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Comment Re:We need to stop people from wasting money. (Score 2) 73

Back in the "good old days," an educated populace was a source of communal pride. Providing everyone with the opportunity to try (and the opportunity to fail) to better themselves through education used to be a way to reward individual initiative and merit. It's why we have land grant schools and the GI Bill. "State" schools were actually funded by the states; they'd let anyone in; and many of them would fail.

Now, it seems that education has become an individual benefit for which the individual should pay. Nobody wants to pay to educate his neighbor's dumb kid. State support for "public" universities has dried up, and they depend on tuition to keep the lights on.

They have discovered market forces. Faculty can bring in more money doing research than teaching students. Students who flunk out don't pay tuition, so retention has become a major issue. Keep the customer happy, comfortable, and hopeful. Don't fail them just because they struggle with a few concepts.

Of course, it used to be that success in college was a good indicator of competency. If (almost) anyone can get a degree in exchange for tuition, then the degree loses that value

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1161

Rampage killers are cowards - when confronted by police or counter-force, they typically kill themselves.

Doesn't that suggest that rampage killers are intent on suicide, but want to take a few of their perceived tormentors with them?

In the US, you have easy access to guns, so the suicidal use guns and angry suicidals shoot people. In places with easy access to explosives, angry suicidals blow people up. In some places, effective mental health limits suicides and limited access to tools of easy destruction limits collateral damage.

Comment Re: Why was he modded up? (Score 1) 1161

The vast majority of gun deaths in the united states are criminals either criminals shooting criminals, police shooting criminals or legal gun owners shooting criminals.

The vast majority (2/3) of gun deaths in the US are legal gun owners shooting themselves.

About 10% of gun-homicides are police shootings. About 2% of gun-homicides are "justifiable" shootings by private citizens (ie: legal gun owner shooting criminal). According to the FBI, criminal homicides are pretty evenly split - 1/3 during commission of a felony, 1/3 during arguments, 1/3 unspecified circumstances.

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1161

Just because (he claims) most shootings occur in places with high gun control does not imply that all places with high gun control have lots of shootings.

According to Wikipedia, countries with the highest gun-violence are El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Swaziland, and Venezuela, all about 3x the US rate. Most of these countries require licensing and registration of guns. This may technically place them in the set of "high gun control" countries, but I don't think many of them are high on the list of effective enforcement.

This is also the problem of comparing US regions by legal limitations: if one can just go out to the suburbs to avoid DC's "strict" gun control laws, or drive 30 minutes across the state line, then those laws can not be very effective. It's why so many Georgia and Florida guns leave the state

Comment Re:Just makes them look even more guilty (Score 1) 323

But this really have hurt VW, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are additional models coming up as well on this - even gasoline and hybrids.

This issue is 100% diesel, and there is no way it crosses over to gasoline engines.

VW's low-cost system for reducing NOx requires extra fuel to be burned, keeping the engine at higher temperature, reducing both engine life and fuel economy. Gasoline engines carefully control the fuel/air mix such that NOx are efficiently scrubbed by the catalytic converter. The high-cost clean diesel system used in Audi/Mercedes injects additional chemicals into the exhaust gas to decompose NOx.

So, only VW (among passenger cars), and only diesel has an incentive to turn off the NOx scavenging system: VW's low-end NOx scavenging defeats their reputation for reliability and fuel economy.

Comment Re:Without government... (Score 1) 471

Uber "ignores" nothing; they are a broker between private riders and private ride providers. Everybody knows what they are getting and that the usual "protections" from a government-licensed taxi service don't apply.

Uber uses software to allow them to behave like taxis while being legally characterized as "black cab," "car service," or "limosine." Drivers in these legal categories have to meet different requirements and have different limitations on their business freedom, some of which could be considered relics of technologically different times. Uber is disruptive because it performs the on-demand function of a taxi while holding the business flexibility (ie: flexible rates, passenger screening) of a car service.

Eventually, regulations will catch up with the technology. Uber will be absorbed into Taxi-like classification and allowed to pick up airport passengers, or the distinctions among small, for-hire transport will be reduced, and these entities will be able to compete fairly.

Comment Re:More will be trampled to death in future stampe (Score 1) 184

That's why you shouldn't fence them in. The problem starts when you block the path. Just put the whole damn thing out in the open where people can move

Even without fences or corrals, a throng of 1e9 people is dangerous. Those guys in back, 7km from the 'stage,' want, at least, to be able to see the venue, and they push, just a little. The guys only 3km from 'stage,' they're also pushing, just a little. What do you think happens when a line of people four or five kilometers long all pushes on the guy in front?

This is what makes lemmings go over cliff faces, and it's why people died at Mecca.

Comment Re: $949/week? (Score 2) 449

You do know that "computer programming" is something that anyone can do, not just a job title, right? Comparing a girls-only programming camp to an imaginary boys-only "school teacher camp" is a ridiculous MRA analogy.

