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Comment: Re:Biased Institutions FTW (Score 1) 784

That "first errand" is pretty much how I handled parenting, without the involvement of school/police/whatever supervision. I would lurk in the background while my kids went on their quasi-independent journeys of discovery, gradually increasing the radius of their area of autonomy proportional to their age and ability.

The other determining factor was indeed specific location. In our quiet suburb north of Houston, I didn't have a problem with my daughter playing unattended near the house for short periods. In a neighborhood in north Dallas with a MUCH higher crime rate, greater population density, and nearby high-traffic roads... we didn't even let her go to the mailbox in front of the house without a parent within arm's reach, and by then she was 8.

A later move to Cheyenne, Wyoming gave them nearly unlimited freedom. Our son would walk a mile or two from our house to the nearest school playground by the time he was 10, and 13-year-old daughter had no problem walking a couple of miles through the middle of town to get from a friend's house to the library.

Last time we visited Dallas, our vehicle broke down and I had to walk to a convenience store to get transmission fluid. My son - by then 15 - came with me, and with his physical training from karate and football I was glad to have him along to protect me.

Comment: Re:Just what's needed! (Score 2) 138

by Deep Esophagus (#48762253) Attached to: Connected Gun Lets Anyone Watch What Or Who You Are Shooting

You know, I'm a bit right-of-center on gun issues (which means that in most conversations I manage to piss off both my more conservative and more liberal friends, often with the same statement). I have no problem with widespread gun ownership and use of guns for personal self-defense.

But this... holy mother of Charles Whitman, how can this not get into the wrong hands with tragic consequences? Random urban sniper sprees just got a whole lot worse.

Comment: Re:It is simple (Score 1) 755

by Deep Esophagus (#48704875) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

I wish I could mod you beyond the +5 you already got; you summarized the problem perfectly.

It's called faith for a reason. Yes, I see God's work in everything from the dance of electrons (and smaller!) to the dance of galaxies, but I am quite aware that is a subjective interpretation of the same evidence that others see as obvious proof God does not exist.

"An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."

I am always embarrassed when scientists who are Christians claim that this or that archaeological or biological feature proves the existence of God, or young-earth creation, or whatever. There's so much confirmation bias it's a wonder any actual science ever gets done. We would achieve more good if we stop indulging in flawed arguments and simply let folks see God in the way we behave (hint: all you need is love).

Comment: Re:Kind of disappointed in him. (Score 2) 681

by Deep Esophagus (#48690081) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

I'm a conservative [read: slightly on the conservative side of dead center, with the added bonus of holding views that piss off my friends on both sides of the aisle] evangelical Christian, and I didn't see anything at all offensive about his posts. I've forwarded a couple of them on to my Christian and non-Christian friends. Really, I think this whole thing is an attempt by both Tyson and folks who make a career out of hating him to get media attention.

Comment: Re:Did he.. (Score 1) 65

by Deep Esophagus (#48684407) Attached to: White House Touts Obama's 1-Liner as 2014 Tech Highlight

That's my whole problem with the "hour of code": It's a symbolic gesture. At no point do the students ever actually write code; they just drag command blocks into place, all the while being told what to drag and where to place it. Even if they use the "View code" button, they only see the LOGO-like commands without any of the program structure around it. When my daughter was 10, she was writing graphic games of her own design in QuickBASIC. Kids are capable of so much more than this walled garden assumes.

I wouldn't object so much if this exercise were just the introductory step ("Now that you've seen how the command blocks create actual programming instructions, let's learn about conditional branching!")

Comment: Re:Is it a Node.js replacement? (Score 3, Insightful) 194

by Deep Esophagus (#48676255) Attached to: MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language

Hearing a disturbance, the master programmer went into the novice's cubicle.

"Curse these personal computers!" cried the novice in anger, "To make them do anything I must use three or even four editing programs. Sometimes I get so confused that I erase entire files. This is truly intolerable!"

The master programmer stared at the novice. "And what would you do to remedy this state of affairs?" he asked.

The novice thought for a moment. "I will design a new editing program," he said, "a program that will replace all these others."

Suddenly the master struck the novice on the side of his head. It was not a heavy blow, but the novice was nonetheless surprised. "What did you do that for?" exclaimed the novice.

"I have no wish to learn another editing program," said the master.

And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

This lesson from The Zen of Programming is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

Comment: Re:The best gift? (Score 1) 113

by Deep Esophagus (#48586461) Attached to: 2014 Geek Gift Guide

I thought this article might be somewhat useful, since I've never heard of Haselton and my daughter and I are both geeks, but... I have to admit that is a lot of text to wade through. I think much of the hostility is still overreaction, but... yeah, poorly written and (as others have noted) poorly researched.

And even if the article were reasonable and well formatted and provided useful information... who on the planet is waiting until the last minute to get their Christmas shopping done? I could have used this information two months ago, not now!

Comment: Re:"Ultimately, our users will decide" (Score 5, Insightful) 239

by Deep Esophagus (#48522921) Attached to: Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

Yeah, I'll also be switching to a new service if they force me into some app that looks more like twitter than conventional email. Consider this garbage (from the Wikipedia entry):

Google scans the email account for important and similar information. It then presents what it considers the most important parts of the email first and groups similar emails as "Bundles" that are named by type (e.g., "Travel" or "Updates"). It also converts physical addresses into Google Maps links and airline confirmation numbers into a flight status update.[2] Users can make custom Bundles as they would make Gmail filters, and can specify the time of day to show the Bundle.

I don't want bundles. I don't want them timed. I don't want Google to decide what is and isn't the "most important parts". I just want to see my email in the same format it was created.

Brain off-line, please wait.

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