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Comment: Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

How do cyclists not contribute to gridlock on city roads? normally they're the cause of it because they move so slowly more people have to stop from them and city roads tend not to have room to pass them.

If the traffic is already congested enough to cause gridlock, bikes can move as fast as, if not faster than, the cars around them. Acceleration isn't quite as good but that doesn't make much of a difference when it's just a race to pile up to the next intersection you can't clear.

As for much of the other stuff you talk about, this is really about bad cyclists rather than cycling as a mode of transport. As a cyclist who puts in effort to share the road graciously, I would love any solutions that make people better cyclists. Which is, I think, part of the point of changing stop sign laws: When you make the laws easier to follow, you're more likely to get more people willing to put in the effort to follow them. Even better if, as is the case here, the new laws have the potential to improve the situation for motorists (less time waiting for those cyclists who feel they ought to stop even though they don't have to, less uncertainty as to whether a cyclist will come to a complete stop or not).

I don't see what the point of worrying at this moment about cyclists not paying road tax. I doubt there are enough people on either side of the pond who neither drive nor take public trans to actually make a difference in the road maintenance fund. But if we get to a point where 30% of the population is exclusive cyclists, it seems likely that a lot of the tenor of the conversation will change by then, doesn't it?

Comment: Re:Gates wants your children (Score 1) 122

To you and the GP: don't know about other states, but in California it's just a hair over two months off during the summer, not three. (There are of course winter and spring breaks as well.) It's very common for teachers to have their paychecks spread out across 12 months rather than 10, but it's the individual's choice how to do it.

Also: when you see the averages, take into account that they include both teachers a year before retirement and those fresh out of college. From what I've seen, the pay is usually quite all right when you start off, especially if you enter with a master's (not uncommon these days), but the raises are laughable. When you consider that high school teachers effectively work at least 50 hours a week (unless they've been teaching the same subject for at least ten years or so), pulling in $50k/year or less gets old pretty fast, especially if you're living in an area with a high COL that leads to much higher private sector salaries for the highly educated. Doubly so if you're teaching at a crappy, dangerous school in the ghetto or its suburban equivalent, which is where the vast majority of job openings are in said areas. Stress in the tech sector simply cannot compare. Two months off seems like the only humane option come June when that's the case.

(Smaller cities and rural areas are a whole 'nother kettle of fish, I know. But I don't think I hear as much complaining about teacher salaries in those parts, at least not in states where teachers are unionized.)

Comment: Re:Gates wants your children (Score 0) 122

No, that's what would make sense as a current teacher. As a former teacher, he's got perspective without conflict of interest. As a former teacher myself, I can tell you there's a lot of spending on useless shit. Where's your perspective coming from? (And I say this as someone who agrees with everything else you said!)

Comment: Re:America is boned (Score 0) 870

by Locando (#46580509) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

What, pray tell, is it about countries with capitalist economic systems that makes them immune to takeover by angry nutjobs? Or are you confusing capitalism with democracy? Just wondering.

Also, are you of the opinion that capitalism was designed to fit human nature better than any other system possible, or was this just an accident? While we're at it, it would be nice if you could explain how you're determining what human nature is and what steps you're taking to avoid having your bias in favor capitalism affect your view of human nature.

Comment: Re:Average $29K, but many grads will immediately (Score 0) 538

by Locando (#46379247) Attached to: U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt

Oh, and get a degree in something more useful than Social Work or Ethnic Studies. There's just not that many jobs for French Literature grads or Art History majors.

I love how many people quote this as if it's common sense. Got a citation for employment rates in either of those fields being worse than for college grads on average? Yes, yes, we know engineers are more employable. But it also stands to reason that we can't all be engineers, any more than we can all be doctors or lawyers or social workers. So what are all the liberal arts majors supposed to major in, that is supposedly in such high demand that their good decisions will balance against the massive youth under-/unemployment problem we have in this country (even among college grads, if we compare across the years)?

Comment: Re:Pathetic (Score 0) 683

by Locando (#46078313) Attached to: VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

Why should people with more money, more goods and services to offer, have more of a say as to how our country's resources should be put to use? Do the likes and dislikes of those of lesser means inherently matter less? We already have to accumulate money to keep our life situations secure and enjoy many of life's pleasures; why should we desire a system in which money is additionally necessary to keep others from exerting undue influence on the communities in which we live?

Comment: Re:Privatize 2 help funnel the money 2 corporate b (Score 0) 224

by Locando (#43449023) Attached to: Some States Dropping GED Tests Due To Price Spikes

Are you trying to explain why you're using "need" to only refer to things with economic benefits? Because that's what I thought was bizarre. There are lots of things we need besides those that can be bought: love, meaning to one's life, agency, creativity, etc.

If you only mean need for the sake of the greater good of the economy, independent of the individual's free choice to determine what he or she needs from life to make it meaningful, then please make yourself clear and say so. Similarly, if by education you mean public, institutionalized, vocational education, then it only makes sense to clarify that as well. Otherwise I don't know how you expect to change the minds of those with a differing viewpoint, never mind those who don't share your ideology.

(As a side note, are you hoping to encourage humanities majors to agree with you? If you call their studies worthless, it's easy for that to sound like a personal insult, which isn't going to convince many people at all! Who are you writing this for, anyway?)

Comment: Re:I disagree. (Score 0) 479

by Locando (#39323699) Attached to: X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education

How about incompetent administrators? How do we get rid of those?

As it stands, one incompetent and/or vindictive principal can make life intolerable for dozens of teachers that don't agree with his or her ideas, inspiring many of them to find new jobs within a few years. They would absolutely love to have the standards loosened for firing "bad" teachers to have an excuse to get rid of underlings that disagree with them. In the business world, you'd tell someone with a crappy boss that they should be voting with their feet anyway. But allowing this to happen in schools screws the kids over at said school in the process, compromising the education of the kids whose parents aren't savvy enough to recognize what's going on and pull their kids out (if such a thing is even an option, often not the case as many well-regarded charter or private schools have waiting lists or lotteries, never mind the price or difficulty of transportation). What good does that do the kids?

Unions are there for the teachers because the teachers have nothing to gain by not helping the kids, which keeps the vast majority of them honest, even if there are conflicting ideas about what's best for the kids. That's not the case for administrators, who have a lot of self-interest at stake if they don't like working with people with whom they ideologically disagree (among other possible conflicts).

Comment: Re:Make Academics a Spectator Sport (Score 0) 479

by Locando (#39323639) Attached to: X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education

Yep, they're doing it wrong. The problem is, the education "problem" in the US is almost entirely one of inequality — partially among social classes, but to a greater extent among ethnic groups. But as with all things involving race in America, bringing this up seems to bring out the worst in people of all racial and political stripes.

Comment: Re:Now you've switched again. (Score 0) 479

by Locando (#39323617) Attached to: X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education

isn't it obvious what the problem is? the education our children are getting is substandard, especially when compared to numerous other countries.

People state this as if it's obvious, but if you look at the data broken down by, say, ethnicity, you find that the education white Americans get is top-flight compared to other first-world countries, and what blacks and Latinos get is substandard. This is true even when you adjust for income levels.

we have a system where kids only go to school 6 hours a day, 1 of which is physical education and one of which is recess/lunch time. that leaves only 4 hours of actual class time instruction. to top that off, they don't go to school for 2 or 3 weeks during the winter and 3 months during the summer because they need some sort of break. for what?

Intriguing, but bear in mind that teachers are currently paid for the school year at its current length — in California, at least, they're officially paid hourly according to how long they teach, only on school days and a handful of set-aside preparation days; this amount is annualized. We've already got a problem with people leaving the profession or avoiding it because of low pay; making people put in more hours without raises will make you lose many of the most qualified teachers. And of course there's little budget to simply pay more.

the good teachers are not getting compensated enough. the only ones doing a good job are the ones that actually have a passion for just teaching; and there aren't enough of those types of people in the US to educate all our children. all the other smart people are going into the private sector where they're getting paid double or triple what teachers are getting paid.

Agreed. If you want to look at why, it might be interesting to take a look at administrative salaries and the increasing number of administrative positions. Administrators are largely the ones pushing for increased standardized testing to make their schools and districts look good on paper without particular regard for the quality of education the students get, and they have been increasingly pushing teachers to follow their pet projects to improve their numbers since No Child Left Behind was implemented. Interestingly enough, they are also the people clamoring most for getting rid of "bad teachers".

and i didn't even get into the politics of the education system. i'm not well enough informed about that to speak authoritatively but my friends that are teachers tell me how screwed up it is all the time.

There sure is a lot of politics, and it's hard to know about all of it as an outsider unless you make it your goal to investigate it. Just consider whose interest it is in to politicize education, and how those interests may have provided deceptive information to those you've gotten your information from.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong