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Comment Re:Boo hoo, just stop rainwater from leaching lead (Score 2, Informative) 162

You might not think so, because elemental lead is not water-soluble. However compounds of lead like hydroxides or carbonates are soluble and can form from elemental lead by contact with water, e.g., 2Pb + O2 + 2H2O -> 2 Pb(OH)2.

This is why it's perfectly safe to drink wine from leaded crystal wine glasses, but a bad idea to store wine in a leaded crystal decanter.

Comment Re: Just another mindless attack (Score 1) 476

You'd be surprised at what can be done by careful selection of camera angles and framing.

I doubt it. It's what I do for a living.

You're right that the camera lies in important ways. It lies in what it omits.

But that is the point. The journalist omits a shit-tonne of irrelevant detail every single time s/he writes a story. And a photojournalist removes a shit-tonne of detail every time s/he frames a shot. That's actually part of the job: highlighting the thing that makes this particular story newsworthy.

The fact that it's often done inadequately shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Here on Slashdot, for example, we all know how much of source code is absolute shit. And familiarity breeds contempt.

But somehow we still manage to find enough software to build a platform on which to perform our everyday online tasks. Which is kind of remarkable when we consider the shit sandwich we're resting our work on. And yet, we find a way.

I'd recommend you take the same approach to the news. Yes, there is a really thick and juicy shit sandwich out there, and a lot of reporting is made up of the moist middle bit. But not all of it is. Not every reporter does things perfectly every time, but with a little patience and perseverance, you can build a stable of go-to commentators who can be relied on to be honest, fair and to follow the facts. They won't always be right, but they will never attempt to deceive. There are more of them out there than you may know.

There's a years-long discussion on the back side of this point, about how to engage with your audience when telling an honest story, but the bottom line is this: 'The media' doesn't exist as a single, monolithic thing. It's a broad and wildly diverse landscape. Bias is unavoidable, and contrary to popular opinion, it's not the death of journalism.

Comment Re:Boo hoo, just stop rainwater from leaching lead (Score 1) 162

So as long as you keep the lead from escaping into groundwater (could bury them in a landfill with a clay or plastic lining in a big mountain), this is fine. If lead prices are so cheap that it's easier to mine new lead than it is to recycle it from CRT glass,

True, and true, with reservations. Somebody has got to pay for keeping the lead from escaping into groundwater. Should it be everyone, or the people who benefited from the use of the lead?

And if everyone pays, human nature being what it is people will pay to make the problem "go away" without looking too closely at the details, where "go away" includes "making it someone else's problem."

The thing is, if you could completely internalize all those expenses so the cost of dealing with never just "went away", the market would do a fine job of efficiently managing lead and disposal management as a resource. But that doesn't happen naturally, by itself.

Comment Re:Shiva Ayyadurai is a fraud. (Score 3, Interesting) 69

Well, it's possible that he's mildly delusional, as most of us are about beliefs about ourselves that we hold dear.

It strikes me that Ayyadurai is in a legal catch-22 situation. Let's suppose for a moment he did "invent" email. That would make him a public figure, and the legal standard used to establish defamation is "actual malice. That's a difficult standard to meet.

I assume Ayyadurai's complaint are claims that he is a "fake" or a "liar". Suppose some random shmoe is interviewing for a job, and you tell the interviewer that he's a "liar". That is defamation, unless you have actual reason to believe he is a liar. But if you say the same thing about a politician running for office, it's NOT defamation unless you have actual reason to believe he is NOT a liar. That's because the politician is a public figure.

It seems to me nearly impossible to defame someone by calling him a liar in the context of his claiming to invent anything. His very demand to be recognized for his achievement makes him a public figure, whether that claim is true or not.

Comment Re:I wish they would... (Score 1) 69

I try to focus about 80% of the grade on higher orders of thinking than recall (see Bloom's Taxonomy for what this means).

Bloom's taxonomy is a wonderful paradox. It takes the idea of higher order thinking and presents it in an easy-to-digest form that requires no higher-order thinking whatsoever. Higher order thinking skills exist outwith and beyond the taxonomy, and any explanations I've seen tied to the taxonomy are weaker than those independent of it.

So please, can we kill Bloom's Taxonomy now? It has outlived it's usefulness by a long chalk.

Comment Re:Getting a job (Score 1) 69

One of the problems in modern education is the blurring of the lines between "academic" and "vocational" education. In vocational courses, work release, sandwich courses etc were the norm, but more and more, people are being pushed into universities rather than technical colleges/trade schools. Really, the university sector is too large, and we should be attempting to rejuvenate the vocational education sector instead.

That said, I am always very dubious of "skills useful for a job", because the more you talk to industry figures, the narrower that gets. In CS, for example, you end up with students spending a long time working with a specific package and getting good at using it, but never having the time to learn more abstract principles. Someone coming out of a rigorous traditional university education will need training for their first job, yes. However, they'll be able to pick it up quicker, and they'll find it easier to retrain for their next job/role much easier because of the breadth of their backgrounds.

Consider functional programming. How often have you heard industry figures decry CS faculties for teaching it when it was not a "real world" technology? My second year CS programming was in ML after first year being in C, and the next year the course was updated to use Java in both first and second year. And now as parallel and distributed programming takes off, people are scrambling to skill up on FP to get their servers running efficiently. (Yes, it's languages like Haskell rather than ML, but the basic principle of FP carries over.)

Comment Re:They Do. (Score 1) 69

Why should the instructor provide the "right" answer? You are given unlimited attempts at the weekly quizzes and any course projects.

A mistake is something to be learned from -- having access to a worked answer allows you to diagnose your own errors. This is important enough in face-to-face teaching, but in the Coursera model there is no personal tutelage, and no scope for individual or common student errors to be addressed in later sessions of the course (because the content is fixed). This makes it absolutely vital that students can spot and work on their own weaknesses.

Comment loaded question (Score 2) 130

Are remote software teams more productive than what? Than local software teams? That is an impossible question to answer without knowing much more about the teams, isn't it?

OTOH as a person running a software business with different types of teams (I have local, I have remote teams) I can say that as long as there is somebody in the remote team capable of understanding the requirement at the business level and capable of managing the team there shouldn't be any reasons for the remote team to be less productive.

Unfortunately as all things in life this also is not as simple, it is very difficult to ensure that the remote team understands the business really well, so rather than trying to achieve the unachievable you have to give out requirements in short, easier to manage portions and you have to coordinate daily.

Comment Re: Just another mindless attack (Score 1) 476

The problem is I consider ALL the media news to be propaganda, and don't really believe any of it. I'm even dubious about the things that are agreed upon by both the left an right sides of the political spectrum.

What's ironic is that you learned to distrust 'the media' because of a rhetorical line promulgated in 'the media' against 'the media'. Maybe, just maybe, 'the media' isn't monolithic. Maybe it comprises a huge variety of perspectives and motivations and capabilities. And maybe some sources are more reliable than others.

Maybe... the media sources that spend their time discrediting other media sources are not so credible themselves? Maybe it's complicated.

Pretty fucked up, huh?

Comment how "rogue"? (Score 5, Insightful) 52

Why would a "rogue" access point that actually delivers your packets be bad? A non-moron already treats all networks more exposed than your cluster's interconnects as untrusted, this goes for granted for any public network you connect to -- especially at a security conference where there will be some attacks (even if not malicious).

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