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Comment Re:How about... (Score 1) 617 617

The GP does have a good point though. A D, even if it's a failing grade, means "you didn't pass, but you came close. Just try a little harder and you can pass next time," whereas an F says "You weren't even close to passing. You really need to radically rethink your study strategy and/or go into a different field."

I don't recall ever taking too many classes where I didn't know roughly how well I was doing long before the end of the class. Doesn't a student typically already know if they were close or not to passing? The test you got back with a 54 or the homework you handed in for a 62 or the quiz you got an 83 on all gave pretty exacting performance metrics. Most classes I took in middle school and higher even had introductory handouts on the weighting of the different types of assignments/tests so that I could calculate my final grade in advance.

If a student were operating in a bubble without any indication of how good or bad they were performing, then you and the GP would have a point.
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Comment Re:"Not for ________ use" (Score 3, Insightful) 422 422

Those companies are only abusing their monopoly if someone new comes in and is pressured out of the market by anti-competitive tactics. If no one else wants to take advantage of the opportunity to compete in a market, you're looking for a different reason why. Off the top of my head, perhaps there's too much government regulation making it too difficult to get into that field. Too much insurance costs because of liability concerns in an overly litigious society. Perhaps just no one realized how much of an opportunity there was here because no one really has a clue how much healthcare costs these days since no one using it looks at the bills anymore - they just have their insurance cover it and complain when there's a problem. How do you expect competition in a market to lower prices when the consumer doesn't decide what features to invest in and compare based on price?

In other words, the answer you're looking for is not "more government" - that is the problem.
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Comment Re:I wouldn't sponsor him (Score 1) 249 249

I was alluding to the fact that I have driven a car to its limits and exceeded them. Now, I have a lot of difficulty competing since then. It's a good excuse for not being a very good driver I guess, but the distinction is unimportant.

The best drivers really have to combine a knowledge of where that line is as well as the bravery to drive right on it.
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Comment Re:is there any historical data available? (Score 1) 496 496

Braking feel is largely tied to brake fluid and friction materials. Cars that are 20 years old are not using the original stuff for any of that.

ABS does not help you stop sooner. It really doesn't and it's not supposed to. Seriously, it's to help you turn while stopping. In a straight line, you're often better off without it.

The current generation Civic has a torsion beam rear suspension, while the old ones like your '88 had a double-wishbone setup. It doesn't handle as well as the old ones. I wasn't making that up, believe it or not. Your '88 Civic was essentially a front-wheel drive sports car and competes on that level even today.

As for that Top Gear episode, there were a few matchups where the older car did a lot better than the modern equivalent, but yeah, as a rule, most newer cars are better than their equivalents 20 years ago.

Consider that my response was toward someone who made the flawed assumption that a car now will be less likely to hit that barrier because it will handle better, but the truth is that a modern car will not necessarily handle better and will be heavier. A heavier car inherently can't turn or stop as well as a lighter car. It's a flawed assumption.
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Comment Re:is there any historical data available? (Score 1) 496 496

You don't need the same braking power to slow a car weighing much less. The brakes in the mid-eighties Civics were plenty strong enough to lock up the tires. Once you can lock up the tires, you don't need more powerful brakes - just better driving skills.

ABS does not help you stop sooner. It helps you turn while stopping. ABS in a straight line will actually typically stop you slower, especially in slippery conditions.

A mid-late eighties Civic had double-wishbone suspension all around. They are still great-handling cars, but the mid-late eighties Civics and CRXs make great and popular race cars for a reason.

And a mid-late eighties Civic would have come with tires far less capable than modern tires, but those tires are long gone. They've been replaced by modern tires by now and are performing plenty well.

The original poster's claim is very valid, despite your concerns. Cars have gotten better at crashing in the last few decades without a doubt, but it's still important to also recognize that smaller, lighter cars are much better at avoiding crashes in the first place do to better braking, turning, and acceleration.
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Comment Re:Stupid Last Minute Bidders (Score 3, Informative) 324 324

There's a psychology that happens when a person bids on something, especially nearing the end when they've mentally committed to it and expect to win it. They will bid higher if they get outbid. That means that if I want to win something, I'm going to outbid him close to the closing time, or else that person may convince themselves to bid higher to prevent losing the item.

Relying on the maximum bid proxy to win things for you is a good way not to win things. You're assuming we're all rational robots who've determined a set maximum before even bidding once.
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Comment Re:What about the kids? (Score 3, Insightful) 689 689

Putting them away for life just makes them a taxpayer burden. They aren't a threat to the public in any way. Instead, they should be punished appropriately. Obviously, disbarred, fined heavily since they likely aren't scraping for cash after all those kickbacks, lots of community service, loss of retirement/pension income, and a nice big felony record that will keep them from ever getting a decent job again.
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Education

Submission + - Failing students? Change the grade

EvilTwinSkippy writes: "The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story of one principal's crusade to turn a school around. It involved inventing extra paperwork teachers had to file to fail a student. When that failed, she simply went into he computer and changed the grades herself. With No Child Left Behind's emphasis on school performance, you have to wonder how often this is happening and teacher's don't blow the whistle. Especially in lights of the fact that the article mentioned this has happend before, in the same district."

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