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Comment Re:Intelligent design (Score 1) 161

Actually natural selection *can* explain how the 6502 had two different indirect access modes.

The PDP-11 (one of the great ancestor computers) had two different indirect access modes (6n and 7n). The computer eco system flourished and spawned many different types of computer chips, one of those which was the 6800 which shared the instruction set traits from that line. However, later, the computer eco system got more price competitive from descendants from other computer chip lines. This put evolutionary pressure on then existent microprocessors to reduce their cost. Features needed to be jettisoned from to reduce the cost, and other competitive processors only had one indirect access mode where the 6500 processor line kept two different indirect modes in the instruction set, but jettsoned the "B" accumulator. Natural selection somehow allowed this instruction set selection trait to survive in it's successor the 6502...

Not making any value judgement about the value of the *un-RISCi-ness* of retaining two different indirect access modes, but natural selection somehow allowed them to both survive the evolutionary pressure, so who am I to argue that it was some Intelligent Design process...

Of course the researchers are probably trying to apply the wrong methods (as many do).

It is not necessary to appeal to a higher power to reason by the 6502 was able to retain two different indirect addressing modes, it was simply the unexpected result of evolutionary pressure and natural selection. Now as to why the PDP-11 had two different indirect addressing modes, that is another question as it was certainly a mutation of the PDP-5 ;^)

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 306

Exceptions: certain ivy league law and business schools, or, if I utterly fail at parenting, a child who wants to pursue some liberal arts field (that's not a fine art) and has an excellent academic record I may agree to fund, under very strong conditions. Basically if you cannot place in the top 10% of your class, every year, I'm cutting you off until you find a cheaper school and pick up a utility degree that will at least let you get a job that doesn't involve hamburgers or coffee.

So your child somehow manages the amazing accomplishment of being accepted to an Ivy league school, and your ultimatum condition on them is that they must place at the top 10% in an Ivy league school or you cut them off? You know that fully 1/2 of the students they are competing against are in the top 1% of all college prospects, right?

So with all that said, I can understand why they don't see applications for a lot of people outside the 1%. While I haven't seen anyone put their thoughts into this topic into a serious condensed form, this is the prevailing attitude I think. We're just not seeing why we should pay so much money for so little practical return, and we're not wealthy enough to remotely consider the impractical return.

Well I can certainly see why they are unlikely to see an application from one of your kids... Certainly there isn't a compelling reason to spend your hard earned money to send your kids to an Ivy if you don't think it's worth the money (it is your money after all).

The question you should be asking yourself, though, is are your holding your kid back, or helping them make a better decision. Sometimes, the answer isn't obvious even if you think about it very deeply. I'm not saying this applies to you, but I've found (after talking to 100's of parents about college choices for their students over many years), parents often don't seem to have sufficient insights into their kids makeup to probably the answer this question very objectively, yet conversely, intelligent kids often seem to be quite sensitive to their parents financial position on college support and willing to sell themselves short. Sad but true.

Not having gone to any Ivy, I don't know myself, but I know several folks who have and apparently this is some value there in making it to the *next-level* of certain careers, or getting certain opportunities in business or government service. Unfortunately, it is also obvious that all this intangible value is only available to those students that have certain intangible talents to get the value from the opportunities to attend such an elite school. That isn't everyone and it would be a shame to waste the money on the school if the student doesn't have those intangible talents (unless you have money to burn).

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 306

even if they are qualified, they don't actually apply (which makes it really, really hard to attend).


Is it "fair" that people who don't apply to a college (or job) are underrepresented at that college/job? Yes, of course if fucking is! Why is this even an issue?

Is the college treating applicants "fairly"? Maybe so.
Is society being "fair"? Debatable.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 306

The applications are easier, the financial aid applications are ridiculous. After doing FAFSA, many of these top-tier schools are asking for more intrusive information than you can imagine, including what savings we have for other children and having to estimate what our income and taxes will be for the next year and the year after. I was getting infuriated with my son's forms, had to dig out old tax records, my wife is self-employed, but doesn't technically own a company (freelance), but they wouldn't accept that as an answer... the financial aid forms take 10x longer to fill out. This might be a great reason why so few poor people are doing them. One of the forms even wanted my voter registration number and date I applied for it. WTF?

I hate to break it to you, but so-called "poor" folks probably just have a handful of W2's, a couple of bank account, and maybe a 401K or two which probably means what is an intrusive examinations of finances for you, is probably just checking a few "Not Applicable" boxes on a form for them.

Comment Re: Time AND MONEY (Score 1) 306

It's very important to you for you to believe everyone has an equal chance, isn't it?

Well, they don't. Get over it. The deck is stacked against the poor.

No it is not important to me at all that people have an equal chance, and it is of course immediately obvious that they don't because the deck is totally stacked against the poor.

However, I just hate to see people who *could* have attended college to improve their lives give up and not do so reasons based on misinformation that is all. There are plenty of good reasons that poor folks can't attend college which often have to do with nearly impossible to solve core issues (e.g., need to support family with job, no support networks in far away places, peer pressure, parental/sibling jealousy, etc), there is absolutely no reason to heap on a bunch of really bad reasons like: can't afford application cost, can't take SAT prep classes, etc which are easily overcome.

Comment Re:Time AND MONEY (Score 1) 306

The application alone is sometimes a barrier for kids who haven't been prepared for the demands of some top schools...

FWIW, college applications are much more straightforward.... Today, it is easier than ever to apply to as many schools as you have the time and patience to do.

Time, patience, and money. Colleges have application fees. A student with, say, a ten percent chance of acceptance into an elite school who applies to ten will have good odds to make it in. If you're from a well-to-do family, paying ten seventy-five dollar application fees are the least important part of this. If you're not so well to do, however, you might apply to one elite school, but after that, your back-up application will be to the local State school.

Also, things like SAT tests cost money, too. Not to mention SAT prep classes, which the rich will buy as a matter of course and the poor have no access to.

If your family is poor, they can always apply for an NACAC application fee waiver (which most elite colleges accept). Columbia has already dropped the SAT requirement. I suspect most 'elite' schools are on the verge of dropping the SAT as requirements. Statistically, the schools have known that the SAT sucks as a predictor of anything, and the College Board has been frantically redesigning it for years in order to make it relevant again before more schools drop it and they lose their cash cow.

The myth that many parents have bought is that epsilon higher SATs correlate with delta higher chance of acceptance in some sort of fancy numerical weighting system, which couldn't be farther from the truth (at these so-called 'elite' schools). The SAT (and similar testing) is generally only used as a soft measure to pre-sort the mountain of applications a school gets. Elite schools often presort applications (because thoroughly considering 10 applications for every slot is better than slogging through 20). If you scores/grades/etc are near or above the threshold they use to pre-sort, it basically makes no difference to your acceptance (except as potentially a weird impression it might give in later evaluations it is unusually low and everything else great about an applicant).

For example, by some estimates, it is likely that Harvard will soft-cut off an SAT somewhere around 1400/1600 (which is of course pretty high, but this is Harvard and most people going into SAT-prep with designs on Harvard are already scoring that without any help). If you are scoring around 1200, it'll take quite a bit of prep to get it above this level (esp with the new rules that don't penalize guessing anymore and focus on reading comprehension). If are scoring around 1400 and the goal is to actually get into Harvard, I can guarantee you that hour-for-hour, it will be better to spend running a non-profit charity and getting a killer recommendation than toiling that hour in anonymity in an SAT prep class.

Comment Re:The more relevant study. (Score 1) 306

But rejecting all these poor kids and accepting many of the rich children helps perpetuate the myth!

Think about it, the top 1% kids who go to Yale are going to be successful when they graduate.

You have to remember, that Yale (and all the other 'elite' schools) simply wants to only admit people that will be successful (since successful alumni donate money to the school). Sadly, one of the best a-priori indicators of a student's success today is how successful their parents are. Believe me, if they found a better criteria to predict success, you can bet they would use it in a heartbeat.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 5, Informative) 306

Exactly my point. How is Harvard any more affordable for a family 100k a year than 10k?

At Harvard, a family that makes $100K/year will only pay at most $10K/year (Harvard caps tuition at 10% for income under $150k). Generally it makes it cheaper than a public university.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 2) 306

The application alone is sometimes a barrier for kids who haven't been prepared for the demands of some top schools. It's been a while since I filled out college applications, but Harvard's was at least straightforward - common application, addendum, essay, recommendations, and alumni interview. Anyone can complete it and get rejected. Others were an endless maze of abstract essay questions seemingly designed to keep out anyone who didn't think the right way or have the right strengths and experiences. The further schools diverge from a common application format, the more kids, no matter how qualified, will pass them over.

FWIW, college applications are much more straightforward today. Most schools** use the common application platform with a generally few addendums like the dreaded essays. Today, it is easier than ever to apply to as many schools as you have the time and patience to do. Of course making a 1/2-assed application to a school is probably a waste of time and money, the historical hoops you are referring to are largely non-existent today.

**including all Ivy Leagues (e.g., Harvard), Stanford, etc (with the notable exception of MIT).

Comment Re:Endowments (Score 4, Insightful) 306

If the Endowment is large enough they can give every student free tuition. If there is no endowment, everybody pays. In the middle, they need enough people paying full-boat to subsidize the kids who need a full ride. Look at the economics before you assume ill intent. There is no magic money and locking kids into thirty years of debt is no magnanimous gesture.

The Endowment at most of these "elite" schools is enough to give every student free tuition. The reason they don't do it is that charging tuition (even if few pay the full amount) sets the "value" of the education in the minds of people. If say the local state university charges say $40K/year (e.g, UC-berkeley out-of state), a nearby university that want people to consider themselves "elite" will of course need to charge more (e.g., $47K/year Stanford), even though the "elite" university gives many people hefty discounts (e.g., Stanford waives 100% of tuition for students if their parents make less than $125K/year). Of course if *nobody* paid the full amount, then the tuition would be false advertising.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 3, Insightful) 306

AFAIK, schools like MIT (or my alma mater Caltech), are the exceptions that proves the rule. Single dimensional focus on academics (e.g., STEM) might be *one* way to get into an "elite" school that has a narrow focus, but isn't really going to get you very far in an admissions pool at Harvard, or Stanford.

Poor parents, single parents, parents that end up with stressors that prevent them from committing the time and attention to their child's upbringing will, on average, harm that child's educational performance and will lead to reduced opportunities simply because the student does not have the academic basis in order to attend these schools.

Although "academic-basis" is one way to generalize and dismiss, there are so many more "poor" families that 1%-ers that doesn't fully explain the issue. I spent quite a bit of time working and researching college admissions (during and after my time in university) and perhaps one of the big problems qualified students from "poor" families have getting admitted to "elite" schools is that even if they are qualified, they don't actually apply (which makes it really, really hard to attend).

The reasons are numerous, but often are attributable to fear and low-expectations (e.g., of getting rejected, figuring out how to pay, distance from family and support systems, etc). Unfortunately, this behavior is ultimately self-defeating in many ways as it sets a lower internal "baseline" for themselves to judge their future success. Some of these were outlined in the infamous 1999 Dale-Kruger research report summarized below...

There are many estimates of the effect of college quality on students' subsequent earnings. One difficulty interpreting past estimates, however, is that elite colleges admit students, in part, based on characteristics that are related to their earnings capacity. Since some of these characteristics are unobserved by researchers who later estimate wage equations, it is difficult to parse out the effect of attending a selective college from the students' pre-college characteristics. This paper uses information on the set of colleges at which students were accepted and rejected to remove the effect of unobserved characteristics that influence college admission. Specifically, we match students in the newly colleted College and Beyond (C&B) Data Set who were admitted to and rejected from a similar set of institutions, and estimate fixed effects models. As another approach to adjust for selection bias, we control for the average SAT score of the schools to which students applied using both the C&B and National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972. We find that students who attended more selective colleges do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended less selective colleges. However, the average tuition charged by the school is significantly related to the students' subsequent earnings. Indeed, we find a substantial internal rate of return from attending a more costly college. Lastly, the payoff to attending an elite college appears to be greater for students from more disadvantaged family backgrounds.

Comment Re:A little confused here... (Score 3, Insightful) 12

Indecisive, partial solutions like this are typical of the Japanese management style, and are a big reason why Toshiba is in trouble in the first place.

Aren't they in trouble because they overstated profits by about $2B in a giant corporate accounting scandal spanning 7 years and purging their CEO and board members?

Comment Re:Won't be long now (Score 1) 199

I mean, despite popular belief rational people did not wake up one morning and decide "I HATE FREEDOM!! RAWWW".

Popular or not, Sharia law is a belief system that is like many other common belief systems in that there is no concept of "freedom" per-se. Nearly all religious belief systems teach some level of subjugation to some type of diety or code. Just because "western" secular belief systems have evolved to favor some sort of "freedom" doesn't mean that is universal.

You can argue if it is rational or not to follow such a belief system, but arguing rationality for human behavior is probably a losing battle.

There is a history here that lead to where we are now, and while (sans time machine) we cannot take back what has already been done and mistakes that were made if we don't go back and look at how we got here today and start to address those issues we are never going to be rid of the problem. Certainly repeating the same mistakes is not going to lead to different results.

Of course if you are advocating assuming the so-called white-man's burden, well, I would argue that's one of the mistakes that got us to where we are today... It is a somewhat of a fools errand to think that we can do something in all cases, sometimes, the best action is inaction. Maybe they hate us for their own reasons? Maybe it is impossible to "get-along"? Why is should they see things our way when we dismiss seeing thing their way?

Comment Re:Won't be long now (Score 2) 199

Or you could address the problem....

WTF am I saying? Why address issues when you can nuke them! (sigh..)

Are you suggesting we address ISIL's problem with the Iraqi Security Forces? If I'm not mistaken ISIL has a problem with non-sharia governments and wants to carve out part of the land in Iraq (and Syria) to establish a Caliphate. How would you propose we address ISIL's problem?

Not that nuking them would solve any problem, but some problems aren't for us to solve...

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...though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"