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31  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 05:44:51 PM
The thing is I've actually read the standards.

And you can too!

All the complaints I've heard are more than a little nonsensical.

Either their derived from not understanding what's actually going on (some of the exercises intended to introduce mathematical theory like algebra and such at the kindergarten level),  they'e based singularly poor implementation examples, or their kids' class is so far behind the standards curve that their teachers HAVE to start with those seemingly nonsensical lessons.

So have I.  As a goal, I'm not opposed to the principle 'cause the principle is math.  However, take these two examples.  My father - the best person I've ever met for "simple arithmetic" - was lost in higher-level math because one year he had a bad teacher.  There were three of us that had to teach our own senior math class (trig/pre-cal) because the teacher couldn't relate the concepts to us.  Unsurprisingly, I had to retake them over the summer to get ready for college.  It doesn't matter if the system is perfect and "only" the implementation is off, because implementation matters

Also, I'm curious.  Do you have children who were asked to learn using this method?  If so, did they have issues with it?  If not, will you accept my, admittedly, anecdotal evidence that this method is not the perfect thing that it's proponents make it out to be?
32  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 03:32:00 PM
Sometimes I wonder if the "problem" with Common Core Math is the difference between applied and theoretical learning.  I'm an engineer so I look for the utility of a solution.  If the nifty thing doesn't have a purpose, then what good is it in the long run?  Yes, I'm aware of the cautionary tales of the laser and the graphical user interface; however, engineering is about using something to do something else.  We aren't so much awed by tech for the sake of tech.

Theory folks are focused on making sure you understand something seven ways from Sunday no matter which end is up.  That's wonderful.  We need those people.  I wouldn't have the option of finite element analysis for stress calculations without those folks.  However, if Johnny can't balance his checkbook because he only took theoretical math (as opposed to applied math) and he's not a PhD student in fourth dimensional topology, the world is poorer for that.  Johnny needs to be able to balance his check book using simple addition and subtraction so he's not an unnecessary burden on the system.
33  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 03:21:00 PM
For example, I'm a fairly smart guy.  Master's degree working on my Doctorate currently.. ..I.. FOR THE LIFE OF ME.. can't figure out Common Core Math.  It takes arbitrary steps that just appear out of no where.

20-13.  Well.. of course... that should become 25-15 so you had 5 to left, 2 to the right, then you get 10.  And then you take the difference of 5 and 2.. which is 3.  Take that from 10, and you get 7!  ..and my brain runs away in fear.

This.  So much this.  Why in the name of that which good and holy should I need to do those steps?  They add nothing to the discussion other than confusion.  Hell, having the kid count on his fingers from 13 to 20 (14, 15 ... 20) and then counting the fingers (1, 2 ... 7) is less confusing.
34  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 03:18:07 PM
The little I've seen on common core math is that poor implementations throw out ll sorts of strategies for solving a problem, and then spend most of the time drilling and testing those methodologies rather then asking for the solution and a description of how you got it.
Which has prompted more than one exchange with teachers over the years.

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Sort of like a mathematician and educational psychologist sat down, came up with some great ideas about how to tech math, and then asked someone who dropped out of an third rate education program to translate their notes into a lesson plan.
That's ... actually not a bad description.  May I use that?

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The information I've seen on common core english though have been fascinating. Give the kids a complex piece of poetry, no hand holding, no scaling, and accept nothing less than their best effort.

And it works.
Ask a child to live up to your expectations and they will.  Whether those are high OR low.
35  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 11:48:33 AM
I have no problem with the concept of home schooling, but from what I've seen it has an unacceptably high rate of turning out people with incomplete social skill sets and an appalling tendency to think crazy things like Jesus rode dinosaurs into battle against the communists, the universe is only 5000 years old and supply side economics.
I've seen this myself.  I've also seen a kid that graduated high school at 16 with knowledge of Spanish and Latin.  He's currently studying Meteorology.  My wife and I considered it but decided that it was better for everyone (the kids, my wife and myself) to send them to public school.  That said, we do supplement their education with field trips, visits to Grandma's farm, etc.
36  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 11:44:50 AM
-have you seen, and evaluated, the evils of CCM yourself and if not did your conclusion change?
-does it seem logical to you that collective problems require collective solutions?
- yes
- If everyone has a say, yes.  If "the elders" decide for me ...

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...I'm not even sure I'm against religious perspectives coloring politics, but the problem is how the outcomes are measured. Someone can hold any legal standard of good for their life that they want, but when they start tangibly harming others we've got a problem.
"Your freedom to swing your fists ends where my nose begins."  I've always been a proponent of believers getting off our collective buts and making a difference with testimony rather than trying to compel others to believe what we believe.  If I read my scripture correctly, the Master never compelled, only invited.
37  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 24, 2014, 11:41:13 AM
I'll do my best; however, I don't think I have the stamina to answer all of this in one go.
Religious belief weighs in on Stem Cell Research, Abortion Rights, The Death Penalty, "Intelligent Design," presidential politics (George Bush repeatedly claimed God directed him, thus at least indirectly claiming to be a prophet), much of our politics towards Israel, and plenty of other things I didn't think of in two minutes.
Of course they do.  Right or wrong, people's deeply held beliefs (religious or not) will always have a sway on the public discourse.  Should they not?  If not, who is to decide what's allowed and what's not?  And Bush was a doofus.  He's the biggest reason I'm a Libertarian.

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This is not a fight I want to have, but the problem with the godly always comes back to having to have some kind of higher direction for everything. Coexistence can't work if it's just one-way.
Please elaborate. 

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As for Common Core Math ...
Those were easy.  I don't like the method of teaching as I have watched all my kids struggle with it.  I explain it the "old way" and viola, confusion evaporates.  The homework gets done and we can go to Boy Scouts or watch a movie or whatever.  Perhaps I was using a bit of hyperbole when I said I couldn't do it.

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I've noticed you've got no comment on my relating of Sam Harris's anecdote.  I'm going to guess it's because it indeed is an anecdote and so really proves nothing and isn't particularly guaranteed to even have happened.

But let's treat it like a real event.
No need.  I've met people like that.  I don't have anything to say about them because, "To the believer no proof is necessary and to the unbeliever no proof is possible."  It's an old saw but I've found that it's generally true.  I won't get through to him and so don't waste my time.

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And as the idea of Comfort versus Truth, the answer is going to be at least partially part of how you answer the above question [about CCM.]

I have no issues saying that I don't know something.  It's served me well with everyone I've dealt with from Sunday School to Staff Meetings.  (Probably helps that I was raised by my father to always tell the truth, even if it made me look bad.)

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... So I wouldn't say you can't have both, but I do ask what you choose when the two qualities collide.

You'll get no argument from me.  Life is often a Venn-diagram situation.

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People need to learn entirely non-partisan/secular basic concepts likes Math, Language and Physics. The most overall socially useful frame is to, as much as possible at least, reduce any biasing of that information. For that you have to have an organization that serves the entire population as opposed to being beholden to it's shareholders or founders.
Agreed.  I've never advocated on behalf of for-profit education.  I'm fine with taxes that support education.  I would just like to see realistic costs for education.  It's getting to the point that I'm seriously thinking of advocating trade school for some of my kids.  The cost/benefit ratio to a "traditional" four year education is tanking NOW.  I can't imagine what it will look like in ten years.

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Basically it's this: what the DoE is or does is fungible. If it's failing to successfully educate children into useful, productive citizens the question is "how do we fix it," not "what kind of dance do we do on it's ashes?"
This position presupposes that the DoE is an inherently GOOD thing.  As a believer in the federal system (which, oddly, hinges on the 10th Amendment which we seem to want to stuff in the dustbin of history) I'd rather let the individual States make their own decisions about education.

RE: religion and sex education
Teach the first as simply, this is what these folks believe.  I've found it helpful to have some understanding of not only the Abrahamic faiths but also Eastern religions and neo-Paganism (in the broadest sense of the word).  Or, no teaching at all if people can't stomach that.  I want my kids to have the best information about sex and its consequences.  I'm still going to teach my moral beliefs; however, arming them with ignorance is, frankly, stupid.

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I guess a good way to put it is that we don't live in a Karmic world. The mistakes we make are not at all guaranteed to come back on us, but they do always come back. And so we are in turn vulnerable to the errors of others and thusly the best solution is for us all to proceed forward seeking the answer that promotes the most real good -which itself is defined in a way we can most collectively agree upon with the hope that the means of that agreement are worth the cost of it's errors.

I don't think we're all that far apart really.  The part I bolded is what I would want for my tax dollars: a discussion about whether we should spend our limited* pool of money on roads and bridges or tanks or mental health or space exploration or whatever.

* I say limited because regardless of what the Fed might say, we can't print more money (or add zeros on a electronic balance sheet) and expect there won't be inflation - which hurts everyone but hurts the poor most of all.
38  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 23, 2014, 10:42:56 PM
This is an example of why a federal department of Education is necessary. Because as history is eager to demonstrate humans can be coaxed into believing any ol' thinger that happens to be convenient for the temporal ambitions of themselves or someone else irrespective of it's objective conditions of truth.
As the children of educators and someone who grew up surrounded by educators (Grandmother, Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Brother) I would argue this point.  Generally, the DoE does nothing more than create paperwork for those who would rather be teaching.  Have you seen Common Core math?  I'm a degreed mechanical engineer (lots of higher level math) and I can't make heads or tails of most of it.  And the social studies is questionable.  Let's write a story about the beliefs of Muslims.  I take issue with this - not because it deals with a religion other than my own - but rather, because it deals with one specific religion without dealing with others.  That's not OK.  "But the State sanctioned it ..."  Humbug.

When the DoE tries to set itself up as "the one source of Truth," we should be worried.  We've heard that elsewhere.  It doesn't end well. 

Quote from: Valentina
Ask me what I think displays the true nature of someone and I'll suggest that it's their perspective on information. How do they treat learning? Is it a priority or a burden? What about clashing ideas? Which is more important -a ascertainable truth or an answer that "feels right"? Do they want truth or comfort?
Is there a reason we can't have both truth and comfort?  I'm a religious person but I don't spend a lot of time worrying about geological time vs. the Creation.  I work in an industry reliant on geology (and the concept of a very, very old earth) to make money and most of the people I work with are still religious in some fashion.  My church owns multiple universities and all of them teach biological evolution, paleontology, etc.  No worries there.

So, if you are arguing that people should separate their religious beliefs from public policy, I'll hold the other end of your banner.  If you are arguing that you can't have both, we'll have to politely disagree.
39  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 23, 2014, 10:21:47 PM
Does [harming none] include yourself? If you are doing yourself harm, is that OK under this philosophy? You're not "harm(ing) none", you're just harming no one else. And sure a can of coke won't do it, but there are plenty of examples out there of people who are harming themselves, and will continue to do so, unless laws are in place for their own safety. And yes, that's a slippery slope and a line must be drawn somewhere. But "harm no one" is an extremely subjective statement - what you consider to be no harm may be defined differently by a large portion of the population.
Sure, I can see your point about subjective.  And I even debated with myself on whether I should put a caveat on that when I first posted it.  However, when does the desire to prevent me from hurting myself cross over into paternalistic and (eventual) tyrannical control of others?  Perhaps father does know best.  But, don't you need to make some mistakes of your own to truly learn?  I'd rather have the freedom to harm myself rather than have someone make me safe by taking all my choices away.  Slippery slope indeed.

Quote from: Viperion
Quote from: ludomastro
I might identify as a libertarian when asked to pick a current political party, but I'm OK paying taxes because I like libraries and public education and roads and street lights and bridges.  I'd just like more input into how much tax I pay and how it is spent.
That way lies madness and very much a "rich get richer, poor get poorer" end-state. People will look after themselves first and foremost. If you (the general you, not the specific you) get to decide where your hard-earned tax dollars go, they won't in general go to the people who actually need them the most - those who aren't and can't contribute as many tax dollars are the ones most in need of it, generally.
No. Going to have to disagree with you.  It's my money and if the government represents me - and it must or it fails to be a government - then I need a say in how my money is spent.  Otherwise, it is the masses exercising force to compel me to act in a certain way.  Just because the State is responsible for the action of force does not mean that magically, it becomes something other than force.  If you (general you) come into my home and at gunpoint demand 27% of my income, it is robbery.  Why then is it not robbery when the government does the same?

Presumably, the argument boils down to something circular such as, "Well, because the State is the State."  That's not good enough.  Just because you argue that I gain (in)direct benefit from the forced taking of my money, doesn't mean my money wasn't taken.  Now, I'm not arguing against the concept of taxes.  They have been legal for some time in this country.  And, as much as I might despise the income tax, it is Constitutional.

Also, I have no qualms with fire protection, police, schools, etc.  However, I DO take issue with things like the TSA, a large portion of the DEA (which seems to turn otherwise normal, rational people into shills for concepts such as "Marijuana, bad.  Blood, death and destruction will result if legalized.  It's bad because it's illegal and illegal because it's bad."  No, I'm not interesting in smoking it, but I'm lost as to why we fight so hard against a substance that, based on what limited data I've read over the years, is roughly on par with alcohol.)

At the end, we, the people, have a need to determine what government should do.  The easiest way to do that is to modify taxation and spending.
40  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Webcomics on: December 23, 2014, 05:07:34 PM
Hotel -- a now completed one-shot story about the future of humanity. Just 41 pages, worth the read. Remember to read from right to left.

Sad, but cool.
41  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 23, 2014, 04:50:22 PM
For me the key is simply this: An ye harm none, do what ye will.

I'm not Wiccan but I can get behind the rede as it closely matches my personal philosophy.  If my gun ownership is not harming anyone, why does the government, or my neighbor care?  If I choose to ingest some extra sugar in the form of a 16 oz. drink, does anyone notice?  Other than the mayor of NYC?

I might identify as a libertarian when asked to pick a current political party, but I'm OK paying taxes because I like libraries and public education and roads and street lights and bridges.  I'd just like more input into how much tax I pay and how it is spent.
42  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 20, 2014, 03:37:23 AM
Quote from: Valentina
My ongoing question about the cultural resilience of the Confederate South remains "why does this endure?"
I think I have my answers, but I don't think I've ever heard it directly from a ground-level believer.

Can't speak for the "movement" as it were as I don't think the South should succeed. However I grew up there, left for work and subsequently returned for work. There's not really a monolithic reason. Some just want to "put the brown guy in his proper place," some really believe the South would be better off, some just are tired of Washington DC politics and think they'd have it better with Montgomery or Austin or wherever politics. What really tends to blow people's minds is the white guy in the pickup with the Confederate flag hanging out with his black friends and nobody in the parking lot cares. (Granted, that's the exception; however, I've seen it.)

Personally, I think the bulk is politics. Folks see the "Left Coast" ideologies creeping into their politics and the first thought is amputation. We've gone from what's best for the country to what's best for my party and compromise is capitulation. It's hard to work with those constraints.
43  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 19, 2014, 06:28:50 PM
In all seriousness, infrastructure is important and often gets neglected.  It's always sexier to spend money on new things than spend it fixing the older but still functional things.

As for the Sony thing.  Yeah, it's annoying that they caved to the hackers but by the same token, you have to wonder why they thought it would be a good idea in the first place.

I mean, if you wanted to deface a church (or other place of worship) in film, you can.  If you think that it will sell tickets in the Bible belt, or Saudi Arabia, you are probably mistaken.
44  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 19, 2014, 06:18:23 PM
The fact remains if you think someone can remotely fry your power grid... you've done something very wrong.

I will never understand the thought processes that lead to people putting vital infrastructure at risk by connecting it to the internet


Skynet has to come from somewhere ...
45  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 18, 2014, 04:44:12 PM
Dems: it's time to dump Dixie.
I decidedly disagree with the ultimate conclusions, but I can't dispute the logic.
Well...I'm sure plenty of folks want to re-fight the Civil War. Tongue
Hey, maybe if we do we can nuke ourselves.
Yeah. That'll show us.

Actually on the first story there's a topic that might be worth mentally chewing over: why not let the South go?
If separation's really so potentially in demand why not and what follows?

The article is rather condescending in places.  Not that I'm shocked but it's still disappointing.  Um, huh.  I don't really know.  Some folks would be overjoyed.  I would be sad despite currently living in the south.  I think Texas could make a go of it as an independent country.  the old Confederacy minus Florida?  Doubtful.

As to the why of not letting the South go: same reason Lincoln didn't let the South go.  The US won't brook another nation on the bulk of the North American continent.  Too many security and foreign relations issues.

Now, in a ALT-history kind of thing (but looking toward the future), who knows. 
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