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Comment: Re:Astronomy (exoplanets,etc ) and Cosmology say H (Score 1) 292

by PvtVoid (#46721007) Attached to: Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

The first telescopes used a pair of lenses, then mirrors, then finely-created mirrors, then a high quantity of parabolic radio dishes, then really really really big mirrors - launched into orbit. Two lenses were (roughly) affordable by the common man. Mirrors, also affordable by the common man who had a tax return. Then a wealthy hobbyist or dedicated scientist, then a research lab, then a country.

The difference between "how much it costs for the stuff to find new stuff" and "how much new stuff that really expensive stuff will be found" are the questions at hand. We live in an infinite universe, so there's an infinite number of discoveries to be made. It just starts to cost impractical amounts of money after a while.

Her'es a picture of the telescope used for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has mapped a substantial fraction of the observable universe:

A two-meter instrument. Much of the innovation in modern cosmology is coming from data processing, not just building bigger and bigger mirrors. People are actually pretty clever, and can work around boundaries in surprising ways.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 2) 509

by PvtVoid (#46662205) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

Some of the people opposing this include very educated folks like engineers. So don't think that the only people who oppose Common Core are people who are uneducated.

Pretty much the very last people on the planet who should be deciding how young children are taught math are people with engineering degrees. Engineers are taught an especially mindless point of view on what math is and how it is important, and walk away with an entirely undeserved sense of superiority about their insight. This is precisely what I mean about people "who don't even understand that they don't understand." It often actually gets worse with higher levels of education, ironically enough.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 2) 509

by PvtVoid (#46661449) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates
As far as I can tell, the extremely shrill, extremely ideological opposition to Common Core is the educational equivalent of NIMBY-ism: reactionary opposition to change of any kind, supported by robot-like repetition of a set of rote talking points like "high-stakes testing", and accompanied by mob-like behavior at public meetings. Reason and debate end when this kind of total ideological certainty prevails.

EngageNY is idiotic with math. There's no more working with numbers. If you have 1.62 divided by 0.27, you don't actually do the math. Instead, you draw 162 little boxes. Then you circle them in groups of 27. Then you count how many circled groups there are to get your answer.

The more I see parents bringing up stuff like this as to how "stupid" the Common Core math curriculum is, the more I realize that the fundamental problem is that the parents aren't educated well enough to understand why this is a good way to teach math. Which is a great argument for a new way of doing things: the old way of doing things apparently utterly failed with these parents, who don't even understand that they don't understand.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 2) 509

by PvtVoid (#46659451) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

There's also the group that see idiocy all around and, knowing they can't fight it all, fight some battles and toss their arms up on others.

For example, my wife and I are fighting against EngageNY, Common Core, and the high-stakes testing that New York State has implemented.

Sure, that makes sense. Fight scientific illiteracy by opposing any attempt whatsoever to improve education. Way to go.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.