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Comment Re:No argument other than medical necessity (Score 1) 545 545

You "full stop"ped at the wrong spot. After where you stopped listening was where the argument was about religious freedom not being more important than keeping people from harm. The poster you replied to said nothing about not believing in ANY religious freedom, only that religious freedom doesn't give you the right to harm others. There's plenty of room for religious freedom within that constraint. Your post after the full stop was a complete non sequitur.

Comment Re:What an Embarrassingly Vapid Article (Score 1) 477 477

Agree too, but you've missed a couple factors that should be considered.

1. All the "You can have my steering wheel when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!" people.

This problem will almost entirely be solved by the pricing of insurance and cars. If that doesn't resolve any problems then drivers licenses and regulations will solve the rest. Consider that once the percentage of cars that operate autonomously hits a tipping point then the drivers that are not represent a hazard and remove the possibility of many of the benefits of driverless cars. Costs of insuring a car to drive it by oneself will go through the roof due to the much higher accident rate and most people will not be willing or able to pay that. That higher insurance cost alone will greatly reduce the number of people driving their own cars. Then if people driving their own cars is still a problem licenses can either no longer be issued or driving simply not be allowed.

I was once like you I loved the freedom of driving, but I've become more flexible and realized that as long as I can get where I want to it doesn't matter how I get there. In fact I'd rather save the time driving for something more enjoyable. I get the same sense of freedom by taking a long distance bike journey.

But I think you're spot on with a lot of the potential risks of trusting the driverless cars. The extent to which those are managed well will determine whether driverless cars represent a benefit or harm to society.

Comment Re: 3D prints (Score 1) 230 230

I guess if you want to call expensive industrial laser sintering "3D printing."

But that is the standard now. Language evolves and that is now the standard usage. Wikipedia is no authority, but it does tend toward standard usage and in this case it does align with common sources.

I think most people, me included, see "3D printing", as opposed to "additive manufacturing techniques we've been using for thirty years", as something you might want to do in your home.

Yes, as 3D printers improve they will find some uses. Currently I don't think there are any good ones. There ARE interesting things being done to develop 3D printing into a useful tool, but we keep getting hype-filled stories like this one instead.

Ok, see your point, but you should've specified the 3D printing methods you referred to earlier.

Comment Re: 3D prints (Score 1) 230 230

Problem is, there aren't any of those. The nearest anybody seems to have found is printing gun parts, and that's only because the parts in question are weirdly regulated by the US government.

No, it seems there are at least a few good applications of 3D printing like the GP talked about such as 3D printed body part replacements like titanium jawbones. They are apparently cheaper than the alternatives, can be custom shaped to the patient, and be made faster than the alternatives. As materials improve the integration into the body is expected to improve as well. I agree though the summary of this one was bad. This was a good learning exercise and it was improperly changed to "Working" making it into something it wasn't. There's nothing wrong with learning something new, but making it out to be something it isn't is not so good.

Comment Re:As a parent, which requires no testing or licen (Score 1) 700 700

2. Homeschooling academics can be more rigorous. As an engineer, I consider math to be the foundation of all my success, and common core has turned math into a laughingstock. Enter homeschooling, where I can pick the "Singapore Math" curriculum. Singapore typically scores number 2 every year on the international math achievement exams, their math program is entirely in (British) English, and I can have their exact program for my kids instead of common core.

Losing mod points to respond to this, but as a math teacher I can say based on substantial study and practice that you are drinking the wrong cool aid about common core. To see why you have to understand what common core is and isn't. Common core is just the set of standards, and it's important to read a bit of them to realize what that means and doesn't. Everything else that isn't written in the common core standards, but yet people still incorrectly call "common core" is just an attempt at implementation of the common core. If you see a given incomprehensible homework assignment, that's the implementation, not the common core. The standards don't give implementation details, the teacher, textbook, and/or district provide those.

Before I go further though, I will agree with your first statement. Homeschooling can be more rigorous, but as I am considering homeschooling my children, the thing I would do would be to implement the common core to it's fullest extent and attempt to exceed it.

I'll cut to the chase and give you the summary: the common core standards are more rigorous and are a substantial improvement on every state standard before them that I am aware of. They embody the important parts of the best of education research and the math standards for example are substantially based on the previous work of the Principles for School Mathematics developed by NCTM. So if a given implementation is bad, it means either the teacher or textbook are not as good as they could be, not that common core is bad.

Look at the Standards for Mathematical practice:

and the following specific standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.A.1

Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

A classroom attempting to implement the standards for mathematical practice to fully meet the standard above will be leaps and bounds above a traditional classroom in terms of rigor, cognitive demand, ability to reach diverse students, etc.

Also having studied the TIMMS study in depth I can say that the reason Singapore does well on the exams isn't necessarily related to their curriculum, but likely has more to do with parental support for education.

Comment Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 495 495

I've come to agree on this. In cases of infrastructure free market forces don't work well enough to work for the good of the consumer. Telephone, internet, highways, etc. The costs of entry are so high there's not a real market and corruption etc as you've explained well take over. In that case I agree government is better than a natural monopoly, but I don't think government ownership is the only option. An in between option is possible where a independent government sanctioned organization owns the infrastructure but has a bit more flexibility and incentives to operate efficiently. Now it may not work, think the post office where poor government oversight hamstrings their ability to make decisions, but even there it's probably better than outright government ownership. The post office does actually do their job fairly efficiently and at low cost. But in that case you're basically asking for smart regulation, and that's tough to do. Not all regulation is bad, bad regulation is bad but smart regulation is hard to do. There's a chance though it can be better than outright government ownership and retain the benefits while still adding flexibility. The structure can be anywhere on a continuum from full government ownership to full independence or somewhere in between. The more freedom the more chance for more efficiency but the more chance for failure.

Comment Re:Study limited to sugar cane and maize for ethan (Score 2) 224 224

Yeah you sound like you know what you're talking about, except you don't. I know the studies you read make it sound easy, except it didn't turn out to be so easy. If it were that easy people would be investing billions into it to earn the profits that the oil companies are currently earning on petroleum. The studies you read, I read too, and they are smaller scale, talking about hoping to scale up. Optimistic pilot studies are practically legend and this seems to be a case. When trying to scale up, difficulties seem to have arisen. When you look into the companies that are trying to scale it up, it isn't working out as well. The contaminants are happening, the yields are lower, the costs are higher, etc.

Comment Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 2) 224 224

Yeah you've repeated the rah rah promising sounding stuff from the decades old NREL reports. It sounds really great, I've read those too. But read them carefully--they're very initial studies that never scaled up. They are full of statements to the tune of "when scaled up to commercial volumes". Excepts it's been decades and no one has been able to do it. I've followed a number of the experiments of people trying and it doesn't seem to be as easy as the NREL papers made it sound. The open raceway ponds get contaminated with lower oil strains and don't produce the oil at the rate the papers hypothesized and the closed systems are expensive and difficult to operate. I'm not saying it's not possible, but the magical oil from algae to produce 100% of our transportation fuel isn't going to be nearly as easy as it seemed. Possible? Maybe yes, but probably not economical anytime soon. Think of it this way, if it worked, oil companies would be pouring billions into making it work rather than spending those billions drilling underwater or paying despotic dictators. They don't care where their oil comes from and if biodiesel from algae worked they'd be all over it to sell that to you cheaper than the other oil companies. They are researching it and possibly when crude oil is 4, 10, 20 or more times more expensive than it is now then algal biodiesel will be cost competitive. It wasn't when oil was over $100 a barrel, but it's possible something will be figured out that hasn't been in the last few decades to make it feasible by the time it gets back there. Or maybe it won't.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 310 310

I love how the mere suggestion that people take responsibility for their actions and the raising of their children provokes an insult as a response. When you don't have an argument, resort to insults, right? Besides, you should look up what those words mean before using them. I may indeed come on hard times but I have a seven layer deep contingency plan to try to avoid it. If all else fails, I grew up with very little, so I know how to live on very little. I choose to plan and focus on my children because I see bringing a child into the world in part as a serious responsibility. I'll still put the focus on my children if I do "fall down on my luck". But I believe you make your own luck.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 310 310

More than 99.9% of those people were not forced to have children. Maybe they could have considered whether they had the ability to raise their children before having them. Yes that's making a value judgement about the value of spending quality time with children and the value of education, but the benefits of those are easy to support. And yes, there are other situations like divorce, but there are other options too, like considering before having children your ability to afford to raise them should a divorce occur, etc. I know it's crazy talk to hold people responsible for their own actions and raising their children.

Comment More axe than maul (Score 1) 217 217

You can call this thing whatever you want, but at 1.9kg (4lb) and a narrow angle cutting wedge, it's closer to an axe than a maul. A maul is heavier, often 8 to 16 lbs and has a much steeper sloped wedge to split with both kinetic energy and wedging action. An axe of course has a narrower sloped cutting edge to bite in more. This also has nothing to do with a froe which is use with a mallet and a lever action without kinetic energy to control a split. And you can definitely split wood with an axe. You just have to rotate the axe at the point of impact in a similar way to what this tool is supposedly designed to do automatically. The technique for splitting wood with an axe was probably the inspiration for this tool.

Comment Re:Where are the online Computer Science degrees? (Score 1) 370 370

This also brings me to self-taught computer scientists: I've begun an adventure down "Teach myself math from scratch" lane because, at age 40, I'm still rather annoyed at my math education in high school. I was more concerned about learning to the test, not the concepts, and that's haunted me ever since. Anyone have recommendations for learning math starting from, say, Algebra I or II level (high school) that will actually teach in a way that will be useful rather than taking a test? Stuff that will carry over into future classes as the proper building blocks, etc? Most complete college level open education resource I've seen. The math is pretty good, starts at algebra, and even has a bridge class "Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning" to help teach proofs and other necessary mathematical rigor to be able to tackle higher level math. You'll still need to do the work and focus on the concepts and make sure you understand, not just going for passing a test, but the fundamentals are there.

Comment Re:Um, right. (Score 1) 278 278

The Common Core standards in themselves are a vast improvement from the patchwork of state standards that ranged from bad to very bad. The Common Core standards do a decent job focusing the standards on fewer topics allowing for deeper more rigorous learning of the important topics and a focus on understanding, not just procedure. Previous standards tended to focus on facts, recall, and mindless procedural learning, rather than moving higher up the hierarchy of learning to where students can be creative and actually use what they learn. The quality of implementation of the Common Core standards will of course vary as they move into texts and standardized tests and are used by teachers.

Now to your specific example, that's a decent problem that requires thinking to solve. If Math MS and PhD's are having a hard time with it, then they are either so focused on their limited area that they can't do anything else or they are so used to being spoon fed procedural thinking by a professor that they don't know how to think for themselves. The problem you linked to was also cherry picked out without any context or explanation of the task that likely would have been in a good classroom. Without any context or explanation though, the task does require a higher level of thinking to parse what is being asked. Higher level cognitive demand is another way to say it.

The Common Core does not only call for open ended problems like that, and does also call for procedural fluency. Think drilling. The trick is in the balancing of procedure with problem solving abilities and stretching problem solving abilities requires giving tasks with higher level cognitive demand.

There's always going to be people like you that try to drag out the negative in any improvement effort without understanding the background behind it.

I'll have to go read the linked study to see what it's all about.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay