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Comment Laptops are not necessary (Score 1) 101

Given the fact money is unevenly distrubuted through the school systems, thanks to local property taxes, some teachers must buy basic supplies for their own students. Laptops will not fix the funding problems. We need a more stable source of revenue than local bond and property taxes. Once these schools get something more akin to a real amount of money to spend on educating their charges can we then even contemplate giving them laptops or chromebooks or whatever. Let's deal with the underlying problems first rather than throwing solution du jour at them.

Comment Re:and the other way around (Score 1) 564

I would love to see physicists stop writing garbage like this which is completely ignorant of the literature it purports to analyse. There are so many problems with the basic data gathering here that I don't know where to even start. They seem to think that literature research and argument on the Táin stopped somewhere in the 1960's and they seem to think that using a known modern editorial admixture is the same as the original text.

Comment Re:See this all the time (Score 2) 287

If you wanted a more diverse but still very well understood set of languages, I would have gone for English, Sanskrit, and Arabic. English and Sanskrit are distantly related but far enough away that you can make good inferences out of them and Arabic because there is plenty of it out there and it is Semetic (like Modern Hewbrew without all of the loan words form Indo-European languages).

Comment See this all the time (Score 4, Insightful) 287

I see this all the time (I have a PhD in the humanities and I am a software engineer) where someone from outside the field does something and claims it is a universal law but really, they just worked on English and cannot (or will not) prove that it works for other languages. Usually, these papers also lack any kind of literature review and ignore many of the problems that this would uncover. I saw one paper by a physicist that tried to use bit fields to model language change; it was just massively reductionist and couldn't explain anything at all for all the mathematical rigour.

I go to my University's language lunch which has lots of this and scare the pants off grad students by saying "this is all very well but does this work for Japanese or Old Irish or any other language?" This usually makes their faces go white because naturally English is the ONLY language that matters and is therefore "universal".

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