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Comment: Re:Root of failure (Score 1) 181

by TWX (#49558219) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

We have forgotten that as parents we are the primary custodians of our children, that the chief job we as parents are to train our children

This is just about the only truly accurate statement in your post. Quite simply, the body of students in highly performing schools do well because their parents expect them to do well and help them to do well. The parents take time to help their kids learn, and they do not make excuses for poor results.

Unfortunately there's no way to compel the parent to do the right thing. If we want that right thing done, we pay for before-school and after-school programs, and we attempt to steer the kids in the right direction. Unfortunately that is difficult because schools are hampered in the discipline that they're allowed to use, and teachers get disillusioned working in underperforming schools.

I think the solution is to reduce class sizes and to essentially tie teacher pay to a combination of number of free-and-reduced kids in their classes and at the school and performance relative to the pupils' previous years. Basically if you're at a school in a very wealthy neighborhood, you aren't going to make as much money as those schools are no challenge by comparison, but if you're in a school with lots of Title 1 kids, you make more. This encourages veteran teachers to take on the harder schools, but ties incentive pay to the improvements they can make.

Comment: Re:Google Streams (Score 3, Insightful) 114

by TWX (#49558175) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed
You know, even if he's trolling about switching to Bing, I really don't like the new Google maps either. I don't like how the information section in the upper left takes up so much map space that one wants to close it to view the maps properly, but closing it removes any of the destination information that one sought the map out for in the first place. They also don't print well anymore, and it's both safer and much less illegal to look at a piece of paper when trying to find a destination than to deal with a cell phone where distracted driving laws apply.

Comment: Re:Google Streams (Score 1) 114

by TWX (#49558161) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed
If I wanted a social media account, I would have signed up for a social media account. Youtube's comments section, bad as they were, got even worse with Google+ because now they post the "share this with other people" comments to the Youtube video comments page, so what had been discussion on youtube, as bad as it admittedly got at times, now wasn't even discussion anymore, just peoples' notes when sharing videos to third parties.

Google+ failed in part because the people that could have championed it for Google, ie, all of us geeks that signed up for Gmail back when you had to be invited to join, were repulsed by Google's choice to push it on us, and everyone else was probably already using another social networking site and didn't want to add another one to the stable.

I have plenty of places to be narcissistic, I don't need Google+ on top of it.

Comment: They didn't grab the opportunity (Score 4, Interesting) 114

by Jim Hall (#49557895) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

I remember when Google+ first appeared as an "invite only" service. That was just before Facebook made the huge blunder of putting members' faces in ads for any pages they "Liked," suggesting an endorsement. I remember a lot of people everywhere got really angry at Facebook about "faces on ads," and even threatened to leave because of it.

And Google+ remained invite-only. Pretty much no one I knew had an account.

Over the next week, pretty much all you saw in the news was how people wanted to leave Facebook because of the "faces on ads" thing. What an abuse of privacy! You're stealing my image to sell products! There were a bunch of petitions for Facebook to undo the new "faces on ads," or else they would delete their Facebook accounts. The only problem was that there wasn't a viable alternate social network out there. Twitter wasn't really a replacement for how most people used Facebook.

And Google+ still remained invite-only. By then, a few people I knew had accounts, but had run out of invites to share. So few others could get in.

After a few weeks, Facebook decided to calm the storm, and undid "faces on ads." And as expected, people stopped freaking out about Facebook. After another week, even the tech websites stopped writing about "faces on ads."

And finally, Google+ went "live." Anyone could join. I had an account, but few of my other friends bothered to sign up. Why? Because they were still using Facebook, they got over the "faces on ads" fiasco. Without other people to share with, Google+ failed to gain critical mass.

Google+ failed because they didn't know how to respond to the opportunity that Facebook gave them.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 47

by ScentCone (#49557675) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

That has nothing to do with the wording people are arguing over

No, that's EXACTLY what people are arguing about. You say "A is ten times smaller than B" when B is already understood to be small compared to something else. The implication in that sentence is that B is already known for its smallness, and A is even smaller. Except, people use that same construction even when B isn't considered small. They use that incorrect connotation when what they're really trying to say is, "B is big, but A is only a tenth as big."

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 369

by Grishnakh (#49557585) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

A few points:

The 2A argument is a bit different. Personally, I can see both sides. Some of that may be my American (and southern) upbringing and environment, but to me, I can see both sides. One side argues that society is safer with guns because police can't be there in 5 seconds and you can protect yourself with one, the other side argues that a proliferation of guns is what makes society unsafe and that adding more guns to the mix just makes it worse. Both are valid points. Both sides, from what I've seen, have made valid points at times, and stupid points at others. This to me makes me think that the whole issue is far too complex for a simple binary choice, and also that our society's problems are a lot more complex than whether people have easy access to guns or not. I could go on and on about this subject, but at the very core, both sides have the exact same goal: a safe society for everyone. Neither side wants a society plagued by crime and violence, they just disagree on whether having legal access to guns helps or hurts this.

Gay rights is rather different. At its core, it's about equality: should homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else? Should they be allowed to live their lives peaceably, or should they live in fear and hide their orientation for fear of being ridiculed, harmed, or murdered? I honestly don't see how it's any different than civil rights for minority races. The only justification for oppressing gays is purely religious, and not based on anything rational at all. People hate them because they're different, and that's it.

That said, as for various smart people you listed, everyone does stupid stuff from time to time. I like to believe that we should *try* to be smart in our actions and beliefs, rather than being content to be dumb, but even the smartest of us do stupid things sometimes. Also, not everyone is smart in every subject. Being good at math for instance doesn't mean you've seriously thought much about ethics.

Comment: Re:As a K12 teacher, I have to say . . . (Score 3, Informative) 181

by Overzeetop (#49557533) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

Unfortunately, that is the crux of the problem. The cost of any service or product that requires real human interaction is skyrocketing when compared to other fields. Every technology sector job is based on one human producing a product which will be used by thousands to millions of people with almost no incremental cost. Electronics are assembled more and more by machine. Mineral exploration and energy production is becoming automated. Factory farming and staple goods production is the culmination of 200 years of industrial revolution efficiency.

Look at anything where costs are increasing fast and you'll find people - one on one interaction - is at the root. Unfortunately, public education is under the thumb of reduced municipal revenues at a time when more and more is expected. We can't go back to a one room school house and school finishing up at a 3rd grade level for 90% of the population, which is where much of the current "overtaxed" public seems to feel we should go.

I don't see this ending well.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 369

by Grishnakh (#49557517) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Saudi Arabia isn't the #3 country by population in the world. America is. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world's Christians are doing, America has a huge chunk of them, and quite possibly a majority of Protestants. Most of the other heavily-Christian nations in the world are Catholic (Latin America plus the southern European nations like Spain and Italy). The other Protestant nations aren't very religious for the most part; Germany for instance is the birthplace of Protestantism (Luther), and most Christians there are probably Protestant, but Germany is not a highly religious country these days. America is. America is also the country where its fundie/evangelical Protestants are sending missionaries to Africa and converting everyone there to their brand of Christianity, and as a result, African nations are trying to pass laws legalizing murder of homosexuals.

Harrison's Postulate: For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.