Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: If you want to die, do it yourself (Score 1) 961

by KYPackrat (#45528237) Attached to: Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

My brother in law had cancer so bad that it had spread into his sternum (which was so rotted with cancer that it would flex with every breath). The doctor gave him a prescription for morphine in pill form, and told him exactly how much to take, and that something between 4x to 6x of the regular dose was right out because it would be fatal. Had said brother-in-law been so inclined, he then knew how much morphine to take to overdose (he wasn't). He instead passed away in relative comfort in the care of Hospice.

My father didn't arrange for Hospice for my grandmother, and her death was harder because of the breathing issues. My father complained after her death, and I had to resist reaching over and throttling him for his lack of insight.

If the elder Mr. Adams truly was suffering while dying, then Scott should have arranged for Hospice care. Failure to do so would have been Scott's fault.

Now, the younger Mr. Adams may be suffering from a category error: "death with dignity". We don't come into the world with dignity; we come in naked, ugly, and screaming. The concept that birth, life, or death should be sterile, peaceful, and risk-free is a fallacy of our modern selfish world. The concept that the process of death itself is suffering or "subhuman" is absurd; dying is just a part of living.

I respect the man who was paralyzed in bed and on a vent who asked for the vent to be turned off; he couldn't do so himself. If you are conscious, you have the right to refuse any medical treatment. If you are unconscious, you have the right to have written your desires out in advance. However, no person has the right to demand that another end his life for him; that is manslaughter. If you wish to choose your own time of life, then pick a time and a method, and then follow through with it. I won't think it's right, but at least it is respectable.

Most people demanding euthanasia on demand simply want someone else to do the deed so that they don't have to do the dirty work themselves.

Comment: The cost of doing the old business (Score 5, Interesting) 372

by KYPackrat (#44252305) Attached to: FCC Rural Phone Subsidies Reach As High As $3,000 Per Line

In the early 90s, an older couple in Eastern Kentucky decided to break down and pay for a landline telephone. GTE offered to drag them a line for $5000 or so (I forget the exact amount). Outraged, they appealed to the Kentucky Service Commission. The Commission discovered that GTE was going to have to pay almost $25k to get the line to them, and was already eating much more of the cost than could be demanded under the law. The couple chose not to get their phone line.

A friend of my father ran a lucrative contracting business that bid on GTE contracts. He kept mule drivers under contract, because they were often the only way to drag poles around certain parts of the Appalachians.

These days, this exact same couple would be able to pay $40 to $80 a month to get a cell phone. The tower will be a couple of hills over, with a microwave feed back to the home network and a small diesel generator on-site. For the cost of one phone line, an entire area can get phone and internet service.

The same economics are working in India and Africa. Excluding possibly power, there will be significant portions of the world that will never, ever be wired.

Comment: Having had a whooping cough outbreak in the family (Score 3, Interesting) 273

by KYPackrat (#43773609) Attached to: Uptick In Whooping Cough Linked To Subpar Vaccines

For any parent, guardian, or patient to make an informed decision, we have to have two pieces of information: how well a medicine generally works, and what risks there are to take it. Number One Son does this with several medicines: Colcrys controls the symptoms of his Familial Mediteranian Fever, at the risk of messing with his liver. He takes the flu shot because of the risk to the 1 and a half lung he has left are higher than the risks of the vaccine itself.

A vaccine that doesn't work, or doesn't work well, means that vaccinated patients are accepting the vaccine risk for no significant reward.

I am not anti-vaccine, I am just against unneeded risk. My kids got a round of the Salk vaccine, because the Sabin vaccine might wear out. We also did the chicken pox vaccine, to try to prevent shingles later in life (both families have had extreme shingles outbreaks later in life). OTOH, my daughter will NOT get the cervical cancer vaccine, because HPV is preventable in behavior and the real side-effect rate to the vaccine is a lot higher than the manufacturer is reporting.

My own anecdote is that the reporting on pertussis is off by at least half to two-thirds. Little Miss fought a persistent cough (with antibiotics) for weeks until her allergist said "oh, you have whooping cough. You sound exactly like I did last week." There was no use testing her, because she'd been on antibiotics. Milady and I both caught it from her. The nurse ruined my test by doing it wrong, and Milady's doctor flat-out wouldn't test her (she just got antibiotics, because she was #3 in the house to catch it). The scuttlebutt in the health profession was that the Health Department was desperately trying to keep their numbers down, by hook or by crook.

With my kids' various lung-related issues, they needed a vaccine that actually helps prevent whooping cough. The current one isn't it.

Comment: Re:Similarity to gun buybacks? (Score 2) 350

by KYPackrat (#42548577) Attached to: Connecticut Groups Cancels Plan to Destroy Violent Games

If the NRA is willing to sponsor a program like this one, I fail to see why they'd be protesting a gun buyback program in Tucson

The NRA doesn't sponsor video buybacks either. If they did, they'd be stupid. If someone did this trick in my neck of the woods, I'd do exactly what other posters suggested:
* Go to WalMart, GameStop, etc. and clean the $5 bin out.
* Get my $25 gift certificate for each.
* Repeat.

Gun buyback programs accomplish three goals:
1: They allow criminals to destroy evidence by safely ditching a "hot" gun.
2: They allow people to get above-retail value for broken or low-value firearms worth significantly less value than the turn-in amount.
3: Sucker owners of $200+ firearms into getting a feel-good coupon.

Numbers 1 and 3 are inherently immoral. The first destroys chains of evidence, because you can't prove that the defendant ever used a certain gun. If done outside the color of the law, people would be going to jail as "accessories after the fact".

Number 3 is theft as well: most people who turn guns in at gun buybacks are poor, and they could use the full value (usually $200 to $1000, or more) of the gun for their regular budget. Instead, they are convinced to take a token so that others feel good.

Number 2 is theft if public money is used too. Private citizens come in, selling crap and getting $100 back, money taken from their fellow citizens. To take the Tuscon buyback as an example: a woman tried to sell four rifles, but got no takers. I've sold into this environment; gun stores in Kentucky were buying .303 Enfields (in very poor, but working, shape) for $75 a year ago (now that same gun would be $125 wholesale, at least). If she couldn't walk into a gun store and get $50 each, then those rifles were complete crap, and Tuscon got ripped off.

Buybacks are worthless. Look at LA: the chief of police out there keeps trotting out the same plastic "rocket launcher" trainers and clean AK-47s (sorry, no criminal EVER touched those guns) after every buyback. If he really showed what they got, it's be boxes of broken Davis autoloaders, rusted top-break .32 revolvers, and single-shot shotguns that have bounced around in the back of a pickup since the 40s. All a city gets is boxes of scrap metal, criminals with cash to buy their next gun, and citizens who get the shaft.

As for fighting the Tucson buyback: State law says abandoned and surplus property has to be auctioned. The guns were turned over to the state: they're either abandoned or surplus. Why in the world should a citizen expect the state to do what the law says?

Comment: Re:If only... (Score 1) 701

by KYPackrat (#40249649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Teaching Chemistry To Home-Schooled Kids?

There were a place that children could go, and be taught by experts (or at least knowledgable people) about topics their parents we not experts in...

We tried this once. In first grade, the teacher suggested that we teach our son how to beat up the class bully (and later suggested our first homeschool curriculum). The principal looked at me and told me she had made it clear to said bully that eating lunch with her was a punishment. When we made it clear that any more attacks of Number One Son by said bully would result in us calling the lawyers and suing individuals, they put him beside the mainstreamed autistic child (who screamed all day), so that the child's aide could keep the two apart.

The problem was simple. The previous principal had been fired for having a backbone. The current principal was going to retire with her pension, and that meant no waves. A turnip would have been more productive than the superintendent in office at the time.

We have friends and relatives in the local systems. The few that thought we should have stayed originally have changed their minds and told us to stay out at all costs.

Comment: Help shore up the reading, then hit Apologia (Score 1) 701

by KYPackrat (#40249539) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Teaching Chemistry To Home-Schooled Kids?

