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Comment Re:Not a good idea (Score 1) 246

[E]ncourage independent learning and discovery through projects and reading and not relying solely on lectures

Or put another way, what you get from education is proportinal to what you put into it.

In the late nineties my son was starting his last year of (Aussie) HS, he came home and showed me a single A4 sheet of paper printed on both sides. He said to me with a sigh of incredulity - "Our computer teacher thinks this pascal project will take all year". I read the paper, it started with "phase one" - a simple in memory table to store and retrive some lines of text. Each point added some functionality that eventually added up to a multi-user file based db with a gui front end and some pretend bussiness logic in between, it was a well written spec that nicely covered the basic concepts and trade-offs. I looked back at my son and said, "If done properly, hes' right!".

It's probably the most encouraging thing any of my kids every brought home from their teacher's, although the math teacher who taught algebra with a spreed sheet was pretty good too. Not only did it cover the basics of most commercial applications, it also required a sustained effort and most importantly with each step in the project you paid for what you didn't get right in the previous steps with extra re-work. The way I helped him was not to solve all his problems for him but to give him hints like - "You should read up on something called binary trees".

Unashamed pride: He's 33 now and I'm happy to say he graduarted his EE degree with first class honurs and is now in a financial postion such that he can choose to work on what interestes him the most as opposed to what puts food on the table. Having spent the first 15yrs of my working life as a semi-skilled labourer I have absolutely no doubt that my (mature age) university education had a benifitial influence to both my children as well as myself.

Comment Re:Regulation of currency (Score 1) 240

FDIC should not have existed in the first place, it is a moral hazard, where bank clients do not pay any attention what the banks do with the money.

Bank runs don't necessarily mean the bank was doing something wrong. It could just mean that depositors are worried that the bank might be doing something wrong. Or they might be worried that other depositors are worried. Or they might be worried about banks in general. The whole point is that self-fulfilling prophecies are even more problematic than actual banking problems, and the only way to prevent them is an insurance scheme.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 769

Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.

I totally agree. These machines make crap coffee for a massive premium price. They are the ink-jet printers of coffee. And I despise the amount of waste produced.

I use an espresso machine and a decent grinder to make Americano's in the morning...it takes a very short period of time, probably comparable to the kuereg. A cappuccino takes a bit longer with milk steaming, but still fairly fast. And I get a lovely crema which tastes oh so good.

Comment Re:Maps not a mature product, inaccurate, dangerou (Score 2) 264

I hate to break it to you, but Google has shitty maps in areas too. Apple may be worse, but its mostly outlier cases (like yours). And by outlier I mean every rural area in the country and a bunch of populated areas. If I had a dime for every time Google routed me in a shitty, misdirected, or simply impossible way I would be the one paying for dinner when Sergey and I went out. I use Waze, which is somewhere between Google and Apple, but I can at least edit the map when I find a f*ed up area, and when it tells me what time I can expect to arrive, it's usually very, very accurate.

Comment Re:my car (Score 1) 264

Part of me wonders why this is noticeably better than bluetooth integration. I mean, yes, a steering wheel button is nice, but with my iPhone in the cradle and the head unit set to bt audio, I do just about all this stuff already (though with Waze for mapping, Pandora for streaming music, Google for searching, etc). What would be far better is a stand-alone unit which can pair with your phone to *expand* the car audio - like direct access to mobile device content, embedded tethering for data, and authentication to offer customization of the head unit operations on linking. Now THAT would be actual news.

Comment So close, and yet so far (Score 1) 264

Of all the really ass-backwards, poorly performing parts of a modern automobile, the head unit has got to be one of the absolute worst. It requires a minimal, simple interface, and the ability to multi-task effectively. Even the aftermarket pieces which try to do a better job end up sucking horribly. Of all things that matter, Apple (I grudgingly admit) probably has the best chance to solve. MS sure isn't going to get it right (they've tried, and failed, no suprise). And most of the current miscarriages of technology are based on linux already.

But instead of taking over and dominating the head unit, they seem content to simply add a couple of buttons and a special BT interface for iPhone users. Shame, really.

Comment Re:Regulation of currency (Score 1) 240

That would be fine if money was all about flows and units of measure, but there are stocks of money and contracts specifying future flows as well. If one day a sandwich costs a bitcoin and a year later, a sandwich costs a bitbuck, roughly speaking, the value of bitcoin is up by a factor of a billion. That means that if you have a bank account full if bitcoins, you're a billion times richer. It also means that if you owe somebody bitcoins, you're a billion times deeper in debt. Inflation and deflation have real economic effects that go well beyond printing new price sheets.

Comment Two things (Score 5, Insightful) 353

I get the computer controlled part, since forward swept wings are inherently unstable, but not how such control was going to be accomplished in 1939. Also, this 500mph historical plane, with modern fabrication and knowledge, is going to be limited to 200mph because they could only manage to fit 400HP of engine in it. And yet the original was supposed to fly 2.5 times as fast with only 2.25x the horsepower? Drag doesn't scale that way.

Comment Re:Consequences... (Score 1) 261

The basic premise of capitalism is that the guy with the capital takes both the financial risks and the financial rewards. Labour prostitutes itself to capital for the best deal it can get. The government sets and enforces the rules of trade (ie: the "market"), some are closed markets (eg: plutonium market), others are "free" for anyone to participate (eg: NYSE). However without government regulations (in particular property law), there is no "free market" or any other kind of market, the entire edifice simply collapses back to the default system of trade - anarchic barter.

Domestic laws and international trade agreements are the "mysterious force" that motivates the "invisible hand" to move in a particular direction in search of profit. Unfortunately for most of us that direction has been towards greater income inequity for the last 4-5 decades, so much so that the world's richest 500 now have a greater combined net income than the world's poorest 3.5 billion, to put that number in perspective there were only 3.0 billion people alive when I was born..

The "system" can and should be changed to one where labour is actually rewarded and the difference between riches and poorest is one or two orders of magnitude, not the current six or seven. How this can be achieved I have absolutely no idea, all the other "isims" are just as bad, if not worse. For instance Karl Marx starts his manifesto with the words "To each according to need, from each according to ability", it's a really good opening line that is hard to disagree with without looking like a sociopath, but it goes down hill rather rapidly after that first sentence.

There is however hope that the pendulum might swing the other way. This whole (modern) democracy thing can be traced back to a group of wealthy merchants forcing a warmongering English King to sign the Magna Carta. Wealthy merchants today also have the upper hand with the current globalization thing and wars are bad for everyone except those in the (closed market) international arms trade. Many of the really big multi-nationals have openly embraced moves like the Sarbanes-Oxley act in the US and anti-corruption laws in the UK/EU. I'm sure like me, many people here on Slashdot have to suffer mandatory "corporate governance training" as I do once a year to officially remind us these laws exist and apply no matter where you do business. But at least it's a serious attempt from the "big end of town" to move the invisible hand in the right direction. - Assuming that you think enforcing the same basic market rules no matter where or with whom the company does business is a sensible step towards levelling out a very lopsided global playing field.

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