Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Comment Makes sense (Score 1) 412

Rents in those areas are hilariously high, and they don't need space for more than the 4 S anyway (sleep, shit, shave, and shower). So you can get the space you need, save money on rent without having to spend the money on commutes. The social side is just basic condo perks.

Now, here's hoping they don't skimp on the soundproofing...

Comment Re: Did they learn anything?? (Score 1) 278

Because way too many of those teachers and schools weren't doing their jobs.


Why were illiterate students graduating from high school?

Easy - because we started keeping score.

Used to be, the kid passed or failed on his own ability and merit. Then we got it into our head that there were "better" schools and "bad" schools and "good" and "bad" teachers. (Which I will conceded only in the sense that some kids and teachers are bad matchups for each other, just like employees and bosses).

Anyway, how do we find these folks? We start scoring, treating the kids like completely interchangable parts, and assuming that a teacher who passes less kids must somehow be "worse", which teachers with higher marks and pass rate must be "great". Fail too many kids? That's your fault, so maybe you won't get a raise or promotion or maybe we'll just find another teacher.

Go figure they start pushing kids along. (We haven't even tackled the classic problem of parents lobbying)

Of course, punting Bobby up a grade doesn't help Bobby, and now the new teacher gets handed a kid who's even *less* likely to pass the next year's material - which means the new teacher either has to take the performance hit or punt the kid himself. And that's why Bobby can't read.

So, we put in standardized testing to "prove" that kids all know the material, and tie it even more firmly to teacher's reviews. If I tell you your job is to do things A through Z, but I'm going to test you on only items A, E, I, O, and U - and the results of that test will directly determine if you have a job next year... how much time do you think you're going to spend on the other items in comparison?

Oh yeah, and meanwhile we're going to make you feel like a dirty union worker, make sure we penny-pinch any resource you might need (other than whatever the Government Flavor Of The Week is - seriously, my daughter's classroom looks like a tech wonderland, but there's a hard limit on how many photocopies the teacher can make), and then lambast them for not rejoicing in the glories of educating the nation's youth with sufficient exuberance.

So let me revise my earlier statement. I've never met a "bad" teacher in a classroom. Teachers who don't want to teach end up in other fields (I know a few in human resources, one was a project manager; and a few just get promoted to management) . I've met a few burned-out teachers in classrooms, though - burned out because they're spending their own wages to buy basic supplies (fun fact: all those helpful posters in your kid's classroom? Paid for by the teacher), burned out because the joy of teaching has been replaced by hours of standardized testing and reviews and a culture that now treats teachers as a cost centre to be minimized.

Comment Re:Still going, eh? (Score 1) 187

I'd have to double-check, but iTunes does have most of the seasons online - my issue was with the Season Pass (i.e. "watch the show as it airs"), because I was not getting the show anytime remotely near when it aired.

Barring that, the local library has a good back catalog to borrow from.

Comment Re:Who cares about the kid? (Score 1) 621

Of course, this didn't stop the school and police from releasing statements.

Also, if the kid had *actually* called in a "bomb", they would have pressed charges. And I'm up here in Canada - you would still absolutely evacuate the school. Even if you absolutely 100% positively *know* it's fake, you evacuate the school until the cops tell you it's fine. This was true a quarter-century ago, when a random kid at my school didn't want to take a test, so shoved some wires into a clock and labeled it "bomb". The school knew it wasn't a bomb, the cops knew it wasn't a bomb. But they still evacuated the school and treated it as a *possible* bomb, because (a) you never know, and more importantly (b) there's no harm in running the drill (both for the school and the police). It's only gotten more strict, too - my daughter's school will lock down if there's a domestic disturbance nearby, *just in case*.

And we're not even in metal detector territory up here yet. So when you tell me that they didn't evacuate the school, that tells me a *lot* about the level of threat they're perceiving. Namely, *zero*. If "suspicious device" percolated through the building for any length of time, there would have been a "fire drill" and the school would be emptied until someone qualified looked at it.

You're right that we don't have all the facts. The problem is that there's not an arrangement of facts that I can see that makes a lot of sense. And sadly, the closest is that this school and the cops screwed up. If they thought it might *possibly* be a bomb, they would have evacuated. If they thought the kid actually made a threat, they wouldn't have dropped the charges. Instead, we're in this weird world where the kid has a bomb that we know isn't a bomb, except we don't act like there's a bomb but we still punish the kid for pretending to have a bomb except that we're not saying the kid pretended anything so we arrested him because it was so serious except we dropped them right after.

Comment Re:Fraud (Score 1) 621

Ahmed didn't just not invent anything, he disobeyed a science teacher who saw the clock and told him not to show it to anyone else in the school. Ahmed plugged in the clock and set an alarm to go off during his English class. The mess of unsecured components and wires was dangerous when plugged into 110V AC, if not scary for what it might be. The English teacher quite understandably freaked out.

Whoa - now we're saying the English teacher is an electronics expert and can recognize "unsecured components"? I don't know about you, but teachers that are electronics geeks teach science and computing and shop class, not English. (In the same way that your science teacher may not know a participle if it hit them in the adjective.)

But let's roll with this - English teacher has the know-how to know what this is (and more importantly, what it's *not*). Where do the police come into this? Why would this knowledgeable teacher not simply unplug it from the wall, give the kid five hundred words on "why plugging random shit into the outlet is a bad idea" and move on with the day? Where does this mystery bomb threat come from, if the kid says it's a clock, the teacher knows it's a clock (at least according to you, and that's not what the police were saying, btw), what magically made this a not-bomb threat?

Comment Re:A few important questions... (Score 1) 190

1) If something is in plain view, it can be evidence used to justify a search. I suppose it's a plausible interpretation that the heat something gives off could be considered in plain view when looking through an infrared camera. However, an x-ray scan is hardly plain view because it's an active scan, relying on backscatter in the case of these vans. Can any evidence collected from these vans, or evidence collected on the basis thereof, be admissible in court?

This is why they don't want to give any records of how and when these are used (and I'll bet you they'll fight the release of anything resembling *details* even harder). Right now, they can zap you with the machine, and then have an officer (possibly even an officer who isn't in on the trick) investigate you for "suspicious activity". When they detain, search, and find whatever the X-ray saw, it'll be recorded as based on the officer's judgement. The X-ray won't be mentioned, meaning the issue will never come up. See "parallel construction".

2) Is this safe?

Probably not. If you could prove that they were doing it to you - which you can't (see 1)

3) The NYPD is refusing to say what these vans are used for. If the NYPD won't say how they're being used, how do people know their privacy isn't being invaded and they're not being exposed to harmful radiation?

You don't know. And you can't complain, because you can't prove that they used it on you - and thus your rights haven't been violated. (see 1). Isn't this fun?

4) Because these vans are being paid for with tax dollars, don't people have a right to know how they're being used? How do the people know this is a necessary expense and the taxpayers aren't being ripped off?

Because the police told you it was a necessary expense to fight terrorism. We'd explain why, but the three-letter-agencies told it was a national security issue and we signed some paperwork agreeing we wouldn't discuss it with anyone.

5) At what point is it no longer acceptable to justify any and every form of surveillance under the excuse of terrorism? This is a tired refrain that has already been used to justify far too many abuses. Terrorism is the new communism, and I hope one day we'll be able to ridicule many of the things we've done just as we find McCarthyism and the red scare laughably absurd.

This will end when a politicians uses the terrorist card and the public openly mocks him for doing it. But given that "Soft On Crime" is still a working strategy, I think you're no-where near that point.

Comment Re:Still going, eh? (Score 1) 187

I used to buy the seasons from iTunes to watch with my daughter (because science!), until Discovery Canada started being insanely stupid with their release dates. OK, here's ep 1, next week 2, next week.. nothing? Oh, three weeks later is ep 3. (But we're already on episode 6? WTF?). The final straw was when the rest of the season dropped in one batch... after the *next* season had already completed airing!)

