top Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge
Your interpretation of the actions of the police as incompetent are probably mistaken because of a failure to appreciate the true goals and motives of the police here.
This story makes me pause and consider cui bono.
It appears the mother went directly to the principal rather than the teacher. The recording and transcription also seems to cast the teacher in a poor light. So it would seem the initial complaint was as much against the ineffectiveness of the teacher as it was against the bullying itself. It seems the mother had discussed this issue with the teacher previously... repeatedly.
Next, why in the world would the school administration involve the police at all? Do they truly have no ability to manage things at this school without this? No, it seems blatantly clear the goals and motives of the school administration immediately shifted to DAMAGE CONTROL. They never had any concern over the bullying issue itself. The teacher had a reputation to defend. The school was in an adversarial role from the beginning - fighting the complaint, not addressing it.
So... why would the police allow themselves to be used in such a fashion? Because using antiquated wiretapping laws to prevent citizens from recording the actions of police is a rather favorite interest of the police these days. The police had no intention whatsoever from the very beginning to "address the problem" if by that you meant the bullying. They eagerly jumped on board here because they were handed, on a silver platter, a wonderful opportunity to make a loud example of someone to remind everyone they shouldn't DARE record the police. Failing back to disorderly conduct wasn't inept. It was entirely in line with their goals.
Soo... what SHOULD they have done? I am sympathetic with the idea of tossing the video immediately into the Net. But other than the PR or novelty impact, how would this have changed anything vis-a-vis the Wiretapping charge or the actions of the school? I wonder what would have happened if instead, the mother asked for a meeting with the teacher and principal and sat down to discuss these issues, alluding to the transcript only if necessary. At the very least she might have gotten the principal to consider addressing the bullying issue by properly managing the teacher rather than running straight to the school's attorney.
top Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults
It's all somewhat arbitrary in any case.
It's all just a matter of what we choose to call things and how we choose to categorize things. Lumping things into categories based on similar characteristics is helpful for a number of reasons.
If you go back and look at the history of when and why Ceres (and Vista, and Pallas, etc.) was demoted from planetary status, you'll see all sorts of similarities. The continued discovery of Kupier bodies shows Pluto was part of a larger community, just like Ceres.
What folk mean when they say defining things such that you keep Pluto in and leave Ceres out is that they're looking for a consistent pattern of categorization and nomenclature which minimizes changes. It's simply easier to drop the ninth to to squeeze back in a fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
These continued discoveries create the need for updating our categorizations because they highlight the problem of HAVING ALREADY demoted Ceres, Vista, Pallas, etc. It makes no sense to call these new things planets unless we also do this for the bodies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
top Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7
I'm curious how they've addressed the issues of these sorts of things tearing themselves apart. The article doesn't go into details. One has to assume since the overall price per projective was determine that this was factored into things. And the video seems to show something rather purposely placed there that gets destroyed in the launch process.
Anyone find further details?
top Small World Discovered Far Beyond Pluto
What will be LOADS OF FUN is the hilarity which will ensue if their hunch is correct that the orbit of this new dwarf planet and Sedna hint at the existence of a planet further out which is several times the mass of Earth.
Are dwarf planets supposed to be BIG?
top IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages
Please pick up "Six Degrees" and read it.
You are woefully ill-informed if you believe 5C simply "sounds like a lot" but "local variations are far greater". The effects of Climate Change due to Global Warming are not limited to it being just a little warmer. 5C will make things very difficult.
To your point, you need to separate the purported propaganda of us reaching a 5C increase by 2100 vs. the effects of a 5C increase. Yes indeed it is one thing to go on and on about the effects of full scale nuclear war (or a catastrophic asteroid strike, Yellowstone erupting, or whatever) while ignoring the related probability of such an event. But it's foolish to debate the effect rather than said likelihood. These are separate issues/debates. Documenting what has happened in the past at certain temps is probably quite a bit more "settled" than predicting things for the rest of the century.
top Back To the Moon — In Four Years
I agree with you on the most part as long as we are thinking of things in the sense of economic/investment value.
Think of anything really and ask yourself whether it makes more sense to build/do such in space or down in another gravity well.
But for raw science, I would hope that we start deploying (very) large telescopes on the far side of the moon.
top Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood
If you believe there's some pedantic reason to keep Pluto as a planet, I have to ask whether you hold the same views regarding Ceres.
Ceres was "a planet for both the common and technical definitions for quite some time".
The circumstances surrounding demotion of Ceres and Pluto are rather similar. The timeframe either of the two were considered planets is also similar.
Now, what I find more interesting BOTH for this issue of Eris and Pluto and the argument over Planet classification is to look at MASS instead of diameter:
Look at this chart of bodies in our Solar System ranked by mass in a logarithmic chart. The eight planets unambiguously rank as the largest bodies. Eris still is more massive than Pluto. And all the dwarf planets are outranked by several moons.
