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Comment: Re:My experience working for the NSA... (Score -1) 101

by cold fjord (#49383971) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

But let's be very clear that much of what the NSA is illegal, unconstitutional, and against various international treaties.

Let's be very clear that the real situation is that you wish that much of what NSA does is illegal and unconstituional. Unfortunately the law, courts, and Congress are against you. Your wish is just that, a wish, and it isn't coming true any time soon.

Comment: Re:Lottery (Score 1) 101

by cold fjord (#49383945) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

If the NSA wants to really start recruiting talent here is a novel idea. Start providing enough information to the "good" law enforcement (the NSA knows who they are) agencies to prosecute all the crooks holding government offices (appointed or voted in). If they started cleaning house, and given enough time clean.. people would believe they rehabilitated and were once again looking out for the average citizens best interests. The reputation as the Stasi is too well known for them to attract anything but the scum of the US for a very long time.

So you openly advocate having the national intelligence agencies spy on politicians to find incriminating evidence that makes them vulnerable, but you disparage the Stasi? Hmmmmm......

Comment: Re:Other than salary, how the hell $100,000 (Score 1) 87

by EmperorOfCanada (#49383907) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC
I have watched a bunch of Stanford lectures and they are a guy at the back of the class with a camera. I have taken a coursera course on finance, cryptograpy, astronomy, mathematical thinking, and gamification and they were all basically a good webcam with no camera operator.

The great courses company does seem to have some pretty good production where they have a camera man, and at least one animator. The lighting is pretty good and I suspect that there is lots of editing. But those might be some of the highest production quality courses out there. MathTutorDVD which is pretty good is a guy with a whiteboard.

I suspect that $100,000 is a BS number that comes either from extreme government waste or it is to generate funding that will allow for extreme government waste.

Comment: Re:Why Shouldn't I Work for the NSA? (Score 0) 101

by cold fjord (#49383899) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

Ah yes, the "NSA" scene from Good Will Hunting. Overall it is a great movie, but that scene in nothing but polemic. The narrative is based on rubbish that most anyone with critical thinking skills should be able to identify.

You find that "persuasive," somehow, do you?

Not surprised I guess, you apparently think the NSA wants to be "popular." Hey guys! Who is the most popular secret agency!! That kind of defeats the purpose of being "secret" doesn't it?

Comment: High School first then collage (Score 2, Insightful) 37

by EmperorOfCanada (#49383883) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast
If I were a kid in around grade 9 I would presently be MOOCing until I turned blue. My goal would be to basically bypass High School. At this point what are the various certificates good for? I don't think that anyone yet really knows. But I suspect that they will be worth more and more and definitely will be worth more than most half assed high schools. I can certainly say without hesitation that I have seen some online courses MOOC, the great courses, plus others that blow my old HS teachers clean out of the water and certainly blow most of my daughters' teachers clean out of the water. (and yes many online things suck too)

But if a grade 9 student has 10 or 20 MIT / Stanford courses under their belt and does well on the SATs then what university can honestly reject that student?

Right now it is all a little hazy but I suspect that a point will be crossed where quite simply the high schools will begin to lose the best and the brightest. Not the majority just the cream. This will leave the high schools with the mediocre and the crap students. Then the pressure will be on the better of the mediocre students to follow online as well leaving a pretty poor lineup of students. This will then start to whittle away at the better teachers who just can't keep going without at least the occasional success in their class.

The percentage of students who will no longer attend highschool still won't amount to a huge number but what will remain of the high school system will be pretty depressingly bad. Plus I just know that the officials will dumb down the standards to keep up with the ever lowering bar. I foresee the first sign of my prediction coming true when the school systems try to put pressure on the universities to not accept students on MOOCs alone or to try to make it so that you can't write the SATs without being registered with a bricks and mortar high school.

But in the very long term when the various online educational systems have been somewhat perfected I do see a day when many people are faced with the choice (or option) to go to their local po-dunk collage or take course from something with a kickass name. I don't doubt that a major part of higher education happens outside of the classroom but the simple reality is that many people are questing for that piece of paper to further their job opportunities and have various obsicals in their way such as money. Online education won't wipe out the universities or anything so silly but it could see some of the lesser universities lose a serious chunk of their students.

Also I see a demographic who will simply say, "OK I will do year one online and then the other three getting the campus experience, OK I will do the last two years getting the campus experience, OK the last year will definitely be the campus year. Look I have a degree, I wish I had done at least one year on campus." But I also see another demographic much like the one that avoided high school not able to go to the kick ass named universities and not willing to slum it in their local school, and thus doing the online thing even more.

But that all said, I think that where it will be most interesting is that right now it is very very very hard to get into a top tier school. But what if you have been taking MOOCs from a top tier school and have been kicking ass and taking names. Does that qualify you for a top tier school more than someone with a top tier SAT?

Then employers are going to be a whole other thing. Which would they rather see, a top tier certificate or a local podunk degree?

Comment: Re:Don't worry actors (Score 1) 123

by catchblue22 (#49383125) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars

To my mind, the difference is clear. It's Lucas.

