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Comment Re:Am I the only person here who's impressed by th (Score 1) 88

It is very impressive for a number of reasons, but I would challenge the naysayers on this thread... if you think it's so lousy and stupid, you build one.

Industrial automation came into maturity during the last century -- research is research. The current generation of musical robots and automated musical instruments is a fraction of what they WILL BE, because of research like this. They offer new avenues for musical expression and are giving creators new tools to work with -- which is a TOTALLY worthwhile pursuit.

Comment Not Appropriate for All Disciplines....? (Score 1) 319

"Only 13 percent of the professors surveyed said they used blogs in teaching; 12 percent had tried videoconferencing; and 13 percent gave interactive quizzes using 'clickers,' or TV-remotelike devices that let students respond and get feedback instantaneously."

Just a few thoughts...

I'm a music professor... and I'm the _music technology_ professor at that. I don't think any of these technologies are appropriate for music teaching -- that's why I don't use them. I do teach blogging in my intro class -- but I don't use a blog to communicate with the students. I think a lot of other faculty members feel the same way -- they don't know how to match up the technology with an appropriate use -- a common problem in universities. They want to invest in technology, but they end up buying the wrong things or implementing things poorly.

I like the course management systems, but I only use it for the gradebook and for handing out readings. Clickers are, IMHO, incredibly stupid. It only proves the students can push a button -- not articulate an intelligent answer. I suppose we could have guest speakers via videoconference... *shrug*.

  If anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears!


Netflix Streaming Arrives For the Wii 171

Grant,thompson writes "As announced in January and mentioned here on Slashdot, Netflix is sending out discs today to enable streaming on the Nintendo Wii. 'Netflix has sent out emails to customers who pre-ordered the Wii's instant streaming disc, indicating that the disc will arrive in mailboxes tomorrow, and that the service will likely start within the next day.'"
Input Devices

Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? 411

SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"

The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers 127

Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."

Comment Re:Maybe its the school thats failing (Score 0, Troll) 1343

IMHO, affixing some kind of rigid standard to spoken language is the lazy way -- computer code it not a good analogy. computer code has to be extremely semantically rigid so the machine can understand it.

on the other hand, i can generate an infinite number of novel sentences and you can understand them -- not to mention generate words that are not "in the dictionary" and you will understand them too. language is _constantly_ evolving and changing... anyone who says otherwise is the real product of bad english teaching.

Comment not as bad as you think? (Score 1) 1343

it's so sad and cliché to lament the "declining state of our youth".

i'm a college professor too, and while bad writing is a problem, i think this is pretty sensationalized. students know not to put "cuz" in a paper, but they do it anyway because they don't understand the difference between formal/good writing and lousy/bad writing. maybe it does have something to do with grammar instruction, but i think it's more related to the fact that there are fewer and fewer situations where these kids have to use formal language -- so it gets deemphasized. but i assure you, they DO know how to use it. I've seen them meet our university president and boy does it come right out :)

anyway, yes i agree it's a result of bad instruction, but it just seems like they're looking at a number and going "these kids are dumb" and jumping to the conclusion that it's because they don't teach grammar anymore... i'm much more apt to blame it on the formulaic writing style they get taught to pass things like the FCAT.

Comment Re:It's $279 for existing Tmobile customer renewal (Score 1) 568

yep -- it's true. i've been a T-mobile customer for a long time -- i've even got their $50/mo unlimited talk/text "customer loyalty" plan and i still pay more than someone with good credit who buys the $179 commitment. but who knows who's eligible for that... the site told me $229.

i think i'll pass for now. i would pay $179 and get into a 2-year contract (maybe), but first i want to go to the store and play with the phone... and i can't do that because you can only buy it on the web.


Best Man Rigs Newlyweds' Bed To Tweet During Sex 272

When an UK man was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding he agreed that he would not pull any pranks before or during the ceremony. Now the groom wishes he had extended the agreement to after the blessed occasion as well. The best man snuck into the newlyweds' house while they were away on their honeymoon and placed a pressure-sensitive device under their mattress. The device now automatically tweets when the couple have sex. The updates include the length of activity and how vigorous the act was on a scale of 1-10.

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361

darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."

Comment Re:Corpus Callosum (Score 3, Informative) 288

indeed, the corpus callosum does connect the two hemispheres -- but remember, not everything in the brain is "active" -- much of it is passive, and it's not just "excitatory" -- it's also inhibitory. a lot of the signals on one side do not get routed to the other, to use a computer term.

at the same time, remember that the left-brain/right-brain stuff is pop psychology. one simple scientific finding, that language is primarily left-lateralized, got turned into this gigantic thing that just isn't true or in any way demonstrable.

Comment Re:Unconvinced (Score 1) 288

precisely my first thought when i read this post -- the auditory system works in "fields" much like the visual system - it's contralateral and ipsilateral.

who knows why the right ear thing gave them those results... seems rather shallow. would the same be true if we asked participants to close their left eye and look at a beer? how many of those beers would get consumed? :)

incidentally, the cigarette thing throws a whole other problem into the equation -- addiction and alcohol. if you ask someone at 7pm for a smoke, are they more or less likely to give one to you than at 1am when they've had 4+ drinks?

guess i'll have to read the study! :)


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