kengr: (Default)
Friday I went to run some errands. Mostly a trip to the hardware store to get a nut for the grabber thingie I bought a while back. I need that to get stuff off the floor without having to bend over, or worse kneel down.

I'd been picking up some recycling that'd spilled from the bag it was in, and all of a sudden "Spung!" one of the two suction cup shaped things was gone.

After some search I found it,but not the acorn nut that had held it on. Since I'm trying to get the place presentable in anticipation of the "annual" inspection (I use quotes because this is the one by the management company, there's another one by HUD later in the year, and sometimes others) I needed to get it working again.

Getting the 71 to the Parkrose transit center was easy. But once there, texting the Tri-Met info number with the stop ID said the next 21 was "scheduled" for half an hour from then. When it says "scheduled" instead of how many minutes that either means the bus in question doesn't have GPS (so they don't know exactly where it is) or (rarely) that there's problem.

The time came and went. Finally the *next* bus (which also showed "scheduled" (WTF?) showed up.

Note that the driver of the 71 had said there were some sort of problems, including one lane of I-84 being close. and there'd been an insane amount of traffic on Sandy.

Any, t was only a few minutes to the hardware store.
Read more... )
kengr: (he is us)
Trump's stance on climate change made me dig up this old comic

http://humoncomics.com/mother-gaia
kengr: (idiot-free)
On Criminal Minds tonight they they had someone poisoning people with an "irradiated poison".

I was willing to accept that, though it was kinda silly. and it apparently *swiftly* (like within a couple of minutes) induced symptoms of a heart attack. Then, besides radiation poisoning it was cause multiple organ failures. The radiation was short half-life so it was "harmless" with in a day or two.

Turns out the perp had been stealing the stuff for six years or so from various hospitals radio-medicine units.

Which just plain *doesn't work*.

If it has that short a half-life it'd not be capable of causing radiation poisoning within *days* after it was stolen.

Also, nothing these used for radio-medicine is *remotely* that toxic. Nor would it do the "induce a heart attack" bit.

Also, they evacuated a neighborhood because the perp had dumped some down a sink. Yet at the same time, the perp who *worked* with this stuff and thus knew how to safely handle it, carried a container around in her *pocket*

Basically, if it can be safely carried in a pocket, even for a short time, it winding up in the sewer isn't a big deal.

So, essentially, the writers did *no* research.
kengr: (Default)
I was thinking about the Dunning–Kruger effect and it suddenly hit me.

It would explain *so* much about teen males and sex (and a few too many adult males as well).
kengr: (Demons of stupidity)
Once again the local news has folks spouting out all sorts of things about the oil train derailment while back near Mosier.

Many of the folks getting shown are, frankly, idiots.

One was going on about how oil was only 5% of the cargo the railroad carried and they must be making lots of money on it to be unwilling to quit carrying it.

And she and others go on about he danger.

Ok, no argument, *something* was wrong for the railroad to not have spotted those broken bolts during inspections.

That said, these folks are *woefully* off base on the rest of things.

First off, railroads are common carriers. Legally, that means that they are not *allowed* to refuse cargo unless it is illegal or fails to meet safety rules. Period.

Second, they are oh so worried about the trains carrying oil. Yes, there was a fire. and if it hadn't been a calm day, it'd have been a lot worse.

However, there are *far* more dangerous cargoes carried by rail. I used to work next door to a plant that had long lines of tank cars outside. they weren't carrying oil. They were full of caustic soda (only dangerous if it gets splashed on something), hydrochloric acid (very nasty if it was to be in a wreck), and *chlorine*. Liquified chlorine gas under pressure.

If that wreck had had chlorine tanks instead of oils tanks, Mosier would be a ghost town.

Hopper cars full of ammonium nitrate? Big crater.

Lots of other common cargoes would result in major disasters. Relatively speaking, oil trains are only a *moderate* hazard. Mostly environmental, with other hazards *if* a fire starts.

Once again we see proof that humans are *horrible* at risk assessment. We could be a lot better, but that'd require an *educated* population. Not merely with facts, but also with logic and math. Logic to recognize bad arguments and bad logic. Math so you can recognize what all those numbers *mean*.
kengr: (I'm one of them)
I came across this post today
Getting Straight To The Point

TL;DR: guy worried about gays hitting on him, instructors asks hopw many girls have hit on him

This demonstrates an all too common problem. Men are afraid of "gays" hitting on them.

