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Comment: As someone with a Civil Servant mindset... (Score 1) 684

Background: My heart is in education. One of my passions is sustainable transportation. I've only ever worked in the public sector and with non-profits. I don't ever want to be paid more than $75k/year for my work because I believe that true civil servants should only take what they need (with need being definable individually).

Kurt Vonnegut's book "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" spoke to me rather intensely. In that book, the main character, Mr. Rosewater, is so admired by the town of loonies in which he volunteers, that he was asked to baptize a set of twins. These were Mr. Rosewater's words to the babies: “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.' ”

I know that the world is not full of kind people. It's full of people. Many are just scared. Some are mean. Most are kind, but too timid to show it. But I think we could slowly create a better world full of kindness if we actually attempted to instill kindness in our children from a young age.

Suggestion #1: Advise that she defaults to kindness. No, kindness will not always be immediately appreciated, so also advise that she assume that her kindness will be appreciated at some point and to take solace in that it will beneficially affect the person regardless of immediate observation.

Suggestion #2: Advise that sometimes she accept failure and always admit fault. It was a hard-learned lesson in life that sometimes, I fail. Coming to terms with being imperfect is one of the great life lessons. Remind her that to always learn from failure and commit to improvement. Along the same lines, I found that life was much less stressful and my relationships much more rewarding and after I learned to admit fault. "I erred. Here's what I did wrong. I'm sorry. Here's how I plan to be better." Getting into the habit of admitting fault where it's due (even slightly) requires that one be vulnerable... but it also makes others feel safe in vulnerability. When people together learn to admit fault and flaws, they are more accepting, forgiving, and open to change.

Suggestion #3: Advise that in an industry (STEM) still dominated by males, females are frequently uncomfortable with what passes as normal social standards. The worst way to influence change in these situations, with fellow male geeks, is by attack. Geek guys have been attacked their whole lives and when they finally are amongst other geek guys, they finally get to feel safe. Attacking that safety by denigrating the person and demanding change instantly instead of considerately request changes in behavior over time is unwise. We see this most immediately with with the entire GamerGate fiasco where everyone looks like assholes regardless of side or intent. Remember: EVERYONE is insecure and a request for change is frequently seen as an attack. You must be gentle and you must be kind if you want to genuinely affect long-term change.

Comment: Re:News (Score 4, Insightful) 210

by eepok (#49096575) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

In what universe is this an "insightful" comment. Let's just take it apart:

"I just don't understand how Slashdot can be flooded with stories of US government incompetence and malfeasance at every level"

-- That's called bias. Slashdot can be flooded with stories about anything as biased by story submitters. There is no implication that the frequency of stories is directly correlated with the truth or severity of an event. Moreover, can you show that Slashdot is actually "flooded" with stories of government incompetence? How does the frequency of those stories compare to the stories of government competence. Or are stories ever really written about government competence?

"yet people swear up and down they can be trusted with healthcare"

-- But they're not entrusted with providing healthcare. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not a healthcare system. It is not a set of hospitals. It does not train or employ doctors or nurses. It's a set of laws that requires actual insurance providers (who in turn employ healthcare providers) to abide by certain standards and creates a mandate that all citizens be enrolled in a qualifying healthcare plan or pay a fine (equal to the cost of enrolling in a qualifying healthcare plan). Setting health and safety standards and fining people for not meeting those standards is directly in line with the role of the US government.

"Our government is filled with bad and/or stupid people"

-- Really? And how did you come to that conclusion? Survey? Records analysis? Extreme bias? Who is "our government"? Are you considering just elected and appointed officials? What about day-to-day employees? Secretaries, analysts, programmers, coders, engineers, etc. Are they all bad and stupid as well?

"The US government does not have your back. Ever."

-- That's funny, because the various levels of US government has provided me with roads, plumbing, housing, access to safe water, electricity, dial-up and then high-speed internet. The US government made sure I had schooling, food in my belly, a roof over my head, and sufficient health care as a child. The US government paid for a major portion of my college education and made sure that I paid minimal interest on the loans I needed to fill the gap. The US government will also (eventually) help me buy my first home and provide the standards that will require the person selling me the home guarantee the safety of said home. Chances are that it has done all of the same for you.

If someone fires a gun at my home, guess who will show up to assist in the capture of that person. A government employee.
If I ever get thrown in jail and need representation despite having no money to pay for representation, guess who will try to protect my rights. A government employee.
If I find out that a neighbor's child is being abused and I need to get that kid to safety, guess who will be there to help me do so. A government employee.
If I want to travel from Los Angeles to New York in 5 hours with a near 100% guarantee of my safe transportation, guess who will make that possible. A crap ton of government employees partnering with private industry.

You say that the US government does not have "your" back. I assert that the only reason most of us have the opportunity to to read or write such comments online so frivolously is the effort of a massive amount of government employees.

Yes, the US government, from the president to the lowest municipal worker, is massive. Yes, it hemorrhages money at many points because bad people get employed (everywhere). But the only reason that our government is so massive is because you want such an extremely luxurious life and aren't willing to put in all the effort to sort it out yourself.

Want to try it? Go ahead. Don't use ANY public services. No running water. No roads. No products affected by safety standards or food grown/raised with government-based safety standards. See how long you live and how happy your life is.

Comment: Re:Sad For My Gender (Score 5, Insightful) 369

by eepok (#49068857) Attached to: Two New Male Birth Control Chemicals In Advanced Stages

People comment based on experiences or the stories of others.

Women have, historically, had the socially-supported option of getting pregnant instead of being old and single or instead of entering the workforce. In fact, entering the workforce is still a relatively new concept for women and still not universal throughout the world. Men still have the socially-enforced expectation of tying one's finances to the mother of his children regardless of the involvement of those men in the lives of the children or the mother. This is a genuine hobbling of the uninvolved man's life post impregnation and thus fear of a coerced pregnancy is a significant fear amongst men. As a result, SOME men are suspicious of women when it comes to birth control.

Thus, you shouldn't be surprised by pessimistic online comments reading as "Women trick men into marriage by getting pregnant".

But it does not define the entirety of the population. It MAY describe a part of an aging population of experiences (the younger generation doesn't seem too keen on popping babies out), but by no means defines an entire community.

You can see such patterns of experiences -> comments by taking a look at your own. Your experience with your wife (cooperative birth control expectations, a happy outlook on parenthood, etc.) will bias you towards believing that women have not/do not use pregnancy as a investment-- but it would also suggest that you're fairly far-removed from the lives your male peers if you cannot understand their fears.

Comment: Multiple Systems -- All Budget (Score 1) 249

by eepok (#49041185) Attached to: How good is your audio equipment?

I'm forever a budget enthusiast, but since I don't seek to constantly improve my audio quality like I do performance per watt or performance per dollar, I don't buy new equipment very frequently. As such, I cannot say with confidence whether or not my current gear is of moderate quality or poor quality.

I used to use discrete audio cards in computers, but then, according to people with better ears than I, integrated audio chips surpassed the power of what I knew to be sufficient for me. So I stopped spending the extra money and just made sure that any motherboard I used had native support for 5.1 speakers.

I love my over-the-ear clip on headphones. They stay attached more reliably than earbuds and don't have that funny over-the-head band of other types of headphones. They also have curiously good base for the price-point. They have since been discontinued.

I still have a uni-tasking MP3 player because I don't like the idea of burning through the battery of my communications device for the sake of entertainment. I also prefer for my music device to have buttons so I can change tracks/volume without having to stare at the device (distracting myself from more important tasks at hand). Unfortunately buttons are almost extinct along with stand-alone MP3 players, so I've had to hold onto my Creative Zen X-Fi for many, many years and despite its flaws.

My HTPC isn't exactly a "theater" supplement. It's a TV replacement, so it's about hearing things clearly and at appropriate volume, not having a theater experience.

