Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Newsroom? (Score 1) 109

by psnyder (#47431141) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

They seem to be talking about Google Trends, where they are currently making cutesy graphs of what people are searching for about the World Cup.

Calling this a "newsroom" seems to be a bit of a stretch. This is NOT "Google News" where I see "humiliation", "shame" and "misery" in the top stories when searching for "Brazil World Cup".

This had me really confused (and it seems like many of the readers here as well), but the article and summary are misleading.

Comment: Re:What is life? What is a virus? (Score 5, Informative) 158

by psnyder (#47429115) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

Uh, they most certainly have extremely crisp boundaries. Species are classified by the ability of two organisms to breed with one another.

The "Species problem" shows this not to be the case. The specific issue you mention is in the introduction:

"Another common problem is how to define reproductive isolation, because some separately evolving groups may continue to interbreed to some extent, and it can be a difficult matter to discover whether this hybridization affects the long-term genetic make-up of the groups."

That being said, I was taught the same way as you and only learned differently when I started teaching it myself. Now when I explain classification, I try to intersperse phrases like "usually classified as..." or "One good way to classify it is...". I usually try to reinforce that there are many ways to classify, show them the most common way(s), and encourage them to make their own classifications if those ways fail. This is especially prevalent in biology where phylogenetics (usually based on RNA, dividing groups into clades) is currently intermixing with more traditional taxonomy (usually based on morphological traits, dividing groups into Linnaean classification)[1].

Comment: Re:Answer (Score 1) 88

Betteridge's law of headlines fits perfectly:

This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no". The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.

Comment: Advertising? (Score 1) 219

by psnyder (#47348931) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

Advertising frequently uses psychological pressure (for example, appealing to feelings of inadequacy) on the intended consumer, which may be harmful.

Criticism of advertising

...was my 1st thought when reading...

"If you are exposing people to something that causes changes in psychological status, that's experimentation," says James Grimmelmann, a professor of technology and the law at the University of Maryland. "This is the kind of thing that would require informed consent."

One could argue that advertising is not always done with informed consent.

Comment: Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (Score 1) 75

by psnyder (#46614193) Attached to: <em>Ultima Online</em> Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

you go to shard A, get weapon A1, go to shard B and get armor B1 because the monster that carries said armor is very susceptible to A1 [...] , then go to shard C where every monster [...] is really hard to kill... unless you have weapon A1 which deals a damage these mobs don't have any resistance to [...]


Comment: Financial Information (Score 4, Informative) 50

by psnyder (#45795343) Attached to: Video Games Charity Raises Over $10 Million
Here is financial info for Save the Children if anyone is interested. 2012 operating revenue was $597mil.

Congratulations to everyone involved. The few Athene videos I saw when he started were lowest common denominator attempts at shock value, but I'm glad something good is coming out of it.

Comment: Re:Multi-Modal Education (Score 4, Informative) 187

by psnyder (#45536451) Attached to: Art Makes Students Smart
As an early education teacher, I am convinced that the quest for knowledge is innate, and is repressed by classrooms that ask preadolescent children to barely move or speak for 4 to 6 hours every day. I believe the "trigger" you mention could be areas of a stifled, developing brain finally getting what it desires, like a cold glass of water in hell.

I work in a school where most lessons are planned with sensory motor function in mind, where art, language, math, etc are shown to be intertwined, and where students often preform higher on standardized tests, despite me never giving them a single, formally graded test the rest of the year.

For more than half of the children that transfer into my school after spending 3 or 4 years in a public school (factory structured, lecture based model), I have to spend the initial months detoxifying the child, showing them that it's okay to be creative, unsuppressed, and use their interests to learn.

The developing brains of young children are extremely sensitive to visual, tactile experiences that the various arts provide. Their psychology is very different from an adult's, yet many adults often project their own learning styles onto them. This leads to continuously keeping subjects separate (such as art & math). While key concepts should initially be presented in isolation to avoid confusion, the follow up activities should combine multiple areas. In other words, expose the children to everything possible, show them how it all interconnects, and use what the child's mind is sensitive to, practicing multiple areas in conjunction and forming deep understanding.

I find it highly likely that the statistically significant increase in critical thinking, social tolerance, and historical empathy that this study found not only comes from the initial exposure, but also from teachers integrating the experience into follow-up lessons / activities.

Comment: Re:Common Core or a crappy test? (Score 1) 663

by psnyder (#45315767) Attached to: A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core
The above "Insightful" comments didn't seem to RTA. It makes the case that the Core is badly designed FOR EARLY EDUCATION, and this test is merely a reflection of that.

Are the standards reasonable, appropriate and developmentally sound—especially for our youngest learners? In order to answer that question, it is important to understand how the early primary standards were determined. If you read Commissioner John King’s Powerpoint slide 18, which can be found here, you see that the Common Core standards were “backmapped” from a description of 12th grade college-ready skills. There is no evidence that early childhood experts were consulted to ensure that the standards were appropriate for young learners. Every parent knows that their kids do not develop according to a “back map”—young children develop through a complex interaction of biology and experience that is unique to the child and which cannot be rushed.

It goes on to compare the US Core with the standards from other countries such as Finland and Singapore.

It then shows the very real and large problem that it was "Pearson Education" that made this poorly written test.

This Pearson first-grade unit test is the realization of the New York Common Core math standards. Pearson knows how the questions will be asked on the New York State tests, because they, of course, create them.

Children and schools are evaluated based on State tests. Do you want your job being evaluated by something like this?

Comment: Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (Score 1) 507

Countdown timers on RED traffic lights decrease accidents, as it decreases irritability and road rage.
Countdown timers on GREEN traffic lights increase accidents, as people seem to speed up when they see the light will soon change.

Rory Sutherland talks about this (starting around 8:37) on his TED talk: "Perspective is Everything".

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll