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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

virg_mattes Re:Dangerous... (399 comments)

What it says to me is that you addressed one quarter of my complaints about this poster by saying things that I'll have to do a reasonable amount of research about to see if it's even true. Having seen no evidence or studies as to whether ADD "should statistically affect boys and girls equally", I can't even answer to it before I do some digging, but I notice you didn't bother to back that "fact" up with any citations, leaving it to me to do the legwork. On top of that, even if it turns out that false diagnoses are up, that doesn't give anyone dispensation to label all or even most of them as such without some sort of supporting proof.

So even assuming that I drop the entire line about the poster's comments about ADD diagnoses, you didn't say a word about all the rest of it. Considering that your argument fails to address much less rebut any of the other things I brought up, like claiming a majority of kids "do whatever they want" or "stuck to the fucking XBox for 12 hours a day" or that any reasonable percentage of parents "decided real parenting was too hard", and considering that these things (and the out-of-scope comments about ADD diagnoses) were to discuss why tenure shouldn't be used to protect someone like this from dismissal, I'd say you need to be a lot more thorough if you're going to join the argument.

Virg

about 6 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

virg_mattes Re:Dangerous... (399 comments)

The problem is that your argument isn't right-wing so much as old-fashioned. "Back in the old days" schools weren't doing the things you described, but they were doing things like failing kids out entirely and in the modern world that's no longer considered an acceptable solution. I agree that kids shouldn't be passed if they can't get the grades but they also shouldn't get dropped by the system and left to fend for themselves because the whole point of a public school system and mandatory education is to make sure that everyone gets educated, and the "good old days" schools didn't actually do a very good job of that. The whole concept of meals at school is that kids do better in school if they're not malnourished. Socializing children has been shown time after time to make for better educated kids. And sex education is education. Why would life skills not be a good thing to teach in a school?

Virg

about 6 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

virg_mattes Re:Dangerous... (399 comments)

Sadly, I am not at all shocked to see a bunch of knee-jerk attacks on someone suggesting that parents parent.

This ranter didn't suggest that parents should parent, s/he said that parents in general don't parent. Reacting to that isn't a knee-jerk, it's indignation at a falsehood presented to cover up for being jaded.

No one seems to want to take a look at what they might be doing wrong. It's always the fault of someone else.

This is true of the ranter as well.

Parents find it difficult to be there to instill values in their children when they have to work so much to afford the long defunct "american dream."...On the other hand, sometimes a parent is available, supportive and everything we're told needs to be done and it doesn't matter.

This is nonsensical. You're blaming parents for working too hard to parent effectively and then you say that sometimes they do everything right and it doesn't matter. So you say that sometimes nothing helps, but you'll still blame them for the failure because they should have done more? Pick a message, please.

You want to be a decent adult, take personal responsibility.

Maybe you could tell the ranter to do this as well.

Virg

about 6 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

virg_mattes Re:Dangerous... (399 comments)

And this is a good argument FOR Tenure systems. This statement of opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the person's teaching ability, and should not be something which would result in a firing, especially since it was done on his own time, outside the classroom, didn't involve his students... and frankly speaking in most cases it's completely 100% accurate.

This statement is crap, much like the parent statement, and it speaks directly to this person's ability to teach kids in this setting. Declaring that ADD diagnoses are "bullshit" is way outside the scope of a public school teacher unless that teacher happens to have a medical degree, and demonstrates a bias against something that they have no expertise to judge. Telling parents in general that they aren't doing their jobs or that even a majority of students are allowed to do whatever they like is simply untrue, and just because there are noticable kids who do this sort of thing doesn't by any stretch indicate that it's anything approaching common. Bitching about poor teachers being guarded by unions is a recent thing? My parents joined up with a dozen others fighting to remove an atrocious teacher more than forty years ago, long before the "fucking XBoxes" and "bullshit ADD diagnoses" that s/he rants against.

So, your "100% accurate" statement falls completely flat, and this person sounds so jaded that I'd want them out posthaste. Someone who's willing to make statements like this, even anonymously and outside work, can't possibly be taking a positive attitude into the classroom with them.

Virg

about 6 months ago
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Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

virg_mattes Re:This isn't helping... (846 comments)

You're not paying attention to economics, as well as forgetting your history. China is undergoing an industrial revolution much like the U.S. did back at the open of the 1900s. They are doing massive agriculture and massive manufacturing, driven by cheap labor and a "smoke means progress" attitude from the government. Given those same conditions in our own country, we made a hellish mess of our environment too.

The author's contention is that, given the same motivation from the government, a command economy will more readily be able to handle the problem of pollution than a democracy because the government doesn't have to convince industry and the people to buy into it, they can simply demand compliance. That makes sense, at least from the relatively simplistic view. There are lots of problems with Communism, but getting projects done on a massive scale when the powers that be want it done isn't one of those problems. If China's government decided to "go green" tomorrow, you can bet that they'd get there a whole lot faster than the U.S. ever did.

Virg

about 6 months ago
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Florida Town Stores License Plate Camera Images For Ten Years

virg_mattes Re:What could go wrong? (122 comments)

Yes, some police officers do abuse their powers. But, that number is actually quite few. You are more likely to encounter an errant office worker than an abusive police officer.

The problem here is that encountering an errant office worker isn't likely to result in legal troubles for me, but encountering an abusive officer often does. More to the point, the concept that very few police officers abuse their powers is ludicrous in my experince with many police officers. The vast majority of officers don't maliciously abuse their power or do stuff that's extreme or egregious, but I've never met an officer who hasn't done stuff like running criminal checks on their neighbors just because they can or skating a traffic violation by flashing their badge to the arresting officer.

If you have encountered an abusive cop, I would suspect you probably were in the wrong in the first place, no?

Part and parcel of the abusive officer's creed, this is. No, it's not necessary to be wrong to be mistreated by an abusive officer, because that's the definition of "abusive".

Virg

about a year ago
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Ballmer To Retire

virg_mattes Re:Still funny as hell (633 comments)

I don't see any disparity. "Right" in this context means "best" so it doesn't contradict "perfect".

Virg

about a year ago
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NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website

virg_mattes Re:WTF NRA? (780 comments)

You still haven't backed up your statement, since toxic isn't carcinogenic and more importantly, you didn't cover whether there's really stuff like that in there, whether non-lead paints contain stuff that lead paint doesn't, and whether painting more often to deal with things like fading makes for more released toxins.

Also, huffing is dangerous independent of the chemicals used (people can and have died from using helium to talk funny, and that's completely inert), I've never seen a case where someone was caught huffing house paint, and the whole point of huffing is to super-concentrate the fumes because under normal use it doesn't have any effect.

Virg

about a year ago
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NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website

virg_mattes Re:WTF NRA? (780 comments)

What does this have to do with the discussion? If you're arguing that more money should be spent on securing schools, then do so, but unless you're positing that the only way to secure schools with money is arming teachers, then your argument is off point. My point isn't in how tiny the threat is, it's the fact that arming the teachers is adding more threat than having them armed takes away, so it's a bad idea at any price.

Virg

about a year ago
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NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website

virg_mattes Re:Not on purpose, but yes you do. (780 comments)

I throw away meat that is potentially contaminated with lead. Some people are not so smart and eat it.

Do you throw it somewhere that scavengers can't reach, and that doesn't result in the lead in the meat ending up in the environment at large? Didn't think so.

Go F yourself and your restrictions and controls. I'm an adult and can live my own life.

When your living of your own life results in an externality that can cause harm to others, it's the government's job to address it.

Virg

about a year ago
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NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website

virg_mattes Re:WTF NRA? (780 comments)

Declaring that arming teachers is a substantial improvement in security assumes that none of those teachers or guards will ever misuse their gun, have an accident with it or lose control of it, all to secure the school against the miniscule possibility of an armed assailant who said teachers or guards can take down without hitting any bystanders or getting shot themselves. I've never been a gun ban supporter but it's not hard to see the gaping holes in this argument.

Virg

about a year ago
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NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website

virg_mattes Re:WTF NRA? (780 comments)

Lead was also in paint because it was UV resistant and helped to avoid fading in sunlight. The replacement for lead in paint is repainting your house more often. Good for paint stores, bad for consumers.

This assumes that "removing lead from your environs" isn't also good for consumers, and plenty of tests show that it is a good thing.

As for the environment? Who knows? There are probably plenty of other carcinogens in non-lead based paints that you are now applying much more frequently than would have previously been necessary.

Without citing what those "carcinogens" might be, this is just scaremongering drivel. Back it up or pack it up.

Not to mention that lead based paint is STILL USED. The government gets to use it to paint stripes on the highway, and whatnot. Why? Because it holds up 10 times better than regular paint. But YOU can't use it on your house because "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!"

The level of lead exposure that the children will get from licking a roadway is vastly less than the exposure they historically got from old lead paints used in their houses. This is what normal people call reasonable risk management.

Virg

about a year ago
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Google's Science Fellows Challenge the Company's Fund-Raising For Senator Inhofe

virg_mattes Re:What about Gay Marriage? (140 comments)

..by "equal rights" you seem to actually mean "inclusion into the special rights club that all non-married people are still excluded from." Either support the availability of all of the special rights that married people have to all unmarried people also, or stop calling it "equal rights."

This doesn't follow logic at all. The concept that marriage has certain "special rights" both ignores the concept that it also has certain responsibilities that unmarried people don't have to deal with, and ignores the idea that (in a perfect world) anyone is free to enter into marriage and free to leave it. Your argument makes about as much sense as getting mad that people can incorporate a company and get into some "special rights club" that unincorporated people don't enjoy. It may be technically accurate but it's nonsensical.

Virg

about a year ago
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New Best Way To Nuke a Short-Notice Asteroid

virg_mattes Re:Spin spin.. (311 comments)

This is a trivial positional problem to solve. Computers have been able to calculate this sort of thing since the Moon landings, so I don't see any insurmountable problems with pulling off doubling a target.

Virg

about a year ago
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New Best Way To Nuke a Short-Notice Asteroid

virg_mattes Re:Simulate or it didn't happen! You know what I m (311 comments)

A nudge I can understand if there is any way to create enough energy to push something that large out of the way, but what is the point of the nuke? How do we know this doesn't end up creating lots of smaller asteroids?

That's specifically how it works. The idea is that lots of small pieces are less damaging than the big chunk, because each little chunk can burn on its own instead of one big chunk making it to the ground. A bunch of small pieces reaching the ground do less damage than one big chunk (something the size of a house hitting the ocean is a tsunami, something the size of a city is a shockwave, and so on) so busting it up reduces the total damage by a huge amount even if total deflection isn't possible.

Hell of a bet to take on a hunch. Where are the simulation runs or is this a touchy-feely? How do you know it won't vapourize a nice big hole inside like the underground nuclear tests?

Firstly, setting up such a simulation is trivial so I'm sure it would be part of the plan. And to answer your question, vaporizing a big hole in one side would be extremely effective, since unlike an underground detonation there's no atmosphere in space. Turning a sizable divot in one side of an asteroid into liquid or gas would turn the divot into a natural rocket jet, as the matter blew off into space unrestricted by any air pressure. That kinetic energy would push the asteroid in a predictable direction, and that's the whole point of the operation.

Virg

about a year ago
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Federal Magistrate Rules That Fifth Amendment Applies To Encryption Keys

virg_mattes Re:Last Sentence (322 comments)

If the government already knows about the evidence, they don't need me to provide it.

The issue arises when the officials know about the evidence but they don't have direct access. For example, you keep a set of books for illegal activities. An undercover agent saw the books when you were interacting with someone but didn't get a look at the whole book. That's an example where they can compel you to produce the books even though they don't know what's in the books. Or, an officer pursues you into your house, and sees you throw something in a wall safe and lock it. You can be compelled to open the safe in that case. But, for example, if that same thing happens but you went into someone else's house, tossed it in their safe and locked it, you could make a reasonable argument that you can no longer assist in discovery because you don't know the combination to a safe you don't own, and in that case you can't be compelled under contempt to provide the combination to that safe.

In the case at hand, the prosecutors couldn't prove that he actually had access to the decryption key for the device and having that key would implicate him, so they can't hold him in contempt if he says he's unable to provide it.

Virg

about a year ago
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No Such Thing As a Tax-Free Lunch At Google?

virg_mattes Re:No you don't. (631 comments)

He should have qualified this because he didn't consider easy-go singletons in his comment, but the cost of a move isn't the only cost of moving. If you rent, you need to get a new place, and unless you can arrange it pretty well you'll need cash reserves because you won't get your deposit on the old place before you need to sign for the new place. If you own your real estate, then the cost jumps by a huge margin. If your place is bigger than you can fit in a U-Haul truck, you'll have to arrange for more, and in that case one other person is also not going to be enough to move it all so that adds more unless you can get free help. Add all the expenses involved in a change of address and the trouble in things like house/apartment hunting and maybe changing schools for the kids and that just adds to the tab.

So, for a large swath of people, moving is a very expensive prospect so the tax load would have to be pretty onerous to motivate relocation.

Virg

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Encrypted Digital Camera/Recording Devices?

virg_mattes Re:This solves what? (285 comments)

There's more than one place in the U.S.A. that doesn't require insurance to drive legally, and you can be comtemptible even if he is too, so your logic failed you on two counts.

Virg

about a year ago
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USPS Discriminates Against 'Atheist' Merchandise

virg_mattes Re:Maybe... (1121 comments)

If you were serious, you'd consider that people who are born religious can change to atheistic (and vice versa) and that religious people can act in multiple ways (for example, by voting to maintain separation of church and state) so there's no real issue with the circumstances of someone's birth.

Virg

about a year ago
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We Should Be Allowed To Unlock Everything We Own

virg_mattes Re:Security is built into hardware not copyright (317 comments)

If I own a medical device, utility meter, safety system, casino game, ATM, airplane navigation system, etc... then I absolutely should be allowed to do whatever I want with it. But none of us own most of those things.

I don't agree. The problem here is that you're thinking like an honest person, and that's where a lot of these things fail. For example, if you own a casino game, then there's a reasonable understanding that you're following the rules and regulations concerning casino games laid out by your government, and therefore there has to be some way to prevent you from sidestepping the regulations and changing the odds, for example, so you're not defrauding people who wouldn't play your game if they knew what you did to it. The same is true of safety systems so that an airline can't cut out a safety interlock to save fuel or a utility company to overcharge their customers or a convenience store owner who skims credit card numbers in their ATM. In all these cases, the owner of the device needs to be restricted from changing something that they directly own due to rules outside their ownership.

Virg

about a year ago

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