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Comment Re:Don't blame the schools, blame the teachers (Score 1) 246

It's the teachers job to make science fun, not the schools.

Well, the school, the district, and the state all have the job of supporting the teachers by way of training, hiring, and rewards systems - all of which can greatly impact how easy it is for the teacher to do that job. The community, the family, and of course the students themselves all have important and large infleuences on outcomes. As much as we would like to think that one amazing teacher can magically turn things around ( ), it really is not that easy.

Comment "Fun" versus "rewarding" (Score 2) 246

There is also the danger of selling something as "fun" in the way that going to a carnival might be "fun" versus selling it as something that is "rewarding" like perhaps the efforts necessary to train as a team to win a race, or the preparations necessary to do tasks like rock-climbing or other challenging tasks. If you tell someone "This thing is FUN!" then it seems much more likely that when they encournter aspects that are not effortless and completely entertaining, they will (rightly) decide that it is not "fun" and have much less chance beliving that is worthwhile.

Coaches generally don't tell the players that "running lines" or doing pushups is "fun", but the players believe that doing those tasks is worthwhile and necessary to do what they want to do - get better at their sport and do well in the competitions. Almost nothing we do is "fun" in every aspect. Helping people to develop the ability to get satisfaction from doing a task well, and recognizing the benifits of focussed effort should be a primary goal of our general educational system. Having the student understand why they are doing whatever they are doing might also go a long way towards providing motivation for the activities. Having the instructors understand the purpose of activites as well is probably worthwhile too...

With that said, unless one is trying some revers psychology or something, we shoud be trying as much as possible to limit the unpleasant aspects of learning in all areas. Pushups might be necessary in order to build athlete strength, but we do not have to do them on a field of broken glass.

Comment Re:Universal Apocalyptic truth (Score 1) 1291

It doesn't take 7 billion people to feed, clothe, shelter, and even communicate with 7 billion people.

So what do we do? We are TOO efficient for everyone to earn a living. So do we just murder the people who are not "needed?" Do we let them starve? Do we have massive unnecessary works to employ the unemployable? I am all for suggestions, but when society doesn't really need as many workers as it has, you have to either change the idea of work, or kill off some of the workers.

Good points!

Comment Re:What do others do? (Score 2) 284

Alberta just put the royalties into general revenue and spent it. Now that the price of oil has collapsed they are facing a huge budget deficit and have nothing to show for it. (Well, some infrastructure may have been built that wouldn't have.)

I think the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund has managed to do a bit of good. But it doesn't look like it has been as effective as Norway or Alaska's systems.

Comment Re:I live here. (Score 1) 284

not that it's an aberration for a state to write you a check just because it has some valuable resources.

"The State" doesn't have any goddamn valuable resources. The people who live in the state have those resources. It's called "the commons".

Who owns the air over your head? Who owns the motherfucking light on a sunny day? If the state you live in has oil, on public lands then it belongs to the citizens of that state.

It certainly seems like a worthwhile use of state resources - take the state income and split it amoungst the residents to do with as they wish.

Comment Re:not the only coutry (Score 1) 236

why get rid of them ?

what you're saying is totally unrelated to my point. My point is that NK is not the only country in the world that does the "crazy enough" thing of not having the time zone it should have.

China uses one time zone, yet stretches over enough east-west distance to justify five.

India does a half-hour time zone for the entire country:

Newfoundland and Labrador also does the half-hour thing:

Comment Re:Trading one for the other (Score 1) 186

Regardless of whether they are starting with open source software, or closed source software........if I ever paid $4.3 billion for some software, I guarantee I would be getting the source for it. If the government pays that much for a system, one of the requirements should be that it ends up open source.

At least.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

I then promptly slid for several car lengths before hitting him. (I was smart to just slam the breaks and let the car's anti-lock breaking system figure out what to do. You start second-thinking the ABS and pump the breaks and you end up sliding a lot more.)

For other situations, pumping the brakes likely will not get you to stop quicker, but sometimes the flashing brakelights will wake up the fellow behind you who might not know how serious you are about stopping.

Comment Re:Northeast winters (Score 1) 549

I'd be curious to see how it responds to really weird northeast conditions like a snow squall or black-ice. Or my personal favorite, when it's really snowing and you need to make sure you're stopped in a good spot that you can get traction once you can start moving again

If you can characterize the optimal driving strategy, then it probably is not going to be too difficult to get that into the software. Certainly the robot car will be able to asses the true stoppig distances based on actaual road contidions better than a human. Perhaps the sensors won't work well in heavy snow or rain, but then the car would be "smart" enough to not drive in those conditions as compared to the idiots I have encountered doing a gazzillion mph with only 30 feet of visibility.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

It is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to hit the rear of a car that is not moving toward you if. A) you leave the legally required amount of distance behind it, and B) You hit the break when it slows down.

Oh, pish tush. I can think of at least three such scenarios.

(1) Where you stop your car in the middle of your lane, having just gone over the rise of a hill. I can't see you, I can't stop in time.
(2) I rear-ended someone once who was stopped in her lane (evidently talking to someone in the next lane). I have no idea why she thought stopping to chat on a busy insterstate was a good idea, because traffic was moving normally otherwise. This occurred in the middle of a driving rainstorm, and she had no lights on. Couldn't see her, slammed on the brakes, couldn't stop in time.
(3) I rear-ended someone (slightly) at a stop sign. It was crazy snowy out, we were both going slow, and I was keeping a fair distance back. They stopped, I tried to stop, but my wheels locked and I slid into her at probably .5 mph. A cop would have cited me because if you rear-end someone you're automatically at fault, but there was no damage to their car so we just shrugged and went on.

In all three cases, you were travelling too quickly for the conditions. The first case might be an instance of poor road design that should be corrected, but in general, the posted speed limits match the visibility distances taking into account hills and curves. The low speed limits on windy roads are usually to prevent hitting stationary objects around a curve rather than to prevent too-fast vehicles flying off the curves.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

The car behind it doesn't even slow down at all and has at least 4 car lengths to do so.

Something was going on with the other driver. They spilled their coffee, were doing their makeup, or most likely- were on their cell phone- perhaps even texting or reading a text for bonus points.

In no way am I suggesting that it was not the fault of the other driver, but let me assure you that the distraction need not be anything so obvious and "trendy" - they could easily have been just thinking about dinner, have glanced at the radio buttons, or have been arguing with someone else in the car.

Try to pay attention to yourself some time when driving (or watch the driver while a passanger) and you will likely find that there are many many times each trip where the driver is not paying 100% attention to the task of driving. The reason there are not more accidents is that most of the time, traffic continues to flow smoothly and objects do not dart out into your lane.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 3, Insightful) 549

4) The road is covered with ice, snow, gravel, oil or other substances that eliminate your tires' ability to engage with the road.

(This is why those of us in the northern part of the country are cheering for driver-less cars, but realistically think they might only be useful six months out of the year.)

You are supposed to drive with consideration of the stopping distance. Shitty road conditions do not mean the accident is faultless.

Comment Re:"Authors and Investors" (Score 1) 178

Also, the intention is clearly to to benefit the Authors and Inventors. NOT publishers. NOT performers. NOT record companies. NOT patent trolls. NOT descendants of the original Author/Inventor.

Actually the intent is not to "benefit the Authors and Inventors" but to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

Backed up the system lately?