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Comment Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (Score 2) 128

Similar process here, use it or lose it.

I haven't played a serious game of chess since I took up programming decades ago. Why spend time learning to play chess when I can write a program that will beat most humans? Even a novice programmer could create a very strong chess AI using information that's publicly available. Chess was an early area of interest in AI and game theory but it's largely a solved problem now, used as an example of minimax search in undergraduate textbooks on the subject.

Comment Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (Score 1) 128

Every minute spent training for a marathon is useless because we have cars.

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right. Cars satisfy transportation needs, but they do little or nothing to improve physical conditioning or fitness. They're different things and not really comparable.

Why is learning about algorithms useful? For every algorithm you learn, there are at least a dozen implementation of the said algorithm.

It's the algorithm that's important, not the implementation. Algorithms are discrete methods of abstract problem solving and study of them improves both abstract thinking and general problem solving capability. The game of chess for example is well solved by minimax searching of decision trees with a few chess specific evaluation functions thrown in. Further refinements and sufficient processing power allow even the best human players to be reliably defeated, but the basic concept remains the same: minimax search of decision trees. The game of chess can be part of a course on game theory or an introduction to algorithms, but the grand parent is correct that any more serious study or effort at mastering the game, outside of subjective entertainment value, is largely wasted given that computers are better at it than most or even all humans. Moreover, the mastery of chess doesn't seem to provide any special educational or intelligence benefit that couldn't also be had with many fewer hours of more generally applicable study of game theory, algorithms, computer science or mathematics.

Comment Re:Since CC defines the purpose of K-12 education (Score 1) 113

You don't have much time for a child's education.

You speak as if the children in our public schools aren't already the unwitting subjects of failed experiments by teachers, administrators and others pushing the fad of the month in education. Remember the "New Math"? Yeah, that worked out well for us. Your argument might hold water if our kids were already receiving an outstanding education in our public schools but you know what? They're not. Our tax dollars are paying for Cadillac and we're getting Yugo. It's time to hit the reset button on education and vouchers are the best way to do that.

Comment Re:Since CC defines the purpose of K-12 education (Score 1) 113

Education is not like gas

It's a commodity service and in no way exempt from the laws of economics. Your attempts to carve out an exception for education as "too important to be handled by the market" amounts to little more than lame excuses for wasteful allocation of resources to the current broken system. Education is ripe for disruption and like health care is in desperate need of it to make progress. The teachers and others who stand in the way of this process are, to use a phrase loved by the left, standing on the wrong side of history.

Free market is the idea that the worst kind of people will do good for the worst kind of reason.

And yet it works far better than any of the alternatives. There was a time, not so long ago in the grand scheme of things, when most people living on this planet, with the exception of a small group of rulers, nobles, warriors and priests, were subsistence dirt farmers. Then, towards the close of the middle ages, something happened. That something was sustained economic growth. It was modest at first, but over time societies which achieved and sustained it diverged greatly in wealth, power and standards of living from those that did not. Fast forward to today and the average American is thousands of times more wealthy and better off than the subsistence dirt farmers living in the poorest parts of the world. How did this happen? Free enterprise, private entrepreneurship and free markets. So go ahead and be as offended as you like by the free market, but ask yourself this. Where did the clothes on your back come from? Who produced the food that you're eating today? How is it that you have a relatively nice place to live, as compared to the subsistence dirt farmer? Perhaps the free market isn't such a bad thing after all, eh?

Comment Judicial Review is the Problem (Score 1) 1330

Beginning with Marbury vs Madison in 1803, when the Supreme Court first took upon itself a power not granted in the Constitution to strike down laws duly passed by the legislative branch and signed into law by the executive as "unconstitutional", the Supreme Court has expanded upon this self granted power in numerous cases from Plessy v Ferguson to Brown vs the Board of Education and on through Roe v Wade and continuing until the present time today. It has been variously called "judicial activism" or "legislating from the bench" but the intent, which is to express the fact that the Supreme Court was never explicitly granted this power by the Constitution, is the same. In fact, Congress can specifically limit what the Supreme Court is allowed to rule on as written in Article 3 Section 2 which states that the court's appellate jurisdiction is given "with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make." Congress can and has passed bills including language describing what parts of the bill are not subject to review by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck with judicial review for now unless a Constitutional amendment specifically barring the practice and clarifying the already reasonably plain language in Article 3 against it is enacted.

Comment Re:Since CC defines the purpose of K-12 education (Score 1) 113

Vouchers have turned into a blatant corporate cash grab.

Would you say that the supermarket or the gas station or any other businesses that provide goods and services to millions every day are a "blatant cash grab"? Of course not. The very notion is absurd. Money is simply the medium of exchange in any advanced economy, nothing more and nothing less. Are the various tutoring centers or cram schools or other businesses that supply the education market a "blatant cash grab" or could it be that the people paying for those services, frequently out of their own pockets, are satisfied with what they have received in exchange for their money?

The private school system does not have the capacity for a huge influx of students

When there is demand, you will see how fast the market responds. Unlike government, which hems and haws and drags its feet, the private sector rolls up its sleeves and gets to work earning a profit and profit can be a powerful motivator. I'll bet it got you out of bed this morning. But as any businessman will tell you, profit is never guaranteed. It must be earned by satisfying the customer and in the case of vouchers the customer is the parent.

so charter schools are setup and either run by clueless parent groups who are underfunded and end up folding unexpectedly

If you don't think that parents can be demanding or care about what their children are or aren't learning, just ask any teacher. Parents have high expectations and they're hard to satisfy. How many times have teachers heard an exasperated parent exclaim, "My taxes pay your salary!" Clearly parents want value for their education dollar, whether that dollar comes indirectly from taxes or directly out of their own pockets, and they're vocal when they feel that they aren't receiving it. However, even if we accept that not every last parent is like this, why should we prevent a solid majority of involved and interested parents from being advocates for the best interests of their children? Who cares more about it than them? The government run schools and the teachers unions they serve have set themselves up in opposition to the real customers, the parents, and instead made themselves the customers of the politicians who control the purse strings. The best way to solve that is to put the education purse back into the hands of the parents, where it belongs, and not those of the corrupt politicians and their teachers union clients.

or they are run by corporate groups whose only interest is that fat voucher cash

And how best to get that cash? By satisfying the customers of course. It's called competition. Look it up. If one corporation pleases the parents more by providing a better quality education to their children at a lower price, where do you think the parents will send their children to school? Free enterprise and competition ensure high quality at the best possible price. The competent operators are rewarded with large enrollments and lots of voucher cash while the incompetent are driven out of the business. Thus the market rewards virtue and punishes failure, unlike the teachers unions which reward failure and punish virtue.

Schools are a community resource

One that's often underutilized and producing poor returns for the owners, aka the people who live in the community and whose taxes funded the creation of the school in the first place. These people are right to demand accountability, transparency and better results when they aren't receiving them, as indeed they aren't in many places here in the United States.

The problems we need to fix are community problems.

In my opinion, the problems that exist are best solved by submitting the schools and the people who work there to the discipline of the marketplace, just like what the rest of us. We please our customers every day or we're out of business. Why should it be different with our schools?

I don't think that strong central oversite is a bad thing

How about oversight from thousands of miles away in Washington DC, over what's essentially a local matter, by people who don't know you, don't live in your community, don't see the results of their policies and frankly don't give a damn about you personally? Compare and contrast with a business that takes your money directly, asks you directly how it can help you and does its best to satisfy you the customer every time you show up? I can tell you which model I prefer, but I think you already know which one that is.

communities need to communicate with other communities or they stagnate.

And free markets facilitate that communication best, at least as far as it concerns the efficient production of goods and services, education included. The free market allows people on opposite sides of the globe, who don't know and may even hate each other, to cooperate effectively in the efficient production of goods and services that profit those involved. It ensures rapid and thorough dissemination of knowledge and techniques that work and are profitable, whether they be methods of educating students or oilfield operations or chip fabrication or just about any other useful knowledge.

Comment Re:Since CC defines the purpose of K-12 education (Score 1) 113

None of this would be necessary if parents were empowered with vouchers to send their children to the accredited schools of their choice, whether public or private. Vouchers work but like common core there are powerful interests aligned against them. The irony is that the children who would benefit relatively the most from vouchers, poor minority children from inner cities, are the ones least likely to receive them. Meanwhile, the wealthier white families who live in the suburbs can afford to send their children to high quality private schools where they receive an education that's substantially superior to that available in many public schools. This advantage of persists right on through college and into adult life where those who were better educated in their youth have better outcomes in health, wealth, longevity and quality of life. Anyone who claims to care about poor minority children while at the same time demonizing vouchers needs to take a hard look at their priorities because their methods are at odds with their stated goals.

Comment Re:we're already close to that! (Score 1) 380

You know what the problem with the Tesla is? It won't last as long as a good old reliable gasoline car, which if well cared for can still be filled up and driven, often over 300 miles, decades after its original manufacture date. The very expensive batteries in the Tesla will have been replaced many times over by then. There's a reason why old Toyotas and Hondas maintain their value as beater cars many years after the last residual value from the original sticker price is gone.

Comment Re:Let them drink! (Score 3, Informative) 532

we levy a tax that the government uses to cover the extra public healthcare costs that come from smoking.

The US had that too. It's called the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The idea was that tobacco companies would pay a one time fine(s) and a portion of their revenues in perpetuity, ostensibly to fund health care costs incurred by states providing care to those with tobacco related health problems and also for anti-smoking campaigns to discourage young people from taking up the habit. That was over 20 years ago now. What happened you ask? Well, the states were greedy and impatient. They wanted money now to spend on other things, so they bundled up most of their rights to the periodic payments into a series of bonds and sold them to get a lump sum now with the added benefit that the proceeds from the bond sales escaped the spending restrictions on the settlement payments. They could spend the bond money on whatever they wanted and they did on just about everything but health care and anti-smoking The part that they didn't sell off, now goes towards shoring up their budgets, although many states still run deficits, with very little actually spent on health care or anti-smoking. This perpetuates a perverse arrangement whereby the states are incentivized to have more young people start using tobacco so that those settlement payments keep rolling in. Not only that, but because the payments are based on tobacco company revenues it's bad for the states if tobacco profits decline because their remaining share then pays even less and they've already anticipated and spent that money in their yearly budgets. The tobacco companies now feed the money addiction of the states, just as they do the nicotine addictions of their smoker customers. The whole thing is just too damn funny, but there's a good lesson in this for the leftists out there. Government is perverse. It subverts any good intentions that you thought it had or wanted it to have and becomes instead a corrupt mockery of high minded liberal ideals. Like smoking, large government is a bad habit that's hard to kick once you get started, even though you know that it's harmful.

Comment Re:What choice do we have? (Score 1) 710

when I walk down the hallways of typical silicon valley software companies, I can walk for the length of a long hallway and not see a single american face there. when I walk thru the hallways, I often don't even hear english spoken at work anymore!

No wonder they suck and fail at such high rates.

its NOT my choice to work long and hard. its forced on us and we have no say in the matter.

If you're going to work long and hard, be a consultant not an employee. Job security is an illusion now anyway so you might as well formalize the short term relationship and get paid higher rates for the work that you do.

this won't end well. I expect that in a few more years, you won't find a single US born person working at the tech companies.

Probably not, but historically speaking it never has anyway.

I'm not even sure where the americans went to. what jobs did they end up with? certainly not at the bay area software or hardware places.

They simply dropped out of the labor force, which means that by the government's logic they're no longer unemployed. The June labor force participation rate of 62.8% is the lowest in 36 years.

greedy ceo's deserve all the blame. when the revolution comes, I hope I have a ticket to their hangings. they are truly destroying our country and they could not care less! they are insulated and not affected by this.

I'm sure that the French nobility of 1789 also thought that they were insulated from the people's anger, until it turned out that they weren't.

and if the ceo's are not put up against the wall, I do expect to see people going postal ('going software' might be the new phrase) when they are completely squeezed out and they feel they have nothing left to lose but go on a killing spree.

On the plus side this is America so getting a gun is no problem. You don't even need to be sane, all you need is $100 dollars or less and you too can have your very own Saturday Night Special.

I feel sorry for our society. its melting down before our very eyes and no one is doing a thing about it.

Society doesn't care, it's getting exactly what it deserves.

Comment Re:Also focus on (Score 2) 284

Bill got to be one of the richest men in the world by understanding that you do not "destroy" your enemies, you embrace them!

To quote DS9:

Gul Dukat: A true victory is to make your enemy see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness.

Weyoun: Then you kill them?

Gul Dukat: ...Only if it's necessary.

Comment Re:War of government against people? (Score 4, Insightful) 875

One argument against registration is that we cannot be sure how those records will be used by the government or who might obtain or misuse them in the future. We have already seen some media outlets publish names and addresses of gun owners and types of guns owned from information that probably shouldn't have been publicly available. A very handy tool for convicted felons looking to steal a gun, among other potential abuses. However, even that's just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what future governments might do with this information or whom they might expose it to? Giving information to the government is dangerous because it gives governments or their allies the ability to control others through threats to publish the information, or selective publication of the information or blackmail or any number of other nefarious uses. We have already seen with our phone and email records that the government cannot abstain from mischief. Why should we trust them with a registry of every gun owner in America?

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