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Comment: Re:I thought the distinction was arbitrary already (Score 5, Informative) 59

by students (#48413303) Attached to: Laser Creates Quantum Whirlpool

Matter has mass. Light has no mass. That's a pretty significant distinction. A polariton's mass can change continuously as a function of energy from zero to about twice the electron mass.

The summary is a little odd. A hole is not a charged vacancy. A vacancy typically refers to a fixed (at low temperatures) location where an atom is missing in the lattice of a crystal. A hole is a mobile positive charge with mass similar to the electron mass.

(Recently finished my PhD studying polaritons and vacancies.)

Comment: phonon is a widely accepted term (Score 5, Informative) 100

by students (#47886723) Attached to: Scientists Capture the Sound Made By a Single Atom

When the summary puts the word in quotes it implies it is not the standard term for a quantum of sound, which it is.

Measurement of single phonons is actually well established. I have done it several times. The paper actually describes a piezoelectrically coupled superconducting qubit, which is pretty cool.

Comment: Re:Easier or harder to steal a car? (Score 1) 865

by students (#46924021) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

I think many thieves will continue to use traditional car stealing techniques such as towing on smart cars. There is no need to hack a car's starter if you are just going to take the car apart to sell the pieces.

We should worry about is the security of self driving cars instead. Not because people will steal them, but because some script kiddie will tell all the cars to drive to the chop shop, causing a massive traffic jam.

Comment: Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 1) 106

by students (#46799745) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

If you have trouble paying attention to lectures and learning from it, have you considered that, perhaps, you shouldn't be in college to begin with?

This is a discriminatory attitude. Disadvantaged students (for example, those from poor families) are less able to cope with ineffective teaching. Based on controlled experiments, good teaching benefits all students, but it has a bigger benefits for those who used to be considered "not college material".

You addressed your comments to me personally. Notice my user ID number. It has been some years since I passed all my lecture classes.

Comment: Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 1) 106

by students (#46799665) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Based on physiological evidence, normal attention span is only a few minutes. I am not aware of any studies of how attention span is changing, but I doubt it is changing much. Great teachers of the past were great compared to their peers, not compared to modern techniques. And many of them did not lecture.

Comment: Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 1) 106

by students (#46795689) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

On the whole I agree with you - learning is hard work and expensive for both teacher and student. I have several times heard your argument that good lectures are interactive. It is equivalent to saying good lectures include things which are not lecture.

Comment: It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 4, Insightful) 106

by students (#46792631) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Lecturing is an ineffective way to teach because most people cannot pay attention to and retain a traditional lecture. Someone who has been giving the same lecture for 20 years was teaching sub-optimally 20 years ago and has not improved. You are correct that they may not have gotten worse either.

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