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Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 253

Yes, you seem to be missing most of the entire story. RTFA. And not just the most recent one. Go back into the archive of Venezia's blog and read his earlier reports about what happened. Pay particular attention to the comments posted to these pieces, some from Child's former manager who quit several months before this incident. He vouches for Terry's skills and integrity and confirms that the SF IT management team is incompetent and deserves to be in jail.

Comment Re:Both sides behaved terribly (Score 1) 253

Did you even read the IT Security Policy he was following? It has been posted now at least three times on this discussion thread. It proves he was doing his job, and proves he was doing it better than any of his managers, their supervisors and the still wet-behind-the-ears and woefully underqualified Information Security Officer who blew the entire affair out of proportion (who was also the girlfriend of one of the upper managers who got her that job).

Comment Re:Men like these... (Score 1) 253

The password restrictions were not a provision of his contract, but written directly into the information security policy of the City of San Francisco. This is one of the documents that showed up on a publicly-accessible city website after Childs was arrested. Venezia even included the URL to this site in one of his earlier blog postings. After that was published, I believe the PDF document was removed, but I'm sure Google has cached it.

All Childs was doing was following the information security policy of the City, the policy that his superiors were trying to violate. This only further proved the incompetence of the city's IT management as well as the incompetence of the District Attorney's office, who submitted to the public record as evidence against Childs a list they discovered of all the VPN user accounts and passwords for the city's employees powerful enough to have been granted such access. Such acts of stupidity would be astonishing anywhere but San Francisco.

Comment Re:Don't trust proprietary software (Score 1) 172

Boxee works fine for me, though only on my x86 Ubuntu partition. There is no 64-bit package for Boxee, though the forums are filled with inquiries about it. I asked Dave Matthews of Boxee about this issue, and he said their limited resources are all focused on developing for the widest range of systems, and while he welcomes and encourages people to work on a 64-bit version, most of the efforts I've seen have been chroot hacks to get the 32-bit version to play well (or even at all) on 64-bit installations. I'm a sysadmin, not a coder, but if I had the necessary skyllz, I'd love to be able to do this.

Comment Re:Moving straight off-topic (Score 1) 172

In the open source world, you are encouraged to get up off your butt and do something when you see a problem that is not being properly addressed. Blogging tools are easily available all over the place. If you don't like the Linux bloggers you have been reading, start your own blog and promote it.

You might also want to subscribe to any one of the hundreds of open source podcasts out there. I listen to FLOSS Weekly (Randal Schwarz + Leo LaPorte and sometimes Jono Bacon), Fresh Ubuntu (Peter Nicholitis and Harlem Kianu), the Ubuntu UK Podcast and some others. I'm less impressed by the Linux Action Show, but I still check it out every now and then.
You can find these and many others at

Comment Re:The Sun (Score 1) 377

The first reflecting telescope I had as a young high school student included a sun filter that screwed into the either of the two lenses that came with it, so I could look directly at the sun and observe all kinds of things like giant flares and sunspots. The green glass of the sun filter was probably similar to the material used in welding masks, as you could not see anything at all through it except the sun.

I saved my lawn mowing money for months to be able to afford that $58 K-mart blue light special, but it was definitely a worthwhile investment.

Comment Re:Politics, not science (Score 1) 590

Not at all. The twelve years of follow up studies of tens of thousands of subjects in different countries have never replicated any of Wakefield's data (based on an apallingly small sample of only 12 children in the U.K.) and have done a pretty convincing job of repudiating everything he claimed in his original paper. That is science, not politics.

Comment Re:For our sake (Score 1) 590

First off, the lead author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, was not a pediatrician who specialized in the treatment of children, nor was he an immunologist, who specializes in studying and treating the immune system. He was a gastroenterologist, who was consulted over some digestive disorders.

Second, he based his research on a study of only 12 children whom he treated. Yes, you read that correctly. Twelve kids. Not 200, or 6,000, or 15,000. Twelve. And that was his sole study group. There was no control group with which to compare results.

Third, he collected blood specimens from random children whom he invited to his son's birthday party, and paid them 5 pounds each for their blood. He did not obtain informed consent from the kids or their parents, a major violation of medical ethics and research protocols.

Fourth, he accepted over 400,000 pounds in payment from a group of attorneys retained by parents groups to sue the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines.

Fifth, he now blames thimerosol and the minute levels of ethyl mercury it contained as causes of autism, but in his original paper, he never mentioned thimerosol or mercury, mainly because the MMR vaccine he was blaming for autism did not even contain thimerosol.

Is this enough? Or do you need more data? If so, check out

Comment Re:The debate is long from over. (Score 1) 590

Use PubMed to find scientific research in peer-reviewed journals. Here's the one I would immediately reference, as it was not funded by any pharmaceutical company, but by the State of California's Department of Public Health (your tax dollars at work): You can even contact the authors directly, if you have follow-up questions.

There are, however, many, many, many others. Again, use PubMed ( instead of Google, as google ranks hits by popularity, not by scientific sources.

Comment Re:The debate is long from over. (Score 1) 590

When an adult gets varicella, it's called "shingles" and it is absolutely miserable, painful and takes weeks or even months to heal. The additional risk of secondary infection with other pathogens can be deadly. Any vaccine available to prevent varicella, whether as a child or an adult, is worth the effort to acquire.

Comment Re:The debate is long from over. (Score 1) 590

Yes, it is. There have been dozens of other research programs launched in response trying to replicate Wakefield's findings and not a single one has been able to do so. The scientific method requires independent verification of results and recommends that your study group and control group be a little bit larger than twelve, yes, 12 children to have any validity at all. On top of that, Wakefield is not a pediatrician nor an immunologist, but a gastroenterologist (or at least he was until last week, when his license to practice was revoked).

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