I'd have been tempted to ask the guy "Do you hit on girls?" And (assuming he said yes) "So what do you do if they say no?"

*That* is what most of these guys are actually afraid of. That gay men would treat them the way they treat women.

Pointing that out might just help them to treat women better.
kengr: (Default)
About that Mississippi "religious protection" bill. This section is going to give some lawyers *lots* of fun.

that “male” and “female” refer to someone’s “immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

Ah yes, ignorance of biology strikes again.

Sex is *subjectively* determined by doctors at time of birth. There are "standards" for making the determination, but they aren't always followed.

And even when they are followed they are pretty damned arbitrary. Stuff like length of penis/clitoris.

Genetic testing is rarely done on newborns. When it is, it's because genetic problems are suspected *or* because doctors are having trouble figuring out what sex the baby is.

So a lot of intersex babies *don't* get IDed at birth. Anybody with AIS/CAIS for example. Or guevedoces.

There aren't just two sexes even if the public (and most doctors) would like to believe there are.

And gender is even *more* complicated.

Some day we are going to have to get laws put in place recognizing the *spectrums* of sex & gender. Because that's what it's going to take to end this sort of nonsense.
kengr: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] alex_antonin's post here got me thinking.

As I pointed out to him, getting people to agree on what constitutes "proper" sex education is going to be quite a trick.

But themn something struck me. One of the big arguments is that the parents should be teaching it, not the schools. And that's when my evil side took over.

Go ahead and make sed ed mandatory. And require that it be *passed*.

Parents feel that they should teach it, not the schools? Fine. Then their kid has to pass the final exam for the course (and the exam will be changed every term so you can't just copy answers, you have to actually *know* them.

I can hear the screams now.

Heck, lets do the same with the various "controversial" science courses. Their kids don't have to teach that "horrible" class that teaches evolution. Just as long as they can pass the exam. And again, the exams need to be randomized enough that rote memorization won't work, you have to demonstrate that you *understand* the material.

And in both cases, I'm quite willing, in fact I'll *insist* that the questions don't require you to *agree* with things. Just that they are the answers that lots of research and expertise have come up with.

If you want to believe in abstinence only, or in creationism, fine by me. But you'll damn well demonstrate that you *understand* the arguments and evidence for the other side.

What I'd *really* like to do is require classes in logic, "rhetoric" and how to evaluate arguments. (ie how to think and draw conclusions). Alas, they tried that back in the 50s with the intent of teaching kids to spot and reject communist propoganda. Unfortunately, they spotted and questioned *oour* propoganda too. even the stuff most don't realize *is* propoganda.

So the idea was dropped in a hurry. Can't have people questioning *our* inviolate assumptions now can we?

Besides horrifying politicians who pretty much *depend on the public not knowing how to spot BS and rhetorical tricks, the advertising industry would be up in arms as well.
kengr: (antenna girl)
An item on the local news the other night caught my attention. Seems we had 145 shootings in Portland this year.

And most weren't gang related or while committing a crime (other than the shooting itself being a crime). And almost all were by young men in their teens and twenties.

What was the reason? According to the expert they interviewed it's because these young men have no skills in conflict resolution. They get upset with someone, and if they have a weapon, that's their idea of a solution.

This fits *so* well with a lot of stuff. Because if you think about it, guys that don't have guns will resort to some other weapon. To their fists if that's all they have.
Read more... )
kengr: (Default)
"Superman is too much of a boy scout"?

Please stop and consider for a moment a world where *wasn't* that much of a boy scout.

The *best* outcome I can see is him ruling the world ... for our own good, of course.

The worst? Remember the battle with Darkseid in one of the animated series. The one with the comment about it feeling like the world was made of cardboard.

Imagine someone with that level of power who can do whatever he feels like. Just act on any impulse...
kengr: (Default)
http://t.co/HbA4ZSKyIP

Yes. some people are fat. Some are *way* above a healthy weight. Others are "just overweight (and sometimes because doctors *ignored* important symptoms because they were overweight, which lead o *more* weight gain before the symptoms of what was *causing* the weight gain (not over eating or under exercising) became impossible to ignore)

So now we have people *starving* babies (and children) because they think that being "chubby" is *wrong* at their ages.

Unless you are someone's doctor, don't go making judgments about their weight. *Especially* don't assume it's because they don't exercise or eat too much.
Read more... )
kengr: (antenna girl)
Ok, the owners of that former bakery in Gresham OR got the final judgement for their refusal to serve a lesbian couple.

It's $130,000 or so.

A lot of folks including one annoying local radio/TV commentator keep making noises about how out of line this is compared with things like speeding tickets.

They miss the fact that it's not that the couple didn't get their wedding cake. It's that they didn't get it BECAUSE THEY WERE GAY.

The owners are vowing to appeal, and making comments about how it's a violation of their first amendment rights.

Sorry, this is another thing much like the civil disobedience bit I went into yesterday.

The first amendment says you have freedom of speech. It does *not* say that you can't get into trouble for what you say or do.

They are perfectly free to make comments about how they disapprove of "gay marriage". and they are free to claim it's part of their religion.

What they are *not* free to do is run a business and then discriminate against people for being gay.

Don't think that's right? What would you say if they'd refused to make a cake for an inter-racial couple. Or a black couple?

It's the *exact same thing*.

Also, they *could* have stayed in business and simply quit making wedding cakes for *anybody*.

As a person providing a service to the public, you are *not* allowed to refuse service because someone belongs to a group covered by anti-discrimination laws. Period.

Note: that doesn't mean you can't refuse service to a member of one of those groups. You just can do it *because* they belong to the group.

Refuse someone for being a woman, no. Refuse her because she's an arrogant pain-in-the-ass, no problem.

Also, just consider where allowing people to refuse service based on their religious beliefs goes. Christian Scientists (and members of some other churches, including one notorious local one) could refuse to sell medicine or to provide medical services.

Oh wait, some "Christians" do that already with regards to birth control, the morning after pill and other things. :-(

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. Otherwise the libel & slander laws wouldn't exist. Not would "inciting to riot".

Freedom of religion isn't a get out of jail free card either. You are free to live your life according to your beliefs. You are *not* free to try to force others to conform to your beliefs. Which is what those business owners are doing.

If your beliefs preclude "assisting" with some things, then you'd best not have a job where that could come up.

ps. The owners closed the bakery a couple years ago but are apparently still selling stuff from their house. That's skirting things, but as long as they do it in a way that they aren't serving "the public" but can claim it's "friends" they should be ok.
kengr: (Default)
Seeing a lot of posts on social media from people whose reaction to the Supreme Court decision on 6/26/2015 is that they are going to move to Canada...

Apparently they aren't aware that same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 10 years.

Also, if they think they can just immigrate to Canada with no problem, they'd better think again. There are some fairly strict rules...

If they try moving to the UK/British Isles, only Northern Ireland doesn't have marriage equality.

New Zealand? Nope. Legal there too.

Australia. Ok, the fight is still going on there.

So Only *two* English speaking countries left...
kengr: (Demons of stupidity)
Thinking about all the news items regarding spread of diseases and low vaccination rates, I have a siuggestion.

Unlike some folks I know, I *do* believe that to some extent we realy *do* have to allow actual religious exemptions. Those existed for a long time and *weren't* a problem until the laws got changed to allow "personal belief" exemptions. Because *in practice* those turn into "I don't like the idea".

And, of course, there are medical exemptions. Some people have conditions that don't allow them to be vaccinated (compromised immune systems for one)

So, my proposal.

Let's say the required vaccination level for maintaining "herd immunity" is 95%. So that means that for safety no more than 5% of the population can be unvaccinated.

Public schools (at least) would be required to have no more than *half* that percentage of unvaccinated students.

This would be handled be giving first choice to the kids who can't be vaccinated die to medical conditions. After that, they can admit kids who have religious exemptions, until they hit the maximum. If there are more kids in those categories than the allowable percentage, then priority goes to the ones who've been attending the school longest.

After that, if your kid isn't vaccinated, they can't go to that school. Parents can send their kid to another school that hasn't maxed out yet. But *they*, not the school district, are responsible for transportation.

I'd want private school strongly encouraged to follow the same rules.

I'd allow private schools to choose to not adhere to the limits. Heck, if there are enough unvaccinated kids in a district, the district could choose to set up separate schools for unvaccinated kids.

But schools that don't adhere to the limits aren't allowed to share events with schools that do adhere to them. That's to prevent spreading things to the schools that follow the rules.

This would annoy the heck out of the yuppies and the like who have bought into the anti-vax propaganda. But it'd let them have their way *without* endangering other kids.

I predict that if such a policy was put into effect, it wouldn't be vary many years before the epidemics of various disease sweeping thru the "low vaccination rate" schools would lead to a lot of parents changing their mind about vaccinating their kids.

Hard on the kids, but there's really no way that failing to vaccinate *isn't* apt to be hard on the kids. This just limits the hazards as much as practical to just those kids, not the rest of the population.
kengr: (Demons of stupidity)
Stumbled across this entry on an old tumblr...
http://thevitaes.tumblr.com/post/2430886888

(TLDR: person claims that if Earth's orbit as bigger or smaller by 10 feet we'd all roast or freeze.)

Besides being an example of extreme attitude for getting called out on posting wrong info, it's an example of *extreme* innumeracy.

The person doing the correction pointed out the variation in the distance to the sun due to Earth's orbit being elliptical. Which is correct.

But it's *far* worse than that.

Consider someone on the equator. At noon they are roughly 4000 miles closer to the sun than they are at sunrise or sunset.

Think that shows how stupid they are? Nope. It's still worse.

If you go up a very small hill you are dozens of feet closer to the sun than you are at the foot of the hill.

So, essentially, this person did not do the most *trivial* analysis of the so-called fact they heard from someone before posting it to the web for all to see.
kengr: (Default)
I've had occasion to think about "clutter" recently.

And it strikes me that the currently populatr definitions are *horribly* biased and flawed.

Yes, there are folks who hold on to everything, and need to quit doing so. But the "suggested" guidelines are utter nonsense.

For xample "get rid of anything you haven't used in the last six months". Right. There go the winter (and summer) clothes depending on when you do it.

That also gets into the elitism aspects. It's assumed that if you get rid of something and then *do* wind up needing it later, that replacing it will be no big deal.

Sorry, but for people on fixed incomes it *is* a big dreal. Heck,.I'd have been offline for *months* many times if I didn't hold onto my older computers. They still work, and are usable, if a bit clumsy. Also, they serve as a source of *free* spare parts.

Now we come to another bias (due to thesuperficiality of the folks pushing these rules). They assume that you *can* replace the item if you ever need it again. Ask anybody who has needed to retreive data from an old 5.25" floppy about how easy it is to find those. Or my current concern,m a "LapLink" parallel cable. For some reason mine didn't get stored with the serial cablres. And this is a problem, because I have a computer I need to do some stuff with and it doesn't have an ethernet port.Windows did support parellel port "networking" (though finding it in the help files was a major chore). Serial port networking could be done too, but is's considerably slower.

And now we come to the *really* stupid part. According to these sorts of idiots, I shouldn't have my huge collection of books. "You can get them from the library".

No, actually I can't. Library collections are throwing away countless books, bnased on them not getting checked out "often enough" (and we are olosing vast amounts of cultural info by doing this. Even popular fiction has info that future scholars to be aghast at our discarding)

And that's assuming they had the books in the first place.

Same sort of thing goes for tapes, CDs and DVDs "you can rent them". Aside from the continuing costs, there is (again) the issue of availibility.

While I've ripped most of my CDs, I haven't gotten around to setting up to do it for thre tpes (splitting out tracks is a bit more invvolved, even with the short cuts Audacity allows). Also there are storage issues, as I want to re-rip them in a lossless format. That's one of the reasons I'll eventually be getting more large, networked drives.


But I'm firmly of the oopinion that the folks putting forh these rules are not "merely" severe "neat freaks" but elitists (see coments above about costs of replacing or renting thoings) and likely aliterate (due to the bias against havimng lots of books. With similar biases against large collections of music or video.

Mind you, I'd be the last to claim that I *hsaven't* kept dsome things that "might be useful" long past when they should have been discarded, but even so the "rules" are really stupid
kengr: (Default)
While looking up something else, I discovered that the "thimerisol" that so many folks are scared of in vaccines (and isn't even *in* them anymore, anyway) was widely sold under another name...

Merthiolate.

Yeah, the stuff that was widely used for *decades* as a topical antiseptic.

*That* is one of the things people are panicking over.

What was I looking up? Merbromin, better known by the trade name Mercurochrome. Another widely used topical antiseptic.

Why is neither sold in the US any longer? Because they got moved from the "generally accepted as safe" category (used for things that'd been in widespread use for a long time before FDA regs covered them) to "untested" (meaning nobody has done the extensive and expensive tests that the FDA requires for "new" drugs).

They got moved solely because they contain mercury.

