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Comment: Re:flooding in 3, 2, 1 ... (Score 0) 126

by quenda (#49591421) Attached to: Obama Announces e-Book Scheme For Low-Income Communities

And in our all our 'political correctness' nobody is willing to talk about the primary elements of the problem, which are kids being brought up in broken homes or no home at all with no family or community support structure. ... the vicious cycle can only be broken

The "vicious cycle" is a myth, or at least a common assumption not backed by evidence. Numerous adoption studies show that the home environment and immediate community has only a small effect in childhood, and that fades away to zero as the child gets older. Parenting is not the problem, even though it looks that way, the science says otherwise. The real "cycle" is genetic, but that is even less politically correct.

    Poor communities in the US don't need iPads, they don't even need more books. Ownership of books is correlated, not causal, to economic success.
What they need is things like a respectable minimum wage, affordable healthcare, child-care, policing, ...

    People who once had a reliable well-paid job on an assembly line might now be stacking shelves at Walmart and unable to afford the rent, let alone a mortgage.


Comment: Re:Just waiting to be exploited (Score 1) 108

Doesn't matter. For one, NAPLAN is not an admissions test. There is not a lot of motivation for individuals to cheat.
And it is a literacy test, so the accuracy of content is irrelevant.
The test does not need to be especially accurate for individuals. Collectively they provide data to compare classes and schools.

Yes, people will try to game the system. Australia already has lots of after-school coaching classes, full of kids of Asian immigrants, teaching cramming and exam technique. No doubt they are already drilling kids on every smuggled past-paper they can find, even though Naplan results are not supposed to be important.

Comment: Re:Very PC (Score 1) 60

by quenda (#49585151) Attached to: NASA Probe Spies Possible Polar Ice Cap On Pluto

Pluto got the shaft. Pluto is round, having reached a hydrostatic equilibrium due to it's own gravity. It orbits the Sun. It's a planet!

So is Ceres, and Ceres was discovered 130 years before Pluto.
It was demoted from planet to asteroid, but you don't hear anyone bitching about that. Did Ceres run around screaming "I'm the 10th planet!" ?
At least Ceres is by far the biggest asteroid. Pluto is probably just one of many large Kuiper Belt objects.

Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 114

by quenda (#49552935) Attached to: 7.8 Earthquake Rocks Nepal, Hundreds Dead

Empathy? That is a reason _not_ to read about it and watch the news. The pointless loss and suffering is sickening.
So why is it "news"? To answer my own above rhetorical question - it is disaster porn.
The same reason people gawk at traffic accidents, stopping even after the ambulance is there. The same reason CNN still makes money showing 9/11 or any other disaster over and over.

    Of course some disasters are more newsworthy than others. Fresh pictures are vital - if it takes a week for photos to get from a remote area, then too late - stale news.
  And earthquakes sell more papers than floods. How many people know that floods in Bangladesh kill more people every year that this earthquake in Nepal. They didn't tell you that? No, all we remember is that building collapse that made better photos, but fewer deaths.

I hope those who can make a difference - nearby Indian and Chinese authorities - can get in fast. Time is everything.
But us? The Red Cross will be calling for donations, but while that might help them prepare for the next disaster, it makes no difference to this one.

Comment: Re:Cautionary Tale? (Score 1) 182

by quenda (#49534135) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

Because GMO means evil, and GMO with humans is so evil that it might as well be Republican.

You might as well say "because meddling with God's Work is so evil it might as well be Democratic".
Why the petty party politics? Those of us outside the US can barely tell the difference between the two parties anyway.

Not all Republics and Democrats are noisy extremists. Many can see shades of grey.

I'm a Lisp variable -- bind me!