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Comment: Auto Cycle (Score 1) 227

by PatTheGreat (#39530655) Attached to: Bringing Auto-Graders To Student Essays
If the teachers get to have a computer grade the paper, I should be able to have a computer write the paper. Actually, I did that once for a poem. We were supposed to write a poem in the style of Pablo Neruda. So I wrote a program to parse Pablo Neruda's poems and spit out the most Neruda-like poem possible using an algorithm I developed. As part of the larger paper surrounding our poem, I included my source code, so it was all on the up and up. I got an A, no big deal.

Comment: Re:Trade-school mentality (Score 1) 433

by PatTheGreat (#36289196) Attached to: What's Your College Major Worth?
You know what? I hear this argument all the time, and I'm sick of it. I don't know what terribly useless degree you got, but I got a degree in chemistry. And tell you what, I learned the skills necessary to be a useful contributer to a lab. I know, because I was a useful contributer to a lab during my internship, and there I also met other dudes with a BS in chemistry who were doing the actual, hands-on chemistry that I thought was cool in the first place. So bah; if your college isn't teaching you anything useful, go to a better damn college.

Comment: Listen you Dolts (Score 2, Insightful) 630

by PatTheGreat (#31301260) Attached to: US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
They still do this stuff. It's called denatured. You're not supposed to drink industrial solvents. That's why they're industrial. No one complains that we poison antifreeze with ethylene glycol - BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DRINK ANTIFREEZE. Stuff meant for consumption is taxed at a higher rate and undergoes a lot of inspections to make sure it's fit for human consumption. If it's not meant for human consumption, they don't get taxed as heavily and don't undergo inspections. How do you prove your stuff isn't meant for humans? You poison it and LABEL IT AS SUCH. Industrial solvents are labeled poisonous because they are. We're not poisoning the masses, we are providing them solvents at cheaper rates.

Comment: I hate predictions (Score 1) 322

by PatTheGreat (#30716368) Attached to: Tech Tools Fostering "Mini Generation Gaps"
I think these guys have a point that different technologies affect the way we interact with people. I will fully agree that it is far easier to keep in touch with your grandmother when you can call her at night and fly cross-country to see her than it was back in the "day" when you had to send a letter in order to communicate with anyone at a distance and you had to take a stage coach cross-country. However, I always think such researchers begin to sound old and crotchety when they start making predictions that "the kids of tomorrow will have no attention span!" and whatnot. Tech changes, people change, but it's not always BAD.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS

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