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Comment: Re:Good to hear there are reasonable parents left. (Score 1) 79

by Jason Levine (#46824829) Attached to: Parents' Privacy Concerns Kill 'Personalized Learning' Initiative

Given that the uploaded data would have included IEP information (including medical diagnoses), disciplinary information, and even teen pregnancy information, all those would have been possible.

Of course, InBloom has been shut down but some of the data had been uploaded. What happened to that data? Who has it now and will it be deleted or used for "other purposes"?

Comment: Re:Terrorists, not tourists (Score 1) 227

Yes, statistically non-existent, but the question still remains how you could have security so "tight" that you can't take a bottle of shampoo on-board (for fear that you'll squirt it on someone's eyes?!!!) but a person can sneak over the fence surrounding the airport, get all the way to the plane, and climb up into the wheel well undetected. Was this a one-time lapse in security or is the security around the plane itself as they prep it for takeoff just that horrible? And if the latter, why not beef up that security and leave the passengers alone? (Where "leave the passengers alone" means revert to pre-911 passenger screening measures.)

Comment: Re:Milk that cow! (Score 1) 178

by Jason Levine (#46819887) Attached to: Netflix Plans To Raise Prices By "$1 or $2 a Month"

Plus, unlike the different cable providers, these services actually compete. Sure, Netflix might have exclusive Show A while Amazon has exclusive Show B, but they are both vying for our entertainment dollars. Right now, the cable companies have divided up the market into exclusive zones so there is only one cable operator per location. (There might be some overlap, but that's the exception, not the rule.)

Comment: Re:Milk that cow! (Score 1) 178

by Jason Levine (#46819875) Attached to: Netflix Plans To Raise Prices By "$1 or $2 a Month"

The only reason we haven't cut the cord is that our cable provider gave us a good deal: $85 a month for TV and Internet. Ditching TV would save us $50 a month but some of that savings would be eaten up by purchasing shows on Amazon VOD that we (or our boys) like and wouldn't want to miss - like Mythbusters. However, if our deal expires and the cable company won't give us a good deal again, the cord is getting cut. We're not paying $100+ a month for television.

Comment: Re:Milk that cow! (Score 2) 178

by Jason Levine (#46819847) Attached to: Netflix Plans To Raise Prices By "$1 or $2 a Month"

You can't count the full cost of your Internet service unless you ONLY use your Internet service for Netflix. A normal Netflix household will use their Internet connection for a few things including Netflix. So the true cost of Netflix is $7.99 a month plus some fraction of your monthly Internet service fees (the latter of which will vary from house to house).

Still a better deal than cable TV.

Comment: Re:Schools are operated by cowards (Score 1) 79

One of the big problems with InBloom was that there was no "option" of using it. The children's data would be uploaded whether the parents wanted it to be or not. For example, my wife and I were opposed to InBloom and didn't want our sons' information uploaded to their cloud servers. We couldn't opt-out, though. Like it or not, our sons' data would have been uploaded to InBloom's system and there would have been nothing we could have done to stop it. (Beyond complaining loudly to our politicians - which we did.)

Had InBloom been an opt-in or even an opt-out procedure, many of the objections might have gone away. But then, they wouldn't have been able to sell their system as one central place to manage *ALL* student data.

Comment: Re:Good to hear there are reasonable parents left. (Score 2) 79

We were fighting it like crazy and it was our kids' data we were concerned about. One of the big problems was that it wasn't opt-in. It wasn't even opt-out. It was "the government has decreed that parents aren't allowed to opt out." So you couldn't make an informed decision about InBloom. Your child's data was going there whether you liked it or not. Add in the fact that InBloom stated that they would release the data to "third parties" and you can see why parents like my wife and I were fighting it as much as we could.

We were happy to hear that InBloom was being shut down. The only problem with the shut down? What about the data that was already uploaded? Who is getting that and what are they going to use it for?

Comment: Re:Isn't parody protected in the US? (Score 1) 168

by Jason Levine (#46797863) Attached to: Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

This is the reason I don't vote.

I'm very saddened to hear that ... why throw away your vote? Vote for an independent, instead.

I've got to agree. A lot of people think that not voting for the Democrat or Republican is "throwing your vote away" because that third party candidate has a zero chance of winning. I do agree with the latter portion of the statement: Third party candidates, for the most part, don't have much chance of winning. However, this is *because* people vote for D or R (or don't vote at all) instead of voting for a third party candidate. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. People won't vote for a non-major party candidate unless they have a realistic shot at winning, but they won't have a realistic shot at winning unless people vote for them.

Why vote third party then? To send a message. If a third party candidate gets a large enough portion of the votes, the major parties will take notice and will rush to coopt the issue as their own. They aren't stupid. If there's a groundswell of support for an issue, they'll tumble over themselves embracing it. In essence, voting third party can change the two major parties.

Why not simply withhold your vote? Because not voting sends no message at all. You might think it's a grand gesture at the politicians but it's a gesture the politicians can't see. How do you tell the difference between "I'm protesting the two major parties" and "I just don't care enough about any issue to go out and vote"?

Comment: Turnabout (Score 1) 216

by Jason Levine (#46785445) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Excuse me while I try to get them to follow me on Twitter because I just wrote on a piece of paper: "If GM follows me on Twitter then they owe me $5 million dollars and cannot contest this in a court of law." Thus, by following me on Twitter, they will have entered into the super-secret contract. Don't worry, though, I plan on splitting the money with the rest of my followers.

Comment: Re:The vessel matters (Score 1) 588

by Jason Levine (#46747311) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

What's your logical foundation for your belief that all human life is precious?

Suppose we decide that all human life isn't precious. (Not based on religious beliefs, but based on simple human decency.) Are some human lives more valuable than others? According to your logic, we should just let people get measles and if they die they die. What if they have a certain knowledge or talent that many people find useful? Perhaps they are a beloved author or a celebrated scientist who keeps making great discoveries. Maybe the person is a master at getting warring regions to sign even-handed peace treaties or helps the needy. Whatever they do, let's suppose their contributions to society are very important. Do we save them?

If not, we've lost some huge contributions to society. If so, we're headed down a path where people dictate which people are more important (and thus will be saved) and which people aren't (and thus will die). That's a scary path to go down.

Comment: Re:Bloody Idiot (Score 2) 588

by Jason Levine (#46746517) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

True. (Penn and Teller's original statement was much more effective than my paraphrasing.)

My only quibble would be that - were it just the anti-vaxxers' kids' health at stake, I might be able to be convinced that this is a "parental choice" issue. It would still be a tough sell, of course, but it would be within the realm of possibility. The problem is that when an anti-vaxxer doesn't get their kid vaccinated, they are also putting other people at risk - people who can't get the vaccine because of age (babies) or actual medical problems (allergies, immune system issues). These people rely on herd immunity and anti-vaxxers are weakening that to the point of collapse.

Comment: Re:This is an ancient one... (Score 2) 588

by Jason Levine (#46746287) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I saw the "toxins" shift as more of a response to the rest of their claims being debunked left and right. Every time they claimed something specific (e.g. "mercury in vaccines causes autism!!!"), they would be proven wrong quickly and repeatedly. With the "toxins" claim, they are vague enough that they can't be disproved and yet "toxins" is scary enough of a word to convince some people not to vaccinate. After all, who wants to expose their kids to [scary voice] TOXINS!!! [/scary voice]

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau