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Comment: Consequences? (Score 1) 572

by snStarter (#30678228) Attached to: Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

I certainly sounds neat but what are the consequences of adding hot air that high above the ground? EIR? Is this thing understood at all? There are such things as unintended consequences and it's not like this is a phenomena that happens in nature all the time.

Just wanting folks to think things through a little?

Comment: No technology, it's the human touch that's vital (Score 3, Insightful) 290

by snStarter (#30635762) Attached to: Is Early Childhood Education Technology Moving Backwards?

It's not technology that's needed; quite the contrary: it's intimate human contact. READ to them, tell stories, interact. That's what children need because it's how children learn: listening, interacting, being HUMAN. The technology is a boondoggle in this. Love your kids, play with them, READ to them, be real people. For some slashdot folks that might be challenge enough.

Comment: An old-fashioned suggestion (Score 1) 799

by snStarter (#30566580) Attached to: How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program?

If he is numerical at all, a programmable pocket calculator might be an interesting place. Why do I suggest this? Because it has all the fundamentals with branching and testing with an emphasis on getting the logic right, but without all the syntax issues. Unfortunately he's a little young to have run into reasons he might need to actually use a pocket calculator.

There is also Squeak. As I recall the designers were really interested in getting kids to work with programming. So dufus named Alan Kay is involved - what the heck does HE know? But I see you're a big C advocate and Squeak and Smalltalk are about as fall away from C as is humanly possible without going to Lisp.

And, since Lisp came up, you might consider Logo whose turtle graphics module allows for some really neat complex graphics.

Even a system-wide scripting language such as AppleScript on the Mac would let him work with major software packages in a programmable method.

But, really, it's up to you to work with him. I have to think working together would be great for both of you -- any one-on-one time with your kids, showing your passion for your vocation, has to be a good thing IF you're patient, trusting, and can be playful.

Comment: Re:The way I see it (Score 1) 346

by snStarter (#30241794) Attached to: Apple Asks Judge To Shutter Psystar's Clone Unit

Apple watched the cloners eat up the high-profit-margin portion of the market leaving it with the low-end dregs. They couldn't survive doing that. So Jobs did the right thing: he took that market segment back. Apple does make, relatively, low-end machines but even they make a decent return. He doesn't need to fight it out with Dell and HP. This is called being smart. They also support their machines quite fairly: that has been my experience. Don't like it? Go find a different model.

Personally I'm wondering where the money to form Pysystar came from and more to the point where it went.

Comment: Re:Power? (Score 1) 139

by snStarter (#29400007) Attached to: Google Getting Into the Solar Mirror Business

I guess you haven't thought much about how much engineering has gone into making a steam-driven electrical power station have you? We have many decades of experience in making these power plants as efficient as they can possibly be. We know a LOT about them. Just because the technology has been around a long time doesn't mean it's inappropriate.

Comment: Seek professional resources to help you with this (Score 2, Informative) 811

by snStarter (#28063185) Attached to: How To Help a Friend With an MMO Addiction?

Having a friend on such a deep and downward spiral is difficult to watch. Clearly, since you're asking here, you care. I'm assuming your educational institution has mental health professionals. Make an appointment and talk to one of them - about how YOU feel about this and what you are experiencing. They have a lot more experience with this and, unlike virtually anyone whose postings I have read so far, actual training. You can get insight into the problem, understand the pressures and the meaning of it for you, and understand what you may need to do. This might help you engage with him and help him out.

I'm glad you care enough to ask. Good luck

Comment: Teach that science is a PROCESS (Score 1) 314

by snStarter (#27251455) Attached to: How To Get High-Schoolers Involved In Real Science?

I believe the first goal is to teach that science is a process. Give students something to investigate: say sliding friction. Give them limited resources (nothing fancy) and then let them go through the process of investigating the properties of friction. Help them understand errors, how to keep notebooks, how to be truthful, how to work as a team with other student colleagues.

By keeping things simple you don't overwhelmed students and you lay bare the essence of science.

This will take some serious work on your part. Developing a way to grade the students and to work with them will be difficult. But you might really get kids to think about how to investigate what they think they already "know".

They will have to do experiments, they'll have to deal with flakey results (welcome to the real world), they'll have to write about sources of error and they'll have to write a final report and hand it in along with their notebooks. Welcome to science!

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