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Comment: Re:Deaf community will hate this (Score 1) 101

by GnomeChompsky (#41321107) Attached to: Stem Cells Turn Hearing Back On

it's not just that. Deaf culture is different from mainstream Anglo-American culture, in the same way that Latino culture or Quebecois culture is different from it. Deaf people have different experiences from what you do.

That said, I think this could be a great boon to people who are hard of hearing, rather than deaf. They've been raised in a speaking culture and it's not fair or reasonable to expect them to assimilate into Deaf culture without having, for instance, learned ASL.

Also, there's extensive cortical reorganization that goes on when you are Deaf - auditory centres get recruited into visual systems; visual systems get recruited into language systems. You're not just going to wind up finding someone who is Deaf (particularly congenitally so), giving them stem cells, and having them be able to hear normally again. At best it is going to take a long, long time, because the neural pathways haven't grown that way.

The best application of this kind of technology would be Hearing people who have lost their ability to do so.

Comment: Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (Score 1) 371

by GnomeChompsky (#33461340) Attached to: Harvard Ditching Final Exams?

and when I was a student at a large school with large classes, I found those discussion sections terribly personalizing, and remained silent during them - not because I wasn't interested or wasn't smart (I'm doing a PhD right now), but because I am an introvert. I never felt like I learned very much in them, because I'd absorbed the material during the giant lecture; eventually I stopped going to them.

Large class sizes have their benefits.

Comment: Re:When Religion Meets Science (Score 1) 593

by GnomeChompsky (#33432300) Attached to: NIH Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research

I don't think you have to view embryos as non-human in order to be pro-choice. You may recognize that embryos are human, but that the mother's right to self-determination trumps their potential right to be born; or you might think that abortions are going to happen anyway (because they will) and you would rather that women had safe options at their disposal.

You can think that abortion is a tragedy that should be prevented through contraception, not legal sanction, and still be pro-choice.

Comment: Re:Donate them. Save a life. (Score 0) 307

by GnomeChompsky (#33264382) Attached to: Old (unused) mobile phones I've got hanging around ...

I suppose if you want to be completely safe, cut out the middle-man: donate directly to a local women's shelter or other organization - with the caveat that if you are going to do this, make sure the phone works.

The organization that NCADV operates with has a zero-landfill policy, and will not ship cell-phones overseas for disposal.

Comment: Donate them. Save a life. (Score 4, Insightful) 307

by GnomeChompsky (#33257474) Attached to: Old (unused) mobile phones I've got hanging around ...
You have an unwanted lump of plastic gathering dust somewhere in your household. Sad.

Someone else is under threat from their abusive ex.

A deactivated cell-phone can still be used to call 911.

Google "cell-phone donation" or just click here to go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

(There are similar programs to help the elderly, for whom a cell-phone might be a vital life-line in case they *ahem* fall and can't get up.)

Comment: Re:I'm heterosexual. (Score 1, Insightful) 348

by GnomeChompsky (#31382892) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

I bet you're also male, and probably also white. You probably never think about your gender or your race, because they are viewed by you and the rest of society as the default - you are presumed straight until proven otherwise.

The fact that you never have to critically assess your gender, sexuality or race are all reflections of privilege. Minorities, especially of the non-visible kind, need to disclose the information that they fall into a particular minority group - because otherwise, it's very easy to demonize them. If you don't know several gay men, it's easy to believe that all gay men are pedophiles.

You don't "need to know" that people you know and love are gay; *they* need you to know that.

Comment: Re:Modern Laws for a Modern Society (Score 1) 132

by GnomeChompsky (#30643900) Attached to: New Zealand Cyber Spies Win New Powers

I'd agree with you, except that police harassment is used to stifle dissent, often. There's an activist in Montreal (Canada, not an oppressive militant dictatorship) by the name of Jaggi Singh. In a city where jaywalking is illegal, but the norm, he has been given citations, and apparently also beaten in the process, several times. For giving speeches at protests, he has been arrested on charges of "inciting a riot."

Protesters at summits often face pepper spray and attack dogs. "Free speech zones" are not. Beyond this, though, minorities often face prejudice at the hands of the police - imagine how your life would be, if every time you drove to your high-paying job, you were stopped by the police because they didn't believe you could possibly own that nice a car.

The police don't really care about what's right and wrong; they care about enforcing order. Order favours the status quo. When police are given new powers, and this extends to powers that fundamentally breech citizens' rights to privacy, they invariably abuse them in order to maintain the status quo. We can't tolerate this in a civil society.

Comment: Not how the eye works? (Score 1) 152

by GnomeChompsky (#30228894) Attached to: Where Are Your Contact Lens Displays?

I guess it would work ok if the display were constantly changing, but static images on the retina fade pretty quickly. You might not notice it, but your eye is constantly moving (this is called saccadic movement) so that you keep being able to see things. Otherwise, you're not going to be able to see the stuff on these displays, because it will fade from vision like the blood vessels between your retina and your cornea.

Comment: As a Canadian living in the USA.... (Score 1) 505

by GnomeChompsky (#29068239) Attached to: How To Stop Businesses Storing SSNs Indefinitely?

I am SHOCKED at how often companies will ask for your SSN to do a credit check. Want a cell phone? SSN. Want Cox Cable Internet? SSN. Want any number of services for which a company is not becoming your creditor? SSN.

When I first found out that Cox wanted my SSN to allow me to sign up as a customer, I emailed to ask them how they would be storing my SSN, and for how long, and what security measures they had in place to prevent the theft of my SSN. They couldn't answer these questions. They just kept telling me that providing my SSN would allow them to determine whether I needed to pay a deposit before I started service. Well, if you're not competent enough to answer those questions for me, I'm not forking over my SSN........

I don't understand how this came to be the accepted norm in this country. It seems like a horrendous violation of privacy. It's just BEGGING to be abused.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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