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Comment: Re:Value of a degree to the employer (Score 1) 489

by Urthas (#43371853) Attached to: Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person

Yes and no.

The value of a post-secondary education is not so much in what particular things you learned, which will of course becomes increasingly dated over time, but in what you learned about perseverance, critical thinking, communicating [in writing] (this one is huge), and how to learn. Assuming the student invests at all in their college experience, they can't help but mature in these areas, and emerge as big[ger]-picture folks. Note that I'm not saying that you can't develop these traits in other ways.

So, I contend that the true "value" of post-secondary education does not diminish with time. That said, the superficial value certainly decreases (especially within academia itself, ironically) as you pointed out, because, "employers will care less about your college days and more about what you've been doing since then."

Comment: Disagree (Score 2) 248

by Urthas (#41779083) Attached to: Wikipedia Is Nearing "Completion"
Nearing completion? Hardly. Its veracity at points conflicts with alternative interpretations of an event or phenomenon, which cannot always, nonetheless, be discarded as a matter of course. That tension will always be present, and balancing the two will always be necessary. Let's not even mention spelling and especially grammar (except I just did, and it is too often atrocious). Mature reference work with a well established reputation? Certainly debatable; I personally know several professors who will not accept citing Wikipedia. Anecdotal, sure, but there must be a significant number like that. The nature of the work may be fundamentally changing, but the work on Wikipedia is FAR from over.

Comment: Re:Perfect (Score 1) 500

by Urthas (#41284939) Attached to: Election Tech: In Canada, They Actually Count the Votes
I can't speak for the other Deputy Returning Officers, but at my polling station the ballots were counted without error. All I was required to do was pick up each ballot and read its contents, out loud. A polling clerk kept a running tally, with representatives from each party looking on. Seems pretty foolproof, though I suppose it's possible for a dishonest DRO to read out falsely, and for the onlookers to miss it.

Comment: First world problem (Score 1) 729

by Urthas (#41219685) Attached to: Do We Need a Longer School Year?
When a child shrugs off summer because "...we just sit there and watch TV" I *guarantee* that it indicates something more than any potential drawback to a 9-month curriculum. What it indicates is bad parenting, and/or a lack of initiative on the part of the child. You cannot teach either of those things in school, no matter how much more time you demand from the students. In addition, if your skills regress so much over the course of a summer, then I humbly submit that YOU NEVER LEARNED THEM THAT WELL TO BEGIN WITH. Yeah, I said it. You want to motivate someone to learn who doesn't naturally love to do so? Make something fucking ride on it. Treat these kids with respect, and start handing out failing grades again. I hazard a guess that they'll appreciate summer holidays more. Rant over.

Comment: The problem... (Score 1) 396

by Urthas (#41148203) Attached to: Apple Seeks To Block 8 Samsung Products After Court Win
...with all of this is that the patent life is too long for computer technology. Computing power doubles roughly every two years. An academic paper in computer science is old hat in 6 months or less. Why, and oh why has patent law not recognized this and adjusted the window accordingly? Doing so would still reward innovators by letting them be a special snowflake and hook followers off the start with their innovation, but would not stifle competitors to an obscene degree (and thereby keep the original innovators, well, innovating, too).

Comment: Re:Let's be honest, we do this already (Score 1) 840

by Urthas (#41036307) Attached to: Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist

"You seem proud of being short-sighted. When your kid is on a ventilator, just keep telling yourself "at least my wife has a great personality!""

Uncalled for, and unnecessarily cruel, especially given that it is impossible to know.

"Genetic engineering could break the cycle, but instead you'd rather deny others that freedom because it hurts your fragile ego."

MS is not itself hereditary. Diabetes and heart disease can be managed fairly easily, if not cheaply. Properly managed, personal freedom is in no way compromised. As to cost, what would it cost to fully screen and then terminate fetus after fetus? By the way, pointing the finger at someone else's "fragile ego" is a bit misplaced. We're all in that particular boat, I think.

It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes

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