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Comment: Re:STEM =! Convergent Thinking (Score 1) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47842469) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

>STEM was never, is never, and will never be a product of "convergent thinking"

Which is what I said, if you go back and re-parse my sentence.

>And I have a problem with your description of art being the source of "divergent thinking"

I never said it was, merely that art *trains* divergent thinking.

>Take the so-called "art" that we have, for example - Music ... these days you listen to one song you listen to all songs --- all of them sound so similar as everybody tries to sound like everybody else --- the beats, the rhythm, who the fuck cares anymore who sings what since they all sound just so much alike

We're not talking about listening to the radio, but art classes in school. Art classes are about the creation of new art, or sometimes the active critique of existing art, but is never the passive garbage you claim it is.

Comment: Arts in Education (Score 5, Insightful) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47832679) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

While (correlation != causation) and all that, there really is a pretty extensive research base showing the benefits of music (and the arts in general) for students.

Education these days has been very, very focused on something called convergent thinking - basically, being able to choose the right answer from a short list. We've bought into the myth that all you need to succeed in STEM fields is convergent thinking, so that's what's taught.

The arts, by contrast, develop divergent thinking. Creativity, and the ability to generate multiple possibilities for the same problem. ("Should I lay out my artwork this way or that way? What if I try improvising a new melody in this part?")

In reality, we need both. Students who are "Masters of STEM" in K-12 often run into trouble when they realize the world isn't full of convenient lists from which we have to pick the right answer.

Think about the job of the guy who has to build a bridge over a river. He isn't handed a list of four bridges, conveniently labelled A through D, and has to pick between them. No, he first needs to generate a variety of possible bridges (divergent thinking) and then sort through them to find which one is most optimal for his constraints (convergent thinking). There's often not a clear "right answer" - one bridge might be 20% more expensive, but 2% less likely to collapse in a major earthquake.

So even if you don't use the arts directly, they can be very useful for cultivating a different mindset from what we're beating into our students these days.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787239) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Long discredited?

Yep. There's no inherent conflict, and the conflicts that did take place, are usually portrayed in a way that would make historians cry.

For example -

Galileo was opposed by other scientists (if we can use the term), who basically took Aristotle to be an indisputable authority. Galileo's model of the world required there to be only one tide a day, and when he measured two tides a day, he forged the data so that there'd only be one. It was what Einstein called his "greatest mistake" - forging data to match a mathematical model, instead of matching a model to the data.

But he wasn't prohibited from researching or teaching his model at first. The result of his first trial was simply to rule that he couldn't hold it out as indisputable fact, since the evidence was in appearance and reality against his model.

It was only when he deliberately flaunted that ruling and called the Pope an idiot that he really got into trouble. Good luck saying that to any ruler in Europe at the time - it had nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with Galileo being an asshole to a (former) friend of his who happened to also be the temporal authority in the area he was in.

But when this gets spun by Conflict Thesisers to be "The Church hates science! They threw him in jail and tortured him because he disagreed with the Bible!" (He wasn't thrown in jail, or tortured, incidentally.)

>Finally most religions require one to accept truths on faith, that is without objective reproducible proof. That's the anti-thesis of the scientific method.

That's not a proper definition of faith, which means trust, but in any event, no it is not the antithesis of the scientific method. The opposite of science is pseudoscience, or believing in things despite empirical evidence to the contrary (which no mainstream Christian church I'm aware of does). Science is simply one method of finding truth. (For a definition of truth that doesn't actually mean truth.) It does not have a monopoly on it. To claim such is the case would make you guilty of the fallacy of Scientism.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 2) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787179) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?

I'm guessing you're Canadian by your name.

The fact that neither you nor the authors of the study know that in a relativistic framework this question is meaningless, makes their conclusion not just meaningless but paradoxical.

I strongly suspect the science museum "scientist" who wrote the study never got past Newtonian physics.

It's like giving all the OECD a math test, and then only marking right the students who define Pi to be exactly 3. And then announcing that fundamentalist Christians "Rank #1 in mathematical literacy!"

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787137) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Is when he misrepresented a stastic favorable to the authors point by not providing context, then following it with a fully qualified negative statistic in context.

I didn't misrepresent any statistic. 58% of people not being able to understand science out of a fucking newspaper (which is written for 5th graders) does not make Canada a, quote, "Nation of Science Geeks".

The fact that this terrible number is not more terrible than other countries still doesn't let you claim it's a country of geeks when the stats show the majority of the population are scientifically illiterate.

The fact that the authors of the study don't even understand relativity - when they ask the question of which object rotates around the other as if there was a right answer - in conjunction with a highly biased study with terrible methodology tells us all we need to know about them.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787115) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>>For the purposes of the study, science-literate is a new term which means tops in those criteria studied.

Actually I work in education. Scientific literacy is a concept that has been around for a long time, and is generally defined to mean scientific concepts that everyone should understand.

>For the matter of however it correlates to whatever way you define literacy is not the author's problem. They collected the data and Canada is at the top in the data they collected. Science-literacy is not laid out, well defined term so you go

It is, actually.

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787091) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

The report says nothing of the kind. Did you read it? GMOs and nuclear power are mentioned as divisive issues, but there is no data on the ranking of people against them.

Did you read the PDF? They're ranked #1.

but they have far less influence than you might think despite the vast amounts of noise (and I do mean "noise" in the information theoretic sense) they generate.

It's not what *I* think. It's their data. I'm just criticizing the report for being sloppy and biased.

Comment: Biased (Score 4, Insightful) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47780237) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

"[O]nly 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U."

Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The authors should get back to euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

Comment: Re:Just proves the point (Score 1) 1262

>In my opinion, her videos are, in places, poorly researched with many leaps of logic mixed with heavy opinions. But, they still contain very valid points and can be civilly debated.

Yeah. I've watched a couple of her videos. I can see why people could be enraged by them - she says pretty provocative things with lousy justifications. For example, video games that show violence against women, and deplore violence against women and encourage the main character to take a stand against violence against women, according to her, *encourage* violence against women by normalizing it. Except, when, I guess, it's in an indie game. In which case it becomes a "naunced critique".

I do agree with her than the "violence against prostitutes" trope is overused, and certainly agree that women tend to be sexualized a lot more in video games than men (my lord, Ivy from Soulcalibur gets more ridiculous with every release), but her videos struck me as being borderline trollish. Trollish, defined here, as deliberately sculpted to provoke controversy.

That said, I find it unconscionable that people would actually threaten a journalist with her life for criticizing video game tropes. For fuck's sake, we don't live in Pakistan. If her videos irritate you, just don't watch them.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 174

>Don't believe me? Fine, don't take my word for it. Heck, even that bastion of free enterprise, The Economist got behind that idea!

Neither of those sources have run the numbers on what reforestation would cost. I have.

>So, why is not implemented on a large scale?

It's too expensive, it will require too much water (which we don't have), and consume millions of acres of arable land - which we also don't have without water.

Comment: Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (Score 1) 368

by ShakaUVM (#47656447) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

>Is it just because of "wiretap" laws? It seems like it would be a pretty trivial feature to add to smartphones. It's also easy to see how it could be very easily enhanced beyond simple audio files -- automated or selective recording of only some calls ("Answer and record", "record all calls" flag in contacts, speech-to-text, and so on).

Apps already exist that do all that. I use CallX on my phone, but I keep it disabled since I live in California. But before calling the IRS or whatever, I'll turn it on and ask the agent if it's okay to record the call.

>Recording calls USED to be very easy -- $5 telephone pickup from Radio Shaft and a cassette recorder.

Even easier now. Just tap a button and there you go.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater