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Comment: Education is only part of the real point (Score 3, Interesting) 12

by schnell (#49383811) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast

For many (most) traditional four-year college students, the primary value of the experience is something that a MOOC or Khan or whatever online can never ever replicate.

College is for many kids the first time you will live away from home, with all the distractions and temptations of the real world - but without losing your job and ending up homeless if you get too drunk and are too hung over to go to class the next day. It is a concentrated social mixing bowl where members of the opposite (or same as it may be) sexes come together with no parental supervision and have to figure out how to deal with each other - but also surrounded by a throng of peers to help them figure it out or support them as necessary. It is a halfway transition period between full-time schooling in which you are expected to learn and recite facts obediently and a world where you are expected to challenge authority figures and be fully responsible for all your own decisions.

It is, in short, the real world but with "training wheels" on.

I can't speak for anyone else, but four years of training wheels after high school just barely got me to the point of being a functional adult who didn't melt down when exposed to reality. (I also really, really, enjoyed it too.) Away from home, full-time, co-educational college is an experience at that period of life that I think is irreplaceable and can't ever be matched by a different model.

Comment: Re:Does this law protect puppies? (Score 1) 1072

by phorm (#49374291) Attached to: Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory

Yes, the law be equitable only in this situation:
    You are a prostitute, and are heterosexual. Somebody wishes to engage your services. You say no, because you don't swing that way...

Otherwise, frankly, what happens in my or anyone else's bedroom is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, because it doesn't involve you. Also, if your religion regards their relationship as a sin, I suggest you stop eating shellfish, working on a Sunday, and any gazillion things that are all old testament and have nothing to do with being "Christian" (the religion that supposedly follows a guy who basically preached love and acceptance, ya know).

Comment: If they're worried about privacy (Score 1) 442

by phorm (#49368253) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

How about, rather than an always-on camera, one that can be activated by certain flight crew members in the event of an emergency. It might not help if terrorists have already seized a plane, etc, but if somebody catches on before everyone is taken down then at least there will be a visual record of what happened.

+ - An Illustrated History of "iPhone Killers"

Submitted by schnell
schnell (163007) writes "In June 2007, the original iPhone — with 2G-only connectivity, no native apps and $499 on-contract pricing for a 4 GB model — launched exclusively on AT&T in the US. At the time, the US smartphone marketplace was dominated by BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, with Palm and Symbian as afterthoughts and Android still in prototype — leaving the industry to wonder whether Apple's phone venture was a legitimate contender or a flash in the pan. Since then, dozens of phones have been lauded as "iPhone killers," and Yahoo! has a collection of sixteen of the most notable. These putative assassins range from the original Motorola Droid to the LG Voyager with the Palm Pre and the BlackBerry Storm in between. In retrospect, did any of these devices really have a chance? And what would a real iPhone killer require?"

Comment: Re:Economy (Score 1) 197

by phorm (#49367873) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

You'd think that was true - and it was for awhile - but it isn't now. Many of the eTailers in Canada have pricing that's pretty close to the box stores when you consider shipping, but then you're getting an item that's sight-unseen and the hassle of possible returns. U.S. eTailers had better prices, but international shipping, - as well as the bend-me-over brokerage fees that UPS/Fed-Ex charge - dramatically raises the price of any cross-border online shopping. With the Canadian dollar in the shitter, that extra %20 makes it even worse.

So, unless you're ordering something from China (that you're willing to wait longer for, though pay much less for many things), there's no bargain there.

Where Future Shop f**ked up was the have box locations but stock-wise they're pretty much an online-store. Their video selection locally was pitiful, and everything was "if you'd like, you can order online and have it shipped." That does save you the shipping, but levels the playing field for Amazon-et-al dramatically in terms of wait-time etc
I tried them for some computer stuff, and even online their selection was pretty bad. I mean, if you're going to have an online store... why not increase your selection a bit?!

Comment: Re:Welcome to the USA (Score 1) 180

by schnell (#49363535) Attached to: Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

What was Churchill trying to communicate with Dresden?

I understand this comment is actually a rhetorical question to comment on the morality of the Allies in the Dresden firebombing. (BTW, Dresden was never intended to be "Dresden." It was an area bombing with incendiaries and was thus expected to cause indiscriminate damage to civilians alongside the military targets; but nobody involved had any clue it would turn out to be the indescribable charnel house it became.)

But in case anyone is interested in the actual question for purposes of historical context: there was a putative purpose for the Dresden bombing, and two actual audiences that were supposed to receive different messages.

  • The purported message of Dresden to the world was "Dresden has some military targets of benefit to the Wehrmacht, and we will show you that the Allies can always find and destroy them. This is part of an ongoing program where we will continue to find and destroy everything in Germany that has any military value. Please understand how fucked you are and save lives by surrendering."
  • The actual intended message of Dresden to Germany's leadership was "Yeah, you have figured out that our bombers can't attack from a safe altitude and hit the broad side of a barn. But that doesn't mean we will just give up. Instead, we can and will fuck your cities up to the maximum imaginable degree by bombing far and wide, even though we know lots of civilians will die. We claim that's against our principles, but you know what, Hitler? Given what you have done so far, we are not going to lose any sleep over any collateral damage in order to get you, so please leave some Earl Grey in Berchtesgaden for us."
  • The third message was from "Bomber Harris" and the RAF to SHAEF and Churchill - "Look, we are doing stuff to Germany that is visible and makes Allied civilians feel like Germans are feeling the pain of retribution. Oh, and by the way, look what a great job we're doing so after the war we should be a Very Important Branch of the Military." This, by the way, was pretty much the exact same message that Curtis LeMay's firebombings of Japan were intended to deliver to Roosevelt and then Truman.

