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Comment: My sympathies (Score 2) 208

Sadly, it's not just education that's suffers the "make-it-work with $0" mindset. This along the lines of "the beatings will continue until morale improves" except it's "the budget will not be funded until results are achieved." This is a management problem, not an IT problem. You need someone intelligent who speaks management to make it understood that they have to have realistic and definable IT goals which includes a willingness to fund them on your side.

I don't know much about your community but if you're lucky enough to have a grant-savvy PTO, you might be able to get them to write a grant application for the funding but, again, you need to be very clear about what the goals are and how the hardware/software you want will achieve them.

Also your local board of ed and board of finance may be interested in the dipping into the IT budget when pet project funds run low. They tend to frown on stuff like that.

Comment: Re:There is never a magic bullet (Score 1) 343

by deacent (#38982855) Attached to: Three Unexpected Data Points Describe Elementary School Quality

I feel for you. I lived on campus at NJIT in the early 90s. At the time, our campus was adjacent to Central High which has since moved. Newark has a lot of problems that run together so much, it's hard to tell where to start. Christy hasn't been kind to public schools in general and especially punative towards struggling urban schools. This is short-sighted and not at all in keeping with the point of having a government which is to maintain a stable society.

I haven't been to Newark in a very long time, but I'd be surprised if things have changed a lot. There was a great deal of mistrust all the way around. Residents mistrusted officials because of so many broken promises ("life will be better" followed by status quo or corruption). The Newark Teacher Union was suspicious of help offered by the colleges because they thought it would be an opening to start firing teachers or reducing their benefits. The mostly white middle-class and non-US college students and staff kept to themselves while worrying about local crime (muggings and car theft occurred several times a month on campus alone) and stayed in the suburbs as much as they could.

It's hard to imagine that there was a time in the distant past (about 70 years ago) when Newark had so much more going for it but it did. For the most part, the residents of Newark that I met are good, hard-working people who deserve a lot better than snarky comments about their home.

Comment: Narrow point of view (Score 1) 688

by deacent (#38681616) Attached to: "Learn To Code, Get a Job" According To CNN
Saying that someone should learn to code because we live in a digital age and use all sorts of information technology everyday is like saying we should all learn to compose and perform music because we all listen to it. Don't get me wrong. I gladly encourage anyone who finds coding interesting to pursue it. But not everyone finds it interesting or even intuitable. And there are definitely some people who should never, ever write code for a living (I've encountered some of their handiwork).

Comment: National Computer Camps (Score 1) 177

by deacent (#38626628) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tech-Related Summer Camps For Teenagers?

Back in the 80s, I attended National Computer Camp (please don't hold the web design against them) where I got my first real taste of coding. My daughter attended last summer and it is still an amazing environment run by its founder, Dr. Zabinski. Of course, they continue to update lessons to keep up with modern technology. They cater to all levels of programming so if that's your thing, you will definitely not be bored. There's a lot of time given to creative computing and gaming. They're pretty flexible about supporting campers various areas of interest. The food is good and there's a lot of freedom.

The only downside is that I'd say that you're probably on the older side of their campers. The mean age is probably about 12 with the majority between 11 to 13. But I know from first hand experience that they've had non-US campers before.

Comment: Really like these devices (Score 1) 163

by deacent (#36171990) Attached to: The Future of Shopping
Been using this in our local Stop & Shop for the last year and it really does make the trip easier. You're allowed to use the express lane no matter how much you're buying if you use the hand-held scanner. The only pain is occassionally they do a random audit which requires a cashier to come over and scan 7 random items in your bags. The cool part is you can bag as you add to your cart and keep track of how much you're spending.

Comment: Re:Most publishers make two different editions (Score 1) 1252

by deacent (#31118822) Attached to: Texas Textbooks Battle Is Actually an American War

I used to work for McGraw-Hill Education. My office did web work and Flash/Director CD-ROMs to support the K-12 books for their divisions. It's been a long time since I've been with them but I very distinctly recall that Texas, Florida, and California hold huge sway over the content of the national editions. This happens because those three states do statewide purchasing of all of textbooks for public schools instead of setting requirements and letting local districts purchase books that meet the criteria like every other state. Large publishers don't like to develop separate editions for states. It's expensive. They mostly do social studies since there's usually an element of local history and culture required in that subject. Sometimes a state will make special arrangements with a publisher to get their own state edition in a particular book. This usually involves the state ensuring a certain amount of sales by requiring the book. But don't think large publishers are going to put out a special Texas edition of science if the same book will sell just as well in much of the rest of the country.

Math

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

Posted by samzenpus
from the less-math-more-social-science dept.
artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

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