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Comment Storage Space (Score 2) 182

The problem with having a dual boot phone is that phones typically have limited storage space. If you want to dual boot a PC with Linux and Windows, you can stick in another hard drive to add a terabyte or two more storage. Phones, on the other hand, only have a small amount of space. My phone (a Droid Bionic) has 16GB of storage. It's a bit old, though. Newer phones come with at least 32GB of storage. Of this, some is allocated for the OS.

If you want to have two operating systems on the same phone you have two options:

1) Have the user storage area (for apps, photos, videos, etc) be smaller. Some people will buy your phone because "it runs Windows AND Android" but word will quickly spread about the fact that this means you can't install as many apps or take as many photos as a normal Android only phone (or Windows only phone for that matter).

2) Add more memory to the phone. This will allow you to compensate for the second operating system, but it will also raise the price of the phone. Users will need to decide whether the increased cost is really worth it.

Yes, you can use MicroSD cards to increase the space, but that's an added cost to the user. Telling the user that they just bought this more expensive dual-boot phone and now they need to buy another card to get the same user-storage space as that person who bought the cheaper single-OS phone is a losing proposition.

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 268

It is far less important to know that the War of 1812 was in 1812 than to know what it was about.

Sadly, teaching to the test means that students will know neither. History isn't high on the list of tested subjects. English and math are. So they push English and math and ignore everything else. At best, they claim to teach those other subjects by working them into the occasional an English/math question.

Comment Re:Common core? (Score 1) 268

And if you need help raising the test scores, the private company can sell you textbooks, and sessions for teachers, and sessions for kids, and sessions for administrators, and test-prep materials, etc. Thus the big business gets richer as do the politicians that get lobbied by the big business to focus more education on testing.

Comment Analytics Ruining NY Schools (Score 5, Interesting) 268

Here in NY we've given Pearson $4 million to give overly difficult tests to our kids. The result? 30% passing rate. To which the governor threatened to shut down schools who don't raise their scores. (He actually called it a "death penalty for schools.")

The quirk here is that charter schools and private schools are exempt from the testing. So if public schools are closed for not meeting ridiculous standards, more charter schools will be opened. Charter schools are run by businesses and - although they take public money - act more like private schools in that they can decide who attends. If your kids has ANY special needs at all, they can find themselves kicked out or rejected. So you'll wind up with the "haves" (students whose parents can afford private schools or who get into charter schools) and the "have nots" (students with special needs who are herded into the poorly funded remains of the public school system).

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 268

Here! Here!

Right now there's a big push for "analytics" in the form of testing, testing, and more testing. We "need" the tests (they say) to make sure students are performing up to par. Then, to make sure teachers have an incentive to raise scores, the teachers' jobs or salaries are put on the line. (If you don't raise your scores consistently, bye-bye! No, we don't care that you teach special ed and your kids don't do well on tests.) All this does is heap piles of anxiety on students, make teachers teach to the test, drive good teachers from the profession, and decrease the quality of education all around.

But at least we'll have metrics for analyzing performance.

Comment Re:Common core? (Score 1) 268

Sadly, Common Core is being implemented here in New York in a horrible way. First, they paid Pearson $4 million to run these extremely difficult exams. Then, the results same in: Only 30% of students passed. (Some of the failing students were kids who did very well on previous tests. It was almost designed to make students look horrible.) They called it a "benchmark" but also began calling for the "death penalty" for public schools who don't raise their test scores.

How do you raise your test scores? By only teaching students what will be on the next round of testing. We're not teaching students to learn, we're teaching them to pass tests.

There's a group of parents rebelling (my wife and I are among them). We refused to let our oldest son take the tests and will refuse any other tests like this. Meanwhile, state education commissioner John King is of the opinion that students should be forced to take the tests whether parents like it or not. Some students have already been threatened if they refuse.

I like the idea of nation-wide standards, but Common Core (at least how it's been implemented in New York) is just making my kids hate school, not making them love learning.

Comment Re:So the juristiction is growing. (Score 1) 216

It didn't cover relativity, but I highly recommend Year Zero by Rob Reid. It's a wonderful tale of what happens when aliens pirate our music like crazy and then discover our copyright laws and decide they want to abide by them. Hilarious and insightful all at the same time.

Comment Next up: Random Baby Option (Score 2) 171

I'm going to file a patent for a method for randomizing all options when deciding what you want in a baby. Just pick an egg at random, mix in a bunch of sperm, and you get a Random Baby. Don't worry about license fees, though. I'm not greedy. Anyone who uses this method will only need to pay me $1. What's that? This is so broad that it covers natural conception? Well, waddaya know. Now pay up!

One dollar per baby born times about 4 million babies born every year in the US = instant retirement!

Comment Re:Here is the difference Mr. President (Score 1) 565

I think that, if I could magically change only one aspect of US politics, politicians being allowed to redraw their own district lines so easily would be what I'd change. The dominant group uses it to either spread opposition across multiple districts (ensuring that it never reaches a high enough percentage to threaten their candidates) or bunches them all in one district (giving that one up but making sure that the rest go with their party).

As the district lines get more and more convoluted, Congress doesn't need to worry about their job: there's a 90% retention rate even with only a 10% or so approval rating. Imagine if your boss only had 10% confidence that you could do your job but you still had a 90% chance of keeping your job. It definitely wouldn't encourage you to improve your performance.

Among other things, without that self-ensured job security, turnover would make it a lot harder for lobbyists to get "pet Congressfolk."

Comment Re:Thus providing another example of scientific er (Score 1) 63

Ranked Funny here but I've seen religious folks say that and completely believe it. Were you to post it to a forum filled with ultra-religious folks, it would get ranked Insightful and would be followed with comment after comment saying how this definitely proves how science is wrong because it changes while religion is right because it doesn't change at all ever*.

* Ignore all those times over the centuries when religion has changed. Those never happened. Not at all. Everything's always been the way it is right now. Saying different is heresy!

Comment Re:Who watches the watchers? (Score 1) 330

The problem isn't so much that a freak occurrence would lead to a government of factions unable to work together but that third parties would be prevented from rising up to challenge the major parties. I actually think that a "factions government" would be for the best. Initially, I wondered if one faction would do what happened now and shut down the government, but each faction should be small enough that the others would be able to ignore them and continue on. Instead, we've got a faction within the GOP which is bending the entire party to their will and thus shutting down the government unless their demands are met.

What would realistically happen, though, wouldn't be the election of a government of factions, but the rise of one or more third parties. As they got more popular, though, the Democrats and Republicans would work together to re-write the rules to make it harder for those third parties to gain prominence. If there's anything that brings out the bipartisan spirit in Washington, it's some upstart group who thinks they can eat at the table that the Democrats and Republicans gorge themselves at.

Comment Re:You can never get the BIG BROTHER to change its (Score 1) 330

That's the problem when someone says "But a strong enough third party would FORCE the Democrats and Republicans to change their platforms/behavior." It ignores how power-obsessed the Democrat/Republican parties are and that THEY make the rules for how politics works. A third party won't magically spring up with 57% of the vote. It'll start small. Perot did very well but got under 20%. So the Democrats and Republicans worked together... to essentially ban third parties. They can exist but rules are put in place making it hard for them to take off. If, in the next election, another third party made a strong showing, you can bet that more rules would be put into place to knock the third party down. At best, the Democrats and/or Republicans might make some token effort to address the reason for the third party's rise, but only enough to quiet people down a bit and make them forget about voting third party.

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