with brain games and what's not.

Now guess what happened? 4 years after the recovery there is no job [she is a PhD in physics with good articles and 2 successful post-doc projects]. There is not going to be a job, because noone takes "the risk" of hiring someone with few years interrupted career. It is a vicious cycle....

Meanwhile, the medical system bankrupted me and made me very sick [I've described it in detail for another thread] so we have no money, no job for her [and mine, although being very advance and interesting does not pay that well], debts and destroyed faculties by the medical system of both of us.

We need only one type of help, only one pill. Dignity!!! Which comes from sense of self-respect which comes from being economically sound, i.e. at least have a job [forget the whole discussion about the socioeconomic system, the times are like they are, we need jobs, the star trek future is postponed indefinitely due to greed].

That is what we need -- one "brave" company that wants to benefit tremendously by hiring [likely for less money than usual] someone who is so eager to contribute and restore their place in society....the social system even offers to pay her salary for a few months so that the company gets to evaluate her for free...and still nothing. Unemployment is rising everywhere in Europe, the "crisis" from 2009 will never end, the middle class is shrinking....expect rise in suicide in the whole western world...

So fuck those initiatives. No Facebook, nor anyone else can do squat about it. In fact Facebook, being greedy corporation which fucks its customers left right and centre, is part of the problem...

Comment: Bike culture (Score 2) 304

by Evtim (#49134705) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

There are 3 things I adore about the Netherlands:

- bicycle culture [and infrastructure!]
- parks and gardens [this is a country-garden!]
- the civil liberties package

More than a decade I live here and a day does not pass without riding a bike. I never owned a car. And here, people do not stop for the weather, otherwise we would stay at home for most of the year:) There is always wind and often rain. Show and ice are somewhat scarce in recent years.

I find it somewhat strange that the Brits, for instance, are so crazy about protective gear, helmets and what's not, but once I saw the Top Gear episode where they raced across London I realize that they have almost no infrastructure. But helmet will not help in a frontal encounter with a bus [I was afraid for Ricard, really]. The best safety is achieved by separating as much as you can the cars from the bikes from the pedestrians. I always take pleasure when someone from home visits me and they see the roads in my district. 4 lanes for cars, 2 double size bike lanes on the side [effectively just as generous as for the cars] and two wide lanes for pedestrians. "Wat the hell's that?" is the usual reaction:)) Only in parts of towns where they want to preserve the architecture and cannot build wider roads is the bike lane painted on the car road. But then the drivers here are very well aware of the bikes.

No doubt that I am faster than any public transport bar metro and trains. Going out in a Dutch city with a car is idiotic. You'd spent long time in jams, pay a fortune for parking [if available] and cannot drink. What a drag...

Comment: Re:mice, HGTTG (Score 1, Informative) 95

by Evtim (#49104157) Attached to: Humans' Big Brains Linked To a Small Stretch of DNA

We also learned:

- That we should never trust marketing. GPP feature, anyone? Share and enjoy? [+5 Funny]
- That if life is to survive in a Universe this size the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion [+5 Insightful]
- That galactic banks are a figment of our imagination [+5 Informative]
- That with a degree in math and another in astrophysics it is either this or the unemployment agency on Monday morning [+5 Informative]
- That cricket is evil [+5 Funny]
- That isolationism is bad. "It has to go" --> Krikkiters about the Universe, after discovering they are not alone [+5 Insightful]
- That it is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem [+5 Informative]
- That the one thing a bunch of respectable physicists cannot stand is a smart ass [+5 Funny]
- That the best way to break ice at parties is the finite probability generator [+5 Informative]
- That personally offending everyone in the Galaxy is a huge task, even for an immortal [+5 Informative]
- That prophets always come back, even if it is just a few seconds before the end of the Universe [+5 Funny]
- The the wheel is not commercially viable, mostly because of its color [+5 Funny]
- That the most effective devaluation financial program is to cut down the forest [+5 Insightful]
- That the best way to avoid tax is the afterlife [+5 Informative]
- That cauliflower has special opinion about food that does not want to be eaten [+5 Informative]
- That the function of a president is not to yield power, but to divert the attention from those that do [+5000 Informative]

This just from the top of my head. DNA found novel, fascinating and very funny WAY to say the truth. I mean, just for an illustration, the whole story of the total perspective vortex, its creation, effects, usage and the fate of ZB when he is subjected to it --> yes, this is the one and only way, IMO, to deal with the size of the Universe. Both humble and proud. With and without sense of proportion. There is a very healthy portion of real wisdom in those books, just like every good book I suspect.....

Comment: Re:It was a movie--duh (Score 1) 133

by Evtim (#49099525) Attached to: Why Hollywood Fudged the Relativity-Based Wormhole Scenes In Interstellar

I disagree.

First, the dome [or sphere] of stars is majestic enough; if you are able to choose your position in space I am sure there are spectacular views. I mean we have them on Earth, just looking at the sky while in the desert for instance...

