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Comment Ordnung (Score 1) 372

I did the IT support for a top ten engineering department for almost 10 years.

I half agree with TFA.

Most online tools (Blackboard here) are not that great about making it easy for the instructor to upload content and to migrate it between semesters.

About the nicest thing I could say is that having the grades online is nice.

Of course, things could have become better. It's been 2 years since I directly supported faculty in that matter.

The heart of the matter is the idea I've borrowed from the Amish. Their Ordnung.

What is the purpose of the technology? How does it affect the community?

If it doesn't really improve things for the instructor and the student (in the instructor's view mostly) then why use it?

Most faculty really just need a place to upload files to share with the class and that's about it (as has been mentioned earlier). They (or their TA's) still need to create and assign homework, quizzes, exams and project; and then grade all of that. Not easily automated.

Some (most in my opinion) transfer of knowledge is best done when you can interact with the person. I think this image best illustrates that (from Software Development as a Cooperative Game).

A technology has to be useful and have a purpose beyond itself.

Comment A fee for growth and improvement. (Score 1) 331

If only the FCC had the forthought to have the telecos to charge a small monthly fee to pay for the expansion of broadband networks in underserved/rural areas.

I bet they could have raised several billion dollars.

There is also no way that the telecos would just take that money and not extend and improve their networks.

It is unpossible I tell you.

Comment Re:Collaborative Story Telling (Score 1) 197

Um, no not really. That is one way to do an RPG.

For me and my group the story is what happens when you look back at what you just did.

I don't Narrate. I DM. I kill, maim, and destroy.

Save or Die is shit that happens.

After all, it's just graphite and wood pulp.

3d6.

In order.

For the reall fucking hard core.

Comment The Unvaccinated (Score 1) 1025

The biggest problem with that anti-vax movement is that the herd immunity protects not just the unvaccinated that the infected mingle with both those that get the disease third hand. People like young babies that can't get a vaccination because they are too young.

Babies that wouldn't normally get whooping cough or measles or such because they were exposed to it because a sibling or parent (who was probably vaccinated) was exposed to a disease they then carried home.

If we're starting to stop people from smoking in bars because of second hand smoke we sure as hell can force most everyone to be vaccinated because of third hand infections.

Comment Re:Dead ringer for Pegasus (Score 1) 102

There is a difference as well in the carrier aircraft.

Pegasus looks to be using a commercial aircraft, Lockheed Stargazer per Wikipedia. It has to be retrofitted to accommodate Pegasus.

Now, Virgin Galactic has WhiteKnight2 which is purpose built to carry a craft bound for suborbital, or orbital flight.

There is a trade-off there. The Stargazer could in theory be cheaper since it is one of hundreds but has an increased cost for retrofit.

WhiteKnight2 might cost more because it's unique, but it can handle getting its payload to altitude better, theoretically.

Comment Perl and Python both (Score 2) 67

Python and Perl make great data analysis tools.

They have a plethora libraries to handle things: Numpy/Scipy for Python and PDL/GSL for Perl.

They can access FORTRAN and C libraries as necessary for either performance or legacy needs.

THey are probably best because they are high level languages, very platform neutral, and cost signficantly less than other "serious" data analysis tools/languages.

Comment Re:Problem is... (Score 1) 564

That is an average of $7642/year/student.

In Indiana, it is about $5,000 (for K-6). That is what is used to pay for the teacher's salary, any specialists (like art, special ed, etc.), any administrators (like a receptionist, principal, etc.), any bonds that need to be paid, any utilities, the list goes on.

And you wonder why there are 30+ kids to a classroom? Even if you cut the administration to the bone you still have lots of expenses that a school has to cover as a result of federal, state, and district mandates.

Comment Re:It is like TPS cover sheets. (Score 1) 290

At one school I know of they handle this by giving report cards that aren't grades but rather written evaluations of each student and what they're doing well and what they need to work on, which take whatever factors they are aware of into consideration. Takes a lot more effort for all involved, but it's generally fair and it avoids the problem of a kid being judged by a system that has no way to account for his or her particular obstacles to success.

Exactly.

That it what progressive education is.

Not handing out worksheets and testing the little buggers all the time.

The motivation is the learning process and the acquisition of knowledge in and of itself.

My wife is a student teacher supervisor/lecturer (she helps make teachers) and she is big on discouraging gold starts, food, and other "material" incentives.

She tries to teach her students not to use those crutches.

As you can imagine, it can be a bit of an uphill battle for her.

Comment Re:TSA is a 100% failure (Score 2) 1174

Not to defend the lameass TSA, but no devices have been detonated under the TSA's watch.

That being said at least 2 instances there have been explosives on planes. The TSA didn't stop them passengers did.

I would say they haven't stopped a single, serious threat in their existence.

Nowadays a bomber won't target the planes, the bomber will target the lines at the security checkpoints.

The rest of your post I can 100% agree with.

Comment DIYDrone Blimpduino? (Score 2) 274

An interesting part of the DIY Drones stuff.

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A44817

Winds might be sort of a problem.

I wonder how easy it would be to make a DIY drone using a powered paraglider.

Well, it does look like it has been asked:

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/uav-paraglider?xg_source=activity

Cool.

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