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Comment Soulless . . . like school admins and politicians (Score 1) 384

I agree that that the video may not be the best choice at trying to sell to kids, but it is perfect for getting the support of politicians and school administrators. The high school I teach at cut their Computer Science program a year and a half ago. The reasons cited were budgetary and "lack of interest".

Not all kids are cut out to code, but a lot of those kids that are do not get the opportunity to find out. Fortunately, my school received a grant this year to at increase enrollment in AP Computer Science (easy to do when the class isn't even currently being offered). I convinced all the mathematics teachers in my school to get the students to play lightbot. I managed to snag a few students that loved it and would not have otherwise considered the course for next year.

Submission + - Astronomer Clowes discovers a group of quasars 4 billion light years across (newscientist.com)

mal0rd writes: "The NewScientist reports "A collection of galaxies that is a whopping four billion light years long is the biggest cosmic structure ever seen. The group is roughly one-twentieth the diameter of the observable universe – big enough to challenge a principle dating back to Einstein, that, on large scales, the universe looks the same in every direction."

For reference, Andromeda is only 2 million light years away."

Comment Roll their own distro (Score 1) 353

With Canonical becoming ever less popular with the community, the gaming companies should form a consortium and roll their own linux distro. An innovative company, like Steam perhaps, could even take the lead and just do it themselves. Doing so could be a real headstart and leave the other gaming companies clamoring to catch up.

Submission + - Global Warming On Pace for 4C: World Bank Worried (washingtonpost.com)

iONiUM writes: "From the article: "Over the years at the U.N. climate talks, the goal has been to keep future global warming below 2C. But as those talks have faltered, emissions have kept rising, and that 2C goal is now looking increasingly out of reach. Lately, the conversation has shifted toward how to deal with 3C of warming. Or 4C. Or potentially more."
Overall it seems that poorer, less developed nations will be largely impacted negatively, while some countries (like Canada and Russia) will actually experience benefits. Where does that leave the rest of the 1st world countries?"

Submission + - Idiocracy has begun (livescience.com) 1

barefoot_professor writes: Are Humans Becoming Less Intelligent?
As reported by LiveScience, "The study, published today (Nov. 12) in the journal Trends in Genetics, argues that humans lost the evolutionary pressure to be smart once we started living in dense agricultural settlements several thousand years ago."

Comment Re:It's not throwing away your vote! (Score 1) 221

"Very few states divide their electoral votes. so the third parties wouldn't be getting any electoral votes anyways. "

Um, yes, if you read further down in the original post that is addressed as a concern.

"He will not get those 39 electors unless he takes a state or two."

Those numbers were provided for the sake of example. A more realistic scenario might be that Obama gets 236 electoral voters, Romney gets 235 electoral voters, and Johnson wins New Mexico to get 5 electoral voters.

"Even if a president had to make a pact with a third party non elected person, there is no way to enforce the pact."

Good point, but it would likely be political suicide for a first term term president with no hope for re-election.

"I think you might have some romantic concept that the federal government is supposed to represent you. They are not, they are supposed to represent the union of states. "

Agreed, but the US has been moving more and more away from that model. Senators used to be chosen by the states' governments and not by popular vote within the state. I was just looking at trying to more closely follow that model within the existing framework. Baby steps.

Comment It's not throwing away your vote! (Score 3, Interesting) 221

I do not understand why people think that voting for a third party is throwing away your vote. I don't understand why third party candidates don't point out that even if they do not get enough electoral voters to win, that if they get enough electoral voters to swing the vote they could make a huge difference.

With the way the electoral college is set up if Obama wins 250 electors, Romney wins 249 electors, and Johnson wins 39 electors, guess what? Johnson's not going to win, but he could ask his electors to cast their votes for one of the other two guys. That's quite a bit of power and influence. Not a bad method of actually representing the will of the people either. Of course the problem here is that with the exception of Maine and Nebraska the electors in other states are picked in a winner-take-all fashion. Also, about half of the states impose some minor penalty for electors voting for anyone other than who they were chosen to vote for.

Personally, I would hate to see election by popular vote. I would hate to see the country being run by someone that only 51% of us chose. I'd much rather see the country run by the guy that 40% of chose and who had to make concessions to the guy that the other 20% of us voted for. It really is a much better representation of a larger portion of the population. but I guess we haven't really had a representative government for some time now. :P

Comment any that allows you a break every twenty minutes (Score 1) 262

I recently listened to a show on NPR with the author of the book "The First Twenty Minutes". The book focused on exercise, but they also discussed how the body tends to shutdown after sitting for about twenty minutes. Merely standing for a minute or two out of every twenty prevent the body from going into sedentary mode and supposedly can have health benefits that can surpass daily exercise. Not that you shouldn't also have daily exercise mind you!

Comment Re:Stick With What Works (Score 1) 364

I second this. I tried going all digital with my calendar, and found that without the electronic reminders the various things on my calendar were totally out of mind. When I wrote them down they registered better somewhere in my brain. I don't remember the exact dates of various tasks without looking them up, but I always have a sense of what's going on and when.

I haven't researched the phenomenon, but I speculate that it has to do with the basic idea that the three primary modes of acquiring information are auditory, visual, and tactile. When the lecturer is speaking and displaying text, the auditory and visual are covered. When you handwrite down the information you probably get a much better tactile experience than just pounding keys on a keyboard

Comment Re:And the unions are pissed... (Score 1) 575

Agreed. Eighty per cent of my students benefit from the free or reduced lunch program. Their families are hardly candidates for bilking money out of.

. . . and to be clear, the district will provide a lot, but often, time is the real cost. Either you spend precious hours filling out forms for twelve dollars worth of supplies that can be purchased at a grocery store, or you have to wait three months for the supplies to arrive from an approved vendor. Government bureaucracy at ti's best!

Comment Re:And the unions are pissed... (Score 5, Informative) 575

Okay, I have to interject here . . . I am currently teacher. Yes, my annual salary is $50,000. During the school year, I arrive at my building at 6:00 am and I do not leave until 4:30 pm. On a good day (all of my students are caught up on their work lol), I get a thirty minute lunch. I get exactly three 5 minute breaks throughout the day to use the bathroom, etc. I am told that at some of the other schools in my district that teachers are expected to be at their door monitoring/greeting students. They are only allowed to use the restroom if an administrator comes to fill in for them. Unfortunately, I am not able to accomplish all that is expected of me at school, so I spend an additional 5 to 10 hours working in the evenings or over the weekend. I do not get the summer off, but I do have a great deal of flexibility from mid-June to mid-August. I get to choose which workshops and trainings to attend during those two months in addition to all of the preparation I am expected to do for the year's upcoming classes. Oh, and of that $50,000 salary, I easily spend $2000 or more of that purchasing supplies that the district hasn't approved or hasn't approved in a timely manner. As far as teachers doing a "shitty" job, just like any other profession there are good teachers and bad teachers. Unfortunately, a lot of good teachers are discouraged by all of the stupid policies put in place to prevent the shitty teachers from doing too much harm. Anybody know of any entry level Software Development jobs in java looking to hire a slightly rusty Software Engineer!?

Submission + - Particle Accelerator Sets Record For Hottest Man-Made Temperature: 7.2 Trillion (blogspot.com)

quantr writes: ""It’s hot out there, but not as hot as it could be. Indeed, few things are any match for the recently announced Guinness World Record for hottest temperature ever achieved by humankind: An unfathomably scorching 7.2 trillion degrees fahrenheit (4 trillion degrees celsius), attained by a particle accelerator on Long Island in New York.

That temperature is nearly 250,000 times hotter than the center of the Sun.""

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