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11 Amazing Things NASA's Huge Mars Rover Can Do

mctk Re:If I had say in the matter. . . (147 comments)

I don't have mod points, but just wanted to say thanks for posting a serious comment. Every comment above is just a cheap joke.

about 3 years ago

When it comes to jury service, I ...

mctk Comment Subject: (528 comments)

I would be proud to do jury duty, but I have IBS and I'm pretty sure that this might disqualify me (were I ever contacted). When might I be asked about this type of information? How long are juries in the seats between breaks? What is the system for taking breaks? Is it at the whim of the judge? Do jurors have to request them? Before a trial starts, are you given information about how long it might last?

more than 3 years ago

Magicka Sequel Planned, Console Version a Possibility

mctk Re:Brilliant (62 comments)

I have to admit that the negativity in the comments is surprising to me. I totally agree, the spell binding was genius. When I started playing, I was surprised at the lack of Mana meter. "What? So I can just keep casting spells over and over? This is going to be stupid easy." Not so! The spell-casting limitation was shifted from some arbitrary in-game number to the skill of the person actually playing. Casting spells finally feels like you're doing something. I hope more games pick up on this idea.

Also, I played it through with my friend without issue and had an awesome time. Well worth the price of a Guinness.

more than 3 years ago

At Issue In a Massachusetts Town, the Value of Two-Thirds

mctk Re:not quite 2/3 (449 comments)

can't these people do simple math? ... 106 / 236 = 0.660194175

hehehe. I guess we'll have to call that one a typo, eh? ;)

But, even if you meant 136/206 = 0.66019475, you've still fallen into the same trap as they did: you've rounded. You're abusing the equal sign. To be exact, we should say:

136/206 = 0.6601941747572815533980582524271844 (repeating) [pedantic or on-topic? I can't tell...]

And although we might call it "simple mathematics" that 1/3 = 0.3333... this leads to the true, but perhaps counter-intuitive result that 1=0.9999....

The average person will say that the first result is "truly equal" while the second result is "about equal". When pressed, they will backpedal and say that I guess 1/3 is "about equal" to 0.3333.... [ yes, I often bring this up in bars to hear friends' thoughts]. I guess, I'd have to put this out there to you all. How do we prove that 1/3=0.333...? We can show that the series 3/10 + 3/100 + 3/1000 + .... converges to 1/3, but I'd no longer call that "simple" [i.e. must define "limit", prove convergence, etc.]. Any thoughts on a better way to convince friends of the "exactness" of this equality?

more than 4 years ago

How Smart Are You?

mctk Re:Real Graph (584 comments)


more than 4 years ago

Firmware Hack Allows Video Analysis On a Canon Camera

mctk Re: CHDK (115 comments)

Also use CHDK, also consider it good stuff. And I love the fact that my powershot takes AA batteries and has a standard USB connector. They've gotten more money out of me because of this, not in spite of it.

more than 4 years ago

Improving Education Through Better Teachers

mctk Re:Good Teachers (446 comments)

And they won't need higher salaries - just a nice bureaucracy and politics-free workplace.

Personally, I've never understood the resistance to paying teachers more. Our entire push in the last decade has to make schools more business-like. Normally, the measure of a good business is whether it stays in business. With schools, however, that metric doesn't work. No Child Left Untested is an attempt to fix this. If we have a metric for schools, then we can "bankrupt" those that aren't performing. We are trying to fit our schools into our free-market philosophy. However, for some reason, we ignore an elementary free-market observation; if you don't have enough qualified candidates for positions, then you need to improve working conditions and/or offer more money. Simple, and yet rather than recognize this, people complain about "administration" and call teachers whiners.

Since we can't outsource education, we've decided to put the squeeze on artificially. Give schools less money, while at the same time, expect more. The schools I worked at could use *more* "administration". Our principal was overworked. Our secretary was deciding which classes students should be placed in, because our *part-time* counselor was only on campus half the day. Rooms only got cleaned every third day. Roofs leaked. Heating failed. Our school had no librarian. There was no music program. There was no dance program. There was one visual arts teacher. After-school programs died as their funding was cut. What an inspiring place for a student to be. Really expresses the concern society has for their education.

And you've got curriculums that are created are created by textbook makers and suits far removed from the realities of students. You can't teach something to someone who doesn't care. But "inspiration" is secondary. Spend a week studying imaginary numbers that culminates in students who actually understand what they're looking at when they see the Mandelbrot Set, and, officially, you've wasted a week, cause that isn't on the tests. Spend a week working through some of the details and mathematics of how, exactly, your voice is transmitted from your cell phone to mine (something students are always *very* interested in), and, officially, you've now wasted two weeks. And the tests will show that you're behind. You must be a bad teacher.

I often think that our society's vision for teachers is to remove all individuality, all wiggle-room, all deviations from the norm. In our attempts to make sure that curriculum is presented exactly equally to all students in all schools, we will soon remove teachers all together and replace them with DVD's.

more than 4 years ago

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot

mctk Re:Oblig. (398 comments)

No, no, no! THIS one goes here! THAT one goes there!

more than 4 years ago

"Calvin and Hobbes" Creator Bill Watterson Looks Back With No Regrets

mctk Re:regrets? (327 comments)

So incredibly true. Compare the two versions of "The Office." In the UK, they told their story, had some laughs, but when it ran its course, they stopped. I wanted more. I still want more. I'll just have to wait a few years then watch the episodes again. In the US, however, the program is floundering to find weekly topics. And it shows. Once Jim and Pam hooked up, the main tension, the binding thread was gone. Look at "Heroes". Intriguing first season, great climactic moment. But it just...keeps...going. Look at "Lost". I followed the first season closely, but after a while, you start to think that the writers are sitting around going, "Now what can we do this week, without really changing much. After all, we still have 10 more hours of programming to fill." Does anybody even watch The Simpson's anymore?

more than 4 years ago

Apple vs. Microsoft Multi-Touch Mouse Comparison

mctk Re:Touch screens and the like (255 comments)

...with deep fried french fries, topped with a cold beer and chocolate ice cream...

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

about 5 years ago

Tracking the World's Great Unsolved Math Mysteries

mctk Re:Math cannot exist before wind. (221 comments)

If you were to imagine an alien lifeform on some distant world, they'll have an identical math but their experience of it

I'm not sure if I'm on board with you here. That's quite a claim to make. Just because it's hard to imagine math that's not identical to our own, does not mean it does not exist. I can imagine a quantum sized life-form living in a probabilistic world, never coming up with the integers. Or maybe a universe-sized creature who has absolutely no need for the idea of oneness.

Since I'm posting, here's what I think is a fun problem:
2178*4 = 8712
21978*4 = 87912
219978*4 = 879912

There's one other family of numbers (i.e. a four digit number, expanded in a similar pattern) that does this, if we throw out palindromes and numbers with leading zeros. What is it and can you show that these are the only two such families?

more than 5 years ago

How To Enter Equations Quickly In Class?

mctk Re:pencil/paper (823 comments)

Other solutions that solve poster's problem without answering his quesiton:

1. Memorize as you go.
2. Screw lecture, just watch Square One.
3. Have friend audio-record lectures then have other friend convert them to notes then photocopy friend's notes and use OCR.
4. Drop out of school.
5. Prove the Reimann Hypothesis and skip right to that PhD.
6. Hire a plant to continually ask inane questions during lecture, giving you more time to input those equations in LaTeX.
7. Code up a Math Module for Dragon Naturally speaking.
8. ???
9. Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all

Wait... What were we talking about?

more than 5 years ago

Sequoia Voting Systems Source Code Released

mctk Re:Hyperbole much (406 comments)

Car analogy?

more than 5 years ago

Initial Reviews of Google Wave; Neat, but Noisy

mctk Re:Echos thoughts of others after the demo (336 comments)

Most Dearest Friend ObsessiveMathsFreak,

I actually appreciate the salutations and valedictions. Sometimes they even help me identify Nigerian spam.

Your friend,

PS I just thought of something to say, but unfortunately I've already typed out the message, so I'll just have to write it out here at the end.

more than 5 years ago

Shuttleworth Suggests 1-Way Valve For User Experience Testing

mctk Re:grawlix fail (757 comments)

Somebody might have s*** something profane.


more than 5 years ago

MIT Project "Gaydar" Shakes Privacy Assumpitons

mctk Re:I beg to differ (508 comments)

I have control over my information.

No, no you don't. Ever heard of a credit report? We've never had control over our information.

Anyways, the ability to keep in touch with important people in my life, for me, is worth the risk of whatever doomsday privacy issue others see. So what, some sketchy advertisers get some info on me? Uuuh, I have multiple websites, registered with my name and address. I have no doubt that my grocery shopping is closely tracked based on my credit card number. I'm sure that my contact info has been sold between companies hundreds of times. My phone company knows who I talk to and for how long. My insurance company knows my driving record. My fingerprints are on file in Oregon.

I happen to like the fact that I am able to call up and old friend and meet him for drinks while driving through town on a road trip, thanks to facebook. That's worth it, in my opinion.

more than 4 years ago

Most Useful UNIX Tool?

mctk Re:Hooray, cowboy neal... (641 comments)

I've been around ./ for years...

Well, there's your problem!

more than 5 years ago



What is it you do, exactly?

mctk mctk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

pete (840035) writes "As a high school teacher who's fed up with his job, I'm pondering a future programming computers. Having majored in mathematics, my formal training is limited to a few semester classes of C. But, years later, I continue to code as a hobby. I take pleasure in obsessively working through the logical flow of my, admittedly simple, programs. My experience with the IT industry itself, however, is limited to repeated viewings of Office Space and brief chats with the AV guy at school. I have many questions for you all, but I'll limit it to two. What is it that you do, exactly? What is it that keeps you in the IT industry?"

mctk mctk writes  |  about 8 years ago

mctk writes "I'm a high school teacher who, disappointed with the lack of computer science in school, has promised to teach a few motivated students programming after school. As a enthusiastic novice with three semesters of C under my belt and a few side projects worth of experience, I feel competent yet ignorant. I would really appreciate suggestions for resources on C that are written to be accessible to high school students and contain lots of ideas for activities. Perhaps you've had success with a series of books that spans beginner to advanced? Do you have any activities you would recommend? How would you map a student's first year of coding? I welcome any and all suggestions. And while we're on the subject, is there a brace style that is most standard in the industry?"


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