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Comment Re:The colorful packaging is a valid concern (Score 1) 421

That is a sign of unsupervised children. It really doesn't take much effort to put a child lock on the sink so that if they are old enough to open it they are old enough to know not to put random things in their mouth. Also... it doesn't taste good. A five year old is not going to eat enough soap to get sick. An infant or toddle who is capable of opening up the kitchen cabinet, finding the soap and eating enough to die raises a lot of other questions. Like why didn't they try the bleach? My brother got a visit to the ER for trying to drink a bottle of ammonia. It's not about 'looking like candy'. It's about not taking responsibility for your kids.

Comment Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 1) 385

So... more people died today on US highways than died in that plane crash. Clearly we should ban cars because we can't trust people with that kind of responsibility... Yes it is tragic. Was it preventable? Possibly. But hindsight is 20/20. Lots of people go through rough patches and never kill anyone. People also go through rough patches and murder their infant children, their spouse, etc. How do you differentiate?

Shrinks have an obligation to report if they feel their patients are a danger to themselves or others, but seeing a shrink should not automatically result in your job loss. We don't have pre-crime and we need to be very careful how we handle people who *may* hurt themselves. You should be damn sure, have evidence to back it up, and the threat should be eminent. And you aren't going to catch them all.

Comment Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 2, Insightful) 385

So what if you have one of these jobs and are going through a rough patch? Your wife just left you and took the kids, your mom died of cancer...

If admitting to having problems causes you to loose the one thing you love to do, what do you do? Mental health is not an easy problem to solve. We need to make it socially ok to admit that we need help and that everything isn't ok. When someone asks "how are you today?", we should be able to give something other than the canned "I'm good! How are you?"

The reality is that if you want to commit mass murder, it is not hard. Drive a SUV down a crowded street at a fair. Chain some doors shut and light a match.

Comment Re:Paypal better pick what it wants to be... (Score 1) 68

My bank lets me send money to anyone I want... You give me your account and routing number (which are printed on your checks) and I fill out a form on my bank's website to tell them to send you the money. Your bank account number isn't a secret. And no, my bank doesn't charge me fees for this service. If yours does, you have a shitty bank.

Comment Re:How about... (Score 1) 349

People are freaking out, quarantines keep them calm, so we go with quarantines.

I recall another period in US history where we took innocent people and locked them up out of fear... We don't look on back on that with pride. The AIDs quarantine proposed in 1980's in California didn't fly. We didn't quarantine symptomatic people with swine flu. We don't quarantine active carriers of HIV. Trying to quarantine non-contagious people just to make you feel warm and fuzzy is wrong.

Comment Re:Some would be well suited. (Score 1) 299

$140K a year for a defense contractor in the DC area (even 14 years ago) is quite reasonable. Down in DC defense salaries are highly inflated. Once you get your tickets (bonus if you are ex-military cause the govies love ex-military on the proposals) you can just jump houses whenever you think you aren't getting paid enough. One of my managers was down there interviewing a guy making > $140k who had done literally nothing but change jobs every couple of years and thought he deserved a pay boost.

Comment Re:Simplify Taxes (Score 3, Insightful) 410

Or how about we get rid of all the stupid tax credits in exchange for a lower base rate... You are probably going to give your $1000 to the red cross anyways. If you pay a tax rate of 20% and you get a $1000 deduction, then the govt gives you back $200. You are still out $800.

Now you say that because the government won't give you $200 back, you will only donate $800. However, if the lower base rate gives you the extra $200 as disposable income without having to file the paperwork, then why wouldn't you give it to the Red Cross like you wanted to do before? If the answer is you are going to take the extra $200 and spend it on hookers and blow, then that's on you, not the government.

Personally I like the Fair Tax proposal. Consider this... do we really need to have an entire industry devoted solely to reducing people's tax burdens?

Comment Re:999 (Score 1) 600

Probably because he only bothered to put 3 digits on the display. And he's 17.

A new hire I'm working with that is a college grad asked me why I was making him validate the system input... Apparently there are some things that you don't learn until it bites you in the ass. I then let him do some XML parsing using string searches a couple months ago and now he is busy rewriting all his code to use the XML parser now that he has discovered how diverse legal XML truly is. I figured a good life lesson was worth it. He has spend the past few days muttering about how he was told the XML messages would never change...

Comment Re:"Illegal" fireworks (Score 1) 340

Our neighbors set off "illegal" explosives in order to celebrate seditious men. We usually call the cops when they start setting off the bottle rockets in the middle of the night and waking up my baby. Before I bought my house the college students living in the apartment below me had a "illegal explosives" party all night long one night. It was a weeknight. After I went downstairs and yelled at them for making a ruckus, they decided to light up the rest of their stash. The next morning they had left all their trash all over the lawn. The landlord evicted them.

The hate is directed towards inconsiderate asshats blowing shit up when other people are trying to sleep. If a guy was standing in the middle of the street in front of your house at midnight blaring rock music, you would be ticked off. If a guy launches a bottle rocket into your roof and burned your house down, you would be pretty ticked off. No one gives a fuck about people having a little fun. There are plenty of fireworks, etc that don't involve burning down your neighbors house or waking them up in the middle of the night. Not to mention that if you really want to go blow up big stuff without ticking people off you can either do it outside the city limits or during a time when no one cares.

So as long as you don't burn my house down or wake my baby up, I don't care how you celebrate :) Once you start doing one of those things, then I call the cops.

Comment Re:Meatspace is losing to userspace (Score 1) 310

As a preschool app, it's not that bad a game. It helps her learn to spot count (looking at a group and immediately seeing 4 without needing to count each object individually) as well form problem solving skills. The primary problem is that it enforces the idea that once you find the solution to the game, then that is the only way to solve that particular problem and is discourages her from looking for other ways to solve the problem. Why should try putting 1 and 4 together when she knows that she will get 5 if she combines all the fish and then splits them?

I think you have found the primary problem with computer based games (or any game with rigid rules). The predefined rules rarely cover all possible scenarios and often overly simplify the world. How many times have you played a game where in order to advance to the next level you need to jump from exactly the right spot and then grab a vine even though you have a grappling hook in your backpack or some other such nonsense?

Comment Re:Meatspace is losing to userspace (Score 1) 310

Computers are a tool, nothing more. Like a screwdriver, they can be used to fix things, take things apart, or kill people. It is not the fault of the tool if it is being used improperly.

My daughter (age 4) plays a game on the iPad where she is asked to do object based math. She is supposed to combine groups of 1, 2, 3, and 4 fish in order to form groups of 5 fish. The iPad tells me that she has yet to master this skill because her solution is to combine all the fish into one big group of 10 and then split the group in half, getting two groups of 5. The two groups of 5 fish merrily go off to get eaten by the whale and she completes the level happy, but the iPad will not advance her to adding to make 6.

The game is fun and helps her practice these skills in a easily reset-able environment thanks to the magic block fairies, but at some point she is going to need a person to tell her why the game doesn't like her solution.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra