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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).

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Comment: Re:What's lacking is a plot and characters (Score 1) 230

by mrchaotica (#49164047) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

that doesn't mean it's lacking in good plot and characters

You've got to be joking. Abrams' Kirk is criminally incompetent (even in the first movie, before your "Khan wanted him to screw up" rationalization could apply). The plots of both movies have holes big enough to drive a planet through, let alone a starship. (For example, WTF is the point of starships anymore, since they can apparently just beam across the galaxy now?!)

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...

Education

Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter? 698

Posted by Soulskill
from the f*#&-cancer dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am a scientist and educator who has been enjoying and learning from Slashdot since the late 90s. Now I come to you, my geek brothers and sisters, for help. I've been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which you will remember is what took Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch from us. My condition is incurable. Palliative chemotherapy may delay the inevitable, but a realistic assessment suggests that I have anywhere from two to six months of "quality" time left, and likely not more than a year in total.

I am slowly coming to terms with my imminent death, but what bothers me most is that I will be leaving my wife alone, and that my daughter will have to grow up without her father. She is in sixth grade, has an inquisitive and sharp mind, and is interested in science and music. She seems well on the path to becoming a "girl geek" like her mother, an outcome I'd welcome.

Since I will not be around for all of the big events in her life, I am going to create a set of video messages for her that she can watch at those important times or just when she's having a bad day. I would like to do this before my condition progresses to the point that I am visibly ill, so time is short.

In the videos I will make clear how much I treasure the time we've spent together and the wonderful qualities I see in her. What other suggestions do you have? What did you need to hear at the different stages of your life? What wisdom would have been most helpful to you? At what times did you especially need the advice of a parent? And especially for my geek sisters, how can I help her navigate the unique issues faced by girls and women in today's world?

Please note that I'm posting anonymously because I don't want this to be about me. I'd prefer that the focus be on my daughter and how I can best help her. Thank you so much for your help.

Comment: Re:But... (Score 1) 257

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) 257

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!

The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.

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