I agree. I felt so sorry for Natalie Portman in Episode III. "Oh Ani! YOU'RE BREAKING MY HEART!" Seriously. I cringe. That is no one but the director.

Watch Natalie Portman in Black Swan. She is utterly brilliant.

Not that I hate Star Wars. Far from it. The broad story arcs echo many ancient myths and stories. George Lucas has said that he read Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" which surveys many ancient myths for commonality. The idea of a young boy escaping his mundane life to find his "hero's journey" is primal, as is the story of a son of facing the sins of his father. In my mind these things elevate Star Wars into the pantheon of cinema, in spite of the horrific dialog.

Comment: There are lousy STEM programs too (Score 1) 315

by sirwired (#49380675) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

It's a total fallacy to assume that a humanities degree is somehow inherently easier to earn than a STEM degree. Certainly some colleges have some lousy humanities programs that aren't worthy of calling a "college education", and the same is also true for some STEM programs. Each school has different strengths. A skilled humanities professor certainly has a decent B.S. detector, just like a skilled STEM professor knows how to write test questions where memorizing formulas and review questions won't save you.

Comment: Money can't buy happiness, but... (Score 1) 315

by sirwired (#49380597) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

SirWired's Career Axiom: "Money can't buy happiness, but happiness can't buy anything."

I'm all for "following your passion" when picking your major, but while you are in college, you need to be angling your courses some general direction towards figuring out how to make a living afterwards. This is especially relevant if you've picked a major without ready quantities of employment directly related to your major. Doubly relevant if your "dream career" involves hitting the proverbial rare jackpot like becoming a music/acting/art/literature/dance star.

Most programs outside STEM have ample elective slots that can be used to "fill-out" your transcript with things like business skills, a smattering of technology, etc.

Heck, most STEM grads would be well-served by shoehorning things like writing classes, business classes, etc., although this is more difficult, due to the reduced elective slots.

Comment: This guy is missing the point (Score 3, Insightful) 315

by EmperorOfCanada (#49379599) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
Great engineering or science is art. If you look at the evolution of bridges they have become more and more beautiful as newer technologies have been developed and applied. Where bridges tend to be ugly is when the engineering is old school and workman like.

Also it tends to be the muddy thinking of the humanities that can drive horrible disasters of thinking. Things like trickle down economics had pretty much zero real math behind it. Plus many of the worst dictators in history had humanities and/or arts educations along with many of their worst henchmen. Things like the scientific method are critical to great political policy making, not law degrees where rhetoric and finding a misplaced comma in a written law lets your serial killer client skate on the charges.

Often when horrible things happen and science gets blamed it is actually an artistic interpretation of science at the source. Eugenics would be a perfect example of simpletons applying their interpretation of science.

A great example of this sort of crap would be how religious people are trying to drive intelligent design into the education system through a terrible interpretation of how science works.

I have zero problem with having someone with a hard core arts degree have some input on the building of a bridge in things like choosing he colours or picking from a group of equal designs, but I really really don't want them designing he whole thing and then having the engineers find a kludge that might keep it from falling down.

But where this guy really falls down along with many STEM pushing policy makers is that while it would be nice for the average school kid to have a better grasp of the physical world around them what is sorely lacking is a place for kids who can excel at science to thrive. A great example would be my daughter's high school. They have science requirements to graduate; fine. But in a 1,200 kid school there is no science fair this year; yet the school budgeted $50,000 for a football team that generates zero revenue.

What it boils down to are two things. Take all the art out of your life and see how you are living. Now take all the technology out of your life and see how that goes. One interesting factoid is that most people access their art through technology anyway and the art is often massively reliant upon technology for its generation.

STEM is not an either or with art. But art is largely a not without STEM. STEM is the difference between the third world and the first. I think that much of the anti STEM sentiment comes from those jealous that in most cases the arts alone leave you in the economic dust either as a person and especially as a country.

Comment: preliminary content types already defined (Score 4, Informative) 51

by nimbius (#49379321) Attached to: EU Commission Divided Over Nation-Specific Content Blocking
As widely known in the EU the preliminary content types are readily available for review.
1. France: ISIS recruitment videos are to be blocked, replaced with prophet muhammad dancing hardstyle.
2. Ireland: images of sheep deemed too racy for minors, miners, and farmers to be banned.
3. Italy: links to objective reporting on church scandals to be redirected to a gucci outlet.
4. Malta: widely understood to be the only member country in the EU capable of handling the actual internet, uncensored.
5. Poland: Images of potato will be confiscated by free potato man/secret police.
6. UK: video/depictions of tea being poured into milk will be redirected to a warning page, and a stern letter will be delivered regarding scalding of the milk.

Comment: Re:More BS blaming 'the system' for bad parenting (Score 1) 315

by johnlcallaway (#49378989) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

They can't have the same opportunities, they don't have the skills to do so. 'Equal' would suggest that if this mythical stupid, lazy person and I applied for the same job, a flip of the coin would decide who gets it.

The opportunity is always there, what one chooses to do with it is another matter. I've never gotten every job I've interviewed for, so apparently there are people out there smarter than I am.

I didn't go whining to the government to make it 'more equal'.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin