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Comment Figure Out What Happened on April 7th (Score 3, Insightful) 210

Looking at the graph in the article, there's on obvious inflection point that occurs on 7-Apr. Prior to that, the two lines (opened and closed items) are basically tracking each other. After that point, the opened items (red) retains the same slope; but the closed items (green) switches to a different, shallower (but thereafter basically constant) slope. And thus the two curves veer away from each other from that point.

So: What happened on 7-Apr? Did one or more developers quit, burnout, take a long vacation? Maybe they haven't been replaced yet?

After that I'd try real hard to stop new features from coming in, and start thumbing through a Brooks book to look for suggestions in an emergency like this.

Comment Re:Schooling, perhaps? (Score 1) 519

Wisconsin is a blistering disaster of an example. The worst thing about education in this country is that classroom management has been taken out of the hands of the people in the classrooms, organized in their professional union, and taken over by political wonks with axes to grind in spite of the kids.

Comment Re:Long lines (Score 1) 91

I always think the same at the college where I teach; the single biggest attack surface, and the easiest to reach, is the large packed line outside the school on days when they decide to do universal ID checks. (Fortunately they only do this on the days immediately following some national tragedy.) It seems much safer on the days where a security guard is just alert and actually watching the people walking in, instead of doing mindless heads-down busy work checking ID cards.

Comment Re:Tax breaks = Prisoners' Dilemna (Score 2) 94

In addition, there's also a moral hazard problem with the politicians shepherding these deals. They get positive PR for "making big deals", "bringing business to the state", photo ops shaking hands and breaking ground, etc. The fact that in the long run it's a net negative is not a problem for them -- in a few years they'll be gone to another post and the public will be holding the bag of debt, as usual.

Comment Re:Just count from an epoch (Score 1) 291

"...since 1967 the second has been defined as the duration of 9192631770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom."

This "second", what an inelegant unit to use for the basis; it's not inherently based on an order of magnitude count in the first place; really it's just a legacy of some base-60 divisions of Earth's rotation time. Don't you think it would be better to define the second more simply as 10^10 periods of cesium 133 radiation? Then you'd really be on to something.


Comment Re:Somebody's on the Pearson payroll (Score 1) 363

I actually do this in my classes. My department has an in-house written College Algebra text, but I recommend to my students as an "alternative" that they get Sullivan College Algebra, 8th edition, for about $5 online.

Two things with this: One is that potentially I could, like the professor in the story, get in trouble with my department for this arrangement (it's a bit of a gray zone). Second is that the college bookstore can't stock old editions from the publisher. So it's a one-by-one acquisition process. You can't depend that students have it on day one; therefore I have to provide handouts for the first few weeks before they get books. And if you did this across the institution, you would likely deplete available sources of the old editions (e.g., I allow one edition back of Weiss Introductory Statistics, and I'm pretty sure that I've single-handedly caused the depletion of it at Amazon -- I already need to keep exercise lists two editions back, which is a maintenance problem when I adjust my assignments, and further back than that and certain exercises have values changed or don't exist at all). Online homework is chimerical, IMO; college students students should have the maturity to do their own homework and then verify with odd-numbered answers at the back of the book; when I tried online homework in the past, it just threw up more technical barriers for students to say they couldn't do it.

So I agree with the GP that open textbooks are the way to go. OpenStax at Rice University recently upped their offerings quite a bit; not perfect, but finally over the threshold where I could work with them. I'm currently trying to puzzle out how I could switch to using their College Algebra and Introductory Statistics books, in the face of officially required in-house texts from my department.

Comment Re:The real issue (Score 2) 363

"If they are so incompetent as to not be able to choose their own classroom material, then how the hell did they become an Associate Professor?"

For published research. I have multiple acquaintances who are new professors who don't even write their own lectures (they are given canned PowerPoint presentations and tests from the department), and this is considered roundly to be a good thing by all parties, because it frees up time for the research by which all promotions and advancements are judged. Professors' primary job is research; teaching is a secondary side-issue.

But other than that I agree with your observation on textbooks; they should have more authority.

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