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Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 1) 553

by smchris (#48228925) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

You teach a little geometry, you teach a little set theory, and it's so abstract it has nothing to do with the real world and that's the way they like it. Informal logic is like biology. It needs specimens to dissect and the moment a teacher discusses a "self-sealer" like astrology or seances or asks students to discuss when a fetus is a "person", there will be people with pitchforks outside the superintendent's office.

Seriously. This is America. How are you going to allow students to think about the real world?

Comment: Mandatory linux 4.3 upgrade (Score 1) 174

by smchris (#47803675) Attached to: Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

It always seemed we could at least sandbox Skype as a limited unique user, but 4.3 requires Pulse and pulse is increasingly the de facto sound system over alsa. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't pulse running at the user level only allow ONE user and system-wide utilization is vehemently discouraged by the developers for SECURITY reasons? If so, it seems like Microsoft and the NSA have worked out a way to p0wn any linux box where a person has installed a working 4.3 Skype.

I guess you could still use it for chat as a unique user.

Comment: Re:Binoculars (Score 2) 187

by smchris (#47739755) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

Binoculars are the recommendation in The Backyard Astronomer. But, then, they don't particularly recommend buying a child a telescope either.

Personally, I went with a used 4.5" Orion Dob as the first instrument and I think it was a good choice. Now I have larger instruments _and_ binoculars. Yes, a small Dob isn't great for groups because you have to keep adjusting it. But, like people say, polar aligning an EQ is something to be explained too and you're still going to be moving it regularly manually. Doesn't sound like you are budgeting for a motor mount. I can just see binoculars being an interesting challenge as you try to get _each_ kid to find stuff. "No, look at where my finger is pointing. That one! Are you seeing it, the one I'm pointing at?" And, sure, I can see stuff like Jupiter's Galilean moons, the Orion nebula, a lot of moon detail, etc. with the 10x70s but anybody who tells you it's more fun to recline in a lounge chair, hold your breath and maintain your arms as rigid as possible so things don't move _too_ much should probably have his disdain for small Dobs taken with a grain of salt.

Comment: Call me a rock wielding barbarian (Score 2, Informative) 127

by smchris (#46796127) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

But I absolutely, totally LOVE depth of field. Screw the art school graduates. I bought a large screen digital tv for the illusion of a window upon the world.

I would like to think -- I sincerely HOPE -- that artificially inducing audience "focus" by depth of field will be as quaint as silent movie captions in 50 years.
 

Comment: Get used to it (Score 1) 325

by smchris (#46638585) Attached to: FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms

Everybody I hang with in Minnesota loves Klobuchar. She has that nerd girl with glasses look and does photo ops out bicycling with the family. Probably eats granola. Always AWOL on any serious issue where anybody might have a different view so she'd have to defend herself on a reelection, she's always present for the photo op when she brings some tax money back for a women's shelter or something. In other words, the definitional example of a pork barrel populist. My point being that people in Minnesota who consider themselves Democrats and "progressive" seem happy with her _image_, so don't expect any blow back on this _issue_. And it highlights the embarrassing point that Democrats aren't much deeper than FOX Republicans.

Comment: One of my pet peeves about the Teabaggers (Score 0) 683

by smchris (#46072647) Attached to: VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

It all comes down to pig ignorance. When they call Obama a "commie socialist fascist" they are just spouting words as meaningless grunts of disapproval like a dog barking. Considering his friendliness to capitalism with efforts like the TPP, Obama really should be a "commie socialist fascist capitalist" and then he can embrace EVERY major political/economic system. Really, how do you become a commie fascist when they are virtually diametrically opposed systems? Which is to say, what about these protestors wanting a more equitable society makes them "just like Hitler" (fascist)? Nonsense mutterings of a (rich) barbarian who hasn't a clue about history or cultural wisdom, but you can get away with that level of moronic discourse in American society.

Comment: The Minnesota Astronomical Society is awesome (Score 1) 201

by smchris (#46066203) Attached to: Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

There's the building with the permanent mount refractor. I think it's about 8". There's the building with the 16" reflectors with permanent mounts, computer control and refractor with astrocam riding one of them, there's the little hydrogen sun filter scope and the 24" dob. And the classroom building/clubhouse. That's just the facilities at the _main_ site. Not their biggest dob, not the biggest refractor. Hell, people with enough interest should MOVE here.

Comment: Re:When a secret is a criminal act, it's evidence. (Score 1) 491

by smchris (#44634333) Attached to: Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years

It's fun and games to paint these people as anarchists but Assange worked with major world papers about what should and shouldn't have been released. Was or wasn't this the case with the Manning files? Although I do believe after his partner was detained Glenn Greenwald has suggested he might become less selective on what gets released.

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