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Comment Re:And yet- (Score 1) 828

I have to call bs on this one, having taught English in a Japanese town for five years and constantly talking with other teachers and university professors from around the country.

Japanese school children are taught the wrote-method training. Monbukagakusho and their ever increasing workload for the teacher doesn't really help much either. Constant repetition and memorization, quantity over quality. Everything they learn is for passing entrance exams. You can pass the entrance exam to Todai and never even fully matriculate, but you can get a good job on that basis alone. Their education system seems to almost expunge any curiosity, creativity and free thinking.

Case in point: English (or any language other than their own). Sure, they memorize tons of vocabulary, but they can't speak to save their lives, and the ones that can manage speak the cursed 'katakana' English. The kids need a pattern to speak and write. If you give them a comic with the bubbles blotted out and tell them to come up with their own, well over half cannot do it and instead write English vulgarities or leave it blank. It is incredibly rare to have a student actually come up and speak English out of their own volition, or indeed show any academic proficiency for fear of bullying by their classmates (the nail that sticks out is hammered back in).

The elevator system also adds emphasis to the fact that you don't even need to go to school to graduate. You CANNOT fail, no matter how hard you try. Should the class fail a test, the teacher will give out the test corrections and then give the SAME EXACT TEST within the week, and keep doing the same test until ALL students pass. This is because it is mandatory to keep children in school until they hit high school, but even some high schools (not all) continue the elevator system, so by the time you hit university many students don't know shit from their left hand. But they sure know their maths well! (well, some of them anyway...)

I think you also wanted to add "Waseda" to the list of the big three. However, they are not the end-all-be-all universities they used to be. Ritsumeikan in Kyoto is renown for its academic excellence as well as APU in Oita. Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka is considered one of if not the top school in Kyushu and very respected throughout Japan.

Comment Meanwhile... (Score 1) 40

Whilst Spiderman was chasing the portly kleptomaniac around the hazardous maze filled with random innocents, the Jedi Knights guarded the entrance and waved their hands saying "This is not the exit you are looking for..." to which the evil Hutt had no choice but to return the sacred picture book.

MIT Unveils First Solar Cells Printed On Paper 125

lucidkoan writes "MIT researchers recently unveiled the world's first thin-film solar cell printed on a sheet of paper. The panel was created using a process similar to that of an inkjet printer, producing semiconductor-coated paper imbued with carbon-based dyes that give the cells an efficiency of 1.5 to 2 percent. That's not incredibly efficient, but the convenience factor makes up for it. And in the future, researchers hope that the same process used in the paper solar cells could be used to print cells on metal foil or even plastic. If they're able to gear efficiencies up to scale, the development could revolutionize the production and installation of solar panels."

Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next 193

ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."
The Courts

CRIA Faces $60 Billion Lawsuit 280

jvillain writes "The Canadian Recording Industry Association faces a lawsuit for 60 billion dollars over willful infringement. These numbers may sound outrageous, yet they are based on the same rules that led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages. Since these exact same companies are currently in the middle of trying to force the Canadian government to bring in a DMCA for Canada, it will be interesting to see how they try to spin this."

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