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Comment: Re:Youtube video. (Score 0) 1127

by benj_e (#39123619) Attached to: Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

Let's recap: you claimed that 40 years ago people thought animals didn't feel pain. I called bullshit. You spent 10 seconds reading wikipedia and quoted a part of an article that you thought proved your point. I pointed out that the article didn't say what you thought it said. You came back with "oh, you must kick your dog."

Well, it's clear you're just too smart and clever to argue against.

Comment: Re:Youtube video. (Score -1, Troll) 1127

by benj_e (#39115421) Attached to: Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

Ah, so you ignored the "as humans" part. Do animals suffer an the negative emotional experience? I don't know. Do they suffer a negative sensory experience? Perhaps in your rush to prove that you're an idiot, you missed this passage:

"There are two distinct components to pain: the sensory component called "nociception" and the aversive, negative affective state. Nociception allows detection of noxious stimuli and enables a reflex response to move an appendage or whole body away from the source. This capacity is found across all major animal taxa.[3] Nociception can be observed using modern imaging techniques, and a physiological and behavioral response to nociception can be detected but, there is currently no objective measure of suffering."

So, animals do feel pain, we just don't know if it requires them to go to therapy to be able to deal with the overwhelming emotions brought about by their parents not loving them enough.

Damn hippy.

Comment: Re:Google the first? Not really... (Score 1) 100

by benj_e (#33507840) Attached to: The State of Mapping APIs, 5 Years On

I found that pretty funny too. I also find it painful to see heatmap used in a cartographic sense.

I've been developing GIS software since 1996, and I have to tell you that while no one toolset is ideal, I've found ESRI's the easiest to use in a production environment. I've use most of the open source GIS tools, even written some papers on them (that apparently were good enough to be cited by other authors), and yet I keep coming back to ESRI's suite.

Perfect, no. Better than the alternatives? definitely. I also like the developer community around ESRI's products - much more friendly and helpful than those associated with OS products. IMHO of course.

Comment: Re:I swear.... (Score 1) 756

by benj_e (#32033298) Attached to: California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys

If there is no causative effect, then why spend more money on education with the goal of improving weight and fitness?

There certainly is evidence (the number of fat kids) that current educational programs have not worked. But then the typical government response to a program that is not working is to start another program to fix the broken program. Which always works.

In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We demand certain tastes and products, and then bitch when those demands are met and we get fat. That's just human nature in action though, I'm afraid.

Comment: Re:Since we're accepting absurd explanations (Score 1) 756

by benj_e (#32033172) Attached to: California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys

Did you pay to get that stupid, or is it all self-non-taught?

The food pyramid has been around for decades now. That is a direct educational outreach, with boatloads of cash going to preaching that message. The Government also has educational programs for teachers, nutritionists, and other "professionals."

The take away from all this is that it has done no good, and may have done considerable harm, since we are fatter than ever.

Comment: Re:I swear.... (Score 1) 756

by benj_e (#32020316) Attached to: California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys

I thought that Jamie Oliver failed because he cooked up food the kids hated and he was a pretentious jerk while doing it.

The Government has spent billions of dollars educating Americans about better food, and we've gotten fatter and dumber as a result. Maybe we should listen to less to "experts" and more to our grandmothers - there didn't seem to be all the angst about food back then, nor all the obesity.

Comment: Re:Given two programmers (Score 1) 609

by benj_e (#31612794) Attached to: Math Skills For Programmers — Necessary Or Not?

Spot on. I use nearly all those on a daily basis doing GIS development. I am just now finishing up a tool that creates isopleth maps from soil sample data, and have also created code to make choropleth maps from all kinds of sales data. That's Linear Algebra, Graph Theory, and Stats in a big way.

When I was a Math student, back in the day, Programming was considered by many to be a branch of Applied Mathematics. I still hold that to be true.

Comment: Re:RTFS?? (Score 3, Insightful) 904

by benj_e (#27521933) Attached to: EFF Says Obama Warrantless Wiretap Defense Is Worse than Bush

Apparently you missed the news that McCain supporters were pulled over by police. Or that Ron Paul supporters are dangerous militia kooks.

I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat thing. When a group comes to power that feels they have been oppressed, the first thing they do is exact revenge. Sometimes that's lopping off heads, sometimes that's making fun of the opposition.

Regardless, the theme continues throughout history.

Comment: Re:Not so long ago. (Score 2, Insightful) 182

by benj_e (#27063991) Attached to: LEDs Lighting Up the African Darkness

First off, kerosene lamps don't have to be "foul-smelling". That usually means that a wick isn't adjusted right.

And you can easily get plenty of light from the right lamp - check out the Aladdin lamps that are used in parts of the US (don't know where else might use them). Simple lamp, cheap fuel, equivalent to a 60w bulb.

I like LEDs, most of my flashlights use them. But kerosene lamps have proven themselves over many, many years to be reliable and cheap. Introducing LED technology to countries without manufacturing capability means that they are just going to continue to be dependent on others.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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