News in brief

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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morriswalters
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Re: News in brief

Postby morriswalters » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:38 pm UTC


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sardia
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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Maybe he'll back down, maybe he won't. But if you show you're planning on backing down from the beginning of the move, it's an obvious bluff. It may or may not actually be a bluff. But an unpersuasive bluff is a terrible move.

Not normal to conduct diplomacy via twitter, perhaps. And I'm not overly fond of the medium myself. But apparently it's a legitimate news thing, now. Every tv show doesn't hesitate to cite tweets. So, it works.

As for making money, I'm not sure how that applies here.

Trump has business all over the world, and he's shown they're always on his mind. The permitting deal in Taiwan in conjunction with his phonecall to their president, the health of his buildings in Argentina where he was supposed to be taking phone calls about him winning the election. The anti-wind farm position he took in Scotland which coincidentally also hurts the view for his gold course. His kids three times have tried to sell access in exchange for money. Trump hates corporations moving jobs overseas...except for GM, which he has business deals with their cars, so he doesn't really mention them. Trump's priority is to make money first, then something something about trade, and whatever bullshit the Republicans want. This kind of pay to play/favoritism isn't going unnoticed by other countries. They could easily use that against him.

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PeteP
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Re: News in brief

Postby PeteP » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:43 pm UTC

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/22/506629695/trump-team-asks-state-dept-to-name-those-working-on-gender-equality Now trump wants a list of people working on gender equality, too. But nothing to worry about in this case of course it is because they want infos so they can improve the programs because they consider them important:
"President-elect Trump will ensure the rights of women across the world are valued and protected. To help fulfill this promise, the transition team inquired about existing programs at the State department that helps foster gender equality, ends gender-based violence, and promotes economic and political participation—finding ways to improve them, along with hundreds of other requests."

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Re: News in brief

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:02 pm UTC

That sounds nice, I suppose. I am curious about the "hundreds of other requests", however.

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:That sounds nice, I suppose. I am curious about the "hundreds of other requests", however.

Whatever it is, I'm sure there will be cake, and it will be most and delicious.
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Trump admits he has conflict of interest as he dissolves his foundation. I'm sure the investigation for financial crimes is unrelated.

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Re: News in brief

Postby New User » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

Is it not common to freeze the assets during such an investigation?

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:31 pm UTC

New User wrote:Is it not common to freeze the assets during such an investigation?

That applies to peasants. The wealthy get gentle prodding and sternly worded letters. Let's be honest here, nobody is going to jail. At best, Trump will have a political headache, which he will dismiss as Democrats trying to score points. Republicans will be happy enough that he stopped committing crimes. Remember, only Democrats are investigating Trump, the only Republicans that thought about investigating Trump got a nice campaign contribution from Trump's foundation.

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Re: News in brief

Postby New User » Sat Dec 31, 2016 6:34 am UTC

So, the organization hasn't actually been accused of a crime, such as fraud, insider trading, or embezzlement? I recall some very wealthy organizations being punished for such things. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and Enron Corporation are two examples I can think of right now.

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:33 am UTC

New User wrote:So, the organization hasn't actually been accused of a crime, such as fraud, insider trading, or embezzlement? I recall some very wealthy organizations being punished for such things. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and Enron Corporation are two examples I can think of right now.

When a big company or government agency is accused of say discrimination, are they ever charged with a crime? No. They get investigated, have sternly worded letters written, and the activity is somewhat addressed. Either they stop, pay a fine, or shut down. Most of the time it just drags out as the defender uses every bureaucratic maneuver to buy more time. That bribe to the FL prosecutor? It was a innocuous gift to her campaign fund that the Trump foundation mistakenly listed as paid to a different innocuous campaign fund. That time Trump bought stuff for himself using charity tax free money? Honest mistake. That time Trump paid off legal settlements via gifts from his charity? Honest mistake. Tax law, especially for the wealthy who can afford the best lawyers can defend all but the most egregious of cases.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Dauric » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:54 pm UTC

New User wrote:So, the organization hasn't actually been accused of a crime, such as fraud, insider trading, or embezzlement? I recall some very wealthy organizations being punished for such things. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and Enron Corporation are two examples I can think of right now.


In both examples the legal actions came -after- the financial festival came to a close and creditors were pulling their money out only to find that the organization in question didn't have the money. Their illegal dealings weren't what triggered the government to do anything, it was a sudden lack of money to fulfill demands that triggered the legal action. Madoff particularly had people sending messages to the SEC showing them that his securities were a Ponzi scheme, and the SEC did nothing. It was only when Madoff found himself unable to pay off creditors and then -confessed- to the Ponzi scheme that he went to jail.

Trump's 'charitable' organization didn't go (financially) bankrupt, so don't expect any legal action.
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Re: News in brief

Postby Mambrino » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:15 pm UTC


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Re: News in brief

Postby ahammel » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:35 pm UTC

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Re: News in brief

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:38 pm UTC

Well, it sounds like they passed a resolution to look into the possibility. Don't get me wrong, getting rid of fossil fuels is a good thing, but let's not overstate what they've done.
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Re: News in brief

Postby ahammel » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:46 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Well, it sounds like they passed a resolution to look into the possibility. Don't get me wrong, getting rid of fossil fuels is a good thing, but let's not overstate what they've done.
You are correct. I didn't read that very carefully the first time.
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Re: News in brief

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:01 pm UTC

I'll make sure to keep driving my '69 Volkswagen in honor of many decades of fine German internal-combustion automobiles, I'm certain it'll still be ticking merrily away by 2030.
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Re: News in brief

Postby PeteP » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:56 am UTC

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/09/donald-trump-mitch-mcconnell-transition/96344886/ Surprising no one Trump wants to make his son in law Senior advisor, arguing nepotism laws don't apply to executive positions appointed by the president.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Chen » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:02 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/09/donald-trump-mitch-mcconnell-transition/96344886/ Surprising no one Trump wants to make his son in law Senior advisor, arguing nepotism laws don't apply to executive positions appointed by the president.


It's weird that the law has an extra provision to say that if you break the first part of this law, the person who is in the position won't be paid, rather than the person will be fired or whatnot.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/3110

The fact that he's not taking a salary might let it stick.

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sardia
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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:00 pm UTC

Fun semi fact, Clinton set the precedent for this by appointing his wife.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Mambrino » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:17 am UTC


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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:05 pm UTC


Yea, we know that, Trump probably knows that. Will he stop? Depends on who whispers into his ear last. Or he'll do a feint, and declare a concession(from Trump)a victory.

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:50 pm UTC

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/01/ ... -dont-work
These popular ideas don't improve education.
Achievements standards.
School achievement testing
School choice
Small class size
Additional money beyond a set amount currently 40k dollars a student.

I was surprised that smaller class sizes don't help. Maybe it's the the limited range that teachers work in. After all, nobody is encouraging students to attend 1000 at a time like we do in crappy college classes.

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Re: News in brief

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:07 am UTC

sardia wrote:I was surprised that smaller class sizes don't help.

In China, my kids were taught in classes of fifty, and still they learnt at an incredible rate. Now in the UK, in some subjects they are two years ahead of their peers curriculum-wise. The school day being about twice as long in China than the UK might have had something to do with that though...

Having said that, the only way to keep fifty kids under control was to rule with a rod of iron. Literally.

Some might approve of that. Realistically there aren't too many other options available if you don't want one disruptive kid ruining it for the other forty-nine. Personally I prefer smaller class sizes and a more humane approach to discipline, but I get how this is a topic on which rational minds can disagree...

(In addition, my kids were running a kilometer a day as part of gym. There's a huge benefit to the brain from being fit, so I think that's a huge trick we in the West are missing out on.)

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Re: News in brief

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:13 am UTC

sardia wrote:I was surprised that smaller class sizes don't help. Maybe it's the the limited range that teachers work in. After all, nobody is encouraging students to attend 1000 at a time like we do in crappy college classes.
Class size is about teacher time. 50 students get less individual time than 20 students. So you teach to the clock. Run longer school days. But even at that, the inevitable outcome would seem to be that some kids get left behind. Bright kids are more fun to teach but lesser lights need more time. You can filter the kids by ability, but here that would lead to stigmatizing, given our culture. You can use the rod to enforce compliance but it doesn't teach, it just make teaching more efficient by creating order. You could ask what happens to the child in the school Elasto's children attended that weren't successful at the first pass.

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:53 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:I was surprised that smaller class sizes don't help. Maybe it's the the limited range that teachers work in. After all, nobody is encouraging students to attend 1000 at a time like we do in crappy college classes.
Class size is about teacher time. 50 students get less individual time than 20 students. So you teach to the clock. Run longer school days. But even at that, the inevitable outcome would seem to be that some kids get left behind. Bright kids are more fun to teach but lesser lights need more time. You can filter the kids by ability, but here that would lead to stigmatizing, given our culture. You can use the rod to enforce compliance but it doesn't teach, it just make teaching more efficient by creating order. You could ask what happens to the child in the school Elasto's children attended that weren't successful at the first pass.

You're both arguing against that smaller class sizes don't matter. Why doesn't the data back your assertions? Why is it that I can teach 40 students just as well as I can teach 20 students?

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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:46 pm UTC

Without having seen the breakdown of the methodology, are all compounding factors also accounted for?

The smallest (regularly scheduled) class I was in for the latter part (examination-led) part of my secondary school ecucation was English Literature, to which 10-15 of us who chose EL over... some other options that I forget... were squeezed into a room with 20-25 seats but that shouldn't really have had more than 15 (thus clambering over desks was necessary) and despite it being my prefered subject over whatever the alternatives were, we were most dryly taught the likes of TS Eliot, George Orwell and Shakespeare (I like the latter two, but this class could have easily put me off them, the former I couldn't objectively say much about, these days). It was a chore to read out loud (not act!) Midsummer Night's Dream or Animal Farm or the thing about the cats and then write analyses about aspects that did not excite us.

When Lenny's arms (in Of Mice And Men) are described as "like pendula" and I'm asked what that means to me and I say "they're like pendulums", it's obvious I get the sense of the text, but the criticism for not realising that acknowledging the archaic plural for what it is is not the specifically desired rote-answer1, from both teacher and fellow classmates, seemed (still seems) undeserved, even in long years of hindsight. I could point at some of those present who would not have understood the original word for what it was, probably hence why they enjoyed my being put down.

The low class size did nothing to improve the experience. I probably read (and enjoyed/otherwise, admitedly, rather than critiqued) more books off my own back, in those two years, than the rest of the class put together had over their school-life, frequent library user as I was (long since migrated out of the junior fiction shelves into the other wings of the building) and certainly seen more Shakespeare than we ended up reading.

Trumpet-blowing aside, the low class size did not improve the class (a larger class would not have helped either). Had it been a freely joined/transfered class (it was not, that option only started to be given at FE level and then most easily in HE) it may well have evaporated down to a yet smaller size, to no improvement.

I'm having difficulty deciding which of the equivalent lessons had the largest class sizes. I think Geography would have been except that they split into two twenty-odd classes the unexpectedly large cohort of forty-odd(/even? ;)) who chose that option over History, because of 'target maximum class sizes' needing to not be breached. The stories about the efficacy of Geography lessons can be left to another day, however.


And, as can be seen from anecdotal evidence, variation of schooling beyond mere class sizes muddies the water somewhat. I just hope they got enough like-for-nearly-like data to dredge up more non-artefact conclusion. Should do, but consider this as idle musings from the sidelines, in leiu of taking the time to study the studies concerned.


1 Probably that Lenny's lumbering body-sense seemed to have no conscious poise and that tgis description reaffirmed him as a beastly brute, or something. Even though beasts (and brutes of beasts) can be biomechanically quite elegent. But Steinbeck was literary, not a naturalist, so I wouldn't mark him down for that...

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Re: News in brief

Postby Liri » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:21 pm UTC

There were a hundred people in my symphony orchestra "class" and we learned fine. :P

With class sizes, it seems you'd want the magic number where you have enough people with the same questions, and enough to represent all good/reasonable questions, that at least one student will ask each. In smaller classes, you can have scared kids who don't want to out themselves as the only one who didn't understand something.

I, personally, am going to out myself as a 90s kid with this question: do you guys know about iClickers or similar tools? They're ways for teachers to ask questions of the class over whatever material they want to see where the class is in understanding it. Some professors used it well, while others wasted tons of time getting students to "discuss" the questions/answers with their neighbors which almost never worked.
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Re: News in brief

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:06 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You could ask what happens to the child in the school Elasto's children attended that weren't successful at the first pass.

The answer is that they had to keep working at the material after school, and all weekend if need be. Failure was just not an option.

The normal school day ran from 8am to 5pm. The poorer kids would then go do homework at home assisted by family. The better off kids would go to homework clubs which might have 10-20 in a class, and the teacher there would help with homework questions, re-explaining things if need be.

If my kid understood the day's material, they might finish their homework in an hour or two. If they didn't, they might not finish homework club until well after 9pm. They might not be in bed before 10pm. And they had to be up before 7am the next morning to get ready for school of course.

And this is all at 6 years old...

Oh, and there is huge pressure on parents from the school. My wife would get regular calls from the teachers that might last 30 mins, berating her if my kids' standards dropped at all.

Getting anything less than 100% on any work was regarded as a failure by all involved.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:45 pm UTC

(re: iClickers) Not that brand, and never during my own childhood, but somewhere around here I have a box of surplus hand-held units (probably the Prometheum brand) that were part of a whole lot of WEEE stuff to be disposed :Fallacy of by a school that was moving to newly furnished facilities. We also had to handle many interactive whiteboards (impractical to get one of those home) and the box I just grabbed thing it was the 'clickers' one has a teacher-sized stylus tablet that I'd forgotten I'd got (must see if I can use it).

I can imagine how these bits of kit can be useful (with the right back-end), but it'd have to be a holistic approach, and some of the kinds of teachers I had back in school would not adjust well to the possibilities.

(Music)
Spoiler:
You'd expect some music theory in Music classes, right? As I recall, though, the first two months (before we even got to trying out "Dum, de-dum", "Dum-de Dum" and so on against our names) were spent transcribing from photocopies into our exercise books a drab historical retelling of how music came through from Gregorian roots onwards.

This was for lower-school, when Music was a compulsory single-period class per week, and thus already balanced to have as many or as few students as most of the other classes. (Hmmm, maybe Music was one of the alternatives partnered to Eng. Lit. in the upper-school choices. Which suggests that Art may have been the third, and far more popular, stream-choice in that particular time-slot. Because that's how my schoolvs Options worked.) It really wasn't very inspiring at the start. The teacher was one of the oldest and longest serving teachers (and Deputy Head of the school, IIRC, probably almost by default) and 'old school' in that sort of sense, even if she might have been musical herself. To me, though, it was as close to torture as any lesson, without even the offset of unmusical-me enjoying (or comptently) creating music, once we got to even breaking out of the "wrote by rote" stage that seemed only designed to keep us busy, and/or ensured that every word about the subject had been read, even if it wasn't made to stick.


Anyway, my own experience as an educator is a little lacking, so I can't rightfully criticise teachers for my one-sided perception of the failings of their styles of teaching. And that was back when OHPs were the very height of presentation technology, and the most common digital interactions from the students (mostly at supply teachers) were as likely to provoke detentions... ;)

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Re: News in brief

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:You're both arguing against that smaller class sizes don't matter. Why doesn't the data back your assertions? Why is it that I can teach 40 students just as well as I can teach 20 students?
Large lecture classes are successful because they pick what they want to teach and teach it. They also expect you to spend as much time working out of class as in. They don't slow down because Willy in the back can't keep up. Willy flunks out and retakes or he quits. Your college experience may be different. Maybe they have changed since I attended. It's very Darwinian. My Differential Equations class had about 40 students. The classroom had 5 black boards. The instructor started on the left and filled those boards. And when he ran out of blackboard he went back to the beginning and started over erasing as he went. He didn't slow down or speed up. Those were his lecture notes. His lectured covered what he meant to teach for the day and he finished it by class end. Every time. Keep up.

Elementary and secondary schools can be taught like that. Read this if you care. Here is an excerpt.
4. Teachers use a "chalk and talk" philosophy. Unlike the colorful classrooms of my elementary school years, Chinese classrooms typically have one teaching aid: the chalkboard.

The teacher writes and lectures while students furiously copy the words into their notebooks.

There's very little interaction between teachers and students, and with classrooms containing upwards of 40 or more students, how could you?
Sound like my DE class?

And I could go on about parental involvement. Again from China.

Just out of idle curiosity, do they use multiplication tables in school any more?

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Re: News in brief

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:50 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Elementary and secondary schools can be taught like that. Read this if you care. Here is an excerpt.
4. Teachers use a "chalk and talk" philosophy. Unlike the colorful classrooms of my elementary school years, Chinese classrooms typically have one teaching aid: the chalkboard.

The teacher writes and lectures while students furiously copy the words into their notebooks.

There's very little interaction between teachers and students, and with classrooms containing upwards of 40 or more students, how could you?

That's exactly how it was for my kids. It's sink or swim, except sinking is not an option...

Just out of idle curiosity, do they use multiplication tables in school any more?

My kids learnt them both in China and in the UK.

I wonder if my kids will learn solving algebraic equations though; Unlike multiplication tables which have real-world uses (eg. when shopping), solving equations can be done trivially somewhere like Wolfram and there's no practical use to being able to do it by hand...

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Re: News in brief

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:49 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I wonder if my kids will learn solving algebraic equations though; Unlike multiplication tables which have real-world uses (eg. when shopping), solving equations can be done trivially somewhere like Wolfram and there's no practical use to being able to do it by hand...


Depends what you get a job in. If it's a STEM or Finance field, you damn well will see algebra constantly. It will even make its way to some of the Humanities, especially Music.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Liri » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:57 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
elasto wrote:I wonder if my kids will learn solving algebraic equations though; Unlike multiplication tables which have real-world uses (eg. when shopping), solving equations can be done trivially somewhere like Wolfram and there's no practical use to being able to do it by hand...


Depends what you get a job in. If it's a STEM or Finance field, you damn well will see algebra constantly. It will even make its way to some of the Humanities, especially Music.

I encountered some fancy-ish math in my post-tonal/20th Century theory class, but that was very optional to take (16 people started the class, only 5 of us finished [out of ~400 people eligible to take it]).

I dunno if I'd consider music a humanities field. Maybe musicology.
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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:03 pm UTC

The point is that anecdotal strategies don't always work even if it seems like it is working. More importantly, in a world of limited funding, it's crucial that we spend money on programs that do work instead of programs that don't.

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Re: News in brief

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:34 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Depends what you get a job in. If it's a STEM or Finance field, you damn well will see algebra constantly. It will even make its way to some of the Humanities, especially Music.

I'm talking about knowledge like being able to integrate/differentiate an equation by hand. To me these seem like archaic skills akin to knowing how to use a log table.

Remember, my kids are still in primary school. The job market is going to be vastly different by the time they graduate university, and the stuff you talk about seems just the sort of thing AI will be much better at than people by that time.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:55 pm UTC


I wonder if my kids will learn solving algebraic equations though; Unlike multiplication tables which have real-world uses (eg. when shopping), solving equations can be done trivially somewhere like Wolfram and there's no practical use to being able to do it by hand...

Manipulation of linear equations (at the very least) is crucial if you want to deal with the world in a numerical way. In personal finances, to understand news. If this car is more expensive but has better mpg, and you drive so many miles in a year, over what time will you earn back the difference?

Edit: you seem to be talking about calculus, not algebra. That's a lot more specialized, I never quite understood why they put so much of it in high school curricula. But that's independent of computers. If you have a job where you use numerical or automated symbolic integration, then you better be able to do some integration by hand as well. For rough verification, and just to know what the machine is doing.

People who produce magic numbers from computers are more dangerous than people who can't produce the numbers at all - at least the latter group knows their limits.

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Re: News in brief

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:00 pm UTC

Actually, it's when people that can't produce the numbers start relying on the magic numbers that you end up with the housing bubble

David X Li: I have this Gaussian Copula formula for pricing CDO's, but it has the caveats that it doesn't account for systemic risk
Managers: I have no fucking clue what half those words are, but if the numbers say they work it doesn't matter, because I can sell, and the world is all sales, baby!

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Re: News in brief

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:42 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I wonder if my kids will learn solving algebraic equations though; Unlike multiplication tables which have real-world uses (eg. when shopping), solving equations can be done trivially somewhere like Wolfram and there's no practical use to being able to do it by hand...
Algebra is implicit in basic arithmetic. It's the structure which describes it. A third grader who knows how to multiply and divide should be able to draw a parabola given the equation in words. Which involve solving algebraic problems such as y=x2+2.

What Algebra teaches is a language. And they mightn't understand that formal language. What most people understand is a pidgin Algebra. And it pops up all over the real world. So if I asked a carpenter the slope or pitch of your roof a he would know to measure the rise over the run to calculate it. And if he looked at a plan, he would understand given the reference point of the plan, the more diffuse form of the slope equation y=mx+b. Which describes the height of the roof above the grade at a point.
elasto wrote:I'm talking about knowledge like being able to integrate/differentiate an equation by hand.
Having a passing acquaintance with log tables and a slide rule I feel your pain. However nobody should be doing them by hand. If they use integration or differentiation they should understand the process. Most of the time spent in the Applied Maths is learning forms so that you can formulate problems you develop using your understanding. And machines can solve those. And again, third graders can solve the resultant equations with numbers.

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Re: News in brief

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:06 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Edit: you seem to be talking about calculus, not algebra. That's a lot more specialized, I never quite understood why they put so much of it in high school curricula. But that's independent of computers. If you have a job where you use numerical or automated symbolic integration, then you better be able to do some integration by hand as well. For rough verification, and just to know what the machine is doing.

You're right. I was thinking more about calculus than algebra. Mixed up my terminology a bit given that it's been decades since I was at school :)

Yes, both you and CU are right; in the right job, being able to spot that the computer is spouting nonsense from GIGO is very valuable - just as it's useful for a cashier to spot that the change they are being asked to give the customer is nonsense implying a typo - 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.

Those kinds of skills remain useful for a lifetime no matter what happens to the job market etc.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Mambrino » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:34 am UTC

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.

Of course, the focus on practicing mechanical integration / derivation rules might be misplaced. Maybe it would be better spent by teaching statistics.

Or maybe not: practice of 'mechanical' calculus is also practice of mathematical "symbol manipulation" skills or "language" which comes very useful (or about necessary) if one wants to study about anything mathematical. How can you proceed in STEM studies if you need to type every line in the textbook into Wolfram? Are you understanding anything then? I doubt that the basic mathematical language and the need to reason about mathematical concepts will disappear in the future, no matter how much our AI technology improves.

We already have computers that can solve most of the high school level problems, but there is still lots of stuff computer can't do, including self-improving their learning algorithms, and for a human to get to that point where they can do the research computer can't do, they must start studying on something easier.

I think the most important lessons I got from HS calculus were a) when I realized in high school I could rely on those integration rules and actually derive all the area and volume formulas for balls, circles, etc in the geometry/trigonometry books. And b) some intuition about how derivatives of different functions behave and can be used for optimization. And maybe c) then that at least some of those derivation / integration rules weren't that hard to prove or at least reason about (the rules which most of students just memorized not unlike the multiplication tables). And maybe all that grinding of derivation problems wasn't necessary for those insights.

Maybe there should be a point earlier when the educational paths diverge for the people who will enter a STEM-heavy study paths, and the rest.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:51 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:Maybe there should be a point earlier when the educational paths diverge for the people who will enter a STEM-heavy study paths, and the rest.
Don't forget that we want not to exclude too early those who think they are destined for the PPE study-path. For we do not want to leave ignorant of STEM to such people who almost invariably are the kinds who become our political leaders and policy dictators. (Or our political dictators and policy leaders. ;))


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