The first step is to help your grandson get his reading back in shape. Go Google homeschooler forums for reading programs; there are a lot of problem readers who flourish in homeschooling because they can find the right solution for THEM, not for the particular school district or reading tudor in question. Boys taking longer to read or write "well" is common; just be sure that he doesn't need glasses or doesn't have an undiagnosed reading disorder.

Both of my kids loved Apologia Science. Get your grandson the General Science curriculum (https://apologia.securesites.net/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2), and purchase both the book set and the multimedia CD. The multimedia CD is wonderful for interactive learners on the computer. The experiments include chemistry labs, and use household chemicals.

Most everyone I know taking the class has run it over 2 years, so there's nothing wrong with starting early and taking a while.

Fair warning: Wile is a young-earth creationist, and doesn't hide it. If you consider this position unacceptable, you're going to have to find someone else's book.

Comment: Oh, Come on, no one has posted this yet? (Score 1) 409

by KYPackrat (#40083437) Attached to: Sci-fi Writer Elizabeth Moon Believes Everyone Should Be Chipped

OK, I will then.

Also (the second beast) causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. Revelation 13:16-17 ESV

The concept is hardly original to Ms. Moon....

Comment: Re:Google's X Prize for those going to the Moon (Score 2, Informative) 74

by KYPackrat (#39738161) Attached to: In Google's Moon Race, Teams Face a Reckoning

Money is nominally a store of the value of people's labor(*). That's why we donate money now: we're giving the "liquid" form of our labor to a charity group, so that they can directly buy the products and labor to fill a need.

The existance of Google's competition directly refute your idea. It's private money being staked by Google and the team sponsors that made this price possible. Even governments have to use taxed money: moving the labor from those taxed so that the people in NASA/ESA/etc. can get fed. Without some way to "move" people's labor efficiently, you can try the North Korea approach (a country of slave labor), but we can all see how efficient that is.

A lot of people have come up with alternate economies, and most just call money by some other term. The rest usually just starve.

(*) In a fractional-reserve system like ours, where money gets "created" when it's borrowed, money is really a promise of future labor instead of a store of past labor. This makes a lot of the characteristics of the current economy a lot easier to understand. (IMHO, you can argue that money is an energy proxy, and that human energy (i.e. labor) will soon be less valuable than other kinds of energy, but that's an entirely different topic.)

Comment: The stockholders can't afford a dividend (Score 2, Interesting) 570

by KYPackrat (#39163547) Attached to: Apple Has Too Much Money

Apple has $90 billion in actual cash value, but it couldn't offer most of it in a dividend.

Why? Most of that $90 billion is held offshore. To offer a dividend, Apple would have to repatriate that money, and that will kick in an automatic tax (about 30% off the top). Then, to issue the dividend, Apple pays another tax. Also, the income is taxable capital gains for its stockholders as well. By the time Apple stockholders take the dividend to the bank, they're down to somewhere around 20% of the original cash.

If Apple wants to reward stockholders, it could buy back shares overseas. Normally, I hate stock buyback plans, but this is one of the few times it would make sense.

Comment: Re:probably should have been lowered anyway (Score 1) 1239

by KYPackrat (#37006312) Attached to: United States Loses S&P AAA Credit Rating

All we have to do to solve the problem is stop going further into debt and stabilize economic growth. Inflation will depreciate the relative value of the debt for us.
Steady 5% inflation for 10 years (a bit high, but not entirely intolerable) would "pay off" 40% of the debt by reducing its relative import to 60% of what it is now.

In the meantime, you have $6 to $7 a gallon gas and thousand dollar a month food bills. Anyone who has attempted to save for their retirement has just been turned from a reasonably self-sufficient member of society to standing in line at the food banks and freezing to death because they can't afford $400-$600 a month to heat or cool their house.

This still doesn't stop us from borrowing either, nor does it fix the problem of Social Security and Medicare. The government will now be forced to either double its current budget, or do half of what it's been doing. You get all of the pain of government cuts, and you destroy the middle class and the old. Sounds like a win-win to me [/sarcasm].

Comment: Satire is Free Speech, but The Beer Ain't Free (Score 1) 160

by KYPackrat (#36541712) Attached to: Weird Al Says "Twitter Saved My Album"

The song parody was protected free speech. Weird Al didn't have to ask Lady Gaga for permission to satirize her work. He was just being polite.

Under copyright laws, it's true that she (probably) can't win a lawsuit. However, if he asks permission, he can be listed as writer or as co-writer (I forget which) of the parody song lyrics, and therefore get his share of the lyrics profits from the album and royalties from airplay, in addition to his "singer" royalties. Without permission, he cannot get any songwriter money, and has to live on just the "singer" share. The singer share isn't enough to live on (and Al has said so before in documentaries ), so that written permission is financially essential (beyond any moral issues).

Consider the old joke of the drummer in the back of the plane, while the lead singer (and main songwriter) flies with two seats in first class (one for the guitar). This is why bands like Genesis are so fastidious about keeping all songwriting "in house": the temptation for your people to want more than your 1/x of the pie is too tempting.

Comment: Terry is a coward (Score 1, Flamebait) 838

by KYPackrat (#36441308) Attached to: Terry Pratchett Considers Assisted Suicide

The moral problem is not that Terry Pratchett wants to kill himself. That is between him and God. Assuming that he has finalized his estate, he's welcome to off himself and suffer any consequences that might avail him in the life hereafter.

However, Terry Pratchett is a coward. He doesn't want to commit suicide. He wants someone else to kill him when it gets so bad he can't do it himself. That is the slippery slope that we want to avoid; having other people decide when you are no longer fit to live.

Be a man about it Terry. Take a knife and stab yourself. Get drunk and go swimming in a deep, cold lake. Overdose on pills. Get a shotgun; go in style (to quote Hania Lee). Just don't ask someone else to commit excused murder because you don't have the guts to bother to do the deed yourself.

Comment: Re:I'm such a troll for writing this. (Score 1) 364

by KYPackrat (#36303302) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Homeschool Curriculum For CS??

Yup, you're a troll. You are also ignorant.

High school taught me that the jocks were invincible (even when they lose), that tenure is more important than competence, and that it's easy to snow HS English teachers with BS. I was very lucky to have one brilliant teacher who told me "you're a big fish in a small pond; don't dare think you'll just take college." (He was right; I lost a National Merit full ride fair and square.)

OTOH, Number One Son has more friends than I did at the time, is doing better academically, and is generally a more rounded individual than I was. His sister is slightly ahead of his stats at the same age...

There are homeschooling "protect my little darlings at all cost", although in my experience they tend to end up more at heavily-religious private schools. The homeschoolers I know have trouble with keeping the socialization limited, not with never getting it.

Comment: Re:Syfy must die. (Score 2) 607

by KYPackrat (#36083028) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is It Time For SyFy To Go Premium?

> made-for-TV movies that were so shitty that they made Roger Corman spin in his grave.

Considering that Roger is still alive, that's a great accomplishment.

Even worse, to quote Wikipedia about Roger:

Corman most recently produced the 2010 films Dinoshark and Dinocroc vs. Supergator for the Syfy cable television channel. Dinoshark premiered on March 13, 2010. Sharktopus, his latest Syfy production, had premiered in September 2010.

Comment: Re:Ban guns (Score 1) 2166

by KYPackrat (#34811238) Attached to: Congresswoman and Staff Gunned Down

You have more strawmen than Kansas.

Shooting someone to settle an argument is murder. There is one or two jurisdictions in the US that allow a person to defend property (absence the threat of force (aka "your money or your life")) with deadly force, but they are rare and IMHO wrong.

The US has more gun deaths because we have more murderers. We have more knife deaths per capita in the US than Canada or the UK. More people per capita in the US want to kill and hurt people than in Canada. Why? There are a lot of possible reasons, but I won't start to speculate.

Israel hands out fully automatic weapons. The Swiss keep automatic weapons in every household. Neither has our murder rate, so it's not just the guns.

I will paraphrase John Lott: More Americans legally defend themselves from deadly harm using firearms than the total number of non-justified deaths (accidents, manslaughter, etc.) and shootings. By this count, guns are a net positive for the US.

Lisp Users: Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.

Working...