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Comment Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 940

Do you live in NYC? Your comment doesn't make sense. A lot of the old office buildings in the Financial District are being converted into living spaces. Check out 70 Pine, or 100 John. There are also new projects being built in areas that have the ability to build up. Look at 432Park or the Gehry NY. Up isn't an issue.

The older buildings can't provide the electrical or communications needs as well any more. You have to remove office space to install A/C units and run new cables. That gets expensive. A lot of the back and middle office functions are being moved way back. Omaha, Kansas City, lots and lots to Houston and Atlanta, Rapid City. The big commodity trading communication links run almost due East West between NY and Chicago. Wall Street's data centers are being moved West into NJ along that link. Also, companies are moving international (i.e., moving the jobs to India, The Philippines, or now Columbia). We can expect more conversions.

Also, building tall is expensive, you can't build tall, cheap, safe buildings. That was the great lesson of the Housing Projects.

Comment Re:This isn't a question (Score 1) 623

While I'm glad you're supportive of SS marriage in NY, I want this done Federally. So if I travel to PA for some reason I don't get "downgraded" as a person when I cross the state line. I don't want to put it to a vote, No one should vote if I get to sit at the lunch counter or not.

Your point of view is the one I specifically oppose the most. First and foremost I find it a huge arrogant overreach to compare your being able to change how a marriage contract is regulated with the horrors of Slavery and Segrigation. Your problems are trivial compared to what African Americans go through. Just think, all of the killings we hare hearing about now is the absolute best they have ever had it in America. You should take great comfort in, after 50 years of the Civil Rights Act and 150 after the Civil War, how well Washington has done integrating Blacks into America. It not like how those Catholics and Jews who worked with their fellow Americans are marginalized in Ghettos. You should rethink how you phrase your point.

I think your point is wrong in fact and it values the illusion of efficiency made by tyranny over the responsibilities and freedoms of Democracy. I take it you oppose what happened in Ireland. The people should not have decided but instead some "Authority" should have done it. Your point assumes that there is some Authority that supersedes "The People".

You won't escape a vote, you just shift who votes. It will be the judges who are unaccountable rather then your fellow citizens. As poster after poster on this tread has pointed out The States have the responsibility to regulate contracts. Marriages are one of the contracts that The States regulate. You seem to be saying that your contract is so special that it doesn't get to be regulated the same as mine did. If you don't think the regulations are right and fair you don't have to go through the legislative process. If you want me to go with you to PA and campaign for change from our fellow Americans then I will. I will, also, oppose you trying to go around us, "The People."

If you feel downgraded as a person because the regulations shift as you pass from State to State you should realize that is how the Founding Fathers wanted it. It is the trick they used to keep the maximal freedoms for as many different groups as possible. We The People don't have to choose between legalizing Same Sex Marriage. We can have both. So there is no need to choose. We just can't have both everywhere.

As an example of how badly that sort of thinking can go wrong that is how the Assads in Syria have kept power, playing a game of giving a number of different minority groups power over the majority Sunni Muslims. As long as they keep their coalition together and are willing to use any violence necessary they will stay in power. This way they avoid have to make an agreement with the various parities, and once they start the cycle of violence they can keep it going for generations.

Comment Re:This isn't a question (Score 1) 623

A lot of my thinking on this grows out of the point that the US, and the West in general, is becoming less homogenous all the time. It's not just immigration. With the breakdown of Christianity as the underlying metaphysics of Western society all sorts of other ideologies are coming into play. Secularism is growing but still undefined in many ways. What is the secularist view on marriage? I don't think there is one. Eastern religions are gaining ground, Buddhism doesn't offer any rules on marriage. It just says if you are married you should be good about it. How vague is that?

A second line of thought for me has been, it is necessary for all 50 States in the US to agree? They don't now on all sorts of things. In New Jersey you cannot have self service gas stations. They are common in New York. Marraiges aren't gas stations, but where is the line?

Comment Re:This isn't a question (Score 5, Interesting) 623

In the broadest scope I've never understood why there has to be laws concerning marriage. It's a private contract. There shouldn't be a question of can two people of the same sex get married - the question should be why we need to regulate this at all. If some regulation is found to be useful, what should it be? I'm not happy about "The State" getting that far into my business.

The lesson for the US in this is one that New York, a very Irish and Catholic City and State, learned. You do this by legislative authority, not juridical. The use of judicial fiat just creates anger and inhibits the building of consensus. It isn't something WE did, it's something THEY forced on us. Ireland agreed with itself on this. The way the US is doing it isn't about agreement, it's about power.

This is why I find myself supporting same sex marriage in NY but hoping the US Supreme Court rules against the suit. In the US this isn't a Federal Case - it is something the States have to deal with. The NSA has given me all the evidence I need to not trust to Federal Authority to solve subtle problems. I can't help but worry that the court case isn't about Justice, it's about finding a shortcut around the slogging of the Legislative process.

Comment Re:How does one tell the difference? (Score 3, Informative) 103

There is a lot of controversy on this. As a rule you can't tell from one artifact, it's the number of them and their arrangement that matters most. Key to understanding is the Hollywood version is backwards. Usually in Hollywood you take the a stone and remove stuff till you are left with a tool, like whittling a point on a stick. In reality the bits you take off are the tools. What you have in your hand is a core.

This gives you key pieces to look for, cores being high on the list. Cores are distinctive. The process of making many flakes of a similar size off the core creates a regular and distinct size and shape. They are more rounded at one end, the handle, and then it tapers roughly. There are clear angles and planes to cores. You can tell of the knapper was right handed or left handed. Then you have lots of very regular sized flakes and the core they are off. If you are anal enough - a defining characteristic of archaeologists - you can reassemble the original stone from the cores and flakes. You also have work places for this. It takes some work to make stone tools, so you made a batch at a time. So you have small stone tool work stations. Since they were temporary they were just abandoned as is. An archaeologist can sometimes just sit down and pick up where the original worker had left off.

If you Google "Flint Core" in images you can see pics of many.

Comment This is a problem of idealism vs pragmatism (Score 1) 634

We will never know why people do or don't take the courses they do. We will never know why they act as groups the way they do. If we knew why women didn't take engineering courses we would know how to stop genocides.

This article takes as an assumption that getting women to take more engineering courses and becoming engineers is a good thing. There has never been a good answer for why - but there isn't a good reason for why not. The real issue here isn't engineering. It's trusting people and letting them make up their own minds. In this sense we get a conflict between several different ideas of freedom. Rousseau vs Locke. We in America, IMHO, understand freedom to be something individuals exercise, not something we receive or have done for us by any external force. Freedom is limited because people do really bad things sometimes. Baltimore is not just an example of people now making bad, evil, choices. But an example of a history of evil or bad choices. Slavery and Jim Crow can't be defended.

So we are left with a pragmatic statement that women in America take these sort of engineering courses. Since this has worked, and if we take it that getting more women to go into engineering to be a good thing, we should continue to do this.

I'm good with this. The people who want to do this have the same freedom to do it as other have to ignore it. I can't see anything bad coming out of this.


Comment He seemed more concened about his job then my kid. (Score 1) 352

As a father with a daughter studying to be an English teacher this concerns me a lot. There are really two arguments here that are intertwined. One is what is the best way to teach children, the other is what is the best way for teachers to keep their jobs. The expectation is that you get the later by achieving the former. The linkage between these is the argument, but unless it is made specific I don't think this discussion can progress. Right now it is not specific. I want the best way to teach my kids. The teachers job is his/her own problem.

TOA didn't make clear what the author thought, just that he was very worried about his job. I think he shouldn't have been so concerned. The great online colleges are failing faster and faster. The University of Phoenix just reported that it has lost half of its students.They also report that students learn less and remember less. I've tried a number of these going back to a programming school offered by Metrowerks when they still made Mac Programming environments. They never worked for me.

Another issue not discussed is what about disabilities? Any variation from the norm may be disastrous.

Still I think he is right in one way, it will allow for pressure to reduce the pay of teacher and reduce their numbers. We have to remember profit is the difference between the cost and the sale price. If schools with big screen cost half has much, many will call for them even if they only do two thirds as well. And, this won't effect the well off anyway.

Submission + - Enough about drones. There are automamous robots showing social behaivior.

raque writes: Wired has an article up on a new series of Boston Dynamics' autonomous quadruped robots. This model is called Spot. The video shows two of these walking up hill, bumping into each other then walking and staying in parallel as they turn and come down hill. The accompanying text points out that this is less complex then a swarm of locusts. This shows we are now building robots that are almost as smart as bugs.

Are these a cause for concern since these are build but for DARPA, and, as anyone who has been stung by a wasp knows, things don't have to be very smart to be dangerous.

Submission + - Elementrary school teachers are being blamed for lack of women in STEM fields. 1

raque writes: The NYTimes has published another article on why there is a lack of females in STEM fields.
The article relates a study in Israel where students were given two tests, one scored by their teacher the other blindly. In the one scored by the teachers boys fared better, in the blind one girls fared better. Below is part of my comment on that article:
This article is part of the problem with STEM and STEM education, not part of the solution. It is very hard to develop good experiments and even harder to have news sources report accurately on those experiments. It is well known that it is almost impossible to develop unbiased tests because we have no idea how and why these biases appear or how they operate. African Americans still underscore White Americans on every kind of standard test. This is why places like New Haven CT and NYC have to adjust their scoring of civil service exams to account for that. This same issue of bias in testing is being encountered and widely reported on in India. We also know that that difference in scoring has no reflection on future success. All test are by their nature flawed. Two different tests simply worsens the problem.
If gender is unrelated to ability then in an blind test gender should have disappeared — not be reversed. If it still appears then you have not shown that gender is not an issue in STEM. You have shown that either gender is an issue or that your test is biased somehow — which we knew.

My daughter walked away from STEM after graduating from Brooklyn Tech H.S.. She is going into the humanities. It wasn't bias or the boys, it was the nature of the work. She didn't want to put that much of her creativity into something she didn't want to do. She would rather spend six hours writing fan fic from the point of view of the Impala on Supernatural then spend six hours on working on the animation for a diaper commercial or working on a framework.
Why do we keep assuming females are stupid and need the NYTimes to tell them what they should be doing?

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If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst