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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

stephanruby Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (431 comments)

Keep in mind that this isn't a self selected group of kids who's parents spent extra time educating them. These are kids who parents left the kids to figure out their education on their own. Only being their to answer questions that the child initiated.

I'd argue that what you're talking about still represents a self-selected group of parents.

A single parent working two jobs for instance may not be there when a child has a question in need of an answer. And a single parent with little income and little education may opt to buy a television and an xbox simply to keep their child occupied and staying still.

about a week ago
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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

stephanruby Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (431 comments)

Blacks do poorly in America. They also do poorly everywhere else.

Clearly, you haven't travelled much.

The blacks you find in Europe for instance are usually from the very elite of their home countries. Barring an historical reason, the rule of thumb is that the more difficult it is to immigrate into a particular country for a particular ethnic population that is far away, only the most connected, only the most educated, and only the richest out of all of them will be able to get in.

about a week ago
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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

stephanruby Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (431 comments)

And even then you don't find Asian Americans with high levels of illiteracy despite the fact that many of them either still live or recently came from those urban blight zones.

Not that I disagree with your main thesis, but I'd like to add one more point about Asian Americans.

Asian Americans are a self-selected group. Asian Americans represent a tiny fraction of all the Asians who have succeeded in crossing the Pacific ocean and successfully gotten into America. This makes them quite different from other populations who just had to cross a desert to get here.

For example, I have a Korean friend who boasts about his first generation family doing janitorial work and doing back breaking landscaping work to raise and successfully put all their children through some of the very top Universities in the United States, but if you probe his story just a little bit, you'll find that his family back in the days before they immigrated used to be part of the very elite of his home country. And yes, his family did lose every material possession coming to the United States and they did have to start over from scratch, which is no small feat, but at the very least, we have to admit that having made it this far and immigrating into the United States, his family was certainly not ordinary to begin with.

about a week ago
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Iris Scans Are the New School IDs

stephanruby Re:questions remaining unanswered... (217 comments)

What are the procedures when the information that the iris scanner has recorded is no longer valid?

The procedure will be that the student is blocked from entering the main entrance and required to report to the nurse's office within 45 seconds for mandatory drug testing.

Until the result of the drug test comes back from the lab, the nurse will issue the student with a pre-scanned animal eye in a jar to act as a temporary key. Also the kid in the wheelchair, the student with a bad case of cross-eyes, and the tenured Professor with macular degeneration, will be given their own permanent animal eye in a jar for accessibility reasons.

Everybody else, they will just do as they normally do when security gets too difficult, and they'll just leave the windows unlocked and the back doors propped open, just to make sure that they can come back into their building/dormitory, and/or to give a way for their own friends to get in (thus nullifying any kind of security against unknown outsiders).

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will the NSA Controversy Drive People To Use Privacy Software?

stephanruby Re:More likely to influence companies outside of U (393 comments)

As a Canadian, I'm looking for a Canadian cloud provider that guarantees data is located in Canadian data centres, is Canadian-owned (U.S. law treats subsidiaries of U.S. companies as U.S. companies), and is only subject to Canadian laws.

Good luck with that. Canada is one of the senior partners of the ECHELON program (a program that mandates the exchange of information).

And even then, the ECHELON program isn't abiding by any law, whether they be Canadian laws, British laws, or even US laws.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will the NSA Controversy Drive People To Use Privacy Software?

stephanruby Re:Of course not (393 comments)

Why would the average person give a fuck about their privacy? Most people have nothing to hide, and unless they are a fanatic or a hobbyist, they could not care less who reads their stuff.

I agree with you. The average person probably doesn't care, but that doesn't mean he/she shouldn't care. Privacy is important to everyone, even if you're one of those persons who mistakenly believes that you have nothing to hide.

Divorces, custody disputes, false accusations, lovers' quarrels, medical sexual history, medical history, dating, underage alcohol consumption/sexting/sex, stalkers, job interviews, job-related credit checks and/or background checks (depending on the type of job and your local laws), salary negotiations, career promotions, college/school applications, car accidents, car insurance penalties, red-lining, profiling, red light cameras, speed cameras, identity thefts, arbitrary tax laws, IRS audits/penalties (if you don't live in the US, replace IRS with the relevant tax/customs authorities), collection agencies, filesharing, porn, sexual orientation, tethering, rooting your own device, netflix/hulu-specific throttling, recycling fines, arbitrary electricity/water consumption fines/penalties, housing association violations, neighborhood/city zoning/building violations, cigarette smoking violations, dog leash/breed violations, contrived political redistricting, poll tampering, etc.

And it is true, that as individuals, we may not care that much about each particular privacy-related issue, but as a whole and as an aggregate, we should care, because every single one of us is impacted by at least some of these issues and consequences.

about 9 months ago
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BBC Gives Up On 3-D Television Programming

stephanruby Re:ESPN 3D is ending as well (120 comments)

I have a 3D TV without the glasses, but I still don't like it. I have it turned off by default.

If any of the other 5% of households are like mine, they will have it turned off by default as well.

about 9 months ago
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BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World

stephanruby Re:Not True (467 comments)

You mean when BT was privatized? What are "M&P grades" for those of us not from the UK?

about 10 months ago
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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

stephanruby Re:I never found it a REAL problem (924 comments)

*IF* I were to go a movie theater, I'd do the same thing I do with the smartphone at Church.. put it on vibrate. Yeah.. I know, why take your phone to Church?

That wasn't what I was thinking. I'm just surprised slashdoters still go to Church anymore.

Churches are just like movie theaters, they're an anachronism in this day and age, where you can watch sermons on youtube and paypal your way out of hell.

about 10 months ago
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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

stephanruby Re:I go to a fair amount of movies (924 comments)

I've never seen it either, in 50+ years of life in three states.

Watching an artsy movie by yourself during a senior Tuesday early matinee doesn't count.

If you want to experience what some of us are talking about. Drive to a bad neighborhood on a late Friday night, and go see the most idiotic blockbuster action movie you can find. It also helps if the manager of the movie theater makes minimum wage and there is extremely high employee turnover.

about 10 months ago
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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

stephanruby Re:Too Bright (924 comments)

Two words...Faraday Cage

...and an artificial bolt of lightning that fries the offender by entering through his cell phone, going through his ear canal, and exiting his body through the rectum.

about 10 months ago
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Clinkle Wants To Become Your Wallet

stephanruby Re:Go to Hell, Clinkle (121 comments)

Do these jerks seriously expect people to sign on after a start like that?

Those guys are idiots. This kind of PR is not cheap. They're spending all their newfound investment money on slashadvertisments and huffingtonadvertisements before they even made a properly functioning web site.

about 10 months ago
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Mouse Cloned From Drop of Blood

stephanruby Re:Star cloning controversy (111 comments)

Any scientist you hire will want to publish their results. Plus, this kind of research is not cheap, this business plan of yours is far too capital-intensive.

You should just stick to the tried-and-true giving free blow jobs to celebrities in parked cars.

about 10 months ago
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L.A. School District's 30,000 iPads May Come With Free Lock-In

stephanruby Re:Maybe you should learn to lie better (232 comments)

Yes, two years. My mistake.

You're right. I also overestimated the battery life. It says 6.5 hours from its wikipedia page.

I don't think I can come up with any credible excuse for explaining away almost a two-fold error in my original estimate of "12 hours (probably more)"

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

stephanruby Re:What *are* the implications? (168 comments)

Is Google using the same boilerplate contract?

No, it isn't. It very specifically states that the advertising is turned off for Google Education accounts (thought, it isn't turned off for Google Non-profit accounts).

The only potential problem I see with a Google Education account is that the school owns all the content of the kid, and that the kid has absolutely no privacy from the school if he/she uses the gmail address provided by the school (Google Postini for instance allows a school administrator to archive indefinitely all the incoming/outgoing emails from a gmail account under the control of its own domain).

about 10 months ago
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L.A. School District's 30,000 iPads May Come With Free Lock-In

stephanruby Re:Crippled crap... (232 comments)

Correction:
My three year old Samsung Chromebook still gets something like 12 hours of battery life (probably more). The Chromebook Pixel, with its higher than retina-resolution and its touchscreen, only gets 5 hours battery life. Just for the price alone, anyone would be crazy to buy a Chromebook Pixel for kids anyway,

The Samsung Chromebook is actually perfect for kids. It doesn't have any games (worth playing). It's not a fun consumption device like the iPad or the Pixel. And nowadays, if you develop a new application for the Chromebook, the framework forces you to write an application that will work off-line by default. You could already use gmail and google docs/drive offline, but offline functionality really used to be an afterthought until very recently.

about 10 months ago
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Google Adds Microsoft Word, Excel Editing To Latest Chrome OS Build

stephanruby Re:Google going for the jugular! (72 comments)

I don't understand. What does this do that Google Docs/Drive doesn't already do?

Will this get us pixel-perfect wysiwyg editing of Microsoft Documents?

Somehow, I doubt it. Google Docs/Drive doesn't even get that right for PDF documents. I doubt it will get that right for Microsoft Word Documents, which by design are much much worst than PDF documents.

about 10 months ago
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In Praise of Hackerspaces

stephanruby Re:Aren't these just workshops? (68 comments)

Both grandfathers had workshops, as does my dad, most of my uncles, many of my aunts, my father-in-law, and I have one as well.

Home workshops are just like home gyms and personal swimming pools. They're good to have for you, your family, and the people you invite to, but there is still a need for public swimming pools and gyms that people can use in exchange for a reasonable fee.

There were shops in junior high and high school to do woodworking, welding, automotive, jewelry, and even stained glass.

May be that's the problem. In my high school, the wood workshop was a joke and we didn't have any other workshop available to us. My high school emphasized University admission and Advanced Placement classes over anything that could tangentially apply to learning a trade. We had a computer lab, but our teacher was not qualified to teach us on that subject.

Not that I wanted to learn a trade, but it would have been nice if they had taught us to fix a broken toilet, change the oil of a car, or some practical skill for daily life (let alone real woodworking, welding, automotive, jewelry, or stained glass).

Nowadays, if you want your kid to learn some of these skills, you'll have to teach them yourself and buy all the necessary tools yourself, or take them to one of these specialized Hackerspace/Techshop/Crucible spaces instead. Those community spaces are just filling some of the gaps left by our current school system, and it's good that parents learn about them.

about 10 months ago
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Google Developing Android Game Console

stephanruby Re:Is it called Ouya? (143 comments)

You can't very well have a console loading apps that expect a touch screen, accelerometer, etc.

Android phones technically do not require touchscreens. This was a decision made from the very beginning of Android for accessibility reasons. In China, there are even some super cheap gingerbread Android phones with no touchscreen, but only an hardware keyboard and a D-pad. This decision also made it easier for testing on PC emulators (where most developers still don't have touchscreens on there yet, unless they actually hook up an actual device).

Even if Google let their console use the Play Store, they would have to wall it off into it's own area.

Google Play doesn't wall off, it filters. The Android OS is built with graceful degradation in mind. The filtering is done per granular feature, it doesn't filter for an entire class of device (nor does it filter per model name). And Google Play will only filter when absolutely necessary, as specified by the application developer in the manifest file.

And even then, once you upload your apk, it tells you how many devices you're currently missing out on because of your strict manifest file, and it gives you recommendations on what to do to relax your requirements and make your application compatible on more devices, so the act of publishing on Google Play for the developer has become more like an online game where you try to get as close as possible to 100% coverage iteratively.

about 10 months ago

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