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Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 388

by Sarten-X (#47968885) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

Is that so bad, though?

Let's say, hypothetically, that if you spend an hour exercising each and every day for 40 years, you can extend your life by an extra decade. Assuming a constant 8 hours of sleep daily, that's a four-fold return on investment!

Of course, due to the effects of aging, it very well could easily take me twice as long to do anything, and I could easily get only half as much enjoyment out of it. Sure, I keep pushing that number higher, but by a self-assessment of how good my life is, I'm only breaking even. Considering the risks associated with aging, is it even worth the investment?

My grandmother has said many times that the only thing wrong with her is that she hasn't died yet. She's well into her 90's, with no serious physical deterioration, but life has gotten boring. Her life-long friends have all died, and many of her new friends have died, too. Her children have grown up and moved on, and so have her grandchildren. She's traveled the world multiple times, and gone on every adventure that she wanted to. She was expecting to die twenty years ago, having lived a complete and happy life.

Now what's left? Seeing yet another round of new miracles being taken for granted by a generation that assumes such technology is a basic necessity for life? Watching $THIS_GUY slaughter $THOSE_GUYS in the name of $SUBJECTIVELY_JUST_CAUSE? Spending another year alone in her home?

More personally, I have a medical condition that will deteriorate rapidly when I hit about 50, and faster if I partake in strenuous exercise. The only treatment option includes the term "replacement vertebrae". Is it somehow morally wrong for me to plan my life such that I spend every waking moment now using my limited health in ways that I enjoy the most? I doubt I'll survive as long as my grandmother, and my condition effectively assures me of problems by that age, anyway. Hitting 75 and signing off sounds like a good plan to me.

Comment: Re:Your employer (Score 1) 166

by Sarten-X (#47965149) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

I have to agree here. The submitter should talk to their boss again, and keep asking, trying to work out something acceptable. An agreement to stay at the job for some amount of time can alleviate fears of competitors hiring away fresh knowledge, for example. If the company's as small as is implied, that may be feasible.

I've rarely had requests approved on the first try, but changing companies because they didn't want to fund a weekend bender in Vegas is absurd. Make a case for your requests, and present it as an investment cost for the business.

Comment: Re:It costs power (Score 4, Insightful) 252

by Sarten-X (#47953635) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

That's about right. I just checked my iPhone (4s), and in over two years of use, never cleaning anything, I've barely passed 5GB. By far the biggest use of space is recorded videos, followed by photos, then several big apps.

I'm not going to say "16 gigabytes ought to be enough for anybody," but it is enough for many people right now. Maybe they use ICloud, or maybe they're following good habits to move photos off of their easily-lost phone, or maybe like me their primary usage model is streaming and other ephemeral data. I just don't see a pressing need to add more memory on the low-end model. There doesn't have to be some sneaky marketing plan to say "this is good enough for now."

Comment: Re:Nostradamus (Score 2) 182

by Sarten-X (#47936857) Attached to: Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

The first poem is clearly referring to someone else.

East of the Apennine would refer to the Arabian desert, so it's about a man who left his desert home, flew to a wet area for training, then spent time in a snowy area. He would be a great warrior, mostly using a stick-like weapon, rather than projectiles.

Nostradamus was telling the tale from "a long time ago"; that of Luke Skywalker.

Comment: Re:Transformative Platforms! (Score 2) 182

by Sarten-X (#47906145) Attached to: Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

To be fair, those things did transform education.

  1. Radio enabled students to study the ever-changing reality of modern global events, rather than merely studying literal "textbook cases", supporting a paradigm of learning by observing, rather than learning by prescribed theory.
  2. Television, in addition to carrying on the benefit of radio, shows students the world rather than simply referring to points on a map. Different cultures and environments can be described in full color with fluid video, rather than hoping the student understands a short text description that too often seems absurd due to its foreign context.
  3. Language labs are still in use today, if the school can afford the high cost to keep them running. The transformative techniques they pioneered are actually seeing more use in specialized environments where a pre-built curriculum is sufficient to teach a skill, such as for technical training.
  4. Personal computers were a major factor in changing the educational process into a full-time occupation. Where students used to have only a bit of homework to do each night, now everything children are exposed to is pushed as an "educational opportunity". This, in conjunction with the increased rate of information transfer that a computer supports, exposes students to far more educational information than previous techniques support. Considering the exponential increase in the about of information considered to be part of a basic education, this is a good thing.
  5. Laptops, especially as they're penetrated the corporate environment, have become a vital tool in university courses. Now, the educational focus is less about absorbing every detail presented in the class, because references are always available. It's the overall concepts that are important, with the details deferred until later.
  6. Tablets have taken the successes of laptops further in places where a full portable computer isn't really necessary. One notable example is a teaching hospital, where the tablet provides a convenient addition to the ubiquitous patient charts, providing quick access to a senior's opinion and reference material. They've also shown significant benefit in early-childhood development, as a ruggedized tablet can provide more interaction (and therefore hold attention better) than a TV show or adult's presentation, while still introducing the basic elements of language are mathematics that the rest of the child's educational career will build on.
  7. Virtual worlds have not seen much use directly as formal educational tools, but they have become a more convenient form of extracurricular study groups. Where previously such groupd would meet in a library, bar, or colleague's house, it's now more convenient to meet in a virtual space. Depending on the subject, the degree of interaction required varies.
  8. The gamification of education has a long history, actually dating back to the "ancient classroom of Rome or Greece" that you mentioned. Plato and Socrates used verbal and logic games, encouraging students to discover answers rather than simply accept what was given to them. In the Middle Ages, chess was used to teach military strategy, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of various forms of attack.
  9. Finally, tape recorders opened the doors to whole arsenal of educational techniques, ranging from pre-recorded lectures to verbatim note-taking. The use of pre-recorded materials avoids teachers fumbling through an exercise, while also breaking up the lesson into manageable sessions that the brain can process more easily.

Perhaps the most important educational transformation brought about by technology has been the effect of all of these combined. Indeed, today's classrooms and classes look nothing like ancient Rome or Greece. Those ancient students had to carefully choose their teachers, lest they be taught principles that the government had banned. If a student didn't understand the teacher's presentation, they had no alternative resource. Even as late as the early twentieth century, the teacher was the sole source of all formal knowledge for the student. A persuasive teacher could bring order or chaos to a town. It's not surprising they were expected to hold such high moral standards.

Today, thanks to modern technology, education is focused on being less focused. Students are given a wide overview of the world, and expected to make their own choices through it. The teacher is expected to serve mainly as a curator and aide to present the world to the students.

Comment: Re:don't they already vent hydrocarbon gasses? (Score 1) 82

by Sarten-X (#47903749) Attached to: Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

The main reason the natural gas can't be sold commercially is that it's unpredictable. Some days, they extract a lot of high-quality gas, and other days they extract none, while still other days they might get something that's more toxic if burned.

To use such gas for any commercial purpose would mean it needs to be reliable. Adding that reliability comes only at great expense.

Comment: Re:This is new? (Score 1) 162

by Sarten-X (#47875363) Attached to: Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

That was my reaction, as well.

Looking at the other comments here, though, I am reminded of what's missing in the Hangouts app. I still switch to the Google Voice app for voice mails, text messages, and making cellular outgoing calls. I'd expect to see at least the first two of those implemented directly in Hangouts.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project