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Comment The dream of an endless library (Score 1) 108

They make it sound like they offer the dream of an endless library, read any book you want, any time you want, anywhere you want for $10/mo. That does sound kind of dreamy. But they have only 100,000 books which sounds like a lot but will likely contain very few you are interested in. They only have iOS now and even there show only phone and not tablet. Android coming later. But what about eInk readers which many prefer or other devices in the future? What format are the books? I would accept only DRM-free ePub, or PDF for tech books. When they go out of business you are left with nothing. Is there a limit to how many books you have at a time? Can you opt out of them tracking your reading? I can understand how difficult it would be to get all publishers to agree to my dream. Their dream, of course, would be to implement a locked down rental system where you give them money and own nothing and there is no guaranteed future access. I'll hold on to my money until I get what I want.

Comment Re:No shocker there (Score 1) 440

If theoretical underpinnings means important concepts then of course you need that. If it means rigorous proof for everything you don't need it unless you want to be a mathematician. I don't remember ever being enlightened about a concept by seeing a formal proof. Generally a proof seems to obscure the concept. I say tell me the concept in as clear and intuitive way as possible, tell me how to perform its operations, and where it is useful. I'll trust you that it is true.

Comment Worth an investigation (Score 1) 308

Something seems amiss but not sure what. It is easy to believe the education system is in shambles and really didn't adequately prepare any students for university. But did the exam change this year? Hard to believe that big a shift in student ability in one year. Was somebody trying to limit enrollment and accidentally made it too hard? Or some corrupt conspiracy although I don't see who benefits. Was the test grading automated and an audit needed to rule out a computer problem? Did everyone use a 4H pencil instead of an HB? Were all these students unmotivated? Well they did sign up for the test and pay for it which shows some initiative. I do agree with temporarily lowering admission criteria to allow some students in to a remedial program and they stay there until they can pass a reasonable exam. Keep the graduation criteria the same but keep some flow of students. The way to fix an education system is not by ceasing to have students. We can be sure they weren't all stupid people incapable of being educated. Human intelligence is pretty much distributed the same among all populations although education isn't. The long term need of course is to fix the pre-university system but even if it were magically made perfect today it would take years to seriously improve the calibre of university applicants.

Comment Re:Population is not a real issue here (Score 1) 625

I'm sure they'd try but I'm not overly concerned about that. For the obvious corrupt like dictators, they don't die of old age in that many cases anyway. For the less obvious but more numerous corrupt like the rich bastard exploiting his workers they tend to pass their position on to the kids in a dynasty and the new boss is the same as the old boss. Does raise a question though: does the notion of inheritance become effectively obsolete? Or other dynasty structures like royal families where the old guy has to die before everyone moves up? Interesting questions and I admit choosing above an optimistic or at least neutral position on your point. I really don't know whether it would be that different than what we put up with today. There was corruption with lifespans of 40 and there still is at lifespans of 80. I do know society would change, including in some unpredictable ways but don't think that we should all die sooner than necessary to try and avoid change.

Comment Re:I can't afford to live forever (Score 1) 625

Work intermittently. Have several careers. Take sabbaticals. Get a few degrees. You'd have time to find something you like to do. If you feel now that work is something unpleasant to be gotten over with as soon as possible then retire to do nothing, then you might have to rethink. In fact I'd recommend that even without any big longevity advances. BTW any talk of forever or immortality is of course nonsense, Aging isn't the only thing that kills us.It's been calculated that without any aging at all something else would kill you inside of 1000 years. A heck of a long time but not forever and you always have the self-serve option if it gets too long. Personally I can't imagine 1000 years but I'd like to have the opportunity to test out all the negative predictions for myself.

Comment Re:Actually the reverse is true. (Score 1) 625

I am unclear whether you think older people should die sooner to make way for younger workers, or whether we should be going all out to keep them healthy longer. Personally I'm in favour of the healthy longer goal. I also believe that would be the most important benefit in any successful anti-aging therapies with total years on the planet being nice but secondary.

Comment Re:The most frightening statistic I've heard (Score 1) 625

Exactly. That's what's known as 'squaring the curve' where you live a healthy life until near the end then expire quickly. If medical science could give you 50 years in your 30 year old body and you drop at 80, I think most peopke would sign up for that, even those that claim death is desirable You want to slow down or repair the deterioration, delaying the onset of aging-related diseases, not strapping more machines onto a terminally damaged body to keep a pulse going. In my opinion, if you can push that healthy non-aged period past 80, so much the better.

Comment Slashdotters signing up to die! (Score 3, Insightful) 625

We seem to have quite a few people on /. who think dying is a good thing. Makes me wonder why they are spending time posting rather than just ending their lives. Oh, it's other people dying that they think is good (or themselves far enough in the future it doesn't seem real). Well, I could try to change their minds but they are entitled to their opinion. It is also one way to avoid any dramatic population increases as all the death fans check out at the age they feel is 'right'. Is that the average lifespan for Africa, North America, the current lifespan or that of just 100 years ago? Everyone picks their own? Nobody wants increased years of pain and suffering at the end of their lives. Unfortunately, that is what our medical system offers now with intrusive and expensive last ditch interventions in diseases caused by aging. In contrast, all the anti-aging research (whether slowing damage or repairing damage) would, if successful, extend the healthy years, not the unhealthy ones. Any increases in longevity are almost a side effect of that extension of healthy years. So, death fans, you check out on your schedule. Over time what should be left is a world of healthy, happy, wise, experienced people who are interested in the world and grateful to be alive.

Comment Re:What's the Chance... (Score 2) 116

I took the remedial math class (not for credit) and thought it was fine. Not a fluff class but not super difficult. I find Udacity classes to be more interactive and engaging than some other MOOCs. There was also plenty of help available in the forums if you need it. There may be some fine tuning of the course content that can be done but it doesn't seem to me that it was shoddy. Maybe they'll find that remedial students are not good candidates for completely online classes? Maybe some of them benefit more than other students from interaction with a teacher? Maybe a self discipline problem? How did all the people who took it voluntarily, free, not for credit do? Was there a difference and why? Compare it with students in the edX hybrid class experiment? Lots of questions to answer and I hope they interview the students, especially the unsuccessful ones, for their thoughts. I have heard depressing stats before about students struggling with remedial math and also low chances of completing a degree even once they get past such a class. Even so, if the Udacity class can't be adjusted to produce better results than traditional methods then it will have to be considered an experiment that didn't work.

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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.