Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 1) 422

by tlambert (#48226677) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the studentâ(TM)s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

We shouldn't challenge student's fixed beliefs? Or undermine parental authority? Those sound like usual and desired outcomes of critical thinking skills.

They are.

In order to apply critical thinking skills, however, you have to establish a corpus of information (knowledge) from which to operate as a base when testing new information for validity.

In other words, you can't start from a phenomenological basis from the start, you have to assume language in order to be able to communicate about concepts, and then adequately judge their validity or invalidity.

What this means is that you have to shovel their heads full of as much rote knowledge as you can possibly shovel in, prior to their critical thinking filter slamming into place and interfering with the process o communicating things like "rules of grammar", "mathematical concepts", "tigonometric identities", and so on. Because once those filters slam into place, they are going to be thinking for themselves, and so busy questioning the validity of what an authority is saying, and their motives for saying it, that it's going to be difficult to jam anything in.

As to the validity of the rote knowledge you've already jammed into their heads prior to that event - effectively, where they stop being sponges, and wake up into themselves as human beings - well, hopefully the event that throws up the gates occurs after you have taught them Aristotelian logic, and Platonic/Homeric introspective self examination ("The unexamined life is not worth living"), so that they can selectively filter for any "bullshit" that was inserted, along with their times tables or the idea that sin(x) + cos(x) = 1.

So while their motivations may be impure, I have to agree with them that, at least through High School, you want to just shovel as fast as you possibly can, and then when they get to their Sophomore year in college, you send them to the philosophy department to teach them symbolic logic, and you send them to the physics department to teach them how to think rationally about problem solving (something physics is good at, because it's as unforgiving about facts as gravity in a "Road Runner" cartoon isn't).

And if they never make it to their Sophomore year in college, because they stop after the mandatory public schooling, and don't pursue further education... well, they will likely be happier as people not having had their delusions challenged, particularly since those delusions were probably shoveled into their heads at a young age - say 5 or so - and all you are going to do by having taught them critical thinking skills early is to make them miserable as adults.

Comment: Re:One thing missing (Score 1) 50

by tlambert (#48221999) Attached to: Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina

:I didn't see anything in the article saying the woman could actually see again. The article noted she was " fine"

She can't. This was a test of the stem cell transplant, and didn't hook the new cells up to anything that would provide vision.

There's a gene therapy technique which would have worked, but she didn't get that:

Comment: Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (Score 1) 495

by tlambert (#48221835) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Again (as per previous posts) :) FTDI didn't break anything - they moved the USB ID off their allocated(and payed for/licensed range) and that was that

The chip still works. However, not with FTDI's drivers. this would be the case if the chip was blocked by their drivers or the device ID was changed.

For example linux has a patch that allows the chips to work as a PID of 0. This is the driver that's been updated to recognise it. FTDI have no such obligation in their drivers

Actually, the Linux patch is to put things back, and to recognize an illegal PID (per the USB spec.) anyway.

FTDI doesn't own the PID, they own the VID; they weren't changing the VID (it would have been OK if they had changed the VID to 6666, which is the recognized experimental device VID, rather than effectively bricking the device until there's semi-substantial driver changes to allow an otherwise illegal PID to be used).

It was an intentional bricking that requires bit-bang mode to correct the EEPROM contents, which they overwrote with the invalid PID, before it can be used again.

Comment: Actually, this isn't how McDonalds corporate works (Score 5, Informative) 620

Point of fact: McDonalds as a corporation doesn't sign those peoples' paychecks, at least if their business model hasn't changed since 2000ish. They do franchising, and make money on the fact that franchises have to purchase supplies from the company. This allows them to dodge risk on opening in poor locations, or personnel expenses.

Actually, this isn't how McDonalds corporate works.

The way McDonalds works is it picks your location for you, buys it, builds a McDonalds there, and guarantees you your franchise buy-in back in one year. The franchise buy-in is $1M, which you get back in one year, and then you make that each year thereafter.

They *do* sell you trade dress items - fry boxes with the 'M' on them, and they sell you food supplies - but their primary profit actually comes from their real estate holdings, the fact that they are your landlord, and franchise fees.

Once they do sell you a franchise, they dictate your trade dress, which means corporate pays for remodeling the individual franchise stores (after all, McDonalds themselves owns the property), and when they tell you remodel, expect the crews to show up and just do it, you are at best granted minor choices on things like arrangement of the bathrooms, and the manager's office, and so on. Otherwise, they dictate. This is a typically good thing, since they know how many people will go through in a given amount of time, max, because they have a PhD in mathematics who understands queuing theory work it out.

In addition, you can't buy a franchise unless you have been a store manager, and you can't be a store manager unless you've been an assistant manager, and you can't be an assistant manager unless you've been a shift lead, and you can't be a shift lead unless you've been an ordinary employee. In other words, every step in responsibility requires that you be able to do all the jobs at the previous step in responsibility. This is why when they have walkouts, they typically don't close down over them.

So it's not like this will change the need for employees, from the line on up, or they'll have no new franchise owners, unless they totally rework their entire model. Which they won't do, since their primary profit comes from real estate, them being your landlord, and franchise fees.

This really has nothing to do with the Minimum Wage issue; that's just because the author of the opinion section piece that the OP referenced, since they could care less.

They did however throw $200M in venture funding behind the company providing the automation software and equipment a few years back. Time to recoup their investment there.

Comment: Re: This is silly (Score 5, Interesting) 620

A person rendered unemployable by ordering kiosks is a victim of an education system that ill-prepared them to contribute to society, and the solution isn't to protect their low/no-skill jobs.

Not everyone is educable. Not everyone has value to society that's sufficient for them to support themselves.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 5, Funny) 620

It may be good for the economy. It may not be so good for the people who can no longer support themselves because they just lost their minimum wage job to a robot. It may not be good for the people who then get mugged by said hungry person either.

If you are attacked by said unemployed maximized minimum wage person, perhaps you should just beat them with your buggy whip until they back off.

Comment: Re:$3500 fine? (Score 1) 279

by tlambert (#48219521) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

What kind of qualifications are you referring to? A+ certificate? Give me a break. We don't have enough PC Installers in the US? They had to fly in PC Installers because of a worker shortage? I think your going on a pretty big assumption that these guys weren't temp workers in India as well. Do you know for a fact that they had jobs when they returned?

The qualification that in order to get an L1-B, they had to have worked for EFI for 18 months, were presumably already bound by an NDA, wanted to keep their jobs when they got back, and were already familiar with "You will do it this way because this way is the way EFI does things". How long, exactly, do you think it takes for a new employee to get up to speed on company specific policies and procedures for wiring closets and server rooms, particularly for a company that, among other things, sells outsourced compute infrastructure?

Or look at it going the other way... Do you think I'd get a work visa for India if I was a PC Installer that was needed in India because the firm didn't want to sign someone for secrecy reasons?

Nope. I don't. Not without a buttload of hassle, if the intent was a work visa. I think they could send you there, though, and you would be able to do the work anyway because of reciprocity agreements between the U.S. and India. IBM frequently does that sort of thing because technically, you're being paid in the U.S., so it doesn't matter that you're working remotely at an IBM facility somewhere else.

Comment: Re:Surely not the "largest" tank? (Score 2) 149

by tlambert (#48219479) Attached to: British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

From TFA:

the largest and smartest tank ever designed for the British Army

Surely, instead of spending money on smart tanks, they should have all those former Nokia employees laid off by Microsoft build them feature tanks instead?

PS: I'm still wondering why they need soldiers *inside* then, rather than having them be drive-by-wire, just like airborne drones?

Comment: Re:Distributed social networks won't work. (Score 1) 253

by tlambert (#48219049) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

now regret to the point that you're willing to rewrite history

And this is bad how? Its your history. If you post something and a week later you decide it probably shouldn't be public knowledge, who really cares if you take it down? Its not like you (for most values of "you" at least) are the sole historian of an important event or other politically-charged information.

Hell.. its your own page.. does it matter if you just write complete BS in the first place?

You're acting like a social network is a web site. It's not, it's a fabric. If you want to be able to do this type of editing, fine, put up a web page, but don't try to pretend that you posting something that makes you look like an asshole, and then me commenting on it, calling you out for being an asshole, and then you changing the original posting so that it looks like I'm the asshole for engaging in an ad hominim attack, is somehow OK.

What the OP has suggested is more or less the old Usenet, but with a single point of failure for me being able to access the shared history of the gestalt of people who were engaged in the conversation or conversations that resulted in that gestalt in the first place. If I'm connected to you and Bob and Tom and etc., we're not just connected through our freedom of association choices, we're also connected by our shared context and history.

I'm also not sure I'd be comfortable with some types of content showing up in "my feed", particularly content that happens to be illegal in my jurisdiction. I certainly don't want ... able to post Nazi propaganda into Germany, ...

So don't be friends with people who would do that. And if you don't know about their leanings before they post that shit, you can just de-friend them and delete their rant (see above.)

See above; I can't just erase our shared context from my memory, if I decide Bob is a Nazi after the fact. One of the problems with Facebook is one of things which make it useful: the extended shared social network, where I not only see what you write in a conversation, but because Bob knows you, and you know me, I get to see Bob being an ass because of his association with you. Am I just supposed to "de-friend" everyone? How do I know that I'm seeing Bob because of you, and not Tom? Maybe I'm seeing him because of both you *and* Tom?

I don't have much to say on your third point as it would be wholly dependent on actual implementation as to whether this theoretical distributed service provides "weak" or "strong" links (whatever the hell that means.)

Also keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter are completely different services with completely different purposes. They may have been glommed together under the "social media" category but that's like saying cats and dogs are the same thing because they both fall into the "common pet" category. They have similarities to be sure, but they have far more in the way of differences.

Twitter's links are "strong" because if you "follow" them, you see every little thing they post. Facebook's links are "weak", because if you "follow" someone, you don't necessarily see every little thing they post.

The reason that offline social networks work is because you have transient freedom of association. You have less of that with Facebook, and drastically less of that with Twitter. That's why Twitter is basically a troll-sewer, and Facebook is less of one.

Another reason for the "troll-sewer" effect is that there is no longer term consequence, if you can delete your posts after the fact. By allowing the rewrite of history (discussed earlier), you remove the need for the social lubricants of politeness, civility, and (possibly pretend) rationality, which are required in real-world interactions. Because of that you end up with large amounts of vitriol over things which would have blown over, or which people would have just avoided commenting on in the first place, in order to try to keep the peace with someone they disagreed with over some issue they brought up.

If anything eventually dooms social networking, it's going to be the "Twitter effect", where people's mood swings are driven harmonic oscillators; at least Facebook is a damped, driven harmonic oscillator, and as a worst case scenario, by reducing what you see of your friends posts, or of reactive posts that tend to blow up into large threads, they have the ability to damp it further by pushing in the control rods.

A social network of the type that the OP suggested combines the worst effects of Twitter, with the worst effects of removing accountability. IT would be a highly chaotic and unstable system. This is perhaps what the OP wanted in the first place, but it's not a place most of us would choose to participate in, or participate in creating so that he could feel good about having one.

Comment: Re: USA To Weaponize Ebola (Score 1) 110

by tlambert (#48218937) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

Why? The attacking nation would of course have vacines for those of the preferred segments of their society.

It mutates as it reproduces. It's like the rolling codes on your car alarm or garage door opener: vaccination against the previous code won't prevent you getting infected with the new one. This same effect is why you can have the cold or flu more than once in your life.

Comment: Re:Money, money, money... (Score 3, Interesting) 110

by tlambert (#48218933) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

It seems that this all about the financial bottom line. I understand things cost money, but it would nice if there was, for once, more concern about human lives.

Actually, it's not.

Glaxo Smith Klein has said that even if they relax the bio safety level 2 requirements for filling the vaccine vials, after a certain (short) point, they will be converting their production of other vaccines from such diseases as rotavirus, measles, mumps, and rubella.

At that point, we are talking about trading American lives to benefit Liberian lives.

Note that the NewLink vaccine donated by Canada has demonstrated Ebola-like symptoms in many of the people who've been inoculated in Phase I trials, so it's entirely possible Canada Health has been giving those people either the virus or a weakened strain of the virus, and is actually infecting people. Apart from that, they also have the fill rate problem that GSK was complaining about, which would short-sheet supplies of other vaccines.

Comment: Re:The Cult Leader will solve the problem! (Score 1) 110

by tlambert (#48218869) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

Instead, they should totally go ahead and implement a travel ban so people sneak into the country with ebola instead of coming through the airports.

How exactly is coming in through the airports with ebola, where you have a nice vector to spread the virus both nationally and internationally, superior to people sneaking into the country with ebola?

Comment: Re:When you are inside the box ... (Score 1) 262

by tlambert (#48218815) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

I am from China. Assange is from Australia. Those of us who are not from the United States of America tend to have an advantage over those who were born and raised inside America because we were not indoctrinated with the Pledge of Allegiance throughout our childhood (into the teen years) but the Americans do

No, you had alternate indoctrination.

"The great leader Chairman Mao teaches us; promote physical fitness exercises, and improve people's physical condition. We must always be ready to protect our country."

Note that I first heard this in a U.S. social studies/world history class when I was 14 years old, following normalization of relations with China. And yes, we did the exercises.

Patriotism is not necessarily a bad thing, but to try to claim that it's a U.S. phenomenon because of "The Pledge of Allegiance" is any more indoctrinating than radio broadcasts of physical fitness exercises as part of military readiness is disingenuous.

P.S.: They were off the radio in China for a while, but they are back on the air. This is a daily occurrence in China to this day; The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer practiced in most U.S. schools, although, except in 4 states where it's outlawed, it's generally at the discretion of the school board and/or individual teacher. Most avoid the controversy.

Comment: Re:$3500 fine? (Score 1) 279

by tlambert (#48218351) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

It's not clear to me that it was willful avoidance of paying minimum wage - they had a job to do, they got help from some of their existing employees from overseas, who continued to receive their regular wage (in their regular currency) during the time that they were here

It's almost certainly a violation of immigration law. I assume that these people came to Fremont on visitor visas that don't allow the visa holder to "work". Even if the foreign workers were here on H1s or L1s (which I doubt), they would have been violating the salary requirements for that type of visa.

My understanding from someone familiar with the case is that they were in the U.S. on L1-B visas that had been legally applied for; it's common practice for companies like IBM to pay their existing wage plus a per diem when they send someone to India to train people there, or to otherwise resolve issues in the foreign country.

From what I've been told, this is a misunderstanding on the part of EFI with regard to equivalence between the labor laws that apply in the other direction, and the labor laws that apply in the U.S. not being equivalent. It's why the fine was so low, and it's why only the California minimum wage was enforced in the payout to the workers, and why additional charges were not leveled at EFI by the USCIS.

It's pretty common for many organizations to do this (without the prevailing wage screwup) to avoid having to swear third party contractors or temporary employees to secrecy, without a relatively big carrot/stick to get them to keep their secrets. At least one of the photographs of the aluminum laser cut single piece MacBook case was a result of bringing in outside contractors to put down new carpet squares in the lab in question.

A lot of U.S. people tend to dislike this type of thing because it means that they don't get the temporary job that they can then leverage to get cell phone pictures to sell Engadget and really cash in on the situation, since a temporary position paying prevailing wages for a short term gig isn't going to come anywhere close to matching a $50,000 payday from a tech blog. They also don't believe that the foreign workers deserve to have the jobs they do in their native country, when it could be done for much higher cost in the U.S. by a less qualified American.

Comment: I think a lot of the SVC people laid off... (Score 5, Interesting) 54

by tlambert (#48218193) Attached to: Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

I think a lot of the SVC people laid off were people working on Microsoft Products for Apple. Mountain View, at the facility South of the I-101/I-85 interchange, near Moffett Field, were there to do work on Mac OS X products. I you look at the Microsoft job postings, you'll see that almost everyone in APEX is a continuing engineer, and that there are a small number of Objective-C and iOS openings that all appear to be concentrated on front-ending Office 365 on Mac OS X and iPhone, iPod, and iPad, rather than native applications.

I expect this is the non-announcement that Office 2014 for Apple products is going to be nothing more than a front-end wrapper for their subscription products. This somewhat makes sense, given that Apple has been pressuring them on productivity apps on their platforms, and that "good enough" is the enemy of "expensive". If you couple this with Mac OS X *never* having been a tier 1 platform for Office products (where's VB 5, VB.Net, Acces, etc. for Mac OS X?), it was never intended that Apple desktop systems be able to compete with Windows desktop systems in terms of being able to do the same vertical market development using ports from Windows vertical market development. It was an avoidance of cannibalizing the Windows market in that area.

Obviously, I could be wrong, but when working at Apple, I visited the Office developers there several times to deal with OS and kernel related issues; the only place they seem to be willing to hire Objective-C people seems to be Redmond or Bellevue, and it appears to be for things like Skype development, not office; the APEX jobs appear to be remaining in Mountain View at present, and greatly scaled back.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"