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Comment: Re:So.... (Score 2) 531

Here is an analogy;

I rent a locker at a local storage locker company. The guy with the locker next to mine, fills his with drugs ... and gets caught. Police put a crime scene tape around the entire facility and block my access to my stuff. Police want to verify that there isn't any drugs in my locker.

What happens next?

This is nice, but doesn't actually identify the problem.

The problem is, when you put an item in a safety deposit box at the bank, if the government wants to know what's in it they serve a warrant on you. Not on the bank, who may or may not defend it, and with varying degrees of vigor.

When you replace safety deposit box with server, item with data, and bank with cloud service provider, the equation has not fundamentally changed...but the answer has.

Comment: Re:Experienced only? (Score 1) 948

by severoon (#36069790) Attached to: Why the New Guy Can't Code
It's tragic to me that students don't learn how to do the job in school. All the tools already exist. All you need is a git server, divide the class up into teams based on interest level in different aspects of the project, and go. Force people to merge. Force them to use standard libraries. Force them to do real work.

I would've given my pinky finger in college to have this experience going into the working world...not that it slowed me down that much, but still, it was a speed bump that I paid a lot of money in college not to experience.

Comment: Re:Unconventional? (Score 0) 318

by severoon (#36042116) Attached to: Hewlett Packard's Cult Calculator Turns 30
Yes, and this hybridized notation is responsible for the confusion around expressions like 6/2(1+2). Some people think the answer is 9, others say 1. If you bring to bear a fair amount of knowledge about precedence and associativity of the operators involved, you find the correct answer is 9. Unfortunately, some calculators don't handle operator associativity correctly and will actually give the wrong answer.

Comment: Re:Revenge (Score 1) 139

by severoon (#35708786) Attached to: New Dinosaur Species Found In China
Actually, Chinese has "r" sounds in it (and "l" as well). The problem is not with the existence of the phonemes, but their placement in relation to other phonemes and the fact that the romanization of Chinese pronunciation (called "pinyin") represents different phonemes with the same "r". But Chinese people are perfectly capable of making these sounds, it's just that attention isn't given to which sound they should be making where because of the way English is taught. (Being a native born English speaker that's taken Chinese, the same is true in the other direction...why are languages taught as though spelling in the language is indicative of pronunciation when this is only approximately true?)

Comment: Start with something out of the ordinary and build (Score 1) 225

by severoon (#35554936) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online Science For 8th Grade Students?

The best way to get kids attention is to start with something that defines intuition, and really focus the discussion on that to begin. Example: we all know that when you cool a substance, it goes from gas to liquid to solid. When you heat it up, it goes from solid to liquid to gas. Look at the noble egg—goes in the pan as a liquid, and as it heats.........wait, ok, well that's a bad example. We all know that when you something turns into a solid, it gets denser, and we know that dense things sink in less dense things, just like ice....wait, another bad example, darnit. On the ice one, some kids will get hooked just because it behaves opposite, other kids will find the consequences of this fact more interesting (that life could not have formed if lakes froze bottom-up, etc).

Each time you want to explain some new principle, the way to set it up is when this new principle is juxtaposed against some other principle the kids already know, but wins out because it's more significant. This is how many discoveries are made in science and why scientists consider the problems intriguing, why should kids be any different? Trying to explain these anomalies is where the aether theory and relativity came from, the photoelectric effect, discovery of the 4 forces (gravity pulls a feather and a hammer the same, how electricty & magnetism are manifestations of the same force, discovery of the weak and strong forces too), superfluidity, the transistor, etc. I believe it's also a good idea to introduce kids to these advanced topics early on, without delving too much at least explain the motivation behind them by telling them the problems they can answer.

Comment: Re:Uh... (Score 1) 444

by severoon (#35554860) Attached to: Mirah Tries To Make Java Fun With Ruby Syntax

Nothing bothers me as much as the incorrect usage (well, what I consider incorrect usage) of works like biweekly, bimonthly, etc, to meet twice per X. These words mean every two X, not twice per.

Unfortunately, years back the dictionary added these incorrect and ambiguous usages so that now these words can "officially" mean either twice per, or every two. Two conflicting definitions makes them useless. (For those of you who may be wondering, the proper way to say twice per X is with the prefix semi-, as in semiweekly, semimonthly, etc.)

The confusion arises from the fact that half-ness and two-ness are obviously related; does bisect mean "cut in two" or "divide in half"? If you consider other bi- words, it quickly becomes clear that the intended meaning has to do with two-ness. Bicycles exist along with unicycles and tricycles, and the comparison is clear...and I don't even want to know what you think bisexuality is if an interpretation based on half-ness makes sense to you...

Comment: Re:Make it clear to your DA (Score 1) 486

by severoon (#35393254) Attached to: Leave a Message, Go To Jail

I don't know the law in that state.........but as far as I know felony wiretapping charges won't stick if they can't prove intent. It seems to me that might be a difficult burden for the state to meet on this one.

Not that it'll ever get that far...they'll get him to cop a plea based on the trumped up charges and the threat of getting the chair. That's how these things work.

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...

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