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Submission + - You Can Help Search for Jim Gray

FreemanPatrickHenry writes: You can help search for Jim Gray using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. You must create a (free) account to participate.

Instructions from the site:
"You will be presented with 5 images. The task is to indicate any satellite images which contain any foreign objects in the water that may resemble Jim's sailboat or parts of a boat. Jim's sailboat will show up as a regular object with sharp edges, white or nearly white, about 10 pixels long and 4 pixels wide in the image. ...
Marked images will be sent to a team of specialists who will determine if they contain information on the whereabouts of Jim Gray."

Let's help our comrade who may be in grave danger!
The Media

Submission + - High Tech Search for Jim Gray

necro81 writes: The NY Times has an article describing the high-tech involvement of Silicon Valley in the search for computer scientist Jim Gray, who went missing while sailing last week. High-resolution satellite images of the 132,000 sq. mi. search area were requisitioned from DigitalGlobe, and volunteers are pouring over them through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Affluent dot-com'ers with small aircraft have searched the coastline. "'It wouldn't have surprised me to get a brush off [from the Coast Guard],' Professor [James] Frew said. 'They're professionals, and they know what they're doing, and here comes this army of nerds, bashing down the doors. But they've dealt with us very nicely.'"

Submission + - The distributed search for Jim Grey

An anonymous reader writes: The search continues for Jim Grey, with a collaboration between Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and NASA. A combination of sattelite, radar, and aerial footage has been collected over the past several days, and volunteers have been asked to sift through this data SETI@Home style using first Google Earth, then Amazon's Mechanical Turk — looking for anything that looks like Grey's boat. It pays to have good connections, but more importantly I believe this could lay the groundwork for making such innovative search efforts generally available. This is an application of distributed computing/thinking that could really save some lives.

Comment Re:Are you serious? Public education!=free thinker (Score 1) 2136

Point to a country that doesn't provide universal public education and I'll show you a country that lags the U.S. on every measure of standard of living -- economic opportunity, social equality, civic participation, personal freedoms, etc.

I do not contest that these are real benefits of universal education, and I do not contest that where this ideal has been approached (the Vatican is the only nation I'm aware of with 100% literacy) it has usually been by way of a government school system.

My objection is not event to government schools per se, provided that they are afforded adequate organizational, methodological, intellectual and ideological freedom.

The practical reality, however, is that the current American system has become crippled with restrictions upon how pedagogy is done which are stunting the benefitial effects that the system could potentially produce and has historically produced, leading to our comparative decline in most academic metrics when compared with much of the developed world. For example:

  • The supplanting of a disciplinary model (your behavior must change to participate in society) with a therapeutic model (society must accomodate your illness/disability). Does any healthy, creative kid NOT have ADD/ADHD/etc? Do we seriously believe that the surge in such "conditions" has more to do with something different about "kids today" than it does with something different about "schools today"?
  • The out-of-hand dismissal of any proposal which hints at "separate but equal" accomodations, in spite of demonstrable benefits for both separated parties (e.g., the British experiment with schooling boys and girls differently).
  • The removal of proactive enculturation when it is tangential to religious issues (a teacher may be able to answer the question "what is Easter" in the manner you propose, but they certainly cannot present a unit on it in class, in spite of it being an important topic to understand for basic American cultural literacy).
  • The removal of moral formation from the pedagogical agenda (How can you persue moral formation when you are prohibited (by fear of lawsuits and local policy if not by actual constitutional law) from endorsing or condemning any moral action/subject on which there is not near-absolute consensus? On what moral questions do we have even a majority agreement? Is such a least-common-denominator morality even worth teaching?)
  • The lack of any epistemological humility when it comes to the presentation of "the scientific method" (the method itself is unfalsifiable in that it makes unfalsifiable assumptions about pragmatism equating with truth and a closed universe; its best "proof" is a self-referential "it works better than anything else we've tried").
  • The "comparative religion" course which is (nominally) permissible will be rooted in a western, rational/evidentiary, secular textual-critical/historic-critical presentation of its subjects, that is to say, they are presented from the point-of-view of a particular theological/teleological/epistemological paradigm which may be at odds with the content of some or all of the covered religions, precluding an actual presentation of their substance.

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982