Main PC
- Speakers: Creative 5300 5.1 system (purchased back in 2000 to accompany a Creative Soundblaster Live! Value which has since been retired)
- Audio Controller: On-board (Intel) audio

- Speakers: Stock 2.0 speakers that came with the system.
- Audio Controller: On-Board (Intel) audio

- MP3 Player: Creative Zen X-Fi 16+2GB
- Headphones: Sony MDRQ22LP

Comment: Meaning of "Anonymous" (Score 2) 96

by eepok (#48936341) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty fair to say that a record without any information directly identifying the subject is "anonymous".

The ability to complete an analysis of multiple records and data sources thereby reasonable guess (90% accuracy) of who the subject might be is insufficient to remove the title of anonymous.

Comment: Re:And if I were on Jupiter, I still wouldn't care (Score 1) 53

by eepok (#48886599) Attached to: Rare Astronomical Event Will See Triple Moon Shadows On Jupiter

Some people are just different and have vastly different concepts of importance.

For the VAST majority most people, rarity in and of itself has no importance. Three black dots appearing on an orange blob that themselves have no effects on the lives, health, or entertainment of people on Earth will get almost no coverage. If it shows up on the local news, they'll focus on the people who gathered at the local observatory (Check out these nerds, eh?) and not the event itself.

Even rare silly calendar dates (11/11/11) have more significance because people impose major importance (however irrational) on those rare, tangible events (http://goo.gl/Wg1Q23).

I wasn't yet born when Neil et al. first tread on the moon, but I've seen the video. I've seen video of people watching it live. I understood the awe because of the example it served a marvel of achievement. I'll probably be shown an image of the 3 black dots on Jupiter. And like Venus' transit of the sun, it's "neat" at best, but will not affect people.

How about some more appropriate context.

Mars Spirit Rover Landing: "Remember when the first Mars Rover landed and started sending images back from Mars? It was SO AMAZING to see photographs from another planet!" (http://youtu.be/MWk-umZm86U?t=7m38s)

Jupiter Gets Beat Up: "Remember when Shoemaker-Levy crashed into Jupiter? That was a really big boom!" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiLNxZbpP20)

Jupiter is Temporarily and Slightly Shadowed: "Remember when three of Jupiter's moon all cast a visible shadow on Jupiter at the same time? Ya. It happened."

Comment: Not Enough Resources to Make Reality (Score 2) 228

by eepok (#48885505) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

It's really great that someone can get press for shooting rainbows out his behind (yes, you too, Elon).

The reality is that this is still science fiction-- and may forever be. If we were to make a genuine internet of things, the use amount of plastics, rare metals, and toxic batteries would need to be absolutely immense. Like, apocalyptically immense.

This fantasy world that Schmidt presents is one of extravagant waste and irrationally exuberant spending that it can only be done for one reason-- PR for new or continuing tech. He's probably just out pounding the drum for Android-based smartphones and their "potential" to be used as life-control devices.

Comment: And if I were on Jupitor, I still wouldn't care (Score 2) 53

by eepok (#48885395) Attached to: Rare Astronomical Event Will See Triple Moon Shadows On Jupiter

Seriously-- rarity in and of itself isn't worth noting. It's particularly not worth noting if something doesn't really happen "to" anyone. And (ignoring the harm to all life as we know it) even if you were on Jupitor, you wouldn't be able to see all the moon shadows because Jupitor's so freaking huge.

Is this something for birder-type people? People that just want to check something off the list?

Comment: Teleporter Discussion! (Score 1) 163

by eepok (#48880601) Attached to: Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

What actually defines a teleporter?

Does an object need to be smashed down to molecular/particle level and those remnants sent to another place to be reassembled?
Is it sufficient, as in this research, to simply clone the object and destroy the original?

What about live matter? Does the destructive process kill the live matter? If it's a person, does one need to record the death?

Is the Star Trek universe full of clones whose previous iterations back to the original are long dead?

Comment: Blame The Parents (Score 5, Insightful) 479

by eepok (#48832485) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System

This conversation rationally and logically devolves into the following:

"Our company doesn't discriminate against females for any position. The problem is that there aren't enough competitively qualified female candidates. Blame the universities."

"Our University's STEM programs don't discriminate against females. Hell, we have multiple support programs for females, an Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and outreach programs into K-12 education to encourage young ladies to explore STEM subjects! If anything, we're doing the work that the secondary schools should be doing."

High Schools
"Our high school is pressed for money. We can't afford the teachers we need, PE has been cut, and there is absolutely zero funding for programs within STEM to do anything but prepare students to take tests. Do you even know what it's like to shove STEM education into the minds of teenage girls? Maybe if they had some earlier primering, we would have a chance, but their interests are formed far earlier than high school."

Middle Schools
"Junior high is too weird for anything purposeful to happen. Every day is a mix of hormones, fights, and liability risk assessments. Try the elementary school."

Elementary Schools
"Us? Seriously? We can't even teach real American history without receiving wrath from Tea Party Parents or teach evolution without getting sued by the religious right. We can't send home technical projects because it ends up being homework that Mom and Dad end up doing because they don't want their child to miss soccer practice or kid's cheer. Try getting the parents on board with education, first, then come to us."

"Hell yes, I voted against the new taxes to fund schools! I have a mortgage, two car payments, and a $150/month cable bill. The kids both have braces, I'm on anxiety meds, and Bill, when he gets to come home, just doesn't have time to deal with anything. The dog has renal failure. Did I mention that? It's costing $300/month to keep the dog alive. So, no. I don't feel bad for voting against overpaid teacher scam artists getting more money. And to top it off, then send home these computer projects that require Jessica to learn some foreign computer language to show she can make a computer add "2 + 2". This isn't right. We have calculators already. Now, I have to call my brother (he's a computer whiz) to help my daughter do the homework that's meant for boys. And that's another thing! Why don't they just let girls be girls?! My Jessica has loved dolls and dresses since she was born! I'll not have her become some sad computer nerd, dressing in black flannel and black denim only for her to get teased at school. NO WAY. My kid's going to be a cheerleader like I was. And I turned out pretty damn well, thank you very much."

Comment: Minimal Actual Risk (Score 1) 784

by eepok (#48830909) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

I was in elementary school (K-6) from 1987 - 1994. I lived in non-rural Southern California for all that time. I lived in high crime areas. From 3rd grade (age 8) all the way through graduating highschool, I found my own way to school. It was walking, taking the bus, or riding a bike. The shortest "commute" I had was in walking in 3rd grade-- 1.0 miles as Google Maps reads it now.

For 4th grade (age 9), I bused half the year until it was too expensive. Then I walked and biked for half of 4th grade and the rest of 5th and 6th (ages 10 and 11). That distance was 1.9 miles each way. There was never a problem. I knew how to cross a major intersection and a 2-way stop. I knew my way home and I knew how to ask old people which way a particular street was if I ever got lost trying to find a short cut.

I'm sure most of us know that crime in California was at a relative high in the late '80s to early '90s. Crime is very low today. Moreover, the risk of kidnapping by strangers (what everyone is actually afraid of), has never really been a genuine risk.

"Only a tiny minority of kidnapped children are taken by strangers. Between 1990 and 1995 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children handled only 515 stranger abductions, 3.1 percent of its caseload. A 2000 report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs reported that more than 3/4 of kidnappings were committed by family members or acquaintances of the child. The study also found that children abducted by strangers were harmed less frequently than those taken by acquaintances." (http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/stranger-child-abductions-actually-very-rare-130514.htm)

Now let's contrast this with a genuine danger: automobiles.

In 2003, the 0-14 age group accounted for 2,136 of traffic fatalities. In addition, children under 15 years old accounted for 1,591 of all vehicle occupant fatalities, 253,000 of all the people injured in motor vehicle crashes, and 220,000 of all the vehicle occupants injured in crashes. (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809762.pdf)

Before we put irrationally short leashes on children thus stunting their maturation, let's put speed limiters and automatic breaking on automobiles so they actually reach maturity.

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.