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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?

Comment not a book, but still a good read (Score 1) 173

you should read Bret Victor's Magic Ink essay. He goes about breaking this fill-submit-wait-for-return paradigm we currently have for everything on the web, proposing instead designs that answer to user parameters more quickly. His flight ticket UI example is wonderful, but so far I haven't seen any implementation of that.

Comment Re:no digital Wild West (Score 1) 119

> If it were the ultimate tool for "freedom and anarchy" would that be a good thing for society?

In my opinion: fuck yeah.

> Imagine if you couldn't trust the data on wikipedia

Do you trust it right now? Would you use it for mission-critical tasks?

The very premise of wikipedia is write-openness. Everyone using it should have that in mind and exercise common sense when reading informations there. If anything, it should remind us that every piece of written information published in our society may have bias or may be factually wrong. Even the most respected houses of publishing have their agendas. In my opinion, Wikipedia is upfront about its "vulnerability" and, therefore, people read it more critically than traditional media.

> Or if your bank account access could be spoofed
> Or your emails could be read by anyone

These cases are solved by digital encryption, specifically, one that is not plagued with backdoors. In the "social control" version of the Internet, we'd either be denied the right to encrypt, or the encryption mechanisms would have backdoors mandated by the governments. It follows that in the "anarchy and freedom" version of the Internet, where there is non-backdoor encryption, spoofings and eavesdropping would not occur.

It is important to note that, right now, we are closer to social control extreme on this subject, seeing as our encryption models rely on authorities supposed honest (the certificate authorities). A sufficiently powerful government could influence CAs on collaborating in spoofings and eavesdropping activities. We cannot observe this signing process - right now, we simply assume CAs are to be trusted, because we feel that governments haven't sunk so low in the social control measure. Should social control show its ugly face in the future, the only way we could achieve real secrecy and authenticity of communications would be having the sender and the receiver directly exchange public keys - preferably in person. By any metric, this is impractical, and could seriously hamper commercial usage of the network.

> Or even a reputable site by a known firm with a reputation to protect would use online tools to deceive

Yes, that indeed is a problem on the "anarchy and freedom" version of Internet. But how, exactly, does the "social control" version address this problem?

> What if lone individuals could topple governments and cause international diplomatic incidents?

So, we should suppress any speech that rats out illegal or inhuman actions to avoid embarassing governments? If a lone individual is aware and has evidence a government is doing something wrong, it is his duty to expose it. It does not matter if there are multiple nations involved. A perfect example of this would be e
extraordinary renditions, waterboarding, Abu Grahib and yes, the cablegate. The more government critters are afraid of being exposed, the better they will behave, and the more the people have control over their leaders.

Human societies were built upon the trust of individuals between each other. Problem is, the larger a group of people gets, the less we appreciate the externalities that our actions inflict upon others. We trust governments, far away as they are from our daily reality, to care for problems we are not specialized enough nor able to care. This trust depends on there being good checks and balances; social control of Internet is a weapon too powerful to be satisfactorily checked.

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