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Ask Slashdot: What Would Your 'I've Got To Disappear' Plan Look Like?

ezratrumpet Re:Idea (789 comments)

He also posted quite a few clues that helped narrow the search area. Lots of people got involved - pretty significant crowdsourcing.

If you have a backpack and $5000, you have about a six month jump into the void on the Pacific Crest Trail, or the Appalachian Trail if you're from the west.

Lots of cash labor out there. Get to Key West, dig swimming holes for cash like Jack Reacher. Save money, disappear. It's when you want stability & a career and such that you have issues.

about 2 years ago

The Physics of the Knuckleball

ezratrumpet Re:Hockey goalies (87 comments)

He also spent more time in batting practice than the rest of his team - combined. That probably helped, too.

more than 2 years ago

Turnitin's Different Messages To Students, Teachers

ezratrumpet Re:Cryptomnesia (306 comments)

Fine lines exist between "inspired by," "derived from," "quoted," and "plagiarized."

about 3 years ago

Turnitin's Different Messages To Students, Teachers

ezratrumpet Re:They're Not Alone (306 comments)

No, but that was extraordinarily instructive to me.

I'd hope that if I didn't know your poet (or poem), and if it was relevant to the paper, I'd sniff around to see what else that poet had written.

You'll need to create a body of work for that poet, along with a biography. Maybe rig up some source materials so you can write a decent Wikipedia entry with sufficient citations to elude the speedy delete.

about 3 years ago

Turnitin's Different Messages To Students, Teachers

ezratrumpet Re:Tweaking and submitting (306 comments)

It's also a commentary on just what the professor intends to assess.

If it's a book review, that's one thing. No primary sources, so it won't be horribly original, but there's lots of words to choose from in discussing the major arguments offered. The assessment? "Show me that you can read sufficiently to tell me why this book Exists - what value it offers to this field - what arguments it presents, what questions it asks, and so forth. If you're really good, you can review similar works and show me that you understand this book (and author) within the context of this area of the field in question. I'll also assess how well you communicate with others (well, actually, with me) in a written medium."

If it's a short literature review - say, a comparison between two or three brief books or articles, contrasting the major ideas - again, it's not going to be horribly original. It's still secondary sources. The bulk of the work was done by others; the assessment is, "How well does the student read and synthesize information in this field, how well does the student summarize, and how well does the student communicate that knowledge to others in a written medium? Again, if you're really good, you might illuminate a dusty corner, or find an interesting question lying about unanswered - and if this is your major, you could turn that question into Real Research. In an advanced college class for your major, you should crank these out at the rate of 2-3 per course. It's the scholarly equivalent of mining for gold - what you're really looking for is a Good Question To Answer in a Research Paper.

If it's a longer research paper - say, 1500-2500 words using 4-5 articles from a pool of 30-40 articles suggested by the professor - the professor wants to see what you'll make of the information. You're actually doing Research, even if it's strongly directed, and you will likely consult primary sources that these authors used. You'll have to read carefully, find themes - even unintended themes - and make connections between research done by different authors in different contexts for different reasons. You will Make An Argument (e.g. Offer a Thesis). This might be a National History Day paper for a high school student, or even an advanced middle school student. It should be commonplace for college upperclassmen to write at least one of these for each advanced course in a major. The big difference? This is not at all a book report. If you find a complex enough Question to Answer - and you also find that there are Other Sources you could explore in presenting An Answer - you may have found something to use for a Thesis Paper (senior or graduate. I'm feeling generous). (Also, this sort of paper is the currency of trade in graduate school.)

If you find a Good Question, your research may lead to Other Good Questions and Other Interesting Arguments. This is where you transition from Student to Scholar - but you probably won't notice the difference. In your mind, you'll never entirely stop seeing yourself first as a Student - which will bode well for you, as the greatest scholars are first and last voracious learners.

Each discipline has its form of papers - lab reports, musical analysis, art portfolio - but the complexity should be similar.

I suppose I should get back to my questions.

about 3 years ago

Turnitin's Different Messages To Students, Teachers

ezratrumpet Re:Tweaking and submitting (306 comments)

The issue is the type of assessment and feedback.

A good assessment discourages brute-force hacks by complexity and depth; a great assessment prevents it entirely.

I suspect that a great assessment would also have understood the flaw in OP's thinking on that single problem and turned its focus to teaching/correcting that flaw rather than discouraging OP with repetitive work.

I'm thinking of Khan Academy, btw.

about 3 years ago

Taking the Fun Out of StarCraft II

ezratrumpet Don't confuse Work and Play (293 comments)

SC (and SC2) are games to me. I play them. I like playing them. I like the creative part of trying different things, of solving a problem a different way, of blah blah blah. If I were to focus on 500 Clicks A Minute, and stealing builds and strategies from the uber-1337 players who would just destroy me with a single SCV, it would be Another Job. It would no longer be Fun. I would have Investment, and Expectations, and More Bad Stress. I would have rivalries, and would spend energy thinking about those rivalries, and it would feel like another profession. I just want a huge-ass carrier fleet. Or BC fleet. Or whatever comes to mind. I get PLENTY of challenge trying to beat, say, a low campaign level on the hardest difficulty. It's just complex enough to achieve without making me want to go sit at my desk and do Real Work to relieve the stress of a pastime.

I teach for Realz. Relationships with the students? Worried right now, and I'm off today. Everything about doing That is REAL to me, and important enough to take on an archangel if needs be. Don't screw with me about teaching or my students. (That doesn't mean we don't have fun, and don't laugh a lot, but it's the Real Deal as far as Important to me.)

Let SC2 be as important to you as it should be. If you're trying to make it your livelihood, then by all means, you should study video and styles. I know every professional competitor in every field should be doing their homework about their medium of competition and the other competitors.

If that's not you, just enjoy playing. It's a game. Don't make it another freaking job. Life's too short.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Logging Locations of All iPhone Users

ezratrumpet Re:ummm (591 comments)

I wonder if the devices still store locations while running in Airplane Mode.

That would be troublesome (for Apple) on even deeper levels than personal privacy.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Online Science For 8th Grade Students?

ezratrumpet Re:Slashdot (225 comments)

Slashdot is the intelligentsia.

Reddit is the hivemind.

4chan is the dark underbelly of the internet. When archangels travel within 4chan, they do it as a group, with heavy air support.

Tl; dr: 4chan is virtual hell

more than 3 years ago

NASA Wants Spacecraft For Mars Return Trip

ezratrumpet Re:One Way (193 comments)

I bet it's already happened with death-row prisoners.

more than 3 years ago

Employer Demands Facebook Login From Job Applicants

ezratrumpet Re:Privacy is so 20th century. (434 comments)

Mod this up. This is the second reason I havee read that makes the practice illegal.

more than 3 years ago

Kids Who Skip School Get Tracked By GPS

ezratrumpet Re:8PM? (515 comments)

Story about a social worker who was having trouble getting a kid to get home by curfew. She talked to the drug dealer who worked the corner near the kid's home. Kid was never late for curfew after that.

more than 3 years ago

When Smart People Make Bad Employees

ezratrumpet Re:Perfect Example (491 comments)

Great example. He was fortunate to have the right people around him. That happens much less frequently in the real world.

more than 3 years ago

Latest Mars Photos Show Frosty Landscapes, Ancient Lakebeds

ezratrumpet Re:Wow (60 comments)

Why do we think we HAVEN'T gone there already with uber secret missions?

more than 3 years ago

Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich

ezratrumpet Demographic comparison (589 comments)

Just to clarify - appearing green to most people is much, much more important than actually being green.
There are people living utterly sustainable lifestyle with very little societal support.
News Flash: that sort of lifestyle is more than a full-time job for an entire family.

more than 4 years ago

Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?

ezratrumpet Re:Technology is no panacea (319 comments)

It's coming soon, I'm sure:

Time for annual review. Do I suck? Am I hot-hot-hot? Vote now at

more than 4 years ago

Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?

ezratrumpet Re:Use iPads in the classroom, dammit (319 comments)

At the risk of commenting too much, I'm also a voracious reader and have used the Nook, Kindle, and Stanza apps on my iPad since I bought it.

There is huge advantage to ease of use. I can carry an entire library in that little slice of tech. Turning pages is a twitch of a finger, highlighting at least as easy as the paper version, and notetaking has potential (once I use a wireless keyboard and can get a copy of my notes as a single document, preferably with my highlighted passages included).

Even when I take notes by hand, it's much easier to stop tapping the screen, pick up a pen, and write than to get something to hold the book open or hold it open while I write.

We really haven't begun to recast the book as a text/video/interactive medium, but that time will come - we'll have embedded videos, connections to the bulletin board, and probably even connection to other resources and the author, all from the "book page."

The danger, of course, is that I also have some cool games and a web browser on my iPad.

TL; dr: only Apple could combine the White Magic of Endless Learning with the Dark Magic of Eternal Distraction.

more than 4 years ago



20% of U.S. population has never used email

ezratrumpet ezratrumpet writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Ezratrumpet (937206) writes "A recent PC World article notes that 20 percent of the U.S. population has never sent an email.

Does this number over- or underestimates the actual number of people who know nothing of email? What are the implications of this statistic to our society? Or are these people just Luddites who mourned the demise of the telegraph and have also never used a telephone?"

ezratrumpet ezratrumpet writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ezratrumpet writes "How many years of therapy are necessary to get over:
  • 1. Your father buying a team for you to play on;
  • 2. Your father buying a whole bunch of other teams so your team can have a league;
  • 3. Your father firing the coaches for changing your playing position, making you a scapegoat when your team misses the playoffs;
  • 4. National exposure of the fiasco in the Washington Post; or,
  • 5. All of the above?
Some shrink could retire on this one."



NCAA to recruiters: No Text for You

ezratrumpet ezratrumpet writes  |  more than 7 years ago Sports Illustrated reports,

The NCAA's board of directors approved a ban Thursday to eliminate all text messages from coaches to recruits beginning in August, then left open the possibility of revisiting that legislation as early as 2008.

The NCAA decision also prohibits "communications through other electronic means such as video phones, video conferencing and message boards on social networking web sites."

Regulations for communication through telephone, FAX, email, and carrier pigeons remain unchanged.

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