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Comment Re:Why do we even take notes? (Score 1) 569

I don't understand your point here. Are you saying it's more efficient for the professor to give the same lecture every term for years at a time, writing the same thing on the board over and over again? That they can't spend an afternoon with Inkscape and a word processor or a pad of paper and a scanner? Or that I'm somehow ignorant for being an autodidact?

I think your idea of "instruction" is vastly different than what happens at most universities. You get crammed into a class of 100 or so students and act as a passive receptacle for somewhere between 1 and 3 hours.

Later on you ask your friends for clarification, if they don't know, you ask the course newsgroup or go to office hours. THIS is where the real instruction happens.

The dude standing in front of the blackboard is just another medium, it is more effective for some than others. If this medium is what you think education is, I pity you.

Comment Re:Why do we even take notes? (Score 1) 569

Alright, so be honest here. How many times during lectures do you hint at what will be on the exam? How much emphasis do you put on the material that will be on the exam in terms of lecture hours spent talking about it?

And how much time do you spend teaching things that aren't on the exam?

Someone studying from the book won't know what you'll be measuring, they will get a broad and shallow education on the material vs the narrow and deep understanding that exams typically test for. They didn't necessarily learn less, but the only metric you're using will show otherwise.

Comment Why do we even take notes? (Score 2, Insightful) 569

I graduated 3 years ago, but it bothered me immensely when professors would write things on the board that weren't duplicated in the course notes. It was just a lazy way to enforce attendance. I always learned better out of books than by listening to someone, so sitting around in class just to transcribe felt like a waste of time.

So this whole issue of not having diagrams or about which device to use seems like a manufactured problem. Putting a PDF on the course website with all the diagrams and text would render it moot.

Comment Re:Needlessly alarmist (Score 5, Insightful) 158

I don't care about the BBC, I care about the inflammatory tone of the summary. CCTV is a network consisting of 19 channels, a small fraction is news that is favourable to the Chinese government but most of it is typical TV crap like talk shows, dramas, and cartoons.

Saying that delivering CCTV over iPhone is a new way to project political views or some form of indoctrination is about as accurate as doing a find/replace of CCTV for BBC in the summary. It is needlessly alarmist, it's a troll written by someone who has never watched TV in China.

I wish more networks would think about making their content available on the iPhone, state-sponsored or not. It's quite convenient. But if someone has an issue with CCTV's content or the lack of free speech in China, they should write accurately about that and not what medium it is delivered over.

Comment Needlessly alarmist (Score 4, Insightful) 158

"The UK's Heritage Minister has praised the growth of the iPlayer application from state broadcaster BBC as the Trust looks for new ways to project its political views. The free flash video streaming, one of a growing number from British state-owned news outlets, has gained 500,000 users in the month or so since it went online and is adding 2,000 new users each day, the BBC Trust said in a statement on its Web site. The iPlayer app has shown 'favorable performance' and proven especially popular during broadcasts of major events, such as a recent royal funeral, the statement said."

But I guess "Chinese government streams television network to iPhones" wouldn't be nearly as fetching.

Comment Freakonomics (Score 1) 630

Unlike a lot of the posters here, I think at that age, it's more important to show students why math is important than the concepts used by upper year college students. When I started my Math/CS undergrad, the department pretty much dismissed everything I was taught in high school and started from first principles. Even things I taught myself at that time outside of school like computer graphics turned out to be irrelevant.

In relation to statistics, I think they're vastly under taught and under appreciated in the high school curriculum. As much as engineers and scientists like to scoff at the lax rigor that's employed sometimes, statistics are essential to the social sciences. We need good psychologists, good economists, good politicians, and insightful voters, and statistics is how we get there.

Also, every time some USian I work with spits out that asinine Mark Twain quote about statistic or says "14% of all people can tell you they're made up", I just want to hit them. It seems like rhetoric has totally destroyed data in this country's discourse.

Anyways, the most interesting book I've read when considering this aspect is Freaknomics. It shows how data analysis can be used to explain everyday phenomena in society in laymen's terms. It's pulp, but it's interesting. There might also be others with a similar bent.

Comment Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (Score 1) 507

I agree with you completely about GTA 4. The worst part is that when you're driving back to a mission you've done twice before with an NPC, he'll say something along the lines of "Let's just listen to the radio" instead of repeating the mission dialogue again.

This is insane. It's an acknowledgement from Rockstar that they know there's tedium in having to repeat the same motions over and over again but they do nothing about it.


Submission + - National Geografic's Singles Map

alberion writes: National Geographic's February issue had a map comparing the density of single men to single women in the USA. Pehaps there is some historical reason for this uneven distribution?see here
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Canadian mobile data prices worse than 3rd World

David writes: "Blogger and consultant Thomas Purves illustrates Canadian mobile data prices in chart form, contrasting daunting Canadian charges with prices in Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK and... Rwanda. It turns out that the cost of a mobile 500 MB per month (or 700 kbs for 100 minutes) in Canada can run to more than $1500, roughly the cost of sinking five wells to provide clean drinking water for refugees, perhaps in... Rwanda."
The Internet

Submission + - Ted Stevens calls Wikipedia ban in Schools

DJCacophony writes: "Ted "series of tubes" Stevens has introduced his next piece of proposed legislation. Going by the interim name S.49, the bill aims to block access to interactive websites from schools and libraries. The wording of the bill is vague enough to apply to Wikipedia, Myspace (and other social networking sites), and potentially even blogs.
The bill is apparently so similar to the failed "Deleting Online Predators Act" of last year that it has been termed "DOPA jr." by some."

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