Yes definitions are arbitrary. But the eight planets stand apart. It does make sense to align definitions to match such. In any case, the definitions OUGHT to be consistent. What criteria other than inertia of publications would you prefer that keeps Pluto IN yet leaves Ceres OUT?
top Meat Makes Our Planet Thirsty
For those interested in a casual description of this approach, it's explained a bit in the book "Omivore's Dilemma". They follow around the operations of a small(ish) farm doing pretty much this same thing.
top Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?
Yup. But proxies cannot handle HTTPS unless... they are acting as a MITM.
The proxy must either pass it along, block it outright or essentially stand in the middle so as to be able to perform all the usual filtering/sniffing/etc. it would do were the traffic plain ole' HTTP.
about a month and a half ago
top RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores
I don't know about other folk. But when I saw RadioShack's SuperBowl commerical, I cringed.
Timothy remarks that "a few years ago" RadioShack was trying to get back to its roots as a hobbyist outlet. I don't know how anybody could reconcile that idea with the incredible disdain for the past demonstrated in that commercial.
Trouble is... what differentiates RadioShack? Why would I bother going THERE for cell phones? As they've tried more and more to become like everyone else, they've succeeded in undercutting and destroying any reason I'd have to go there first for anything. I'll still end up at RadioShack when my shopping research shows they have what I want less than others. But to go there on a lark? Not these days.
about a month and a half ago
top The Mammoth Cometh: Revive & Restore Tackles De-Extinction
I imagine that the best way to respond to this is to say this is a NECESSARY condition, but probably not a SUFFICIENT one.
Since others are chatting about Jurassic Park, the author dealt with some aspects of this in the second book as it pertained to whatever may be lost culturally. Granted, depending on the nature of the best in question, whatever constitutes "culture" amongst a population of the critters may vary from critically important to negligible. In any case, ANYTHING baby mammoths were supposed to learn from other mammoths is clearly GONE.
Then, in recent years we've just begun to understand how very important microbes are for various species. This ranges from the vast effects of gut flora in humans to creepies and crawlies all over our bodies. Again, we have no idea what this was, should have been, or should be.
IF we can get "good" DNA here, then the statement of "hairy elephants" is probably extreme. Nonetheless, it's not clear exactly how much we could ever consider these to be "true" mammoths. Having said that, I'm glad they're trying. Even if they fail utterly with mammoths, what they learn should almost certainly apply to species management and preservation given our current extinctions.
about a month and a half ago
top How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?
There's a very significant difference between accurate prediction of the outcome of a random variable vs. measuring the statistical properties of said random variable.
Try this analogy to help you understand this...
Let's play a simple game, called "Pick a Marble". You reach into a bag and pick a marble.
Today, we'll play with the following conditions... There are 1000 marbles in that bag. 100 of those are red. 900 of those are white. I'm going to "predict" that your marble is white. It ought to pretty clear that I'll be correct 90% of the time.
Now, let's play every day. But we'll swap a white marble for red each day. It should be clear enough that in a couple of years I my predictions will change because the nature of the random variable changes. After two years, I'll say your choice will be red and I'll be right more often than wrong.
Weather (i.e. temps two months from now) is far, FAR more difficult than this trivial game. With the most powerful computers imaginable, we cannot predict the outcome of billiard balls past a small number of collisions because the uncertainties in our measurements compound so much over each successive, iterative calculation. Trying to predict weather is far more difficult than that. Even if we had sensors giving us temp, wind speed/direction, humidity, particulates, etc., at every point one-foot apart in a 3D grid of our entire atmosphere, we STILL would not be able to predict WEATHER accurately past about a week... to say nothing of two months.
HOWEVER, it's far easier to treat the weather as a random variable and categorize the statistical nature of such. In laymen's terms, you may not be able to predict the temperature on Christmas Day six months in advance. But you can be fairly confident in suggesting a range.
THIS is why it's fairly straightforward to "predict" the temp (CLIMATE, not WEATHER) 100 years from now while not being able to predict the temp (WEATHER, not CLIMATE) two months hence. And like the changing distribution of red/white marbles, what feeds into the calculations of determining climate is known to be changing over time.
And, though it's a bit harder to understand, this is also why Climate Change doesn't lead to even temp increases all across the planet. The extra energy in the system is monkeying with things a lot turning these nice Guassian variables into weirdness which results in more frequent extremes.
top South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
Umm... speaking of absolutes...
A theory doesn't often get proven "completely wrong". Much more often it gets replaced with something that works better in fringe cases. For many practical purposes, the theory that the world is flat works just fine. It won't work for large distances, of course. But quite often I really don't need to worry too much that a triangle on a sphere actually summing up to more than 180 degrees. Again, Newtonian physics works just fine, indeed very well, for many purposes. It wasn't/isn't "completely wrong" as much as it isn't accurate for certain cases. Even if we ever rule out either General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, both will still be incredibly powerful tools in their respective domain.
