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Comment Darn! (Score 1) 103

I was hoping they replaced the articles with million-monkey random gibberish... at least then there would be the chance of some accuracy slipping in!

Comment ALL subsidies are bad (Score 2) 435

Subsidies distort the market and are, let's be honest, just a way for corrupt politicians to use our money to pay off their big supporters. Funny how so many of those companies going bankrupt were big Obama supporters... and got juicy loan guarantees.

I'll be straight with y'all: no political party or politician is smart enough to properly apply a subsidy even if they do it from the noblest of motives. We need to remove the ability of our government to do it in any fashion and we'll all be better off.

Comment Think differently (and teach differently too!) (Score 1) 349

All the technology COULD work better, but not the way it's being used now. You can't throw one of the coolest toys around at kids and say, "Okay, now only use this for schoolwork."

My wife's a teacher and I'm a tech guy and we are both passionate about this subject (pros and cons). Here's how an effective model could work:

1) Lock out almost ALL functionality during school hours. Specific functionality (perhaps to research a paper online) could be enabled on a 'as needed' basis.
2) Make teacher monitoring of usage integral to the 'in school' experience.
3) Offload rote activities (on the devices) to homework and have automatic tracking and reporting of usage for (perhaps) automated evaluation/grading.
4) Only use technology in-class for things that are enhanced by the technology (quizzes/test with automatic grading...heck yes!).

You notice that turns pads on the school grounds into basically glorified e-books+pencil+paper. This is the RIGHT answer... for now. Sure, some novel apps will be invented that could enhance certain topics but the vast majority of those could be used as easily off-campus. School time should be about talking with the teacher and getting specific 1-on-1 help as necessary. And I can easily envision some fun stuff that could be done in a teacher-directed environment, but those programs haven't been invented yet.

Comment reminds me of a joke... (Score 1) 145

During my travels, I came upon a culture with an interesting custom: Each time a doctor's patient died, they were required to hang a plaque with the patient's name on it. As it happens, I took ill and went in search of a physician. I passed up a doctor's office that had 35 plaques out front, and another with 40 until I spotted one with only 10.

The waiting room was crowded with fellow foreigners but eventually the physician was able to see me. When I asked him how business was, the harried man said, "Great! I've only been open two days and I can barely keep up!"

The Motto: Don't be the first patient of a 'doctor' that has spent most of their training using computers.

Comment NC natives hate Kay Hagan (Score 1) 1167

The local unions are always behind Kay which is why she keeps getting re-elected. Tech workers (especially ones in other states) don't have a union that contributes to her campaigns, so it's okay to **** them over. Here's hoping we can get her out of there next time!

If she were smarter (and more conniving), I'd suspect that this was a way into backdoor socialism. The front door would explicitly limit the work week to 40 hours (or less) as has been failing in other countries. And thus companies would be forced to hire more people. This way, a bunch of programmers might shrug and say, "Eh, 40 hours is good enough." But I don't think she's that clever.

Comment Re:What is really needed. (Score 0) 768

What is really needed. Is to outlaw unjust discrimination on basis of education.

You can thank some extraordinarily misguided 'civil rights' lawsuits for this problem. In the past, many employers depended on interviews or 'in house' tests to determine whether a candidate had the proper skills for the job. I can't call up the specific case (must be the ol' alzheimers kicking in) but the rather activist court agreed with the plaintiff that this was racist and businesses were forced to fall back on HS diplomas/college degrees as a questionably more objective measure. This has directly led to requirement inflation for jobs and the cheapening of the value of degrees (both HS and higher) because it was perceived as keeping people out of work to deny them that paperwork... even if they were completely illiterate.

What passes for a liberal arts college degree in the US, right now, is about the equivalent of a HS diploma 50-60 years ago. NOT in the amount or type of knowledge but the general ability to work at a desk more with figures/facts than physical objects. All because of a well-meaning but terrible court decision.

Comment Re:Whole lot of meh (Score 0) 276

There's still life in the ol' girl but, yes, I agree that this is much like the 'lock in' plans you get from cellphone companies. That said, I'm willing to risk a year's worth of payments. Arguably, this is a very nice perq for people who are in it for the long haul to begin with.

IMO, though, the Pandaren expansion is a lost opportunity: I really think that the game needs a third faction. Us vs. Them gets very old, very fast. Three-cornered fights are much more interesting even if the three sides are basically identical in terms of abilities. Put pandas, YAER (yet another elf race) and maybe two more new races in their own faction and then let the fur fly!

Comment Say it ain't so! (Score 0) 608

Waitaminit... a union opposing innovation? There must be a mistake in the article somewhere.

Get with it folks, there are NO safe jobs. Safety lies in continually reinventing yourself to meet the constantly changing world. No amount of protests, stupid laws, or even outright attacks can hold back the future for more than a brief time.

Maybe these 'educators' can get retrained to make buggy whips and weave clothing on looms! I'm sure there's a demand there somewhere.

[Two of the previous paragraphs were sarcastic... guess which two!]

Comment Re:All this shows (Score 0) 334

Is he's good at campaigning. Nobody has ever disputed that nor has he stopped campaigning since he won. He still sucks at presidenting.

Hear hear! BHO is not a Main Street president; he's not even a Wall Street president; he is and has always been a Madison Avenue president. A slick image, smooth talk and a teleprompter... but will all that get him a second term?

Comment 350 Prizes = 1 Solyndra (Score 0) 89

Subject line says it all: the government is notoriously stupid when it comes to picking winning technologies (Helo Solyndra! Hello corn subsidies for ethanol fuels!) but prizes like this always work because they ONLY pay for success. Even if you sweetened the pot to $10M, you could still have around 50 X-prize type competitions instead of a single Solyndra fiasco.

Here's how it works when you don't have the USA Credit Card to use: 1) announce a prize and set a goal that has to be met. 2) researchers/industry/investors get excited because an X-prize winner will almost certainly attract more investment. 3) VCs, universities, businesses invest their own money into research. 4) Eventually a winner meets the stated goal and they (probably including the losers!) now have new technologies to play with.

Minimal expense. Maximum use of the competitors' creativity and drive. Maximum reward. Why do we need to let the feds pay off their campaign contributors with our money?

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