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Comment: Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 1) 128 128

Not necessarily. It doesn't take much math to be able to do probably 99% of the programming the world demands today. System design should probably be (and probably is) left to systems architects who have a better understanding of it than the rank and file code monkeys.

If you want to be a system designer/architect/whatever, you maybe should have a degree in software engineering. If you want to be a code monkey a diploma where they ensure that you can write Java, C, add, subtract and multiply is handy. Computer science is a different thing (I realize that "computer science" in the US actually isn't a different thing).

My computer science degree consisted of a lot of math classes and things like experimental OS design, formal proofs and complexity analysis. I was too early for all the quantum stuff they do now.

Comment: Re: 200 cycles? (Score 1) 131 131

I mean, that's why you don't "purchase" a phone on a two year contract. The company gives you a "free" phone when you sign a two year contract, or a discount on a phone if you sign the contract (but the phone purchase is independent).

Maybe it's different with your company, but no cell company I've ever heard of warrants their phones for the entire contract period (unless it happens to be 1 year and the manufacturer's warranty is also 1 year).

I usually replace my phone batteries around 2 years, or a bit earlier if they need a screen replacement (as mine does now). New batteries for iPhones usually cost about $20 and take about 10 minutes to install. Five if you've got some practice.

Comment: Re:Trained vs Untrained... (Score 1) 195 195

You seem to have described the general shape of a bell curve, but you go off the rails a bit with things like "There are more people who are, statistically, absolutely average."

The mean, sometimes also called the expected value, is defined as SUM(values) / N where N is the number of values. Using that definition and the definition of a Gaussian (which is what a bell curve is) you can prove that the mean falls precisely in the middle of the distribution: there are equal numbers above and below the mean. Since results of an IQ test are distributed pretty normally, the OP is correct: half of people have an IQ that is below average (and half have an IQ that is above average). There may in fact be no individual people who are exactly average. If the measurement is continuous then this is almost certain.

That result is extensible to any symmetric distribution (of which the Gaussian is one). In fact, the reason they're called symmetric distributions is because they're symmetric about the mean.

I teach statistics, by the way.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 195 195

"playing around with passengers" He he.

I grew up in a small town and the motor association ran driving instruction classes at the high school. Pretty much everyone took them, because they were cheap, convenient, and gave you a discount on your insurance. I think the training was over about six months, with weekly classroom sessions and a dozen or so in-car sessions. They scheduled it in the winter to make things more fun. Add to that that most of us had been driving with parental supervision since we were 14, and quite a few "unofficially" on farms since well before that.

As an adult I moved to a different province. One of my friends decided he was going to get a drivers license (at 25 or so, about average for the city). He took an hour of instruction, hopped in a car and did his test. He came back and said driving is one of the hardest things he's ever done, but he'd passed.

Comment: Re:take from the aircraft/drone world (Score 1) 195 195

Passenger jets didn't have HUDs for a long time (maybe most still don't). Fighter jets got them pretty much as soon as the technology was practical. HUDs were designed for providing information in circumstances where the pilot is very much in control, and under a heavy workload.

I remember reading about HUDs in the nineties though, and the design was critical. What you presented, and how, made the difference between a valuable tool and a worse than useless distraction.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 195 195

I teach sailing. I've noticed that almost all students are nearly incapable of switching their attention among multiple things. They fixate on what they're doing with the throttle when backing out of a slip and forget about watching where the boat is. Or they remember to watch off the stern and forget about the bow. Actually sailing, they watch their heading and forget about the wind, or vice versa. If they get distracted, it all goes to hell. But, with practice and a teacher reminding them, they learn. Sometimes we chat so they get practice having a conversation (and more importantly, ignoring a conversation when necessary) and sailing at the same time.

I remember my driving instructor doing the same thing. Do you know what's behind you? When was the last time you checked your mirrors? How fast are you going? What did that sign say?

You can learn to deal with distractions, but you have to specifically practice, and it doesn't hurt to have a teacher.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of hands-free cell phones (Score 1) 195 195

Smoking (and regular cell phone use) also tie up a hand. If you've ever driven under less than ideal circumstances you know how helpful a second hand on the wheel is. Most people hesitate to drop their burning plant matter or expensive cell phone in an emergency.

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