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Comment Teaching them early (Score 5, Insightful) 941

What really discourages me about all of this, is teaching the students to expect and accept this kind of treatment. I realize they are minors and often (necessarily) children's rights are limited or curbed to facilitate time to learn and understand consequences for exercising those rights.

As I watched my younger brother go through high school I was shocked to hear how the students were given no right to privacy in their lockers or personal vehicles, were under constant surveillance and could be patted down or searched at any time the school felt it wanted to (without parental consent or notification, and without any sort of probable cause requirements). The kids just accepted this and thought it was the way things worked... everywhere. No one told them that this was only possible because of the school setting; no one told them that when they became adults in the real world this sort of treatment from authorities was illegal and a violation of their rights. I don't like what we are teaching our kids, in the name of 'protecting' the kids. I'm afraid the level of scrutiny and personal rights violations that we are subjecting them to is desensitizing them to how wrong it is.

We wonder why citizens seem to just accept the erosion of their personal liberties, but what should we expect when we've been teaching them to just accept it since they were kids.

Comment Re:Bad bad idea (Score 1) 319

Let me premise this with the statement that I am making an assumption, IF NASA has gone the way that most of the defence industry has,
then over last three to four decades they have been outsourcing more and more of their resources. This means the the agency itself has
probably shrunk to nothing more than the program managing guys who do the high level planning and review. The actual in the feild grunt
design engineers or manufacturing techs are all probably private industry contractors.

Its the direction the military has gone in, the government doesn't design or build anything, they don't even buy the designs anymore,
they just purchase the end products and use them. (and get trapped in years of upgrade funding, repair services, etc. because they
don't own any of the technical data for the systems).

Comment Re:Outraged Christian bloggers? (Score 5, Insightful) 228

You do realize the bloggers are upset because EA FAKED the protested of their own game and blamed it on christian groups. Most of the 'christian bloggers' probably didn't care about the game or even know it existed until they were slamed for a protest they had nothing to do with. For once I think they actually have something to gripe about, after all the fake protests lead to people thinking exactly what you just posted, when in reality the bloggers were not the ones protesting.

Comment Re:A Waste? (Score 1, Insightful) 309

Not the whole American Government, just certain factions that need to keep people scared so they can justify the money they take/spend. It is really a pretty simple political formula and those who use it in America are certainly not the inventors or the only ones who use it.

Comment Re:The real question (Score 1) 453

Your analysis is good, however I must disagree with you about aerodynamics being the most important for fuel economy, it really only becomes a player at speeds above 45-50 mph (relative to other power draws from a typical passenger vehicle). The real driver for fuel economy is weight.


The page does a good job of presenting power consumption equations for a vehicle, and the equations allow you to gain insight into what really drives the power use in a vehicle. While your aero drag coefficient does get multiplied by your velocity cubed, the mass of the vehicle shows up in more places (3 of the 5 power draws)multiplied by the velocity. The cubed factor allows the aerodynamics to eventually overtake the power draw for the other systems, however in practice the take-over point is at higher speeds.

The basics for powertrain design lay in the above mentioned equations, it is fun to build a spread sheet and play around with the numbers to get an idea of why some cars are built the way they are. It also gives you a good idea of how much power a car really needs and shows desired acceleration or desired minimum speed on a grade typically drive the maximum power needed from an engine.

Comment Re:Idea (Score 4, Funny) 248

Wait... I have a better idea, lets engineer some sort of biological creature that will live off collecting the
carbon from our atmosphere and sequesting it into some sort of solid state. We should engineer it to be solar powered and
should be deployable over the entire surface of the earth.

Don't worry, I'm sure technology will save us by developing this totaly new and radical solution.

Comment Re:Wrong Solution (Score 1) 1092

I'm going to make the assumption that we are dealing with a child whose age is in the single digits.

I think your immediate problem could be solved using something like this: (although I suggest further google searching, it looks like you are not the first to encounter this problem).

You could give her the cell phone and encourage her to treat it like a pet, she needs to learn responsibility eventually. It may even be useful to put a virtual pet game on it. You don't need to explain to a 4-10 year old what the true purpose of the device is.

However, this should be treated like a last ditch safety net, and should also include all the traditional things, make her memorize her home (or your cell) phone number, your address and how to get help if she is lost. After all a cell phone can (and will) get lost.

You could (or should depending on how assertive you want to be) also try to look at how the school bus line up works these days and see if you can help your school come up with a better way. Chances are no one has had the time to really sit down and come up with a simple wiz bang way to deal with all the kids getting to the right busses. And just in the brain storming that is being shot at you here, you probably could show up with a list of things the school may be willing to try (especially the simple cheap things). Some people may appreciate it if you try to help them improve, rather than just pointing out how crappy they are.

And the final stage is the most complex part. You will need to talk with your daughter (when she is older) about what you did and why, and even why what you did may have been wrong.

And be certain to cut the leash. Not when you are comfortable, but when she is comfortable... You will NEVER be comfortable, not even on her wedding day. And recognizing the anxiety early and learning to control it, not ignore it, and that will help to make a great parent.

Good luck, and know, if this is the worst bump you've run into so far, you are doing dam fine job.

Comment Re:Friday Night (Score 2, Insightful) 834

Actually I think you hit it with the second sentince. It became more about angst (and artificial angst) than about Sci-fi or anything else meaningful. I watched up thru the first half of the second season, and I got frustrated with the characters constantly finding soap-opera reasons for being angry with each other.

The characters just did not seem to take the situation they were in seriously, despite everything they had seen and experienced up to that point. And what ever writer came up with the overused plot device, where a 'good guy' lies to the other 'good guys' or decides not tell them a very important fact because he/she feels they need to 'protect' the others from the truth, needs to be shot. It is a tiresome device and makes the characters appear to be moronic and (to me) makes the characters difficult to watch and the show difficult to enjoy.

Comment Re:The Wild West is already here (Score 1) 211

Ok I'll bite

Amazon MP3 store will work just fine for your dad (instead of Itunes)
Hulu will also work just fine (and is free)
Netflix WILL work for your Dad, it does require using Safari, but as a Linux user he should know how to do that, right?

I understand it may require you to finesse it a bit, but I would think the advantages of Linux are worth it.

What ever you may tell yourself, you have to admit the industry IS giving you online DRM free music purchase and the ability to watch TV shows as well as Movies on demand. Yes the initial releases are aimed at the 98%* market share OS's (Mac and Windows) but the argument for piracy that says there is no online alternative is beginning to wear thin. You want these things to continue to expand then you (we) have to use them to show they are what we want.

* I realize there may be a +/- a few percentage points but you get the point

Comment Re:You're wrong (Score 1) 470

Actually, I'll try this one. I could be totally wrong, but my understanding is that it is not illegal to download the information (song, movie, etc.) it is actually illegal for the person sharing the information. Which is why they have to prove you had your database of MP3's available to the public and not just that you have a database of MP3's.

So, you downloading one of the 'tainted' MP3's is not illegal (after all the content owner made them available). It would be if you then shared those files with others without the owners permission.

But I defer to someone more legally in the know than myself.

Comment Re:Show me a government agency (Score 2, Insightful) 323

Having worked in both for the government and for a private business I don't think the government does any worse at project management and accountability than any other company.

The Government just has to publically disclose all of its screw ups (eventually) and they become fodder for political campaigns, thus we are exposed to them over an over. Unlike private companies who tend to cover the tracks a bit more until it is totally too late (Enron and GM come to mind). But as far as sheer competence goes I don't think the government does any worse than any other company out there.

Of course that is only a limited data set, limited to my own experience (~10 years).

Comment Re:RTFS?? (Score 1) 904

Given that we are now involved in two military conflicts that have drained the government coffers because the government was terrified of actually having the public experience any of the sacrifice required when a nation goes to war, have a government budget that was driven from a surplus to record deficit (including the first ever tax CUT during a war), haveing re-organized the entire internal and costal security agencies into a impenetrable bureaucracy and destroyed any confidence the public had (as small as it was) in the ability of the government to actually function, much less tell the truth about it. Causing a return to McCarthyism behaviors only substituting terrorist for Communist. Re-writing the bankruptcy laws to favor credit card companies who thrive on offering credit to people who have no business getting credit. Oh yeah, and not to mention totally dismantling and severely weakening the military due to over use and under funding.

I'm willing to give the next three to four presidential terms (regardless of who wins) the excuse "I'm still just cleaning up from Bush."

Comment Re:Start calling a spade a spade (Score 2, Informative) 646

I call Bull..
First, keeping an open mind is one thing, but an extreme belief requires extreme evidence.

1.) Show me reliable statistics demonstrating that those from a particular church have a lower than general population death rate for non-treatable illness.
2.) Show me reliable statistics that show a particular church has a higher 'spontaniously' cured from disease rate than the population at large.
3.) Heck, show me reliable statistics that demonstrate a lower accident rate for those from a particular church than the general population of the area.

That sort of evidence, reliably demonstrated, and shown to be repeatable over time, could open the discusion (by no means proving).

Demanding this data to back up your claim is not being close minded, it is simply being skeptical and consistent about what I chose to believe.

Anecdotes are not evidence; otherwise I would have to believe that Astrology is just as valid, since I've heard so many stories about how a horoscope was just right on for a given person on a given day.

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