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Comment: Re:Easy fix (Score 1) 80

by Martin Blank (#49565607) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

GM has managed to garner additional positive attention by going back and fixing so many things, as well as by admitting that they should have found (or in some cases did find) the problem and identified a solution. It may have led some other car companies to do something similar, as even without GM, recalls are at record or near-record levels for several companies. Suddenly, recalls seem like the responsible thing to do and appear to help the brand image.

Comment: Re:Reason for not talking to people (Score 1) 63

Articles from last year suggest that the Facebook posting was exactly what led to it. After the defense attorney saw the post by the judge, he motioned for recusal and mistrial. Slaughter was removed from the case, and soon after, the new judge declared a mistrial.

http://www.houstonchronicle.co...

The accused was found not guilty, and looking at the details of the case, it's not hard to see why. The child was (and probably still is) severely disturbed, allegedly killing small animals, making threats against his parents, and hiding knives.

http://www.khou.com/story/news...

Comment: Re:In other words... (Score 1) 255

if everything is automated, there is no more poor or middle class

besides, a poor country like the philippines: everyone has a maid and a driver. even the maids have maids and drivers

having people work for you is not proof of being rich. it's a proof of overpopulation

Comment: Re:This is why.. (Score 1) 115

Or, failing the artists, Sound Exchange could set up a credit card payment system. Pay $10 a year (which is what Pandora pays per user if they're all listening to an average of 20 songs a day) and you can pirate with impunity.

Sure, it would still use the same dubious mechanism for divvying up the profits, but you'd get the convenience of commodity torrent websites, tools and players rather than whatever the commercial offerings are peddling and you would guarantee that a larger percentage of the money would go to the songwriters, performers and producers that make the music that you listen to than if you had gone through Pandora.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the future (Score 1) 327

by Jason Levine (#49559477) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

We looked into a private school for our kids. It would have cost $16,000 per child per year. They offered financial assistance, but we were warned that this requires the school to look into all of your finances and gives them the right to question all of your financial decisions. Took a vacation last year? Why did you do that when you could have given the school more money? Even with financial assistance, though, we would have stretched our budget to the breaking point with private school.

Comment: Re:Terrible Then Too (Score 2) 327

by Jason Levine (#49559445) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

In NY we have charter schools to "compete" with public schools. They draw funds from public school coffers leaving public schools with less money. They also get to accept or reject any student so all low performing or special needs students get booted to the public schools. You wind up with low funded public schools struggling to deal with tons of low performing/special needs students while the charter schools seem to be doing really well. This leads the politicians to call for more charter schools and less public schools. Repeat as the kids who need the most help continuously get less and less.

Comment: Re:In other words... (Score 1) 255

if a disease can spread because it can find enough vectors since not enough vaccinate, you are also giving the disease time and space to tinker, and perhaps evolve a new strain that existing vaccines don't protect against

so: yup. but that's less superrich killing and more superstupid killing us

Comment: Re:Terrible Then Too (Score 1) 327

by Jason Levine (#49559293) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

And yet, a significant number of the 'reformers' aren't really looking to fix the system, so much as privatize large chunks and turn a profit.

We're going through this in NY right now. Our governor (and his state Senate buddies who tagged along for fear of political reprisal) passed a budget with "educational reform" that includes high stakes tests which count for 50% of a teacher's evaluation. If a teacher's students improve by the amount State Ed mandates two or three years in a row, they can be booted out - no taking into account that the teacher's kids might be special education students with severe challenges or honors students with little room to "improve" on the test or even that some people just don't test well. Add in that the tests are geared to MAKE students fail (leaked questions showed college level reading material on the 6th grade test) and statements from the governor blaming teachers left and right, and it's clear he's gunning for the teachers. (The teachers' union didn't support him in the last election. Political reprisal.)

If a school doesn't do well, they can also be put into receivership and have a charter school take over. Our governor has consistently knocked public schools and praised charters. It's no secret that he'd love to close all public schools and replace them all with charter schools. Now he has a plan in place to do just that.

My oldest son has refused the tests for the third year in a row and this year he was joined by about 200,000 (possibly more) other kids. The governor even admitted that these tests don't mean anything for the kids but they should take them "for practice." Until the tests are independently evaluated and actually return useful data, I'm not going to subject my son to them and stress him out just to help the governor target people who didn't support him politically.

Comment: Re:sage (Score 2) 327

by Jason Levine (#49559239) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

And who answers questions about the lectures?

NY has "solved" this with EngageNY. This is a series of modules that the teachers are required to use to teach their subjects. The modules say just what they are supposed to teach, how they are to teach it (both method and emotion used), the exact wording they must use, the questions that students should ask, and the responses that the teachers should give. It's an exact script so actual teachers aren't really needed anymore, just glorified actors. Which means it should come as no surprise that our Governor is blaming all school problems on teachers and trying to get rid of them all.

What? How is that individualized in any way? Is this not the very inverse of individualized?

In NY, they get their individual score on the one-size-fits-all standardized test based on the one-size-fits-all state mandated curriculum that the teacher can't customize to suit each student. That's as individualized as our governor wants education. Arnie Duncan - the US Secretary of Education - even went so far as to claim that merely expecting special needs kids to clear a higher bar would mean they would do so. No matter what their challenges. So instead of setting up Individualized Education Plans with supports to help those kids with difficulties, we should just push them harder and that will make their difficulties magically disappear.

The problem is politicians acting as "education experts" often while listening to corporations who stand to make a profit in education (e.g. Pearson) and ignoring teachers who are actually trying to teach students. That would be like a PHB trying to figure out how to configure some computer systems, listening to a Microsoft sales pitch, and ignoring his company's technicians who deal with the systems every day.

Comment: Re:In other words... (Score 4, Interesting) 255

i always thought it would make a great conspiracy dystopian story where the superrich, with everything automated, don't need us anymore

so they simply kill us all off

the earth reduced to 700,000 souls from 7,000,000,000 in a matter of days (some sort of highly infectious agent?)

+ - Woman behind Pakistan's first hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, shot dead by unknown gun

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The progressive activist and organizer who ran Pakistan's first-ever hackathon and led a human rights and a peace-focused nonprofit known as The Second Floor (T2F) was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi. Sabeen Mahmud was leaving the T2F offices with her mother some time after 9pm on Friday evening, reports the Pakistani newspaper Dawn. She was on her way home when she was shot, the paper reports. Her mother also sustained bullet wounds and is currently being treated at a hospital; she is said to be in critical condition.

Comment: Re:Seems to be OK all around then (Score 1) 607

but they still don't seriously threaten our society

exactly because we have vaccines, you fucking moron

and if not enough vaccinate, the diseases find vectors to proliferate again, AND they have a chance to get lucky and develop new strains that can get around our exisitng vaccines, threatening everyone period

everyone has to get vaccinated. if not, the person is ignorant, irresponsible and dangerous to all of our health. if you don't agree with that statement, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about and/ or you are blindly selfishly irresponsible

you have no freedom to choose something that threatens other people's lives (nevermind your own)

Comment: Re:Unfortunatly... (Score 1) 90

by circletimessquare (#49549491) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

i see it as the genius of biochemical warfare by plants

our livers have been in an evolutionary arms race with plants for hundreds of millions of years. they make a substance that kills, maims, disorients, or deters us. one up plants. our livers do their best to mop it up. one up animals. rinse repeat

perversely, we've developed a taste for some of those substances. like cayenne pepper or horseradish, as a paradoxically enjoyable taste. or heroin or cocaine, as a disorienting drug

in a way, the plant still wins when we get addicted to them, like these bees. drug use is just slow motion suicide. it might not kill us immediately, but it brings us back for more, and more and more, to finish the job

+ - Bees prefer nectar laced with Neonicotinoids->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine

Neonicotinoids kill insect by overwhelming and short-circuting the insects' central nervous system (See http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/V... )

Shell and Bayer started the development of Neonicotinoids back in the 1980's and 1990's

Since this new group of pesticide came to the market the bee population have been seriously devastated in regions where the pesticide are been widely used

In 2008 neonicotinoids came under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts starting in Germany

In 2012, studies have shown that neonicotinoid uses are linked to crash of bee population (See http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new... )

New studies, however, have discovered that bees prefer nectars that are laced with neonicotinoids, over nectars that are free of any trace of neonicotinoids (See http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo... )

According to researchers at Newcastle University the bees may "get a buzz" from the nicotine-like chemicals in the same way smokers crave cigarettes

BBC also covers this case (See http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc... )

Link to Original Source

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