Gender-exclusive camps are nothing new. The Boy Scouts run a number of boys only hiking and knot-tying camps. Fashion and modeling camps exist and are overwhelmingly but not exclusively girls. A 'boys only' fashion camp seems perfectly reasonable, and I don't imagine they would learn about clothing design and manufacture by driving trucks over bolts of fabric.

Comment Re:Why does the FBI continue to engage in witchcra (Score 1) 262

stress and nervousness and normal and they are grounds for the interviewers to further explore the line of questioning to check if the nervousness is just nervousness or something more sinister. Why do people think everything has to be so black and white or that the interviewers can't possibly be used to dealing with people that are nervous for reasons beyond lieing.

You're describing a polygraph as being a crutch for an interrogator who can not personally identify the signs of unease and evasion in a subject. That is, that the implements and ritual of the polygraph makes it easier for the interrogator to follow procedures, not that they reveal anything about the subject. Unfortunately, polygraph is presented as an objective, clinical test of the subject.

This is stunningly similar to the discussion of homeopathic "cures," where you have one set of people saying they "work" because the placebo effect is a real thing, and another set saying that the placebo effect is the very definition of not "working."

âoeWe (officers) are like used car salesman. But instead of selling a junky car to someone, we have to sell the idea that confessing is the best thing to do.â Polygraph is like a special deal for today only because the salesman is under deadline to make his quota.

Comment Re:NoScript (Score 1) 307

If a site serves their own ads, fine, I can live with that. But third party shit, cookies, javascript and all that other garbage? Aggressively blocked. Flash? It's not even enabled on any browser I use.

At home: Flash not installed; Noscript; and domains of the major ad networks and 3rd party trackers resolve to localhost. I periodically scan the DNS query logs and nullify suspicious domains.

I'd be more-or-less happy with sites inserting their own ads. ie, run a script on their server, even if it pulls content from a 3rd party, and deliver it to me as one thing. Put the cost of advertising on the people who benefit from advertising. Let the site owners see how much bandwidth and delay the advertising costs.

Comment Re:Why do teens *need* all these drugs??? (Score 2) 133

Good Lord, We had no inclination of taking the slew of pharmaceutical drugs back in my day as a teen. Ok, sure, we had plenty of "parking lot" drugs we often had fun with...but as far as systemized drugging of kids, we did just fine without all the anti-depressants turning kids into zombies so early ln life.

But I have a right to be happy all the time. I live in the greatest country earth has ever known and my parents provide me with every possible comfort and advantage. Coasting through life as I have, without any serious challenges or impediments, I should be the happiest kid on earth. If I'm not, it's clearly a neural imbalance, and there's a drug for that.

Comment Re:How is this paid for? (Score 2) 1291

Just repeal the Bush/Obama tax cuts and restore $4T in revenue over ten years to the federal budget. That will fix the current budget problems, as the tax cuts were never funded with corresponding budget cuts.

If there's one thing Reagan taught us, it is that tax cuts are never offset by budget cuts.

$4T/ 10 years works out to a bit more than $1000/person/year. Current tax receipts are about $3T/year. If you disband the army, make social security redundant, close DHS, and all other government functions down to NASA, then there's enough tax base to pay a "basic income" of $12,000/year (assuming you're only going to pay adults). Assuming everyone keeps paying their social security taxes after the government starts paying them to breathe.

Comment Re:They cynic in me (Score 1) 143

The cynic in you should say this is only benefits rich people.

Many private colleges and universities (Utica included) have outrageous sticker prices that almost no one pays. These schools practice need-blind admissions and "pay" themselves the difference between nominal tuition and what the student can actually afford. This is touted as a great way to let any qualified student get a Utica (or Harvard or Stanford) education. Nominally, it works by overcharging those who can afford tuition to subsidize those who can't. In practice, it's a way to get just a little more than each person can comfortable afford. We're giving you $80,000 - surely you can take a $20k loan for the balance. Sounds a lot like those lotteries where you have to pay $1000 tax to receive your $10,000 winnings, subject to $9000 processing fee.

If the grants and tuition waivers are paid by the school's endowment, then it just moves money from the highly flexible endowment fund to the dedicated instructional fund. It (probably) doesn't change the actual university revenues (except to those people who think that money taken out of your left pocket and placed in your right pocket is "revenue"), it just give the administration more flexibility in distributing what they have.

The people currently receiving generous financial aid will see their financial aid packages drop by the same dollar amount as tuition. The small number of people from families wealthy enough to afford $35k tuition will be able to buy their kid a Mercedes for college instead of some lame-ass Honda, and that's a small enough number of people that Utica isn't going to notice.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 77

They've also suggested that these specimens must have been specifically placed in the pile they were found, potentially over hundreds of years. They could represent individual weirdo's shunned and cast out. Birth or developmental defects rather than speciation. Imagine what a future archeologist would think if he came across a chamber where thalidomide babies (many of whom are now in their 50s) or hydrocephalic people were collected upon their death.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov