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Comment: Re:Large herbivores were doomed from the start (Score 2) 112

by hey! (#49608019) Attached to: Empty Landscape Looms, If Large Herbivores Continue to Die Out

Err... really? Sixty million American Bison disappeared from the Great Plains because they were big? Then why did the passenger pigeon over the same period go from the most numerous bird in the world to extinct? It's true that the largest baleen whale -- the Blue Whale, is listed as "threatened"; but the smallest baleen whale, the pygmy right whale is either extinct or very close to it.

It's not as simple as big == headed for extinction. Sometimes bigness is a factor in extinction, sometimes it's a factor in survival.

Comment: Re: Hahah (Score 1) 205

And you're telling me you and your friends never did anything stupid? When you were 15 you were as sober as a 30 year-old?

Or maybe treating kids like nothing they do has consequences,

This is what is called a false dichotomy. You don't treat kids like adults who have misbehaved; you treat kids like kids who have misbehaved. Or do you think that a 12 year-old who starts a fire playing with matches should be treated like a 40 year who starts a fire playing with matches, because in the end they did the same thing?

What I'm saying is take the age of the offender into account in how you punish them. This isn't some kind of radical new liberal idea. It's how this country operated until the end of the 20th C.

Comment: Re: Hahah (Score 1) 205

Yours apparently has some way to go. Or maybe it's too far gone.

The brain isn't one big ball of mush. It has different parts that perform different functions. You get injured in your Broca's area and you won't be able speak or write. I've seen it in stroke patients; it doesn't matter that the rest of their brains is just good as new, they don't have any expressive language. Likewise if your orbital frontal cortex is damaged or not fully developed yet, you're going to act like an ass. Doesn't matter how smart or well-meaning you are.

Teenaged brains can be misleading, because in some ways they're at their lifetime peak. But at the same time they suck at certain things. A smart fifteen year-old can explain the difference between right and wrong, between a smart and stupid action. But he can't be trusted to act in accordance to that kind of knowledge, because among other things the OFC isn't finished yet. This is why parents get fooled into thinking their wonderful children won't do dumb things. You simply cannot expect a teenager to act intelligently because he has knowledge. The knowledge helps, but it does't determine behavior in a fifteen year-old as it does in a thirty year-old.

Comment: Re:Hahah (Score 1) 205

He did the crime (actually several), he must do the time.

If he wants to play big boy games then he must accept big boy penalties. Fuck your PC "Oh but he's a kid with his whole life ahead of him!" bullshit, he's chosen his path, let him reap the consequences.

That's just a straw man argument. The actual problem with treating him as an adult is that that is contrary to fact. He is not an adult.

In the state of Georgia a fifteen year-old cannot vote; he cannot purchase liquor; cannot obtain a driver's license, cannot hold a full-time job. The rules we have for minors assume they're incapable of making adult choices. It's logically inconsistent to believe minors are not competent to make responsible decisions, but then claim we should treat them as if they can decide responsibly because they've failed to do so. When have you ever used reasoning like that for anything else? I had a housemate once who decided to become her own herbalist. She went to the herb store and bought a lot of herbal shit and promptly made herself sick. By your logic I should go to her for medical treatment because (a) I previously had reason to believe she was not competent to practice medicine and (b) her subsequent actions proved my suspicions correct.

You don't need some namby-pamby PC mumbo jumbo to know that most teenagers have a penchant for doing spectacularly stupid things, but that *most* of them grow out it. That's common sense, and the law should take that into account. And science actually backs up common sense here. Most people's brains go through a development spurt in their "executive functions" (acting according to long term plans, inhibiting impulsive actions, directing attention) when they're around fifteen. That means there's roughly a 50/50 chance someone under sixteen is neurologically incapable of not acting like a jackass.

So both science and common sense tell us that treating children as if they were adults is irrational and serves no useful purpose. That doesn't mean you do nothing when kids commit crimes. That's a false dichotomy. It means you do something different.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49605425) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold


I first met with the TJ administration in May in an attempt to fix the environment in our computer science labs. School officials didnâ(TM)t stop using the centerfold image in the classroom until February, after I met with them again.

