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Comment: better education (Score 2) 82

by harvey the nerd (#49556943) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher
I got such a "super teacher" module for one of my high school kids (Kentucky Educational TV) with some great demos too. AP Physics B all in one year without the usual introductory Physics course. It was great. The kid worked hard, and switched from music and languages in high school to physics in college.

However she also had a great physics teacher to help her during lunch. I think it might reduce the local teachers time requirement per student 1/2-2/3, but not the skills. Ultimately the kids may have more equal opportunity to determine their level of education by their own interest, ability and effort in such a system.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 0) 30

by ScentCone (#49556201) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

even though everybody knows what it means right away

You're missing the point.

When someone says, "The new battery is ten times smaller than the old battery," yes ... we can guess that part of what's meant is, "The new battery is a tenth the size of the old battery."

But there's a reason those are TWO DIFFERENT SENTENCES.

When you use the word smallER in that context, you're communicating that the old battery is small, and the new battery is even smaller. Why? Because you're saying that the new battery has time times the smallness of the old one. That has a completely different connotation than a sentence that suggests that the old battery was what it was (or was large), and the new battery is comparatively small.

The reason we have lots of vocabulary words, adjectives, and constructions is so that we can be nuanced and more precise in simple communication. When you use a sentence that essentially forces the audience to go find out what you actually meant by "ten times smaller" (was the old one small, or huge?) then you've done the opposite of providing useful information. All of that in order to avoid using slightly different words that we also all know?

This is pure laziness, that's all. It's mimicking a sound or phrase without thinking about what's actually being communicated. It's no different than people who say, "I could care less," when they mean exactly the opposite. They are uttering sounds without thinking about the actual words they're using. One small, lazy spoken step for man, part of one cumulative giant leap towards dumbing everybody down.

Comment: Re:Drug dogs (Score 1) 399

Im sure some dogs DO detect drugs

Thousands of them, trained by some very serious, very passionate people who don't even begin to fit the cartoon caricature description of cops who fake drug busts

but the above scenario has been reported a number of times

How many is a "number," relative to the all day, every day work these dogs and their handlers do?

Comment: Re:...Coming Soon (Score 1) 399

wouldn't you want a furry friend with an addiction to powerful drugs to keep you company?

The only thing search/detection dog is addicted to is the simple pleasure of working. They're descended from wolves, who live to hunt. They're bred to be incredibly sensitive, nose-wise, and have had their pack instincts morphed into a very gratifying (for them, and their handlers) pleasure in their essentially symbiotic relationship with humans. They love to go out and do stuff, and are raised as pups to get some good clean joy out of accurately differentiating between being right and wrong with their noses. They're addicted to being part of a well organized pack, just like many social animals. Addicted to the drugs or other materials they've learned to identify by the parts-per-billion in the air? Nonsense. They want a pat on the head, their favorite toy as a reward, and a chance to go do it again.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 399

This is why it's important to yell loudly and repeatedly "AM I BEING DETAINED?!?!" whenever speaking to a cop.

Yes, because being obnoxious and shouting at cops is a super way to show that you're not trying to distract/deflect. Do you do your job better when someone is screaming in your face? Really? Fascinating.

Comment: Re:Drug dogs (Score 1) 399

The dogs are demonstrably a placebo that "triggers" when the handling cop signals the dog to do so.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. About dogs generally, or about their use in quickly showing awareness of explosives, drugs, and other items. They are uncannily accurate once they've been shown the difference between placebos and the real thing. Oh, and you also have no understanding of how the word "placebo" is used.

"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS