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Comment: University of Phoenix and California educators (Score 1) 605

by coldandcalculating (#42914903) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?
My wife is in a California English Language Teaching certification course online with the University of Phoenix - they have a similar online writing based curriculum. From time to time, she lets me read some of the things her classmates are writing. From what I have seen, a substantial number of educators in the state of California often have terrible writing skills. Their spelling is not great, either. There are many schools in San Diego where school children receive little or no help at home with reading or writing, not to mention math, science, art, or history. Teachers are really the first and only line of defense between these kids and illiteracy. Since most students don't do much reading or writing on their own outside of facebook posts or texting, it is unlikely that they will learn writing skills by experiencing good writing. If their teachers haven't got it together, there is very little chance that anyone else is going to set them aright.

Naturally, these kids grow up and start applying to colleges. Some of them are accepted and must be responsible for the awful blog posts you're talking about.

Comment: Re:Portal 2 then _____ (Score 1) 550

I got my wife to start playing Portal first, then Portal 2. She has also enjoyed the Torchlight series.

Still doesn't play L4D. This is a slow process, but it has been fun.

The best way to keep her from being embarrassed by her comparative skill level is to never bring it up. Tips are okay, but only if she asks for them. Obviously everybody is different, but think how annoying gaming would have been to you if someone hovered over your shoulder while you were learning to play.

Comment: Re:How fast? (Score 5, Informative) 160

by coldandcalculating (#41015699) Attached to: Scientists Store Entire Textbook In DNA
The fastest DNA polymerases can copy a template at around 250 bases/sec. Chemical DNA synthesis is much slower.

As for read speeds, DNA sequencing can be done serially (500-800 bases in a matter of hours - 1 cent per base) or massively parallel (100-200 bases per read; 100 million reads; overnight - $1000 per chip by year's end?)

Tools allowing for rapid synthesis (write) and sequencing (read) of DNA would enable a biotech revolution similar in scope and impact to the computing revolution of the last century. As far as I know, this technology is still incredibly far away, but definitely merits relentless R&D.

Comment: But Read/Write Speeds are atrocious (Score 1, Offtopic) 303

by coldandcalculating (#41015567) Attached to: First Pictures of Apple's New Mini Connector
The fastest DNA polymerases can copy a template at around 250 bases/sec. Chemical DNA synthesis is much slower.

As for read speeds, DNA sequencing can be done serially (500-800 bases in a matter of hours - 1 cent per base) or massively parallel (100-200 bases per read; 100 million reads; overnight - $1000 per chip by year's end?)

Tools allowing for rapid synthesis (write) and sequencing (read) of DNA would enable a biotech revolution similar in scope and impact to the computing revolution of the last century. As far as I know, this technology is still incredibly far away, but definitely merits relentless R&D.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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