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Comment: nice concept (Score 2) 42

by demonbug (#46698665) Attached to: Sony and Toyota Bring Real-Life Racing Into the Game World

Neat concept, but as others have said, pretty useless in practice except for a very small minority of people who own the game, the right car, and live in the right place.

I'm still waiting for the smartphone app they advertised prior to release that was supposed to allow you to take a GPS track from driving around (or walking) and turn it into an in-game course; that seems a lot more useful to a lot more people. Of course, it would also require them to release some sort of course maker, which so far they have failed to do. It feels like they've pretty much abandoned GT6 in favor of working on a version for next-gen consoles - updates thus far have been few, and mostly very minor.

Comment: A lot of misconceptions (Score 3, Informative) 273

by demonbug (#46476091) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions and outright ignorance about Common Core here. Common Core is basically just a restructuring of when different subjects are introduced, and how much emphasis is placed on each area at each grade level. For example, in mathematics where previously you might have an algebra class one year, then a geometry class another year, then trigonometry another year, etc., this might get reorganized so that material from each of these courses is introduced at different times in what proponents claim is a more logical structure that achieves better results (and there does seem to be a lot of evidence to support it). So instead of Algebra in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th, you might get some parts of what was in the Algebra class in 6th grade, a little more in 7th, some more in 8th, while also being introduced to Geometry earlier and having that spread across multiple years. You end up in the same place (well, hopefully on average you end up a little more advanced by the end), but at any given point in their schooling students will be ahead of where they would have been under the past system in some areas, and behind in others - by design.

However, this rearrangement of coursework opens a can of worms, which is where most of the fighting comes in. Because things are introduced at different stages and in a different order, an entirely new curriculum is required. It is left to the states to decide what curriculum to use, and there are a lot of choices - much of it produced by commercial entities, some of it good and some of it really, really bad. This isn't a function of Common Core, per se, but merely a function of lots of groups taking advantage of a major re-write to try to get their product included in what is selected at the state or local level.

Likewise, since the order things are introduced changes, all of the standardized tests are no longer relevant - children might be learning some of what falls into "algebra" in the current system in the 5th grade, so a standardized assessment test would need to take this into account. Opponents latch onto this and complain that too much is expected of the students, because they are being tested on something "too advanced". Likewise, something that students previously learned in the 4th grade might not be introduced until the 6th - and again, opponents latch onto this because the standards have been "lowered". It's easy to cherry pick examples that go either way (which this comment section is rife with), because compared to what most of us experienced, it will feel "off".

The vast majority of the arguments against Common Core aren't actually about Common Core, rather they are about some of the curricula that have been developed to meet Common Core's structure. Just like there can be a fight every time a new science textbook is chosen in Kansas (or anywhere else), everyone is arguing over what the curriculum should look like, and it is all happening at once. So, lots of people trying to get their own political slant into the new curriculum, which is the same problem as always - it's just happening all at once across pretty much every subject.

Now, there are certainly objections or questions to ask regarding Common Core. For one, are the benefits of the rejiggering of subjects enough to outweigh the costs of introducing the system? What do you do about students who started with one system - can you transition them to the new standards effectively, or will we have several years worth of students with glaring holes in their education? And last (and probably the biggest question, and the one that has driven many one-time supporters to oppose common core), how do we ensure that the curriculum chosen by my school district/state/whatever is going to be effective and not just an amalgamation of commercial offerings selected through a combination of ideology, lobbying, and kickbacks - the educational outcomes are dependent on the effectiveness of the curriculum, and there is no guarantee that new ones being developed and offered will achieve that (and, for the reasons mentioned, a lot of reasons they might not).

Comment: Re:Only the NSA???? (Score 1) 347

by demonbug (#46337239) Attached to: NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse

I do find that highly ironic, although probably unavoidable in this kind of thing. In showing that this training material exists, but without evidence of specific targets or operations, Greenwald's article is effectively following the guidance laid out there. Just look at this comment section - anyone who does not toe the party line will simply be accused of being a shill from here on out, with reference to these documents as "proof". No longer is there any need to pay attention to dissenting opinions (on either side of an issue) - anyone disagreeing with you can be dismissed as just another shill.

So, business as usual on the internet.

Comment: Re:Ooh Scary! (Score 1) 121

Radon is generally only an issue in poorly ventilated areas, usually cellars or basements where the radioactive gas can build up. These are rare in California in general, and unlikely on Treasure Island where groundwater is present at ~4-8 feet below the ground surface. Direct exposure to radiation, especially through inhalation or ingestion of radioactive dust, is probably a bigger issue.

Comment: Re:Not Obsolete At All (Score 1) 365

by demonbug (#46190573) Attached to: Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

The article, at least, is talking about hypersonic re-entry vehicles launched on ICBMs (as that is what China has tested recently). They are basically just "highly" maneuverable re-entry vehicles, designed to approach their target at a flatter trajectory compared to traditional warheads, with some limited maneuvering capability. The point being to avoid the problems of a ballistic trajectory that makes your impact point obvious to anyone looking, complicating interception. Again, the article at least isn't discussing low-level hypersonic missiles, as thus far no one has really had any luck making something like that work.

Comment: Re:Not Obsolete At All (Score 1) 365

by demonbug (#46190471) Attached to: Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

Actually, what IS new is the low level nature of the hypersonic missiles and the massively increased range. Air to Air weapons are pretty limited in range, the new crop of missiles that they are discussing are just faster versions of cruse missiles that have intercontinental range.

Actually, the hypersonic missiles that are anything other than drawing-board hopes and dreams at this point are more like ICBMs than cruise missiles. They look an awful lot like ICBMs at launch, but don't go as high and basically glide in at hypersonic speeds, taking a flatter trajectory on reentry rather than the near-vertical profile of a ballistic missile. Makes it harder to figure out where they are going to hit because they don't follow a ballistic trajectory (by following the launch and mid-phase of an ICBM you can pretty much tell where it is going to hit because it follows a ballistic profile - even an ICBM with a MIRV warhead can only hit targets within a relatively small area with its reentry vehicles), but they still launch high enough for relatively easy detection compared to cruise missiles, which stay entirely within the atmosphere, and generally stay quite low.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 338

by demonbug (#46063139) Attached to: Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

I don't see a whole lot of use for the gigabit speed right now, you're right. The biggest thing I see is the symmetrical connection, and significantly lower prices than competitors at similar speeds. 1000/1000 may not be all that useful in the vast majority of cases unless you have a lot of people sharing the bandwidth, but 100/100 for the same price as the 15/1.5 I'm limited to now would be huge. Online backup would be nearly transparent (it took about 3 weeks on my connection, and that was only backing up the "important" stuff - plus actually utilizing the 1.5 upstream brings the downstream bandwidth to a crawl on my Uverse connection, making it an exceedingly tedious process - can't stream netflix or even just browse the web without hiccups), it would no longer be a pain to upload videos or high-res photos to share with family and friends, etc.

I'd probably go with the gigabit service if it was available where I live, but I think the real impact of Google Fiber is the pricing pressure it puts on slower connections that are eminently usable right now (even if Google is currently cherry-picking places they can do things cheaply).

Comment: Re:Great for some apps (see netflix blog) (Score 1) 172

by demonbug (#43998049) Attached to: SSDs: The New King of the Data Center?

I guess, but he's only going from 7.5 seconds (1995 Civic Si) 0-60 to about 6.8 seconds (2013 Mustang V6 automatic), so only about a 10% improvement. I think the overall improvement from a HDD to a SSD is significantly more than that. Now if you said a mid-90s Civic LX to a new Mustang GT you might have a better point.

Comment: Re:How to do real science (Score 1) 307

by demonbug (#43591443) Attached to: SOPA Creator Now In Charge of NSF Grants

Yeah, the summary is inaccurate (surprise, surprise). Benefit to National Defense is one of several or statements, not a requirement for all NSF funded research. The whole thing is still really stupid and betrays a complete lack of understanding of basic research and the mission of the NSF, but that's to be expected of Lamar Smith (R-TX), nincompoop extraordinaire.

Comment: Re:News Flash! (Score 0, Troll) 315

by demonbug (#43401953) Attached to: Competitors Complain To EC That Free Android Is a 'Trojan Horse'

Company makes billions of dollars; wants more. Competitors not happy.

Translation: "They're doing what we would do, but they're a lot better at it than we are."

You never know how the EC will react, tho.

Of course you do. Their thought process goes something like this:

Hmm, is it a European company? No. Is there a European company that might, some day, in some form, offer a competitive product? Yes.

Complaint upheld.

Comment: Re:Right... can you actually read? (Score 1) 299

by demonbug (#43353271) Attached to: Disney Closes LucasArts

You can spot the downfall of Lucasarts when during the opening graphics of X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter between the iconic logo's, there was a silly little bi-plane animation of a the 3rd party studio that got involved. And while the game offered some intresting new features, it just couldn't hold a candle to the solid quality of its ancestors. Some more disasters followed until the company was reduced to ordering totally unrelated companies to produce mods for other peoples games.

X-Wing and Tie-Fighter were both developed by a 3rd party, Totally Games.

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