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Comment: Re:Lame Lame Lame! (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48949017) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

The way we teach calculus is based off of rote memorization. You need all the rules to solve the integrals. However, functional analysis is an almost entirely different kind of skill. Functional analysis is based on the theory that underlies calculus but that is usually skipped in order to just teach straight problem solving.

I see skills like functional analysis as more important since you learn what to expect from functions and why. The exact answer a computer can give you but a better understanding of functions will tell you very quickly if you made a major error in setting up the system on a computer, or if there are multiple answer how to determine which is the correct one for your system.

There is just not enough time to teach understanding (since it takes so much experience to gain it) and the memorization of rules for solving integrals and derivatives. Since any cellphone, laptop, tablet, etc can solve integrals and differentials but they can't give you understanding I think we should be spending time on the parts that computers can't do. As a result you can solve more realistic (and FAR harder) problems and you learn far more valuable skills in problem solving.

+ - Islamic State promises to behead Obama in the White House->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "

''We will cut off your head in the White House'

That's the promise from the Islamic State to Obama and they vow to turn America into an "Islamic Province" (or in Islamic-speak, 'Wilayah Islamia'

Now that Islamic State has issued that threat, why Obama and his NSA / CIA gang do something about it?

If an American says similar thing Obama and his goons would have swoop down and pounded that poor fella, but when Islamic State issued that threat, nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !

Is the American government a coward or what? A government which only dare to punish innocent Christians and not the bloody Moslems?


Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I really think it depends (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48948825) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

I can't even imagine dong that for my subject. It is impressive that you managed to do it and I am thankful I don't have to go down that path.

My Master's thesis will be on chromatography simulations at industrial concentrations with industrial bio-molecules.

Overall I think that computers have helped a lot if used wisely and have enabled entirely new areas of research that are saving hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

They can also definitely be abused but that is a reason to learn how to integrate them effectively that is not a reason to ban them.

Open Source

Inkscape Version 0.91 Released 10

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
Bryce writes: Four years since the last major Inkscape release, now news is out about version 0.91 of this powerful vector drawing and painting tool. The main reason for the multi-year delay is that they've switched from their old custom rendering engine to using Cairo now, improving their support for open source standards. This release also adds symbol libraries and support for Visio stencils, cross platform WMF and EMF import and export, a native Windows 64-bit build, scads of bug fixes, and much more. Check out the full release notes for more information about what has changed, or just jump right to downloading your package for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X.

Comment: Re:depends on what they use it for (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48948803) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

Tech to read textbooks is great for engineering texts!

With an ebook you can SEARCH. Trying to find out where a table of values I need to pipe roughness or viscosity relationships vs temperature for a certain chemical is so much easier to do with searching. Most engineering books seem to have about a hundred pages or so of just tables, graphs etc at the end.

Comment: Re:Lame Lame Lame! (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48948795) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

Not using tech also limits the problems you can solve and the kinds of approaches you can take.

During an exam there is just no way to solve coupled ODEs or god forbid PDEs but there are a few calculators that can solve those kinds of problems now. This means you can give more realistic equations and get more realistic answers instead of dumbing problems down to the point where a human can do them.

At this point there is no real need to solve an integral, a differential, ODE, PDE, coupled system etc by hand Too much time is spent on this skill a computer can do and not spent on WHY you should setup that ODE. What does it mean? What kind of answers should you get? Will the problem have multiple answers? How do you know which one is the correct one?

We need a better understanding of why. Knowing how to setup a problem to the point where a computer can solve it and knowing that it is the right problem to solve is far more important than memorizing derivative rules and applying them. I can teach a computer to solve a derivative I can't teach it to figure out what the right set of equations to model a problem is.

Comment: Re:This pays credence to my rant about tech (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48948755) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

At the college level though I see a different kind of problem. Many of the people from 3rd world countries I have encountered do VERY well at rote memorization tasks and can often solve engineering problems that are almost exactly what they have done before but when you step outside of that they quickly run into problems. I find that american and canadian engineers are more likely to rely on a computer to solve the hard math part but they are much better at figuring out how to define the problem and what should be done to solve it.

I am not sure why but most european countries still seem to do rote memorization for many disciplines and base all grades on a single 2 hour exam. It is all pretty silly. Maybe some day education won't be confused with memorization.

Comment: I really think it depends (Score 1) 58

by Ambassador Kosh (#48948707) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?

In grade school I can't think of many good uses of constant tech but there should be times specifically for it to learn.

At the college level it depends on the type of courses. I find that a laptop helps a lot in my engineering classes at bother the undergraduate and now at the masters level.

Especially at the masters level it is easy to look up subjects you need to read more on as the professor mentions then so you can read the articles later. After some classes I will have 20 tabs queued up to read.

Some of my classes even expect you to have a laptop with you since the lessons are sometimes done interactively. Recently we have been working on molecular dynamics simulations and looking at the importance of minimizing energy before a simulation, making sure the random starting point is stable, figuring out the free energy of a reaction etc.

There is a huge gaping difference between someone telling you those things are important and you actually doing them and working along with the class. All of our simulations have also required data analysis and visualization of the data and you are expected to quickly be able to parse various strange text formats and do some fairly complex calculations on the data. We normally use python or matlab.

