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Comment Ballroom Dancing (Score 1) 823

Nothing will make you feel like a loser quite like ballroom dancing. And it is a skill that once you are no longer a loser at, can have wonderful pay offs later in life. Plus a great class to take while in college: get out and meet some people you wouldn't normally run in to and have a lot of fun doing it.

Comment Re:Depressing (Score 3, Interesting) 195

Peolple who start using it is an increase to demand. The issue is what are the current users going to do if the price goes up. The addiction is strong enough that the "elastic demand-to-price" assumption is likely unreasonable. Addicts will find a way to pay the higher price, also note that this is a drug for which one can developa chemical dependency with one use. It breaks most of the economic models which were developed to study things like Sugar. It is much closer to the models that were developed to study Oil.

Comment Re:why locking myself out when just moving groups? (Score 1) 290

My thought as well. This is going to be the guy you sit next to in meetings. He is going to either pick your brain about what you've done and why; or he is going to give you grief about how poorly documented the systems are (I'm guessing from your post, VERY). I see the advantage of constant and thorough documentation from Day 0 on, and your first word of advice to your predecessor should be that he fix this problem. The primary reason I document my polciies and procedures is so that others can pick up if I am out of the office for an extended time. With aging parents living in a different state is not uncommon for me to have to disappear for a few weeks a year with little or no notice. It's nice to just notify my colleagues of where they can find the notes on time critical work in an email from the airport.

Comment Re:Then clearly school buses cause cancer (Score 1) 205

I think the claim that making mines as safe as an office building would make mining an uncompettive practice in the US is probably true, or at least partially true. So we are in agreement there.

It seems clear to me that human life is much less valued in some countries than it is the US, and I do not see why we should reduce saftey features here to match those in place in those other countries. Of course this means US mines will not be as competitive in the global market, just like our higher standard of living also makes mining less competitive here. I hate to break it to mining companies, but the world is an ugly brutal place, and I would much rather it be ugly and brutal to companies than to people.

Comment Re:Where is the untapped well of expert teachers? (Score 1) 557

So you are calling for a 66% pay increase in the teaching profession to fix this problem? How is that supposed to work? School districts do not have the money for this. Instead schools need to look at non-monetary forms of compensation, and one of those forms of non-monetary compensation is to stop treating teachers like human garbage.

Comment Re:Then clearly school buses cause cancer (Score 2) 205

Adequete ventilation, alternatives to diesel fuels, better vehicle maintenance and so forth. The CONSTRUCTIVE part is already there. The industry is claiming that the cost of those changes is prohibitevly expensive, or at least would make their industry uncompettive in the global market. Probably so, lives are cheap in many countries...

Certainly I am concerned about the effect of commercial diesel engines, many of which seem to often be woefully under-maintained in the emissions category, but I don't think the wide open spaces above ground compare with the effect of the same engines running in a poorly ventilated mine below ground. Though these buses probably do increase the chance of cancer...

Comment Where is the untapped well of expert teachers? (Score 1) 557

Okay, so we can identify the teachers doing poorly (by this metric) and chase them from the profession by peer and social pressure. Great. So now where is the untapped well of expert teachers with which we can fill their places? Or are the excellent teachers not chased away from public service going to be forced to take up the slack (thus making them not-as-exccelent). I work with students prepraring to be teachers at our college and already you will never find the high GPA students in the teacher preparation tracks. Society's push to constantly punish teachers is only making this problem worse, not better.

It ends only when parents (and students) realize it is they, and only they, who control whether a student learns. A good or even mediocre teacher can take a student with a thirst for learning and advance them to ever higher levels. But even the most excellent teacher can do nothing with a student that does not care. And hold on to your seats, students learn what to care about from parents and not teachers.

Comment Scientists Don't Like Science Fiction? (Score 2) 210

I work among scientists, and of course there are exceptions, but basically: if someone I know loves science fiction books, I guaruntee they do science for a living; if they love science fiction tv shows, there is a good chance they do science for a living; and it is only when we reach movies that it seems to become something with little to do with your work... The fact is: most science fiction literature is written by geeks, for geeks, sometimes about geeks, and sometimes about who geeks want to be.

Comment Re:This was predicted to happen two years ago (Score 2) 238

No. It would require Ubuntu to have a near monopoly, or maybe just a LARGE warchest, generating enough income through some other product that they can absorb a loss on the operating system development/distribution. The comparison falls apart, because, other than an operating system, what is Ubuntu doing well enough in to build a warchest or monopoly.

Comment Re:Luddites (Score 1) 532

Exactly. The point of view of many online retailors is that getting eyes to your page is the key to getting a sale. Why don't the brick and mortars see it the same way? If more people are in your store, more people will make a purchase. You don't even need the lowest price, you can throw in service extras, or emphasize with signage that they won't need to pay shipping costs. Increase the number of eye balls in your store and you will increase the number of sales. Even if it isn't for the item they came to look at, there will be a chance that they see your displays for other items and POS and buy something. As a retailor you shouldn't care if they buy the thing they came to buy. If they drop money in your store you've done your job.

Comment Re:problems with LaTeX and e-books (Score 1) 470

I'm using an ASUS Transformer as the exclusive way I read mathematics papers off of Arxiv and journals, almost 99 percent of which are written in Latex and formatted for a letter or A4 paper size. They display perfectly readably; they way I see it, more devices should be of the appropriate size for displaying a letter sized page of a pdf document. Problem fixed (at least for Latex users).

Comment Re:More people turning vegetarian? (Score 1) 216

You far underestimate the ability of people to justify things which feel or taste good. A good portion of my family (from the previous generation) was involved in farming animals either as a business or as a way to supplement the family food budget, and branch of family tree have been small town butchers. All of these people intimately knew the animals they ate and milked from birth to death and continued to eat and profit off of them.

Comment Secure the data - Cheapen the hardware (Score 1) 514

My solution to the problem of being in situations where my laptop is often out of my control is to secure the data by full drive encryption and enabling the bios password etc; combined with making sure that the laptop I use is cheap enough that I can afford a loss or two a year. I save my money for good hardware for the items that will be behind the deadbolt and alarm (and be covered by the gold-standard insurance). Even so: protect the data and have savings ready for replacement of mission critical hardware.

Comment Re:Email haters (Score 1) 601

I just had my office phone disconnected. I had been hating it for awhile, it rings and despite being at the lowest volume, interrupts whatever conversation I'm having with the person who actually came by my office to work. I haven't checked the voice mail in 3 years -- figuring that people can type me out a message which I will get from anywhere and can read in 30 seconds rather than the 2 minutes it takes someone to say the message. Once I found out how much our department was paying per phone I (and a number of others) volunteered to have ours removed.

Email for me is the perfect medium. I can read a message as many times as I like. I can frame my response, rewrite it until it says precisely what I want it to say, and send it at 3am in the morning without worrying about waking anyone up. Add to that I will get the message even if I've been on a plane for the last 12 hours.

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