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Comment Re:Mostly (Score 1) 265

I'm wondering if humans will ever shake off their extremely violent ancestry and wind down the war and militarism.

A question offered from the prospective of a non-human?

No, probably not. Rather more likely the question issues from a superior human being who's beyond such primitive reflexes.

Ah, right. You're linking to The Nation so your intellectual superiority and evolved status have been properly signaled.

Comment Not if the experiment's properly designed (Score 5, Insightful) 248

First off, if the engineers designing this thing are remotely competent there won't be any out-gassing.

Uncontrolled out-gassing is, and has since the beginning of the space age, been a really obvious problem. So it'll be designed from the get-go to avoid uncontrolled out-gassing.

It also doesn't have to be brought back to Earth to be weighed. Acceleration, if any occurs, can be measured pretty precisely. The degree of acceleration is a product of the mass and velocity of out-gassing.

If there is any observed acceleration you just have to wait until the amount of reaction mass necessary to account for that acceleration exceeds some reasonable amount and we're done - it works. No tour of the solar system necessary.

Comment That's all very sad but... (Score 1) 278

...the public education system's spent the last fifty or so years frittering away the faith of the public so something's going to result. Testing's one the results but there are more then a few others.

Charter schools, now in forty-four states are probably the most widespread result but testing is right up there. Coming up pretty quickly is vouchers/education savings accounts.

The days of the school district as the one solution to the problem of educating the next generation are coming to an end.

Get used to it.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score -1, Flamebait) 195

Well sure. Phil Plaitt assures us that the sun has essentially no effect on the Earth's climate and hey, that's good enough for me!

I understand that 98% of climate scientists also agree that the sun has essentially no effect on the Earth's climate so there you are. Case closed.

Comment It's a multirotor (Score 1) 81

Electrically powered, computer stabilized just like a twenty dollar Cheerson CX-10 but a lot more powerful.

A couple of years ago Hobbyking ran a contest called the Beer Lift Challenge and the last year they ran it, 2013, the unlimited winner lifted a 58.7 kilogram (130 pound) payload along with, obviously, its own weight. So here we are two years later, better batteries, motors, speed controllers and flight computers, and someone's bumped up that record to enough to lift a man.

I wonder how long it'll be till the second one's built?

Comment Dr. James Tooley... (Score 1) 119

Is mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article although his book, and what he found in the poorest, third-word slums, wasn't. What he found was tiny, ramshackle private schools just about everywhere. Dr. Tooley's book "The Beautiful Tree" covers the phenomenon and how widely-spread it is.

Seems poor people, when the government schools are lousy enough, or non-existant, simply set up their own schools. Whoever has the entreprenuerial grit and enough education to convince very poor parents they might be able to education their child, simply goes into business.Sometimes in contravention to laws meant to maintain the government school monopoly.

I imagine Messrs Zuckerberg and Gates must have some knowledge of Dr. Tooley's findings else they'd have gone through the government education bureacracies as so many charitable organizations before them. Government education agencies are inevitably inefficient, typically corrupt and never accountable. I imagine both Mr. Gates and Mr. Zuckerberg, with their experience of trying to breath some life into the American public education system, understand the futility of trying to improve the performance of third world education bureacracies.

The Bridge model seems to be following in the footsteps of those tiny, private school Dr. Tooley discovered and while the article doesn't specifically mention them it seems pretty likely that the people who've opened their own private schools already will be among the first to see the value of working with Bridge.

Comment Re:it is the wrong way... (Score 1) 291

We over and over do exactly the wrong thing to save the world.

In view of the fact the world hasn't ended perhaps it isn't quite as desperately in need of saving as you seem to believe?

Alternatively, perhaps what you believe to be the wrong thing to do is, in view of the continued existance of the world, the right thing?

Comment Re:Horrible for the public school system (Score 1) 715

1) No they don't. Charters are public schools. Period. Since charters are public schools they can't very well take money from public schools.

2) In fact, it's district schools that can be explicitly and unapologetically selective. They're called magnet schools and unlike charters they generally require entrance exams, require the maintenance of grades above some minimum and can boot kids out for a variety of infractions.

3) Feel free to provide support for this contention. Charter schools are public schools and operate under all relevant, state-level rules and laws. If the state's signed up for Common Core then charters are just as much on the hook to abide by that decision as are district schools.

4) Again, provide some support for this contention.

Since charters aren't, by law, allowed to select their students there's no selection bias. As for "the companies that run them", charters do a good enough job to get the approval of parents. The one glaring difference between charters and district schools is that parents select charters. If parents don't care about funneling public school funds to the companies that run them why should anyone else's voice speak as loudly? You got anywhere near as much at stake as those charter school parents?

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