Archive for August, 2007

Trivia vs. Understanding

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Patch says,

Good reading: Guessing the Teacher’s Password up at Overcoming Bias. The post succinctly summarizes the difference between knowing the words for something, and having a good model in your head about something, and notes that our education system emphasizes the former sort of token knowledge over actual understanding.

The more I improve my own internal model of how the human mind works, the more the U.S. education system horrifies me. Something really must be done, though the problem is so huge, it is hard to know where to start …

Ubuntu: Xorf.conf gets a GUI

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Patch says,

Looks like Xorf.conf has a GUI in the next version of Ubuntu Linux. Nice. The most common piece of tweaking I’ve needed to do when installing Ubuntu on a new machine is to the Xorg settings, to get the right screen resolution and refresh rate. It’s lovely to have this in a GUI, where those new to Linux can get at it without a session of “uh-oh, I need to learn how to use the command line!” getting in the way. Makes it about as easy to configure this aspect of Ubuntu as it is to track down display drivers for a fresh Windows install.

I think that installing fonts is one of the only remaining things that you can’t do easily with a GUI in Ubuntu, but the Penguin does ever make progress …

Edit:  Nevermind; looks like the feature isn’t going to make into Gutsy (Ubuntu’s next release).  Ah well.  Perhaps next time around …

Yay Condoms

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Patch Says,

I think that one of the most damaging things I “learned” in the altogether poor sex ed class I took in Junior high was that condoms degrade the overall sexual experience because they are a) a hassle and b) “drastically” reduce the sensation a man feels during sex.

I believe that the motivation behind that little gem of “teaching” was that my sex ed teacher was trying to discourage us from having sex by teaching us that a) sex was very dangerous and b) having sex using contraceptives was having lousy sex, so we should just wait ’til we were married and wanted rugrats and didn’t have to deal with all that stuff.

The overall effect of this was to bias me against condoms, and it’s taken longer to get over that than it took to get over my fear of sex. Which was, I think, an overall negative …

So, for the record, and in the interest of undoing as much general bad-sex-ed-class damage floating around in the world as I possibly can, let me present the following observations:

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