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Comment Re:Math is a Chore (Score 1) 218

The way math is taught, Math is a chore. The way common core teaches it, it's a stupid, idiotic chore.

Having seen quite a bit of Common Core math at this point, I have to disagree. I have taken a lot of advanced math, and use it every day. Common Core teaches math the way I think about math. As an example: What's 25 + 36? I don't approach this problem by adding 6 and 5, getting one-carry-one, then adding 1+2+3 and putting it in the tens column. I remember that 2+3 = 5, so 20+30=50, with 5+6 left over, which gives us one more ten (for 60) and one left over (for 61). Common Core teaches addition that way, with lots of visualizations so children can see how much ten is, and that a hundred is ten groups of ten, and so on. This is just one example. It teaches kids to reason about numbers, not just calculate.

An additional advantage of the standardization brought about by Common Core is that it makes is possible for third parties to create software, web sites, etc. that are aligned with the standard and thus relevant to what's happening in the actual curriculum, without having to custom-build for each school district. This means that there is a ton of supplemental material available on the web, a lot of it free, that is perfectly aligned with the curriculum. It's awesome.

That having been said, teachers who were already in the habit of teaching math as dreary, meaningless memorized computation can certainly do so with Common Core. That's not a problem with the standards. The problem there is the teachers.

Comment Turtles all the way down (Score 2) 53

"Hackproof"?? From TFA

Traditional RFID chips are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, whereby a hacker can extract a cryptographic key from the chip. However, a hacker would need to execute a cryptographic algorithm many times to extract usable information, as each execution leaks only a small amount of information. The new RFID chip runs a random-number generator that creates a new secret key after each transaction.

So they're backing up the base crypto in the chip with a stream cipher: instead of generating random session keys with a public-key cipher, they're generating secret keys with a random-number generator (i.e. a stream cipher) and using those to generate a session key to generate a session key. Which may be even less secure, if the RNG (i.e. stream cipher) is itself insecure. Perhaps they can fix that by using another RNG to generate an initial state for the RNG which generates the key which generates the session key for the transaction.

It's stream ciphers all the way down!

Comment This is how Skynet wins (Score 1) 138

Why bother with war and destruction when you simply become the world financial system? My bet is that if any system is going to achieve emergent sentience, it will be our economic system, interlinked between computers and parliaments and treaties and community banks and credit systems.

And then we're really fucked.

Comment Good Lord... (Score 1) 539

... that speech is such an incredible mound of crazy that I don't even know where to begin.

When you get back to your office, look around you at work, and pay attention. For these are your friends and colleagues who are under attack. Their skin is black, and brown, and ochre, as well as white. They speak Mandarin, and Spanish, and Hindu, and Farsi, as well as English. They celebrate Diwali, and Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, as well as Christmas and Chanukkah. And they are under assault.

And when they are under attack, you are under attack. For they are the future of the American economy. They are the future of consumption. They are the future of advertising and media. They are your childrens’ classmates, your in-laws, the parents of your future grandchildren.

OK ... so who, exactly, has these fine folks "under assault"?

It is for this very reason – the virtuous circle that links freedom to advertise to freedom of the press to freedom of expression to economic freedom – that Article 19, the influential NGO, says: “The right to freedom of expression covers any kind of information or ideas, not only contributions to political, cultural or artistic debate but also mundane and commercially motivated expressions.”

And this is why I hate the ad-block profiteers.

Evil is revealed!

Shine, an Israeli startup trying to sell ad-blocking software to mobile phone networks, is backed prominently by Horizons Ventures, the VC arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, and run by his girlfriend. His other investments include Spotify and Facebook.

The latest ad-blocking company is a Web browser startup called “Brave.” It was launched by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, whose last major investment was in banning gay marriage in California. His business model not only strips advertisements from publishers’ pages – it replaces them with his own for-profit ads.

Notice how quickly we went from cultural inclusiveness to blaming the Chinese and the Israelis (but gay marriage!)

They may attempt to dignify their practices with such politically correct phrases as “reasonable advertising,” “responsible advertising,” and “acceptable ads”; and they can claim as loudly as they want that they seek “constructive rapport” with other stakeholders. But in fact, they are engaged in the techniques of The Big Lie

I guess he knows the Big Lie when he sees it.

Well, in their race to the bottom and frenzy for investment, the ad-block profiteers seem more intent on killing each other than on killing advertising

Oh, God. It's the ad blockers who are in a race to the bottom...

But more importantly, an embrace of LEAN principles will bring this industry back to the rational center – focused on making money, to be sure, but cognizant that successful businesses require long-term attention to and concern for the users themselves. Remember that those users represent all races and creeds, and that their happiness success means your success and happiness, too.

Also, kittens! And babies! And kittens!

Comment Re:If you look at the Linux kernel... (Score 2) 67

The article regarding goto's is named "GOTO's considered harmful", it is not named "GOTO's are the worst idea ever", it is also not called "GOTO's are to be avoided at all costs", it is also not named "GOTO's are an invention of the devil and all language designers using it should burn in hell".

No, no! That's systemd.

Comment IF (Yourdon) THEN GOTO Valhalla (Score 1) 67

Yourdon's book "Structured design: fundamentals of a discipline of computer program and systems design" was my first introduction to the idea of structure programming, and has continued to influence me simply by the idea that good design has a coherent rationale, and an overall structure. Sounds obvious? Not really.

Yeah, he got a little nutty with the TEOTWAWKI stuff about Y2K. Seems kind of quaint now.

Godspeed, Mr. Yourdon.

Comment Re:How smart? (Score 4, Insightful) 464

So how does the self-defense situation work in this scenario? A thug invades your house without notice and then what? Do you get the gun cabinet key out, take out the gun, load the gun only to find that the mugger has already knocked you in the head with his bat? Are you supposed to carry your gun on you at home at all times?

The way "self-defense" works in this scenario is that your realize in the first place that the risk of your child being injured or killed by the loaded gun you leave lying around is far higher than the risk that a "thug invades your house", and you make the rational decision that overall risk reduction takes priority over a thoughtless, brain-stem response to a hypothetical fear.

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