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Comment Sitting backward sucks (Score 2) 394

A few years ago I sat facing backwards in one of those Southwest flights with two rows facing each other. It was terrible. Planes tilt nose up on takeoff, which meant that I was leaning forward, most uncomfortably. I figured I'd at least make it up on landing, but planes also tilt nose up on landing, which meant more discomfort. You'd have to give me a sizable discount to get me to fly backwards.

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

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

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 There is a Pages app (Score 1) 618

The Pages app is, if I remember correctly, $10. It's not as feature-rich as Office but it's a usable word processor. It does have the new document feature. Also I seem to recall that airprint technology lets you print over wifi from your iPad. I've never tried it.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. -- Bengamin Disraeli

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