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Comment Re: Obligatory (Score 1) 667

My girlfriend and I both teach college courses. She teaches English and I teach in a STEM field. She has to deal with incoming freshmen who can't write in well-formed, complete sentences--forget about something as simple as composing a five-paragraph essay. My students are juniors in college and get nervous when the work I give them requires them to understand ratios or do simple algebra to solve an equation for a particular variable.

Our secondary education system is horribly, shamefully failing young people today by allowing them to pass courses despite being hopelessly underqualified. In addition, with credential inflation over time, jobs that several decades ago required nothing more than a high school diploma now want four-year degrees as minimum qualifications; and we tell students over and over again that their only chance to go anywhere in life is to go to college. Add to that, the price of college has increased by roughly 800% since 1980, vastly outpacing inflation. So students need loans, and even the government loans are expensive.

Our university is dealing with falling enrollment numbers this year, and the people at the top act mystified about why. They did a survey and found that it's not that young people aren't aware of college (they really thought that this might be the problem), but it's that young people don't see the value proposition that college provides. It saddles them with $50,000+ in debt while keeping them out of the workforce for 4-5 years, and in exchange they get a somewhat better chance to get hired for a variety of white-collar wage-slave jobs that they have to keep no matter what because if they become unemployed, they won't be able to pay for the loans (which are generally immune from being discharged in bankruptcy). Who would intentionally choose that life?

So, anyway. Yes, it seems that both the quality and quantity of incoming freshmen is falling, and since the state has decided that funneling money to private prisons is way more important than education, it leaves the university to try to make up the difference. Which they do by lowering admissions standards and trying to drive up enrollment so they can cash in on tuition as a way to prop up the budget. Which just makes the whole system shittier in a grotesque feedback loop.

The university just released its draft strategic plan recently. I'm being completely serious when I say that the enrollment goals section basically reads 'Our enrollment this year is -2%. Our goal for next year is 0%. The year after that is +3%. And our ten year goal is +50%.' Right now, our enrollment is trending down, but their 'plan' is to increase enrollment by 50%. It's a fantasy. Oh, and by the way, one way that they intend to implement this miracle enrollment increase? 'Modify curriculum and instruction as needed to increase enrollment and graduation success.' Is there any other way to read that than, 'Dumb college down so far that any halfwit can get in and make it through'? When we're done, will there be any value at all in a degree from our school? And other schools are going the same way...

Sorry. I got carried away.

Comment Re:It's probably 99% crap (Score 1) 277

Even Patrick Stewart has stated that he thought the season one scripts were too sexist and that he and other cast members were shocked when she was fired.

I mean, seriously, what was with those miniskirts? Women go to space in the future but constantly have to worry about their space miniskirt riding up more than half an inch and showing their underwear? Maybe Sirtis' ghastly lavender jumpsuit was engineered to keep her legs warm. Costume budgets being as they were, they had to leave a lot off the neckline in order to give her pants.

Comment Re:So once again (and again and again)... (Score 1) 108

Also, sometimes correlation is evidence of causation. Not always, of course, but sometimes correlation is most certainly an indicator of causation.

Of course, you're correct, but 'correlation != causation' is one of the phrases that idiots will always post as a response to every science article that mentions correlation, and it will always be modded insightful even though it is just a trite throwaway slogan.

As a statistician, the formulation I prefer is 'correlation does not necessarily imply causation.' Which has the benefit of being true, but the drawback of not being as useful for mindlessly gainsaying the result of any study, so you don't see it much on line.

Comment Re:SJWdot. (Score 1) 182

A search on Google Scholar for the term 'microaggression' turns up 2,230 results for me at the moment. Not all of the results will be peer-reviewed journal articles, but many of them will.

Apparently, the origin of the term:

The term microaggression was coined by Chester M Pierce, who defined it as: ‘‘. . . subtle, stunning,
often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs’ of blacks by offenders’’ (Pierce,
Carew, Pierce-Gonzales, & Willis, 1978, p. 66).

I am not a sociologist and am not in a position (nor would I particularly desire) to perform enough literature review to be able to decide whether or not it's all bullshit. But 'microaggression' is apparently a word that is older than I am and enjoys significant use in the discipline.

Comment Re:If I were the DOE I'd do it to. (Score 1) 120

What makes you think they're taking their time? How many decades should it take?

Given that they've been stockpiling this waste "temporarily" for over 60 years, I think they should have made more progress toward an approach to cleaning it up rather than just filling up holes in the ground and then digging new ones and filling those up, too.

And what makes me think they're taking their time is that their plan is to be finished with cleanup by 2060 at the earliest--that's more than 100 years after they started making the mess! Furthermore, that plan has a $3 billion per year budget which is currently being funded at about $2 billion per year. How are they going to finish by their target date when they're only getting 2/3 of their target budget?

Comment Re: If I were the DOE I'd do it to. (Score 1) 120

Congress is where the blame lies, not DOE.

I tend to agree. Unfortunately for the DOE, they are the ones that have to implement Congress' half-baked approach to the Hanford remediation, so they are the ones who get the blame when their underfunded efforts fail to meet expectations.

It sucks that our government is unwilling to meet the moral obligations that it has to the people of Washington and the rest of the country to clean up its dangerous toxic dumping grounds--at Hanford and elsewhere. For this project to be held back by unenthusiastic funding is shameful.

Comment Re:If I were the DOE I'd do it to. (Score 4, Interesting) 120

I understand that the problems at Hanford have complex causes with long history. But what the former governor seems to be concerned about is a lack of transparency from DOE, which is an issue that people in the Northwest have been fighting for years (hence the lack of trust).

Listen, I understand that some level of contamination is unavoidable. But they've got liquid nuclear waste leaking out of tanks into the soil at the banks of the Columbia River, and they can't just keep telling us that they're "working on it". I'm sorry that they did such a terrible job planning for future needs, and I get that part of the reason for that is because they were doing completely new work, but another part of it was a wanton disregard for the environmental and human consequences of building their nuclear arsenal. There was plenty of money to build the bombs, but today it seems to have dried up: DOE budgets something like $3 billion per year for cleanup, but actually gets about $2 billion. I realize that's not all DOE's fault, but this is the reality. The federal government made an enormous, toxic mess in Eastern Washington and now they're dragging their feet when it comes time to clean it up.

But again, the issue in this article is a lack of trust. The DOE may be completely sincere in their cleanup efforts, but if they won't communicate about it, and we have to pry details out of them with FOIA requests, then there is no reason for the states to believe in that sincerity. This is, after all, the organization that turned 586 square miles of Washington State into the most heavily contaminated nuclear waste dump in the country. Why should the people of Washington believe that this organization has their best interests in mind?

[Also, one note: though many shipments of waste to Hanford have been stopped before they occurred, there are at least 2 shipments of nuclear waste that were delivered there from a DOE facility in California. The amount transferred is obviously dwarfed by the scale of waste products generated on site, but there is great fear that DOE just wants to ship all of this mess to Hanford and then leave it there indefinitely--likely in "temporary" storage facilities that are a continuation of the same irresponsible policies that created this problem in the first place.]

Comment Re:If I were the DOE I'd do it to. (Score 4, Informative) 120

One of the issues that we deal with in the Northwest is that the federal government, particularly the DOE, has generated (and shipped in) a lot of hazardous nuclear waste in the area over the years and has horribly mismanaged its disposition. The epic levels of contamination at the Hanford site are mind boggling--and right on the banks of the Columbia River. They buried toxic waste on the reservation at the Idaho National Lab that we now have no records of--we don't know what it was or exactly where it's buried.

They keep promising to clean up their mess, but then they never seem to quite get around to fulfilling their promises. We end up having to sue them to get them to take action. Even then, they try to shirk as much responsibility as they can. There isn't a lot of trust of the DOE in this area of the country.

Comment Re:Why is this about security? (Score 1) 470

that's not why she made her own email server. It was made to bypass public records laws.

I hear this assertion over and over again, but what I've never heard is any proof, or anything resembling proof that it's true. I mean, it's a convenient theme to use to denigrate Clinton. But it's not clear to me that Clinton hosting email related to her government position on her own server would exempt that email from FOIA in any way.

I'm not any particular fan of Hillary Clinton, but I'd prefer to dislike her for reasons that are true. There are plenty of them. We don't need to make new ones up.

Comment Re:House loses most staunch Democrat (Score 1) 406

You mean drugs often have multiple effects? shocking! As an aside, Viagra was developed to help lower blood pressure. It was a happy coincidence that this also results in its more popular use. BTW, Rush is not a good measure for the heart-beat of the Republican Party.

Well, the question you asked was why Democrats consider contraceptives to be a women's health issue. That list of women's health issues that contraceptives can be used to treat is a reason. If you already know this, then why are you asking the question? Are you trying to prompt an argument about women's reproductive rights? I very much doubt that we're going to find ourselves in agreement over much in that area.

I think birth control pills are important to cover with insurance because they are a highly effective form of birth control and because they can be used to treat a variety of medical issues. I don't have a problem with covering boner pills like Viagra, but I don't think erectile dysfunction is nearly as important as any of the things that birth control pills treat. I realize that sildenafil (Viagra) was developed to treat pulmonary hypertension, but it has another preparation called Revatio that is intended for that treatment.

Comment Re:what a pushover (Score 2) 108

Yes, like sending them harshly worded messages while doing nothing.

Not the approach that I would endorse, but to each his own.

I mean, this deal may be completely meaningless. Maybe both sides will break it over and over, and we'll eventually just throw it away. But, again, it's a first step in a conversation. Some conversations in international diplomacy have to be started more than once. Some take a long time to get anywhere. But we'll never accomplish anything at all if we never start the conversation.

Comment Re:House loses most staunch Democrat (Score 5, Insightful) 406

BTW, why do Democrats put contraceptives under the "women's health" umbrella when it takes two to tango?

Because contraceptives have other uses than just preventing pregnancy. For example, oral contraceptives lower women's ovarian cancer risk, clears up acne, lighter menstruation, reduction in PMS symptoms, relief from endometriosis, and relief from polycystic ovarian syndrome.

They also serve as a pretty effective form of birth control. But when a woman is advised by her doctor to use oral contraceptives for any of the above conditions (or anything else), and reasonably wants them to be covered by her insurance, she gets Rush Limbaugh calling her a slut. Personally, I think if we can manage to cover boner pills with medical insurance, we can probably cover birth control pills also, regardless of the reason a woman wants to take them.

Comment Re:what a pushover imdian is a little apparatchik (Score 2) 108

imdian , you appear to be an apparatchik for the Obama regime. imdian, go fuck yourself in the ass with a serrated steak knife. you are a obama loving mao loving geobbels like fucking brown shirt yellow piece of dog shit you fuck. you fucking traitor.

Zow! I usually don't pay attention to abuse from AC, but this one is great! It's culinary! It has both a commies and nazis! Also, poop. So acerbic!

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