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Comment OT, but true story (Score 0) 138

I once house-sat for a wealthy family in my parents' neighborhood. One of their bathrooms was all mirrors: Every vertical surface was a mirror.

"Hey, this is cool, I thought."

Yeah, then I used the bathroom once and realized that wherever I looked I got a eyefull of myself. I used the other bathroom the rest of the week.

Comment Re:Patents as well (Score 1) 323

Government work should be public domain and PHD thesis I think are required to be.

That's news to me. My PhD dissertation is copyright by me, although I granted my university and my country's national library the right to distribute it.

One of my colleagues saw his dissertation popup on a fee-based site. He couldn't do anything about it because, technically, his degree-granting institution (University of Kentucky) owned the work and they sold the distribution to the site.

So when I passed my defense and formatted my document, I included a (CC)-By-SA notice on the second page.

Comment True, but... (Score 2) 95

DKCR could take some lessons on "introducing slowly." There are too many segments where trial and death are the only way to figure out how to pass a level. When I first came upon a giant-hippo-on-a-stick, I actually stopped to think about WTF I was supposed to do. There is no indication that you can bounce on it, there is no warning that doing so will lower the hippo, etc.

The level designers also seem to have spent a lot of time planning pitfalls so the only way to pass many levels is rote memorization. That may be classic, but it's not fun.

The spider hoard race is a rare exception.

Comment I agree - for large lectures (Score 1) 804

I had that same idea when I was an undergrad (in the USA). The course outcome should be important, and if I can gain the skills/knowledge without attending, then why require me to attend? When I started teaching underclassmen as a grad student, I even instituted an attendance-optional policy.

But then I became a professor and had the luxury of teaching small upper-level and graduate courses. My belief that the instructor was not the source of all knowledge was reinforced, but so was the understanding that *real* learning happened between students. When a student did not attend our discussions, they deprived us all of their point of view.

So, for large lectures, I agree with you. Use the Western Governors University model (sell assessment and certification/accreditation, not instruction). But for small, meaningful classes, I still require attendance.

Comment ACC was right! (Score 4, Interesting) 115

In 2001, ACC pointed out the odd coincidence between the ring of Saturn being only 4 million years old, and the time when the Monolith appeared on Earth. Hmmmmmm.

BTW - The book has the large monolith at Saturn, not Jupiter. Kubrick was worried about the FX it would take to portray the rings on film, so they changed it to Jupiter.

Comment Re:Count me in (Score 2, Insightful) 703

The Best Thing Ever was when some Bush-administration lackey took Colbert seriously enough to invite him to speak at the 2006 White House Correspondents' dinner.

That speech made Colbert forever one of my personal heroes.

You might want to brush up on the history of the White House Correspondents' Association's dinner:'_Association . Yakov Smirnoff was the speaker in 1988.

The content of Colbert's speech may have surprised some, but taking him "seriously" would have disqualified him from being considered as the speaker.

Comment Re:Geeze (Score 2, Interesting) 357

Local news: Hydrogen fueling facility explodes on [street]. No word yet on damage or casualties. In other news, please tune in to the end of our broadcast to find out how [common household product] could be KILLING YOUR FAMILY.

I live in Rochester, you insensitive clod...

Actually, you're dead on. The 10 o'clock news said the explosion was near Scott St., and then proceeded with (I kid you not) a story about a four-year-old who wore too many Silly Bands for too long and had sore skin because of it.

Comment Re:Depends who you thnk teachers work for (Score 4, Interesting) 629

It would be nice to hope that this was the first step in recognising that (indirectly) real people pay for and therefore employ teachers. These real people would like to think the primary role of teachers is to impart knowledge, skills and abilities to the children in their charge.

I'm a prof in a school of ed, but my background is in psych, not ed. I've noticed that many teachers (and those teachers who go on to become profs of education) do not feel that imparting "knowledge, skills and abilities" is their major goal. Rather, as I see it, they envision teachers as replacing the home, family, and parents as the conduit of social morals.

Comment Re:RTFA before commenting (Score 1) 629

Standardized tests are one measurement, but not the only or best one... just the cheapest and the easiest for politicians and lazy reporters to spout about.

"Best" would imply some set of criteria, right? If inexpensive, consistent, apparently-easy-to-understand, and status-quo are part of your criteria, then couldn't standardized tests be the "best"? While the states place far too much confidence in the results (e.g. they do not even report the students' scores in error bands), they may be justified in their selection of standardized tests as a method of assessment.

Many (most) states use tests that are far below industry standards. But we shouldn't besmirch all standardized tests because the state chooses poorly.

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