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Comment Re:Same problem here in the US (Score 1) 626

I had always gotten the impression that Ireland had a deficit crisis because it made the idiotic decision to nationalize some of its failing banks. If it had just let them fail, the country would have been fine.

That's why you don't hear Ireland mentioned in the same breath as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, etc. Not too many systemic problems, just one really bad day.

Comment What's wrong with vi keys? (Score 1) 300

"For practical reasons, I'm trying to run my computer off a small fire, which boils water which turns a paddlewheel, which dumps more water into a bucket on a pully which turns a magneto, and I'm not getting a stable waveform. How can I make this work?"

"Just plug it into the wall outlet."

"Read TFS!"

Honestly. I know it's difficult to adjust, but after you get used to using letters for movement, you'll never play NetHack any other way.

Comment Re:First Jerk to Fine: (Score 1) 316

In fairness to the summary, they did spell out what DOTA 2 is. DOTA 2 is an online strategy game developed by Valve which will likely have a "freemium" business model.

What they didn't say is what DOTA stands for. But as far as I know, to Valve, DOTA stands for DOTA. Valve has consistently called their game "DOTA 2". They have never let on that the name is an acronym, so it isn't. DotA was "Defense of the Ancients." DOTA 2 is just "DOTA 2".

I believe their second choice was "Dota is Not a Windows Emulator", but that didn't go over quite as well.

Comment Re:Okay... (Score 2) 285

Bradley Manning did not give those documents to someone who is not supposed to have them.

He gave them to us. Remember us? We the people? You may not have heard about us very much recently, given all of the things going on that are too important to hear about. But we're still here, and theoretically, all those important people in the government work for us.

Perhaps Manning was excessively honest with his superiors (who are, if you'll recall, us.) But excessive honesty to one's superiors is generally not considered an offense worthy of torture in the civilized world. It is often considered heroism.

Comment There are many kinds of math. (Score 1) 1153

The issue here is that there are a lot of different branches of mathematics, and only one of them is being taught in schools.

Algebra: The concepts behind basic algebra ("Algebra I") are essential for anyone doing any sort of mathematics, so you can't really get rid of this. From what I remember of my Algebra II and Trigonometry classes, nothing there is a prerequisite for any other branches except calculus. It is essential for someone going to college for a scientific degree to know trigonometry, though. It is probably unnecessary to teach everyone trigonometry or "advanced" algebra*.

Geometry: Used as a didactic tool to teach logic, reasoning and proof. "Math without numbers" might attract people who would not otherwise enjoy mathematics. Teaching proof to high school students sounds great conceptually, but from what I have heard attempts are made near-constantly in this direction by math education theoreticians and never catch on. Note that while geometry actually does do the "develop students' logic and reasoning" which everyone says math is good for, algebra generally is not taught this way: rather, it is presented as a series of magical formulas. Certainly there is nothing even close to a "proof-based math course" in high school except geometry.

Calculus: Essential for anyone going into science, unimportant for everyone else. The algebra -> calculus line is the one primarily taught in schools, which is very convenient for future scientists and engineers and annoying for everyone else.

Statistics and probability: A basic understanding of statistics is essential for understanding current events, politics and the news, since statistics are everywhere and one must learn to judge whether they mislead.

Discrete mathematics: Way cooler than calculus, but probably not suitable for high schoolers, as it is not very relevant to people outside mathematics.

"Life economics": I'm not too knowledgeable about this, but from what I have heard, a lot of schools have a "life skills" course. This probably includes basic knowledge about compound interest, buying versus renting, and other economic skills which ultimately stem from mathematics.

Given this overview, I personally came to the conclusion that the best way to teach high schoolers math would be to require a basic algebra course, a geometry course (maybe), and a "useful math" course, which would include basic statistics, basic probability, compound interest, investing, and other ways students will probably actually use math even if they don't go on to become scientists or engineers.

Of course, this does nothing to fix the related problem that many students do not find more theoretical math interesting, limiting the number of people who go into math and science. But as long as most of the math teachers out there don't even like math, we'll just have to live with students not liking it either.

Comment Re:As if there were any doubt, HOPE is dead (Score 2, Interesting) 646

This is actually incomprehensible to me. I am a college student. Like most everyone I know, I hated Bush and rejoiced when Obama was elected. It's two years into Obama's presidency, and surprise, I'm disillusioned with him too. And when election time comes around, I'll be voting with that knowledge in mind. How do critical thinkers avoid coming to this same conclusion whenever their side is in power? How do otherwise intelligent people put themselves into a political fantasy-land? I don't get it.

Comment It must be nice to have actual conservatives (Score 1) 106

The British elected the Conservative Party to office, and they began by cutting expenses and raising taxes in a time in great need. How novel. Here in the United States, we gave the Republicans 8 years in control of the government, at least 5 of which were spent owning both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency---and we ended up with a big deficit. We even had a surplus to begin with! In fairness to Bush, he did try to reduce costs on Social Security, but on every other issue it was clear that the deficit was the last thing on his mind. Obama is no better, but at least no one expected better of him.

Entitlement programs and the military are the two largest costs to the federal government, and neither can be touched without erupting violently on whoever had the nerve to try to cut them down to size. And until they go, young people across the country will be robbed to pay for the retirements of those responsible for this deficit---a payment for which they will never receive compensation, as these entitlement programs will have collapsed by the time they grow old themselves.

Comment Re:Goes to show. (Score 1) 467

However, my qualm is more with more with scientologists, and that various left field christian sects that refuse to immunize their kids or see doctors. Modern medicine is useful. Really. It is. There is more than diet, exercise, and positive thinking.

While scientologists have a thing about psychology, I don't think they have any problems with the rest of modern medicine. Are you thinking of Christian Science?

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