To suggest we'll wake up one day and find Evolution is "completely wrong" is a bit silly. First of all, "Evolution" here is an umbrella covering many theories. Second, anything that replaces it will have to address/answer all of the same currently available data. It's much more likely that whatever may replace it will be a superset of it (eg. the recent work on viewing Abiogenisis as a subset of a larger scheme of complex systems) or a refinement.
And especially in the context of the Evolution vs. Creation debate, we're not going to find out that Evolution is "wrong" therefore Creation must be right. Not at all. Again, whatever would replace Evolution would look a lot like it. And Creationists have yet to put forward anything that would function as a Scientific Theory that could address currently available data.
top South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
In order to properly appreciate the Evolution vs. Creation debate, you need to step back... way back.
You need to realize this is NOT truly (or solely) a debate about or within Science. If you cannot or will not believe this is fundamentally a war over mindshare directly stimulated by and fostered by religious worldviews, you're not going to be able to see past the propaganda techniques often used.
The suggestion that one can contrast the "Law" of Gravity vs. the Theory of Evolution is only useful in preaching to the choir. It demonstrates an incredible depth of ignorance of Science in general and specifically philosophy of Science. It will not "win" over an "Evolutionist" because it's inherently and fundamentally false in their eyes.
There are many ways Creationists embarrass themselves by listening to themselves tell each other that somehow they know more about Science than Scientists.
top Creationism In Texas Public Schools
The danger isn't so much what they'll end up believing.
In all honesty, nobody needs to BELIEVE Common Descent. They need to UNDERSTAND it. It quite literally is the underpinning of most of modern biology.
The real danger here isn't the confusion over Biology or the danger of blurring the lines between Church and State. No, the real problem is that the only way folk can conflate Evolutionary Theories with "alternatives" is to ACTIVELY teach against basic skills of Critical Thinking. This is further compounded by purposeful distortion of redefinition of Science and the Scientific Method.
These practices ripple out to all fields of Science and set yet another generation up to be complete suckers for marketing, propaganda and political manipulation.
top Creationism In Texas Public Schools
Nah. You should not take your individual experience and extrapolate it onto all Christian experience throughout time, even despite the Catholic church's history.
As others have stated, there were Jewish scholars, probably prior to Jesus even and definitely prior to the Enlightenment, who believed the Earth was millions of years old. And there has been and will be quite a variety amongst Christian scholars.
top Target Credit Card Data Was Sent To a Server In Russia
I am curious regarding your information. Got source?
Last I'd heard, the expected sum of lawsuits, settlements, fines, etc. would be WELL over $100mil (as in several times that). Apparently, for reference, a similar breach, TJ Maxx, ended up being closer to $200mil.
Furthermore, it seems Target was self-insured for this. So it isn't quite correct to think they will glibly had this bill to an insurer - they ARE their own insurer.
top Why We Think There's a Multiverse, Not Just Our Universe
I have a question regarding this idea that probably has a simple answer.
If we have these bubbles popping up/out of the surrounding eternally inflating multiverse, and we're supposedly in one of these bubbles, then our bubble must have edges relative to the surrounding geometry of the multiverse. We're causally separated as long as the speed of light is so much less than the ever increasing pace of surrounding inflation. Any light/information we generate may as well fall off a cliff once it passes this edge. However, wouldn't the complete absence of anything coming back from this edge make it quite noticeable? If so, what constraints are there which would make it (im)probable that our light-cone, or observable universe, is nowhere near these edges? I mean, we don't have a patch of the sky where the CMB is non-existent. What gives?
top Researchers: Global Risk of Supervolcano Eruption Greater Than Previously Though
Umm... I'm not entirely certain what your definition of "human" or "humanity" might be.
The last major eruption at 640k years back would predate what is usually used as the timeframe of the start of Homo Sapiens as a species (500k years ago).
Of course, you are correct whatever was around in the Homo genus did indeed lack any of our modern tech.
top Reducing Climate Change Uncertainty By Figuring Out Clouds
Good Science tends to be rather aware of its limitations.
Bad Science Journalism tends towards dogmatic assertions of absolutism just as much as many religious folk.
"Error bars", "p-values", "uncertainty values/ranges" are the norm in Science, not the exception.
Here you're juxtaposing two separate issues. First "the science is settled" appears to be a remark or jab at the idea that the overwhelming consensus among relevant Scientists and relevant peer-reviewed studies is that global average temps are increasing and that human activity has played a measurable, significant part of that. Second, the projections for how much temp increase by 2100 and 2200 are not exact at all. They're given as a range with a corresponding uncertainty. Supposedly, this latest study/model serves to narrow that range. It's just like the difference between someone telling you it will snow tomorrow and you'll get between 1 and 47 inches vs. another person saying between 4 to 5 inches. Both predictions are somewhat uncertain but one is less so.