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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Xest Re:yes, programming, like poetry, is not words, un (192 comments)

If I can take one thing away from what's being said without managing to actually get to the point it's that apparently what we really need is to do a better job of teaching mathematics.

I mean, that's really what it all comes down to.

Programming is ultimately just an application of that. The reasons for needing to teach it universally ultimately seem to fall back to the simple fact that current methods of, and the areas of mathematics teaching are currently failing kids.

So rather than recognising that giving students a book with 40 math problems to shut up and solve in silence which is far too prevalent still it seems what we really need is to give them real world problems to solve and explain how to use mathematical underpinnings of modelling, logic, and philosophy to achieve that.

Unfortunately the people coming up with these ideas of coding for all themselves never managed to self-educate in mathematics to see past the flawed system of teaching it upto the age of about 18 and don't realise that's what they're basically asking for.

Teach kids a broader understanding of mathematics than just how to repeat algorithms blindly without truly understanding the what's, why's, or how's and everything from making a logical argument in politics through to doing programming will come easily.

Keep teaching maths in the shoddy way it's often currently taught though and it wont matter how much half-arsed coding you've taught, you still wont have gotten anywhere.

Frankly even history as a subject could be made far more useful if kids had to do a module on the history of mathematics and the evolution of mathematical achievements - you don't even need to cover the math itself, just explaining who came up with what, and why is an eye opener in itself and ties in with some important advances in human philosophy, physics and other key milestones of humanity too.

yesterday
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EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Xest Re:Support the EFF (258 comments)

Agreed, but it's worth noting that they're very US-centric (and that's not a criticism, just a statement of fact) so if you're not from the US you may find your money better spent elsewhere.

For example, in the UK, the Open Rights Group is far more relevant and helpful towards dealing with these issues in the UK than the EFF is. Presumably the options in countries like Sweden and Germany would be the much better organised respect Pirate parties there.

yesterday
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:Pathetic failure mode (360 comments)

*facepalm*

So now it's onto the victim card is it? Oh you're so hard done by, it must be awful failing to follow a conversation, jumping in with insults and acting like an ass, having it pointed out to you that you failed to follow the conversation, and then having to play the victim because it's everyone elses fault but yours.

I mean, you were such a victim in your initial reply, you were so pleasant and so hard done by! -

"Wow. You really are confused if you think linux is still a small teaching tool and minux is no longer a small teaching tool. If you really are that confused and it's a serious suggestion why are you bothering to comment on this thread at all if it's so far beyond the realms of what you know? What motivates you to make noise with no substance in this situation?"

If you can't take the heat then don't act like an ass, especially when you were wrong in the first place.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

Xest Re:Yes, but not the flu (660 comments)

You've not really clarified why they're a problem though, you're suggesting they are without justifying it. Are you afraid of needles or something? Getting a jab once a year is way easier than trying to install anti-bacterial handwash installations at every door in the world.

Even this does little though, as it's not just being spread based on touch, you could make everyone wear masks to prevent sneezes or coughs or just general breathing from spreading the disease, but all that does in absence of vaccination is means that we'll suffer even harder when we inevitably face a strain of flu that does work it's way around the things you put in place.

Long story short, vaccinations are the only real answer, and they have other benefits of generally improving your immune response to boot. They're win-win and the only reason to be against them is if you're one of those crackpot anti-vaccination types that thankfully only really seem to infest America.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

Xest Re:Yes, but not the flu (660 comments)

The odds of getting the flu can be as low as 5%, so you can go 20 years without catching it on average.

Just because you've apparently never had it judging by your incorrect comments, doesn't mean you can't get it or wont get it.

Besides, why do you fear getting it? It's really not going to hurt you, but it will protect you and if you are really fortunate enough to be apparently immune to developing flu symptoms from the flu as you imply then it will still prevent you passing it on to others meaning it's still a good thing.

Increasing the range of illnesses your immune system has been trained to cope with is never a bad thing - learn about the history of the smallpox vaccine - someone noticed that milk maids were the only ones not dropping dead left and right to smallpox, this is because they'd mostly all already contracted cowpox at some point which was similar but relatively harmless compared to smallpox. Nevertheless, their bodies gaining immunity to cowpox with little illness also made them immune to smallpox which could've otherwise killed them.

So what possible benefit do you perceive from not getting the flu jab? Whether you feel you need it or not it's still beneficial to you and others either way.

4 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

Xest Re:Yes. (660 comments)

You're not being forced. You're perfectly able to choose not to take the job or to quit instead of taking the test if you so choose.

Some jobs require further vetting of candidates, people working in the financial sector typically have to go through credit reference checks to ensure they're unlikely to commit fraud, people in the defence sector often have to go through national security vetting to ensure they're not a security threat, people working with children have to go through criminal records checks to ensure they've got no convictions, people driving company vehicles have to show that their driving record is clean and they're not a reckless driver.

If you don't want to go through these things, then don't go for those jobs.

As much as I hate to defend Disney, it should be well within it's right to ensure the kids are safe from employees who might fuck up and put them in danger because they have a drug problem and brought it to work. It's going to cost them dearly if such an incident does occur so why shouldn't they be able to protect themselves from someone elses problem?

4 days ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:Doesn't really fit does it (360 comments)

So I guess you fail even basic literacy then given that you don't know what the word "had" means in the context I quoted?

Are you sure you're not a child? I thought adult illiteracy was largely solved now in the developed world, but you seem to be trying very hard to prove otherwise.

Quite how you continue to interpret "had" as anything else than what it actually means I've no idea. I you're so desperate to refuse to admit you made a stupid comment that you're now willing to completely try and redefine basic English words. I know people on Slashdot often can't admit when they're wrong, but you've taken it to a new level of absurdity. You're so desperate to avoid admitting you went completely off track, got confused and flew off the handle as a result that you're willing to instead make yourself entirely illiterate instead.

You either need psychiatric help, or basic literacy classes. Whichever it is doesn't bode well for you as a supposed grown up adult.

4 days ago
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UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality

Xest Re:Link to full code (36 comments)

Sure, but it's clear they deprioritise some services and that you have to pay more to have them prioritised on their otherwise oversubscribed service which is exactly the thing net neutrality is designed to stop.

4 days ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:Doesn't really fit does it (360 comments)

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at you now trying to reframe the discussion as one about the current state of things and then trying to accuse me of not following the discussion. Here's the core discussion on Minix in the post you replied to originally:

"But had we all moved to Minix, we would probably not be hearing that much swearing by Andrew Tanenbaum or other Minix kernel maintainers compared to Linus Torvalds and other Linux kernel maintainers, as with so few core lines, there is not much to maintain in the Minix kernel, and so it is easier to test and debug."

What do you think that second word means? What do you think the word "had" actually means? He's talking about precisely that alternative reality you dismiss my comment for and instead try to reframe the discussion as being about the current state of Linux.

Please, try and keep up in future before going off the rails and making a fool of yourself.

about a week ago
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UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality

Xest Re:Link to full code (36 comments)

I guess the code is a complete whitewash to avoid legislation on the issue then?

The reason I say this is that I have a line with PlusNet and they most definitely do not support net neutrality. Service throttling is a stated part of what they do:

http://www.plus.net/support/br...

Whatever this code is, it clearly doesn't do what it claims to. If an ISP is intentionally slowing down certain traffic (and charging you more to have lower priority traffic increased on your line as PlusNet does - £5 for their "pro addon" which increases priority of deprioritised traffic) then this is most definitely not net neutrality whatever they say.

about a week ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:I hope it was supposed to be a joke (360 comments)

"so that little weasel trick merely shows your own retained childishness."

Actually no, it makes things even more embarrassing for you. Typically to retain a trait well into adulthood that could be forgiven as inexperience amongst someone young is not a good thing. Most people wouldn't be proud to still be wearing diapers at 50.

"What exactly is the point of your attempt to compare what is now two very different things as if they are equivalent?"

The point is that something being a teaching tool vs. a production worthy tool is really only dependent on the amount of effort expended on it. Linux has lots of effort expended on it because rightly or wrongly it won the battle for uptake early on. Minix can therefore be just as capable with equivalent effort poured into it, the fact it's merely used as a teaching tool has little bearing on that.

The point being that something being a teaching tool isn't a barrier to it becoming a production tool, as Linux very well proved.

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

Xest Re:I have grown skeptical of these experiments. (219 comments)

"The moment you introduce variation in skill sets among the team members, agile for software breaks down."

Out of interest, why? and what particular part of agile given that it's a broad topic with lots of methodologies?

I don't see how speciality requirements causes an issue, agile doesn't remove the necessity to ensure a team is competent in having the required skillset for the task at hand.

Agile isn't magic, many things from the past are still relevant, if you don't have enough French translators to do the work your translation project is going to fail whatever the methodology being used.

about a week ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:I hope it was supposed to be a joke (360 comments)

Are you stupid?

I didn't say anything about Linux still being a small teaching tool and Minix not. I merely pointed out that just because something starts out as something, doesn't mean it has to always be that way with a bit of support to help it grow up.

Speaking of needing support to help grow up, shall I call your mother now or are you at least old enough to make your own way home to her?

about a week ago
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The Anthropocene Epoch Began With 1945 Atomic Bomb Test, Scientists Say

Xest Re:I don't think so. (154 comments)

It's called having a low tolerance for bullshit, and so no, there's nothing wrong with you.

about a week ago
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Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

Xest Re:Very different things (360 comments)

You realise that Linux started out as a small teaching tool right? Linus himself said he started it to teach himself about operating system development.

about a week ago
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UK Suspect Arrested In Connection With PSN/XBL 'Lizard Squad' Attacks

Xest Re:Wrong guy (55 comments)

High standards of journalistic understanding in that article I see:

"Robert and Carol Cameron and their 16-year-old son Jordan had their lives turned upside down when he was implicated as the supposed mastermind behind the attacks on Xbox and PlayStation networks which left gamers unable to play their consoles online.

Ironically, he does not even own an Xbox."

Why is that ironic? They think you need an Xbox to be able to take down Xbox Live and Playstation Network? What?

about a week ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Xest Re:Stop the science (496 comments)

You're still failing to grasp the difference between what a published paper says, and what a scientist believes. These are two distinct things yet you're repeatedly conflating them.

"What the media states is that 97% of the climate scientists believe anthropogenic sources cause climate change, where the majority do not state it explicitly."

No, the majority do not state it explicitly in scientific papers. This says nothing about what they've stated their beliefs are elsewhere.

"Your statement is implying that those that stated no opinion really believe in it but withhold for more evidence, my statement states they didn't make a statement, it could be either way. Which position is more distorting?"

Yours is still more distorting for the aforementioned reason that it's a misleading by omission. My statement paints a balanced picture, as it provides a fuller set of information to the reader to make up their own mind, there is no omission.

But back to my original argument, and why the 97% figure can't be inherently written off is because we can still treat the papers as equivalent to a poll. We know that the papers that have expressed certainty will pretty much guarantee that their authors will fall on that side of the fence, but we don't know what the others think. If we were to ask the question "If you had to decide that either climate change is man made, or isn't man made, what would you choose?" forcing them to choose, then the 31.6% vs. 0.7% is equivalent to a poll of a large enough sample size that you'd expect the outcome to be 97.8% support vs. 2.16% deny with a margin of error for that sort of poll typically around 3%.

So saying 97% of climate scientists is quite a reasonable assertion statistically. I personally prefer to er on the side of caution and pick the lower bound when making an argument and even then give a bit more leeway, I think 90% gives ample room for statistical error whilst still making the same underlying point.

Again, this is how election polling works, this is how we know give or take a few percent what the outcomes are going to be, and yes election polling is maybe a poor example given how many fake polls there are out there (YouGov is notorious for doing polls for hire) but we're not talking about a slanted poll here that's had any kind of weighting applied, we're talking about the raw numbers being calculated directly.

So to argue against the suggestion that roughly 97% of scientist agree that climate change is man-made you need to provide a compelling argument as to why the statistical method is wrong, and why all those scientists who didn't express a view in the paper would, if asked to decide on the balance of evidence one way or the other what they believe would swing towards the not man-made camp when the vast majority of evidence swings towards the man-made camp.

Is there a good reason to believe that don't knows would turn into no it's not man-made in a drastically more prevalent fashion more so than yes it is man-made given the outcomes that we do actually know?

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Xest Re:What special about beliefs if they're religious (892 comments)

But this is already what is happening precisely because religion has equal protection to natural traits.

In the UK it is typically illegal to discriminate employment or provision of services based on sex or sexuality, yet religious institutions are allowed to exactly these things.

Which is why I suggested at an absolute minimum that even if you do protect religion it has to come secondary to natural traits. We should not in this day and age be allowing organisations to discriminate on sex or sexuality any more than we should on race.

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Xest Re:What special about beliefs if they're religious (892 comments)

But atheism isn't a religion so isn't typically as well protected anyway.

In fact, atheists are already prevented from working in some jobs, for example you can be discriminated against as a teacher seeking employment as a teacher at a Catholic school for example.

So this really flows into a further question about why religious folk should get protections over and above atheists also. You cannot for example run an atheist school and refuse a teacher employment for being religious, but you can run a religious school and refuse a teacher employment for not practicing that religion.

about two weeks ago
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First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK

Xest Re:UK Post Office already does this (33 comments)

Not to intentionally defend the Tories, but this project also only exists thanks to the Tories:

http://alpha.openaddressesuk.o...

"How are you funded now?

Our current funding comes from the Cabinet Officeâ(TM)s Release of Data Fund. This fund is administered by the Open Data User Group and agreed by the Public Sector Transparency Board."

Oh how they take with one hand and give with the other!

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Man jailed for trolling

Xest Xest writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Xest (935314) writes "A man in the UK has been jailed for just over 4 months for trolling, and has also been given an order banning him from using social networking sites for 5 years. The trolling in question involved insulting a person who committed suicide by jumping in front a train by posting offensive remarks on a page dedicated to her memory, and creating a YouTube parody of Thomas the Tank with the deceased girls face in place of Thomas'.

Is it about time trolling to this extent saw this kind of punishment, or is this punishment simply too harsh for someone who perhaps didn't realise how seriously his actions would be taken by the authorities?"

Link to Original Source
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Android takes 2nd place for the quarter

Xest Xest writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Xest (935314) writes "For the quarter July, August, September Android has now pushed into second place for handset sales accounting for 25% of all phones sold, with Apple taking 3rd place and RIM taking 4th. Symbian is of course still king, largely due to it's massive userbase of low end phones in places like Africa, India, and China where handsets such as the iPhone and high end Android devices are simply unaffordable to many. The article notes that sales by smaller handset manufacturers such as HTC, Huwaei, and ZTE who often develop phones on behalf of other companies to brand themselves now account for a third of phone sales. With devices like the Orange San Francisco developed by ZTE selling at £99 without a contract and sporting an AMOLED screen whilst also being able to run some of the most popular games and applications today such as Angry Birds, perhaps even Symbian will see itself displaced over the next few years to be replaced with some of the highly competitive Android devices beginning to trickle out."
Link to Original Source
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A brighter future for freedom in Britain?

Xest Xest writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Xest (935314) writes "Over the last decade on Slashdot since the events of 9/11 we have constantly been bombarded with stories reporting the continued deterioration of freedom and civil liberties in the West as governments come up with their new latest and greatest scheme to track down terrorists and criminals however negative the effect is on the rest of the law abiding population.

Today, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister of Britain's new coalition government who came to power just last week outlined the new government's vision for the future of British civil liberties. The government has so far confirmation that they will be abolishing Britain's ID card database, abolishing the National Identity Register, abolishing the ContactPoint database, look into reforming libel laws to protect freedom of speech, will be restoring protections for the right to peaceful protest, and will improve the fairness of the DNA database to ensure innocent people's DNA is no longer held on it. This all begs the question; is the tide finally turning against deterioration of our rights and freedom?

The results of this rhetoric are yet to be seen, but if they are sincere in their aims, and truly even wish to allow citizens to recommend laws for removal as stated, then might we perhaps even see the dreadful Digital Economy Act repealed? Right now it's too early to tell, but a positive vibe on civil liberties from people now in power is often news in itself when taken in the context of the last decade of mostly doom and gloom for civil liberties and freedom."

Link to Original Source
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PS3 plagued by similar problems to the XBox 360s i

Xest Xest writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Xest writes "More and more reports are appearing of Playstation 3 consoles failing in a similar way that the earlier models of the XBox 360 did, except for Sony, it's the Yellow Light of Dead. The BBC has an interesting article, which suggests the problem could be almost identical to that which caused the earlier XBox 360 models to fail — poor soldering connections. From the article:

"Several of those businesses have told Watchdog that the vast majority of consoles they see with the "yellow light of death" can be repaired by heating up specific parts of the circuit board. This process is called solder re-flow. By heating the connections between the components and the circuit board to temperatures in excess of 200 Celsius, the metal solder joints melt, just like they did when the device was first assembled. Console repairers say that this process method is commonly used to repair fractured connections, or dry joints."

But it's not the only rule from Microsoft's playbook on the issue that Sony have been following, whilst they have admitted 12,500 out of 2.5million (a convenient 0.5%) of systems have failed, they refuse to release full figures of failure rates citing them as being commercially sensitive. Unfortunately one rule Sony does not appear to be following Microsoft on is an extended warranty, stating that if it fails after 12 months, it is not their problem. In the UK however at least, the Sale of Goods act would disagree with that statement."

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft announces "YouTube for Games"

Xest Xest writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Xest (935314) writes "At this years Game Developers Conference, alongside the announcement of Gears of War 2 due for release this November, Microsoft have announced another interesting feature — homebrew game sharing. Utilising XNA, developers and gamers will be able to share games that they have created over XBox live and rate them in a similar manner to YouTube's video sharing service. Microsoft have released 7 games to showcase the capabilities of the service at the event.

If this idea is extended to Windows users through Microsoft's Live for Windows program and with XNA Game Studio being a nice environment for amateur and professional game developers alike this could provide a powerful new path to mainstream users for indie game developers."

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