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Comment author: ChristianKl 26 July 2014 07:45:33PM 3 points [-]

The word "circumnavigate" is always used with Magellan - it may as well be his middle name. It's used in the first two sentences on Magellan's page at La Wik.

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point. A five grade student who reads an article about Magellan might copy the word without understanding it.

A teacher who wants to check whether the students actually understand is going to want that the student expresses his ideas within their own vocabulary and not simply copy words of an article they read.

I personally had teachers not understand a point I made because of not understanding that strategy and tactics are two different words with different meaning but I hadn't an issue with teacher complaining that I'm not speaking in my own vocabulary when writing essays.

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 11:26:45PM 5 points [-]

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point.

Not really. I'm sure "circumnavigate" wasn't in my usual vocabulary but its meaning is simple enough to determine from context. I don't think its reasonable to penalize someone for using a word they would pretty much have to pick up when learning about a topic.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 26 July 2014 12:26:29PM *  8 points [-]

Not like certain people living in certain countries, who were, it was said, as human as anyone else; who were said to be sapient beings, worth more than any mere unicorn. But who nonetheless wouldn't be allowed to live in Muggle Britain. On that score, at least, no Muggle had the right to look a wizard in the eye.

Sorry, but I'm not a fan of this part - its not like Britain has immigration policies that ban certain races or religions, so I can only assume EY is arguing in favour of totally unrestricted immigration. But the UK has only a certain amount of room, and there are non-xenophobic economic arguments against unrestricted immigration, e.g. putting too much strain on the NHS. But regardless of the arguments for and against, arguing against immigration is not the same as being indifferent to the lives of everyone who lives in a different country.

I did enjoy the rest of the chapter however. Quirrel's statements about horcruxes were initially surprising - if he is telling the truth, then how is he still alive? If not, then wouldn't he want Harry experimenting with horcruxes in order to turn him to the dark side?

The most plausible possibility is that he wants Harry's help to get the philosopher's stone, and his initial prohibition is reverse psychology. This does help turn Harry against Dumbledoor, but no more than experimenting with horcruxes. Given this, it seems likely that he needs Harry's invisibility cloak / planning ability / human patronus / possibly partial transfiguration to capture the stone.

Still, Quirrel seems to be leaving this too late. Surely it would have been better to move against the stone very soon after the unicorn incident - by which time, Harry's anti-death ideology was very obvious, and emotionally driving. Moving against the stone when comparitivly healthy must increase the chances of success, and if it all goes wrong Quirrel could still have tried to fight his way out...

Unless Quirrel isn't actually as ill as he looks. He seems to have got a lot worse between May 13th and June 3rd.

Edit: I am not arguing that all immigration is bad and everyone should live in neoreactionary ethno-nationalist states. I'm saying that its possible to want to prevent certain people who e.g. have a record of violent criminal behaviour from immigrating to where you live, while still recognising that these people are still human.

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 01:40:10PM *  17 points [-]

Not like certain people living in certain countries, who were, it was said, as human as anyone else; who were said to be sapient beings, worth more than any mere unicorn. But who nonetheless wouldn't be allowed to live in Muggle Britain. On that score, at least, no Muggle had the right to look a wizard in the eye.

I was surprised by that passage. If anything, it seems magical Britain is more exclusivist. Magical Britain only invited Hermione in because she's a British witch. The 99.9% of people who are born muggle are excluded completely. I also don't get the impression that foreign born wizards/witches are automatically invited to Hogwarts. So they are magic-nationalists as well.

They even forbid beneficial muggle-wizard trade, which probably results in the deaths of millions of muggles.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 July 2014 12:42:14PM 1 point [-]

Harry completely started using magic when he went to Hogwarts. If he has basically learned year one and year two in one year I think that's okay.

Canon or not, this reminds me too much of the public school system of a certain country where kids are verboten to use words "they shouldn't know yet".

Link?

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 01:24:23PM 5 points [-]

Not a public school, but in 5th grade I wrote a short paper about Ferdinand Magellan and used the word "circumnavigate." My teacher accused me of copying, and I had to rewrite the paper using smaller words.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 21 July 2014 08:15:05AM 0 points [-]

Probably a similarity between Putin 2014 and Hitler 1938.

Comment author: knb 22 July 2014 06:59:26PM 0 points [-]

Or maybe Europe finally learned the lessons of 1914 (i.e. not to start an apocalyptic war over relatively trivial matters.)

Comment author: Algernoq 16 July 2014 04:16:59AM 0 points [-]

The point is to build something useful, for less cost -- using self-replication to undercut the price of cheap imported robots.

Comment author: knb 17 July 2014 07:22:34AM 4 points [-]

"Self-replicating" will not undercut the price for robots for the same reason 3D printers don't undercut the market for cheap plastic items. Large scale manufacture has huge cost advantages from using specialized equipment.

Comment author: knb 15 July 2014 10:39:53PM 0 points [-]

Interesting post. I thought this comparison from CNET was a bit misleading:

I drive a 1964 car. I also have a 2010. There's not that much difference -- gross performance indicators like top speed and miles per gallon aren't that different. It's safer, and there are a lot of creature comforts in the interior," said Nvidia Chief Scientist Bill Dally. If Moore's Law fizzles, "We'll start to look like the auto industry."

Car progress is clearly slower than computer progress, but it does seem very substantial:

The most recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that five-year-old vehicles had about one-third fewer problems than the five-year-old vehicles we studied in April 2005. In fact, owners of about two-thirds of those vehicles reported no problems. And serious repairs, such as engine or transmission replacement, were quite rare.

One third fewer problems every 5 years seems like a very substantial rate of progress. It would be interesting to see if this rate of progress has continued from 2010-2014.

Comment author: knb 08 July 2014 12:13:16AM 1 point [-]

This article appears just below "16 Epic Jon Stewart Insults Worthy of Shakespeare" in Alternet's current most-read list.

Comment author: Salemicus 23 June 2014 04:34:39PM 14 points [-]

Firstly, it is an outrageous slur to think that the right-wing equivalent of Upworthy is the BNP. The right-wing equivalent is, of course, the Daily Mail, which has so mastered the art of click-baitery as to become the most read newspaper in the world (as of 2013 - may no longer be true).

Secondly, the social media cluster to which Less Wrong belongs is, obviously, Salon, Slate, and works of that ilk. Yes, Caliban, it's true.

And no, you cannot raise the sanity waterline with social media. All you will get is (as the joke goes) people enthusiastically retweeting a study that finally proves what they'd always believed about confirmation bias.

Comment author: knb 24 June 2014 04:02:13AM *  4 points [-]

Secondly, the social media cluster to which Less Wrong belongs is, obviously, Salon, Slate, and works of that ilk. Yes, Caliban, it's true.

This seems obviously untrue. Salon and Slate don't seem to have any intellectual or philosophical content other than "left good, right bad." Salon/slate are also borderline buzzfeed clones at this point. Laughably bad.

Comment author: lmm 17 June 2014 08:44:59PM 3 points [-]

I've heard it went better for the Cherokee than for other tribes, which is why the Cherokee are the ones most people have heard of.

Comment author: knb 22 June 2014 01:49:33AM *  1 point [-]

The most successful tribe at adapting to the conditions of European settlement were the Comanches, who dominated a huge region of the west for about 100 years.

Comment author: Salemicus 16 June 2014 10:02:28PM 12 points [-]

How should people facing colonization act to avoid cultural and economic subjugation?

They ought to subjugate themselves, obviously!

Or, to be a little less flip; if you are facing such a fate, it is because your society is overwhelmingly weaker than its rivals. Yes, as Lumifer, below, suggests, the Native Americans needed weaponry, but it's hardly an accident that they lacked it - they weren't capable of manufacturing such things for themselves, or of producing anything of value to offer in exchange for the weaponry. As a result, they were forced to rely on the goodwill and charity of their neighbours, which is just as disastrous for nations as is it for individuals. Even if the USA had left the natives well alone, the Mexicans, or the French, or some other predatory nation would have wiped them out.

What the Native Americans needed to do was to reorganise their society, to give up their traditional way of life, to live in cities, to adopt the settlers' customs, laws, methods of production, and so on. See, for example, the example of Japan 60 years later.

Comment author: knb 22 June 2014 01:31:21AM *  3 points [-]

What the Native Americans needed to do was to reorganise their society, to give up their traditional way of life, to live in cities, to adopt the settlers' customs, laws, methods of production, and so on. See, for example, the example of Japan 60 years later.

The most successful example of Native American resistance against colonizers were the Comanches, who did pretty much the opposite of this. Instead of settling down, they shifted from being semi-sedentary to highly mobile. They did not practice agriculture or even animal husbandry. They foraged and lived off of seized livestock.

Adapting doesn't mean copying your enemy. When you copy from your enemies, best case scenario you become a match for them one-on-one. Realistically something is usually lost in translation when you copy, and it takes a long time to get up to speed. And in this case it was completely hopeless because Natives were much fewer in number and had various heritable vulnerabilities to disease and alcohol.

In other words, when things are asymmetric, you use asymmetric warfare.

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