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Comment: Re:Get a real job (Score 2) 665

by WastedMeat (#42768833) Attached to: As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

-John Adams

I am not sure it really means what you were going for though.

Comment: Re:Yay (Score 1) 2987

by WastedMeat (#42307521) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

That last sentence that you quoted was certainly improperly worded on my part. I meant that a gun aids in deterring intervention and stopping those who intervene, which is the point of most of your reply and was not meant to trivialize anyone's sacrifice.

My point was that this is event in particular, even with 9 adults and 18 children, when compared to typical mass shootings among peers, had an outcome that was less facilitated by firearms than those other massacres. I did not say that it wasn't a factor, just that it was not appropriate to flag this event as being the one in particular that finally highlights the stupidity of U.S. gun practices.

Focusing on the guns instead of the whole event makes it sound as if there was a guy who sincerely wanted to murder his mother and a bunch of children, did not care about the consequences, and everything was just fine until he found a gun.

Comment: Re:Yay (Score 1) 2987

by WastedMeat (#42303245) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

And this one is a neon sign two stories high flashing "IT'S THE GUNS!"

Why? It was a grown man in a room with few small exits filled with small children. Anything from history that has ever been called a weapon, baseball bats included, would have resulted in comparable devastation. A gun is just a convenience. Someone with the desire to murder a roomful of children and complete personal removal from the consequences is the problem.

I will concede that the gun may have aided in deterring and stopping other adults from intervening, but that is less significant in this case than in any other mass shooting that I have heard of, considering the high ratio of potential victims to people physically comparable to the shooter.

To call out this one in particular as the event that screams "IT'S THE GUNS" blatantly disregards the more substantial problems.

Comment: Re:Any other variables..? (Score 1) 206

by WastedMeat (#41816955) Attached to: Brain Scans Show the Impact of Neglect On a Child's Brain Size

I am still early on my first child, a daughter, but I wouldn't think a baby boy would be any worse on that front. When my daughter pees at the wrong time during a change, she pees all over herself, every time. I have tile floors and a Swiffer. Peeing nearby would certainly be an improvement.

Comment: Re:Damn! (Score 1) 1165

by WastedMeat (#40323363) Attached to: Blocking Gun Laws With Patents

One of the two who subdued the Tucson shooter was armed, but correctly judged it unnecessary to use his weapon when he got close to the shooter. Simply being armed though, probably played a big role in deciding whether to move toward or away from the sound of spontaneous gunfire. Six were killed.

Most gun massacres in the U.S., such as at Virginia Tech (where 33 were killed) happen in areas where citizens are not legally permitted to be armed. I think that is the point: you can't play god when you are walking among peers.

Comment: Re:People should pay for their choices (Score 1) 842

by WastedMeat (#40263135) Attached to: California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

It benefits everyone for your neighbor's children to grow up to be useful people. Until our society becomes comfortable with people starving to death in the streets, it is much cheaper to educate a child than sustain a useless adult with public resources.

Even if we get comfortable with people starving in the street, they are not just going to starve to death peacefully. Desperate people are understandably capable of committing all sorts of nastiness to preserve their lives, and then you have to pay to incarcerate them.

It's a bit hyperbolic, but the point is that your life is significantly better because you have educated civilized neighbors, and it is not too absurd to expect you to help pay for it.

Comment: Re:and why should I have to pay $$$ for humanities (Score 1) 339

by WastedMeat (#40247869) Attached to: Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree

Have you been following the news lately?

It seems that a significant portion of people who actually vote see no value in any education...

It is probably meant as a joke but it is still a good point. Educated people wield power disproportionately in other ways though. Wouldn't you prefer, for example, that engineers for the defense industry have a solid understanding of contemporary history, regardless of whether or not they are sufficiently interested or motivated to study it on their own time?

What is the quote from Jurrassic Park about being too concerned with whether or not you could to stop and think about whether or not you should?

Comment: Re:and why should I have to pay $$$ for humanities (Score 4, Insightful) 339

by WastedMeat (#40240683) Attached to: Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree

As a scientific programmer, I find it amazing that any significant portion of people in serious IT place no value on math higher than and including trigonometry. Is this actually the case?

And as a citizen in a democracy, I find it amazing and frightening that a significant portion of people who actually vote see no value in general education courses. When I was a kid in the 90's, we used to call someone a "tool" as an insult.

Comment: Re:Makes no sense (Score 1) 580

by WastedMeat (#39996131) Attached to: Only 22% of California 8th Graders Pass National Science Test

I could certainly stand to lose a bit of the snarkiness; I am about to start a job among engineers. You should probably review basic circuits though, because you are still misunderstanding something:

If you have a 12V battery, and a 12V bulb in series, you have a simple series circuit that works; but adding 3 more bulbs of the same type in parallel won't work (contrary to what the text taught) because now each of the four loads (bulbs) are only seeing 3 volts.

Parallel components have the same voltage difference applied across them. Adding a bulb to another in parallel will not affect the brightness of the original bulb (as long as the current is still low enough to consider the battery ideal). Both bulbs are as bright as the original bulb, and the battery is supplying to each branch the current it supplied to the original lone bulb. Adding 3 bulbs in parallel just adds additional bulbs that draw the same power as the original, and increases the total current (and power) drawn from the battery by 300%.

Adding the bulbs in series does what you describe. Perhaps that is what you are miscommunicating.

I checked through the first couple of google results until I found a good reference for you. Everything here is correct.
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/circuits/u9l4b.cfm

I only call this out because you criticize "teach the test" type education, which I do as well for good reason, but then you ironically illustrate one of the largest failures of this type of education. It breeds people who are very confident in an only partial understanding. To stick to my earlier example, it creates the sort of students who might take a lot of pride in correcting you about the start date of the civil war without even knowing what events started it.

Series and parallel circuits are very different, but there are superficial symmetries between the currents of one and the voltage drops of the other, and people often use these to remember the phenomenological behavior. It's the easiest way for most people to get a B on the relevant test. Doing it that way is not understanding; it is rote memorization, and can leave people susceptible to confusing two things that are very different.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop

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