It is also very useful for solving some of the math problems we run into in classes now. Even when an ODE has an analytically solution you don't want to solve it by hand and a computer present allows you to focus on the understanding of the problem and let the computer solve the math part.

Comment: Re:Tools make it easier to accomplish tasks. (Score 2) 58

by TWX (#48948621) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?
A general purpose computer is only useful if the student is willing to use it for a certain specific purpose. Given that there's a whole lot of temptation to use it for things that the student wants to do, rather than the things that the student is supposed to do, it can be incredibly easy to not be productive with the very machine that was intended to increase productivity.

I don' think that general-purpose computers should be used in schools without software to limit the use of the computers. That can be for a duration, like during class time or during the school day, or it can be full-time, so that a computer is still limited to its intended function in its entirety, but leaving computers open to do anything just means that much more opportunity to not do work.

Can Students Have Too Much Tech? 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-4th-graders-don't-need-weaponized-roombas dept.
theodp writes: In a NY Times Op Ed, developmental psychologist Susan Pinker goes against the conventional White House wisdom about the importance of Internet connectivity for schoolchildren and instead argues that students can have too much tech. "More technology in the classroom has long been a policy-making panacea," Pinker writes. "But mounting evidence shows that showering students, especially those from struggling families, with networked devices will not shrink the class divide in education. If anything, it will widen it." Tech can help the progress of children, Pinker acknowledges, but proper use is the rub. As a cautionary tale, Pinker cites a study by Duke economists that tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. The news was not good. "Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores," the economists wrote, adding that license to surf the Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.

Comment: Re:Stop rape in India? (Score 1) 214

by Rei (#48948429) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Actually, disabling substances are used in the vast majority of rapes. The most common is alcohol (trying to get the victim too drunk to resist or looking for someone who already is, in about two thirds of rapes), but drugs are used in about 20% of additional rapes. Very, very few rapes follow the classic Hollywood script of "stranger leaps out of the bushes with a knife" - so vanishingly few that the scenario is statistically almost nonexistant. Disabling substances are extremely popular because 1) they work very well, 2) the victim often can't remember the attacker well if at all, 3) the victim is not in a state to be making a report until long after the event, 4) the victim's ability to make legally reliable testimony is compromised. Why would people choose the Hollywood way over that?

And I'm sorry, but if you think that you can watch everything you consume every second of every evening you're out and not slip up, you're an idiot. And yes, the reason people get mad at people like you is that the problem is that there are people out there drugging other peoples' drinks en masse and thinking that this is acceptable behavior, not that victims haven't gained supernatural abilities to hyperfocus on everything they may potentially consume at all times and never slip up. "Look, I'm sorry that you're dying of pancreatic cancer, but you should have been getting pancreatic function tests daily and working two jobs to pay for weekly MRI scans to find it before it could have posed a threat to you, and because you weren't, it's your own damned fault, and don't act like I'm a jerk for pointing this out!" That's how you come across when you take that tack. The problem is the f***ing cancer, not the victim.

+ - Nuclear safety push to be softened after U.S. objections->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The United States looks set to succeed in watering down a proposal for tougher legal standards aimed at boosting global nuclear safety, according to senior diplomats.

Diplomatic wrangling will come to a head at a 77-nation meeting in Vienna next month that threatens to expose divisions over required safety standards and the cost of meeting them, four years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Switzerland has put forward a proposal to amend the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), arguing stricter standards could help avoid a repeat of Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami sparked triple nuclear meltdowns, forced more than 160,000 people to flee nearby towns and contaminated water, food and air."

Link to Original Source

GeForce GTX 980 and 970 Cards From MSI, EVGA, and Zotac Reviewed 19

Posted by Soulskill
from the price-vs.-performance-vs.-really-loud-fans dept.
MojoKid writes: In all of its iterations, NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture has proven to be a good performing, power-efficient GPU thus far. At the high-end of the product stack is where some of the most interesting products reside, however. When NVIDIA launches a new high-end GPU, cards based on the company's reference design trickle out first, and then board partners follow up with custom solutions packing unique cooling hardware, higher clocks, and sometimes additional features. With the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980, NVIDIA's board partners were ready with custom solutions very quickly. These three custom GeForce cards, from enthusiast favorites EVGA, MSI, and Zotac represent optimization at the high-end of Maxwell. Two of the cards are GTX 980s: the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G and the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omgea, the third is a GTX 970 from EVGA, their GeForce GTX 970 FTW with ACX 2.0. Besides their crazy long names, all of these cards are custom solutions, that ship overclocked from the manufacturer. In testing, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 was the fastest, single-GPU available. The custom, factory overclocked MSI and Zotac cards cemented that fact. Overall, thanks to a higher default GPU-clock, the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G was the best performing card. EVGA's GeForce GTX 970 FTW was also relatively strong, despite its alleged memory bug. Although, as expected, it couldn't quite catch the higher-end GeForce GTX 980s, but occasionally outpaced the AMD's top-end Radeon R9 290X.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell