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Comment: Re:trickle down economics (Score 2) 119

Not only this but most of the "students falling behind" that you hear about turns out to be about poverty, not about teachers or schools failing the kids. If a child lives in poverty, they are worried about when they'll eat next, are afraid that today might be the day they lose their home, might be scared for their safety in their neighborhood, etc. All of those worries/concerns/fears make it hard to focus on what your teacher is trying to teach you. It also makes it seem irrelevant. If your big concern is whether you'll get to eat dinner tonight or whether this will be the fifth night in a row that you go to bed hungry, figuring out the area of a circle can seem completely useless. Yes, learning pays off long-term, but there are big short-term concerns that drown that out.

Unfortunately, a lot of rich politicians/businessmen who have never had these worries/concerns like to place all of the blame on public schools and public school teachers and then lobby to pull more money from them to fund other schools for them to send their kids to. Meanwhile, the poor kids do even worse, but at least the rich folks have a nice scapegoat.

Comment: Re:Just Like the "Liberal Media" (Score 2, Interesting) 289

There's also the "intellectual elite" term that's bandied about.

How dare those climatologists tell us what is going on with the Earth's climate! They think they're so smart because they studied climate systems for years, can make a model of the entire Earth's climate system, and can compare its predictions against past and current data points. Well, why should those "intellectual elite" climatologists get to say what's going on with the Earth's climate? I stepped outside the other day and it was chilly so that disproves all climate change. Also, my computer professional said not to reply to spam but clearly I know better that that intellectual elite so I'll be getting that Nigerian princes treasures after I wire them this money.

Comment: Re:I am a Republican voting Conservative. (Score 5, Insightful) 289

I think his point is that the Republicans in power seems to be reflexively against anything "those liberals" are in favor of. Liberals say climate change is real and we've got to combat it? Well, obviously, it is false and we need to investigate anyone who says it is true. You've got to wonder if Obama released a statement that read "I like puppies. They're cute.", how quickly would Republicans line up to declare that puppies are evil spawns of Satan and real Americans own cats, not dogs.

The problem with stating that liberals should stop pushing fighting against climate change - targeting clean air/water instead - in the hopes that the Republicans would drop their objections and things would get done is that the Republicans in power have a lot invested in "things are good as-is." Plus, once liberals start decrying polluted air/water, the Republican leadership would reflexively declare all water/air to be 100% clean and would cut EPA funding to match their declaration.

Comment: Re:The 30 and 40-somethings wrote the code... (Score 1) 493

by Jason Levine (#49614669) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

never really got the hang of handwriting, switched to using a computer keyboard whenever possible as I was learning to write

Ugh. I remember my pre-computer days when I had to write reports. Horrible handwriting (my mother joked that I was destined to be a doctor based solely on my handwriting) + lefty (pen smears on your hand as you write) + having to rewrite entire pages because you JUST figured out a better way of phrasing something = I hated writing assignments and writing in general. Despised them.

Then, I got to use a computer for the first time.

Suddenly, my "writing" was recognizable, I had no pen smears on my hands, and most importantly, it was easy to copy/paste entire sections of my writing. Even in those early, keyboard-only, hunt-and-peck-bad-typist days, I could churn out a better essay quicker than I could if I handwrote it. From that point on, I found out that I LOVED writing.

Comment: Re:The Perfect Bait (Score 1) 1003

by Jason Levine (#49611601) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

I can't speak for Jesus cartoons, but if there was a cartoon depicting a Jewish stereotype (say, a long nosed, fat, corrupt banker hording money from honest non-Jewish folks), I would protest it, but wouldn't kill over it. Would I march against such a cartoon being published or call for the cartoonist to be fired? Yes, but that would be my using my Freedom of Speech to counter the cartoonist's Freedom of Speech. No matter how offensive I found the cartoon, though, I wouldn't march into the guy's office and kill him.

Protests are fine. Especially if they are done peacefully. (Hint: If you're looting random stores or destroying random people's property along your "protest", you aren't protesting.) Saying "I take offense to that" is a perfectly fine reaction. It's when you add "and I'm going to kill you for offending me" that you've crossed the line.

Comment: Re:Prior art (Score 3, Interesting) 60

Or, he filed the patent years ago, and then filed a series of updates to it. Each update delays the final "approval date" and allows him to modify the patent. Over time, he can craft a vague sounding patent and/or one that covers existing technology. Then, his "prior art date" is from a year before when he INITIALLY filed the patent. So while the final patent might have been considered innovative if filed as-is on the initial filing date, patent trolls abuse the "update" system to draw their patents out until they are hard to beat via prior art.

Or, even more likely, the patent examiners said "We'll approve this and let the courts sort it out." Meanwhile, the courts are likely to say "Well, the patent examiners wouldn't have approved this if it wasn't a valid patent."

Comment: Re:Strange terms? (Score 2) 224

by Jason Levine (#49592991) Attached to: Grooveshark Shuts Down

Because the copyright infringement fees* they would have been subjected to would have likely bankrupted them and those patents, software, etc would need to be sold off anyway. So the settlement was likely "give us all your stuff and we won't seek further fines that might wind up bankrupting you, personally, for life."

* You can agree or disagree with copyright laws/fee structures (and I often do), but you don't get to violate copyright, get caught, say "Oops, silly me, I'll go legit now", and get off scot-free.

Comment: Re:When are these idiots going to learn? (Score 1) 93

by Jason Levine (#49592431) Attached to: UK High Court Orders Block On Popcorn Time

The best hope that the media companies have for squashing piracy is not the legal route. Yes, by suing some people or having governments ban some tools, they'll move one step forward. Unfortunately, for them, those who write the programs used for piracy will move five steps forward during this time. Instead, their best hope are services like Netflix. Imagine if the media companies got over their fear of putting stuff online and opened the doors to everything being on Netflix (and a few competing services just to keep one from being too powerful). Even if Netflix had to raise their prices, it would be worth it. Add in the fact that this would be legal (no worrying if you'll get a "we're suing you for piracy" letter) and safe (no worrying if that rip actually contains a virus) and demand for piracy would drop.

Yes, there will always be piracy. Media companies could release DRM-free copies of their movies for a dime each and some pirates would say they'll only buy them if they cost a nickle. Some people rationalize their piracy and will never stop no matter what alternatives are presented to them. Still, those people aren't really potential customers and can be ignored.

Of course, the "Everything On Netflix" scenario isn't likely to happen. Instead, the media companies will double-down on their fear of the Internet, demand massive DRM before even their oldest titles can touch the online world, price their online offerings high to drive people to DVD/Blu-Ray, restrict access based on when the discs are released/where you live, and generally shoot themselves in the foot by driving people to piracy.

Comment: Re: So far so good. (Score 1) 210

by Jason Levine (#49589695) Attached to: Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss On the Peter Principle

When my grandmother was alive, nearly every conversation with her included "So how are things going with your job? Have you been promoted yet?" The problem was that, at my company, the only promotion would mean becoming a manager and not coding anymore. I know that I'd make an awful manager, so I didn't even try to get promoted.

Comment: Re:Voter IDs gave them confidence in the results? (Score 1) 58

by Jason Levine (#49588853) Attached to: Tech Credited With Reducing Nigerian Election Death Toll

Except that every study seems to show that actual voter fraud is minimal. Voter ID laws are (taken at face value) an attempt to reduce a small number of people from voting illegitimately while keeping a larger number of people from voting legitimately. It's trying to swat a fly by swinging around a sledgehammer. Sure, you might kill that pesky fly, but your walls and furniture won't look really nice afterwards.

Comment: Re:With REALLY Huge Fans... (Score 1) 279

by Jason Levine (#49587309) Attached to: New Study Suggests Flying Is Greener Than Driving

Let's assume that you had some sort of battery that could store the same amount of energy as a full airplane fuel tank and was light enough to not cause issues. Couldn't you standardize the batteries across aircraft, make the battery removable, and charge them in the airport between flights. So airplane lands, everyone disembarks, the flight crew (among other things) removes the depleted battery, puts in a fully charged battery, and then puts the depleted battery in the airport's charging system until it is fully charged and ready for use again. This would make time to get the airplane from low charge to full charge very low (as low as the "pop out old one, put in new one" takes).

Such a system wouldn't work for cars because you don't want your average person ripping out his car's battery, but for planes you have a crew of trained mechanics checking the plane between each flight. Surely, they could handle this task.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 4, Interesting) 700

by Jason Levine (#49578339) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

It's not so much the amount of disinformation spewed that separates Republicans and Democrats as it is what subjects the disinformation gets spewed on. When it comes to science, many Republicans seem to have made it their goal to spew as much disinformation on as much science as possible. I feel sorry for the pro-science Republicans who are left. It must be disheartening to see so much anti-science coming from your party.

(Disclaimer: Historically, I've sided with Democrats but have been more and more dissatisfied with them. I'm in the "nowhere land" between both parties where neither party seems to satisfy me and will likely be voting third party more and more.)

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