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Comment: Access vs. Requirement (Score 1) 453

There has been some discussion about similar issues here in China; the college entrance exam has recently reduced the total score for English on the test and increased the weight of Chinese. Disregarding the name-calling, I think there is some similarity in the topics.

I support the changes in China simply because I think that most people are wasting their time learning English here. For the small part of the population who ends up using it, it could be very valuable. But for the vast majority, it is a waste of time.

I think the talk about programming is similar, I think what we should offer is access, but that certainly doesn't mean everyone should learn it. In fact, for a vast majority, learning programming will be frustrating and offer very little value to their life. However for those who do use it, learning from a young age and having resources to explore that will be invaluable.

There is a whole other discussion here about what should be the baseline for a well-rounded education. Does some understanding of algorithms play a part of that? I think it should. But do we need to teach everyone programming? Probably not.

Comment: Re:So who is really in power in the United States? (Score 1) 255

He said both... Just because you heard one, doesn't mean he also didn't say the other! From this link:

Zappa also said “politics is the entertainment branch of industry” in a 1987 interview with Keyboard magazine. The quote means that industry runs government, and all politics (such as elections) are strictly for the public’s entertainment, fooling voters into thinking that the elections matter. The term “military-industrial complex” replaced “industry” in Zappa’s quote ("Government/Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex") by at least 2002.

Comment: Further Listening (Score 1) 395

by mattington (#44475713) Attached to: The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer
I just thought I'd mention Ric O'Barry, Flipper's trainer. He's spent a life trying to eradicate captivity of Cetacea. Here's a link to an interview so you can listen to him in his own words. He's not a Seaworld fan and has some pretty good reasons why not. Hope someone finds this interesting, I sure did.

Comment: Has to do with ecosystems. (Score 2) 327

by mattington (#44404765) Attached to: Tim Cook May Not Know Why, But Samsung Is Winning in China
I've lived in China for the past nine years, and while I'm no expert, I can maybe shed a little light on the actual situation here. While most affluent Chinese own iProducts, and in particular have a bias iPhones, that's not where the market is going. Apple products are more expensive, and Apple has always had supply chain issues in China; most people prefer to buy from a vendor who goes through Hong Kong since you avoid taxes that way. I think the bigger issue is being locked in to Apple's systems. Look at companies like xiaomi.com, they are basically trying to be an Apple clone. Android allows you do to that. This company started building custom roms, then started building phones, and now they have a huge loyal user base. While a lot of people still go for iProducts for the wow appeal, overall there are more fresh things going on on Android, and that's enough to attract customers.

Comment: No Heroes of Newerth?!? (Score 1) 460

by mattington (#29729233) Attached to: Linux Games For Non-Gamers?
There is a new game in Beta now called "Heroes of Newerth" done by S2 Games. It's basically a port of DotA, it has Windows, Mac and Linux versions. I can't believe no one mentioned this before, but I couldn't go through all the posts. DotA is a 5v5 Warcraft III map, so this game is a 5v5 FPS game where you control one hero, leveling up over the course of the half hour to hour and a half game, leveling your four skills, trying to kill you opponents with the ultimate goal of destroying a building in their base. I love the team aspect of this game and I really really appreciate them taking the time to offer linux support. I hope more games companies do this in the future. It runs beautifully. http://beta.heroesofnewerth.com/

Comment: Re:Where are all the English teachers? (Score 1) 119

by mattington (#21027321) Attached to: How to Dodge the Chinese Internet Censor
Dude, As someone living in China for the past 3 and a half years, I'd say you were off a bit on your post. The longer you are here, the more you can communicate, see how things happen and actually talk to people about their experiences. When I get into a cab and start talking politics, most of the cab drivers are fully aware of how corrupt and misrun some aspects of the regime are. It's not a secret how things work here- they've been this way for centuries. If you are in with the powers that be, you are living the good life. If you aren't, you don't really have time to do much else than, as you said, make sure there is food on the table. But the reality of the situation is that people are NOT afraid to talk about it! You just don't stand out in Tian An Men square with a big sign yelling about how Mao was a phony. I've responded to a few of these 'great firewall' type articles before and I stand by what I've said; in general the government doesn't really care about one dissident here or another there, these people don't really threaten the power structure. But if there is a group attempting to gain power then they have problems. Look at Falun Gong. Basically a crazy religious cult, but banned in China because it was attracting too many people. I've traveled to lots of places in China the way Chinese people do, by slow trains and busses. I've been to the countryside and seen and talked to people who are living a very third world life. There are lots of F'ed up situations in China and lots of people being treated unfairly. There are organized protests here everyday from farmers whose land has been taken away, etc. Chinese people in general are extremely practical. What is going online and blogging about something really going to do for you, farmer Zhang, making barely enough to feed your family. It's going to waste your time and resources in an internet cafe rather than spending that time trying to make sure your daughter has a better life. I could say a lot more, but if you've made it this far you're probably bored anyway and I've vented enough. As anyone who has spent time abroad knows, it's impossible to fully explain what you've experienced and how things work in another system. I'm not defending the government, just hoping to expound on a few of these issues. Matt

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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