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Comment Re:Somebody's on the Pearson payroll (Score 1) 363

The problem isn't really the textbooks---the books themselves are often relatively cheap (for example, a 9th edition of Sullivan's Precalculus can be had for $30 or $40 if you don't mind being an edition out of date). The problem is that students are also required to buy access to the publisher's website in order to do their homework. One alternative is to hire advanced undergraduates to grade papers, or (better yet) hire more expensive graduate students, or even (heaven forbid) tenure track lecturers to teach smaller sections and/or grade papers. There is basically no money to do that, so it isn't going to happen. Another alternative is to use something like MAA's WeBWorK for homework. This might be quite feasible in the future as WeBWorK is improved (or another, better free, open source system comes along), and my department is doing as much as it can via WeBWorK, but the system is still not all there---there are simply things that, as bad as it is, MathXL can do much better than WeBWorK.

This might be evidence of my own lack of creativity, but I just don't see many other alternatives, and none of them are going to be any cheaper at the end of the day.

Comment Re:YAY (Score 1) 266

There is NO correlation between one's major, and one's social life.

Source, please? That's a hell of a claim.

There have been numerous studies showing that there are strong correlations between certain MBTI types and certain majors; I'm not saying MBTI is a proxy for "social life", but at least introversion/extroversion play into types of interaction in social life.

Comment Re:Austrian Machine (Score 4, Informative) 157

A school, I might add, that couldn't even COMPREHEND THE EXISTENCE of stagflation

What do you mean? Keynes modeled stagflation; he didn't use that term, but it's clear that Keynes, and those who studied his work, were aware of the effect of a supply shock on an economy.

The issue with Keynesian policy and stagflation is, given two problems with conflicting resolutions, how do you address both of them?

We now know that tackling them one at a time works. First you address inflation, then you address stagnation. This isn't a weakness of Keynesian theory -- it's validation.

Comment Re:Same issues (Score 2) 157

*Mathematics* isn't science. It is more properly a branch of philosophy that happens to be really, really useful for the sciences. The difference is that sciences are empirical---ideally, scientists observe the world, form explanations of their observations, then test those explanations with further observations. Mathematics is not empirical---mathematicians start from a set of fundamental assumptions, then use logic to deduce the consequences of those assumptions.

From the summary, it seems that the criticism is that economists are behaving more like mathematicians than like scientists---that is, they are making assumptions about how the world works, then using logic to determine the consequences of those assumptions. Instead, they should be making observations, then using the tools of mathematics analyze data taken from the real world and test their explanations.

Comment Re:Distance? (Score 1) 89

I don't know about that. A couple of back-of-the-envelope computations make me think that 10 years is not a long enough timeframe to make such a camera anywhere near common. Consider, for instance, the 3 ton weight. Suppose that technology develops such that an equivalent sensor halves in weight every year. Ten years then represents halving the weight 10 times, giving a weight of approximately 6 lbs. That definitely isn't iPhone weight, and comes from a pretty optimistic assumption about how quickly the technology will develop. The computation, for completeness: (3 tons) / 2^10) ~= 5.9 lbs

Or we could look at pixel counts. The summary claims that the camera will capture 3.2 gigapixel images. Apple claims that the iPhone 6 has a 8 mega pixel camera. So the telescope camera will capture 400 times as much data. Assuming that the iPhone camera doubles its pixel count every year, it would take almost 9 years to get to 3.2 gigapixels. Even if we assume that the iPhone is used to take panoramas, where a panorama can have up to about 2^3 the pixel count of a non-panorama (again, see Apple's claims), this represents 6 years of doubling every year, which is, again, pretty optimistic.

Long story short: yes, technology marches forward, but this is likely to be a pretty impressive instrument even 10-15 years in the future.

Comment Re:it was the McCarthy era (Score 1) 282

SF is the art of the technical class. The central message is "You can fix it or create wonders by applying intelligence and dilligence to the problem."

Huh? That is not the central message of SF. That is one single theme used in some SF, and used in the most generic sci-fi out there. The conflict is man v. nature/technology or man v. society (or even man v. self), where the virtues extolled are up to the writer. Besides intelligence and diligence, some other virtues often key in SF include self-reliance, capacity for specific emotions (love/empathy/etc), having morals, willingness to deviate from the norm, etc.

Mainstream fiction is the propaganda of control of the general population: The central message is futility

What the hell kind of mainstream fiction did YOU read that was contemporary with Bradbury? In 1953, when Fahrenheit 451 was published, the books that topped the Adult Fiction bestseller charts were: The Silver Chalice (Costain), East of Eden (Steinbeck), Desiree (Selinko), Beyond This Place (Cronin), and Lord Vanity (Shellabarger). None of these books had a message of futility OR conformity; very much the opposite.

You are saying that Bradbury imported the mainstream fiction message of "Do what the authorities tell you to do. No matrer HOW badly they're doing and HOW bad things get, don't try to improve them. Anything you try will make them worse.". Not only was that not the mainstream message of the day, you would be hard-pressed to find that as a theme in any of Bradbury's works. I ask you to please name a single work of Bradbury's where this could conceivably be the case.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

Change (1) to "Following too close for the given conditions," and both (3) and (4) are dealt with. If conditions are such that your stopping distance will be increased, you are responsible for leaving a correspondingly larger amount of space between yourself and the car in front of you. There is, perhaps, an edge case in freeway driving: someone changes lanes in front of you, then slams on their brakes, but that isn't really relevant to approaching a stop sign.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.