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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:Bloody Idiot (576 comments)

I definitely agree that we need to know more about what causes autism. The problem with the anti-vax crowd is that they are trying to force researchers to focus on vaccines (to some degree of success) which takes resources away from finding the real cause.

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:The vessel matters (576 comments)

What's your logical foundation for your belief that all human life is precious?

Suppose we decide that all human life isn't precious. (Not based on religious beliefs, but based on simple human decency.) Are some human lives more valuable than others? According to your logic, we should just let people get measles and if they die they die. What if they have a certain knowledge or talent that many people find useful? Perhaps they are a beloved author or a celebrated scientist who keeps making great discoveries. Maybe the person is a master at getting warring regions to sign even-handed peace treaties or helps the needy. Whatever they do, let's suppose their contributions to society are very important. Do we save them?

If not, we've lost some huge contributions to society. If so, we're headed down a path where people dictate which people are more important (and thus will be saved) and which people aren't (and thus will die). That's a scary path to go down.

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:Bloody Idiot (576 comments)

True. (Penn and Teller's original statement was much more effective than my paraphrasing.)

My only quibble would be that - were it just the anti-vaxxers' kids' health at stake, I might be able to be convinced that this is a "parental choice" issue. It would still be a tough sell, of course, but it would be within the realm of possibility. The problem is that when an anti-vaxxer doesn't get their kid vaccinated, they are also putting other people at risk - people who can't get the vaccine because of age (babies) or actual medical problems (allergies, immune system issues). These people rely on herd immunity and anti-vaxxers are weakening that to the point of collapse.

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:This is an ancient one... (576 comments)

I saw the "toxins" shift as more of a response to the rest of their claims being debunked left and right. Every time they claimed something specific (e.g. "mercury in vaccines causes autism!!!"), they would be proven wrong quickly and repeatedly. With the "toxins" claim, they are vague enough that they can't be disproved and yet "toxins" is scary enough of a word to convince some people not to vaccinate. After all, who wants to expose their kids to [scary voice] TOXINS!!! [/scary voice]

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:Bloody Idiot (576 comments)

We tried the "more discipline" thing and here's the weird thing about autistic kids, you can't just "threaten/punish the autism out." More discipline didn't work and was, in fact, making the situation worse. So we got a child psychologist to evaluate our son. She spent three hours in his classroom (observing him but pretending to observe the entire class so he wouldn't act any differently). Then, another day, he went to her office and she talked with him for three hours. She produced a detailed report on our son that diagnosed him as having Asperger's Syndrome/High Functioning Autism. We put supports in place to help him and, surprise surprise, they worked. Whereas before he would have daily hour-long meltdowns in school, he is now having them much less frequently and with much less severity.

My own (admittedly) self-diagnosis came later as we were reading up on Autism to try to better understand our son. I realized that all of these books were describing my own life. I could get a diagnosis, but that would spend money we don't have and wouldn't help either me or my son. So I'm content to remain "undiagnosed" for now.

As far as why are so many being diagnosed now? It's because of better detection, plain and simple. In the past, many with autism were written off as being "shy" or "weird" or (worse) "retarded." (NOTE: Don't use that last word around a parent of a child with autism. I'm only including it as a reference of what was used in the past.) Furthermore, theories of what causes autism have changed. In the past, mothers were blamed. The so-called "refrigerator mom" theory said that moms who weren't loving enough made their kids autistic. This likely kept many from getting a diagnosis as it would be "proof" that they weren't motherly enough. Furthermore, many autistic individuals were simply hidden away and not talked about or referred to as "Crazy Uncle Joe."

Nowadays, better diagnosis, more understanding, and available therapies can help people with autism to function in a neurotypical world. Sadly, we still need to deal with people who, in their ignorance of the true nature of autism, think we should just "be given more discipline" or that we'll "grow out of it" or that we're just "excusing bad behavior."

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:McCarthy the Playmate? (576 comments)

And, sadly, because too many people seem to listen to her. Call me crazy, but I get my medical advice from medical doctors, not someone whose claim to fame was removing her clothes. I just wish more people were "crazy" like that.

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Demanding "safe" vaccines (576 comments)

McCarthy is being highly deceitful when she says the only wants "safe" vaccines. What she means by safe is: 100% effective with no side effects and no unexpected reactions in anyone. No medicine ever attains that level of "safe." Not even the aspirin you take for a headache. No, vaccines aren't 100% safe, but they are about 99.999% safe. They are certainly much safer than getting the diseases they prevent. If she wants to wait until something is 100% safe before using it, she would have to avoid all modern medicine. That includes the botox that McCarthy loves getting injected with. (Vaccine toxins are bad but botulinum toxin fights wrinkles so it's good!)

2 days ago
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The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Jason Levine Re:Human Nature? (180 comments)

Given the things I've seen people do while driving, I don't think I'd be surprised to see that. Just this past weekend, I saw someone holding a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Don't ask me how he was steering the car.

2 days ago
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44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

Jason Levine Re:Fakes (119 comments)

I'm a big user of Twitter and, yes, have even been known to post photos of my food from time to time. (Most times, the photo is used to illustrate a specific point, not just "Having my usual oatmeal.")

That being said, there are some trends on Twitter that make even me shake my head. To name two, there's the "sock" photos where guys post photos of themselves wearing nothing but a sock. (No, not on their feet.) Ostensibly, this is to raise money to fight testicular cancer, but you'll never see me posting a photo of this. The second one is "After Sex Selfies." Again, not something I'll ever engage in. (Any bets on how long it takes until some idiot tries to get "During Sex Selfies" to go viral?)

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:Yeah, maybe not now (576 comments)

Rewriting history is nothing new for people in the anti-vax movement. At first, it was just the MMR which caused autism. (Wakefield's original study - since discredited and proven wrong many, many times.) Then, it was the mercury in vaccines. Then, it was the sheer number of vaccines. Then, it was "toxins" in the vaccines. As each claim was proven wrong, the anti-vax folks moved on to a new claim and declared that scientists had to now prove this new one wrong or they would be "proven" correct. (Never mind that science doesn't work this way. You don't get to make a claim with no evidence and then declare that you are right until people prove you wrong.)

Moving the goalposts is business as usual for the anti-vax crowd so why shouldn't McCarthy try to rewrite history?

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Jason Levine Re:Bloody Idiot (576 comments)

And speaking as the parent of someone who is autistic (and who knows many other parents of kids with autism and also as someone who is likely autistic as well albeit undiagnosed): Even if they proved tomorrow that vaccines cause autism (and that's a very BIG if), I'd still line up for the measles shot. A child with measles might die or have permanent brain damage. A child with autism is still alive - they just have trouble dealing with the neurotypical world and might need more assistance than an NT kid does.

To paraphrase Penn and Teller: Even if vaccines caused autism - WHICH THEY DON'T - not vaccinating in order to avoid autism would still be stupid.

2 days ago
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The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Jason Levine Re:Human Nature? (180 comments)

My boys might have a vested interest in not distracting me, but this doesn't mean that they realize during the heat of the moment that their fighting and screaming in the back seat of the car is distracting me. Should kids be banned from cars? What about babies? They might need a diaper change right in the middle of a long drive where there is nowhere to pull over. Nothing like the smell of a ripe diaper coming from the back seat to distract you. Except, perhaps, the tell-tale sound of an diaper explosion that may or may not have been contained by the diaper. Should babies be banned from cars?

2 days ago
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The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Jason Levine Re:If you can learn to put a beer down while drivi (180 comments)

What I really want to know is this: How is the phone going to be able to tell whether I'm the driver or a passenger?

That was my first question also. I don't really have a problem with a phone that prevents me from actively using it while I'm driving mainly because I won't be actively using it while driving. (Exceptions: Already programmed Google Maps navigation where I'm listening to the robo-voice telling me to turn right in 500 feet or taking a short phone call using a bluetooth headset.)

However, if I want to update my Twitter feed or play a game and I'm sitting in the passenger seat, why shouldn't I? If my phone "helpfully" says "you are driving now, you can't use me", then I'll say a) where's the Turn Off This Feature setting or b) I want a new phone without this feature!

2 days ago
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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Jason Levine Re:u can rite any way u want (426 comments)

Your write.

*waits to hear the sound of an exploding head*

2 days ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

Jason Levine Re:Something from nothing? (589 comments)

they cut & paste from the Web

So that's why huge amounts of Wikipedia have gone missing!

4 days ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

Jason Levine Re:If you make this a proof of God... (589 comments)

If gods of our ancestors were so all powerful, why do they seem to have a messaging problem?

Can create vast amounts of items but has trouble communicating his views to others? God is a Geek!!!

Just be glad that he's not very good at messaging. Then God would be from Marketing. The Lord of All Creation coming from Marketing? Not that would be scary!

4 days ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

Jason Levine Re:If you make this a proof of God... (589 comments)

One of my favorite explanations actually comes from science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in the short story "How It Happened." Let's assume for a second that God really did tell Moses and Aaron what to write in the Bible, He would obviously need to give an allegorical account of what happened in the past and not a literal one. No human could write out a literal blow-by-blow history of the Universe and no human could ever read such an accounting. (Of course, my personal belief is that the Bible is a moral tale and not a historical tale. You are supposed to read it and think "people should act this way", not read it and think "women were really created by a rib surgically removed from the first man.")

4 days ago
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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

Jason Levine Re:Good (193 comments)

It may be turtles all down, but it's corporations all up!

4 days ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

Jason Levine Re:Mirror image (639 comments)

I believe the "only marry one person" command came after Jacob married his two wives and slept with their servants. Loophole!

Of course, some Orthodox Jewish folks I know claim that Abraham kept Kosher even before the laws of keeping Kosher were given because he was just that holy. By that logic, wouldn't Jacob know the "rules of marriage" before they were given?

4 days ago
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Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

Jason Levine Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (181 comments)

This exactly. I've been playing a lot of smartphone apps recently. I have no trouble paying something for a game. If they want to release a "lite" version with limited levels, I'm fine with that. It lets you get a feel for the game play and see if you want to spend the cash for the full version. I don't even have a problem with additional level packs costing more money. What I have a problem with are games where you either 1) Need to buy items with the "premium currency" (only obtainable by paying cash) to advance in the game or 2) Need to pay to keep an "energy meter" up. In the latter case, if you limit how much I play your game, you are just making it more likely that I'll play another game, not pay you money.

As an example of a game-gone-wrong, I'd submit Where's My Water. The first game was pretty good. There was a lite version, a paid version, and additional level packs you could buy. Then Where's My Water 2 came out. At first, they had an energy meter, but they got rid of that when people complained. My big issue? Keys. You can only obtain keys by 1) buying them or 2) bugging people on social media. If you don't do that, you can't proceed along the map. If you buy the keys, you will just get stuck at the next gate that requires more keys. So you aren't even buying "the full version", you are buying "the next level or two." The end result? I don't even have that app on my phone anymore.

I don't begrudge game developers from making money, but it's a fine line between encouraging payments and annoying people too much.

5 days ago

Submissions

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What To Do With Old Domains

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about 6 months ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "While looking to buy a new domain for a website idea I had, I realized that over the years I've purchased quite a few domain names. I'm not a domain hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but 14 domains isn't a small number either. Of those domains, only 6 are actively being used. Many of the others were used for web projects that died out or that never launched. I could let the domains expire or possibly sell them (some might actually take in some cash), but I'm afraid of the domains being grabbed by spammers or other nefarious individuals. Holding onto them is an option, but increasingly I'm wondering why I'm paying annual fees for domain names that I'm not using and likely will never use again.

How do you handle old domain names in your possession that you no longer need?"
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Best Science Fiction/Fantasy for 8 Year Olds

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about 2 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in Science Fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults.

Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot". He liked these but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head.

Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8 year old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
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Teaching Your Children Computer Skills At Home

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son's school district, like many across the country, is facing budget issues. Already, art and music are being cut and two elementary schools are likely to be shut down. (One of which my son currently attends.) My wife recently found out that our school doesn't even have a computer teacher. Nobody's teaching the kids how to use word processing programs, how to browse the Internet, etc. They have "computer time" in which someone watches over them while the kids are allowed to visit PBSKids.org and similar websites.

My son is very bright and computer savvy for a first grader, but obviously I want him to know how to do more than simply load up a website. We've discussed home schooling with varying degrees of seriousness. Even if we don't home school, we might want to supplement what he's learning in school with computer lessons at home. My wife is a teacher and has access to various resources, but I was wondering what resources the Slashdot community might recommend.

How do you teach your children about computers and how to use them? Do you know of any websites or programs that would be appropriate for my first grade son to use? (I've already introduced him to TuxPaint, TuxMath and TuxTyping.)"
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Theft of Services Claim with Honor System Paywall

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Towards the end of the day yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone claiming that my company's employees had been stealing his services. I always take claims like this seriously, so I read on. Apparently, his website is called the North Country Gazette. It appears to be a "news" site, but structured like a blog. Each article contains the text: "Free access to The North Country Gazette is limited to one visit, one article, no exceptions. After your free trial, a subscription is needed and without same, your access will be denied. To sign up, see subscription ad on this page. If you have questions, contact us at news@northcountrygazette.org"

The e-mail claimed theft of services because an employee visited two articles without paying. I thought it might be a scam (the threatening tone of the e-mail didn't help) so I visited the site to make sure it was legit. Soon after my one article view, I received a second e-mail calling me "obstinate", telling me to "do your job instead of surfing the internet" and threatening legal action if we visited his site again.

The thing is, though, he doesn't seem to have any kind of paywall in place. No mechanism to detect if a user has viewed an article and stop them from viewing more like other paywalls I've encountered. Just a system to detect when his honor system isn't honored. How seriously should I take his threats? Can someone really sue over theft of services due to three page views (four if you count me accessing his home page)? Can some small text on a website (which doesn't even contain a "pay here" link) really bind you into paying for a subscription? I will definitely be informing my company's legal counsel, but I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot has heard of anything like this?"
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Killer Sue Wikipedia To Remove Their Names

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber killed a German actor in 1990. Now that they are out of prison, German law states that they can't be referred to by name in relation to the killings. Therefore, they have sued to get Wikipedia to remove their names from the Wikipedia article about the killings. The German edition of Wikipedia has already complied, but the English edition is citing US freedom of speech and a lack of presence in Germany as reasons why they don't need to remove the name. In a bit of irony, their lawyer e-mailed the NY Times: “In the spirit of this discussion, I trust that you will not mention my clients’ names in your article.""
Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensively Streaming Media?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I recently won a Roku box and my family and I have been enjoying watching Netflix movies/TV shows via it. So much so, in fact, that we are considering canceling our cable service. Canceling cable would save us $65 a month. Of course, this would mean the loss of a big entertainment source for my children (age 6 and 2), my wife and me. We have a decent DVD collection, but it tends to be hard to find the right DVD and play it for the boys. (The DVDs are in stacks and tend to get disorganized.) I'd rather rip them to my upstairs computer and stream the video, but I need some help.

First of all, we don't have a large budget to work with. Yes, we'd be saving per month without the cable bill, but my wife won't let me spend thousands on equipment so that we can save $800 a year. That said, our requirements are low. We don't have any HD televisions in the house and don't have plans to upgrade our existing sets anytime soon. So while it might be nice if the solutions can handle HD, there's no need to spend more money on an HD-compatible product.

Secondly, running ethernet cable is out of the question. My wife refuses to let me drill holes in the walls/floor and to be honest, I don't blame her. My wireless network (current router a Netgear WGR614 v5) tends to cut out at times. Powerline networking intrigues me, but the wiring in the house is old and I'm afraid that it won't be a stable connection. Another option I found was ethernet-over-coax. Would I be better off upgrading my wireless network (replacing the router and/or adding an access point somewhere) or going with a powerline or coax solution?

Third, ditching cable would mean we would lose our cable-provided DVR. While most shows we watch would be viewable via Hulu, we would like to still be able to record shows (especially kids shows on PBS) and play them later. What kind of DVR system would you recommend?

Lastly, my desktop computer isn't exactly the newest system in the world. It is 6 years old and, while not underpowered, might not be up to handling some tasks. Would I be better off building or buying a DVR/Media Center box? If so, how much would I wind up paying for this?

Thanks for any advice you can give."
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Wii outsells 360, PS3, PS2, PSP combined in April

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine writes "Ars Technica is reporting that, during the month of April, the Nintendo Wii outsold not only the XBox 360 and the Sony PS3, but the 360, PS3, PS2, and PSP combined. The Nintendo Wii sold 714,200 units. Microsoft's XBox 360 sold 188,000 units and Sony's PS3 sold 187,100 units. The PSP moved 192,700 units and the PS2 moved 124,400 units. In addition, six of the top 10 games sold in April were Nintendo Wii games."
Link to Original Source

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