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Comment RACHEL (Score 5, Informative) 47

Wow, thanks so much for mentioning RACHEL and World Possible. I've been working with them for a several years as a volunteer and recently joined as VP of Tech. It's such a satisfying project -- to see the stuff we put together being used in classrooms around the world a few weeks later -- and the Pi makes it all possible. Thanks for making such an amazing and useful piece of hardware :)

Comment Re:Seems this topic is stuck in the roundabout. (Score 4, Insightful) 364

I like how everyone assumes people make carefully considered, rational decisions in a high-speed crisis.

People probably choose to veer away from hitting people because they don't realize they might kill themselves - they just see what is in front of them and sure to happen, and don't have the time or wherewithall to consider the unknown consequences.

People will reach out to catch a falling knife, too, but that doesn't mean that they thought about the implications.

Comment Re:A preview of President Trump's upcoming win. (Score 1) 693

I'm afraid you're living under the delusion that people use new information to adjust their worldview. Sadly, no matter what happens to GB, most people will find ways to twist the information to justify their socioeconomic dogma.

There's a reason why Mississippi continues with their policies despite having the example of 49 other states on how you can do it better. Individuals here and there may learn a thing or two, but large scale social learning is phenomenally rare.

Comment Re:I'd argue we need more humanities (Score 2) 352

You misunderstand the goal of public education. The goal is to provide a basic level of education in the cases where parents will drop the ball. This is exactly as needed with social values as it is with academics. If you are a good, educated, socially conscientious parent, then public school will be relatively easy for your kid and you'll supplement what they don't teach with regular life lessons at home. But sadly there are a huge number of kids that get little to nothing in the way of lessons at home, and a significant number that get bad lessons at home. Public education gives these kids a tiny something in the way of outside influence to counter their bad luck at being born to a struggling family.

I'm sure some people will call out that our schools are doing a bad job at academics so why expect them to do a good job at social values? To counter that let me give a bit of advice: never judge anything without a comparison point. If you think the schools are doing a bad job at providing a base level education for a huge, diverse population without turning anyone away, please tell me what you're comparing it to. Private schools that can select their pupils? Magnets schools that only get kids from families that are concerned about education? Home schooling that is well beyond the means of most families? These are all better options, but they are only options to a minority of children. The rest need public education and most of those need social value education in addition to academics.

Comment Re: What BS (Score 5, Insightful) 192

Based on my personal experience, that's not quite how it works. Programmers don't usually stay long hours because they're told to - they stay long hours because they are into what they're doing. There are crunch-time exceptions, of course, but if the company is making people stay long hours regularly and they don't care about what they're doing, they'll burn out and leave. So to some degree, people staying late at work regularly has some correlation with work engagement, which for coders is a good thing.

Personally, if I'm sucking at code, I'll try to escape earlier. If I'm deep in flow, I'll be coding until 2AM. And that's when I do my best work.

YMMV, of course.

Comment Re:I can see this as an environmental disaster (Score 1) 460

Sure it's legal for a semi with four tanks to drive around, but is it legal (and reasonably safe) for them to pump gas back out of those tanks? With what equipment? Is it legal to sell whatever is in theses tanks as x-octane gasoline in precise quantities? Isn't this asking for rampant fraud?

Comment Re:Time for the Paid Shills to Earn Their Keep! (Score 2) 250

You know, I came here to say that I actually like the Windows phone. But it's true I don't own one - I had to use one when abroad for a month last year. But by the time I was done I thought it was actually a more-well-thought-out UI than my iPhone. I didn't scrap my iPhone though. Friends of mine that have tried them have said the same thing. But none of them have switched either. So what you're saying is true, even without paid shills: there are more people that "like" Windows phone than use it. I guess the question is why? My answer is that the hardware is not very sexy and I'm afraid to switch over to a platform that might be dying, whether I like it or not. Back in the day I stuck with the Amiga way too long, and got bit by Be OS as it came and went. So even though I kind of want one, I'm hesitant.

I guess I'm just saying that sometimes there can be good products that languish for reasons unrelated to the quality of the product. I'd say Windows phone is one of those things. Call me a shill if you must.

Comment Re: Penny (Score 1, Insightful) 702

Or, you know, interpret the second amendment as written and require gun owners to be part of a well regulated militia. Which would be far more restrictive than any of the restrictions currently proposed by even the more liberal folks. But just go ahead and keep believing it says something it clearly doesn't say. It's your God given right to be delusional as well.

Comment That's Ridiculous (Score 5, Interesting) 108

You can't just take an amazing piece of expensive kit like that and essentially throw it away! Oh wait - that's what we've been doing with the first stage of every launch forever until just now. Carry on then.

More seriously, congratulations, SpaceX, for taking such a big step forward for humankind.

Comment Re:Only if you Exclude Technological Limits (Score 1) 288

No, it wasn't just simpler. The heliocentric model explained the orbits more precisely. Check out Kepler.

If we were to go by the idea that elegant explanations with no predictive power were science, then I propose a "theory" which by gravity is conveyed by magic invisible elastic bands that are attached to everything in the universe. And I'll write equations and come up with rules that will make the behavior identical to what we see observed. If you find a problem, I'll just update my equations accordingly. We could do that back-and-forth forever and I can hold on to my "theory" forever.

No, to find out if my theory has any merit, we need to show some way in which looking at the world through my theory provides a better understanding, a more precise model, and not just an appealing idea. Elegant ideas can provide useful inspiration for scientific exploration, but if they don't make any testable predictions they are just dreams, no more true or false than fairies. The foundation of science, as opposed to every other system of knowledge is it's brutal testing of ideas against reality.

String theory, as far as I've read, provides no insight into the behavior of anything, and thus we simply can't tell if it's real or not. It might as well be fairies.

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