Airedale

Airedale's Comments

Amanda Knox Guilty Again

I have seen a couple articles (e.g., here noting that the prosecution presented a new theory on motive this time around:

Prosecutors in the original trial said Knox and Sollecito, along with a man named Rudy Hermann Guede, had killed Kercher during a drug-fueled sex game in which the British student was an unwilling participant.

. . .

In the Florence retrial, prosecutor Alessandro Crini contended that the motive was rooted in arguments between roommates Knox and Kercher about cleanliness and was triggered by a toilet left unflushed by Guede, the only person now in jail for the murder.

The previously alleged motive had seemed implausible to me, but I can make even less sense of the new one. How did the prosecution argue that Guede and Sollecito had any motive to kill Kercher based on a disagreement about cleanliness between roommates Knox and Kercher? (Although the prosecution did not presumably have to prove anything against Guede, who has already been convicted, I would think they would still need to do something to make sense of his part in the murder.) I have not been able to find any accounts explaining more about exactly how the prosecution argued this new motive.

At any rate, even leaving aside the forensic evidence (or lack thereof), I would think that such a fundamental change in the theory of case would militate in favor of reversal on appeal (i.e., it suggests that the prosecution, rather than basing its theory on the evidence, has instead pursued a strategy of presenting any argument that results in the conviction of Knox and Sollecito), but I don't know enough about the Italian justice system to even know if such considerations are properly part of the appeal.

Problems in Education

That sounds close to a tautology to me.

Yeah, I didn't phrase that very clearly. My thinking was drawing a distinction between (1) what may be the smaller portion of resources that is always up for grabs (and that is perhaps mainly grants) and (2) the larger portion of resources that is not discretionary in the same way because it is awarded by the government without the competitive grant application process. Of course, there may still be opportunities to also influence how that larger portion of resources is distributed, e.g., lobbying or maybe gaming the system to affect the distribution in some way.

Problems in Education

Most of the money/resources schools receive comes in the form of grants.

Could you provide a source for that?

This claim definitely conflicts with my understanding, although perhaps it's true for that portion of resources that is actually up for grabs and not already committed through the normal funding (government) process.

This link is more in line with my understanding, that is, that most resources come from state and local government, and most of those resources are not awarded through "grants," but rather that local resources generally stay with local schools and state resources are divided in other ways but not usually through award of a grant. But I'd be interested in hearing if my (not heavily researched/sourced) understanding is incorrect either generally or at least for some portion of schools.

Some quotes from the link:

States rely primarily on income and sales taxes to fund elementary and secondary education. State legislatures generally determine the level and distribution of funding, following different rules and procedures depending on the state.

State funding for elementary and secondary education is generally distributed by formula. Many states use funding formulas that provide funding based on the number of pupils in a district. Some formulas are weighted based on different factors such as the number of students with disabilities, the number of students living in poverty, or the number of students for whom English is a second language. The allocation for students with different types of needs can vary significantly depending on the funding formula. Additionally, in some states the formula is designed so that higher poverty school districts with less access to local funding receive additional assistance.

Open Thread, November 16–30, 2012

Meta karma-related question that occurred to me on reading the post on Retributive Downvoting, but which didn't really fit there: One thing that I sometimes do in upvoting/downvoting is to calibrate my vote based on how many up or down votes the comment already has; for example, if a comment is at plus 10, but I think it's only a tiny bit good, I might downvote it; whereas if a comment is at -10, but I think it's only a little bit bad, I may upvote it (whereas if the little bit good comment was at 1-2, I would upvote, and it the little bit bad comment was at 0-1, I would downvote it).

But perhaps that is a wrong approach. Indeed, it would probably be inaccurate with a very new comment, but I am often rather late in reading through comment threads, and would guess that by the time I read through many comments have settled close to their ultimate score. Does anyone else do that, or have a view whether it is a correct or incorrect approach?

Reasons for someone to "ignore" you

This may overlap with some of the other issues listed, but I think it comes from a slightly different place mentally/emotionally: They're purposefully trying to disengage early rather than getting into a fight about who has the "last word" on the subject, e.g., on some level they may want to respond or even to "win" the exchange, but they're purposefully telling themselves to step away from the computer.

Random LW-parodying Statement Generator

I love it!

I wanna be the Society for Rare Diseases in Cute Puppies!.

I'm an aspiring babyeater.

The latest hot fanfic: Aubrey de Grey and the Methods of universal sex.

That which can be destroyed by awesome warm fuzzies should be.

In the new version of Newcomb's problem, you have to choose between a box containing timeless hugging and a box containing fun.

Under-acknowledged Value Differences

For example, when discussing gender-related problems, it seems inevitable that some proposed solutions will generally be better for men, and other solutions will generally be better for women. If people are selfish, then they will each prefer the solution that's individually best for them, even if they can agree on all of the facts. (It's unclear whether people should be selfish, but it seems best to assume that most are, for practical purposes.)

But isn't it possible that in any given bargaining situation there may also be a win-win solution that makes the pie bigger and leaves everybody better off than the status quo? Discussion, debate, and further exchange of information could at least theoretically lead to a previously unrecognized win-win situation being found.

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

** Not that I would expect it to work well; most people wouldn't consider the author a moral authority who's entitled to shame them. Behavior modification is hard.

Not a moral authority for most people who might stumble upon the post, sure, but I would guess that Scalzi is a reasonable facsimile of such of person for the audience of SFF fandom and con attendees at whom the post was more specifically aimed. He's perhaps not a "moral authority" but he is a person of sufficiently high status in that community that his words would carry some weight.

As for tone, it seems pretty typical of Scalzi-style prose, so again, for his main audience of fans, I don't know that tone would be a problem. The follow-up post linked on the page also seems to do a fair job explaining why the post is not just targeted to unrepentant creepers but also applies to people who may quite accidentally veer into that territory without even realizing it, and details how he has had to consciously check himself from doing so on occasion.

[Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings.

For sci fi for about that age, maybe Interstellar Pig, although it does not seem to be available on Kindle. Might be a little scary (scared me when I was about that age). Caveat - haven't read it since I was a kid, so not sure how well it holds up.

[Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings.

Even as an adult, I enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart. 4th/5th grade is probably about right. How can you not love a series with a book titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma?

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