It's unlikely that they'll get the tests done because it'd be horrendously expensive and since any patents expired a long time ago, anybody who paid for the testing would be out the money without being able to get it back from sales, since everybody else could under cut their prices because the *other* companies wouldn't have to pay off the testing costs.

I didn't check for thimerisol, but merbromin is still sold over the counter in every country except the US, Germany and France. So it's *obviously* horribly dangerous.
kengr: (Default)
Ok, I've been using a Win2kPro box for ages. Friday I got given a better system. Most importantly it had a lot bigger HD, and WinXPPro.

I've been stick with Firefox 16 for ages because that's the last version that'd work on Win2k.

I installed the latest Firefox on the new-to-me box, and figured that I'd use Firefox sync to get the layout and settings over.

It's been a nightmare. I had an existing account I'd been using to synch a laptop and an XP system. Trying to use it didn't work at all.

So I grumbled and created a new account.

First off while it say it may take a long time to complete the initial synch, it doesn't give you any way to find out if it's complete or not. I foolishly thought the "complete" on the setup screen meant it was done.

So I tried pairing the new machine with the old on. Not only did I get "sync encountered an error", but it changed the layout on the win2k box to the layout on the XP box!

Why the hell can't they have something that'll tell if the initial synch ois still going on? Or at least not let you try to pair another system until it's done.

And more importantly, why the hell can't you tell sync that you want the setuip on a computer *replaced* by the one on the account.

Now I gotta go digging to find out how to restore the tab bar to where I'm used to having it.

This is yet another case of a program.function being designed without stopping to think that actual users may want to use it differently than the programmer would. Grrr
kengr: (Default)
I can just imagine how one of the jerks who tells lesbians "Yoiu just haven't met the right man yet" would react to being told "Oh, you just think you're straight. You just haven't met the right man yet."

Alas, while I can see the outrage. I can't see it being very likely that they'd *learn* anything from it. :-(
kengr: (Default)
One of [livejournal.com profile] fayanora's tumblr posts got me thinking
(be sure to read *all* of it)

This idea that simply because you are forced into physical proximity with people, you should somehow be *required* to interact with them more than you absolutely *have* to is a weirdness that not even the extrovert-dominant culture can readily explain.

Yes, there are some points to knowing your neighbors and coworkers. But being friends with them? No.

It's nice if it happens, but it should never be treated as an *expectation*, much less a requirement.

Being somewhat friend*ly* yeah. But that tends to backfire because so many take that small bit of interaction as a sign that they can inquire about all sorts of things in your life and that makes *you* the villain when you object to their prying.

Sorry, but asking about my church is *not* something you are entitled to. Because it gets you info that can (and likely will) be used against me because I'm "different" (which is the same as wrong/evil to these folks)

Ditto for asking what I did over the weekend. It may be something you won't like or approve of. And I don't need the grief.

Heck, given that such prying into my private life can reveal things like my religion, politics, sexual orientation or gender identity and so on., that means that it really *shouldn't* be allowed at work because it *will* lead to discrimination.

Which means that even if someone reveals some private info, coworkers need to accept a "none of your business" response to any attempts to expand upon such.

For that matter much of the "team building" stuff that so many businesses have bought into are based on a false premise.

Yes, I need to "trust" my coworkers. Trust them to do their jobs and not interfere with me doing mine. And it helps if we can get along.

But anything more than that is actually unreasonable on the part of the employer.

As an example, "trust falls". Unless our job interactions are such that my life or health can be affected by their actions, then a trust fall is unreasonable because I'm risking injury.

Paranoid? Maybe. But people *have* been injured in those (and other "team building") exercises. Especially large people like me. There is no *legitimate* job requirement for *that* level of trust in your coworkers unless you are a cop, fireman etc. Or are working with dangerous equipment or chemicals.

Yeah, having coworkers be "friends" can help job efficiency. But if they have a falling out, it can hurt it far worse than if they had merely been acquaintances.

And given that *many* things covered by on-discrimination laws or that should otherwise be private will prevent friendships this whole expecting coworkers to be frienfds is *wrong*.

Worse yet is the way it's the "fault" of the person who *didn't* want to share info when the *real* problem is the person who demanded info and then didn't like the answers they got.

Real life example. Years back I was in the break room, trying to ignore this one guy who kept trying to "start a conversation". Finally, he *set fire* to the newspaper I was reading. Yes, he got in trouble. But *I* got a lecture on how it was my fault for ignoring him.

This is *nuts*. And from what I hear, it's only gotten worse in the 30 years since.

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