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We Are All Confident Idiots

31415926535897 Re:I'm I smart? I guess I'll never know. (292 comments)

That said I typically stand back aghast at today’s Republican conservatives – I may be wrong, but in general they seem mean and – yes I’ll say it – bigoted. Of course that could just be Dunning-Kruger blinding me to the brilliance of the current Republican vision.

I agree with you, but I also think the following is true too: :%s/Republican\|conservative/\={'Republican':'Democrat','conservative':'liberal'}[submatch(0)]/g;

2 days ago
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Hawking Radiation Mimicked In the Lab

31415926535897 How Would Hawking Radiation Dissolve a Black Hole? (66 comments)

In all my years of reading and thinking about black holes, one question I've got about HR his how it would actually end up causing the decay of a black hole. From what I understand, HR is the spontaneous creation of matter and anti-matter in space that would normally annihilate itself (allowed by QM theory)--the key difference is that this event can happen at the edge of the event horizon. With some positive probability, the anti-matter will be created within the event horizon radius, but the matter will remain outside and escape. When you look at the whole system then, the anti-matter will annihilate matter within the black hole (causing it to "dissolve") and the matter will remain outside the clutches of the black hole.

I'm sure I'm describing it very simplistically, but I believe my question after that should work for all systems that are analogous:

How is the HR process not symmetric? Whatever would cause the dissolution of the black hole--how would the same process happening in reverse (matter falling into the black hole and anti-matter escaping) not cause equilibrium to be maintained?

about two weeks ago
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Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

31415926535897 Other currencies (158 comments)

Do Euros smell the same as USD?

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

31415926535897 Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

I would disagree that C isn't good enough, but I do agree that at least a semester of asm would be helpful.

Watch out for mips though--that's what they used at my uni, and while it taught the principles that are found in all architectures, I found it discouraging that our only interaction wound up being through a vm. There was an excellent electrical and computer engineering class that used x86 assembly, and that's the one I'd recommend any CS student take (assuming your school offers something like that).

Finally, I think there is a skill for "memory management" that must be learned in Java (not letting the garbage collector ruin your day), but I'm not sure it's something you can learn through class when you're happy enough to get the proper incantations of javac and java right.

about 3 months ago
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40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

31415926535897 Re:So 60% positive ? (256 comments)

Then it means that 60% from this list have terrorist ties ? Good result.

No. No it's not. Not for any meaning of "good result".

about 3 months ago
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Satya Nadella At Six Months: Grading Microsoft's New CEO

31415926535897 Re:Nadella is part of the problem. (151 comments)

I'm curious what the interview questions were, if you wouldn't mind sharing.

I interviewed with ms back when I was in college (in the early 2000s) and remember my questions along with those of my classmates. They seemed challenging at the time but now seem trivial based on the real world experience I've gained.

Do you have some examples you'd be interested in sharing?

about 3 months ago
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NFL Players To Use Tablet Computers During Games

31415926535897 Re:One more reason to not watch NFL (107 comments)

They will get used a lot. I worked on the sidelines of the Bears one season and was amazed that they could only look at still photos (though if you flip through them, it practically looks like video).

This is a very natural progression to the game, and something that should have been done long ago. The whole MS/Surface/blah stuff is obviously marketing added on (why not if the nfl can make a buck or get a discount on the devices?). But I guarantee you that players will be glued to these things. Getting real-time film feedback is going to be huge, no matter who provides the technology.

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 Re:What do I think? (225 comments)

Thank you for offering a very sensible reply. I agree that the right implementation would make a difference, and I suppose part of my being upset is not trusting our school district to do it right--they certainly have not offered any indication that they will do anything novel with these laptops. They just came in to a little extra money and it's burning a hole in their pocket.

I hope they offset the cost by putting open source textbooks on them, but I'm skeptical. School districts (including mine) seem to be happy to hop into bed with lobby interests (teacher unions, publishers) and someone the kids always come last. I hope they offer programming instruction, but I'm skeptical. I still think you can offer outstanding programming courses with a good school computer lab, but honestly, our kids are going to get neither through the schools. But I find joy in supplementing at home and have already worked with my oldest to learn some logic through Scratch.

Interactive/multimedia education is largely overrated from what I've seen. Personal, relational and interactional pedagogy seems to be the most effective, but laptops will drive education further from that. The temptation will be to build curriculum that turn the classroom teacher into little more than a babysitter.

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 Re:What do I think? (225 comments)

I foresee the time when we dump Industrial Education and start providing kids all the education they can handle at any age and quit trying to pigeon hole them into "age" segregated classes, and start putting them into online sessions with educational peers

That's interesting, but I don't see what you rant has to do with school districts providing laptops. If the incumbents keep promoting programs like OLPC through the schools, then I can assure you that the world will actually be moving away from your vision of reformed education.

And at $200 ea. Chromebooks offer even the lowest income people a chance to own technology that can help bridge the education gap. $200 buys one, maybe two textbooks these days, something school districts have to do every year or two. Are they as capable as a Laptop? Probably not, but they are usable for 85% of what kids need in school.

Wow, I am amazed at how many people seem to lack basic reading comprehension. I explicitly had said, "I would be in favor of a program that provides these devices to low income families." I am in favor of equal access for all and huge believer in the benefits of technology. Putting a laptop into the hands of every child at school will not give them those benefits.

To be honest, I don't know whether or not to feel sorry for your kids, or you. Here we live in an age where the world is at your fingertips and you spouting off like it is a pure scam. Kind of hypocritical of you being on /. (using a computer and all) don't you think?

Your pity is adorable, and quite ignorant. I own the following devices that are available to my family of 6: Three laptops (two mac & one windows), one mac desktop, four tablets (two ipads and two kindles) and two Linux servers. My kids have every benefit, and I would advocate for that same access for all. But seeing as you have little desire to read and understand the people you argue with, it's understandable how you could hold all sorts of irrational emotions.

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 Re:What do I think? (225 comments)

There is nothing that providing a laptop per child affords that can't be accomplished through classroom media presentation devices (computer & projector) and a good school computer lab.

Homework. Many poorer kids do not have a computer at home, and a smartphone is terrible for writing papers and research. The laptop/tablet is also locked down so distractions are kept to a minimum.

These devices will only be a distraction and huge expense for families and schools as millions of them are broken every year.

Hyperbole. Citation needed. Yesterday's article about iPads in Coachella said district-wide there were less than 10 lost or stolen. How does that scale up to millions?

I'm replying to comments now, and it's amazing how person after person has responded with, "but what about the poor kids?!?!" Apparently everybody has terrible reading comprehension, for I said, "I would be in favor of a program that provides these devices to low income families."

I read the iPad story on Slashdot. That is an amazing story, and it made headlines because it's [going to be] an outlier. Have you ever purchased a new piece of equipment? You baby that thing at first, then as the familiarity grows, your defenses drop and you end up making mistakes. As devices in school becomes more standard, this problem will only grow.

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 Re:What do I think? (225 comments)

The thing these programs [try] to bring isn't so much help with learning as much as EQUAL ACCESS to learning. It attempts to level the playing field between the kids at home with no pc for research and the more well-off kids with greater tech access.

That is not a point of benefit our district has ever tried to make, but I see the benefit of that. That's why I said, "I would be in favor of a program that provides these devices to low income families."

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 Re:What do I think? (225 comments)

Kids should have access to computers. Not all families can afford them. By giving all the students the same computers it is easier for the teacher to teach without getting bogged down in technical differences, and allows the school to administer and manage them.

I actually agree with you, which is why I said, "I would be in favor of a program that provides these devices to low income families."

Writing a 5 paragraph essay for an exam is no burden by hand, but I agree that handwriting large English assignments would be a bear. But with a computer lab and a computer at home, nobody would be forced to write by hand.

about 3 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

31415926535897 What do I think? (225 comments)

Analysts are predicting that 5 million Chromebooks will be sold by the end of the year; how many of those will be sold to schools, do you think?

As a parent in a school district, I'm pissed that our school district is buying every student a Chomebook*.

I would be even angrier if they had gone with the iPad.

These programs are a bloody sham--they're a waste of money and will not help the education of our next generation one bit. There is nothing that providing a laptop per child affords that can't be accomplished through classroom media presentation devices (computer & projector) and a good school computer lab. These devices will only be a distraction and huge expense for families and schools as millions of them are broken every year.

*Our district is requiring that families pay for half, so I guess they're only half buying them and being dillholes toward us. I would be in favor of a program that provides these devices to low income families (and the district can pay for the whole thing).

about 3 months ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

31415926535897 Re:Alternate view (354 comments)

I just saw over the wire that they announced a $1/month subscription increase. It was discussed during their earning conference call last night, so it looks like they're cutting service and raising prices.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

31415926535897 Re:Microsoft "At Home" lab is a bust (161 comments)

None of those devices you mentioned were made by Microsoft or run Microsoft software.

about 3 months ago
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The Disappearing Universe

31415926535897 Re:Not so quick (358 comments)

I agree with you there, but any time I try to start the discussion with scientists at Fermilab, I've run into brick walls. They all have bought into dark energy as if it were as secure as our understanding of gravity.

Perhaps where you work it's not as well accepted, but in the little corner of the real science world I know, dark energy is some kind of science gospel.

about 5 months ago
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The Physics of Hot Pockets

31415926535897 Re:Microwave trays (222 comments)

You may be the foremost microwave geek (I mean that in a good way)!

Since you seem to have given it substantial thought, what would you say are the best standalone and best over-the-range microwaves on the market?

I'll be interested to see if your theory about the combo devices come to pass--I have a hard time seeing it working out, probably because of the trays and dishes. Popular cooking trays for conventional ovens are metallic (e.g. cookie sheets), which would be a catastrophic to have in your combo oven if you accidentally turned the microwave on. You wouldn't want to melt your kid's plastic plate by throwing it in the microwave but accidentally turning the grill on to 500.

about 5 months ago

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