Secondly, the planets. And moons. Breakfast in orbit of a planet - bring it on..

Third - there are probably all kinds of interesting large scale phenomena [black holes eating something, that kind of stuff] where a lot is happening outside the visible part of the spectrum. But that is why we have machines and technology. What is wrong in visualizing x-rays and gamma bursts? As long as we remember it is a visualization. If I have spaceship that's how I want my "windows" - like the Predator, switching different sensors and visualizing the environment. I mean think of a SEM picture - that is what we do, converting electron energies and trajectories into visible light. Quite useful and spectacular to behold, is it not?

Comment: This is fascinating! (Score 1) 378

by Evtim (#49009521) Attached to: Woman Suffers Significant Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant

Truly it is! There is a lot of noise recently about healthy gut and its profound influence on almost every aspect of our health. Good!

Back in the days of my biotechnology college education I learned a profound truth that I forgot for many years after that [partially because I went off doing physics and chemistry instead], until my own health got damaged due to unbalanced gut flora. A truth that most people on Earth are not aware off. And then I remembered....that this is not the planet of the apes, nor the planet of the mammals, birds, reptiles or whatever. This was, is, and will forever be the planet of the microorganisms! All the rest of life is just an overlay on top of the microbial ecosystem. The microbs are everything. Without them there is no complex life possible on any level. They determine or have profound influence on almost everything about life.

Comment: Re:Okay, so... (Score 4, Interesting) 378

by Evtim (#49009511) Attached to: Woman Suffers Significant Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant

There is something to what you say. My own experience was that once the gut flora got out of balance, yeast took over.

During those few years of yeast overgrowth I developed very weird craving for sugars were often I won't be able to go to sleep [and shake like I am dying of starvation] if I did not eat sweet. Once the problem was identified I was put on no sugar at all diet. It took some discipline in the beginning, but to my delight once the yeast began dying [regular lab tests showed that] this maniacal cravings just disappeared and did not come back [1 year so far].

So there is something about this. The guys in our intestines seem to have profound effect on many, many things in our physiological and psychological health.

Tully, the old saying "tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are" seems to be spot on. During one of my doctor's visit I quoted the fad line "Well, those guys are sometimes called the second genome, right?"

To which the doctor banged with her fist on the table and said "No, they are the first genome! They got more genes than us, their network of biofilm comprises an actual organ [without which we will be dead] , making it the largest organ in the body, 60% of your immune system happens in the intestine. Those guys can make us sick, the can cure us, they can make us crazy. And they were doing that job well before Homo Sapiens came to be. They are the first!"

Comment: Reminds me of a joke (Score 1) 212

by Evtim (#49004301) Attached to: The Search For Neutrons That Leak Into Our World From Other Universes

This kind of scientific experiments where we make a volume of space free of some influence[s] and then wait for some event to happen [like the neutrino thing] remind me of a joke from an old book called "Physicists are laughing". It was an article on the subject of "Methods for catching a lion".

The Heisenberg method was described roughly as "There is a non-zero probability that all elementary particles of the lion will simultaneously tunnel through space and the lion will end up in the cage. Build the cage and lock it. Sit outside and wait..."

Comment: Re:Literally? (Score 2) 645

by Evtim (#49004281) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

I think you missed one other option --> they make money, thus are for sale just like everyone else.

As for controlling, one needs to look no further than the life of this man [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays] to get the picture.

Here is the practical example. Remember the Chechen conflict? For Russia those are terrorists, for the West --> freedom fighters. My country is close to Russia and a former communist state. The media is divided by half, pro and anti Russia/West. And then one evening I had the misfortune to witness the most horrific thing I ever saw on screen. I have described it once here, in a discussion about the boogieman of video game violence. Central news, 20:00h, on channel 1, which the majority would watch and was considered the freest of biases, showed propaganda video that the Chechen rebels distributed of a decapitation of Russian soldier. The most revolting thing I ever saw in my life...

And it was a blatant attempt to sway the public opinion; there is no other rational explanation for showing this, risking so much [heads were rolling on the next day] knowing that almost everyone from age 7 upwards is watching. The Western media also had this but did not show it. They show this now because it suites the agenda. See, both sides of the same coin...

Comment: Idle thoughts... (Score 4, Interesting) 700

by Evtim (#48977449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

Disclaimer: I am a certified [MSc] teacher in chemistry and physics. Worked the job only a year [went to do PhD and then do R&D in semiconductors] but all my life I have being interested in education and never stopped thinking and learning about it. Sorry for the gigantic post; there is so much to say about this...besides according to Terry Pratchett teachers can only converse in the form of short lectures:))

The major problem of standardized school system is the lack of flexibility and inability to provide different approaches to different types of students. I am not saying anything new here -- the class moves through the curriculum with the speed of the average student, not the best, of course. This is the classical case [to use popular culture reference] of "who and how is going to teach Ender"? On the other hand, the "slow students" are often slower than they can be again because of lack of flexibility in approach.

The major problem of home schooling is politics --> that the majority of people seem to want it not in order to educate their kids better but the opposite, to save them from "evil" knowledge and from hearing different points of view. This home schooling fad perpetuates the whole developed world ATM and the idea comes usually. from the religious circle of the parents. Please, understand me right, I don't want to start a war on this issue but it is true. In mitigation I can say that many other ideologies [politics, business, culture in general] also try constantly to meddle in schools and teach [or not] the students about certain things.

Two issues then -- one, now to make the system more efficient in pure education terms, without considering social and cultural issues. Two [this is the biggie] --> how to deal with the inevitable clash between the culture and knowledge in the family and the culture and knowledge of the world [school].

It is a FACT that what happens at school has major influence on the development of the young mind. It is a FACT that bad teacher can do huge harm and good teacher can do huge good. It is a fact that most families internal culture is narrow-minded compared to what the school teaches. And you cannot possibly separate culture form education. Example --> if you study logic, one of the best text books starts with debunking the whole idea of advertisement and shows you clearly how you are manipulated by it. But that message is universally despised by our culture [for it has been perverted to such degree that any objection against money grabs and inhuman economic structures is labeled as "freedom-hating"] and trust me, some enraged group of parents will protest [especially if daddy is making his bucks in advertisement:)]. During my short tenure I saw many such clashes. Parents asked me "why are you teaching them this, you are just physics teacher, what can you possibly teach them about everyday life". "Everything", was my usual answer and I tried to explain that the scientific approach is a system of thought that is universal and can be applied to any problem. As my physics teacher in high school said "you might be selling groceries all your life but if you understand a bit of physics and scientific approach you will out compete the other grocery shop". Very few parents understood...

Thoughts on issue one:

- make the cooperation between parents school and society more efficient and [wishful thinking] as free of politics as possible.
- Create "clubs of interests" [we used to have those very good under the communist system] where fast kids can learn more. Make those good and affordable.
- here is an idea --> teach skills. Go with the kids to where their parents work. If some kids show interest in advance machining [dad has golden hands and builds interesting stuff] let those kids have internships in that company or similar. Find what the kid really likes and then provide endless torrent of knowledge and practical work in that field. When motivated by curiously and satisfaction we humans excel and do not need a stick to make us learn and do.
- never put the education system on the profit motive only [just as you should never do this for medicine, army, police and so on]. The profit motive destroys everything. It is diametrically opposite to what we want for education.
- do not lighten the curriculum; quite the contrary. There is a very dangerous notion that kids need "to be kids". Load of dingo's kidneys! We retard the development of our children by pushing "the age of maturity" ever further [I expect in a few decades a law that you need to be 30 in order to vote, cause you are "just a kid" before that age]. Forgetting that for most of human history the people who changed the world were young, even teenagers. I was reminded this fact just the other day when reading history --> one great revolutionary in my country rebelled at an age of 16 and started organizing resistance. By 24 he was a veteran; became member of parliament after the liberation, by 30 he was a minister and then became the most successful prime minister of my country in the 20th century.
Again, the great Terry Pratchett. Miss Susan says "I teach them how to become adults.They already know how to be kids!".

Thoughts on issue two:

Well, this whole thing is not simply a can of worms, but a can of giant anacondas!! You will always have cultural clash at school, because you develop WORLDVIEW at school. And that is everything to a human. Our worldview determines everything we do. And almost always the worldview at home will be narrower than the one at school.

And who has the right to teach a worldview to the kids? The teachers, some say, because they represent the collective knowledge and wisdom of humanity. There is no harm in teaching kids the TRUTH, yes? Well, says the enraged parent, you ruined my kid's life! She wanted to become an accountant and now that you told her the whole financial system is a scam [cause you though her logic] she wants to be an engineer. Do you know the difference in salary and job opportunities?

And the parent will have a point. Because, you see, the socioeconomic system of the world is not in line with reality. Thus, people who actually do stuff for humanity are seldom rewarded or respected for it. I don't have to explain it to this crowd, right? The sarcasm is that teachers themselves are the one of the least respected and rewarded members of society although their work is nothing short of fundamentally important. But at the same time being successful in this "unreal" system has very real consequences --> longer life, better health, higher quality mates, etc. So, this is issue number 3, the biggest of them all. That the more you know, really know about the world, the more unsuited you are to live in it, because of the discrepancy between reality and the system we have created. So TRUTH can [and often does] ruin your life from a more standard [success over everything!] point of view.

In conclusion, there is not going to be any progress in education until somehow we get rid of the politics or keep it in check. Otherwise nothing will work. Just look what happened to the issue of climate change when it became important to those that only care for money. Now you cannot find your way through the endless propaganda. It pains me when I see the majority of people blaming again the schools or the teachers [or unions, politicians and legislation], whereas the problems are created by society itself, because it does not want the truth to be told. Period.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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