Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:No wonder congress wants to defune DHS (Score 1) 280

by mrchaotica (#49136785) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

I get, and sometimes sign, online petitions from the democrat party (as well as tea party-type petitions -- liberals incorrectly think I'm a liberal; conservatives incorrectly think I'm a conservative; go figure). One of the latest ones was titled something like "OMG, the Republicans want to shut down DHS; sign this to stop them!" and all I could think was that it's about damned time -- why the fuck would I want to stop them?! Shutting down DHS is an example of the Republicans doing something right, for a change!

But of course, since the Republicans are doing that the wingnut liberal lobbyists have to oppose them, even though it makes no damn sense...

Comment: Re:But... (Score 1) 254

by mrchaotica (#49128367) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

I am highly literate and every once in a while I come across a word I recognize but want to find the EXACT meaning of.

Yeah, and the key phrase there is "every once in a while." A feature you use "every once in a while" is in no way the "fantastic benefit" that the GP claimed it to be -- the only way any feature can be a "fantastic benefit" is if you need to use it enough to make it so. Tautologically, anyone who needs to use a dictionary so damn often that having it instantly accessible is a "fantastic benefit" (rather than a minor one) is, in fact, illiterate.

But hey, thanks for entirely missing the point and then attacking me for it. That really sets a great example for how not to be a dick on the Internet!

Comment: Re:But... (Score 1) 254

by mrchaotica (#49128263) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

Some people like to challenge themselves once in a while. By your logic, we should never move beyond our elementary school readers.

No, that's going by your strawman caricature of my logic.

By my actual logic, you should probably not try to skip directly from little golden books to Ulysses without reading incrementally more difficult things in between.

Gee, there's only one possible "point of reading"? And here I thought that one of the primary "points of reading" was to understand what the author was saying... which you can't very well do if you don't understand the words.

And if you have to look up every other damn word, you'll forget what the first part of the sentence said by the time you get to the end of it.

I have taught graduate-level courses at universities, and one of the things I strongly encourage students to do is look up recurring words that they don't know.

If your students are having to do that so often -- and that's the important word: "often!" -- that using an e-reader with a built-in dictionary provides a significant advantage, then what were they doing during their entire 'education' up to that point? Shouldn't people have already developed a decent vocabulary before becoming grad students? How do they even pass the verbal portion of the GRE?

Yes, that's a great exercise, and if you're in the middle of a fast-paced novel, it's probably a reasonable idea. But if you're actually trying to understand what an author is saying, and there's this word popping up a dozen times that you don't know, simply guessing what it means is missing an opportunity to learn something.

Well shit, if you've already tried figuring the word out from context and failed, and then it keeps coming up over and over again, then of course you should go look it up -- that's fucking common sense! Clearly, from your response, I overestimated Slashdotters' grasp of the obvious.

And recurring words are great for that kind of exercise, because it provides periodic reinforcement, which is one of the keys to learning natural language and recalling new things. Most authors -- even those who write "stories" and fiction -- tend to have "pet words" that aren't part of the standard core vocabulary everyone uses. When you see such a word and look it up [or figure it out from context], each time the author uses it again you'll reinforce that word. Suddenly, by the end of the book, you'll have expanded your vocabulary by a dozen or a few dozen words. (And you're more likely to remember the meaning than if you had just memorized the word for a vocab test or something -- seeing practical usage will aid recall.)

So you agree with me, then!

Comment: Re:But... (Score 1) 254

by mrchaotica (#49127971) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

Right. I'm sure you were born knowing the meaning of every word in every book you've ever read.

No, I started with easy books and worked my way up. Although a little bit of dictionary-reading and vocabulary drills are necessary, it really does work better to learn the vast majority of vocabulary from context and experience reading lots and lots of stuff. That's why children's books have pictures, you know.

Besides, you missed the fact that I wasn't accusing the guy of being illiterate, just pointing out that if you're not illiterate then you shouldn't need to look stuff up all the time (and thus being able to look stuff up easily is not a high-priority feature).

Comment: Re:Or... (Score 1) 593

by mrchaotica (#49126937) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

The links were just congested and that's the problem... Actual throttling is easy to prove intentional throttling.

And Comcast actively refused to upgrade the links, despite having fucktons of spare money to do so and demand from their own customers telling them it was necessary -- that demonstrates "intent" too.

Comment: Re:Sounds good (Score 3, Insightful) 593

by mrchaotica (#49126805) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

The monopolies already existed, and were already protected. The only difference was that before, they were allowed to have their cake and eat it too. We're actually going from the "monopoly without regulation" state to the "monopoly with regulation" state, which is a strict improvement.

Comment: Re:But... (Score -1, Flamebait) 254

Having the ability to touch any word on the screen and have definitions, translations, and wikipedia entries pop up as you read (which is great for many of the older books) is a fantastic benefit...

Why, are you illiterate or something?

No, seriously -- if you have to go look up stuff often enough for that to be a big deal, then (a) the book is too hard for you and (b) you're missing the point of reading. You'd lose sense of how the story flows if you keep starting and stopping like that. When you run across the occasional unfamiliar word, it provides a better experience just to figure it out from context and move on.

The longer the title, the less important the job.