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Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

radio4fan Re:Wife (75 comments)

The thing is that that's not the most effective way to learn the basics of a second or third language.

Second-language acquisition is a well-studied field, and at least some teaching in the learner's own language (or a language that they know well) is more effective than immersion.

As an example, I can quickly teach you that almost all words that end in 'tion' in English are the same in French (pronunciation differs, of course), and they are all feminine, with the notable exception of 'translation'. And now you have hundreds of French words. Similarly for Spanish, except the endings are spelt 'ción' and there are a few more exceptions. Repeat with the suffix 'able'. It's the power of language transfer.

information -> information -> información
administration -> administration -> administración
education -> éducation -> educación
masturbation -> masturbation -> masturbación
etc.

The reason language schools promote teaching solely in the target language is because it's easier for them: they can teach students with many native languages in the same class.

about a month and a half ago
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Torrentz.eu Domain Name Suspended

radio4fan Re:Criminal scum (226 comments)

The City of London Police are abusing their power to enforce civil matters and shut down legitimate search engines.

And what's really odd is that this domain is blocked in the UK by the big ISPs anyway. It was blocked along with a bunch of others back in October 2013.

If I try to access it on my current ISP, I get redirected here: http://assets.virginmedia.com/site-blocked.html.

So the City Police are trying to take down a domain that you can't even access directly in the UK.

about 3 months ago
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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

radio4fan Re:what is really important.... (310 comments)

I'm just aware that the teacher's union really doesn't know much about teaching. They protect teachers and they do that regardless of what a teacher might have done. At the same time they spend the majority of their high dues on nice salaries for far too many administrators. This is a statement to try to support teachers, done badly, as I would expect from them.

Really? You know all this about the ATL, a small teachers' union in the UK? Impressive.

Do you have personal experience of the ATL, or are you just speculating wildly?

about 3 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

radio4fan Re:I want to become an American and move out of Eu (278 comments)

Photography has become illegal in Europe due to misguided "privacy" laws. It's just ridiculous that I cannot do street photography in Europe because the European governments have decided that we photographers should ask people before we take their photo or publish it!

While this is true in certain countries in certain circumstances (France and Spain come to mind) it is certainly not true in the UK.

So this isn't a Europe-wide problem, and definitely isn't the fault of the EU.

about 3 months ago
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UK Bans Sending Books To Prisoners

radio4fan Re:They are still allowed 12 books in their cell (220 comments)

Given the comment below about Islamic gangs it is probably about restricting the materials read. If this counts as some kind of censorship, then it seems to me to be an acceptable form, provided it is limited to prisons.

The new ban includes underwear and stationery. It's not about restricting what inmates read, it's about enforcing the new 'earned privileges' regime.

Books and magazines sent into UK prisons are already censored. For example, porn is now banned.

about 5 months ago
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Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

radio4fan Re:Google: Still being evil. (129 comments)

Google does have a way to report spam;

Other than the bloody huge 'Report spam' button, the same size and right next to the 'delete' button, that is.

about 6 months ago
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British Spies To Be Allowed To Break Speed Limit

radio4fan Re: Sirens? (278 comments)

no-one wears a bowler hat

[citation needed]

Ask, and you shall receive! ;-)

about 7 months ago
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How Weather Influences Global Warming Opinions

radio4fan Re:Egocentrism (517 comments)

Just two off the top of my head:

Tamil Tigers (yes, atheist suicide bombers, no less!)

INLA

I'm sure there are plenty of other (pretty much by definition atheist) Marxist-Leninist terrorist groups.

about 7 months ago
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British Spies To Be Allowed To Break Speed Limit

radio4fan Re: Sirens? (278 comments)

British citizens are citizens, not subjects. It says so right on the passport.

In other British news, it's not foggy in London all the time, and no-one wears a bowler hat.

about 7 months ago
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TSA Airport Screenings Now Start Before You Arrive At the Airport

radio4fan Re:Really? (437 comments)

I think he was more pointing out that that huge crowd of people that can't evacuate the area easily or quickly is actually a pretty prime target for terrorist mayhem.

Absolutely. If I was a suicide bomber, this is exactly where I'd explode my bomb. I reckon I could get a devastating quantity of explosive in a carry-on bag and detonate it in the snake-line. Also get an accomplice to do the same in a check-in line with a full-size suitcase packed with HE.

While it might not have the glamour of bringing down an aircraft, no matter where the TSA or local equivalent move the security line to (pre-security security, pre-security security security...), passengers are still vulnerable to this attack. I can't see a practical defence against it.

It's truly chilling that they could do this trivially, tomorrow.

about 10 months ago
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Inside the Guardian and the Snowden Leaks

radio4fan Re:Don't be naive. (239 comments)

The Guardian is a hard-left medium that has proven itself to be anti-American over the decades.

The Guardian supported the Iraq war, which doesn't seem very hard-left or anti-American.

Perhaps the world is not black and white.

about 10 months ago
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Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

radio4fan Re:Paperwhite? (88 comments)

The new Paperwhite starts shipping on September 30th.

Says it right there on Amazon.com.

about a year ago
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FAA May Let You Use Electronic Devices During Airplane Takeoff and Landing Soon

radio4fan Re:Test Team (166 comments)

By the time the plane is out of the airport zone, it is too high for the phone to have any contact with cell towers - whose antenna don't point up in the sky.

How do you explain the many calls made from United Airlines Flight 93?

about a year ago
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EFF Wins Release of Secret Court Opinion: NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional

radio4fan Re:Farce royale (524 comments)

In the UK, there are legally sanctioned surveillance cameras (with a great deal of public support) in public places and on public transport -- where you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

In the US, the government illegally bug everyone as though the constitution doesn't apply to them.

And illegally holding David Miranda for nine hours and demanding that the Guardian smash a few laptops is hardly on the same level as what the US government is up to.

1 year,1 day
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Info Leak Wars To Get Messier

radio4fan Re:Idiots (350 comments)

However he was _required_ to answer all questions, no matter how irrelevant to a case, asked by the police.

While this has been widely reported to be the case, it's not technically true.

From the statute:

2 (1) An examining officer may question a person to whom this paragraph applies for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b).

40(1)(b) says:

40 Terrorist: interpretation.

(1) In this Part “terrorist” means a person who—
(a) has committed an offence under any of sections 11, 12, 15 to 18, 54 and 56 to 63, or
(b) is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

So the officer is allowed to ask any questions in order to determine if the detainee is a terrorist, and the detainee is compelled to answer those questions.

But the officer isn't given the power to ask any questions on any matter he likes, and the detainee is therefore not required to answer them.

Obviously, the schedule 7 powers are ripe for abuse, and have been abused in abused in this case. MIranda claims he wasn't asked any questions about terrorism at all.

Miranda says he's going to sue, and he has a good case.

1 year,1 day
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Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet

radio4fan Re:It was a myth (986 comments)

Yeah, Scotland isn't known at all for having any nationalist pride.

It's not like they made a fucking movie about it or anything.....

Oh yeah! I've seen that one:

TOMMY: Doesn't it make you proud to be Scottish?

RENTON: I hate being Scottish. We're the lowest of the fucking low, the scum of the earth, the most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some people hate the English, but I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can't even pick a decent culture to be colonized by. We are ruled by effete arseholes. It's a shite state of affairs and all the fresh air in the world will not make any fucking difference.

;-)

1 year,1 day
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NHS Fined After Computer Holding Patient Records Found On eBay

radio4fan Re:Should be fining the contractor, not the client (186 comments)

Except amongst your quotes from TFA you omitted one:

The NHS body didn’t sign a contract with the provider and failed to determine whether the hard drives have been wiped, the ICO said.

Thanks, I must have glossed over the fact that they can't prove that they instructed the contractor to destroy the data.

But still the issue remains that verifying that the data has been destroyed is more work than destroying the data, so is the ICO really saying that responsibility for data security cannot be subcontracted?

Personally, I hope so. But like I say, it flies in the face of privatisation dogma.

about a year ago
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NHS Fined After Computer Holding Patient Records Found On eBay

radio4fan Should be fining the contractor, not the client (186 comments)

I don't really get this. The NHS contracts out the disposal of the machines to a private contractor, who then royally screws up, and it's the fault of the NHS?

Surely the responsibility lies with the contractor?

FTA:

“Should they [the contractor] be accountable? Definitely not, because NHS Surrey have been entrusted with the welfare of their patients. Should the contractor be responsible? Absolutely, yes,” Jones added.

This seems to me an argument that the NHS cannot outsource or subcontract anything.

What is NHS Surrey supposed to do in this scenario? Use in-house people to analyse the machines to make sure there is no data remaining before disposing of them?

Or just keep data-disposal services in-house? Personally, I think this would be a great idea, but it goes against the dogmatic 'privatise absolutely everything possible' trend in the UK.

“We should not have to tell organisations to think twice, before outsourcing vital services to companies who offer to work for free.”

Except they didn't work for free: they worked for the salvage value. I can't really see how the low value of the contract proves fault.

about a year ago
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Supreme Court Overturns Defense of Marriage Act

radio4fan Re:Potayto/potatoh (1073 comments)

when "civil unions rights" were offered in some places to homosexuals, that wasnt "good enough" for them, even though it gave them the exact same rights just under a different word. So its not just the religious who have an issue here.

The issue is that 'homosexuals' and their supporters want equality, the 'religious' want inequality and discrimination.

It's disingenuous to suggest that civil unions are the same as marriages. They are clearly a second-class union, otherwise the compromise of calling them 'civil unions' would never have been made to placate the 'religious'. It's "separate but equal" all over again.

You can't compromise on equality.

about a year ago
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Tylenol May Ease Pain of Existential Distress, Social Rejection

radio4fan Re:Do Americans really take drugs for depression? (190 comments)

According to this paper, 3.5% of French people are currently taking antidepressants, and 42% have taken them at some point. And this article claims that 24% of Spanish women use antidepressants. I also know many friends and family members who take or have taken antidepressants in the UK.

I mean, why would a doctor tell you to drug yourself, even if you feel depressed.

This isn't about some vague feelings of 'feeling bad' or 'feeling depressed', this is for diagnosed clinical depression.

You're very lucky that you've evidently never suffered from depression, or you wouldn't say this.

about a year ago

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