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Comment If it were me... (Score 1) 956

I don't blame the kid for the absolutely over-the-top reaction by the supposedly smarter adults. But, frankly, if I were Muslim and named Ahmed Mohamed and living in Texas, I'm not sure I would consider constructing anything involving wires, battery and timer and bringing it to school. Sure, in a perfect world he SHOULD have been able to without incident, but 14 is old enough to understand the social climate and the danger of unnecessarily scaring the ignorant yahoos.

Comment Re:Consider the Audience (Score 1) 424

I might add another annoyance not mentioned yet. Whenever I use one of the more obscure search functions (such as "inurl"), every few pages I am forced to do a captcha because, in their words, they are detecting "suspicious" activity. I guess knowing what you are doing automatically tags you as up to no good.

Comment Consider the Audience (Score 1) 424

Problem is, Google and Bing are set up to produce optimum results for the 98% of users that have little to no idea of how to frame a search query; have only fair-to-middling spelling, grammar; and are looking for topics for which the first page or two, at most, of results will get them where they want to go. They are not designed for serious, scholarly, in-depth, obscure, complex or nitpicking search queries. Like many things in life, they are dumbed down to serve the masses.

Comment 5 gb? (Score 1) 479

Most people use 5 gb/mo.? Really? Hell, I do just basic web browsing, no gaming, no streaming movies (just the odd YouTube vid now and then) and I still chew up a good 20-25 gb. Somebody just checking e-mail, Facebook and a few blogs and news sites several times a day probably tops 5 gb before the month is up.

Comment No surprise (Score 2) 331

I have almost never viewed any major site's overhaul as an improvement. It usually ends up just complicating (or even rendering impossible) the things I use it for. Invariably, there was nothing "wrong" with the site's functionality as it was that needed "fixing," but they decided to mess with it anyway. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but when something works fine as it is, I'm a firm advocate for leaving well enough alone.

Comment Amazing man (Score 4, Interesting) 220

It was not quite hyperbole when JFK jokingly addressed a group of Nobel winners at the White House: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Man, he accomplished so much, yet still found time to regularly impregnate the help!

Comment Re:False sense of security (Score 3, Insightful) 754

Newsflash - the camera has a limited field of view.

Not to mention a 2-dimensional image (depth of field is important when driving) that is of a considerably reduced size compared to reality.

She couldn't back up to save her ass, since she spent more time looking at the camera's feed then actually turning her head to look behind her.

Many drivers will likely start to rely solely on the camera image, instead of using it as an adjunct to a brief walkaround check and the normal "real life" turn-your-head field of view. It may save some lives, but I fear other preventable backup accidents will happen due to overreliance on the camera. In general, I feel that a lot of safety technology, including things like airbags and ABS, lull some drivers into a false sense of security that leads them to be more careless, inattentive, or even reckless. These devices are all well-intentioned, and undoubtedly have saved some lives, but are counterproductive if the most critical part of the vehicle -- the driver -- relies on them to the exclusion of good old-fashioned common sense and care.

Comment Re:We need to man up (Score 2, Insightful) 890

Actually, I'm not sure their audience is capable of cognitive dissonance.

cognitive, adj. \käg-n-tiv\ : of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (as thinking, reasoning, or remembering).

Lessee...thinking, reasoning, remembering. Strikes one, two, and three. Fox News aficianados don't think or reason -- they are sponges soaking up their pundits' mots du jour and regurgitating them. There's about as much cognitive activity involved their as there is in a trained parrot.

Dissonance, plenty. "Cognitive." not so much.

Comment Gaaaaa! (Score 1) 202 out your car stereo and replace it with a do-it-yourself touchscreen PC, complete with DVD, GPS, TV, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, MP3, and Internet surfing.

How 'bout ripping out the driver and replacing him/her with someone who will pay attention to THE ROAD and not video, chitchat, texting or surfing the Web? That would be a worthwhile modification.

Please, folks, stop this incessant and increasingly ridiculous "multi-tasking" behind the wheel. 99% of those who say they can do it safely, can't. They just think they can (primarily because their definition of "safe" is "I haven't had an accident.....yet"). Save the rest of that shit for when you get to your destination. If you can't live without being connected to the hive for the length of your commute, stay home.

Comment Re:akin to.. (Score 1) 186

Its more like asking the publishers of the phone book to determine whether any individuals or businesses listed are engaged in illegal activity. Or asking the cab company to do the same for every address they are asked to deliver a passenger to.

There's no perfect analogy, but in every example, applying the same "logic" to a physical world parallel results in something ludicrous and impractical, and definitely something that a third party shouldn't be expected to do for free, or really at all.

Comment Re:Obvious consequence (Score 1) 774

Law Enforcement should be spending its efforts going after the perverts that create kiddie porn, where it would actually do the poor kids some good.

But they are much harder to find, and might require, I don't know, some effort? Going after the low-hanging fruit is always preferable: it pads your conviction rate; takes less time, money and detective work; and looks great to the "think of the children crowd" at election time (for D.A.s and prosecutors) or budget time (for law enforcement agencies).

Comment Re:So what you're saying... (Score 1) 388

Total agreement here. Look at the much more irreligious Euro and Scandinavian countries -- crime isn't running rampant in the streets there, and they have a much lower crime and incarceration rate than the good ol' God-fearing U.S. of A. The fallacy is the notion that morality can only be imbued into a society by appealing to some higher power dictating commandments to the poor, sinful mortals, and threatening fire and brimstone upon those who disobey. In the long run, a more just and peaceful society can be realized when citizens have legitimate, intelligent, logical reasons for restricting or outlawing certain acts and behaviors, not just "God says it's wrong, so don't do it." But it takes a wholesale shift in attitude that cannot be easily achieved when most kids grow up with some degree of religious belief pounded into them, when even politicians and lawmakers appeal to the unseen old man in the sky, and the techniques of reason and critical thinking are not only not taught from an early age, but actively discouraged by the educational system.

Comment Nothing new here... (Score 1) 961

Nothing new or earth-shattering here. People tend to invest themselves emotionally in their beliefs. They will often cling to a discredited belief because it fits with their general worldview, and gives them a feeling of comfort, power, or righteousness. Plus, few people enjoy being proven wrong.

When you attack someone's preciously held beliefs, no matter how graciously or tactfully, the reaction is often the same as if you took an axe, went into their house, and started destroying their furniture. The natural reaction is to both defend and counter-attack.

Until and unless critical thinking is taught and instilled in people from a very young age, this will continue to be the norm. And, believe me, the powers that be do NOT want kids learning how to question and examine things critically -- by and large, they want moderately-educated clones who will quietly fall into line and do the bidding of the corporate interests that really run things.

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