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New York Pistol Permit Owner List Leaked

mdarksbane Re:Or the reverse (899 comments)

But even if that correlation did not exist, a high number of gun owners would still be a red flag.

For your own safety, then, you had better never leave the coasts. I'd be hard pressed to find a house in my neighborhood that *didn't* have a gun. You do realize that nearly half of households in the US admit to owning one?

about a year and a half ago
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New York Passes Landmark Gun Law

mdarksbane Re:We need gas control! (1591 comments)

For the last time, the shooter did *NOT* have any body armor. He had a "tactical" looking vest. The first media outlets covering this got it wrong, and it's been repeated constantly.

Also, seriously, everyone here has played shooter video games, right? How much easier is it to shoot a bunch of targets when none of them are shooting back versus when you have to dodge or run for cover? Why do you think that accidental fire is *more* likely to hit a bystander than *aimed* fire?

about a year and a half ago
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America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

mdarksbane Re:False Lead (627 comments)

They're also horrible on your gun barrels, and do very little compared to just mandating Full Metal Jacketed bullets to begin with.

Most of the lead in the air of a range comes from two places:

1) Primers
2) Unjacketed lead bullets that have been loaded hot, to where the back of the bullet starts to evaporate as it leaves the barrel.

This *is* a true issue at an indoor range, and a good ventilation system is one of the biggest expenses of running one. Outdoors bans on lead mostly exist for political reasons, rather than actual problems caused by lead in backstops.

about a year and a half ago
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America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

mdarksbane Re:False Lead (627 comments)

There has been no study actually linking lead shotgun pellets to lead issues in the ecosystem. It's all speculation at this point. Among other things, the lead is usually fairly contained in the pellets, especially if they are jacketed.

When hunting, it's actually a very small number of shots being fired. You only see significant lead buildup in some place like a range backstop.

about a year and a half ago
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USMA: Going the Extra Kilometer For Metrication

mdarksbane I had to handle metric conversions at work (909 comments)

And all I can say is that anyone who is Canadian can get off their damned high horse.

Know what is worse than imperial? A random mix of metric and imperial based on which country the components were bought from, how the old engineers are "used to" doing things, and the cycle of the moon. Which is exactly what our software had to handle when we started selling it in Canada.

about a year and a half ago
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A Firecracker-Launching Slingshot: Start the New Year With a Bang

mdarksbane My uncle (65 comments)

Blew his eye out trying to do exactly that. On the other hand, the glass eye lends itself to all sorts of party gags.

about a year and a half ago
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Insurance Industry Looking Hard At Climate Change

mdarksbane Re:Hurricane Sandy.... (156 comments)

Dear lord I wish I had mod points. If climate change supporters are going to stand on the scientific high horse, it would be nice if they actually listened to scientists!

about a year and a half ago
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No More "Asperger's Syndrome"

mdarksbane Re:About time (602 comments)

The fact that some people can cope with varying levels of symptoms doesn't mean that there aren't useful treatments available with proper diagnosis. There isn't a nice drug for Asperger's yet, but you can make a lot of progress through explicit training on social interactions. That training can save the kids a lot of heartache if they figure out how to emulate social functions in junior high instead of sometime after college. Most people on the mild end of the spectrum figure it out for themselves *eventually*, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to give them a boost.

about a year and a half ago
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Particle Physicists Confirm Arrow of Time Using B Meson Measurements

mdarksbane Re:Arrow of Time... (259 comments)

This is why it's useful to separate sex and gender - ie, what parts of "man" and "woman" are cultural creations and what parts are biological.

It's foolish to ignore either aspect. Watching my wife after she had our child, there are *definitely* strong biochemical and physical differences between men and women.

But this doesn't have much to do with the different gender roles everyone complains about in, say, Wheel of Time. Women don't nag because they're born to it - they nag because culture makes them to keepers and enforcers of civilized behavior.

That *said*... the vast majority of people, when raised in a society with strong gender roles, will generally exhibit them. So expecting women or men to consistently act like that society's image of women and men isn't sexist. Saying that they *must* act that way because biology is immutable is.

It's a complex, multi-variate system involving years of cultural and individual programming running on a meat machine that is also influenced by its base hardware and and its chemical sensors. No one should really claim that they completely understand it.

about 2 years ago
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How Free Speech Died On Campus

mdarksbane Re:High conservative bent (530 comments)

The guy interviewed is himself a liberal.

He's gone into this numerous times. FIRE's stated rules are that they consider:

1) State institutions who are legally required to allow free speech.

2) Private institutions that promise free speech.

They take the position that any private university which states up front that it enforces a code of conduct that takes precedence over free speech (such as religious rules), is not violating the law, and is lying to students about what they should expect. They don't support the limitations these schools place on free speech, but as private institutions they feel it is their right to hold them.

You may disagree with that philosophy, but there is nothing inherently liberal or conservative about it. It's a defensible response to living in a pluralistic society.

Now, it so happens that the majority of speech restrictions from public schools at this time in history are based on liberal concepts. Conservatives tend to retreat to private religious institutions for their discrimination. But FIRE *has* gone after traditionally conservative/catholic institutions who promise free speech and then renege on it.

about 2 years ago
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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force

mdarksbane Re:Wrong economics? (457 comments)

I'll tell you exactly what's broken.

