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Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 0) 558

by dcollins (#48626621) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Has anyone you know actually defended themselves in any of those cases with a gun, or is it all really a panicky fever dream? I honestly can't tell if you're asserting that an evening stroll in Gary, Indiana requires a gun to be safe or not. Coming from a non-gated community in New York City (Brooklyn) where I don't think I've ever heard a gun go off, and certainly never seen one outside of police, and traveling around frequently at 2AM or later on the street and public transit, your worldview seems crazily warped.

Comment: Re:Pare down (Score 1) 312

by dcollins (#48538931) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

I might argue that a student texting is pretty low-impact on other students in the room; say, equivalent to doodling on notebook paper. Compared to the possibility of disruption by striking up social conversations, perhaps texting is actually an improvement.

Do your classes have mandatory/scored attendance? I don't, and so that opens the pipe to truly-disinclined students to simply not be there at all, and fail on the tests like they were going to anyway. I've found in the last year that I've had much higher levels of discussion, and very enjoyable interactions, even in my remedial classes with the half of the students that are actually motivated to come to class and get engaged with the subject (irrespective of having cell phones accessible).

Comment: Re:Pare down (Score 4, Insightful) 312

by dcollins (#48534345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

You need to come visit Earth in the 21st Century sometime. At least among the college students I teach:

- College is the time to practice, exercise, and test out being an adult. Yes it's fundamentally a safer and lower-impact space than elsewhere. If there are some failures along they way then they can recover and be used as learning experiences.

- Students are not having educations paid for by mommy and daddy; mommy and daddy are probably dirt poor or not in the picture. Student's education are being paid for by financial aid from the state (I think 80%) at my school and egregious loans.

- Phones are part of their lives even if they're not physically on the at all times. Most of my students have jobs, children, other family members they take care of, and expect to be available in case of an issue or emergency. Yes, this makes it much harder for them.

Frankly I say this as an lecturer who fought bitterly against having any phones out in the classroom for several years (points off, attendance penalties, etc.) Within the last year I finally surrendered on the issue because it was simply unwinnable and caused escalations up to and including physical threats against myself. Having relaxed that requirement, I've found that counter-intuitively it seems like less of a problem; students do seem to keep them available in a mature fashion, and actually fewer of them are challenging the rule by fiddling continuously with them. So that's just anecdotal, but it's been my pleasantly surprising experience in all my classes this year.

Comment: Re:It's an observation, not an argument (Score 1) 481

by dcollins (#48451827) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

What, pray tell, does stop-and-frisk "do to make NYC work", if anything? It practically never finds weapons or drugs. It's not even targeted at the cohort most likely to use drugs. It's just raw gamesmanship by the NYPD (look at our mighty stop numbers), against the usual part of the population who takes it on the chin because their poor, uneducated, and don't have the power to fight back (legally or politically). You might as well claim that slavery was a requirement "to make the South work".

Comment: Re:It's more of a statement about NYC (Score 1) 481

by dcollins (#48451783) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

Totally disagree, as a resident of NYC for about 10 years now. What was it, 2 weeks back, I put my folks (senior citizens from Maine) on the subway to go home by themselves for the first time (early meeting for me at work that day) -- and reported being offered help up stairs multiple times, by both black and white people. Frankly, I'm more prone to trusting strangers here than back in Maine where I grew up.

If anything I would say the converse: NYC policing is only able to be as corrupt as it is in such a large and diverse city. When the managers break the law and say, "you're required to write 20 tickets and one arrest every month", they can pick on the black neighborhoods to dish out abuse, because they know they're poor and powerless. The war on drugs is effectively indistinguishable from simple race-based sabotage.

Have you ever lived in NYC, or are you just responding via TV show knowledge?

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