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Comment Re:Republican fails econ 101, shock! (Score 1) 445

Are most of the existing laws on the books preferred by Republicans or Democrats? Since the Republicans can't actually overturn the laws that are causing many of the problems (for example, the (Un)Affordable Care Act), perhaps we don't really have a good way to conclusively tell which side would really have a good chance at ruling this country better since many bad laws get on the books and never get overturned, not to mention all of the regulations put in place by Democrat friendly bureaucrats in the various departments of the various governments.

Comment Re:Heat alarm on car seats (Score 1) 76

Won't work. Newer cars have the LATCH system, in which case the seat belt isn't used when a child is secured in a car seat (not a booster). If the regular car seat is buckled in order to secure the infant seat, it's always buckled except on a rare day when you need to remove the seat (I only do this about 2 times a year) and would always trigger the alarm above the trigger temperature.

Comment Re:Falling problems (Score 1) 117

But 99% (my estimate) of flying happens outside of occupied locations. Few people are flying from one side of a metro area to the other. If you fly from NYC to Buffalo, most of your air time is over unpopulated farmland in upstate New York. If you eliminate most of the flight time that happens outside of metro areas, the number of accidents per mile are probably not so insignificant as the statistics indicate.

Comment Re:Stupid predictions (Score 1) 224

The ability to identify a problem spontaneously (for instance, identifying and understanding that there is a problem in politics), having the necessary logic to look at the problem from multiple points of view, realizing things about a variety of issues (scarcity v private ownership, self interest v selflessness, freedom v the common good, etc.), realizing that maybe there is no 'right answer', but trying to do a better job than most media folks of identifying the issues, and articulating some ways that we could adjust our politics that would make things better.

But the computer must be intelligent enough to identify the problem (self directed instead of programmed) and come to it's own conclusions. An AI should be capable of working in the abstract, thinking philosophically, and understanding all sorts of things. Just because I can calculate doesn't mean that a device that calculates or simulates things is intelligent. It has no understanding, and therefore has no actual intelligence. Frankly, I don't think this is something computer science will ever overcome, and I'm OK with that.

Comment Re:What about Scientology, then? (Score 1) 527

Has anybody put their money where their mouth is and built a worship space for the FSM? Have people then made a time commitment to attending this space for worship on some defined schedule? Have there been any serious books published about what the existence of the FSM means for human existence, and do it in a way that some significant portion of humanity would consider it better than all of the alternatives?

Comment Re:Safely??? (Score 3, Insightful) 101

Earth is moving about 20% faster than Mars. What this means is that the optimal time to launch from Earth to Mars is when Earth is behind Mars. The space ship will continue to have a speed advantage which will have to be negated. Now, the travel time from Earth to Mars is so long that Earth will long pass Mars by the time the spacecraft reaches Mars. Now, since the Earth will be ahead and getting farther away, to catch the Earth before it goes around the Sun, the space craft would have to speed up the difference plus even more to actually catch up. Fuel efficiency wise, the mission will have to last about half a year before the astronauts have an opportunity to launch and head fly on an intercept course with Earth.

Comment Re:First grade? (Score 1) 145

You might be interested in Thomas Jefferson Education. They advise a phased learning system, love of learning, reading great books, and a variety of other concepts that you might be interested in.

First, they recommend letting kids learn through playing and having fun. Then, when they are ready, you start them on a Core, rather like the old reading, writing and arithmetic, although they recommend a character/religion component depending on your values. They don't proscribe what you use for materials, so if you want to use a mental math program, they would say go for it.

The second phase is love of learning, so children are recommended to explore what they are interested in. So if she is interested in science, find some books on experiments and others that relate to what they are interested in exploring, then explore them together. If that leads to an interest in a related subject or a new interest comes about, follow where the child leads, and they will lead themselves to a great education.

The final phase, begins in junior high or early high school and runs through college and can last rest of their life, and is called scholar phase. In this phase, the scholar structures their education with more rigor, and there are specific subjects that should be covered, like making sure any holes from their love of learning phase are covered.

My primary role in my children's education is to read to them on a regular basis. I've made a list of a couple of thousand books that are considered classics (I do have a website for this called Fanatics 4 Classics), and I pick and choose things that I think they are ready for based on their interests. So, in the past few years, we've read a lot of Roald Dahl because the kids laugh and giggle at the silly things that happen in his stories. Finding ways to make reading enjoyable is one of the most important things to get a child interested in books and learning. My second daughter has especially liked reading the Ramona Quimby stories, and my son has found he loves the Prydain novels even though he didn't care for the Disney Black Cauldron movie. (This is also great because I get to read the stuff I never had access to when I was younger.)

Comment Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (Score 1) 254

I especially like how LibreOffice handles some things better than MS office, but then I am a power user. (These are issues in Excel 2010)

Specifically, one thing I can think of off the top of my head, the Control + End key combo takes you to the cell that intersects the last row and column of the sheet in both Excel and Calc (This is highly efficient way of highlighting from a specific point to the end of the worksheet). In Calc, it takes you to the intersection of the current last row and cell. If you have thousands of rows of data, and then delete some, it will take you to the last row of the current data. But in Excel, it takes you to the intersection of the last row and column ever used in the sheet since it was created. If you delete some data, save, close and reopen the sheet, and press the Control + End, Excel will take you to the last row that ever had data even if the sheet is now thousands of rows shorter.

It drives me nuts because I have business users who use a template sheet to build data they want entered into our Oracle system. Even though they'll only have a few hundred rows of data, when select cell A2, then hit Control + End, I often end up thousands of rows away from where the data ends. Sure, I only have to hold Control+shift+up to get back to the current last row, but it's still the same lack of polish in Excel that most users think Calc has.

Another issue in Excel, If I update the format for a range of cells, from Scientific Notation to Text, because I pasted some shipping track numbers into a sheet and want it to show the complete number, it doesn't redisplay after changing the format from General to Text. You have to F2 followed by Enter for EVERY CELL to force Excel to show the correct formatting. That, or paste the values in then use the import wizard to paste in the text values. Or Paste, Set the format, then paste again. But for a low tech user, it just looks bad.

Comment Re:"in a western factory" (Score 1) 342

You are thinking of Germany relative to your perspective. Realize almost 60% of the world's population lives between Japan, and Eastern Europe, with most of the rest in Africa, Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

Western refers to society based on culture, laws and values that developed in Europe, starting with Greek and Roman civilizations, and shaped by Christianity (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), the Enlightenment, and the French and American revolutions, and dozens of wars and cultural movements in between. Western civilization refers to any country found in Europe (including Russia) and civilizations largely dependent upon Europe for it's founding, especially the entire Western Hemisphere and Australia which are largely populated by Europeans or natives who lived and were educated in societies ruled by Europeans.

Comment That's not it (Score 1) 405

There's a book about generational cycles called Generations that talks about how there is a 4 generation cycle that repeats itself every 80 years or so cause by shared life experiences that are shaped primarily by the emotional and attitudes of society in general and their parents in particular. So, the Millenials have been shaped in attitude by 9/11, the current international conflicts, and their parents' reactions to these events.

It's called Strauss-Howe generaitonal theory. Each generation is one of 4 types (the wikipedia page has the basics, the book is interesting). So what we have is the departure of the Baby boomers from the work force and the arrival of the Millenials and the maturing of Gen X from young adult to mature adult. With this change comes a change of attitude. So, most likely what we are experiencing (saying this as an X'er) is Gen X taking the reigns from the Boomers, and establishing efficiency and control mechanisms on the work place, within a Crisis Turning. Sometime early in the next decade, the next turning will start, as the last boomers turn 65 and we will begin a new High cycle, much like the period between the end of World War II and The assassination of JFK, the bookends of the last High.

They predicted our current Crisis environment (I read their later book, the Fourth Turning, from 1997) with a start date between 2000 & 2005, 18-23 years from 1982, the beginning of the last Turning.

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