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Comment: Re:Yeah, no. (Score 1) 1089

by surd1618 (#49303457) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

They are just going to outlaw being poor. Seattle is at the forefront of this trend.

Ironically, Seattle is big in this outlaw-being-poor trend precisely because so many people in the PNW are nice and tolerant to poor people!
Seattle is facing this argument because it's a good place to find large vocal groups on both sides of the issue. Really, the leaders on the forefront of this trend are smaller cities with wealthy white populations e.g. Ft. Lauderdale, where it's now illegal to share food on the sidewalk, it's basically against the law to not sleep under a roof there. http://homelesshatelaws.blogsp...

Comment: Also Up In Olympia, WA (Score 1) 279

by surd1618 (#49217081) Attached to: California's Hot, Dry Winters Tied To Climate Change
It has been clear skies for over a week. At this time of year, this is, I think, totally without precedent. I've only been here for 5 years but it feels completely unnatural. Even when I first moved here it rained basically without ceasing from November until almost June. There's been comparatively almost no rain this winter. The climate is fucked!

Comment: Brains ain't all there is to it (Score 1) 93

by surd1618 (#49148651) Attached to: Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain
We can do a tremendous variety of things with our hands. Witness my typing for an example of the incredibly sophisticated and dextrous manipulation of my physical environment that I can effect with training and practice (especially considering how crappy the keyboard on my laptop is). I think that having a large terminal bundle of neurons is great, but you have to be able to do a lot of different things with it in order to learn to be a good learner.

One thing I have spent some time pondering: creatures that have stepped up to higher cognitive plateaus live in more 3-dimensional environments. For instance, horses and cows basically live on surfaces that we can hike, whereas our ancestors lived in forest canopies. Dolphins live in several different levels of aquatic environments. Birds get full overhead space, but they are hampered by weight considerations.

Comment: just putting this out there (Score 1) 289

This is a pretty positive thread, but I just want to speak on this one real quick. My brother is autistic, like he talks, graduated high school, but is a ward of the state and kind-of far from functional. At school I've heard CS students saying stuff like "No I wouldn't build a red-brick calculator in Minecraft, I'm not autistic." This kind of talk makes me really upset. I'm not even exactly sure why, but I don't like it. I guess, I watched pretty closely as my brother struggled and struggled through life, to still end up in a very marginalized position. I think this had as much to do with poverty and my parent's religious practices as his condition. But I got really upset about this the other day, and I want to encourage you all to be really nice, and refrain from making fun of people with behavioral difficulties. I'm not pointing my finger at anyone specifically as much as just feeling that this is somewht of a problem in the tech community, and we can be nicer. This might be somewhat off-topic.

Comment: Re:That's like ... (Score 1) 779

by surd1618 (#48966291) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes

Girls are much more social than boys even from a very young age. They have no interest in staring at a screen all day by themself.

The human race would probably be better off if a lot fewer people stared at computers all day. But CS would be better off with more females, if for no other reason than equal opportunity (although I think there are other reasons, it's a touchy subject). Overall, we could use a lot fewer people doing a better job of using computers to accomplish things.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.