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Comment Re:No (Score 4, Informative) 729

I have a question for you, why was education better when the relative salary of teachers was lower than it is today? The armies that fought the U.S. Civil War were the most literate armies in history (as evidenced by the many letters and journals that they wrote), yet at that time school teachers were generally paid a pittance.

So, when I first read the above, I figured you were just trolling. However, a quick google search turned up the following:

Civil War armies were the most literate in history to that time

Emphasis mine. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to ascertain the precise mistake made by the parent post.

Comment Re:No (Score 2, Insightful) 729

We can't talk about the single major factor in the deteriorating education system in this country. Teachers Unions. How was it we successfully educated generations of students prior to the unions and now we consistently produce students which can barely read, write, and spell.

In my opinion, you guys started demonizing and drastically underpaying your teachers. At first, that certainly saves money, but over time it encourages talented people to seek employment elsewhere. Will raising teacher's salaries make them better? Of course not, but it will attract people to the profession that might actually be good.

Most of my friends who have smart kids are seeing them go into finance. Why? Talented people follow the money. Yes, it would be nice if people became teachers for the love of education, but we live in the real world.

My own experience in the California public school system was HORRIFIC. Some of the newer teachers were good, however they lacked funding to really do anything, that said, the rest of them where HORRIBLE and should have been fired long ago.

You get what you pay for.

Comment Re:"Reply" is the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 568

It takes a lot more time for a parent to pick up a phone or write a letter to contact the teacher... and I think that's how a lot of teachers like it.

I agree completely. The very act of picking up the phone and finding the correct number to dial filters out 90% of the parent calls, of which 99% are of no value to the student. Even when parents email me, I give them my phone number and ask them to call.

Also, I would never "comment" online. Anything written has to be extremely factual and to the point. Anything I write to a parent, I write under the assumption that this piece of communication could end up in court somewhere, and I word it appropriately. On a phone call, the parents will hear the unvarnished truth, I almost never sugarcoat. An email message however will contain much as much jargon, waffling, and ass-covering as I can fit in the 4 or so sentences I'm willing to write.

For example, I'm willing to write a parent to say that Johnny got a 43% on his last test, but I will never write that Johnny got that 43% by texting his girlfriend in class and not completing his homework. If they want to find that out, the parents have to call. Why is that? Johnny's parents will point out that homework is not part of the curriculum, the texting is irrelevent, and that clearly I am punishing Johnny for not completing his homework and because I have some weird problem with cellphones, being a luddite like all teachers. Then they will appeal the mark to the superintendent, claiming that I have a clear bias against their son as evidenced by the email I sent them, and threaten legal action.

The previous paragraph is a true story, happened to a coworker. Parents turned a failure into a pass.

So yeah, I very rarely write to parents due to logistical (can't answer all parents, serves as a good filter keeping away those that don't really care) and legal (written stuff is dangerous) reasons.

Comment Re:Wait...who told whom what? (Score 5, Informative) 208

Facebook? Facebook is telling Google not to be evil? FACEBOOK?

That was my initial reaction. If it were Mozilla or Wikipedia telling Google to be less evil, that would be one thing. But Facebook, one of the more evil companies on the planet, beseeching Google not to be evil?

This is why I could never work in the corporate world. I understand that spewing this type of bullshit is par for the course, but I would have never been able to stomach it.

Comment Re:There is no denying the Earth is getting hotter (Score 1) 877

That is a much better way of evaluating the value that people ascribe to their own life. If you use your metric, the value of a life would probably plummet far below $50,000 that I rather arbitrarily used in my previous post.

Either way, nothing close to the $13 million nonsense, which was used for the $3.3 trillion price tag. Using a value of $130 000 per life (still pretty high in my opinion) and using the logic of that post, that would put the value of stopping global warming at something around $33 billion dollars today, which may seem like a quite a bit, but pales in comparison to the cost of actually fighting this global warming.

Which is not to say that my numbers are right either, I have no idea where that $3.3 trillion estimate from the GGP post came from, but he was a warmist, so I think it would be rather safe to use his numbers in my calculations.

Comment Re:There is no denying the Earth is getting hotter (Score 1) 877

Since according to US actuarial tables, a human life is worth about $13 million, 500 million people is worth about $6,500 trillion. Given a 1% chance of this happening, this is an opportunity cost of $65 trillion. Given the time value of money over 100 years (the average between now and 200 years from now), it's worth about $3.3 trillion today to prevent those deaths.

Obviously, I'm just making these numbers up, but it illustrates the point. This is a rough calculation that a rational liberal economist might put on the value of trying to reduce the impact of anthropomorphic climate change.

The idea that a life is worth $13 million dollars is complete nonsense. The average american (who is vastly wealthier than the average human) will earn, on average, something less than $2 million dollars over his or her entire working life. This does not take into account the food and shelter that was required to keep that human productive over the course of those 40 something years. As far as I am concerned, I'm worth about $900 trillion dollars, but the reality is that I value the life of other (non-family) people at something substantially less than $13 million dollars.

I would estimate that Americans value the lives of other Americans at a maximum of something around $50,000 to $100,000. In other words, if a measure would cost $1 billion dollars and would save about 10,000 people, it would pass, but if the billion dollars would only save 1000 people, then the measure would not pass. When I say saving people I mean "saving random people who would not know that they were saved by that measure". In other words, if it costs a billion dollars to save 1000 people statistically, it will not be done.

Note that politicians are willing to spend a lot of money to save specific people. A law that provides health care to people injured due to being victims of the production of child pornography could easily be worth $20 million per life saved.

Comment Re:Zeno (Score 1) 313

Not yet, but I imagine that, when Iran actually gets nukes, they will think twice about wiping out Israel (at least from a missile launched from within their borders). That provides a certain measure of security to Israel.

Israel, on the other hand, has had nukes for a few decades now and hasn't done anything stupid... so far so good.

Comment Re:Zeno (Score 1) 313

From your own linked wikipedia article:

although Canada stipulated, and the U.S. supply contract for the heavy water explicitly specified, that it only be used for peaceful purposes. Nonetheless, CIRUS has produced some of India's initial weapon plutonium stockpile,[3] as well as the plutonium for India's 1974 Pokhran-I (Codename Smiling Buddha) nuclear test, the country's first nuclear test.

My point stands. India was sold a reactor for "peaceful" purposes, and made weapons. I suspect that Iran would do the same.

Please get your facts right before putting India and Iran in the same sentence.

Which fact did I get wrong?

Comment Corporate speak (Score 1) 281

From the press release...

which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions.

The fee was designed to increase the efficiency of the online transaction. I have to give them credit, I would never have the balls to say something like that, which is probably why it is a good thing that I am not in business.

Comment Re:BYOD? Then BYOS(upport) too (Score 0) 348

*snipped whining about the stupid things users do*

We all have jobs, and most of us have to deal with incompetent people. If a customer is causing me difficulties, I don't get to ruin his experience to make my life easier... I deal with him, and try to find a way to satisfy his needs and my own requirements. I find IT though has the general attitude of "well, we're not going to change, so you damn well had better do it yourself".

Yes, I know IT people are Gods amongst insects, doesn't give you the right to go around smashing us insects indiscriminately just because you can.

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