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Comment Re:Credit (Score 1) 161

I'm not sure what "credit" you want to receive. Presumably it's to be able to add to your resume to improve your job prospects.
As an employer, I would be extremely impressed by a candidate who put together a self-defined, free, online "degree program" and executed it, with proof.

Calculate the number of hours of "classroom" and "study time" necessary for a degree of your choice. Then proceed to "take each course" by watching the videos, and logging the date and time you watched the video. Also log all the website articles (or books) read, in the study of the particular topic of that course. Then record a video of you explaining the topics in great detail, one "chapter of study at a time" as your final exam.

Creating your own "self-study" degree program would look something like this (for a Bachelor's Degree equivalent):

- First, create a list of about 35 courses that you plan to study exhaustively. You could easily create this list by looking at the graduation requirements of any major university.
- Each course would consist of watching about 60 hours of watching relevant online videos of your choice (analogous to classroom training) and another 100 hours of reading webpages, books, IRC with experts, doing problems, writing code or papers, etc. This amount would be roughly the same as a 4-semester-hour course (although I'd contend that it would likely be far more valuable!) At the end, create a Private YouTube video where you present and explain in detail everything that you learned in that course, and demonstrate mastery in the video. Bonus points if you make it public.

Think about that! A candidate with that sort of initiative and financial sense would be GREAT for my business. Even if you did this for several courses (but not a full degree program), it would show the discipline and creativeness that I would look for in a candidate. Nearly anyone can sit in a classroom for four years and get the piece of paper, but it takes a special person to have the drive and initiative to create their own degree.

Comment Re:They forgot what tests are for (Score 1) 743

So does anyone have the answers to the puzzles posted on here?

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

        Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?

        You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.)

        Distance is defined like this : If a[i], b[j] and c[k] are three elements then distance=max(abs(a[i]-b[j]),abs(a[i]-c[k]),abs(b[j]-c[k]))” Please give a solution in O(n) time complexity


For Problem #2, I would say that all 100 men get killed. I am basing it on the Khan Academy explanation of the Blue Forehead problem

For Problem #3, It seems like the optimal answer is for Pirate #5 to give himself 98 coins, Pirate #4 one coin, and Pirate #2 one coin. (Pirate #1 knows that he can get all the coins if it ever gets down to two pirates. So he'll vote down every proposal. And Pirate #3 knows that he can get 100 coins, if it ever gets down to three pirates (because at that point, pirate #2 will vote for pretty much anything, lest he die!) And Pirate #4 knows that if it ever gets down to four pirates left, he will need to satisfy two out of three, and there's no way he'll be able to do that (since #1 and #3 won't vote his way no matter what). So he'll take whatever he can get. So no sense in giving any to pirates 1 or 3, because you'll never get their vote.

So by giving pirates 2 and 4 one coin each, you are buying their votes.

Comment Re:Um.... (Score 3, Informative) 593

As a small businessperson, I can tell you that the overwhelming amount of bullshit required to bid on government contracts (especially Federal government contracts), combined with a low probability of successful bids, means that it's imperative that you inflate the bids to cover costs, or avoid bidding on them.

Want to cut the price? Cut out the red tape.

Comment Re:a quick note from our sponsors: (Score 1) 633

Except that nearly every person I know (and apparently a lot of Americans/Greeks/nations.) have a very hard time distinguishing "money that can be spent" from "money that should be spent". The instant it was possible (economically and politically) for economies to borrow heavily, wasteful spending was probably inevitable.

I'm not disagreeing with you that many people have that issue. Business leaders tend not to have that issue. They separate spending into two buckets - capital spending and operational spending. Typically, capital expenditures will have an expected payback.

Congressmen and women tend not to be business people, and have different measures than business people. While a corporate CEO often has the long term health of the company as a goal, Congressmen are rewarded with re-election, often without regard for fiscal sanity. That's why I tend to give "extra" credit to politicians who are fiscally sane, even if they pass on projects that can benefit me personally; because they are actually using their brains to make decisions, rather than using popular opinion to try to ensure their own job security.

Comment Re:a quick note from our sponsors: (Score 1) 633

How is one not related to the other silly neocon?

Hard to decipher your meaningless question, but I'll try. How is "one" (historic debt) not related to "the other silly neocon"? Presumably you think that borrowing and spending wastefully is a silly neocon. OK, if you think so.

There's a huge difference between borrowing to spend on projects that have a payback, and borrowing a shitload of money and having a huge party of wasteful spending. If you don't understand that, you probably have reading comprehension issues or other major issues.

Businesses make these decisions all the time. It's really not a hard concept. But neither is a silly neocon, as far as I am concerned.

Comment Re:a quick note from our sponsors: (Score 1) 633

...as long as you can identify projects that really will have a long term payoff. Housing fit the bill, until it didn't.

I never thought housing fit the bill.

I think you want to look for investments that have a long term payoff in terms of greater technological advantage or jobs. Government subsidization of housing (through government guarantees) helps create the feeling of more wealth, but it's a temporary thing. Bankers get a little more money, people get a little better housing situation. There is even a small bump in jobs to build houses. But that's all short term. It would have been more efficient to just hand out the money (i.e. give the taxpayers back their money) than to try to filter it this way.

I think projects investing in helping the creation of small businesses would be a much better long-term route to wealth in this country. Even helping large businesses compete more effectively globally would fit the bill (although helping large businesses seems to be "out" these days, thanks to the occupy folks).

Comment Re:a quick note from our sponsors: (Score 3, Insightful) 633

Huge debt was not the problem.

If I run a company, and I perceive money to be cheap right now (i.e. low interest rates for me), the logical thing for me to do might be to borrow lots of money and invest it into projects that will have a long term payoff, and allow me to grow or solidify my company. Same thing for individuals: If you can get a cheap interest rate, borrow and invest in something (perhaps a cost-effective education) that will have a good payoff.

The factors that create "cheap money" are having a great credit rating and the market interest rates being low.

The US had a great credit rating during 2000-2010. And interest rates could be considered low. So a logical decision would be to borrow lots of money at cheap rates, and invest in projects with good payoffs. I don't believe that the historic debt was necessarily a bad decision.

The bad decision was to borrow a shitload of money and have a huge party of wasteful spending.

Comment Re:China black-banned (Score 1, Interesting) 151

The term is non-racist.

I thought the standard these days, to determine whether something is racist, is whether anyone is offended by the term.

We can't name our college team the Redskins, to honor the tribe for which the school is named, since there are some who might be offended by our attempt to honor our past.

Whites cannot use the N-word, while blacks can, because blacks aren't offended when other blacks use it.

A term like "he gypped me." can't be used these days, because a gypsy may be offended (even though the person who uses the term never knew the origin and never intended it to be offensive or a reference to gypsies).

I was even corrected in a business meeting by an employee of a large consumer products company (soap, paper, tampons you can rely on, and stackable potato chips), for saying "Bang for the Buck" because of the obvious implications about prostitution, and how offensive it may be to women. (Personally, I was thinking dynamite....)

I guess mentioning the full name of major league baseball's hit leader might actually offend some women, because of the reference to an erection.

Comment Re:swingers? (Score 1) 569

There is no test for HPV, yet they claim to have a vaccine which prevents infection? I wonder how they determine whether their vaccine works or not.

Great question! The cynic in me answers that the vaccine works if there's a noticeable increase in the profits of the company that is lobbying the CDC.

Of course, if the "cynic in me" has HPV, then he probably gave it to me.

Comment Re:Subsidies inflate pricing. (Score 1) 1797

My choices of funding college for the kids could have been to put the money into a stock fund and bet that stocks would rise faster than college education prices. Or, as I did, buy an inflation-protected investment that is no longer offered. At the time, the state offered a college savings plan that would buy the education at 90's prices. It wasn't a clear-cut decision, but i was able to foresee the train-wreck that was coming, relative to higher education prices. I based my logic solely on the fact that it was getting easier to get government-backed student loans. I happened to be right, and it may have been coincidental, but many people did NOT go the same route as me. And the investment offering has since been canceled, as it was extremely expensive for the State.

You seem to say that competition is causing businesses to raise prices and reduce quality. I (and probably most economics text books) would disagree. Just looking at the three examples I cited: Books, Retail, and Cell phones. In each case, I'd say the prices have fallen and the service level has risen. Twenty years ago, you couldn't order any book in print from your bedroom at 3 AM, for a fraction of the list price. Nor could you buy groceries, clothing, and office supplies at deeply discounted prices from one store, with polite customer service. And of course prices on cell phones continue to drop as service goes up. So I'm not sure how you can say "And how are businesses coping? Higher prices and lower quality services." Sorry, the facts don't support you on that. my facts, anyway. :)

"Or are you suggesting that the nearly $200 price tag on the book is in some way relative to the production costs of the book?" - I DO think production costs factor into the price tag. Not just the price of the paper, but the layout and editing for a relatively small print run. Many of those "production costs" don't magically disappear with Kindle versions, but some do. But the real savings would come if we quit re-inventing the wheel. It's funny that you mention "Fundamentals of Physics", because an Amazon search shows over 12 thousand hits with that search (various names, not all related. But many many hits directly related). Exactly how many versions of "Fundamentals of Physics" do we need? As an analog, consider how many online encyclopedias we need. Wikipedia seems to do a pretty decent job. Maybe, just maybe, there are 12,000 online encyclopedias, but there is only one leader, and it just keeps getting better. Higher education needs to learn from the working models that are out there.

You say that putting courses online doesn't fight costs, it maximizes profits. You are acting as if profits don't have cost in the equation. Cost is a factor in calculating profit, so this argument is nonsensical, to me, anyway. You say that schools can't lower costs ("They'll go out of business.") Yet maximizing profits somehow is disconnected from costs? I lost you there.

The bottom line is that if we agree that the cost of higher education is too high, then different, less-costly methods must be implemented. And those schools who can't figure that out deserve to go out of business. If we subsidized buggy-whip manufacturers (or rail transportation or airlines), we encourage waste and production of items that are not worth the price. If you want to reduce the price, the best thing to do is end the subsidization.

I can see your case for a slow implementation, but I don't happen to agree with it. There are a lot of industries where a major breakthrough occurs, and companies are forced to adapt or die. And amazingly, things work out. Now, I don't have a spouse who is a college administrator, or I might be less brutal. But the quickest way to fix the issue is to rip the band-aid.

But with our legislative process, that would never happen, unfortunately. Having an extreme, obstinate leader (as Obama was on Healthcare) can get things done. And I'm glad that Ron Paul is taking that stand. Even if he never gets elected as President (which is the most likely scenario), I really appreciate that he puts up the most aggressive position, as he gets the conversation going, and maybe we'll actually get to a partial solution.

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