Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 1) 187 187

On the scientific side the "house kept too clean" theory is interesting but by no means proven. Northwest Scotland is considered to have the cleanest environment in the developed world (due to wind and rain from the Atlantic) and that was true before 1970 as well but children there have seen the same increase in nut allergies as elsewhere.

On the human/interpersonal side the use of the word "coddle" points right back to the "illness as moral weakness" syndrome that a large percentage of the human race seems to suffer from.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 1) 187 187

That is a very good question. The incidence of severe food allergy, particularly but not limited to nut allergies, is documented as having risen sharply throughout the Western world since 1970. So your impression that there are more severely allergic food people today (not just children as the numbers were high in the 1990s) is correct. What the source of that increase is is not known despite a fairly large amount of medical research. The "houses kept too clean" theory is interesting but by no means proven; northwest Scotland is considered to have the cleanest environment in the developed world (due to wind and rain from the Atlantic) and that was true before 1970 as well but children there have seen the same increase in nut allergies as elsewhere.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 5, Insightful) 187 187

There is a also the third factor: where people who do not have life-threatening allergies, particularly life-threatening allergies to nuts, develop an attitude that (1) such immune system allergies really don't exist (2) those who claim they do, or who experience anaphylactic reactions to foodstuffs are (a) lying (b) morally weak.

I've seen people with that attitude try to push peanut butter cupcakes on 3-year-olds with severe peanut allergies. Oddly they are never very happy to be educated on their ignorance or its source, their attitude.


Comment Re:as always.... (Score 1) 204 204

= = = Krugman's own data shows a rise in 2% of GDP in Social Security between 1965 and 1983; succeeding programs weren't "limited" and they haven't been "cut continuously". = = =

If you and your political party are going to classify Social Security as "welfare" rather than (a) a decent thing for an extremely wealthy society to do (b) an incredibly successful program of alleviating poverty among the elderly (c) a good method of moving people through the employment system and opening slots at the top so young people can get jobs at the bottom (d) one of a basket of preventative measures against a communist revolution [as envisioned by that flaming liberal Bismark and used by Roosevelt and Hopkins for the same purpose] then you are welcome to do so.

However, if you and your political ilk want do do that you need to stand up and say so explicitly to the entire nation. Including not shirking from explaining to the heroic {yeoman farmers} ranchers of the suburban/exurban range that they too are taking "welfare" when they apply for "their" Social Security. To date the hard Radical Right has been successful in using half-truths and dog whistles to imply that they will somehow manage to chop Social Security for the "undeserving" while leaving it in place for the "deserving". This time I think you're going to be forced to show you work on that bit of legerdemain


Comment Re:as always.... (Score 1) 204 204

= = =
But I think it’s also important to understand where this is coming from. Partly it’s Bush trying to defend his foolish 4 percent growth claim; but it’s also, I’m almost certain, coming out of the “nation of takers” dogma that completely dominates America’s right wing.

At my adventure in Las Vegas, one of the questions posed by the moderator was, if I remember it correctly, “What would you do about America’s growing underclass living off welfare?” When I said that the premise was wrong, that this isn’t actually happening, there was general incredulity — this is part of what the right knows is happening. When Jeb Bush — who is a known admirer of Charles Murray — talks about more hours, he’s probably thinking largely about getting the bums on welfare out there working.

As I asked a few months ago, where are these welfare programs people are supposedly living off? TANF is tiny; what’s left are EITC, food stamps, and unemployment benefits. Spending on food stamps and UI soared during the slump, but came down quickly; overall spending on “income security” has shown no trend at all as a share of GDP, with all the supposed growth in means-tested programs coming from Medicaid: [graphs follow] = = =

Comment Re:Blew up one of our instruments, too (Score 1) 204 204

= = = hey all achieved their mission objectives, but the vehicle wasn't flawless. = = =

Was the design spec "get payload to correct orbit safely" or was it "get payload to orbit with zero subsystem failures"? Maybe there was a reason the designers chose to use five smaller engines and an control system that could compensate for the loss of one or two.


Comment Re:as always.... (Score 1) 204 204

= = = vastly expanding welfare and retirement programs = = =

The "welfare" programs that were in place from 1934-1996 no long exist, but even taking the succeeding limited programs under as successors "welfare" has been cut continuously from 1981 through to this day, including during the Obama Administration. Not sure where this breitbart myth of the luxurious "welfare" benefit and the t-bone steaks comes from but it has no basis in factual reality where PRWORA was passed in 1996 representing the ultimate capitulation of the neoliberals to Reaganism.


Comment Re:as always.... (Score 1) 204 204

= = = I would be FASCINATED to hear your logic as to why government would seek to privatize (i.e. lose money) profits in order to socialize (i.e. lose money) the risks = = =

Consider the financial system meltdown in 2008. From 1990-2007 the large financial entities took trillions of dollars of profit for themselves. Part of the deal of capitalism is that when you have profit opportunities that big you willingly accept the concomitant risk including the possibility that should the risk actualize you will go broke and might go to jail. The risk actualized. The USG stepped in (along with the EU and UK), paid off the losses, and did not require the financial services firm and their executives to take any penalty at all; instead the government passed the cost on to the median taxpayer (43k/year income). That is allowing a supposedly capitalist/free enterprise to privatize profits (i.e. squeeze them out of the polity) while socializing risk (paying off huge private losses with tax money).


Comment Re:as always.... (Score 3, Informative) 204 204

Just about every organization over $1 billion USD self-insures most risks, although this is not always apparent because they often use the processing division of full service insurance companies to analyze and process their transactions. True insurance policies from 3rd parties don't come free and beyond a certain size the universe of risk is the same for the organization as the insurance company.


Comment Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 688 688

= = = You had official numbers for the same years, and then added an unofficial number 9 years later. You then compared people per household in 2001 to vehicles per household in 2009. Why? = = =

Because the first set of numbers came from US DOT which has not published an official number for 2010 yet; the 2010 value is from a widely-quoted private source of statistics on automobiles but is not an academic quality publication.


Comment Re:Road trips. (Score 2) 688 688

Sure. And you are an outlier:


15 miles one way, 30 miles round trip is the 70th percentile. That's well within the range of a Leaf not to mention a Volt.

And there are some extreme outliers out there, but that shouldn't set either perceptions or policy:



Comment Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 688 688

Fear of change. Funny thing is my late grandfather-in-law told me about having the same discussion with his father when he (grandfather) proposed replacing some of the horses and mules on the farm with gasoline-powered tractors. Great-grandfather admitted 5 years later he had been wrong which from what I've heard down there was not something that happened very often.


Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.