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Comment: Re:According to the police... (Score 1) 693

by dublin (#48390051) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

With the newly Obama-mandated Electronic Medical Records that will keep your medical history for generations to come (harming not only you, but potentially your progeny, too) seeking mental illness treatment may soon be prima facie proof of poor mental faculties, anyway. It's hard to imagine a move that places a bigger stigma on those who would otherwise consider seeking help. #UnintendedConsequences

Seriously, I believe this is a far greater deterrent to needed treatment than "more aggressive institutionalization". Let's face it - most of the "homeless" are mentally unstable and at least marginally incompetent people who would have been institutionalized in past years. I have a hard time believing it's "kinder and more respectful" to let them fend for themselves and die on the streets than to make sure they're cared for in a State Home. It's certainly not cheaper to turn them out, at least in the long run...

Comment: Re:Benefits, but still misses the point... (Score 1) 693

by dublin (#48390003) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

I didn't take then into school, but there were guns in a fair fraction of the cars in the parking lot (including quite a few in gun racks in the back windows of pickups, back when no one ever stole the guns that way...)

We'd head down to the river or the I-35 underpass and blast away after school. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, you name it. There might have even been an "illegal" weapon or two from time to time - one guy filed his sear to get full-auto - the problem with that method was that once you pulled the trigger, you had to empty the entire magazine, since releasing the trigger won't stop it firing.

It was tons of fun and a literal blast, but no one was ever killed or even injured (at least by firearms, with the exception of the occasional newbie whose improper grip would slice the web of his thumb with the slide of an auto pistol.)

One guy shredded his knee slipping into the creek, though. Turns out mud can be more dangerous than guns...

Comment: Re:Wonderful idea. (Score 1) 693

by dublin (#48389923) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

There's probably a good chance you could get a false positive with a firecracker or similar device - even maybe something as small as a cigarette load or those little pops-when-you-throw-them (or pull-on-them) things, if near the sensor.

This could rapidly become a popular new sport at schools equipped with this system. Just sayin'... (Don't try this at school, kiddos!)

Comment: Re:Wonderful idea. (Score 1) 693

by dublin (#48389901) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

It depends a LOT on both the round and what you're shooting it from. While many rimfire .22s are subsonic, especially from pistols, some can be quite powerful with longer barrels - check out this test of .22 magnum penetration of aluminum diamond plate when shot through the new KelTec CMR-30 carbine: http://olegvolk.net/blog/2014/11/13/should-22mag-be-taken-seriously-as-a-defensive-caliber-new-on-alloutdoor/

Comment: Re:Don't mess with the geek's toys (Score 1) 114

by dublin (#48389843) Attached to: Groupon Backs Down On Gnome

No, there is approximately ZERO chance of anyone confusing Gnome (which was a word long before Stallman decided to mispronounce it), a commercial product by a company called Groupon, with GNOME, a free window mangler by the GNOME Foundation, part of an organization that is explicitly designed to *prevent* commerce. Yeah, sure, people will confuse those.

Sorry, but from both the trademark law and a common sense points of view, the GNOME Foundation is simply engaged in self-righteous trademark bullying rather than valid defense of a mark.

Comment: Re:An interesting article by Bennett (Score 1) 350

by dublin (#48389773) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

Agreed. Bennett needed some editing for length and focus, but the basic article and the experiments behind it are reasonably thoughtful and intriguing.

I'd actually like to see a more detailed article on the validity caveats associated with using Amazon's Mechanical Turk for these kinds of surveys. My guess is that the biggest problem is that this is a very skewed, self-selected pool in the first place, but it *would* be interesting to know if that's really the case...

This is back-of-the-envelope-type research - it's not perfect, but I find the methodology (even if flawed) to be of considerably more interest than any possible conclusion about racism in the perception of breastfeeding mothers.

I'd also argue this is appropriate for /. simply because of the use of AMT in an attempt to quickly and inexpensively conduct rough-order-of-magnitude sociological/perception research. (I know, still needed more samples, etc.) Kinda cool and clever, though, really...

Comment: Re:How big a fuss is it, really? (Score 2) 415

by dublin (#48274519) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

Lots of us have gone *back* to mechanical watches. I'm especially fond of the wonderful Seiko 5 automatic (self-winding) series. Seiko doesn't sell these through their usual US channels, but Amazon and others have them (and Amazon substitutes thier own warranty for Seiko's original - this is a pretty safe bet, as these things are extraordinarily well-built for the money). A good, basic Seiko 5 can be had for as little as ~$50. At that price, they're understandably popular with those who want to hack and modify their watches (faces, bands, upgraded lume, etc. - I'm planning on copper and brass-plating some of the guts of my next one to give it a dieselpunk feel, just because I can...)

I have several much nicer watches, but my 5s are now my daily go-to watches. (I also like the clean, somewhat Bremont-like lines of the less expensive models. If I win the lottery, I'll buy a Bremont, but until then, I'm pretty enamored of the value of the 5s. Don't get me wrong - I actually appreciate the design and workmanship of high-quality watches like Omegas, Reversos, etc., but I also have to admire a fairly decent and rugged mechanism that's cheap enough that I don't get too upset when I inevitably ding it on an I-beam or engine block.

While the 5s don't have the accuracy of a quartz watch, mine aren't far off, and they can be adjusted - don't even try until you've worn it (or at least run it) for several months solid: the springs and winder really do need to settle in. I've thought each new one needed adjusting, but almost all of them settle in to pretty much dead accurate after several months of running.

Unless you need a navigation-grade chronometer, buy yourself one of these - they're cheap, fun, and the see-through back crystal alone is worth the price of the watch just for entertainment value, especially if you carry any mech-hacker genes.

Is it a truly awesome watch? Not really. But it's a very good watch that's definitely awesome for the price, though. I own several great quartz watches, but these inexpensive automatics have earned a special place in my heart - as Jeremy Clarkson might say, "They've got Soul!"...

Comment: Re:Birth control pills signifcant contributor? (Score 1) 147

by dublin (#48142261) Attached to: Birth Control Pills Threaten Fish Stocks

It comes from all kinds of things, but nowhere int he amounts and strengths found in birth control pills. The pill is *far* worse than even regular hormoe replacemtn therapy, since the dose has to be strong enough to swamp the body's normal hormonal actions and responses. This type of overloading always produces very high levels of excreted chemicals - far more than you'll find from almost any other source.

And keep in mind, these are more dangerous for people than other environmental estrogens, since they're *designed and intended* to work most effectively on humans.

Still, won't someone think of all those poor, chemically gay fish? They didn't choose to be that way... :-)

Comment: Re:It's not just estrogen. (Score 1) 147

by dublin (#48142209) Attached to: Birth Control Pills Threaten Fish Stocks

Try buying food that isn't packaged, cooked, or served in materials that are well-known to leach xenoestrogens... From bottles to juice boxes to plastic/vacuum bags to polymer coatings in almost all modern cans and coffee and drink cups - you're getting bathed in this stuff unless you can afford to buy everything you eat at the farmer's market, and even them it's almost impossible to avoid the various pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc., many of which are loose in the environment themselves.

Comment: Re:Cities (Score 1) 147

by dublin (#48142129) Attached to: Birth Control Pills Threaten Fish Stocks

No, the EPA is worried about the natural non-pollutant CO2 rather than the clear and present danger of concentrated chemicals from city water treatment plants. Do you really expect the Feds to attack their urban power base? As another poster mentioned, the urban hipsters would scream bloody murder if they had to pay to have their effluent treated to eliminate these extraordinarily powerful chemicals...

Comment: Re:So add testosterone too (Score 1) 147

by dublin (#48142079) Attached to: Birth Control Pills Threaten Fish Stocks

I've yet to see any that correlate estrogen in contraceptive pills with the quantities of estrogen in waste water. Modern contraceptive pills use minute amounts. Additionally, our bodies produce estrogen in the liver,adrenal glands, breasts (in women), and fat cells (are increased obesity rates producing more waste estrogen?). We put far larger amounts into some cosmetics and shampoos. We also use synthetic estrogen compounds in substantial amounts plastics in our food packaging and containers. They've long been known to leech into our food and are harmful endocrine disruptors which can have effects that are passed on to our offspring, including infertiility and cancers

Or maybe, just maybe, the right solution is to start eliminating *all* of those sources - sounds to me like you're trying awfully hard to defend birth control hormones for reasons other than the provable scientific fact that environmental estrogens and xenoestrogens are wreaking havoc on our entire ecosystem, people and animals.

The thing that differentiates hormones from other kinds of chemicals is that a tiny amount produces an enormous biological response. The smart thing to do is to quit acting like bathing our bodies and our environments in this stuff doesn't matter... (The studies you seek are out there and numerous - use Google yourself, dammit.)

BTW, I'm far from a green weenie (I strongly support fracking and nuclear, and believe the science shows that man made global warming is complete and utter BS), but I do believe that there are two very large, very real technological dangers to our biology that will finally become recognized in the coming decades - environmental sex hormones (far more often female than male, but both are troublesome), and modern digital wireless communications with sharp square-wave edges which are more and more proving to affect biology through methods other than heating or ionization.

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