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Comment: Re:is this for real? (Score 1) 211

"Presently, only one in 10 schools nationwide offer computer science classes."

From 1992-1996 I went to a tiny high school in the middle of nowhere surrounded by corn fields, and even I had 4 computer programming courses - granted only like 5-6 kids were in the 4th class, they almost canceled it on us.

Maybe they teach programming and computers in the Midwest but not elsewhere?

Comment: Re:Coding? (Score 1) 211

I found this pretty frustrating when my kids took a computer course and found it basically consisted of learning to use Microsoft Office. No bytes, bits, binary calculations, parts of a computer (input, output, processing, RAM, etc.). In my mind the only useful part of the class was that they got a chance to practice keyboarding.

Comment: Re:Excellent idea! (Score 1) 211

Let's force everyone to learn how to code! We need more bad programmers!

After all, people who think they know something without really knowing anything are the best!

We need people who understand what computers are and what they are capable of. This is similar to how we teach biology to everyone even though most will never become doctors (or even bad doctors). We teach chemistry to everyone although most will never become physics. We teach literature to everyone even though many will never work at McDonald's or Starbucks.

Most people will never be doctors, but they will visit doctors, take medicines, deal with minor injuries at home, vote on issues related to impacts of chemicals on humans and animals, etc.
Most people will never be programmers, but they will use computers for a growing number of things throughout their lives and be affected by policies like net-nuetrality, big data mining, data retention, computerized vote fraud, etc.

Comment: Re:Maybe they should ... (Score 1) 211

Scratch is fine, but if you're going to teach any of the modern languages that use "=" for assignment, I would recommend waiting until algrebra is completed to avoid creating confusing between the mathematical "=" and the assignment "=".

But better would be to start with Pascal-like syntax where ":=" can be read as "becomes equal to" with the colon standing in for "becomes".

For the really high IQ kids it may not matter, but the average student who has trouble grasping the full implication of mathematical "equal", introducing a new meaning for the sign will cause trouble.

Comment: Re:Future? (Score 1) 451

by readin (#49292451) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future
And soon we'll have self-driving vehicles in certain industrial applications where the environment can be controlled (if we don't have them already). Warehouses, golf courses, quarries, These are some examples of where self-driving vehicles can be useful without having to handle every conceivable obstacle that might be encountered in city or even highway driving. With an industrial base to fund further research the vehicles will get better. Griffin is right - it's just a question of when.

Comment: Re:Climate Deniers: What is your defence for this? (Score 1) 366

but banning basic scientific fact?

Even if there were such a thing as "basic scientific fact" this wouldn't come anywhere close to it. This is complex theory based on many diverse data points with no possibility of controlled testing. I'm not saying it's wrong. But it isn't basic and unfortunately it may not be fact until it is too late.

Comment: Re:Climate Deniers: What is your defence for this? (Score 2) 366

It will probably hold up easily so long as the restriction only applies while they're on the job.

As for beyond work, you might be surprised. I believe there are laws restricting federal employees from doing things like doing campaign work for candidates for federal office.

Comment: Re:Climate Deniers: What is your defence for this? (Score 4, Insightful) 366

I won't defend it by saying it is a good idea. But I will point out that it isn't unique and that companies and government quite often ban discussion of certain topics and use of certain words while on the job. Sometimes it even extends to what you can say or even which political causes you can donate to while off the job. It's not like Brenden Eich never received any pressure to step down.

Comment: Re:Not at all surprising (Score 4, Interesting) 187

by readin (#49211945) Attached to: China's Arthur C. Clarke

This will probably come across as a kneejerk response, but the submission makes it sound like Liu's themes are almost entirely derived from PRC propaganda.

I read that bit about the plot for "The Wages of Humanity" and almost laughed out loud. Straight out of Mao's little red pulp mag. What would aliens care about the form of government used on another planet?

Although it doesn't sound that different from some of the line's Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century... The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity"

I guess it's possible, of course you would first have to commit genocide against everyone with normal human instincts. That pretty much sums up communism.

Comment: Re:Very insightful (Score 1) 187

by readin (#49211879) Attached to: China's Arthur C. Clarke

Your other narrative of fear and scare-mongering of the great Chinese space migration is as nutty as the fear of Japan taking over the world was in the 1980s.

Sadly it is an open question whether China's present will become seen to more closely resembles Japan of the 1980s or Japan/Germany of the 1930s. Even if China does manage to maintain a somewhat peaceful course (which will be surprising given how they're threatening to annex territory from nearly all their neighbors and even threatening to completely annex Taiwan), a China that achieves the same level of prosperity as Japan won't be as weak as Japan. Japan peaked with a per capita GDP slightly larger than America's giving it an economy about half the size of America's (because Japan has roughly half as many people). China on the other hand has 4 times as many people as America. If China reaches per capita GDP parity, it will have an economy 4 times as large as America's, and larger than America Europe and Japan combined. They'll get their way. While America too often live up to its ideals, China doesn't even have similar ideals.

With your bare hands?!?

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