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Comment Re:Free speech and private companies. (Score 1) 293

"Free speech concerns do not apply to private companies, and in fact forcing a company to carry some speech it does not want to carry would be a violation of its rights too"

It really should though, if the company in question gets a large percentage of their revenue from government.

personally I'm all more making the First Amendment viral in that sense - get government money, have to follow constitutional restrictions and/or allow for constitutional rights.

Comment Re:20 hours? That's nothing. (Score 1) 278

"It's pretty obvious you don't understand how pervasive the test material stuff has "infected" everyday teaching in many states.

You're talking about a different phenomenon of actual cheating on tests where teachers give students answers (or something close to it). That's not the kind of preparation that goes on in most classrooms."

Actually, I do, and that is exactly the 'prep' that is going. My father taught 5th grade for 30 years and I watched and listened how things changed over the years - and his complaints that his kids still did better than the teachers that broke open the packages and copied the tests, but the admins didn't give a shit. As a college instructor, I'm well aware that the kids haven't even learned to follow the most basic directions like where to put their name on their paper. With respect to you, most of the high-school and elementary students have been failing in their job because they'd rather be the 'cool' teacher than the 'tough' teacher. While part of that is because the ability to discipline was stripped from them, it's not all.

"In many states, the standardized tests are derived from state-approved "standards" that spell out specific exercise types which are likely to occur (particularly in basic subjects like math and reading). Teachers who have any experience with these tests over the years notice certain patterns of the types of questions that always show up. (This isn't just for normal "standardized testing" -- it goes for AP tests and such as well. When I taught AP physics, there were all sorts of "lore" passed down among AP teachers because all the previous tests were available, so you knew there was likely to be a question dealing with X, a question on topic Y would probably take a certain form, etc.)"

This is actually nothing new. There was always 'lore' about what was going to be on the test, why do you think the old question "A car is going 90 miles an hour one way..." was basically a meme from the 50s/60s/70s/80s? There were always, and are always going to be specific types of questions because those are relevant constructions of relevant knowledge. The point was always to SHOW YOUR WORK. (In a multiple choice, the answers to choose from were always so close that you needed to be right, not fudging, to get the question correct).

"For example, a disproportionate number (95%+) of math problems involving right triangles would involve either (1) the Pythagorean triple 3,4,5 or its multiples, or (2) the triple 5,12,13. (It's possible that 8,15,17 could show up too maybe... but I think it was just the first two which were common.)"

You seem to think that this is somehow new. The GRE and SAT doesn't go much farther (if at all) than this either. They're just testing to see if you know the theory and can apply it at it's basic level. Perhaps a math instructor's opinion of 'deep knowledge' is a bit more expecting.

Beyond math, reading comprehension is reading comprehension. You can't really 'boost' it without practicing, so that's again a moot issue.

There are issues with some of these new ways to do old problems - reinventing the wheel is always a stupid undertaking - but otherwise most of the problem is new teachers thinking the old ways need changing because of problematic social outcomes. It was never the ways of teaching, it was the teachers (and admin)

Comment Re:20 hours? That's nothing. (Score 0) 278

There shouldn't be any 'prepping'

If they're teaching to the test, it's corruption and fraud. They shouldn't know what's on it, and they sign agreements not to open/look at the tests in advance.

These are general knowledge tests, if the kids don't know who George Washington is, or that Germany is in Europe, then the teachings arn't doing their fucking job.

Comment 20 hours? That's nothing. (Score 5, Insightful) 278

9 months school x 20 days/mo x 8 hrs/day = 1440 hours.

1.3% of their time is spent on test. So what? They spend more time than that at lunch, at recess, or even in the toilet (10min/day = 30 hours/year)

If they're going to attack standardized tests, at least have an argument that withstands even basic contextual comparisons.

Submission + - Euro Bank Santander Commissions Study on Bitcoin's Impact on Banking (

Nikkos writes: Digital currency news website HashReport broke the news Monday that European megabank Santander has commissioned a study to "Analyze the impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on banks and devise a strategic course of action."

The study is being facilitated as a challenge through Yegii, an 'Insight Network' founded by Trond Undheim. Undheim is also a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as Managing Director at Tautec Consulting.

The challenge was initiated by Julio Faura — Head of Corporate development for Banco Santander. According to Dr. Undheim, Faura was "looking for additional outside perspective onto the topic of Bitcoin. While acquiring consulting services from top tier consulting firms can be exciting, he thought that an outsider, multidisciplinary perspective, would be particularly helpful."

Submission + - Interview with Blockchain Award Winner Matthew Kenahan

Nikkos writes: Matt Kenahan is a busy guy. At just 22 years old, he’s the Founder and CEO of The Bitcoin Society, he just finished his degree at renowned business school Washington University in St. Louis, and he’s the winner of two Blockchain Awards in Amsterdam at Bitcoin2014 on May 16th. As can be expected, he and his organization are hot topics of conversation in some of the highest echelons of the Bitcoin community right now.

After missing him in St. Louis, Amsterdam, and Chicago, I was able to track Matthew down in Los Angeles on Friday before he heads on another trip overseas – a planned ‘post-graduation’ trip with his siblings that has been reworked to take advantage of some new networking opportunities. He was gracious enough to chat with me about his background, The Bitcoin Society, and what winning the Blockchain Awards has meant to him and his organization...

Comment Re:Modern Jesus (Score 3, Insightful) 860

Sometimes people do vote for third parties, but I haven't seen major changes caused by that, either. Did Ross Perot have any lasting effects?

Well, Perot's candidacy did prove that people will vote for a third-party candidate they feel is viable. Also it proved that a third-party candidate with enough financial backing can get attention. At one point Perot was polling higher than either Clinton or Bush. If he hadn't fucked up his own campaign, Perot might have done much better than the 18/19% he got.

You ask for lasting effects however, for that I point to the increases in signature requirements for ballot access by states across the US, and the current exclusion of third-party candidates from Presidential debates. Seems that Rs and Ds don't like competition.

Comment Re:Except... (Score 1) 102

You mean you _choose_ to pee in a bathroom? I would have assumed you didn't even bother going inside and/or pissed in your car. Also, people cry when happy. I guess you'd avoid that type of happiness as well.

Thank you for proving my point - we exert control over our biological impulses all the time, either ignoring them or choosing different ways/times to express them. We can't control all of them all of the time, and some can control themselves better than others, but just because biology is talking, doesn't mean you have to listen.

Comment Re:Except... (Score 1) 102

If that's your strategy, you probably are destined for disappointment. IMHO, it's best to learn how to identify and avoid situations that force you to confront your biology.

That's nonsense, you confront your biology every day. Ever had to urinate but held it? Ever fallen in love with someone who didn't reciprocate? Ever wanted to hit your boss, but didn't? Ever cried, but didn't want to?

Avoiding situations that forced you to confront your biology would boring as hell, and you couldn't do it anyway.

Comment Re:Sorry, you're wrong here. (Score 1) 311

Every individual and organization, be it from a family unit to a city to a corporation, is geared towards survival, growth, and profit. I'm not sure why you're using that behavior as a club against corporations when it's a natural behavior for us all. That these organizations gain power and profit, and then use all means to grow and maintain that position indefinitely, is nature. That individuals within these organizations work to survive, gain power, and profit, too, is natural. But, Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding, corporations are not living and breathing entities, they have individuals taking care of each task. So the above poster is correct, we need to hold those individuals accountable.

If you want to make an argument against corporations, make it about size and streamlining. Just like nature, a free-market can't exist when an part of that system(species) gets so large that it interferes negatively with the whole system. There is nothing inherently wrong with capping the size of a corporation - in fact it's better that we do it early. On the corporation level, sure, a narrative exists that says they'll "lose" money. However in the larger system, that money is still at play within the market. In fact, by forcing corporations to spin off and splinter, that money will change hands more often and stay in the market longer. Smaller organizations will be better able to compete on the merits of the product or service, rather than trying to sneak gold from dragons protecting their hoard.

Streamlining is also problematic to a free-market "naturalistic" system. In nature, an organization (say, an ant colony) need individuals for task completion. While I understand why the poor overworked queen may appreciate having a robot to bring her food and do the housecleaning, unfortunately that throws the whole system off and displaces a bunch of hungry, and now angry, ants. While a few of them might find work building robots, the rest are despondent and prone to misadventure and/or tragedy. (And at least a couple are plotting against the queen)

Sure the queen need not produce so many workers, and so she may not be in danger from her once-loyal minions, but corporations do not have the ability control the population, only reduce the amount of the population needed. Guess what? There's a lot of hungry and angry ants roaming about.

Corporations today are getting bigger while using less people (who cost less now, oversupply), and because of their size and natural tendencies they make it harder for new businesses to flourish - even with a labor market that is artificially depressed by automation.

I don't know if it'll fix the problem for sure, but capping size and taxing automation at a rate equal to what an individual doing that job would pay to the State seems like a good start to limiting corporate power, increasing jobs, and getting us closer to a true free-market system.

Intel CPUs are not defective, they just act that way. -- Henry Spencer