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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

Deep Esophagus Re:Biased Institutions FTW (783 comments)

That "first errand" is pretty much how I handled parenting, without the involvement of school/police/whatever supervision. I would lurk in the background while my kids went on their quasi-independent journeys of discovery, gradually increasing the radius of their area of autonomy proportional to their age and ability.

The other determining factor was indeed specific location. In our quiet suburb north of Houston, I didn't have a problem with my daughter playing unattended near the house for short periods. In a neighborhood in north Dallas with a MUCH higher crime rate, greater population density, and nearby high-traffic roads... we didn't even let her go to the mailbox in front of the house without a parent within arm's reach, and by then she was 8.

A later move to Cheyenne, Wyoming gave them nearly unlimited freedom. Our son would walk a mile or two from our house to the nearest school playground by the time he was 10, and 13-year-old daughter had no problem walking a couple of miles through the middle of town to get from a friend's house to the library.

Last time we visited Dallas, our vehicle broke down and I had to walk to a convenience store to get transmission fluid. My son - by then 15 - came with me, and with his physical training from karate and football I was glad to have him along to protect me.

about two weeks ago

In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

Deep Esophagus Re:Besides the blantant bloodshed... (490 comments)

<pedant>No, a spellchecker will help you pass your finals at Hogwart's. A spelling checker will help you catch misspellings.</pedant>

about three weeks ago

Connected Gun Lets Anyone Watch What Or Who You Are Shooting

Deep Esophagus Re:Just what's needed! (138 comments)

You know, I'm a bit right-of-center on gun issues (which means that in most conversations I manage to piss off both my more conservative and more liberal friends, often with the same statement). I have no problem with widespread gun ownership and use of guns for personal self-defense.

But this... holy mother of Charles Whitman, how can this not get into the wrong hands with tragic consequences? Random urban sniper sprees just got a whole lot worse.

about three weeks ago

Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

Deep Esophagus Re:It is simple (755 comments)

I wish I could mod you beyond the +5 you already got; you summarized the problem perfectly.

It's called faith for a reason. Yes, I see God's work in everything from the dance of electrons (and smaller!) to the dance of galaxies, but I am quite aware that is a subjective interpretation of the same evidence that others see as obvious proof God does not exist.

"An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."

I am always embarrassed when scientists who are Christians claim that this or that archaeological or biological feature proves the existence of God, or young-earth creation, or whatever. There's so much confirmation bias it's a wonder any actual science ever gets done. We would achieve more good if we stop indulging in flawed arguments and simply let folks see God in the way we behave (hint: all you need is love).

about a month ago

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

Deep Esophagus Re:Kind of disappointed in him. (681 comments)

I'm a conservative [read: slightly on the conservative side of dead center, with the added bonus of holding views that piss off my friends on both sides of the aisle] evangelical Christian, and I didn't see anything at all offensive about his posts. I've forwarded a couple of them on to my Christian and non-Christian friends. Really, I think this whole thing is an attempt by both Tyson and folks who make a career out of hating him to get media attention.

about a month ago

White House Touts Obama's 1-Liner as 2014 Tech Highlight

Deep Esophagus Re:Did he.. (65 comments)

That's my whole problem with the "hour of code": It's a symbolic gesture. At no point do the students ever actually write code; they just drag command blocks into place, all the while being told what to drag and where to place it. Even if they use the "View code" button, they only see the LOGO-like commands without any of the program structure around it. When my daughter was 10, she was writing graphic games of her own design in QuickBASIC. Kids are capable of so much more than this walled garden assumes.

I wouldn't object so much if this exercise were just the introductory step ("Now that you've seen how the command blocks create actual programming instructions, let's learn about conditional branching!")

about 1 month ago

MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language

Deep Esophagus Re:Is it a Node.js replacement? (194 comments)

Hearing a disturbance, the master programmer went into the novice's cubicle.

"Curse these personal computers!" cried the novice in anger, "To make them do anything I must use three or even four editing programs. Sometimes I get so confused that I erase entire files. This is truly intolerable!"

The master programmer stared at the novice. "And what would you do to remedy this state of affairs?" he asked.

The novice thought for a moment. "I will design a new editing program," he said, "a program that will replace all these others."

Suddenly the master struck the novice on the side of his head. It was not a heavy blow, but the novice was nonetheless surprised. "What did you do that for?" exclaimed the novice.

"I have no wish to learn another editing program," said the master.

And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

This lesson from The Zen of Programming is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

about a month ago

The World Is Not Falling Apart

Deep Esophagus Re:Of course there is a focus on the negative (208 comments)

Overall, I understand the point of the article and I agree with it... but there's still something faintly disturbing that it is even necessary to report that there is less genocide than there used to be.

about a month ago

The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Deep Esophagus Re:This is worse than mythology. (391 comments)

Even allowing for the sake of argument the possibility that these SF authors masquerading as scientists are right, the existence of these superhuman robot overlords begs the question of what intelligent entity created them in the first place.

about a month ago

Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator

Deep Esophagus Re:Yeah right. (99 comments)

My hovercraft is full of eels.

about a month and a half ago

2014 Geek Gift Guide

Deep Esophagus Re:The best gift? (113 comments)

I thought this article might be somewhat useful, since I've never heard of Haselton and my daughter and I are both geeks, but... I have to admit that is a lot of text to wade through. I think much of the hostility is still overreaction, but... yeah, poorly written and (as others have noted) poorly researched.

And even if the article were reasonable and well formatted and provided useful information... who on the planet is waiting until the last minute to get their Christmas shopping done? I could have used this information two months ago, not now!

about a month and a half ago

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

Deep Esophagus Re:Like in the Family Guy theme? (244 comments)

The Censors it is Laugh and Cry.
To the listeners it is F'ing Cry

Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's.

sigh I know, only people over 50 will get that one. The rest of you, get off my lawn.

about a month and a half ago

Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

Deep Esophagus Re:"Ultimately, our users will decide" (239 comments)

Yeah, I'll also be switching to a new service if they force me into some app that looks more like twitter than conventional email. Consider this garbage (from the Wikipedia entry):

Google scans the email account for important and similar information. It then presents what it considers the most important parts of the email first and groups similar emails as "Bundles" that are named by type (e.g., "Travel" or "Updates"). It also converts physical addresses into Google Maps links and airline confirmation numbers into a flight status update.[2] Users can make custom Bundles as they would make Gmail filters, and can specify the time of day to show the Bundle.

I don't want bundles. I don't want them timed. I don't want Google to decide what is and isn't the "most important parts". I just want to see my email in the same format it was created.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

Deep Esophagus Re: Yes (376 comments)

I don't do marathon coding sessions or any of the ridiculous self sacrificing stuff that some seem to think is the norm

This. That's how you stay in the business for more than a few years: do something well and keep doing it and getting better and learning new techniques rather than burn brightly and briefly. I started around age 25; now I'm 52 and in my second decade with the same company. Hotshots who can code circles around me come and go, but I'm dependable and I can maintain 20-year-old code as well as develop new code, and I won't disappear when it gets boring or a headhunter dangles something shiny in front of me.

Best of all, because I balanced work life and personal life, I still love what I do and had time to raise a family while I was doing it.

about 2 months ago

Google's Project Loon Can Now Launch Up To 20 Balloons Per Day, Fly 10x Longer

Deep Esophagus Environmental impact (116 comments)

I did a little googling (har) and didn't find much in the way of environmental impact studies. How will all this affect air traffic? Bird migrations? The atmosphere, when releasing helium (or whatever) during a descent? Who is going to clean up the mess when, not if, the balloons get caught up in a storm and go down in the middle of the Pacific, or get strewn across the Himalayas?

about 2 months ago

"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Deep Esophagus Re:From Experience (561 comments)

If that's how you (and judging from your +5 Insightful rating, at least 5 others here) view the role of business analyst, my company must be using the term wrong. Where I work, BAs are an indispensable part of the design process; they don't get into that job until they know not only the product but the business needs of our users extremely well. A developer who changes a UI, report format, or so much as a calculation without first consulting with a BA doesn't last long. The BAs know every single one of the five bazillion federal regulations and industry standards so we developers don't have to worry our pretty little heads about it. We just write our code so it does all the number-crunchy things they tell us it needs to do.

Accounting is hard. Let's go shopping!

about 2 months ago

Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

Deep Esophagus Re:Huh (249 comments)

I use flashblock and noscript to protect against aggressive ads that take over my browsing experience, but I accept that TANSTAAFL and my payment for free content is the presentation of ads within that free content -- just as it was with radio and TV (don't get me started how the main selling point for cable TV in the early days was that paying for it meant you were no longer going to suffer through all those ads).

So... no, I don't use ad blocker per se, and won't until I am paying for that content.

about 4 months ago

Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

Deep Esophagus Re:they fundamentally don't get it. (249 comments)

But even if they use "smart" (yes, those are sarcastic quotes) keyword matching to anticipate something they think will interest you, they completely fail on the context comprehension because most spoken languages have common words with multiple meanings, not to mention metaphorical use of words.

For a particularly annoying example, when I first set up a Facebook account I filled in some of the interests in order to let folks find me who were searching for others with the same interests. I sing in a barbershop quartet, and frequently mentioned barbershop music in my posts. As a result, *every single day* at least one sidebar ad promoted accounting services to maximize income for my salon.

And when I mentioned that I was starting a diet to lose weight... I might as well have issued a personal invitation to every snake oil merchant on the planet. Yeah, pal, I got yer "one weird trick doctors don't want you to know" right here.

about 4 months ago

The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

Deep Esophagus Re:NSA probably already has this technology (120 comments)

I'd be very surprised if the false positive rate were as low as 1%. Lip reading is NOT an exact science. It depends on context, clear line-of-sight, and how well the speaker enunciates. You'd be amazed how many phonemes sound different to our ears but look identical on the lips.

But hey, I'll let these guys explain it much better. Bad Lip Reading

Hilarious stuff, but the point is relevant: Without *any editing at all* of the actors' lips, they are able to perfectly match ridiculous words to those mouth movements. Why would automated software pick the "real" words over the BLR version?

about 4 months ago


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