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Comment Re:Let me tell you... (Score 1) 414

Me too. I downloaded my entire library and now it's on my nook. Even my textbooks for next semester! This is going to save me having to lug around about 300 pounds of books when I go back to school. Definitely one of the smartest investments I've ever made. Not specifically that it's a nook, but in that it's an eReader. Take the 'Harvard Classics' collection that I've been trying to build up over the past few years... it's about 3 feet long right now (and if I completed it, it would be 5 feet long). That's a lot of space when you live in a college dorm. But now, it's on my nook. So, it's about the size of one relatively small book. And seeing this makes me feel even more AWESOME about having bought my nook two days ago.

Comment Re:at the end of the day: (Score 1) 234

The big things I use my calculator for are operations with matrices and trig functions.
I don't *need* my calculator to do these things... but it's either the calculator or stupid mistakes with matrices, or it's either the calculator or a big table of trig function values.
It's mostly a time saver, so that I can do more math and less arithmetic. I can do arithmetic and I can do algebra, but there's no reason why I should have to do a bunch of pointless calculation if I actually have a good understanding of what's going on.
But that said, I don't think we should require these big, fancy graphing calculators in high-school... just teach derivatives earlier instead of teaching them in a mysterious calculus class, after all the only thing these calculators are ever used for in high-school math, besides playing games, is finding the minima and maxima of functions. And matrix math... but the worst we ever did in high-school was 3x3, and you can usually write down a minimal amount of work and do the rest of those in your head. (when doing expansion by minors for example)
Otherwise, I remember a few times in an algebra class where we were tested on whether or not we could solve a system of equations by plugging coefficients into matrices in our calculators... of course, we were never taught *why* the methods worked, only how to do them on a calculator. Because most (probably all) math classes in high-school in the USA are a stupid waste of time.
It wasn't until college that I started to really think math was nifty... and this happened my first semester when my professor (unlike all of my high-school teachers) took the five minutes out of his schedule to explain Euler's identity to me. I added a math major that day.

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 234

Sorry to reply to myself... but to clarify, it basically lets you choose to boot from a special test-mode setup and a normal-use setup. And there's some extra little bits to control various things in the test-mode setup... you can enable/disable certain commands, a little LED lights up to show you're in test-mode, etc. It's nifty.

Comment Re:what (Score 2, Informative) 234

The nspire is actually pretty freaking smart about resetting. Instead of actually needing to do a full reset, it has a fancy test-taking mode. You hold down the escape+home(on) key while the calculator is turned off, then you'll get a dialogue asking if you want to enter 'press to test' mode. Once you enter that mode, the calculator resets, and reloads the firmware without deleting anything you've been working on, and a little led on the end of the calculator will blink every few seconds to show that you're in the right mode. And then, the only way to exit the mode is to plug the calculator into either another calculator or a computer with the TI software. But, once you exit the testing mode, all of your stuff will be right where you left it. It can be a huge pain in the ass, but honestly, if TI wants to make cheating really hard, this is sure a good way to do it. Of course, once the DRM on the calculator is defeated... it's going to be fairly trivial to replace the testing image with something more useful... or even just use some assembly code to flash the led.

Comment Hmm? (Score 1) 539

Are we making an artificial brain or an artificial mind? And if we're making a mind, do we treat it like a human, with rights and such? And what do we do if it asks to die? After all, it'd be our fault for bringing it into being. Are we really ready for this sort of responsibility? Assuming we can actually "make" a "brain", I think the sort of ethical and moral problems that come up will be pretty deep stuff.

Comment Re:Damn... (Score 1) 289

My understanding is that humans have these "extra" wisdom teeth now because of our softer, easier-to-chew diets. A long time ago, when we would have to eat more interesting things, the teeth would naturally wear down enough that there would be plenty of space for the wisdom teeth, but now, when they try to come in, they don't have enough room, and it is not uncommon for them to grow at an unpleasant angle and actually impact themselves into the surrounding teeth- or worse, the jaw bone behind them. That is my very basic understanding from the oral surgeon who removed mine a few months ago. It was completely painless (unless you're extremely bothered by the insertion of a small IV). Basically, if you don't run into problems from the wisdom teeth embedding themselves into other parts of your mouth, most of your issues will come from cavities, infections, etc due to their location in the far back of the mouth, where they are hard to access to brush and clean properly. Luckily, if you have them removed relatively early in life, you will usually have very little to no complications, due to the fact that the roots of the wisdom teeth usually take a while to actually connect to the nerve in the tissue surrounding your jaw bone. When this happens is usually different depending on who you are, but I'm guessing it usually happens in the late teenage years to the early 20s. Anywho, my $.02 is this: talk to your dentist and if he says you should have them removed, DO IT, because the longer you wait, the worst it will be. If you do it early on, like I was lucky enough to, it is nothing at all. Hell, I even got to take codeine and eat nothing but cottage cheese for two days.

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