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Comment: Re:But Natalie Portman IS a horrible acress. (Score 1) 133

by fermion (#49383479) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars
Mark Hamill kind of screwed his career with his accident. If not for Star Wars he may not have worked again. As it is, he is a freak on a third rate superhero show.

One has to assume that Carrie Fisher might have had more a career if not for her mental health and drug issues.

Alec Guinness of course was only doing it for his pension.

Everyone is prequel who was not already an established commodity was crap. I do not blame the actors, it is just that there was no way to do a good job with such a script. When you can't even get the comic relief right, there is little hope for anything else.

Natalie Portman is a working actor. She works on her own terms, and does not appear to want anything else. She has a movie every year. She seems to like to act. There is nothing wrong with that.

And with a degree from Harvard College she is a good role model.

Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 2) 317

by fermion (#49379881) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
Science we know it is only a few hundred years old. Science, as can be taught to the average kid in an advanced manner, is not much more than a century old. In my lifetime we have gone from teaching Calculus in High School to a gifted few, to, in some places, teaching it to as many people as we can.

When I read this article this is what I saw. A traditionalist complaining that we don't teach kids arbitrary ancient skiils, like drawn up handwriting, or going to the library, finding a physical book, and looking up some factoid.

I know a lot of people over 40 who cannot use the computer. They are skilled, but never were taught how to learn new skills. This is what STEM education offers over what many see as a classical education.

It is not that classical education does not offer critical thinking, it is that we need to integrate critical thinking with the machinery that runs our civilization. A lawyer who is going to be successful cannot just have read the classics. A lawyer like that will probably be replaced by a machine in my lifetime.

When I was in school, parents were told that a pre-engineering program was not just for engineers. I was a holistic program that would give kids the background to succeed. We could write an essay, we could write fiction, we could write technical reports, we could program a computer, we could draw a schematic.

The only people who are going to value a pure humanities education over one that stresses science and math are those who are afraid where the world is going.

Comment: Re:Call me an old guy with a short attention span (Score 2) 87

by fermion (#49378551) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC
"I think I will go to class today, I need the sleep"

Do kids still wear this T-Shirt in college?

Most MOOC have a big problem. They don't educate a different kind of student. They educate the same highly motivated student. The only benefit is that student may not be able to afford a traditional college, or be able to read at a level required for college. It is a real benefit, but the nirvana.

Codeschool does a good job leveraging the strengths of the computer and targeting learning to those who were raised playing video games. Learning for non-traditional students involves active learning, not watching a guy on video.

Comment: FCC Net Neutrality (Score 2) 58

by Curunir_wolf (#49365079) Attached to: Australian Government Outlines Website-Blocking Scheme

This will start happening soon in the US, now that the FCC has passed rules that only protect "lawful" content from getting blocked...

I TOLD you to be careful what you ask for. Everything will be scanned and known. How else will ISPs determine what is "lawful" content and "lawful" protocols (yes, that's in the language, too - "lawful protocols").

Comment: Re:seriously? (Score 1) 196

If it is apartment,it might be that low. When I don't run air conditioning, the house, with a DVR and several computers, can be $50 for electricity. It depends on rates in your area and how much other stuff you have. For instance, I have a TV that probably only takes a couple dollars a month to run in electricity, but some easily take $10. If you have equipment supplied by your cable company, that could be double than if you bought your own.

Comment: Re:Not faultless (Score -1) 536

He is an entitled dope, plain and simple. Half the fault is Comcast, because they said they could do it, but half the fault is his, as you said, for not asking the neighbors and the like. Sure, one should be able to get internet anywhere, but there are limitation. In particular the county he is in has only 500 people per aquare mile. The largest city in the county is 40,000 people. Can every house in every rural area have fast internet? Probably not. When someone who works at home and has to have fast internet make one of their primary constraints be that the house already has internet? Can you imagine a trained engineer not being able to make a list of constraints and using a decision matrix to make sure the purchase meets all specs? Years ago we bought a used car, unfortunately the primary constraint was that the car was 'cute'. Of course it ended up being a lemon. If I had made such a mistake, I would have kept it hidden, being afraid the Streisand effect would mean that every future employer would know how incompetent I was.

Comment: Re:The App Store stuff is more interesting (Score 1) 269

by fermion (#49337723) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
A couple points here, and note that I do not completely understand the complaints here. Apple has typically sold expensive software. That means that the end user pays more and the developer tends to make more. On upshot of this was that Apple products sold less because it was generally considered as a fact that one not only had to pay more for the Apple brand but also to run the machine. This meant that most developer went for MS Windows, assuming that though writing for MS was a race to the bottom, and knowing that MS could put you out of business any time they wanted, the number of users meant that you would make money. Writing for Apple could also be more difficult. I,myself, have written very few Apple specific programs. I have not really taken the time to learn the library. I appreciate the fact that Apple has taken the time to standardize much of the work so that once the library is learned, writing an application is easier, as long as one is willing to live within the Apple UI. So, as I understand the complaints, Apple has created a new mobile market and new software marketing method that has created million of new customers for developers to sell to,and has actually made writing the applications easier, and developers are complaining about it. Yes, dealing with a UI that is dictating from above is difficult, but that is not different for MS, recall the Ribbon? Yes, dealing with Apple and the App store is probably very expensive. OTOH, I am sure many are like me. I have spent more on applications over the past couple years than I did in the past 10. OOS, no cash cost software, does most of what I want.

Comment: Re:eliminate extra sugar (Score 3, Interesting) 494

by fermion (#49327581) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds
Eating concentrated calories that do not fill you up is the problem. All simple carbohydrates, chips, white bread, wheat tortillas, fried potatoes are an issue. An 8 oz steak is 25% of the calories most us need for a day. A Chippendale carnitas burrito is half.

So there is also an issue of food availability. When I was young I split all entrees at restaurants with the person I was with. I don't do that anymore and it has become an increasing issue. Also, one does not burn off calories and fat as easily when one gets older

Comment: Honestly (Score 4, Interesting) 569

I don't know what drinking, smoking, or having tattoos has to do with anything. Does he have a computer? Does he use it for mischief.

A couple cases of kids going to jail will limit the problem. Teenagers are always going to test limits, and some do so to the extent that the adult legal system is required to help motivate them not to cause problems for other people.

It was not so long ago that the telephone was a new thing, many parents were not raised with it, and did not really know how to manage it with the kids. Kids got into trouble, and laws were passed to help define what was good and bad behavior.

I know that adults say this all the time, but if we do not figure out how to play with our toys nicely, we are going to lose the privileged of unencumbered play.

From a personal point of view, from personal experience, in my opinion there is no punishment too great for someone who files false police reports, and that goes doubly so for those cowards who hide behind computers.

Comment: Re:Why not a Mac? (Score 1) 385

by fermion (#49286663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?
And of course you can get most Linux stuff to run on a mac. In a pinch, I run virtualbox and Ubuntu or the like.

Also, I think TexShop is the best LaTex editor. I tries some for Windows, and they universally suck, IMHO. I can't believe how much time I wasted trying to use word for technical stuff when I was in school. Learn Latex. I will save you life.

In school I did all my data analysis on a Mac using C and C++. Of course some of it was too much for the Mac, so I telnet to the SGI. I was still able visualize everything in GNUPlot and output on or plotter through my mac. Again, I wasted a lot of time in excel until I learned to use GNUPlot. Later I also did some work using Graphviz.

There are a lot of C++ and general IDE for the Mac. Of course there is Eclipse. If you want an OS with a side of IDE, there is always the old standby EMACS. Actually, I use AquaEmacs for my IDE. learn to use GIT.

What I find most interesting is how powerful modern machines are with respect to the requirements of most research. For instance any physics student should invest in Mathematics. It saved my hide in the numerical methods class. It could probably run well on any mac made within the past three years.

Only caution is that a separate graphic card is recommended if there is a lot of data visualization involved. That means a the high end 15" macbook pro.

Comment: Re:Unicomp Keyboard (Score 1) 452

by Curunir_wolf (#49274559) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

based on the IBM model M. You will not need a new keyboard again for a good many years.

Model M keyboards do not 'die'. On occasion, one will be called to Valhalla to feast with the heroes of legend for eternity; so replacements aren't out of the question; but that's pretty much the only failure mode.

Not the only one. I have one that has several non-functional keys because enough of the plastic rivets that hold the metal plate to the internal plastic board have failed, producing a warp. There is probably some technique to re-attach it, but I haven't found one yet. 30 years ain't bad for plastic rivets, but clearly they have a limited lifespan.

Comment: Re: Science is fine... (Score 1) 320

Science is not magic.mscience is not a stone tablet from a deity. A single paper is simply on data point of a groups best effort to indentify an interesting phenomenon. The work just redone by others, hammered, destroyed, rebuilt, and then used to do. Something interesting. Bad science, such was probably done with Bromian motion, is not always bad results. Science education, more than teaching factoids, should be teaching this so that there would not be this confusion. Medical research is problematic because there is often more of an emphasis on ethics more than statistics. I think many 'researchers' trust computers too much to do the analysis and may not verify. I also think that these researchers expect to earn 10 times what scientists earn, and therefore are much mor susceptible to bribery.

Comment: Re:This sucks. (Score 1) 299

by Curunir_wolf (#49248871) Attached to: Sir Terry Pratchett Succumbs To "the Embuggerance," Aged 66

Using that logic, suicide bombers should be called "sacrificial bombers".

Probably so, but that doesn't make for good marketing / war propaganda. The people committing these acts don't call it "suicide", they call it Jihad or martyring. "Kamikaze" was translated for Americans into being synonymous with suicide, too, but it actually means "divine wind".

Comment: Re:This sucks. (Score 3, Insightful) 299

by Curunir_wolf (#49242941) Attached to: Sir Terry Pratchett Succumbs To "the Embuggerance," Aged 66

Some of the suicides are depicted as honorable, including the suicide of Samson.

Don't confuse suicide with self-sacrifice. Indeed, you could claim that Jesus committed suicide because he could have gotten out of the crucifixion several times, and chose to allow it - "the lamb" is sacrificed. Samson sacrificed himself in order to bring down the pagan temple of Dagon. He took many Philistine lords with him.

Calling this "suicide" is like saying James Brady tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a bullet.

Comment: Re:It's about Energy (Score 1) 214

by fermion (#49234373) Attached to: Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon
1. He3
2. ????
3. Profit

The missing step here is a practical fusion reactor.

The reason we need to think about industry on the moon is that if we are going to be a space faring culture, eventually, we need to have resources that are not locked up in the gravity well of the Earth. It is too expensive and is going to continue to be too expensive to life everything needed for space travel from the earths surface.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson