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Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1463

by hey! (#46772927) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

It's not a "re-examination". It's a butchering.

You say that like it's necessarily a bad thing.

We've got to stop acting as if the Founding Fathers were like Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Constitution chiseled on a couple of stone tablets. They were brilliant, enlightened men for their day, but the Constitution is not a document of divine inerrancy.

The US Constitution is the COBOL of constitutions. Yes, it was a tremendous intellectual innovation for its time. Yes, it is still being used successfully today. But nobody *today* would write a constitution that way, *even if their intent was exactly the same* as the founders.

For one thing it's full of confusingly pointless ("To promote the Progress of Science") and hoplessly vague ("securing for *limited times*") phraseology that leaves courts wondering exactly what the framers meant, or whether they were just pointlessly editorializing ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State").

It's also helplessly out of date. The Constitution was drafted before the existence of mass media and advertising; before photography even. It was the appearance of photography in newspapers that woke people up to the idea that they might have privacy rights that were being threatened. A Constitution written in 1900 would almost certainly have clauses explicitly recognizing a right to individual privacy and empowering the government to protect that right. A Constitution written in 2000 would almost certainly have clauses restricting the government from violating individual privacy.

And then there is slavery, an outright *evil* which is enshrined in the founder's version of the Constitution. That alone should disqualify any claim they may have had to superhuman morality.

So if we take it as given that the US Constitution is not divinely ordained, it's not necessarily a bad thing that the current generation should choose to butcher what the founders established. Would you re-institute slavery? Allow *states* to deprive citizens of liberty and property without due process? Eliminate direct election of senators?

So it's perfectly reasonable to butcher anything in the Constitution when you're proposing an *amendment* to the Constitution. That's the whole point. We should think for ourselves. In doing so, we're actually carrying on the work the framers themselves were doing. Every generation should learn from its predecessors, but think for itself.

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy abounds (Score 1) 768

by hey! (#46765817) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

What's so hilarious is that to most of the commenters here, the Koch Brothers exemplify the absolute evil in the system whilst (and simultaneously) George Soros is merely 'doing the right thing' and 'helping people speak truth to power'.

So in other words, what somebody says is less important than who says it.

Comment: Re:Tyrant: The computer game (Score 1) 768

by hey! (#46765803) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

While sorta fun, those games are not simulations. All you revealed was the program(mer)'s built-in biases and assumptions, rather than any insight about what happens in reality.

That's true of social science research as well. The difference is that social science research has to pass peer review, and stand up to contrary reearch in the literature.

Comment: Re:Appeal to authority is not good enough (Score 1) 584

by Alsee (#46762869) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

if 100% of vaccines are 100% safe

There is no if. There is no 100%.
"If" is anti-vaxism.
"100%" is antivaxism.

Real world data from a multitude of studies by a multitude of independent professionals show that vaccines are something like a hundred or a thousand times safer than any random food item.
There is no "if" there. There is no "100%" there. Vaccines are safer than food.

ad hominem attacks

Ad hominem means "against the person". More specifically, an ad hominem attack is an argument that someone's statement is false, or should be ignored, because the person is bad.

When the argument is "don't listen to her, she's a nasty ugly bitch", that's ad hominem.

When the argument is "she's repeating stuff that was shown to be fraudulent research, and her claims have been exhaustively proven false, therefore she is wrong" is not ad hominem.

Proving her wrong, and then concluding she's a bad person because she's wrong, is not ad hominem.

Getting angry at her after she is proven wrong is not ad hominem.

Throwing gratuitous insults at her, after she is proven wrong, calling her an ugly bitch or whatever, after she is proven wrong, is not ad hominem. Gratuitous insults certainly add nothing to a debate, BUT THERE'S NO DEBATE HERE. On one side you have data and science and evidence, and on the other side you have an irrational social movement - fear based on a fraud all flying around a rumor mill of conspiracy theories and ignorance. "Don't take your child for their routine medical checkup, I heard the doctor is a pedophile! Don't take your child to any doctor for a routine medical checkup, you don't want to risk that doctor is part of the vast secret pedophile-ring that I hear is running the American Medical Association".

Heck even the huge Wakefield thing was handled like someone who was trying to cover up bad behavior.

Your description of events is rather inaccurate.

Wakefield was being directly paid to do his "research" by a lawyer looking to file a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers.
Wakefield drew up a business plan, with figures for how many tens of millions of dollars a year could be brought in by marketing a competing vaccine
Wakefield established a contract with the medical school where he was working, requiring them to conceal the source of his funding, prohibiting them from disclosing his involvement with a pharmaceutical company.
Walkfeild established a contract with that pharmaceutical company requiring his involvement to be kept secret - secret specifically until he would be able to cash out on stock options.
Wakefield preformed "research" which, on later investigation, was found to be entirely fraudulent.
In order to publish his research the Journal REQUIRED the disclosure of things like the source of his funding and relevant business plans or involvement with pharmaceutical companies. In order to get his fraudulent study published in the Journal he fraudulently denied the existence of any financial conflicts of interest.
Countless legitimate scientists, a ton of valuable medical research money and research resources, were all WASTED trying to replicate the fraudulent Wakefield paper. It resulted in massive confirmation that the original claims were fictional and that vaccines were extremely safe. And then the specific investigation revealing exactly how Wakefield's original work was fraudulent.

And if things had ended there, all of this would be a pretty insignificant non-story. But things didn't end there.

We got a melting-pot that took on a life of it's own. We got the news media hyping an insignificant "research study" based on an insignificant patient sample, a paper which had not yet been confirmed (and which would turn out to be fraudulent). And in the melting pot we got parents of autistic children DESPERATE for any explanation why their kids have autism. And in the melting pot we got the kooks whom no one usually listens to.... the ones who spin conspiracy theories about vaccinations being some evil government plot... kooks who latched on to vaccine news stories to sound credible while they spew random scary paranoia-generated vax-nonsense into the mix. And then some famous idiot like Jenny McCarthy picks up the banner and tells millions of uninformed parents how scary and dangerous vaccines are while saying how any good parent would eagerly choose measles over autism. Which is a load of crap. It is a completely fraudulent implication that choosing to vaccinate is a choice about autism. It is a fraudulent and DEADLY implication that a parent who vaccinates is a bad parent risking giving their child autism.

What is the pro-vaccine response? To tell people they are stupid murderers

You kinda skipped a few steps in your story. In particular you skipped the step WHERE CHILDREN STARTED DYING.
And we're not even talking about anti-vaxxers killing their own children, which would be bad enough. We're talking about anti-vaxxers killing other people's children. We're talking about actual disease outbreaks among anti-vaxxers, who then infect someone else's 1 month old infant. You can't vaccinate a 1 month old baby, their immune system isn't developed enough yet and the vaccine isn't effective yet. We're talking actual infant corpse, dead of vaccine-preventable-disease. Not to mention any cases resulting in brain damage, deafness, blindness, infertility, or other sever complications.

But, I guess you're right..... it's not literally murder by the legal definition. Perhaps manslaughter would be a more appropriate term? Reckless endangerment and disregard for life resulting in someone's death. I'm only half joking there. There are severe problems with trying to make people criminally liable for something like that, but they sure as hell are morally responsible. People DIE from this antivax bullshit. Antivaxxers are morally culpable for causing deaths or catastrophic injury to innocent bystanders, including other people's vulnerable infants.

There's good reason that smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella were targeted for world vaccination. We've had a generation of people growing up in a world essentially free of these diseases, and people are blissfully unaware of just how painful, horrific, or fatal the outcome can be for a percentage of the people who contract them.

three shots seperatly

You mean 6 shots. The triple vaccine is 2 shots, giving them separately requires 6 shots.

First, lets just rationally examine the merits of that plan.
We have thirty years record of probably a billion+ people and a gargantuan body of research establishing the triple vaccine is extremely safe and and highly effective. We have only limited study and limited track record on the safety and efficacy of a 6 shot program, and essentially zero basis on the ordering or timing of such a program.

What we do have is an extensive record that vaccination programs suffer skyrocketing failure rates as the number of doctor visits and injections increases. Whether it is due to poverty, apathy, forgetfulness, children begging their parents to avoid the needle, or whatever, vaccinations programs fall into catastrophic collapse because too much of the population fail to reach each increasing doctor visit or injection.

Some children aren't bothered by needles while others escalate the fear and pain to almost traumatic levels, but in any case it's hardly in the child's best interest to subject them to it three times more than necessary.

It's certainly not in the child's best interest to subject them to three times as much pain, three times as much bleeding, three times as much risk of infection from the puncture. And while the risk of adverse reaction is negligible... vastly lower than the risk of adverse reaction of eating a banana or any other food... it's still contrary to the child's interest to multiply the risk of an adverse reaction.

Splitting vaccination into 6 shots leaves the children vulnerable to two-out-of-three diseases during the delay period. (What delay period anyway? A day? A week? A month? 6 months? A year? There's no answer on that because this is all a vacuous hear-say "fix" for an urban legend nonexistent problem.)

The only "other side of the argument" is parents who are going to harm their children out of fear of an urban legend. Given a choice between harming children by not vaccinating them at all, or harming children with an untested regimen involving three times the pain and three times the skin punctures and multiplied risk of adverse reaction, well...... an untested vaccination regimen with a multiplied suffering and multiplied negligible-risk is vastly better than the dangers of going unvaccinated.

As for single vaccines they are around, although it seems that for one of the three diseases the most effective version is only available from Merck and only in the triple vaccine. The others are known to be less effective and aren't approved in all countries. I guess it would be a good thing if Merck offered all three as single vaccines if it would reduce the harm being done by vax-paranoid parents. And if Merck doesn't want to do that, well every country has health-and-public-safety clauses to their intellectual property laws and they could take the extremely extraordinary step of issuing an exemption allowing other companies to manufacture single vaccines. Or counties could just plain invoke health and public safety and make the triple vaccine mandatory, and simply ignore the anti-vax nonsense the same way we ignore the fluoridation paranoid conspiracy theory nutters.

It is like my wife coming home and finding a womans jacket that does not belong to her.

No, someone TOLD your wife that there was a woman's jacket.

And after that person was shown to be LYING about it, your wife just spiraled deeper into paranoid jealousy and started following an internet psychic who tells her details about the (fictional) woman you're sleeping with. And then your wife kidnaps the kids and takes them to hide out in cabin in the woods, refusing to take the kids for regular checkups at the doctor because she's afraid you and the (fictional) woman you're sleeping with are planning to sue for sole custody of the kids.

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Comment: Re:Yeah, maybe not now (Score 1) 584

by Alsee (#46751935) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

It seems there's a portion of the population that will compulsively latch onto hear-say and pseudoscience nonsense and conspiracy theories, no matter what we do. Maybe we should just accept that. Just deal with it and make the best of things.

I've got this totally scientific evidence that autism is caused by the ink in lottery tickets. The ink doesn't affect adults, but the chemicals stick to your fingers. Then when you touch your kids the chemicals get absorbed through their skin and disrupt their developing brains. My kid was perfectly healthy one morning, and at a routine checkup that afternoon my child was diagnosed with autism! And the only thing that happened in between was that I bought lottery tickets and hugged by child! You can't imagine how devastating that is to a parent, unless of course you're a parent who bought a lottery ticket and immediately had their child diagnosed with autism.

Have the so-called "scientists" tested the lottery ticket ink? HELL NO! The government rakes in millions of dollars on lottery tickets! Scientists all want grant money (our money taken in taxes!) to do their research. And is the government going to give them money if the government doesn't like the results of that research! OF COURSE the scientists are going to be biased and tow the government line.

I am not anti-lottery-tickets.
I just want to reduce the ink and reduce the toxins. Lottery tickets are fine when the government proves that that new ink ensures no children will get autism.
If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want their kid to have autism, or whether they'd choose to pass up on a lousy lottery ticket, well duh they'll pass up on the lousy lottery ticket.

What parent would ever knowingly risk giving their child autism? It's unthinkable! It's just not worth the risk.

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Comment: Re:George Carlin nailed it (Score 1) 584

by Alsee (#46751729) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Now will somebody please explain to me why people shouldn't listen to this particular celebrity but we should all listen to and shout hosannas to the rogue's gallery of celebrities James Cameron got to spout off in his global warming movie.

Because the percentage of scientists who say anti-vax is nonsense is within a rounding error of 100%,
and because the percentage of scientists who say global warming is real and serious is within a rounding error of 100%.

(Not that I know jack squat about James Cameron's movie, but the question was why one celebrity voice would be credible while another would not be. A celebrity who doesn't speak French, but who accurately recites a French dictionary, is backed by the full credibility of that dictionary.)

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Comment: Re:Found one! (Score 1) 584

by Alsee (#46749429) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

No, I'm pretty sure the use of zealots here refers to those who are so fanatically devoted to their position that they'll inevitably drive people away from the truth, due to their overbearing assholishness.

Calling people "overbearing assholes" makes you a total dick.

FWIW, it is possible to be right without being a dick about it.

::whistles innocently and wanders away::

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Comment: Re:Appeal to authority is not good enough (Score 2) 584

by Alsee (#46747805) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

I know nothing about the merits (or lack of merits) of a "European schedule" vs any other schedule, but reading your post all I can think is...

People are screaming that flowers attract fairies and fairies are eating children's brains, to which you reply:
"Just plant European bushes outside the schools. European flowers don't attract fairies."

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Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 727

by hey! (#46743175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Sinews (aka "tendons") are bundles of fibrous collagen bound together with an organic glue of proteins and polysaccharides. Sinews can be pounded to extract those collagen fibers, and then those fibers can be spun into cordage of any desired length.

The process is exactly the same as spinning short wool fibers into skeins of yarn, or transforming cotton bolls into cotton thread. The fibers are bundled together and twisted so they lock together and the axis of the resulting cord cuts across the axis of orientation of the fiber, producing a very strong thread. As the fibers are locked together into a thread, you continually add more bundles of fiber to the loose end. You finish by tying off the end of the thread you've created, or twisting the thread into a multi-strand rope.

Collagen fiber from sinew is an excellent cordage material, but less available in large quantities than plant fibers. For that reason you don't see sinew ropes. Although such a thing would be physically possible, sinew is a costly material so it is only used in specialized, low volume applications like fishing line and bowstrings.

Primitive people are every bit as smart as engineers who design microchips or airplanes; they just express that ingenuity through materials they can harvest and process themselves.

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 727

by hey! (#46740091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Well, my first choice would be to use surplus and scavenged materials, like polyester or silk. In the long run as these materials become more difficult to find, I'd go for hemp or flax. Just about any fiber can be spun into a workable cordage. Shredded animal sinew yields extremely strong cordage.

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 727

by hey! (#46739663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

You can always concoct a situation in a scenario where your skills aren't important.

You're a farmer? Seems like your skills would be useful but wait -- what if the neighboring tribe burns all your crops and steals your seeds?

You're an emergency room physician? How will that help you when bandits club you to death in your sleep?

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 727

by hey! (#46739605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

go into "crazy-land" a bit. I'm not saying the historian necessarily has the best answer, but someone who actually has first-hand knowledge and experience with draft animals in large numbers would undoubtedly have a huge amount of insight over a random CS nerd who has never seen a horse.

Agreed, but your hypothetical persons with first-hand knowledge of managing large numbers of draft animals is likely to be in short supply *in the stipulated scenario*.

Seriously -- there's a reason we make jokes about mathematicians or physicists saying, "Assume a spherical cow...." The real world is messy, and unless you already have access to a person who knows almost enough to run the draft army already who can feed you good data to solve the problem in the abstract, I'm not sure your scenario is realistic.

My point is *about* the limitations of simplistic models. In the simplistic model, a computer science major can do computer science -- and nothing else. In the simplistic model you can obtain precisely what you need, which is either a two hundred year-old soldier or a historian who specializes in the logistics of pre-mechanized armies. But chances are *in our scenario* people with precisely such skills will be hard to find as unicorns, and people with CS degrees will be common as muck. So, do you look for a historian, or someone with a degree in a somewhat math-y field who happens to have a little of both common sense and imagination?

This is actually a situation which is less exotic than you might think. When you hire an employee, it's often the case that you've got a round hole to fill and a bin full of square pegs. None of the candidates are exactly what you're looking for, so you have to imagine how the candidates you *do* have might adapt.

I just think real-world scenarios are often quite messy, and until you accumulate enough data to construct an accurate model, your algorithmic solutions are likely to have serious flaws.

Right. And this is different from the pre-apocalyptic use of whatever your academic specialization is, how? You get out of school and you have to apply your ivory tower training in idealized problems to messy real-world problems. Does that mean that the ivory tower training is useless, and that the time would have been better spent just getting real world experience? Of course not.

When my dad had a heart attack, my oldest brother was going into his senior year as civil engineering student. He quit school and got a job selling restaurant and food service equipment. He did very well at it, probably made more money than he would have as a civil engineer. That was mainly his people skills, but his engineering training made him the go-to guy for large projects. You might not think there is such a thing as a large restaurant supply project, but it turns out that if you're opening a new theme park and you've got to figure out how to feed a couple million visitors a year, it's very useful to have an engineer who understands food service.

That's the hallmark of a good engineer. A good engineer doesn't just apply his skills, he finds ways of making his skills applicable.

Umm, you're doing it wrong, if you're waiting to sort until you get the bags in your house. I don't have a computer science degree, but my sorting begins as I put items in my CART.

Please, give me some credit for not being stupid. Anyhow, you're just making my point.

This does not require a CS degree

Never said it did.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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