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Comment Re:There is a fundamental error (Score 3, Informative) 297

Sorry, you are wrong. Those two things are required for capitalism to exist, but they do not equal capitalism. For example, they both existed in ancient Greece and Rome, but neither of those societies were capitalistic. By most historic definitions, capitalism came after feudalism, and was the fruit of the widespread adoption of a different set of behaviors towards property and investment. Wikipedia has a rather decent write-up on this subject.

Comment can we apply agile? (Score 0) 479

Having recently joined a major world-wide IT company that strongly uses and defends agile methods for development projects, I got my self thinking: what if we try to apply agile concepts for the educational scenario?

For instance, my team does daily stand-up meetings, where each member of the team talks about whatever tasks he did for the project in the last 24 hours, pointing out difficulties that could warrant help from others; in education, we could have multiple students assigned different tasks, and have they quickly elaborate on what have they learned and what are they struggling with, so that the other students and the teacher may help him. We could also copy the idea of pair programming, and have students pair up randomly to complete their tasks on a daily basis, so as to foster cooperation and communication skills.

Sure, we would still need some measure of actual lecture being given by the teacher/professor, but more focus should be given on teaching students to build their knowledge by their own research. I think that most of the time the teacher should be going rounds around the class to help students and assess their progress. Alike agile, everything should be continuously tested; instead of big, stressful exams every two months or so, students should be able to demonstrate their acquired knowledge - both orally and in written - on daily basis.

All of this may sound a bit alike constructivist method, but I want to avoid that road; in my opinion, constructivism's exaggerated leniency/freedom is a recipe for disaster; my approach would have the teacher in a stronger guidance position (such as a project manager), closely watching the group's performance and enforcing a pace. The concept of a student failing should still exist, and should actually be much more common than currently, making it less traumatic; as in agile, we have to fail fast: advancement cycles could be MUCH shorter (think a fortnight), and a failing student should be brought to some reinforcement class on the specific subject he is behind.

Comment Re:Cue Apple fans saying "That could NEVER happen" (Score 1) 584

Yes, that is possible.

I have never actually tried such setup, but you could have a local repository holding only code you trust (either because you verified manually or because you developed yourself). Ideally, you would have an staging environment where you would test updates received from upstream (debian/ubuntu) to assure they won't break your setup; after that verification, you could refresh your trusted repo and let production machines update itself.

Comment Re:Cue Apple fans saying "That could NEVER happen" (Score 1) 584

> Could you describe that a lil more?

Debian's APT allowed for multiple repositories since the dawn of time. That used to require some command-line fu, but nowadays is just some clicks away in synaptic's interface. There is even a Ubuntu Software Center interface thing right now, giving a appstore-like experience.

The concept of centralized catalogs for applications is REALLY old for the linux crowd. Apple, Microsoft and their ilk are raving about it like it was some new shit.

Comment astronomy of Game of Thrones (Score 1) 412

For those who are not reading/watching it, a huge aspect of that world is that seasons are quite irregular and unpredictable, with winters or summer having sometimes three years, other times lasting up to six or seven years. Apparently, sometimes there are even longer winters, but those are quite rare.

So, my question is: is it possible for a planet to have Game of Thrones-esque seasons? My guess is that it would require some really weird orbit around a binary start system, but I'd guess such orbits can't possible be stable. Any ideas?

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