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Comment: Re:You're missing something here (Score 1) 419

by benchbri (#31805776) Attached to: Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

Daley is exactly right that we should be spending money on education instead of wars.

I look at it this way: We have two choices, we either spend money on education, or we spend money on wars. I've seen this choice somewhere else: Star Trek.

An oversimplification of the ST:TNG galaxy (actually more along the lines of VOY, but bear with me...) would be that there are two civilizations in the galaxy: The Federation, and The Borg. The Borg spend their money on war. They assimilate knowledge that has already been discovered by other races. The Borg do not learn. The Federation, on the other hand, spends money on education, not on war.

Now, look where America is. We spend all our money bombing brown people, and try and assimilate the world into our culture. America is the Borg. What Daley wants to do is have America become the Federation. Daley wants America to invest in education and basic research so that eventually we'll be transporting replicators and fusion reactors into villages that hate us. The brown people will love us, because we're not bombing them, and we're not forcing them to assimilate. It's actually pretty easy.

Really, it's kind of genius. Instead of bombing all the brown people so that they'll come around to our way of thinking, all while putting the brain drain on America, we invest in education and research in America, and make the country the best it can possibly be so that everyone comes around to our way of thinking.

One of these strategies doesn't work, ever, and that's the strategy we're currently using.

Comment: It depends where you're viewing (Score 1) 377

by benchbri (#31096746) Attached to: What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?

If possible, take your kids out to a dark sky site. Some place where the megawatts from empty parking lots are blocked. If you have never been under a pitch-black sky, it is mind-blowing.

You could start the unit by showing them the constellations in class. Show them the big dipper, and how it points to Polaris. When you get out in the field, ask them to count the stars in the big dipper. Show them that the middle star of the handle is actually two stars, and that native americans used to test the eyesight of potential trackers that way - if they saw two stars, they had eagle vision.

I wouldn't use the telescope at all. One thing that would blow their minds is building a simple radio telescope antenna to listen to lightning on Jupiter. Just a piece of wire, basically. In class (or whenever jupiter is below the horizon), hook up the wires and amps to a speaker. Record that. When jupiter is visible, do the same thing and play back the recording. the difference is lighting on jupiter.

If you're doing this in spring, you could work in the equinox.

With astronomy, there is SO MUCH you can do, and any treatment for 9th graders will be insufficient. Just try your best. I'd probably pull a chapter from the movie Contact. "See that bright star there. That's a planet. That's another world. Because it's so bright, people long ago thought it was so beautiful. Now we know it's 900 degrees, has an atmospheric pressure equal to 1000 feet below the ocean, and rains sulfuric acid there." Maybe not the last part.

Comment: Don't worry about asteroids... (Score 2, Interesting) 305

by benchbri (#30603084) Attached to: Russia Plans To Divert Asteroid
Don't worry about asteroids. What you need to worry about is long-period comets

Something bumps into another thing in the oort cloud, and sends a comet towards Earth. We'll see it at about the orbit of Saturn (probably found by an amateur), and we'll have about two years -max- to kiss our asses goodbye.

Comment: Re:gone (Score 1) 1093

by benchbri (#30423082) Attached to: The Limits To Skepticism
ARRRGH! Brain melting!

You state three requirements to get you to 'believe' in global warming. The first is the existence of anthropogenic global climate change. You are, quite simply, wrong in thinking that this must be proven to exist.

I see you do not contend that the world is cooling, or staying the same temperature. I'll also assume you think the world is heating. There is, in fact, good evidence for this - Mars and Jupiter's temperature have gone up since we started shooting probes out there in the 70s. So let's just all agree that the earth, and the entire solar system is heating. (yes, sun, I am disappoint.)

Well, alright, we agree that the earth is heating, so I guess now we've got to prove that it's a bad thing. Would you like to tell me how any 'educated' guess about the future can be 'supported'? Face it, there are 100s of climate models running on computers around the world, and they all say that, yeah, CO2 will lead to sea level rise, and Bangladesh is screwed. End of story.

I'm not disagreeing with you that we should switch to nuclear (and solar, and wind...) power, but what you are doing by questioning anthropogenic global climate change does the entire world a disservice. Climate change has the ability to fuck up our grand kid's lives, and we need to do something about it, regardless if we (humans) caused this climate change or not.

I'd just like to add that people who do not understand the Carbon cycle are idiots. Taxing cow farts? Where does the Carbon in cow farts come from. grass? Wow, nice little closed cycle there. The reason we've (presumably) been screwing ourselves over is the digging up and burning of fossil fuels, and that's about it.

Comment: Something caused your boss to demand this... (Score 1) 1019

by benchbri (#30412560) Attached to: Music While Programming?
The most probable cause of this new policy is meddling by one of the sales/administration drones. They can't have an iPod, why should you?

You've got two choices: Sit there and take it like a man, or start meddling with the drones. Wait a month or so before you start meddling with the drones.

Eventually, morale at your business will be zero. You will have the insight that one should mind their own business, and hopefully someone else will, too.

For large values of one, one equals two, for small values of two.

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