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Comment Re:Didn't they choose Communism? (Score 2, Insightful) 206

Communism is a loaded propaganda term that's basically meaningless, but I'm guessing you mean "strong state socialism", which is an economic system. Strong state socialism with free communication and democracy would be an interesting experiment - we can see weak state socialism, working great, in Northern Europe.

Saying that Communism means Totalitarian Socialism would be like saying Capitalism means Fascism. It's certainly the way it was presented as a propaganda term during the cold war, but it's not terribly useful to accept that meaning.

Comment Re:Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 0) 474

If you're so afraid of other people's opinions on how to raise their kids, what makes you think that your opinions are any good?

More importantly, you don't seem to grasp what is destroyed by preventing schools from determining their own curriculum. Rather than thinking of the worst case, think of the best case; it's prevented just as effectively.

Now consider some unexpected cases - what if a small rural school district is short a teacher and there's an educated person they can try to recruit. But the educated person isn't a teacher, and has no interest in the universal curriculum. Maybe they're a civil engineer and want to talk about building dams. Maybe they're a retired university philosophy professor and want to run through the first half of their old Philosophy 101 course. Maybe they're a retired archaeologist and want to teach about the history of the Roman occupation of Europe with discussion of specific archaeological finds.

Any one of those things is likely to be more interesting and educational than *any* specific chunk of a mandated curriculum taught by a generalist teacher. But woe be it if someone misses mandatory "social studies" for something interesting. That sort of deviation isn't allowed.

Comment Re:Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 2, Insightful) 474

Actually, you are quite missing my point, which is to state that none of these actions that are being conducted are meddlesome. All federal funds can be refused by a state, and any state could refuse to submit their data to the department of education.

With the amount of funds that the federal government takes, this isn't a realistic way of looking at it. It would make a lot more sense if the states that opted-out got their citizens out of a chunk of taxes (that could then be collected at the state level to fund the same services - or not).

Comment Re:Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 1) 474

Mostly right, but as another person mentioned further up, making education entirely local, in some places means the curriculum is entirely in the hands of people who by and large think black people are dishonest, the earth is only a few thousand years old, that shutting down public libraries is a perfectly fine way to save money, etc.

Trying to fix this with universal standards isn't worth the price. In order to drag the bad schools up to mediocrity, a central bureaucracy will necessarily also drag the good schools down to the same level. A policy like "no child left behind" also means "no smart kid gets ahead". Making it a federal policy tends to drag every student down to the level of the worst in the *country*.

If some small town in rural Pennsylvania decides to teach that the earth is a few thousand years old and close the local public library, that's a tragedy. But sometimes the cost of having good policies for yourself is letting other people have terrible policies for themselves.

Comment Re:$4,700 later, you can play a $40, year-old game (Score 3, Interesting) 171

I think it's funny that we're using Crysis as a benchmark, rather than an object-lesson in "what not to do in game development."

What are you talking about. Computer games have *always* been designed to have settings headroom so that they can take advantage of new hardware. Crysis is normal, not some wacky exception.

I have a year old system (quad core, 8800GT) that can literally play every game on the market at max settings... at 1920x1600!

That's bullshit. FarCry 2, for example, also wouldn't run on max on that rig. And that's good. It means that game graphics haven't stagnated. It means that games can look better, and all you need to do is upgrade to see them. Just like it's been for the past 15 years.

Comment Re:Virtualbox is superior to VMware (Score 2, Insightful) 374

But really, your entire argument is crap the second you use the term "snapily" or "snappy." If you're angry at VMWare, and you install VirtualBox, your first impression will be that it's so much "snappier" even if the two are neck and neck. This is a stupid term, stop using it.

It's true that responsiveness is difficult to evaluate objectively without actually measuring it, but it's still a significant element of a good user experience.

Comment Re:without any humans ever having been involved (Score 5, Interesting) 898

Unless of course I missed the part where people don't get to vote, must work at a state owned business and are not allowed to make most of the important decisions in their day to day life.

I see you accept the US government official definition of "free country", with the cold war era anti-red addendum and everything. Voting is meaningless if only a small range of "mainstream" candidates have a chance. Free enterprise only matters when the market isn't rigged.

Ask yourself this: Is China a free country? What *practical* freedoms do Americans have that someone in China does not? There are some examples, and those are important, but there are less than you might think.

It's specious to say that we're less free because the federal government got those rights rather than the state government. One can still leave the nation if one chooses and if enough people become unhappy with the nation, they can still secede, I'm not sure where in the constitution the right to secede was.

You touch upon the counter argument to your first sentence in your second. How many people does it take to make a policy change in a US state? At the federal level? Even organizations the size of the NRA and the Sierra club manage to accomplish surprisingly little at the federal level. Moving a policy from the states to the federal government results in a very practical decrease in the democratic control of that policy.

This is just one of those whack job libertarian ideas that because I can't Jay walk or use drugs that suddenly I'm some sort of a slave.

There's nothing "whack job" about libertarian ideas. Like any ideas, it's reasonable to disagree with them once you clearly understand them (and, necessarily, their historical and philosophical background), but simply dismissing them as crazy marks you as willfully ignorant. And there's nothing worse than being willfully ignorant (and proudly admitting to it).

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