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Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47779881) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

It sounds like you've memorized your multiplication tables, but are ardently proclaiming that you didn't. There are many different ways to commit something to memory, but one way or another you need to know what the product of any two 1-digit numbers is without reaching for a calculator, or spending any time thinking about it.

Comment: Re:All new passenger cars and light trucks (Score 1) 253

by lgw (#47779749) Attached to: DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

The government airbag mandate injured many and killed a few children and elderly. That's not at all unclear. Airbags became safe about the same time the car companies were originally intending to bring them to production. The government did only harm.

But I'm guessing that for you, safety is a smokescreen, that your actual agenda is "more government control is always good", and so my argument that "but it kills children" is irrelevant. It did in fact increase government control, so to you nothing else matters in counting it a victory, yes?

Comment: Re:Seriously, we're not rapists.... (Score 1) 582

by lgw (#47779059) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

If you go out without an umbrella, it serves little purpose to yell at the sky when you get wet. We live in an imperfect world. A rational person takes reasonable precautions against known and likely dangers. An irrational person makes excuses not make the effort.

Blame and responsibility are orthogonal concepts. You can be completely free of moral culpability, yet still be irresponsible. And responsibility distinguishes an adult from a child (and that message is one more men need to hear - for this problem and many, many others).

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47778209) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

No, today we have ball-point pens - get back to your side of the pond, and take your Maths with you! :p

And of course computation isn't that relevant to professional mathematics, but it is a useful life skill to be able to do simple calculation in one's head (18% interest? 18% isn't a lot, right?). Totally agree with you about orders of magnitude - I believe one reason our national debt is so high is that people can't tell a million from a trillion (let alone the brits ruining the words billion and trillion in the first place). Plus, I think doing simple math in your head is key to understanding how much a hundred is.

Comment: Re:If you don't want science... (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47777971) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

That's an interesting assertion, but there's no evidence for it. Other scientists were publishing without being executed, and we have records some of Bruno's other writings, which included personal attacks on other mathematicians, and pseudo-religious/philisohophical/mystical mumbo-jumbo of exactly the sort that would get you attention in secular circles, but the wrong kind of attention from the inquisition. (And even so, had he not foolishly gone back to Italy, he probably would have been OK.)

Not quite the same time period, but there were letters from people pretty high up in the Catholic Hierarchy to Copernicus saying stuff like "I think your ideas are great, and I urge you to publish them formally." The evidence from that time is pretty clear.

With time urban legends become simply legends, but you shouldn't believe "history" simply because it makes a good story (e.g., the "Children's Crusade" that never happened)when even Wikipedia has enough to make things more clear.

Comment: Re:Thought that was obvious... ? (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by lgw (#47770843) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Another surprising fact about fusion in the Sun is that the fusion power generated is about 1.5 watts per ton of core. Even in conditions in the core of the sun, fusion is hard, and the particular reaction process just confirmed was at the end of a long chain of reasoning explaining what we do see. So I think this actually give evidence that a bunch of stuff in Wikipedia about processes in the Sun is also true. (If a different fusion process was found, then we'd likely be wrong about how much power is generated, and thus about the rate and manner that that power eventually makes it to the surface and gets radiated).

Comment: Re:All new passenger cars and light trucks (Score 2) 253

by lgw (#47769393) Attached to: DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

Airbags, when first mandated by government ahead of when manufacturers were prepared for roll-out, were in fact quite dangerous. Does your car have an airbag off switch for the front passenger seat, so a child can sit there? It took a while for people to catch on and socially impose a "no kids in the front seat" rule, after many unfortunate incidents involving children. It was an total fuck-up, a perfect example of government do-gooding directly injuring people - children and the elderly in this case. And it was years before the problem was properly addressed with weight-sensors in the seats.

There's a strong market for safety features in cars today. You really don't need ham-handed government applying force for adoption.

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47768141) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Self-discipline is, in fact, useful in life. I'm glad you learned to multiply in your head one way or another. I never thought of it as "memorizing a table", as that only took a day or two, I thought of it as a lot of boring drill repeating something I knew already. But, of course, I got faster the more I did it. The journey from "conscious competence" to "unconscious competence" is an important one.

I also spent a few idle hours once to memorize the simplest of logarithm tables - 10^0.1 to 10^0.9, two a couple significant digits, which has proven useful over the years in quick mental estimation of all sorts of financial calculations.

The more tools on has in one's mental toolbag, the better.

Comment: Re:If you don't want science... (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47767377) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Giordano Bruno? He was politically active, and wrote on many topics, including personal attacks on other thinkers of the day. While only his scientific writings were of lasting interest, it was likely his other writings that got him in trouble. He didn't have a firm political backer, instead wandering from one place to another without gaining a patron. In that time, political writings or public personal attacks were often treated as a challenge between patrons - to do so with no patron yourself was a poor life strategy.

Comment: Re:If you don't want science... (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47767075) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Name one scientist who lost his head for blasphemy?

The key during the time of the inquisition was to stay away from politics. Anything one wrote with consequences or religious overtones was sharply examined for orthodoxy, because of major ongoing conflicts over political power, disguised as arguments over theology.

Most scientific writing at the time had what can be seen as a "boilerplate legal disclaimer" up front, which in the context of the day simply said "any resemblance to a religious or political argument is unintentional". You said explicitly that your weren't taking sides in the politics of the day, and you got on with the content.

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 511

by lgw (#47766967) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

ID is not a falsifiable hypothesis. It could be proven true - the aliens who seeded Earth with genetically modified precursors could land in space ships and present us with solid evidence - but it can't be proven false.

I agree it could be a great discussion topic, but likely it won't be. A friend of mine from Georgia (the US state) described his high school biology lecture on evolution as "OK, today I'm legally required to tech evolution. We all believe in Jesus, right? OK, next topic."

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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