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Comment: FYI: definition of an en-dash (Score 1) 292

by NotPeteMcCabe (#48653629) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens
There are three kinds of "dashes" commonly used. A hyphen is what you have on your keyboard next to the zero. This is used for hyphenating words (who knew?) and for compound adjectives (a man-eating alligator). An en-dash got its name because it is the width of the block of type used for the letter "n" in the same font. Em-dash was named for the width of the block of type for an "m".

The en-dash is primarily used for both a minus sign and to indicate ranges in numbers (from 2–3 days). The em-dash is used as a kind of parenthesis (I am saying—not for the first time—that I am mad).

On a Mac you make an en-dash with option-hyphen, and an em-dash with option-shift-hyphen. I haven't used a PC for this kind of work in at least 10 years, but I do recall that entering en- and em-dashes was a hassle.

Comment: David and Goliath and Soccer (Score 2) 111

by NotPeteMcCabe (#48412315) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
In David and Goliath, you show that the highest science students at U of Maryland are more likely to become scientists than the lowest science students at Harvard, despite the fact that the Harvard students were, before college, much more successful. The idea being that the best place to develop is at a level where you are successful. This is the opposite of the conventional wisdom for soccer. In that world, the consensus for developing players is that they should get on the best team they possibly can, even if that means they don’t regularly play in league matches. Supposedly, being around better players in practice outweighs the lack of actual game experience. This question comes up for American players regularly. Should they stay in MLS, where they start and gets lots of playing time, or move to a better team in a better league in Europe, where they often struggle to see the field? So my question is, is Soccer different than Engineering in some fundamental way, or has the soccer world just not read David and Goliath? Would a rising American soccer player be better of on the Bayern Munich reserve team or starting for the LA Galaxy?

Comment: Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 1) 798

"try getting teens to talk about any important matters, let alone suicidal ones."

As a parent of teenagers and a middle-school teacher I can tell you that this is a great idea. Try. Try getting teens to talk. Try getting them to talk about important matters. Try getting them to talk about suicidal thoughts.

It's not easy but it does work and it does help. Teenagers who feel this way are usually desperate for the chance to talk to about it. The first thing they learn is that they are not the only ones who feel this way. This is half the battle, sometimes. Often just the fact that the teacher/parent/adult is trying means the world.

And keep trying. Don't stop trying just because the standard line is that it's impossible to get kids to talk about important matters. That attitude is half the problem.

Comment: Re:This would solve the problem for me... (Score 1) 216

by NotPeteMcCabe (#43340729) Attached to: FTC Awards $50k In Prizes To Cut Off Exasperating Robocalls
Thanks for the obligatory snarky response, but I don't think any of the answering machines that show up on your link have the features I'm looking for. In particular I want the phone to 1) answer all calls immediately without ringing and 2) after the person presses the code, then the phone rings. I can probably find a phone that does 1), but if there's a phone that does 2) I haven't been able to find it.

Comment: This would solve the problem for me... (Score 1) 216

by NotPeteMcCabe (#43339987) Attached to: FTC Awards $50k In Prizes To Cut Off Exasperating Robocalls
I want an answering machine that answers every call immediately and plays a message saying "To ring this number, press 5." If the person presses 5, it rings my house. If not, it doesn't.

I think this would stop 98% of spam calls that I get. It seems to me that there should be an answering machine with multiple mailboxes that can provide this feature (If you're calling for Pete, press 1, for Pattie, press 2, etc.), but I can't seem to find one.

Comment: to empower and educate users (Score 2) 467

by NotPeteMcCabe (#41652711) Attached to: How Facebook Can Out Your Most Personal Secrets
Facebook asked me "to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls." That's a great idea. Let me educate you: Facebook has no privacy controls whatsoever. Everything you ever post to Facebook will be exposed for money. That didn't take so long. I think we should all do as Facebook says and educate as many people as possible.

Comment: Re:Computers are a means to an end, not an end (Score 1) 515

by NotPeteMcCabe (#40161173) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment
As a teacher I can tell you that the main benefit of getting computers in the hands of kids is that it teaches them how to use computers. Which, generally speaking, is a skill that they will need if they are to thrive in the future. Sure, a really good program can help a kid learn math, or English, or history, or whatever. But mostly they need to learn how to use computers, and that requires time spent using them.

Comment: Re:Well, if they're going to generalize, I am too (Score 5, Insightful) 1034

by NotPeteMcCabe (#40114139) Attached to: Are Porn and Video Games Ruining a Generation?
When I got my BA in psychology (in 1982) I was struck by the fact that every major theory in the history of psychology was developed by someone who had the exact problem that dominates the theory. Freud had major issues with his mom; his theory is that everyone has major issues with their mom. Jung had major issues with authority figures—Freud, specifically—and wrote how everyone has major issues with authority figures.

Comment: How FaceBook could end (Score 1) 191

When a company is as successful as FaceBook, it can sometimes be hard to imagine how they could fail. But an IPO suggests at least one possible scenario: To "maximize shareholder return," as US public corporations are required by law to do (caveat: IANAL), they start charging for something. This pisses everybody off, but most people go along with it at first because there's no alternative. Then they start charging for a bunch of things. They they start charging for everything. And more and more people get pissed off, until some tipping point is reaches, and suddenly everybody switches to some free alternative. The end.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig