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Comment EZ-Pass? (Score 1) 506

In New York State, passage on many of the highways requires tolls. Many of us use an electronic system called EZ-Pass to pay the tolls. It's especially pleasant to avoid having to roll down the window during the cold winter.

Instead of all this fancy monitoring gear, you could just look at the times from toll to toll. It would be impossible to prove that a vehicle was never speeding, but easy to prove that it definitely was speeding.

I already feel my environment is overly draconian so I've never been one to advocate such a system.

Comment Re:Why stop at 150 ? (Score 1) 904

make the transition from physical to digital existence.

Of course, my problem would be with the transition. I don't want a digital copy of myself with the original destroyed; I want the new me to still be... me. The discontinuity of consciousness is always a disturbing thought. Then again, I lose it every night when I fall asleep. This I also find disturbing.

Comment Re:Maybe it can help me (Score 1) 271

Thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful reply.

Here is where I'm coming from:

No one expects a child to read and write before they know how to have a conversation.

Yet, as a student of calculus in high school, I was constantly "solving" problems completely outside of my imagination, which I liken to teaching a child to read and write, but this child does not know language and cannot hold a conversation.

If Feynman's advice were taken, mathematics education could only improve. Perhaps, my math education was not abstract enough (when I seem to be calling for something more concrete).

My wish is that, while solving those calculus equations, I would be able to "imagine" the problem, imagine the solution, imagine how the solution might change should the problem change... to have a sort of working mathematical... "vocabulary." Perhaps the words "imagine" and "vocabulary" are out of place here. Instead of all that, I felt I was just memorizing and manipulating symbols without meaning and without comprehension. I was literally just drawing pictures. Maybe that's all math is, a very abstract series of internally consistent manipulations. Maybe I just need more practice applying it in a wider variety of contexts.

But my hunch is that:

1. I should be able to know a lot of different problems and how to solve them, and only once that process has happened would I
2. later use symbolic notation to explain things I *already* know internally.
3. Finally, I would be able to use the symbolic notation to help me build new understandings.

Comment Re:Maybe it can help me (Score 1) 271

Thanks for the link on Formalism. Perhaps I don't want to learn math at all. I personally feel that in its highest esteem, math is just a tool to help us understand the world, and the understanding is the thing I really want.

Here's where I'm coming from: as a music teacher, I'd much rather have a student who can improvise a simple melody over a simple chord progression than a student who could write a fantastically complex chord progression but have no idea what it actually sounds like.

Comment Maybe it can help me (Score 1) 271

I still don't understand math. I can manipulate the symbols but I don't understand what the symbols represent. I believe that as a student in any discipline, understanding the things that the symbols represent is far more essential than being able to decode the symbols without comprehension.

Sure I have basic concepts down such as whole numbers, but more complex functions are completely lost on me.

I would be ever grateful to a math educator who could teach understandable concepts first, followed distantly by symbolic notation.

Now that you understand what I'm taking about, I'll give this concept a name: "numbers vs numerals"

Comment Re:Donate for Feature (Score 1) 264

I know I have asked for features in the past (Pidgin!) and the development team has refused donations, while I would have been happy to "buy" a feature. A kickstarter-like site would be cool for feature requests. It could be carefully organized by the different the projects. It might be difficult though if the development team believes a requested feature to be outside the scope of their application, or against its philosophy. Forks and market segmentation could result.

The problem is there's always the risk that developers will deliberately avoid releasing fixes for nasty bugs until they get more money out of it.

Very interesting thought...

Comment Re:Depends on the task (Score 1) 491

I think I could run our entire office (13+ secretaries!) with a single secretary by automating the enormous amount of data entry that goes on. But I'm so busy doing data entry that I don't have time to automate my own job.


Note that I do make time to post on Slashdot, but I'm not good at coding in small bursts.

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