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Comment: Someone familiar with the study said: (Score 1) 278

by bob_calder (#32631204) Attached to: Home Computers Equal Lower Test Scores

Here is the take from someone familiar with the paper. Quoted without permission, and passed along from hand to hand, so not able to attribute.

It (the paper) ignores the importance of training and skill. The headline misinterprets the original study as the finding concerned a limited number of children.

The usual sort of mainstream media shock-value headline. Unfortunate since it was quoted directly from Eureka Alerts. Sad.

So if you want to claim it applies to your life, go ahead. But don't make claims about general application and for goodness sake, don't use it to justify messing with your own kids lives.

Education

Home Computers Equal Lower Test Scores 278

Posted by timothy
from the but-better-typing-speed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Politicians and education activists have long sought to eliminate the 'digital divide' by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service. But a Duke University study finds these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their homes."

Comment: Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446

by bob_calder (#31391868) Attached to: Improving Education Through Better Teachers

I suggest you look first at yourself. Are you the kind of person who reacts well to a lower stress environment by becoming more creative and working harder?

Your argument is fine of you are a conservative economist. But this isn't post-hoc story telling. Schools are directly responsive to you. Now if you are talking about charter schools, I might agree with you. They aren't directly responsive.

Comment: Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446

by bob_calder (#31391652) Attached to: Improving Education Through Better Teachers

There you go! The only thing you *didn't* mention was voting for Jim Inhoffe.

All I need say is look at the many survivalists that represent the far right margins of conservatism. The remark about having a gun collection was unfair of course but who hasn't had an issue with the IRS? Honestly, lots of people. Ask a CPA.

Many people have guns, many people hate the IRS. BUT the things they do aren't motivated by paranoia either.

Comment: Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 1) 446

by bob_calder (#31391426) Attached to: Improving Education Through Better Teachers

*scream*

Of course you don't hire PhDs for elementary schools. But many expensive private prep schools hire them. Actually they have a mixture of masters and even some bachelors but the key is subject knowledge in any case.

It didn't occur to me anyone would consider elementary schools. But since you mentioned it, elementary teachers are demonstrably the worst prepared in subject knowledge. Puerto Rico looked at the research quite some time ago and mandated subject knowledge as professional development for all teachers. Strangely, this improved their SAT results after a short time. ;-)

Back to the US - hiring people who understand the reasons for learning certain things, not just that they must be learnt, is key.

Comment: Re:Better teachers and more funding ! (Score 2, Interesting) 446

by bob_calder (#31383588) Attached to: Improving Education Through Better Teachers

Of course there is plenty of evidence that you get good employees if you pay them more money. Look around and quit listening to think tank FUD. There is absolutely no way of substantiating the article's panic laden assertions. None. Look at yourself in the mirror for goodness sake.

Every high performing private school hires teachers with doctorates. Universities hire people with doctorates. They get paid a lot and because they have tons of knowledge in their subject area they make pretty good teachers. There is plenty of research that says people who know what they are talking about are good teachers. The news is as usual catching and throwing some crap from yet another attempt to distract people from doing what is right.

OMG the educators have been doing it wrong for the last fifty years! ROFL Peolpe who believe that believe their plumber has been putting their pipes in backwards and their electrician has miswired their houses. They have a profound distrust of institutions that may or may not be well-founded. The result of such thinking is what brought about the rise of home schooling. But you gotta understand the majority of home schooling moms are evangelicals whose husbands have big gun collections and think the IRS is out to get them. They may be right, but they aren't you or me.

Now I'm sure that at this point all the slashdot self-educated whingers will come out of the woodwork, but seriously folks, just think about it. The articles are pretty much crap.

Comment: Good account of the rest of what was said here (Score 1) 572

by bob_calder (#31307272) Attached to: Unfriendly Climate Greets Gore At Apple Meeting

Comic Relief at Apple’s Shareholder Meeting article by Chaffin at Mac Observer
Some quotes: "Why are we being inundated with policies that have nothing to do with [Apple as a company]?!?! These people are Socialists and want us to be slaves to the government, GOD DAMNIT!" ... I also wonder if he's the same HP shareholder named Shelton Ehrlich who told a reporter that he didn't think HP's Chairman had done anything wrong by hiring private investigators to spy on company employees.

It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - No change in global warming - Y2k wink wink, nudge

Submitted by
bob_calder
bob_calder writes "Yes folks, that's what we get for getting our news third-hand. Should we buy the VHS tape of "Bloggers Gone Wild" to put on the shelf with our collection of Leonars Nimoy's "Strange and Stupid Mysteries: How the Builders of the Pyramids Caused the Ice Age"? Herewith, the final graf of the RealClimate article recounting the incident:

However, there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake. This lead to some truly death-defying leaping to conclusions when this issue hit the blogosphere. One of the worst examples (but there are others) was the 'Opinionator' at the New York Times (oh dear). He managed to confuse the global means with the continental US numbers, he made up a story about McIntyre having 'always puzzled about some gaps' (what?) , declared the the error had 'played havoc' with the numbers, and quoted another blogger saying that the 'astounding' numbers had been 'silently released'. None of these statements are true. Among other incorrect stories going around are that the mistake was due to a Y2K bug or that this had something to do with photographing weather stations. Again, simply false.
But what the hell. It was fun while it lasted. The rest of the article is recommended reading for those of us who are still convinced that there is a vast conspiracy of researchers who will *somehow* profit from it."
Portables

+ - Mini DNA replicator could benefit world's poor

Submitted by
bob_calder
bob_calder writes "From New Scientist: A pocket-sized device that runs on two AA batteries and copies DNA as accurately as expensive lab equipment has been developed by researchers in the US. The device has no moving parts and costs just $10 to make. It runs polymerase chain reactions (PCRs), to generate billions of identical copies of a DNA strand, in as little as 20 minutes. This is much faster than the machines currently in use, which take several hours. Victor Ugaz of Texas A&M University Journal reference: Angewandte Chemie International Edition (DOI: 10.1002/anie.200700306)"

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