Comment: Re:Big deal, yes (Score 1) 110

Yes, but that still doesn't cover a lot of places.
Here: City of 100k, 400km (248mi) from the nearest 1,000,000+ city,
My house: 8km (~5mi) from city center
Bus service: 7:00am->9:00pm hourly. Weekend service ends sooner. Some holidays with no service. Uptown (where much of the shopping is) requires a transfer in town.

Hardly a McMansion, and not far from city center, but also no way to get by without a car when you work late/early hours, are on-call, and/or don't otherwise want to walk through thick snow in the winter.

There *IS* a corner-store in my neighbourhood. If I just need a loaf of bread and some tomatoes I happily get some exercise and walk... but for anything more than that - frankly - you need a car.

(yes, it would be nice to have better bus service, but no luck with that thus far, and sometimes we're lucky if they clear our streets properly during a heavy snow let alone bike lanes).

Even in bigger cities, weather is sometimes restrictive for travelling by vehicle, let alone by bike or on foot. Further east you're lucky if you can get out of your house in some places.

Comment: Re:My 'old man' is coming out (Score 1) 404

by Dcnjoe60 (#49355303) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Seriously... have you worked with US millennials lately? I'm in a senior position where I work and regularly get to interact with new hires that have some form of computer science or MIS degree and are unable to comprehend simple sql or even how to use excel. Sure they got great grades and can kinda sorta regurgitate the facts they had to memorize (and mostly forget) for their classes but God forbid you ask them to do any sort of independent thinking. On top of it almost without exception they always think they are the smartest people in the room.

Well, you can do what companies did in the old days before so many people had a degree and actually train your employees. Many of today's technology graduates are book smart but that's about it. I used to work for a large state agency

Comment: Re:Government can't do much about it. (Score 1) 404

by Dcnjoe60 (#49355129) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Government can do things to encourage students to go into STEM programs, but it can't increase the relative market value of STEM jobs. Not without an exceptionally good reason to directly hire most grads for STEM jobs with salaries far above current market rates.

Historically, supply and demand determined wages. However, big business, with the help of government, doesn't want that, so they import excess workers saying they can't find qualified applicants. This holds down wages, which discourages people from seeking the skills that would make them qualified. Stopping H1B Visas would go a long way to increasing the market value of STEM jobs. However, that is unlikely to happen because higher wages means lower dividends.

Comment: Problem isn't STEM, but statistics (Score 2) 404

by Dcnjoe60 (#49355051) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

The problem is not that US STEM students are falling behind. The problem is in who gets tested. In many, many countries, only those students who show an aptitude for a STEM field get educated for that field, while many others end up getting trade skills. So, the top 10% of the US scores tend to single out the cream of the crop, in general, while the top 10% of others is the cream of the crop of the cream of the crop.

It would be similar to only using people in the comparison in the US who scored 32 or above on the ACT when comparing with other countries. But in the US, anybody who can pay (or borrow) can go to college, so the testing is using different types of populations which skews the statistics.

To be meaningful, statistics need to have the same base for comparison. You would think they would teach that in a STEM curriculum.

Comment: And on slashdot as well (Score 5, Interesting) 261

by phorm (#49354797) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

Yeah, this happens on Slash too, so apparently the Chinese astroturfing squad seems to lurk here as well. For example, in regards to cheating exams:

You have this guy mentioning that cheating test scores is also a big problem in China, followed by some more detailed posts as to why.

Then you have a response by an AC who basically says "oh it's just Westerners trying to make China look bad. We don't do that anymore! Look, I'm in the US now so I'm believable. Despite posting AC and having stereotypical Chinese grammatical mistakes common to non-landed Chinese astroturfers, modded +1

I point out that the previous response is an obvious astroturfer (aforementioned grammatical errors etc), and am modded down twice rather readily. But seriously, read the astroturfer's post out with a bad accent and it will sound like a Chinese villain from an old movie. The linguistic keys make it pretty clear the guy isn't somebody who's been living in the west for any length of time.

For the record, I have plenty of Chinese friends etc whom I've worked on language skills with. Missing pronouns is usually a fairly basic thing that gets fixed earlier on, as is the use of infinite verbs ("keep to spread" instead of "spreading"). So unless the poster had been living in Chinatown for the last few years, one would expect those language'isms to have cleared up by now.

Also, "flied lice", though attributed to a Chinese restaurateur in Lethal Weapon and added for humour, would be more of a Japanese/Korean language issue as they lack distinct "L" and "R" sounds in their language (or rather, "L" and "R" exist as single character/sound). Chinese don't really seem to have issues with consonant swaps in English.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.