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Comment Re:Stalin was having people edited out for years.. (Score 2, Interesting) 146

It's actually quite easy to think of a better citation. The Gulag Archipelago is a work of fiction; Solzhenitsyn has in later life admitted that, especially in regards to the overall numbers, he had made things up. This is not denying reality of what the Soviet regime was up to in those years - simply that you don't want to use the Gulag Archipelago as your primary historical citation.

Comment Re:With all lack of respect... (Score 1) 1153

Thanks, happens I have, perhaps they didn't take as well as I'd hoped :)

Also, you derived your answer based on an axiom: that learning needs to be justified. My argument was similarly axiomatic, but based on the opposite assumption. Axioms only need to be justified in terms of their usefulness as a starting point in developing a theory. As I appear to have arrived at a conclusion conformant with observations, I'd say my choice of axiom was ok. :)

Comment Re:With all lack of respect... (Score 1) 1153

I completely concur with your criticism of modern USian culture; however, I'd like to point out that America is hardly what one would consider "educated". We have a profound culture of ignorance, which is fueled by religious superstition. I am not surprised at its psychological and physical manifestations.

I believe, however, that the above does not contradict my original point, that the generally higher level of education contributes, in the aggregate, to societal happiness. Consider: how much more unhappy America will become once the majority has lost the ability to read beyond the 3rd grade level?

As to your other point, about compulsive education, I'll be delighted to find a better model, truly; school should not be a camp where one stews for 12 years. And yes, even in the relatively more educated countries kids still don't want to learn, it is, as you point out, human nature. But the opposite does not bear contemplation - indulging these attitudes. Again, I submit that American culture does exactly that by finding every conceivable "disability" to excuse poor scholastic performance. In short, compulsory education is suboptimal, but preferable to its utterly ignorant counterpart.

Comment With all lack of respect... (Score 2, Interesting) 1153

...for the emeritus professor, but he did not become "emeritus" early enough.

And did he seriously use "taxpayer dollars" as an argument? Is he trolling for local office or something? The entire debate over the usefulness of any form of learning is ultimately predicated over the false assumption that this learning needs to be justified. An educated nation is one that is more productive, more aware, and ultimately happier than its massively illiterate counterparts, irrespective of the moaning of certain truck drivers, soccer moms and ex-professors over enforced learning. I've yet to observe many happy, illiterate nations - in fact the only things they tend to excel at are genocidal warfare and mass starvation.

People, pay attention: no one cares about your objections to learning math; you don't like it, tough. You like your 9-5, do you? Somehow I don't hear you bitching and moaning how we should do away with work. Shove your ignorant objections and STOP getting in the way of those of us who can actually think, 'cause you know what? In the end, you'll be the sad marginalia in the history books emblematic of a "more ignorant age". The rest of us will be praised for advancing humanity.

So, again: stop getting in our way. You are not important. Neither are your opinions. Quit trolling from the pulpit. Btw, fundamentalist Christian ministers, you hearing me? That goes double for you.

Comment Hair Trigger (Score 1) 553

I haven't followed the Decline and Fall of Wikipedia Editing Standards melodrama in close detail, but it seem that more and more agenda-pushing axe-grinders are dominating the editing process. To some extent, I think xkcd is culturally more significant than wikipedia - xkcd creates; wikipedia catalogues, and not quite impartially at that. It can be replaced, if not in immediate recognition, then certainly by any ambitious community builder (behold the glory of open source). I do hope Wikipedia's editors acquire at least enough humour and humility to recognize that their institution is not beyond, or above, a little gentle teasing before that turns into genuine vitriol-fueled outrage. Admittedly, it may already be too late.

Comment My test... (Score 1) 567 pulseaudio. That abomination has been nothing but trouble on two separate machines (custom box and a recent Dell Latitude), and no amount of "try this fix/reinstall that/remove/purge" has helped. This is on several consecutive releases. If it's still broken in 10.04, I'm dumping Ubuntu and never looking back. The audio saga has made me seriously consider Red Hat/Fedora again.

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