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Comment This is a good idea (Score 1) 208

I don't understand the objection people have to rating websites in principle. Afterall - a rating based on whatever benchmarks is just semantic metadata which should be included on all websites. As to the details - I'd make the website owner rate their own site - right away most porn sites would be correctly rated with just a a couple of lines of code. Then I'd make it possible for people to tell their isp to automatically block non-rated sites, and whatever rated sites they like. For websites that lie about their rating (a G-rated porn site for example), I'd threaten to block them entirely. I can't see why an opt-in process like this would be objectionable. And why all this bother? As a tech guy with kids, I really feel it is almost impossible to stop them accessing stuff I don't want them to access. I don't want them seeing beheadings, and I don't want them seeing most of the obnoxious porn out there. I do all I can at home, but then some kid at school shares a video of the sorts of violence that a child would historically only see in worn torn countries? I think that's a problem worth addressing.

Comment Re: Totaly agree (Score 1) 642

There is no evidence at all that English is devolving. However, that people use language to signal social class is very well documented. More often than not, correcting grammar and spelling is just an ad hominem attack and nothing to do with clarity. A great example is your and you're. People can distinguish these in spoken language, but when written down all of a sudden it's vitally important that they be corrected...

Comment First experimental study? (Score 1) 86

This would be news to Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Alper, C. M., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Turner, R. B. (2009). Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(1), 62–67. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505 "Background: Sleep quality is thought to be an impor- tant predictor of immunity and, in turn, susceptibility to the common cold. This article examines whether sleep duration and efficiency in the weeks preceding viral ex- posure are associated with cold susceptibility. Methods: A total of 153 healthy men and women (age range, 21-55 years) volunteered to participate in the study. For 14 consecutive days, they reported their sleep dura- tion and sleep efficiency (percentage of time in bed ac- tually asleep) for the previous night and whether they felt rested. Average scores for each sleep variable were calculated over the 14-day baseline. Subsequently, par- ticipants were quarantined, administered nasal drops con- taining a rhinovirus, and monitored for the develop- ment of a clinical cold (infection in the presence of objective signs of illness) on the day before and for 5 days after exposure. Results: There was a graded association with average sleep duration: participants with less than 7 hours of sleep were 2.94 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-7.30) more likely to develop a cold than those with 8 hours or more of sleep. The association with sleep efficiency was also graded: participants with less than 92% efficiency were 5.50 times (95% CI, 2.08-14.48) more likely to develop a cold than those with 98% or more efficiency. These relation- ships could not be explained by differences in prechal- lenge virus-specific antibody titers, demographics, sea- son of the year, body mass, socioeconomic status, psychological variables, or health practices. The percent- age of days feeling rested was not associated with colds. Conclusion: Poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep du- ration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were associated with lower resistance to illness."

Comment Re:The whole premise is an excuse for illiteracy (Score 1) 667

...a horribly inefficient way to communicate...

I'm sure that you communicate efficiently all the time - I bet you even use "yous" - because you know, it's clearer, more efficient and logical. You can not like someone's language, but don't pretend an objective measure like "efficiency" is what it's all about.

Comment Re:The whole premise is an excuse for illiteracy (Score 2) 667

Actually, when taken as a mass, the youth today are more literate than any generation previously, by a *massive* factor. Before social media, most people after high school wrote little more than shopping lists, and *perhaps* the odd card. Compare that today with the massive amount of writing teens do every day. In terms of basic literacy skills, there is no comparison between past and present.

Comment Re:To America? Yes. To the GOP? No. (Score 1) 247

Why the rage? You could do a little reading and find out for yourself.
Here are some ideas from me - some stats, some anecdotes.
1. Scientific output in the US is stagnant compared with China. For example, between 2010 and 2013 the US published approx, 560k articles each year. China rose from 335k to 426k. I often hear Americans say "Quality, not quantity." But again, no one had to say that 10 years ago... (see ref1)
2. The US standard of living has fallen below that of many other countries (see ref2). Again, many Americans deny this, or simply don't believe it. This is part of the problem. For example, this post (ref3) was rated 5:Insightful: "Government has a very limited range of things that they do as well or better than the public at large (war/defense, money, basic law enforcement, etc) - governmental action beyond that range invariably becomes incompetent, expensive, dangerous, or worse." Given that the poster is comparing Sweden with the US, this is laughable.
3. You can't put a person in space anymore.
4. You have people living on the street who aren't drug affected or mentally unstable. You know, like young, sane healthy families living out of their car. If you can't or won't fix that, you shouldn't have much confidence for larger problems.
5. Among the many Americans I've met (and they were all friendly decent people), there was a strong feeling that their country was the envy of the world. This is simply not the case. Here are two anecdotes that may have wider applicability. If you were to offer an academic the choice between a US or EU passport, what do you think they would choose? Among the people I know, about 3/4 would go with the EU passport. But then I mainly know academics. Which brings me to another point. Within academia, the US is still considered the default centre of the world - but only just. But that has definitely changed in the last 20 years. 20 years ago, the status location for an international conference was the states. That is no longer the case. Many universities now prefer to hold conferences in the EU, and I've spoken to many scientists who now skip some minor conferences when they are held in the US, simply because they are in the US. This would, you assume, be bad for their careers, but two of them are leaders in their field. I'd say this is bad for the states.

(some refs) ref1: http://www.scimagojr.com/count...
ref2: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex...
ref3: http://games.slashdot.org/comm...

Comment Re:To America? Yes. To the GOP? No. (Score 3, Insightful) 247

Looking at the big picture - 50 years ago no American had to say "Looking at the big picture." I think we are seeing many little signs that the US is losing its importance - even though at the moment it is still the dominant superpower. As to why - who knows. But the completely uncritical way that most citizens of that country can't see any problems is part of the problem. I'm not saying the USA are bad guys, but come on - *look* at what you wrote: "It's way past time for the US to limit it's international involvement and really start serving their own needs with no apologies and let everyone else fend for themselves." If you really feel that the USA isn't serving their own needs on the international arena, you need to read history more.

Comment Re:It helps to actually use the thing. (Score 2, Interesting) 296

I just don't think you're right. I remember as developer about 10 years ago we were given $5000 every two years to buy whatever computer system we wanted. Nearly everyone bought Dell laptops - they had the best power/$ ratio, and when you have a company of 20 developers, 10 of whom are making that decision each year, it is pretty apparent what best laptop to buy was. I've left, but maintained touch with them. When I walk in to their offices now, it is 15" macbook pros that I see everywhere. I just find it unlikely that these guys, who now have 15+ years experience in the industry, have swallowed the Kool-Aid.

Comment Re: Equal rights (Score 1) 832

Good advice - but probably not well-intentioned. But it's a balance - stay living in a shitty, anti-intellectual, country or take the massive upheaval of moving to Sweden, finding a place in a new society, learning the language, getting a visa etc. The barriers to entry are very high - but there is no doubt that as a place to live, work and raise a family Sweden shits on the states.

Comment Something less than theatre... (Score 1) 427

After learning that his luggage had made a flight that he missed, a Las Vegas (LAS) passenger told the gate agent: "Imagine there was a bomb in my bag. I'm not on plane, and it would explode."

I could write why TSA's response to this comment as a threat is patently stupid - but to do so demeans us all. You guys are paying people to detain anyone who utters the word "bomb" - in any context.

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