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Comment: Re:why is human density important. (Score 1) 227

[edit: The US] will have huge and increasing energy and CO2 numbers, because we have growing economies and huge heavy industry.

Not for much longer, methinks. On either count. inflation adjusted figures say that, while the US economy somehow managed to (allegedly) grow 3% in 2010. It shrank in 2008, and 2009. Supposedly, estimated 2011 growth was 1.7%, but thats not official.

in comparison, china's economy(measured by pure GDP) has an average 10% growth rate, year after year, since....well, quite a few decades now.

FYI, the sources for this data come from "The CIA world factbook".

Comment: Re:why is human density important. (Score 1) 227

99% sounds suspicious to me, too. But it's definitely true that a LOT of oil is refiend in the US.

again, from the wikipedia page I quoted;

Oil refineries in the US, don't even make it into ONE of the top 5(by volume) refineries in the world. Only 3 out of the top 10, are in the US.

(I was surprised to see that Korea is a major refiner. interesting)

Now, mind you, the US has a lot of horizontal scaling going on. There are around 30 refineries in texas alone, and it looks like 20 in california. most countries have only a handful of refineries, if they even have more than 1 major one. But then again, most countries only have a fraction of the population of the US, too.

Comment: Re:Ha, you threaten teacher jobs and see what happ (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41859401) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?
The parent post I was replying to, made a blanket statement, "Standardized tests are worthless for rating teachers. " This should be obviously false. I can believe there are bad tests out there. That does not mean, however, that the concept of using standardized tests to rate teachers, is bad. Perhaps what is needed, is to stop attempting to "rate teachers", and instead focus 100% on "rate the student's educational progress". That is the real thing that matters. Basic principles of business, and similar: reward based on the factors that actually matter, rather than side issues.

Comment: Re:pain relief (Score 1) 439

by bolthole (#41859297) Attached to: Massachusetts May Soon Change How the Nation Dies

"Alleviate pain" is a whoole lot different from "take my life away" !!

Why is there no research into simply turning off pain receptors or some such? !
With all the disgusting surgeries out there, i figure there has to be some sugery for "turn me into someone with non-functional nerve endings"??

Or most likely.. there IS.. but the problem with that, is that there is a not-quite-zero chance of some of these patients NOT dying after all. SO, risk analysis by businesses done:

a)provide guaranteed effective death pill on demand.
No lawsuits. WIN!!

b) provide something that would actually "alleviate pain" literally... but since it's permenant, will result in some percentage of lawsuits.
Nope, go with option a.

This is disgusting

Comment: Re:AI cannot teach what matters most (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41812313) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?
[parental fail]

I'd rather have her in a classroom with other kids where she can learn to make friends

[/parental fail]

A kid isnt in a classroom "to make friends". A kid is supposed to be in a classroom *to learn*.

Being "in school" to make friends, is a different matter, however.

I think [being social is] more important than learning to read and do math.

Wow. And there we have it, folks; Why most american children are idiots. Because their parents think it is more important to be social, than to "read and do math".

Comment: Re:Will word processing replace a secretary (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41812279) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?

A business executive was once asked what is the best word processing program and responded by saying a good secretary.

Very apropos quote. Because while "no program is as good as a good secretary", time has shown that "a good word processing program, and a modicum of user training" is *good enough*. To the point where only rich executives have a secretary. Yet 60 years ago, practically every manager had one.

Comment: Re:I'm a teacher . . . (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41811585) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?

As you say, good luck with a video (or even a reasonably sophisticated computer program) doing either of those things.

it's pretty trivial, actually.

1. If its all 1-to-1 computer/student interaction, there is no "classroom".

2. Just videotape the "good teacher". These teachers who engage the student, are still pretty much in lecture mode, after elementary school. There is not much difference between "teacher delivering a lecture in real live". vs "watching same teacher on a screen". It's not the 3d-ness of the teacher that captures the attention of the child; its the performing skills of the teacher. That comes through either way.

Not all teachers resonate with all students. Which is why the pre-recorded approach is PERFECT. Some students have a "bad year" in a subject because the teacher doesnt resonate with them in the subject that year.

But what if they had the ability to change the teacher in that subject at will, to the one that *they* picked for themselves? !

Far superior to the "well cross your fingers and hope you get a teacher you like next year" approach .

Comment: Re:No they are not. (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41811525) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?

He will ask a normally happy kid that all of sudden is all down, what's wrong. So no, you can not replace a good teacher. A good teacher is a source of inspiration and a safe haven.

Yes you can. In case you're wondering with what, they're called "good parents".

The main problems with US society was when teachers started to be viewed as a substitute for good parents.

Fix the problems with the parents (for example, so that the kids parents dont get that divorce you reference earlier), and suddenly, the kid does a whole lot better in school. Strange but true.

Comment: Re:Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence? (Score 1) 570

by bolthole (#41811485) Attached to: Are Teachers Headed For Obsolescence?

"I can't stop the Khan Academy video and ask it ..."

You have just described why replacing teachers with static video, is lacking.
You have not described why replacing teachers with a comprehensive, dynamic cross-linked teaching engine, is lacking.

In reality, the computer driven model is MUCH MUCH better, because it would allow even timid students to delve into side questions far more deeply than in a regular classroom.
In fact, sometimes, seeing the available side questions can spark more knowlege in the learner than they might otherwise get in just sitting in a room listening to a lecture from a teacher.

It approaches the effectiveness of the old "personal tutor" over a "classroom", which only the rich could afford in the past.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972