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Comment Spectre of Autism... (Score 4, Interesting) 580

It seems that people have forgotten the autism/thiomersal hysteria of a few years back -- just in time to deliver a generation of unvaccinated kiddos into our schools. Unfortunately, the "thiomersal-autism-link" was promoted loudly by people like the well-meaning, but misinformed Jenny McCarthy as panicked parents sought answers for the "autism outbreak". Autsim is heavily over-represented in families that have engineers as family members. See this article from Scientific American (paywall, sorry): http://www.scientificamerican.... The referenced UK survey showed that families with engineers in them can have between 2.5 to 8.6 *times* the statistical occurrence of autism in their children. Even though the whole thiomersal-autism link has been debunked, in the intervening time a lot of people have sadly opted out of vaccinating their kids -- better "safe-than-sorry" seemed the prevailing wisdom -- until science can make a ruling on it, right? After all, when was the last time a kid came down with measles? ...This against the backdrop of seeing kids with a life-long devastating condition like autism -- nearly every family I know in Silicon Valley knows one or more families that are stricken with it. I personally know over half a dozen, including my own son. Unfortunately, the success of vaccinations seems to have been blunted everyone's memory of why we did it in the first place. As parents, all of us try to make the best decisions based on the most current studies/data available, but the tragedy is that current prevailing wisdom failed us on this one. --Ace

Comment Re:Nothing new? (Score 1) 738

Hah! I appreciate the wisdom behind that statement. Companies that continue to think of their technical staff as an easily-replaced commodity eventually learn the error of their ways. The problem that I've seen lately is that if enough companies actually do this (treat engineering as a commodity) in a small community, an atmosphere is created where the top coders end up being high-priced hired guns that consult for a short period and generate all the "glory" code with the majority of good coders having to do all the finishing work (which is the majority of the work) -- and end up working for an ungrateful employer. A very sad state of affairs... one that I hope does not get broader adoption.

Comment What's the fuss? (Score 2) 362

Why is everyone reacting like this is a new concept with vehicles? I bricked my '76 Plymouth Duster when it threw a piston rod through the sidewall of the engine one time. I nearly bricked a horse while walking him through a rocky-bottomed stream when he slipped. The motive force in any mode of transportation is susceptible to going down and effectively making you put wear on the soles of your shoes -- but the electric car will eventually be more reliable (far fewer moving parts and no need for hay/oats or brushing) and it will be far more ecologically sound (less need for oil derricks and belchy/gassy large animals). -- Ace

Inmates Escape As Guard Plays Plants Vs. Zombies 87

dotarray writes "Everybody knows that there's a certain risk one takes when playing addictive, engrossing games can be trouble when you're meant to be doing something else. The prevalence of awesome games on the iPhone hasn't helped that risk. A Plants Vs. Zombies loving police officer has learned this the hard way after an escape."

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White