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Comment Re: Programming (Score 3, Interesting) 616

Ignorance should never be treated as a virtue. And yet that is what is happening and this original post proves that this attitude is still alive.

Yes, still alive.

Not to sound like an old fart, but this is a very old problem that won't go away. It's easy to be frustrated by the infinite well of stupidity -- the human fate to play whack-a-mole with idiocy. For all the progress (including amazing tech) there's a tail in our intelligence distribution that is retrograde. Worse yet, there's a fraction in the intelligent part of the distribution that is cynical or lazy or evil.

To be clear, I agree with you. Stupidity pushes my buttons too. I differ in that I don't think it's a problem exclusive to modern society. I'm pretty sure that there never really "used to be a time when learning stuff was considered important" *in the sense* that most people thought that way. Rather, I think we've been lucky to benefit from the smart and non-cynical people who have, by virtue of their creativity and (perhaps, accidental) generosity, given us pretty usable tools of agriculture, commerce, art and humor to work with. Of course, those tools only work well for some of us and the negative side of those tools can be downright nasty to those without the means of most slashdot readers.

My point is that in spite of the large number of morons, I don't want to let that sap the infinitesimally small amount of good I just might be lucky enough to do without also, possibly, messing up in some colossal unintended way.


Comment Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (Score 2, Insightful) 318

And I thought Kroger was a good guy, for a Democrat.

There are no good guys in politics. They merely use those labels to cut down the number of people yelling at them by half.

Oh, of course.

And there are no fair-minded people on slashdot. They merely use absurdly broad generalizations instead of reason.

Modded insightful?

And no, I'm not new here.

Comment Re:Know any kids? (Score 1) 546

For the hard drive, disassemble one in front of them and get their interest and curiosity.

Nice idea. A better way would be to let the kids do the disassembly. This is best done in small groups (say one or two kids per hard drive).

Make sure you extract the magnets for the drive head motor and show how strong they are.

Bonus: have rolls of masking tape, cardboard tubes, and extension wire in different colors (scrap ribbon cable is great). Ask the kids to "build a robot" from the parts.

Above all, don't take yourself or the role of teacher too seriously.

Comment Re:Meet the new boss...same as the old boss (Score 3, Interesting) 775

It might be a good idea to sell that beachfront property and start shopping for property further north
I heard an interesting story on NPR this afternoon about a village in Alaska that is being threatened by storms. Historically the village was safe because by this time of year the ocean near the shore had frozen. In recent years (past decade?) the oecan is not freezing before the severe storms hit. As a result, the erosion is removing the sand that the village is settled on. The general trend appears to be supported by a report from the US Global Change Research Corportaion. which states in part
All components of the cryosphere (the frozen portions of the Earth) in the Arctic are experiencing change, including snow cover, mountain and continental glaciers, permafrost, sea ice, and lake and river ice. For example, glaciers in Alaska, as throughout the Arctic, have retreated through most of the 20th century. Estimated losses in Alaskan glaciers are of the order of 30 feet in thickness over the past 40 years, even while some have gained thickness in their upper regions.
And don't cherry pick that "gained thickness in their upper regions" part. My guess (I'm not a glacial hydrologist) is that there is a small gain at the top due to increased precipitation -- possibly also caused by warming. Bottom line is the the ice mass is decreasing. On the matter of erosion the USGRP report says
In fact, there are already numerous ecosystem changes observed due to permafrost thawing. They include: ... increased coastal and riverine (along the banks of rivers) erosion
Of course, being authored by an agency of the US goverment the report finds the silver lining
In the longer term, longer ice-free seasons are likely to bring substantial benefits to marine transport and offshore operations in the petroleum industry
Me. I think we've set in motion a huge experiment. We should do our best to minimize our impact, but being humans, we won't. The mass would rather swill another budwiser and flick the remote.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray