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Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."

Comment Re:unpossible (Score 1) 1343

But National BSA used to let individual Troops and Councils have a lot more flexibility. Your Troop may have given you a hard time over being an atheist, but other troops didn't care. Not all troops want to ban gays, but they're under enormous pressure to do so. In recent decades National has been trying to enforce a universal vision on the Troops, which has resulted in the BSA not resembling the group I grew up in.

I'm not going to pretend that my troop would have been friendly to an openly gay member (it was a long time ago), but no one in my troops would have ever stood for blatant discrimination against gays and atheists like National now espouses.

I'd love to be involved in the BSA as an adult, but I find it's current actions abhorrent.

Comment Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (Score 1) 477

While the Pharm companies aren't likely in collusion, they certainly aren't in classic competition with each other, either. They compete for our dollars, but it's not like each company produces a car, and consumers just choose which car to purchase. Each company spends huge amounts of money to discover drugs that will sell. They then make huge amounts of money on that drug while they have a patent on it, and only they can sell it.

If one drug company finds a way to raise their prices, every other company will adopt the same practice. None of them are looking to undercut the others, because almost none of their products are identical enough to consumers. You take the one that works best for you, not the cheapest one.


EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

Comment Re:Grad student with huge loans (Score 1) 1259

There are only a handful of public undergrad universities charging that much. On the one hand, i don't blame you for going for the best education you can get, but on the other hand I know there were cheaper options.

Also, I in no way doubt you, but I'm not sure I understand how your loans are continuing to accrue interest while you are a student. I've never know a single person in grad school to be in that position, and I've known people in grad school with a ton of debt. Do you have an unusual situation?

Comment Re:Feminism is destructive (Score 1) 1255

"Because that is how human being operate."

Yes, we have gut level instincts. Evolved survival mechanisms. Immediate reactions.

We also have the ability to reason and to control ourselves. Saying we shouldn't bother to try and change something is just lazy.

If you accept that many people don't fit stereotypes, then stereotypes can only be a bad thing in our modern society, and we should make an effort to not use them.

You suggest that people who don't fit stereotypes should just point out that they don't to others? (that's the only interpretation I can come up with for accepting someone is different while still not treating everyone the same) Isn't that just singling them out? That's one of the big points of treating people as individuals: so we *aren't* singling out the people that don't fit the stereotypes.

We clearly just disagree, but I'm surprised to hear you espouse those beliefs after you admit that you don't meet the typical male stereotype. Have you never had your opinion dismissed because of the 'group' you belong to? "Oh, you just think that because your a guy." "Oh, you wouldn't get it because your a woman." Don't instances like that call on us to treat everyone the same?

Comment Re:Feminism is destructive (Score 1) 1255

Being equal in modern society means having the ability to choose one's own destiny without society placing unfair expectations on them. It's possible that there is a genetic component to temperament, but one of the things that modern research has shown us is that variation within groups (even sexes) is enormous. To simply say that 'women are usually happier at home taking care of the kids' reduces what we actually know down to a level where it's borderline incorrect. It also reinforces historical gender roles that limit people's choices.

I think the mistake you (and many many others) are making is in trying to link decisions like this to sex at all. (I'm not talking about research here. I think research is valuable. I'm talking about how we interpret things in every day life) Why not just say that's how you two worked it out without referring to sex? I think that once you've linked those decisions to sex in your head, you're more likely to view other people's decisions through the same lens, and once enough of us do that, we end up restricting people's options, even unintentionally.

We're all individuals, whether we're male or female, black or white, gay or straight. Sometimes many members of a group have a similar trait, but that doesn't mean all (or even a majority) of the people in the group are the same. It's an easy way to categorize in our head, but every time we think that a group acts in one way, we're treating people as a category and not an individual.

Why can't we just take everybody as they are, and not try to explain their decisions as 'that's because they are a [group]'?

Comment Re:Feminism is destructive (Score 1) 1255

You are more fulfilled providing for your family outside the home because that's who you are.

Your wife is more fulfilled being present in the home to raise your children because that's who she is.

It's certainly not because your a man and she's a woman. Plenty of women would prefer a job over staying home with the kids, and there are men out there that would like to stay home.

You ideas are inherently sexist, and contribute to a system in which women are generally *expected* to stay home, and a man is *expected* earn the family's living. That makes your comment about sexism being dead especially hilarious.

All people are equal, not all people are the same. Not all women are the same. Not all men are the same. That's one of the key points of the civil rights movement (including modern feminism): allowing people to make their own choices.

Comment Re:OT: who to blame for economic woes (vendor lock (Score 4, Insightful) 389

Seriously? Fucking insightful? I hate seeing this same meme bandied about.

There were multiple actions by the government that worked together with a firm belief that housing prices would continue to rise to cause this situation. Deregulation by one party. Broadening lending standards by another. Bankers who found ways to make money that while not illegal, required a firm willful ignorance of potential future calamity.

No one group is responsible for this, and to try and claim otherwise shows a complete misunderstanding of the situation.

Comment Re:US laws are not the best (Score 1) 582

I agree with the posters above about the end result: that the middle class is not voting for what would give them the best situation. I don't think it's entirely due to them being stupid, or being fooled by the wealthy. It's an extension of the 20th Century American Dream. Tons of Middle/Lower class individuals believe that one day they too will have a million dollars, and when they finally achieve it, they want to be able to keep most of it. They don't believe that they will stay middle class for the rest of their lives, so they don't vote to help the middle class.

Comment Re:Disney pah (Score 1) 320

eh, that trailer looked like it had removed most of the things I liked about the original.

making the cycles more like real motorcycles? wtf? one of the points was that it was our world. it was electronic. the laws of physics didn't need to apply.

Comment Re:Are there more than 20 apps for it? (Score 2, Interesting) 384

Crappy devices and development stagnation did the Palm line in. When the iPhone launched it looked exactly what Palm *should* have done with their devices.

I loved Palm 8-10 years ago, and I wrote several apps for my own personal use, but I stopped being interested in them when the entire marketplace passed them by.

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