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Comment Re:Get it right (Score 1) 428

Sure, but you can file civil suits over criminal behavior if the criminal court doesn't get you anywhere. Since the linked article also uses the term "sues," it's unclear.

That's the part of the writeup and the linked article that bugged me, too. Generally there's EITHER criminal charges OR civil suit. Aside from that, it sounds like a family spat that happens to involve some online behaviors, which may or may not have been illegal.

Comment Re:Simple. (Score 1) 214

I do this (GV number calling both phones, since I can't get reception inside my house). It works reasonably well.

If you're more adamant about getting people to use the GV number than I am, it might work more than "reasonably well" (I have some fairly tech-challenged family who don't seem to get "Call THIS number. You'll always reach me. Yes, the other two numbers still work. Don't call them. Call THIS number.")

Comment Re:Speaking for myself (Score 1) 427

That's because there isn't anything TO understand in arithmetic. It's just mindless drill. Kids (heck, people, not just kids) who would do well in mathematics are turned off by mindless repetition for the sake of repetition.

One of the delights of a computer is the ability to automate mindless repetition...

Comment Math in elementary school (Score 1) 427

I have a BS in physics; I think that math is FUN.

I despised mathematics until 8th grade because it was endless repetition of arithmetic. It wasn't learning, it was "do these exercises and be quiet for a while." It certainly wasn't thinking of any kind.

Did I really need a whole year to learn addition and subtraction? Another whole year to learn multiplication? Another to learn long division, and one more to learn fractions? No, not to learn how to do them, certainly not. No one needs that much time, unless they're totally incapable of learning the concept in the first place.

And if I really needed all that time to learn arithmetic, then why could they teach me each new concept in algebra, geometry, calculus in just one or two lectures?

Elementary school math was mind-numbing, and I can see why so many people are so entirely turned off on math that--by the time it really IS math--they have a mental block so solid it can't be overcome. (Especially when their first exposures to real math are through teachers that teach by further memorization, instead of teaching the concepts--but that's a different rant.)

I wholeheartedly support forgetting about math until, say, 5th or 6th grade...and teaching all of arithmetic in one year, if that. And then MOVING ON to real math. The way it's currently done is pretty much designed to make kids hate it.


New Ancient Human Identified 148

krou writes "Working on a finger-bone that was discovered in the Denisova Cave of Siberia's Altai mountains in 2008, Johannes Krause from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and colleagues managed to extract mitochondrial DNA. They compared it to the genetic code of modern humans and other known Neanderthals and discovered a new type of hominin that lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London's Natural History Museum, said, 'This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia.' The last common ancestor of the hominid (dubbed 'X-Woman'), humans and Neanderthals seems to have been about one million years ago."

Comment Re:Sounds fair (Score 1) 582

Do you even know what it takes to end up an organ donor? You have to die such that the organs are still viable. Generally it's a seriously traumatic injury which leaves the brain dead, but the organs still functioning on life support. Death due to illness or old age doesn't allow for organ harvesting, which is why organs are so scarce despite all the people who *are* willing to donate.

What is all this crap about "letting" people die in order to harvest their organs? In order to even make the decision about whether to donate organs, there isn't any life left anyway. It's simply a matter of allowing the organs to be collected, or not.

Comment Organ donors and priority (Score 1) 582

Here's a USA group trying to make that more fair:

In only a few circumstances is it even a possibility to make an organ donation; death by most illness or simple old age won't leave the organs in a state where they can be harvested. So only a very small number of deaths make it possible to donate organs.

No matter what you indicate with an organ donor card or on your driver's license, your family will in fact have the final say about whether or not organ donation happens. It's a good idea to discuss organ donation with whoever might be making the decision, so they do know what you wanted.

And it does seem to be to be pretty unfair that someone who wouldn't be willing to donate an organ might be at the top of the queue for receiving an organ donation.

Comment Cell phone radiation, long term effects (Score 1) 171

Here's a review of the scientific research on brain cancer and cellphones:

"So where do we stand now? My interpretation of the evidence thus far is that we can say with some confidence that there is no short term risk of brain cancer from cell phone use. However, after more than ten years the evidence is less clear but trends towards either no detectable risk or a very small risk that barely rises above the noise."

Comment Re:eh (Score 1) 699

Going 5 over in a 25 zone has a specific, legislated penalty (if someone happens to care enough to ticket you). Going 50 over in the same zone has a very different, enumerated penalty. They are not both treated as "he was speeding, throw the book at him."

Zero tolerance treats *every* instance--even accidental ones or ones where the policy was too broad/too vague for the student to KNOW what they were doing was wrong--as exactly the same.

And you mention a (should be necessary) exception: life-saving drugs that it would be okay for a kid to carry. If there are allowable exceptions, then it's not zero tolerance.

~ ~ ~

But since you want to talk about medications, okay, here's something on meds.

Oh, for heaven's sake, are you even familiar with meds that a kid might reasonably have to take in school? "Take a bottle in and give it to the school nurse"? Maybe for OTC drugs that might be "simple" (if stupid, to require a kid to have to go to a nurse for their own OTC drugs). However, that will be considerably more complicated with prescription meds--especially the kind that you have to get a new 'script for every month (eg, ADD meds) or expensive ones that you can only buy so much of at once, or ones so restricted that doctors won't write for extras even if it's legal. If the kid has to stay home when he's near running out of meds, and the school has his whole remaining supply hostage, he's SOL.

You're talking about a major bureaucratic hassle at least once a month (getting the meds to the nurse, getting the forms filled out, etc etc). Just doing it *once* would be a major bureaucratic hassle, probably involving at least one parent having to miss some of a workday, or a whole shift if their job doesn't allow them to come in late.

Supposing there's something you only have to take for a week, but you have to take seven times a day (I've had those). Well, it'd be easier to just not send the kid to school for those seven days, really--kid's going to be missing so much of class to go to the office and take the meds that he might as well not be there--except that now school systems automatically fail kids for missing a certain number of days in a term, even if they have a doctor's note.

Is the school nurse (really, school have nurses again?) even licensed to be holding prescription drugs written out for someone else? This sounds like something that would require a pharmacy license.

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