Sounds like the school saw things her way... at least eventually.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49605367) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

Because someone will find something offensive about the picture of your wife...

So what? If significantly fewer people find it offensive, then its better.

And I can pretty much guarantee than an innocuous headshot photo I take of perfectly normal woman wearing a hat with a feather on it will prove to be far less controversial than a cropped playboy centerfold from the 70s.

Therefore, why not just use the one we already have.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49605317) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

You know why, your just being deliberately obtuse.

I am not being obtuse. I am well aware it is both a common and famous image. I've seen it several times over the years.

But the only real objection to dropping it amounts to "In a perfect world no one would think we should have to".

To that I would say "Grow up". The entire so-called standard image collection is extremely low resolution, poor quality color, and dated. Nobody is really doing real science on it anymore. We have libraries with thousands of equal or better images. People don't pick Lenna for their publication to compare it with old research - people pick her because she's like a mascot.

We can pick a new mascot image. It won't break science.

Lots of sports teams in the US have dropped their traditional names and selected new mascots over the years due to being inappropriately offensive to native americans. Even now The Washington Redskin's owner is kicking and screaming to hold onto that name, but the writing is on the wall; and its only a matter of time until that gets changed too.

Lenna is a central story in computer imaging history and that's fine. Let it just become history. It's not a appropriate photo anymore, it never really was.

This is a school that is supposed to be developing kids to do advanced work in the field.

So, not using the image in a high school assignment will somehow diminish the students education? Absurd.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49604961) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

Are we going to begin punishing people for having poor judgement?

Yes. That's exactly what we do. There are consequences. In most cases simply altering ones behavior to better meet expectations is sufficient.

Except - powerful people aren't held to such a standard. Look at Clinton. That skank has such poor judgement, I wonder how she has managed to feed herself all her life,

This really doesn't need to devolve into politics. No question the world is not remotely fair.

Do the course work, and stop worrying about the people around you. They don't matter. Do the work, get your grade, pass the course, and move on. That is what growing up is all about, right?

You've essentially said the students shouldn't question authority or express themselves when they see misogyny or injustice etc. Yes they will learn the world isn't a perfect place -- that is part of growing up. But trying to change it, and changing what you can is a part of growing up too.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49604815) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

What's the point? The only difference would be the photographer.

The point? My version wouldn't be a crop of a nude woman that would belong to playboy. There would be nothing the least bit controversial about it, and it would have all the same technical merits in terms of suitability as a test case for an image processing alogorithm.

I don't see how continuing to use the image helps them, though.

What does what "you see" have to do with it? Frankly I agree with you about the image itself. I am not personally offended by it.

But surely you accept the empirical evidence that many other people do find even the idea of the use of a centerfold image lifted (even cropped) from Playboy to be inappropriate in an academic setting.

I see it. I even agree its inappropriate. Its certainly not something I'd knowingly do if I were selecting images to create a sample set of images for high school course.

Comment: Re:Dear Young Mr Zug (Score 1) 563

by vux984 (#49604777) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold


your right. it meets a technical definition of censorship. I withdraw my objection based on it not being censorship.

However, even if I accept its "censorship", so what? There is nothing wrong whatsoever with not doing something that pops into your head because you realize other people would not appreciate it, would not understand, or would be offended by it.

There is nothing wrong with that. Yet you make out like its universally wrong. That's ridiculous.

Or are you really suggesting that a high school computer science teacher is showing good judgement if he goes through his porn collection, crops a bunch of the images of various porn actresses and provides those as his sample data set, with attribution. (Because not providing proper attribution is itself academic dishonesty.)

Does he have the right to do it? Sure. Because otherwise censorship right?

But does everyone else have a right to tell him he's an idiot, and refuse to do the assignment, and complain the administration that they feel the assignment is completely inappropriate, and demand he be replaced with a teacher who doesn't make decisions like this. Why yes, they can, because if they couldn't that would be censorship too. And around we go.

Some measure of reasonable self-censorship is part of normal social lubricant. Whether or not you personally feel the image is offensive you are aware that it controversial. If you select it knowingly you provoke controversy. If if you provoke controversy... then own the consequences.

While you have the right to offend. Other people have the right to be offended.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert