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Comment: Missing Option (Score 1) 147

by meustrus (#47927245) Attached to: I think next winter will be:
I haven't got a f***ing clue. Ever since I moved out of southern California (where "Winter" means "hey, it's only 80 degrees in the early afternoon now, and it actually rains sometimes") I've seen a supposedly brutally cold winter, a milder but really, really snowy winter, and a winter that wasn't really. Last year felt warmer than usual except for the couple of "polar vortex" weeks, which reminded me of the brutal winter. With all that as my baseline, I really don't know what a "normal winter" even looks like.

Comment: Cue evil (Score 1) 236

by meustrus (#47917439) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise
Cue Comcast (or its representatives, either by training or of their own hair-brained ideas) deciding that some kinds of traffic are not legitimate and refusing to stop downgrading them. Because if you're using X kind of web traffic, it must be for Y common illegal use of that traffic and not just because it's the best technology for what you're doing. According to most ISPs, there are no legal uses of peer-to-peer or fully anonymized web traffic. How nice the days must have been when those were the only kinds of traffic that really taxed their bandwidth, and they could get away with throttling them as some kind of internet vigilantes.

Comment: Re:I Don't Understand... (Score 1) 286

Like most legal decisions in the news, the reasons behind it are not immediately comprehensible. For one thing, the evidence itself is that the perpetrator was found to be publicly sharing a known child pornography file. People don't always understand that the Gnutella network (Limewire and others) advertises your shared files to everyone, including the cops if only they decide to take a look (and they can because it's a public space). So the evidence should be admissible. But it isn't, because this isn't ordinary law enforcement. As others with more legal knowledge than myself have pointed out, the exclusion of this evidence is based on the fact that NCIS, as a military law enforcement agency, is bound by law (Posse Comitatus Act) to restrict all of its searches to military personnel only. Because the search indiscriminately included civilians, it ran afoul of the law. Basically. Laws aren't always absolute, so there is still reason to believe this judgment was wrong. But again, like most legal decisions in the news, the reasons behind it are not immediately comprehensible.

Comment: Re:Not as inexplicable as it might seem at first (Score 1) 528

by meustrus (#47775107) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

In my experience it isn't the government mandates that are the problem. It's the administrators. There has been a lot of talk in the last twenty years about holding teachers accountable for test scores. But where's the accountability for administrators? Can a principal be fired is his school has consistently underperformed for the entirety of his time on the job? There has been a lot of talk about unions and tenure preventing bad teachers from being fired. But who does the firing? If a principal fails to fire a bad teacher for several years, it's not because the teacher is tenured. Tenure may make firing take longer, and ensure that it only happens for good reasons, but it doesn't just protect everyone forever. If a bad teacher has been at a school for many years, it's because the administrators like him. They have probably even cultivated the bad teaching practices.

The primary task of any school principal is to keep order and maintain the status quo. Order is good! But it has to be balanced with the needs and desires of students, who are best represented by their teachers. Even a bad teacher will know better than the principal what is best for his students.

It should be clear that the one group of people who have the most incentive to help students are teachers. So why is education reform so focused on taking power away from teachers? Busting unions? Handing more power to the least competent people in the chain with the least education training (school administrators)?

Comment: Re:Now ICP can finally achieve their teaching drea (Score 1) 528

by meustrus (#47774929) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio
I agree with you. I do! But even if it's just to be pithy, calling science "correct", or as happens more frequently, claiming to "believe" science or scientific theories, suggests to the ignorant that science is equivalent to faith. If it were just a matter of what to believe, science and Christian literalism would be equally valid. But that's not the point. And since the ignorant are everywhere, we must always be more careful talking about science.

Comment: Re:The US slides back to the caves (Score 1) 528

by meustrus (#47769699) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

The Vatican, while obviously not representing all religions, but being a major one, uses the metric system, so I'm pretty sure that imperial vs metric has nothing to do with religion.

On the contrary! Imperial vs metric has everything to do with religion. Specifically, the Metric religion and the Leave Me Alone I Don't Care If I'm Wrong religion.

Comment: Re:just because the dept of ed.... (Score 1) 528

by meustrus (#47769589) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio
Unless he started smoking in kindergarten, I doubt he "never" tried very hard. Probably just gradually realized that besides a few basic rote skills, school mainly teaches us to hate learning and not think critically. So he gave in early. Less friction and more fun that way, I suppose.

Comment: Re:Accepted the challenge, nice. One more interest (Score 1) 528

by meustrus (#47769517) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

You're definitely right that science is not the opposite of religion. There are too many atheists who don't understand that. But there are also far too many Christians who don't understand it either. Otherwise they wouldn't be getting all offended by evolution. I really don't understand why it's so important to some people that the first few chapters of Genesis literally happened. Does it matter? I thought it was just supposed to be parables about human nature.

Also, Proverbs may be part of the Abrahamic tradition, but you're ignoring eastern faith completely. There is no Book of Proverbs in Buddhism or Hinduism. I know that "most of" lets you weasel an implication that "most" people believe in God, but the world is more diverse than that.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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