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Comment: Releasing the inner reactionary... (Score 1) 323

by dskoll (#48654169) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

I'm basically a fairly liberal person, but when I read about "progressive" scientists wanting to "construct new strategies for parenting", my inner reactionary boils over.

I have three kids ranging in age from 12 to 20. I agree that spanking is a bad strategy; I never used it. I also agree that timeouts are useless, especially for very young kids. For very young kids, a stern reprimand delivered immediately after the undesired behaviour usually works. For older kids, removing a privilege is quite effective provided you don't make empty threats. Don't threaten anything you're not prepared to carry through; kids can smell a bluff a mile away.

But letting a kid cry it out until they sleep through the night? That's a godsend. My first daughter was not sleeping through the night even at 11 months. Finally one night I said "That's it, I don't care how hard she screams, we are NOT going in there."

It was a couple of hours of hell. And then 19 years of bliss.

All you really need to be a decent parent is to love your children and to have common sense. Unfortunately, the latter is sometimes in short supply, especially among people "on a mission to change parenting." That itself is a cringeworthy label.

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: The current wire payment system is... (Score 2) 156

by dskoll (#48603223) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

... I apologize for my somewhat undiplomatic language, but the current wire payment system is a cluster-fuck of fail.

My company is based in Canada and accepts wire payments from Canada, the US, Europe, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East. Half the time, we see mysterious deposits appearing in our account without any useful identification. We ask our customers to specify invoice numbers when they make a payment. Sometimes that comes through. Mostly it does not. Sometimes we don't even get any indication as to who the money is from.

So then we need to phone our bank and they take days to track down who just paid us. It's a total nightmare.

I'd welcome wholeheartedly anything that can improve the situation.

Comment: Re:Don't worry guys... (Score 1) 880

by dskoll (#48598989) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

the majority who peacefully practice that same religion

You cannot peacefully practice Islam. It is simply not possible. Islam divides the world into Muslims (dar al Islam) and non-Muslims (dar al harb, literally house of war) and Muslims are commanded to convert non-Muslims by force. This is a fundamental tenet of Islam.

Those millions of peacful Muslims we all hear about are simply choosing to ignore or rationalize away the parts of Islam they choose not to practice.

Comment: Re:Check your math. (Score 0) 880

by dskoll (#48598967) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

What I find terrifying is how quickly supposedly intelligent people descend into clumping massive groups of people together and scream terrorist.

Look, Islam itself is quite objectively disgusting. There are so many horrible things in the religion that I don't really want to enumerate them here for you; just do a Google search.

The only reason most Muslims are not violent is that most Muslims reject or rationalize away the disgusting parts of Islam. However, the underlying vile philosophy persists and periodically infects the minds of vulnerable losers, turning them into jihadis. At some point, the Western world has to ask itself it can tolerate this dangerous ideology to spread within our societies or if we need to take proactive action ourselves to monitor what's being taught and expel those who preach extermism.

Comment: Re:Check your math. (Score 1) 880

by dskoll (#48598957) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Most Muslims are peaceful, but Islam itself is a noxious brew of racism, hatred and barbarity. The only reason most Muslims are peaceful is that they're human enough to reject the horrible parts of their religion.

What's really needed is an Islamic reformation that purges the Qu'ran and other Islamic religious texts of all the disgusting passages. But that, alas, is blasphemy and will never happen. Instead, Islam will continue infecting vulnerable people and turning them into killers, just like some sort of infectious mental illnes.

Comment: Re:I hate electronics consumer culture (Score 1) 269

by dskoll (#48589763) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

I think a similar "market peak" will eventually occur with phones in the near future

I'm not sure about that. Apple is extremely good at driving people to buy new things as a fashion statement, even if the underlying technology is more-or-less the same. That's the problem: Consumer electronic goods are becoming fashion items and that's extremely bad for the environment.

As for another poster who wrote Shitty firmware and an abandoned or poorly supported product is a perfectly good reason to throw something out, well maybe. But I was talking about old, perfectly functional devices.

Comment: I hate electronics consumer culture (Score 5, Interesting) 269

by dskoll (#48587195) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

Yes, it's very trendy to get a new phone every year. And yes, it's fun to laugh at those neanderthals and troglodytes who have *gasp* last generation's iPod.

Now trace all those discarded electronics to their end-of-life graves and see how we're poisoning the environment with arsenic, plastics, cadmium and other toxic chemicals, all just to satisfy our craving for shiny things.

I would be proud to own a 12-year-old piece of electronic gear that still functions and does what I need. I have a five-year-old phone (Nokia N900) and bought my daughter's iPod third-hand for $30; it plays my music just fine. No plans to replace the phone or the iPod any time soon.

Comment: San Francisco already did this (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by Animats (#48567503) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

San Francisco already did this. Almost all the masonry buildings in SF have been reinforced since the 1989 quake, and now the rules are being tighened on wood buldings. If you've been in an older building in SF, you've probably seen huge diagonal steel braces. That's what it looks like.

All new big buildings meet very tough earthquake standards. The bridges and freeways have been beefed up in recent years. Overpass pillars are about three times as big as they used to be. Two elevated freeways were torn down after one in Oakland failed in the 1989 quake. The entire eastern span of the Bay Bridge was replaced with a new suspension bridge. The western span was strengthened, and there are now sliding joints, huge plates of stainless steel, between the roadway and the towers.

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. -- Quentin Crisp

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