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Comment Dumb to have laptops in class... (Score 1) 1217

Dumb to do homework on...
Dumb in general considering the expense...

The truth is, the following is all that is required for a first class education.

1. Teacher, knowledgeable in subject, good communication skills.
2. Textbook, high quality, long on information, short on bullshit.
3. Student, appropriately prepared with pencil, paper, eraser, good breakfast optional but recommended.
4. Desk, comfort may vary.

Anything else just gets in the way.

Comment I see no mention of how strict enforcement is... (Score 1) 406

I suspect that's because you don't get pulled over for it.

In my state it is supposedly a ticketable offense to drive in the left lane on multilane highways without intent to pass. So far, I know of only one person who ever got pulled over for it. Same with not using turn signals. Police on traffic patrol always go for the big fish revenue-wise when it comes to ticketing, and that has always been speeding. Pulling people over for presumably lesser revenue offenses means time wasted pursuing the bigger fish.

So pardon me if I treat the results with a little skepticism.

Comment You are talking about "noblesse oblige"... (Score 1) 97

You are also talking about the Gilded Age if you don't know it, at least in reference to what's going on economically now. Noblesse oblige is a concept in which the rich, the tycoons, the aristocrats, the upper 1%'ers gave back to the society from which they took so much, usually in the form of higher wages for their employees or through charitable act to the community at large. This was not so much out of any altruistic sense, but rather the idea that they cannot continue to be affluent if the society at large suffers. The Gilded Age that followed bears a striking resemblance to the "race to the bottom" capitalism that exists now, that somehow there will always be cheaper labor, there will always be shelters from tax, there will always be room for growth, and people should consider themselves lucky that they have a job.

Not surprisingly... the Gilded Age was followed by the Great Depression.

Comment Single distro idea grandly stupid. (Score 1) 791

Windows does precisely this. It tries to hide behind the whole Home vs. Professional vs. Ultimate, but really it's one Windows distribution.

The whole point of multiple distributions is to target different markets and needs. What might be a good idea is to find out where distro overlap occurs and consolidate based on that need, but to get behind one single distribution that "fits all" sounds like a recipe for a piping hot cup of fail.

Comment Rocketeer vs. Mourner (Score 2, Insightful) 273

This is pseudo-philosophical nonsense. The only thing that steps out at me from this article is that we could avoid a lot of mourning if NASA took January off.

The problem with having a "space program", just like any other endeavor, requires an assessment of its value, both long-term and short-term. If these assessments of value indicate worth, we will continue to do it. If they do not, they will be shelved until we can find some previously hidden value.

Rocketeer, schmocketeer. We'd do ourselves well to put that "go where no one's gone before" mentality behind us with its promise of larger-than-life frontier exploration. The only reason an American footprint exists on the moon was because we didn't want our Cold War rivals to leave us behind in technology which might be needed in military applications against them. I love how that's been romanticized into some kind of philosophical manifest destiny.

Only when we stop looking at space travel as something heroic we do once in a while with the pomp and circumstance accorded to the victors in fierce battle will we actually find the reasons for continuing in this endeavor.

The future value of space exploration will come only from a statement of permanence and an eye toward practical concerns.

Space travel must produce scientific and engineering knowledge which increases its own capability, repetition, and safety such that space flight IS something we do every day, and not just every once in a while. Moreover, it comes from having a "next step" always on the must do list, which means that just circling the Earth, something we've known how to do for the entirety of the space program, must soon give way to actual destinations. Permanence. Furthermore, both with science/engineering benefit and possible commercial concerns (profit!), space travel must find a way to pay for itself without relying completely upon a tithe from governments. It will probably ALWAYS need to be funded by governments, big science always does, but it needs to find a way to chip in.

The big gestures like going to the moon help in the marketing of space travel and NASA as a whole, but ultimately there has to be some foundational principle of pragmatism, even in the face of the utopianism of pure science, which ironically allows the utopia its existence. It would be a shame to lose what is a necessary part of our future as a species to a set of well-meaning, yet hopelessly impractical, purist ideals.

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