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Comment Re:"Except Utah". (Score 2) 165

Utah has some of the largest class sizes in terms of student/teacher ratio in the nation; California has one of the smallest.

This is not surprising. There is very little evidence that "smaller class size" improves student performance. Small class size mostly helps poor students in low grades, and even then, much of the benefit is because of a reduction in distracting noise. Noise absorbing insulation is far cheaper than hiring more teachers, and may do almost as much good.

Utah ranks twice as high in SAT scores by students than California.

SAT scores are a terrible metric to compare schools. SATs are specifically designed to measure raw ability, and to exclude, as much as reasonably possible, the benefits of education. According to this chart the average American SAT score in 2013 was 1498, while California's was 1505 and Utah's was 1694. BUT WAIT: in California, 57% of high school students took the SAT, while in Utah just 6% took it. So the top 6% of Utah are better than the top 57% of California students on a test that is specifically designed to NOT measure the quality of their education. I am not sure what to conclude from that.

Comment Re:Might as well teach them Latin (Score 4, Interesting) 208

But - how do you choose, and how much do you teach?

The best way is to let your kid choose. Kids tend to be interested in things that are relevant to their own lives. I doubt if more than 1% would be interested in "the technology of horse drawn carriages". If you try to push that kind of crap on them, you are just going to sour your relationship. You can try to nudge them in a certain direction, but mostly you should let them find their own path. Anyway, I gotta go, my 10 year old daughter is teaching herself OpenGL, and she wants to ask me some questions about matrices ...

Comment Re:If You Can't Beat Them... (Score 1) 165

I think we should start by replacing expensive American senior executives with foreigners.

Foreigners are already strongly represented in senior management. In Silicon Valley, more than half of CEOs were foreign born. It is likely that educated immigrants create more tech jobs than they take. The economy is not zero sum.

Comment Re:Read as... (Score 4, Interesting) 165

It is easy to ridicule this as a benefit to the privileged, but our current funding of education, primarily with property taxes, is the root of much of the inequality in America. Property taxes are high in areas with high incomes, and low in areas of low incomes. Low income people also tend to have more school age kids. So the result is that rich kids attend schools with good teachers, libraries, computer labs, music programs, etc., where they only associate with other rich kids. Moving to a system of funding based on a broader tax base would do a lot to create more equality of opportunity.

Comment Re: Dont do anyone any favors (Score 0) 644

You've skipped addressing the adoption analogy. In an adoption the same termination of parental rights and duties occurs yet people who give up a kid for adoption don't face this. What is so distinguishable to make it acceptable to bill bio-parent Here?

The difference is that an adoption contract doesn't have two parties, it has three: The birth parents, the adopting parents, and the state. The state is involved in the process, and will only allow adoption if the adopters can demonstrate financial security. In the sperm donor case, there were only two private parties, and their private agreement should not be able to force an expense onto the taxpayers.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 4, Insightful) 401

Industry can't meet requirements when the requirements are not nailed down until well in the development process.

This is so that the contract can be low-balled (wink, wink) and pushed through congress (more wink, wink) and then the "real" requirements can be tacked on later and the price jacked up, which is exactly what everyone (especially the winkers) expected.

There is a solution to this phony system: prediction markets. Big government contracts should not be able to be funded unless informed investors, wagering their own money, believe that there is at least a 50% probability of it being finished on time and under budget.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 3, Insightful) 401

That is not correct, at all. DoD and government requires different organizations to be involved at all stages, regardless of what you think about a 'military-industrial complex'.

They are the SAME PEOPLE. They just rotate jobs periodically. Government employees and politicians responsible for managing the procurement process routinely work for a while to build their connections and then leave and go work for the contractors. So when working on the government side of the MIC, they have no incentive to go against the interests of their future employers on the industry side.

Comment Re:Dont do anyone any favors (Score 0) 644

Because that's not allowed.

Baloney. If the state refuses to take your money (unlikely), you can donate it directly to the dad.

What's sad is that the state is using a technicality to override a valid contract, over the objections of all other parties.

Why should two private individuals be able to agree to dump expenses in the lap of the taxpayer?

Should I be able to sign a contract with my wife, absolving both of us of the responsibility of paying income tax?

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 1) 401

how long does it take to fly around the globe vs. taking off from a nearby airfield or CV?

The nearby airfield is faster. Definitely. But what is your point? If you have a local airfield or carrier, you can use it to launch either drones or piloted aircraft. If you don't, then either drones or manned aircraft can use remote airfields and refuel en-route.

Comment Re:Every Time (Score 1) 401

Just to be fair, can anyone name a U.S. aircraft that was delivered ontime and at or below budget since the U2 or SR71? This is SOP, not that it's right.

There is a solution to this: Public prediction markets. No large public spending project should go forward unless informed investors, wagering their own money, believe it has at least a 50% chance of meeting the budget/schedule.

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