So, I may go back and get the seasons I'm missing to watch with the munchkin.

Also, the true star of that show is, was, and always will be Jamie. Sure, the other four are all fun and bouncy and screwing around. But Hyneman is the guy I'd pick to follow around for a day and buy a beer afterwards.

Comment Re:Generally women don't want to code; get a new i (Score 1) 373

Women generally don't want to code. That's why every SWJ brings up Grace Hopper as THE icon. Yeah, I know about the pic of the woman that coded the lunar landing and the code that's stacked taller than see is. So that's two.

Look people, most women don't want to code. It's ok. Nothing wrong with that. Stop forcing things because you think a 50/50 split is the only "fair" way.

Oh, and asking someone to pay afterwards only if she gets a job is a FANTASTIC economic plan.

And no-one has asked *why* they "don't want to code"? It's in the sweet spot of well-paying without being construction/trades manual labor - you'd think a decent proportion of office clerk / admin ass't / secretary workers would love to move into that space.

And asking to pay afterwards is a great move - that's signalling that they're confident enough that women programmers will find jobs that they're willing to bet their own money on that market existing.

Comment Re:With a $15 dongle? (Score 1) 136

Sorry. A guy in Florida was fined $48000 by the FCC for operating a cell phone jammer in his car to prevent others near him from using their phones.

Which makes that guy terribly dumb - he was running it non-stop for almost two years, driving the same routine every day. (Yes, they used "sophisticated techniques" to find him - or, you sit with a cell phone and a video camera on the overpass for a week, and see which cars always show up when your signal drops. Not to mention that he wasn't bright enough to turn it *off* when the cops pulled him over.

Stupid crooks, ruining it for the rest of us...

Comment Re:Probably bullshit (Score 1) 327

That's not a problem with flat management - no matter what the org chart says, there's the people who get listened to because they know what they're talking about, or because they golf with the boss. I've seen cases where someone could order around folks who were several layers higher on the official org chart (and in a different department to boot) because they had the phone number of the president on speed dial. It's why you're polite to the receptionist and the payroll clerk - they can easily make your life miserable without being remotely in a "position of authority".

Comment Re:Probably bullshit (Score 1) 327

That, coupled with their tenuous release schedule (to put it mildly), makes Valve a perfect argument against this sort of structure.

And yet, Valve is by all accounts still making money (or at least enough money to keep the owners happy). So it's hard to argue that it's a failure, if it's making the people who pay the bills happy.

Comment Re:Just like Microsoft (Score 1) 327

Exactly. My boss is great. She handles all the muckitymucks so all I have to do is sit in my box and code. I'm happy.

Of course, great managers have the same problem as great IT - the best evidence that they're doing their jobs really well is, a lack of evidence that anything is going wrong. But unfortunately the managers who get promoted are the ones who are running around putting out fires.

Comment Re:Are we blaming Microsoft for this? (Score 1) 213

So I am not entirely sure that those were just "honest mistakes".

We can be a bit charitable and say that once they got the results they wanted/expected, they weren't as rigorous at checking the numbers as they should have been. (By contrast, I would expect that if the mistake had disproven their theory, they *would* have found that spreadsheet error.)

I do kind of feel for those guys - that's got to be embarassing to find out that you've made your bones on a typo.

Comment Re:Not just a problem for mobile browsers (Score 1) 117

And no, I do not feel the need to spend $1500 on a new machine just so advertisers can serve me up more ads faster.

Or you could uninstall Flash and Java. That would be free.

Why uninstall software they might need? Much simpler and more effective to simply refuse the ads.

Of course, what I would really like is an ad-blocker that still "hits" the page (so the owner gets credit), but simply blackholes the image/video instead of displaying it. (I'm firmly in the camp of "my browser does what I tell it to do, not what you tell it to do")

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.