Page 4 of 7

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:22 am UTC
by CorruptUser
elasto wrote:but it seems to me that something like calculus is a more appropriate skill to be taught at degree level rather than in high school - ie. once it's known it will be directly useful to your career.

I'd way prefer that high school focus on real-life useful skills like, I dunno, the power of compound interest to make you rich or poor, or how to fact-check political arguments.


And most people will never use the things they learn in Earth Science/Geology, Chemistry, Biology, etc, and arguably less often than Calculus. Might as well extend that to History, English (sadly), Music, Art, and so on. But we still teach those things, because at 14 years old people don't know what they want to do, and should be given a basic education in a wide variety of subjects just in case.


And if I was dictator of Earth, I'd ship all the useless office drones into space, but only after I have one engineer develop a self-sanitizing phone.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:57 am UTC
by Zamfir
The discussion is getting out of the topic ("News in brief"), but it would be awfully late to get started on calculus for the first time not until you are a freshman in uni.

I that really true though, or more true than for other topics? Calculus seems to have a fairly unique position among high school subjects.
- Quite a lot of time and effort is spent on it, especially in higher tracks
- It's a useful tool, more than general knowledge. The existence and the very basics of calculus might be considered general knowledge, but there's a lot of math that seems just as relevant in that regard
- It's very specific. If you don't move on to certain careers, you'll never use the tool
- the above holds across a surprisingly wide range of countries and education systems

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:03 am UTC
by elasto
CorruptUser wrote:And most people will never use the things they learn in Earth Science/Geology, Chemistry, Biology, etc, and arguably less often than Calculus. Might as well extend that to History, English (sadly), Music, Art, and so on.

Agreed. A lot of the detail could be trimmed from those subjects too. People should be learning core principles, not rote memorising facts which then get forgotten the day after the exam.

But we still teach those things, because at 14 years old people don't know what they want to do, and should be given a basic education in a wide variety of subjects just in case.

I agree we should give a basic education in a variety of subjects. Just apparently we disagree about the definition of 'basic'.

I think school should be less about cramming in facts and obscure skills, and more about learning how to learn.

Also, I agree that 14yo is too young for people know what they want to do, but I disagree that the answer therefore is to teach them everything. I think a much better answer is lifelong free academic education - people should be allowed to learn anything at any time.

We all live 11 lives

(As Zamfir says, let's leave the discussion here now. We should open a new thread if we want to discuss it in further detail)

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:23 am UTC
by Zamfir
http://echochamber.me/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=121277#p4134115
I made a continuation thread for the education topics.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:34 pm UTC
by ahammel

Re: News in brief

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:11 pm UTC
by Liri
This is cool.

UFOs! Secret psychic experiments! Invisible ink!

Re: News in brief

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:59 pm UTC
by pogrmman
The Gambia is being invaded by a troops backed by Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana to enforce the results of an election conducted at the end of last year.

The winner of said election was sworn in today in Dhaka in Senegal.

Supposedly, the leader of The Gambia's army doesn't want to fight back.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:07 am UTC
by HES
I wouldn't really use the word "invade". A new president was elected, UN backed security forces are removing the old president from power. The only resistance is likely to be from the former president's elite guard.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:44 am UTC
by pogrmman
HES wrote:I wouldn't really use the word "invade". A new president was elected, UN backed security forces are removing the old president from power. The only resistance is likely to be from the former president's elite guard.


I'd still use "invasion" -- they are entering the territory of another nation. Yes, they aren't really going to face resistance, but I'd still classify it as such.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:10 am UTC
by sardia
pogrmman wrote:
HES wrote:I wouldn't really use the word "invade". A new president was elected, UN backed security forces are removing the old president from power. The only resistance is likely to be from the former president's elite guard.


I'd still use "invasion" -- they are entering the territory of another nation. Yes, they aren't really going to face resistance, but I'd still classify it as such.

I'd only call it an invasion if they lose.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:16 am UTC
by HES
pogrmman wrote:I'd still use "invasion" -- they are entering the territory of another nation. Yes, they aren't really going to face resistance, but I'd still classify it as such.

It's not so much the resistance part, as the "with support of the legitimate president" part. But it's semantics really, you can justify use of the term.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:30 pm UTC
by elasto
ahammel wrote:Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence. She'll be out in May.

The Guardian wrote:On Thursday Obama cut short the prison terms of 330 people, the majority of whom were convicted of federal drug crimes.

During the president’s second term, he exercised his presidential power to grant clemency liberally, particularly for those convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. In addition to raising Obama’s total tally of sentences shortened, Thursday’s flood of commutations is the most any US president has issued in a single day.

Obama has commuted more people’s sentences than the last 13 presidents combined, according to the White House. In total, Obama commuted the sentences of 1,715 people, include more than 560 who were serving life sentences.

Obama has also pardoned 212 people during his time in office, the White House said.

I think Obama was a well-intentioned and thoroughly decent person, but just not as good at the political game as some - probably because he lacked the ruthless edge that you need to get results.

Trump clearly has that ruthlessness, but the same political machinery that dulled Obama's good intentions will hopefully also blunt Trump's worst excesses...

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:43 pm UTC
by pogrmman

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:05 pm UTC
by Angua
pogrmman wrote:They've found people alive after the avalanche in Italy. 20 people are still missing, 4 are dead.

They lit a fire under a collapsed section of roof to stay warm.

That's great news.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:06 pm UTC
by Thesh
You might want to narrow your quote a little.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:03 am UTC
by Mambrino

Re: News in brief

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:43 pm UTC
by sardia
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/techn ... urity.html
Trumps phone is unsecure, and risks being compromised. Hackers could turn on his camera and microphone and record his every conversation. Republicans haven't commented on this lapse in security standards.

I think this story is a little early to blame the Republicans for hypocrisy. Yes it's a risk, but other stories need time to develop. Yes the Republicans are hypocrites, but I don't think they even know Twitter is a security risk.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:28 pm UTC
by WibblyWobbly
Doomsday Clock at 2.5 min to midnight.

Take that for what you will - overly political or less alarmed than they should be? First time it's been moved a non-integer number of minutes, and the second-closest it's been to midnight since 1953, I think. That was just US/USSR H-bomb tests, though. The half-minute is apparently because Trump is just getting started, so there's room for growth (shrinkage?) in our future. Well, if the apocalypse does come, we can rest assured it will be the best, most effective apocalypse anyone has ever seen. I mean, some people think the Permian-Triassic extinction was a big deal, but America is going to make it look like a mild cough. Sad.

Or something. I'm just rambling right now.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:33 am UTC
by ucim
sardia wrote:Trumps phone is unsecure, and risks being compromised. Hackers could turn on his camera and microphone and record his every conversation.
I don't see the problem. It's not a private server. [/sarcasm]

Jose

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:49 am UTC
by sardia
ucim wrote:
sardia wrote:Trumps phone is unsecure, and risks being compromised. Hackers could turn on his camera and microphone and record his every conversation.
I don't see the problem. It's not a private server. [/sarcasm]

Jose

We know Trump is a hypocrite, that's not whose opinions matters here. We want to pick off wavering Republicans who don't like most of what Trump stands for. Or at this rate, we'd settle for people who really don't like one thing Trump stands for. This could be it, but unless Republicans find out about it, and react correctly (outrage/mad but not blase or ignoring it), then it won't matter. The trick is to pick something that will outrage vulnerable Republicans voters in swing districts. It's just a matter of finding the right thing.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:04 am UTC
by Tyndmyr
sardia wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/technology/donald-trump-phone-social-media-security.html
Trumps phone is unsecure, and risks being compromised. Hackers could turn on his camera and microphone and record his every conversation. Republicans haven't commented on this lapse in security standards.

I think this story is a little early to blame the Republicans for hypocrisy. Yes it's a risk, but other stories need time to develop. Yes the Republicans are hypocrites, but I don't think they even know Twitter is a security risk.


Obama's phone had the same issue, he didn't wanna swap, so they tricked him out with a custom, secured version. http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/22/technology/security/nsa-obama-blackberry/

I presume something similar will be done for Trump. Seems like...a lot of money for just one phone, I guess, but yknow, president.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:54 pm UTC
by Zohar
It's a more modern world and the president needs to be more connected. I'm not bothered with the NSA spending more money on giving the president better tools to manage his life, that's to be expected. The same needs to be done for Trump, but until there's a satisfactory solution, he needs to use the existing one that's already been approved - ditch his phone, switch to Obama's blackberry.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:47 am UTC
by Liri

Re: News in brief

Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:22 pm UTC
by ObsessoMom
Relief may be a bit premature, according to an article in The Economist from a few days ago, which expected the veto to be overridden and noted other depressing developments:

The Economist wrote:On July 12th PiS stepped up its effort to subjugate the legal system to politicians’ control with two new laws. Members of the National Judicial Council, the body that chooses judges, will henceforth be selected by parliament instead of by other judges. The minister of justice can now appoint and dismiss the heads of lower courts. A third bill, if signed into law, would allow the minister to sack every member of the Supreme Court. Among other responsibilities, that court rules on the validity of elections. Unexpectedly, Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, threatened to veto the bill, but with a few amendments it is now likely to pass.


But yeah, the veto is better than nothing.

Edited to say: Oh! I see! You're reporting that President Duda has now bucked his party to veto two of the three bills, instead of only one. Okay, I'll be a little more hopeful.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:48 pm UTC
by morriswalters

Re: News in brief

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:26 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
morriswalters wrote:Placing humans at center of computer optimization yields hot plasmas. It makes a point interesting to me.

Interesting. But I don't think using the example of bicycle design as something necessarily done well by humans. (Also, a sub-version of that device was made back in the '80s, so nothing new under the sun!) But that's not to say that I don't find it interesting. I wonder if anyone's thought to use the Amazon Mechanical Turk for anything quite like that?

Re: News in brief

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:36 pm UTC
by morriswalters
I have no idea. I'd hadn't ever thought about it in that way. :o

Re: News in brief

Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:02 am UTC
by ObsessoMom
Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Is Convicted of Criminal Contempt (for continuing, in defiance of a court order, to instruct his officers to racially profile people, i.e. to detain Latinos solely because of an officer's suspicion that they might be undocumented immigrants)

Re: News in brief

Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:54 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
I'm standing by the newspapers in a shop.

The Daily Telegraph headline: Statins 'needlessly doled out to millions' - Statins are being needlessly prescribed to millions of people because of their age, the Royal College of GPs has warned. …several more paragraphs

Daily Express headline: MORE PATIENTS SHOULD BE GIVEN STATINS - Doctors should offer statins to almost every man over 60 and all women over 75. // A new study reveals that if drugTurn to page 6

(I don't want to spoil it by reading either story, you know... Life is stressful enough!)

Re: News in brief

Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:43 pm UTC
by Mutex
Also statins both cause and cure cancer.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:09 pm UTC
by ObsessoMom
Singapore has its first female president (Halimah Yacob) with no election required, because a committee of senior officials determined that only one presidential candidate met the country's new requirements.

The Economist wrote:In November the government duly changed the constitution to reserve presidential elections for members of a particular ethnic group if no one from that group has held the job for the previous five terms. On this basis, the presidential election this year was limited to Malays, who make up 13% of the population but have not held the office of president since 1970. [...C]andidates for president this year had to be Malay, [but] not just any Malay could apply. They also needed either to have served in an extremely senior government job or to have run a profitable company with S$500m ($371m) in shareholder equity. The figure used to be S$100m but a decision to raise the bar was announced last year. Undaunted, two other Malays beside Ms Halimah applied to run, but were judged not to have met the criteria.

Popular and competent, Ms Halimah seemed very likely to win even with some competition. Disqualifying her challengers robs her of the modicum of legitimacy the election could have given her. Voters excited to mark ballots for Singapore’s first female president are particularly disappointed. Then again, Singapore’s repeated tightening of the rules suggests a lack of faith that voters, given a wider choice, would make the right decision.


full story

Re: News in brief

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:42 am UTC
by orthogon
ObsessoMom wrote:
Singapore’s repeated tightening of the rules suggests a lack of faith that voters, given a wider choice, would make the right decision.

It's hard not to sympathise.

(About voters in general; no slur intended on the Singaporean electorate in particular).

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:04 am UTC
by ObsessoMom
I found this very interesting:

Maine Politicians Trying to Delay Ranked Choice Voting Initiative

Maine ranked choice voting (Question 5) was approved in November with the second-largest referendum victory in state history. Voters sent a clear message to their legislators and Maine officials: they wanted a new, better way to conduct elections.

So it was no surprise how angry and frustrated voters got when lawmakers tried to repeal ranked choice voting earlier this year.

Mainers showed up to the capitol in droves, overflowing committee hearing rooms to show support for ranked choice voting. Thousands called their legislators, letters to the editor were written, the biggest newspapers in Maine urged lawmakers to protect the will of the people, and one of ranked choice voting’s biggest opponents — swayed by the response from voters — ended up rejecting full repeal.

[...]

Now, as the Maine legislature is about to enter into a special session, the fate of Maine ranked choice voting will once again be in question as opponents continue to try to derail the reform or delay it as much as they can.

[...]

“Voters don’t want another election defined by spoilers and vote-splitting,” said Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for Yes on 5 (RCV Maine). “They don’t want a winner who is opposed by a majority of voters.”

[...]

There will be a public hearing on Kent Ackley’s bill and the fate of ranked choice voting on Monday, October 16, a week before the start of the special session. RCV Maine is encouraging as many supporters as they can to attend.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:00 pm UTC
by ivnja
The way our state constitution is written ("something something something plurality of the votes cast"), RCV technically doesn't fly for the races for the governorship or either house of the state legislature, I believe. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court made an advisory ruling about that back in May-ish. Because the referendum only passed 52-48, Republicans in the legislature have some political cover for refusing to consider amending the constitution to say "majority" instead of plurality. I'm sure they'd fight it even if it had passed 75-25, but they're unfortunately basically safe in repealing the whole shebang (even for races that it's legal for, which is the biggest issue currently). As you might imagine, a lot of us are pretty pissed.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:21 pm UTC
by SDK
ObsessoMom wrote:the second-largest referendum victory in state history

ivnja wrote:the referendum only passed 52-48


Has Maine had, like, two referendums in its history? That's pretty disingenuous reporting to write it that way.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:33 pm UTC
by orthogon
SDK wrote:
ObsessoMom wrote:the second-largest referendum victory in state history

ivnja wrote:the referendum only passed 52-48


Has Maine had, like, two referendums in its history? That's pretty disingenuous reporting to write it that way.

52-48 is a clear and overwhelming mandate - according to the UK govt, anyway.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:35 pm UTC
by SDK
The largest referendum victory in UK history!*

*Referendums prior to 2016 not included.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:02 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Like that tournament where Russia came in second place, which is pretty good, while the US came in second to last. When there were only 2 teams in the tournament.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm UTC
by eran_rathan
SDK wrote:
ObsessoMom wrote:the second-largest referendum victory in state history

ivnja wrote:the referendum only passed 52-48


Has Maine had, like, two referendums in its history? That's pretty disingenuous reporting to write it that way.


we have between 3-8 referendums every 2 years, but they usually fail. The ones that do win are by razor thin margins, even more so since getting flooded with outside money post-Citizens United.

Re: News in brief

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:52 pm UTC
by ivnja
SDK wrote:
ObsessoMom wrote:the second-largest referendum victory in state history

ivnja wrote:the referendum only passed 52-48


Has Maine had, like, two referendums in its history? That's pretty disingenuous reporting to write it that way.


It could be by raw voter numbers. Without tracking down their sources I don't know. I'm pretty confident we've had plenty of referenda pass by more than four percentage points.