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Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49569745) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

They don't know how to do it any other way. Don't think all the educators and administrators in this country wouldn't love to teach everybody all of those things. But the more people we want to succeed, the more it becomes obvious the broad swaths of our population that aren't prepared for it. So they cut back the "non-essentials". Then they cut out the "too-hards". Then when all else fails, they actually cheat on their own students' tests because they have failed to motivate those students to learn the pared down meaningless boredom that passes for school now. And I'm sure plenty of these educators have great ideas that could genuinely fix the system if only the idiots would get out of their way, but sadly idiocy is spread pretty evenly across all professions no matter how much we'd like for the better-paid administrators to actually be better at their own jobs.

That's our problem. It's not that any of these people fundamentally believe that it's impossible to properly educate all the unmotivated people. It's that they've tried and tried and failed almost every time and often just given up trying.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49563917) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

Right now, nobody has accepted that wood burns (and gets hot when it does so) as an engineering fact.

Are you kidding? The American educational system has been dragged through the mud for the last 40+ years over the idea that all children can be geniuses. It's virtually eliminated vocational training that would benefit the masses that reach high school with no intention of ever going to college. It's driven us into a standardized-testing muck that penalizes poor inner city schools for failing to deliver on the promise that their kids can perform just as well as the better-funded schools in white suburbia. Your basic concept that we all have the same hardware capabilities has been wholeheartedly adopted into the school system and done a lot of damage.

Of course the damage isn't because that concept is wrong. It's not wrong. But it implies that we can just ignore all the very real imbalances in our society and pretend that all a kid needs is enough motivation. It's not, and motivation is harder to come by than you think.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49547859) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

I wish I could take your ideals seriously, but imagining a solution for society is not the same as implementing a solution. Even if whatever you want to do is provably the best possible outcome, society is built of a whole bunch of people that aren't you, many of whom don't care to listen to your solution let alone follow through on it. You are walking the path to becoming the crackpot that nobody listens to, who is quite possibly out of touch because the problem changed since you started working on it. You need to build a group of other personalities that can contribute more physical presence and build a movement rather than just the group of personalities in your head that can't do anything more than talk one at a time.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49545115) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

You're not even stretching this; they're all the same, just they're employing their brains differently.

Isn't taking Adderall to study longer another way to employ your brain differently? The fear is that that would become the new normal for high achievers. Do you dispute that a highly motivated intelligent student would perform better with more time to study? Which comes around to my original point (see, it wasn't that off-topic after all!): our only saving grace is that these students will be evaluated by tests that also have to assess the underachievers that have no interest (or resources) in performance enhancing drugs. We'd be in serious trouble though if it got harder to get that perfect SAT score.

But wait! The SAT is not the only performance metric. The rest of the horror story is about overworking in general. It's not really about how smart you are all the time. Often it's about how fast you can learn and how fast you can get stuff done. Imagine a future where finishing college in 4 years is a red flag that you don't work hard enough. Where all the high achievers finish in three years with an internship every year and studying abroad and some kind of volunteer project on the side while being in 5 different on-campus organizations and leading at least one of them. And then when that's all over, the same people are expected to work 100-hour weeks all the time. Nobody should be pressured into unknown long-term health risks to compete with that.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49538267) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

I know, but this is Slashdot, where I had something I wanted to say and just had to find the right place to put it ;)

But since you want an actual discussion: there are clear differences in intelligence between Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and yourself (I'm assuming; substitute whomever you want if you're really a hotshot). Does it matter if you're all functionally capable of the same feats? You're not all accomplishing them. And some kids do try hard and just can't get the same grades as others. The others probably had a head start with more educated parents, or they have better learning techniques, or their personalities are just better suited to school. Just because the other kids don't have "genetic superbrains" doesn't mean there's no difference.

Comment: Sounds like Major League Baseball (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49529035) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead
Performance enhancing drugs are a big problem in baseball and other sports. We shouldn't need to go much farther than why the Olympics ban their use to see why they should be banned in the workplace. It's all the same rat race whether you think you're making a product or "just" a victory.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by meustrus (#49528885) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead
I was about to suggest that SATs will get harder to follow the drug-enhanced baseline, but let's get real. SATs have been getting easier for decades and there's no way drugs are going to change that trend. Smart, highly motivated kids will always be able to get perfect or nearly perfect scores on any standardized test.

Comment: Re:Just what we need... (Score 1) 142

by meustrus (#49422369) Attached to: Stanford Develops Fast-Charging, Stable Aluminum Battery

How do you figure? Even assuming humans and our animals accounted for 100% of the planet's biomass, after a single halving that would be reduced to... wait for it... 50%.

No. Percentages do not work that way - it would be reduced to 100% in your example. Let's use some absolute numbers: assume there are 99 humans to every 1 non-domesticated animal. Humanity is then 99% of the population. Halve the human population, and say it's now 49 humans to 1 non-domesticated animal. Now humans are 98% of the population.

Real numbers are surprising on the actual proportions. I offer you this visual representation.

Comment: Re:How are these related? (Score 2) 201

Oh yes, the ever-blamed teacher unions. You realize teacher unions actually hate standardized testing? And if one is to believe that teacher unions love keeping "bad teachers" around, what could be better than a building full of "exceptional" teachers recognized by nobody else but the teachers themselves?

Comment: Re:Alamo Broadband's complaint (Score 1) 318

by meustrus (#49367589) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

You don't know what I did or did not protest in the past. You just want to paint me as a party shill and that's a problem. Can we stop pretending everyone against us is a shill for the other party? Policymaking needs to be more nuanced than that. I think the appalling voter turnout rates in recent elections show that the majority of the country doesn't agree with either side and feels powerless to effect the change they would like to see.

For the record I support overhauling filibuster rules to prevent their abuse. The cat's out of the bag and I don't want to see Democrats do it any more than I wanted Republicans to.

Comment: Re:Alamo Broadband's complaint (Score 1) 318

by meustrus (#49335385) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

Yeah, no. The Democrats in the Senate can still pull all the same shit the Republicans had been pulling for the last 4 years, and you know they will before it even gets to Obama's desk.

But there is something fundamentally frightening about your statement. Are you saying that our government can only get anything done when it's controlled by one side? That's not the way it's worked over 90% of the last 200+ years. We have always had divided government and managed to get things done. Great things even. Good governance demands a divided legislature finding middle ground, not supermajorities and the kind of destructive partisan brinksmanship we're engaged in right now.

The problem is not the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans. It's that both sides have become increasingly radical, uncompromising, corrupt, and as we have seen lately with the whole Hyde amendment thing, unimaginably lazy.

The other line moves faster.

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