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Comment Re:"Feel forced?" (Score 1) 436

It's not an invisible hand. The riders rate the drivers. The drivers have to maintain a 4.6/5.0 rating. The most common reason for negative ratings is lack of local knowledge. There are other things that get them instantly deactivated, like sexual harassment.

I've recently started driving for Uber part-time.

I've wondered about the professional nature of taxis, though. Ubers and taxis have both had good knowledge of the roads in my experience. Both treat me well. Taxis often seem to smell bad, and Ubers have not. Ubers seem to arrive at my location to pick me up faster. I've had limited experience riding in either, though.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 537

Cell phone apps are used for so many purposes. I'm sure people working on cancer research use them, too. A while ago, I recall hearing about a cell phone component to do some type of chemical scan.

Just the basic use-making phone calls-improves the efficiency of the researcher. Communication is important for science, and cell phones help that.

Comment Re:Just Stop Having the Hugos (Score 2) 702

It's not two different genres. SF is large. It's one genre, and it's filled with lots of variety. I have no interest in some(books for kids and books heavy on the romance). I like some "swashbuckling". I like some political novels.

The people organizing the either need to reorganize them so campaigning doesn't work or people need to get used to campaigning for books. To me, the second seems like it would suck the fun out of the prize, but it also seems a lot like what authors currently do marketing their novels to get people to buy them.

Comment Re:Exams should be open-book anyway (Score 1) 394

I disagree about history. There's a lot of memorizing, but a good history test should have essay questions. Why did something happen? Give an opinion and support it. Memorization, but also an understanding of how things are connected. I'm guessing anatomy is similar at some level-not just "what is this thing?" but also "Tell everything that happens after this part does something".

Comment Re:As a fan of hard sci-fi... (Score 1) 267

Hard Scifi is Scifi based on accurate science. Since science changes quickly, hard scifi changes quickly. And, science can predict things with varying levels of accuracy. Ways of getting around FTL are pretty speculative, so it makes SF less hard. The Force is not a very hard piece of SF.

Star Wars is often called SF Fantasy, because it has the trappings of SF(spaceships, blasters, etc.) but the structure of a fantasy novel(rescuing the princess, the wise mentor who dies, etc).

Comment Some Geeks don't like it for non-geeky reasons. (Score 1) 406

It's formulaic. That's why I don't like it. I watched an episode or two. I could pretty much predict what was "funny" thing going to happen next. What "funny" thing someone was going to say next.

I don't hate it. I don't live in a country with English as its primary language, so I don't listen to people talking about it much. I caught an episode visiting the US, and don't think I laughed once. I think a family member put it on because "You're a geek[or whatever]. You'll like this." So, I might hate it if I lived in the US.

Comment I am a genre player (Score 2) 119

I mostly play single player RPGs, some strategy games. These days one of the defining points of RPGs is in a LOT of games. I'm talking about character development, which in video game RPGs has usually been shown as character ability development. The other main defining point of RPGs is plot. This has also been in more and more games. As other games gain those traits my interest in them increases. I prefer RPGs that require thought more than speed on the keyboard.

Genres blend, divide, and blend again. When Diablo came out, I thought stay away from any action RPG. Nowhere near enough plot. I did eventually play it. It didn't even have enough freedom of character creation, to say nothing of plot. I thought it was more similar to what was called adventure in the days of Legend of Zelda(NES).

But, games like Morrowind and Mass Effect pulled me toward Action RPGs. These days most RPGs also part of whatever genre both FPS and sword fighting games like Skyrim make up.

When I was a teenager, I'd pretty much play any game I had available. But, games that had character progression, I was more likely to replay. Zelda, Metroid.

Comment don't live in the US now, but didn't care before (Score 1) 144

I don't live in the US, so this post will probably be the biggest deal for the Fourth for me.

I've never been patriotic. I find people are a better object of loyalty than countries. I've rarely been impressed by fireworks since I was a small child. And, when I was a kid, we didn't usually do the big family BBQ thing. The biggest effect it used to have as an adult was that I had a day off. Occasionally, I would go to some fireworks because my mother or girlfriend wanted to go.

So, disinterest.

Comment video? (Score 2) 352

How is what he's arguing significantly different from video lectures? We've had VCRs with the ability to replace a classroom like this for a long time. But, other than teachers who would sometimes show a video during his class, videos haven't replaced teachers.

I had a class in college that was broadcast. It wasn't as engaging as in person, even though the lecturer was engaging. There was no opportunity for discussion, though some lectures don't have much opportunity for that, anyway. But, K-12 aren't 200 person lectures. They're much more interactive.

Comment Re:Hasn't been involved with Greenpeace since 1985 (Score 1) 573

The "southern Democrat" block that was one of the big anti-civil rights blocs mostly moved over to the Republicans after Johnson supported the 1965 Civil Rights Bill. Although, I think after that, neither side could really use anti-civil rights as a position. After that, both sides still were sometimes opposed to civil rights, but would usually only show opposition to things that are more specific(like quotas). Republicans have shown more opposition to these specific things.

Comment Re:Mandarin does have a "Yes" and a "Negative Yes" (Score 2) 274

I would disagree with that. I would say there is no "Yes", but there is a "No".

Shi4 could be translated as "is" or "Yes, it is." Dui4 could be translated as "correct" or "Yes, you are correct." "hao3" could be translated as "good", "ok", or "Yes, it is good."

You can put bu4 in front of any of these to change them to a negative answer. Also, in translating a "Nooooo!!!!" from a movie, it would probably be "buuuuu4!!!! Sometimes mei3 is used instead of bu4 in front of words to make them negative-it just depends upon the word.

Most words of this type (that are used like verb/adjectives in English) have this pattern.

*To any unfamiliar with the language, I am using numbers after the Mandarin to indicate tones, which are more important in Chinese than English.

Comment prescriptive/descriptive (Score 1) 667

There is an argument that's been going for hundreds (or longer) of years. Is English prescriptive or descriptive. Does it follow rules or is the language just the way people use it?

I generally fall on the side of it being descriptive.

Things like the article's example: "I can't get no satisfaction." This can be considered in three ways:
1. It's improper to use double negatives. Conversation with most groups of friends, it's fine. A formal talk or a research paper, it's not.
2. Most native speakers of English know the intended meaning. (English is descriptive)
3. The "rules" of English would say the sentence means the opposite of the intended meaning.

I've been teaching English in a country where English is not the main language, or even the second most common language. When I ask myself whether English is prescriptive or descriptive in context of my career, I ask myself "What do I tell my students?" I can't just give them vocabulary, tell them to make sentences, and tell them if they've made sentences that I understand. I also need to give them rules. What is the difference between "I ate." and "I have eaten."

Sometimes there is disagreement about whether something is proper English. That can also mean there is a disagreement about the meaning.

Comment Re:islam (Score 1) 1350

I would mostly agree about your definition of religion, but I think it misses the mark. I'd say it's about "holy stuff". Maybe has supernatural beings. Some sort of organization.

Marxism does have a belief in a higher order of the world. There is a belief about the "inevitability of history"-toward that economic system. The way they talk this about sounds like religion. It's a stretch to call it a religion, though.

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