When the majority of tuition is paid through loans by 18-year-olds, there is no incentive to compete on cost. If you're already planning on taking out $50k in loans, $60k looks pretty much the same. There is also little incentive to compete on instructor quality, as it's hard to measure and schools outside the top 10 in their field tend to get lumped together.

What is worth competing on? Student unions, recreation centers, dorms, libraries, and other perks.

The amount of school funding for teachers salaries has been pretty stable. The funding for administrative staff and student amenities has skyrocketed.

Every time I visit our local school half of it is under construction - and all of the new buildings are as shiny and fancy as they can get. This is a state land grant school that used to be about as low cost as you can get. The luxury difference between the old and new dorms is staggering.

Until we reform the student loan system everything is just going to keep getting more expensive.

about 2 years ago
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U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?

mdarksbane OH - small town (821 comments)

Went around lunch time. No one in front of us in line. Talked to our neighbors who were volunteering about new babies and hunting while my wife voted. We would have been in and out in five minutes if we didn't feel like socializing.

I love voting in this district. It always just seems like a nice way to be social and get to know the community. Really too bad they don't put in enough polling stations in urban areas to get that same feeling. Feels like there ought to be a couple machines in every subdivision or big apartment building.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For Developers To Start Their Own Union?

mdarksbane Re:Apparent to who?? (761 comments)

When I'm 6-10 times more productive than my peers, I get paid tens of thousands of dollars more than them. I also get promoted before them, and have higher job security than them.

Unions are great if you're happier being mediocre.

about 2 years ago
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Why Do So Many Liberals "Like" Mitt Romney On Facebook?

mdarksbane Meh (376 comments)

And I constantly hear about Obama because one of my friends "liked" him. Don't see much difference from the lame ads on youtube and pandora :P

about 2 years ago
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Geneticists And Economists Clash Over "Genoeconomics" Paper

mdarksbane Commentors missing the point (213 comments)

The authors of the paper come right out and say that they are not arguing for a genetic *cause* to the correlations they measure.

Rather that since genetics and culture are both transmitted along family lines, that genetic diversity within a country is a useful proxy for cultural diversity, and that certain degrees of cultural diversity correlate with improved economic performance.

This has nothing to do with eugenics, and everything to do with a more quantifiable way to study the effect of culture clashes on a country's economy.

about 2 years ago
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Geneticists And Economists Clash Over "Genoeconomics" Paper

mdarksbane Re:Genetic diversity... (213 comments)

The argument of the paper is *NOT* that there is a genetic driver to culture. The argument is that genetics is a useful *proxy* for culture, and one on which there is much clearer data. Most culture is strongly influenced by your family, who also happen to be your genetic influences. If you can track genetics you can also track culture.

For example - immigrants from Sweden to the US are going to have similar genetics to people who remained in Sweden. But they are also going to bring their culture with them as well, which is going to continue to influence their lifestyles significantly.

It is very hard to get data on how many people in the US have similar cultural influences to Sweden, but it is much less hard to find the people who have a genetic link to it, and therefore have an increased probability of having similar cultural influence.

You don't have to make any claim at all about genetic influences over cultural ones for this to be a useful line of study.

about 2 years ago
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Laser Strikes On Aircraft Becoming Epidemic

mdarksbane Re:Good. (687 comments)

Exactly - don't ban lasers, prosecute these attacks for what they are. Attempted murder, reckless endangerment, whatever. Essentially the same as someone firing a pistol at the plane. It's not likely to kill someone, but it's definitely endangering people for no good reason.

We don't have a rash of people taking pot shots at landing planes, do we? The issue is that the laser is not seen as dangerous, but as a toy, when it is really a tool that must be used carefully.

about 2 years ago
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Astronomers Search For Dyson Spheres of Alien Civilizations

mdarksbane Re:Flawed assumptions. (686 comments)

I believe you mean "like every successful organism we have encountered so far."

Those who do not believe in growth tend to be beaten out by those who do.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Calls For $5B Investment In U.S. Education

mdarksbane Re:Straw Poll (257 comments)

I'd definitely say the first one. I get a new call from a headhunter at least every week. My female coworkers get them practically daily. And none of us are anything that special - ~5 years of dev experience in java/C++/web stuff.

The thing is, most "qualified" programmers suck. When I was in college I would trust maybe 1/4 of the people in the class to work with me on a group project. Programming is hard, and good software engineering (which is a separate problem) is even harder.

Combine that with the fact that almost no one who is competent *wants* to write your boring as hell enterprise web application (they'd rather go work for some neat startup doing the latest and greatest in social networking, or work for a bank who can pay them a bigger salary), and hiring can get really annoying. Because you can't just hire *somebody* or you'll lose productivity babysitting them the entire time.

about 2 years ago
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Calif. Man Arrested For ESPN Post On Killing Kids

mdarksbane Re:"Several Guns Were Found"? (416 comments)

Any person who makes death threats can drive five minutes to the nearest gas station, fill up a 5-gallon tank, and already have a weapon capable of ten times the death and destruction of a handgun. Don't delude yourself thinking that guns are a special case of dangerous.

A person who makes death threats *while holding a gun* is a problem of great severity. A person who makes death threats while owning guns is no more a problem than someone making death threats while owning a car, a gas tank, or a chainsaw.

about 2 years ago

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