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Comment Public Service Announcement (Score 5, Interesting) 112

Don't talk to cops.

Seriously, the scary thing here is that you could quite innocently find yourself the subject of an investigation, and have your whole life spiral out of control from there. The FBI has manufactured "terrorists" by leveraging their criminal informants, and innocent people have gotten caught up in the agency's overzealous and amoral crusade to "catch bad guys."

But, don't take my word for it:

  • http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-fbi-entrapment-is-inventing-terrorists-and-letting-bad-guys-off-the-hook-20120515
  • http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/fbi-terrorist-informants
  • http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/471/the-convert

What I would like to see is someone give it the old college try and write up a "compare and contrast" essay: The FBI vs. the Stasi, KGB, et cetera. I worry things are getting that bad in this country. Now we have to worry about what we might re-tweet!

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 1) 355

I taught middle school and high school for a little while, and my experience jibes with what you say. I think it works like this.

In a class of 30, there are 1 or 2 pathological miscreants—basically, irredeemable troublemakers who need another environment (whatever that may be). Then, there are about 6 kids who need only those troublemakers as a catalyst for them to become troublemakers as well. On the other side of the coin, there are 5 or 6 kids who are model students in terms of behavior. The rest are mere ballast.

I've seen where throwing merely 1 kid out of class—permanently—and then cracking down on the rest can turn an entire class around and make it manageable. But if you can't get rid of that 1 or maybe 2 kids, there's a good chance that class is lost.

The great tragedy in American education is that we are willing to cheat so many students out of an education because we cater to the very few who don't deserve an education.

Comment "How did the teacher fail these students?" (Score 3, Informative) 355

I can sympathize with number 1, and partially with number 4, but 2 and 3 hold no water at all. They should not be the concern of the professor. These undergraduates are supposedly a subset of adults.

Your immediate reaction is to ask: "How did the teacher fail these students?" Sadly, your reaction is endemic; and, moreover, indicative of the problem at every level of U.S. education.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 5, Insightful) 634

[I]t does assert that inherently, no person should be favored over another in how they are treated by the government or, indeed by society in general.

I don't get that at all. If you read John Locke, as Jefferson did, and as did just about every educated, politically-minded person of the time, you'd know in what sense "equal" is being used. It's a very narrow concept. "All men are created equal" means that there is no man or group of men on earth who can claim a right to be the political rulers of anyone else. It's an axiom against the idea of divine right. It's an axiom against the notion of absolute monarchy. In the context of English politics, it's an axiom against the political primacy of an un-elected monarchy or hereditary aristocracy; an argument for the primacy of Parliament. In the context of American politics, it's a political argument against kings and aristocracy; an argument for representative government.

The concept is ante-government, or "meta" as we say (in this half-literate age). It comes before government. It's the rationale for what kind of government is right and just, and it's a strictly political concept—not a social one. It doesn't have anything to do with the egalitarianism that you allege. It has nothing to do with society, and certainly nothing to do with the modern concept that styles itself as "social justice."

Comment This is the future? (Score 1) 125

Its near-future design would also be able to avoid glare even when the high beam is in use, detecting up-coming vehicles [...]

My father bought a Cadillac in 1980 that had its headlights working like this. The high beams were on more or less by default, but would switch to regular headlights when an on-coming car approached.

Comment Re:Hasn't this been proven to be junk science? (Score 2) 313

Pandora brought the box of ills and opened it. It was the gift of the gods to men, outwardly a beautiful and seductive gift, and called the Casket of Happiness. Out of it flew all the evils, living winged creatures, thence they now circulate and do men injury day and night. One single evil had not yet escaped from the box, and by the will of Zeus Pandora closed the lid and it remained within. Now for ever man has the casket of happiness in his house and thinks he holds a great treasure; it is at his disposal, he stretches out his hand for it whenever he desires; for he does not know the box which Pandora brought was the casket of evil, and he believes the ill which remains within to be the greatest blessing, it is hope. Zeus did not wish man, however much he might be tormented by the other evils, to fling away his life, but to go on letting himself be tormented again and again. Therefore he gives Man hope,- in reality it is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of Man.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 892

Sometimes on television commercials, especially the kind of low budget commercials you see for local businesses, I've seen women gesticulating with very forceful, masculine hand movements in an attempt to sell something. "You know you'll get the best deal at Handsome Hal's!" And, to me, they look like fools. That's how they strike me. Stereotypical masculine gestures on a woman are an even poorer fit than they are on a man. That's my opinion, anyway. But I bet many people of both sexes share my opinion.

Does that mean women make terrible sales people? Not at all. Does that mean that women have to coo and act coquettish to sell things? Again, not at all. They simply have to adapt their speech and body language to seem more natural. Otherwise, they seem like they're aping men.

You can see the same thing in rock 'n' roll, though you see more of it years ago, in the '70s and '80s than you do now. Female bands and female band leaders tended to ape Led Zeppelin. But, what I can see as having happened since is that women have more successfully integrated a more naturally female persona with music—and lest you think I'm talking about the vixens and playthings, I'm not.

So, what's my point? It's the same at the start. Perhaps many women negotiating in business are doing it poorly. Perhaps, lacking enough female role models, and the confidence that comes from role models, perhaps they're aping men and looking foolish. If anything, the idea of transexuals experiencing this after transitioning supports my opinion.

I think what we have here is some kind of sex-based variation on the Uncanny Valley.

Variables don't; constants aren't.

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