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Comment: Re:Isn't this just bulimia? (Score 1) 483

by hex socket (#42585205) Attached to: Dean Kamen Invents Stomach Pump For Dieters

The research i've read says that you grow additional fat cells when your intake exceeds your expenditure, and your fat cells empty when your expenditure exceeds your intake.

This is not quite correct. While it is true that childhood obesity increases the number of fat cells (hyperplasia of adipocytes) this is usually not seen in adults. Adult obesity is usually characterized by hypertrophy of adipocytes, or in plain language, an increase in the size of existing fat cells. There is usually not hyperplasia of adipocytes in obese adults.

(Yes, there are exceptions. Yes, we see both hyperplasia & hypertrophy of adipocytes in childhood obesity. The point is that obese adults usually do not develop new fat cells.)

Comment: Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by hex socket (#39913215) Attached to: How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings?

Or he just cut up a lot of dead bodies to get the dimensions right.

It's not as easy as you think. Think of spaghetti code made flesh: Spaghetti nerves, spaghetti arteries, veins everywhere... And then there are the variations. No two bodies are wired exactly the same, especially after they've been cut open. Even with modern references and anatomy books, it takes a lot of studying to make sense of a cadaver.

The summary exaggerates a bit by implying we can still learn anatomy from Leonardo's sketches. Sure, they're prettier than the sketches adorning the walls of my dorm room (I'm a medical student) but they're nowhere near as accurate as, say, Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy. Leonardo had a lot of systems wrong, especially where female anatomy was concerned. His work was amazing for its time, but we've done much better since then.

Comment: Re:The world needs this.... (Score 1) 302

by hex socket (#29979624) Attached to: Scientists Build a Smarter Rat

Having once dealt with a persistent rat problem by introducing a cat, I can testify that the cat does not need to actually kill rats to solve the problem. Though the cat could not get to the rats (which lived in the walls) the rats vanished very quickly once there was a cat in the house. I concluded at the time that the rats smelled the cat, or perhaps the ammonia in the cat's urine, and fled.

For what it's worth, I had been killing the rats with traps for about two years prior to getting the cat. The smell of dead rats apparently does nothing to discourage other rats.

Comment: My Experience with Unschooling (Score 1) 1345

by hex socket (#29314635) Attached to: Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling"

Many of the comments so far imply that unschooled children will not be able to get into college, and will ultimately go on to become dish washers or rake leaves. I won't go so far as to call the comments I've read offensive, but please, don't make assumptions about things you don't have any information on. As someone who was unschooled for what would have been the high school years, I feel that, if anything, it gave me an unfair advantage once I got to college. While the rest of the population was sitting for seven or more hours a day, listening to a teacher drone on at the front of the class, I was learning about the things that interested me. Computer programming, graphic design, physics, chemistry, literature, history, art history... The list goes on. It's amazing how much you can learn in four years when you don't have someone telling you what to do.

My experience with the established education system during this time was limited to the many painfully boring hours that the state required me to waste filling out papers to avoid their otherwise compulsory education system. Some of this was (theoretically) useful, and documented that I was, in fact, educating myself, and not merely watching television all day long. Most of the paperwork, unfortunately, appeared to have no real purpose. Though the paperwork consumed a large amount of time, the number of hours I saved (and was able to devote to getting a real education) by not being in high school more than justified my decision to withdraw from public school.

Colleges are certainly willing to look at, and accept, unschooled students. It is necessary for unschooled (as well as homeschooled) students to take more standardized tests than those in conventional schools. It would not be reasonable to expect schools to accept the high school transcripts we craft for ourselves, and so we use the standardized tests to establish that we have, in fact, learned something. I took the SATs, the CATs (California Acheivement Tests), and several SAT 2 exams, among others. Several good schools accepted me based on those test results.

Another charge often leveled at unschooled and homeschooled individuals is that we don't have any opportunity to interact with others, and we do not learn to socialize. This might be the case if we were locked in a room for four years, but that's really not very realistic. I can answer this point in detail if anyone is interested. For now, suffice it to say that we do interact with other human beings, just like everyone else.

Yet another stereotype of homeschoolers and unschoolers is that we are religious fundamentalists who don't believe in evolution. While those people are out there, and some of them do homeschool their children, they are nothing more than a vocal minority. Unfortunately, they get a disproportionate amount of publicity. The vast majority of homeschoolers and unschoolers are doing it to gain a higher quality education than they believe they will receive in conventional schools, not because of any fringe ideological or religious beliefs. Yes, we do believe in science. Many of us go on to become scientists.

My experience taught my something very important about the nature of education. You cannot be taught unless you are motivated to learn. Excellent professors (and, I'd assume, excellent teachers) are able to help you gain that motivation, but learning is something you must do for yourself. I recognize that some people do receive an excellent education in high school, and I admire those who have been able to rise above the many difficulties high school presents and still gain an education.

I now run my own business, and I am still using many of the skills I learned during those years. I'm still very glad that I escaped the high school experience. I'm also happy to have gone through college. I live with my beautiful and geeky girlfriend, so hopefully that disproves the notion that the unschooled can't interact with others. I'm posting this story in the hope that it will cause some Slashdot readers to reconsider the misleading stereotype of unschooled and homeschooled students that many believe to be true.

My experience is not unique. All of the other unschooled individuals I've met, and most of the homeschoolers, have had similar stories. Granted, I do not have a statistically significant sample to draw from, but I'm not aware of any individuals who fit the negative stereotypes.

For any young Slashdotters looking to escape the world of high school, I'd recommend the excellent book, "The Teenage Liberation Handbook," by Grace Llewellyn. That book was a godsend for me, and for many others. You don't need to suffer through high school! You can take control of your own life, and your own education!

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