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Jul 16th 2010 7:26AM And that's the problem. If this machine had been in use on 9/11, they would have noticed the box cutters, asked to see them, then waved the terrorists through because "they were only carrying box cutters".
Even with this technology, there are still ways to smuggle explosives onto an airplane. If one accepts that it is acceptable to die in the process of destroying an airplane and everyone on it, then it's not so hard to get it done.
The reason we haven't had another 9/11 isn't because our security measures are working so well, it's because Al Queda hasn't been able to recruit quality terrorists for suicide missions since they lost 20 of their best operatives on 9/11. You've had the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, neither of which could successfully activate their bombs.
Jul 2nd 2010 9:31AM When I moved into my home in 1985, I specifically asked if any deed restrictions applied to the property and were told there were none. I was not given a copy of the deed restrictions. At the time, my HOA was effectively defunct and had not taken an enforcement action in years.
Imagine my surprise a few years later when they reactivated and I got my first letter in the mail informing me that my property was in violation of a deed restriction!
Also, revisions in the HOA laws in Texas allow HOAs to modify the terms of the deed restrictions by a popular vote. I can't think of any other private contract where one party to the contract has the right to modify the contract without the consent of the other party!
Jul 2nd 2010 7:06AM I live in Texas in a neighborhood with an HOA, and I can tell you that they are abusive. There is always a small minority of residents in an HOA-controlled subdivision that take an interest in the neighborhood, and they serve as a sort of de facto local government. It is easy for a group of 10 or so residents to seize control of an HOA and then make decisions that drastically affect hundreds or even thousands of other homeowners.
At the very least, they shouldn't be able to foreclose on someone's home for unpaid bills and sell it for a tiny fraction of the home's value. $977.55 could easily be both 2 years payments and 2 payments, since dues are usually payable once a year. At the very least the homeowner should be notified of the auction and able to purchase the home for the auction price.
Jun 6th 2010 12:01PM I'm not impressed with either the car or the driving. The suspension is waaaay too soft, and the deliberate throttle oversteer is just so much fanboy porn. I've raced myself, and there's nothing in that video that the driver did that I couldn't do myself.
Put some stiffer springs and shocks on that thing, and tell the driver to quit screwing around and to try to drive his best lap time, and then you'll have something.
I gotta concede, though, it is a Ferrari...which means that if nothing else, it has a really nice paint job.
May 16th 2010 7:32PM At the end of 2nd grade, I was given a standardized IQ test by a licensed psychologist. It seemed very clear to me that I was being evaluated for skipping a grade, although that was never mentioned. Neither was the term, "IQ test". It seemed obvious to me that I should skip a grade, as I was much brighter than other children I knew who had skipped a grade.
I was very disappointed to learn that I was advanced not to the 4th grade the following year, but the 3rd. How could I have possibly failed? All the questions seemed so easy to me, except for a very few at the end of the test.
The years went by. I was extremely bored at school, and largely educated myself on my own. As a result, I had an excellent knowledge base, but was severely deficient in many academic skills.
In high school, I took the ASVAB for the armed services, the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT (it was advisable to take both the SAT and ACT, since some colleges accepted one but not the other). My scores were excellent. I got a perfect score on the ASVAB, and was offered literally any job that the military had for an enlistee. I was a national merit scholar semifinalist. The only reason I wasn't a finalist was because I didn't complete the application process for the schools that offered me national merit scholarships...they weren't "full rides", and I was able to parlay my high SAT score into a non-national merit scholarship that was a "full ride".
When I turned 18, I was legally an adult, and even though I was still a senior in high school, I asked for and was granted permission to see my school file. (My "permanent record", lol.)
I was surprised to see the report that the psychologist wrote up for the Stanford-Binet test he gave me in the 2nd grade. Although I felt the subjective portion of his assessment was a little generous, the numbers spoke for themselves. I scored a little higher than some estimates that I've seen for Albert Einstein's IQ. (FWIW, I think the lower estimates are a little too low, but that Einstein was hardly the uber-genius of his reputation. I've read Newton's original papers, and they impress me more.) The report recommended against skipping me a grade, because I'd be equally bored with 4th grade...or 5th...or 6th. And he recommended against skipping me to the 7th grade, because that would "stunt my social development". As if I had ever socialized with ANYONE as my equal all the way up to 18! All my friends were either older or younger than me, save one...all either "little kids" or "big kids".
The skills deficit that I'd built up through 12 years of public school bit me big time in college. I nearly flunked out of an "easy" state college, and not by partying, either. When I finally figured out how to "do" college, I ended up with a 3.885 out of 4.0 GPA in a very challenging major. However, because of my "startup" years, I had just below a 3.0 GPA overall. I've since gone on to an advanced degree and some professional success. But even though I work in a place that is supposed to be populated by "the brightest and the best" (it isn't), I really have no peers. I cringe whenever I see someone who clearly doesn't understand what they are doing or the needs of our business getting promoted up the chain...and I've seen it happen several times. I'm the "nerd" that many people don't take seriously because I have "crazy ideas". Funny, I've made several predictions about what would happen in our business over the last several years, and I'm batting 1.000 on all of them. But I'm just the "crazy" guy.
And if this seems to ramble a bit, just look back at the whole thing. It's the story of what happens when someone either doesn't get tested, or gets tested and then the test results are ignored. From firsthand knowledge, bitter firsthand knowledge, I can tell you that it's very, very cruel. I have a daughter who is also quite gifted...I've never seen her IQ score, but it's pretty obvious to me from some of her other accomplishments (including accomplishments on standardized tests) that she's in the top 1% of the population. She goes to a school system that pretends to recognize that fact, but doesn't really follow through well. Fortunately, she has something that I didn't...a gifted parent who understands her special needs. As a result, she's much more academically skilled, much better socially adjusted, and yes, even more popular than I was when I was her age...and all this even though I'm pretty sure she's several IQ points behind me.
If you don't have a gifted kid, you have no right to complain about parents of gifted children who are just trying to give their children what they really need...and you probably have no clue what you're talking about, either. And yes, there are parents of gifted children who go overboard and do inappropriate things. And there are parents of children who are bright but not truly gifted who seem almost desperate to make all their accomplishments through their children...if only everyone else would just realize that their childen were as brilliant as their parents claim. They give a bad name to parents who really have gifted children who have legitimate needs that go beyond what the average kid is given. And you have no business judging astute parents of gifted children on the basis of the fools and pretenders.
Administered professionally and appropriately, a couple of psychological tests a year won't harm even a very young child, and can save both the child and the parents years of grief and heartache. Of course, tests are like any other tool...they can be used well for the good of all, or abused to cause misery. I hope the parents of the gifted and non-gifted alike choose wisely.
May 9th 2010 6:43PM For all of you who think the taser was justified because "he might have been trying to harm someone", I predict that the first time security reaches for a taser to stop someone who is really, really, serious about hurting someone, the result will be a dead police officer/security guard. If we're all real, real lucky, that individual (and possibly the perpetrator" will be the only fatalities.
Tasers should be used for one thing and only one thing...to prevent or lessen harm when the only alternative is to use even more destructive or dangerous use of force. A stupid punk kid running around on the field without a weapon doesn't qualify. And if you want punishment, that should come from a judge in a courtroom, not a cop or security guard. Would he have been so eager to run around on the field if he KNEW that he was going to face a few days in jail? I suspect not.
May 8th 2010 5:30PM That's a canard. Genetic differences between races are well documented. When asked to self-identify what race or ethnic group they belong to, people do an extraordinarly good job of sorting themselves into groups with unique genotypes.
Genetic geneaolgy is a burgeoning field, and fascinating new discoveries about the history of peoples and migrations over millenia are being uncovered every day.
May 1st 2010 8:53AM If it would have been up to me, I'd have lived my whole life in Ohio. But quite simply, the job situation is better here in Houston. It has been for the last 20 years, ever since the last oil bust ended. Lack of zoning is a part of that. And have you ever been to the museum district, or the Heights, or Montrose? Not all of Houston looks like a place you'd stick an enema nozzle.
And speaking of which, have you been through Cleveland's near East Side lately? Starting to look like Detroit in places!
May 1st 2010 8:32AM I've lived in northeast Ohio not far from Cleveland, and I now live just a mile from the Houston city line. Drew Carey is right on the mark. There are plenty of things I don't like about Houston, like how easy it is to tear down the city's history. But overall, the lack of zoning allows people who own real estate to do what they will with it. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it works surprisingly well. In a city like Cleveland where "you can't do this, you can't do that, you need a special permit for this..." ad nauseum, things just simply don't get done. It doesn't matter so much at first, but after a few decades, people just stop trying.
Eliminating zoning isn't a magic wand that will solve all of Cleveland's problems, but it's a step in the right direction.
Apr 26th 2009 9:07AM Using some sort of screen based on BMI is discrimination, pure and simple. It's not much different than declaring someone ineligible because of the color of their eyes.
Further, it's unscientific. The article mentioned disqualifying anyone with a BMI below 20. Well, here's a shocker...fertility by adolescent (not prepubescent!) BMI peaks between 18 and 22, according to a 1994 study. I can't speak to a BMI of 15, but a BMI of 16 has similar reproductive health to a BMI of 24-26 and significantly better than a BMI of over 26.
Another study asked college-age males to rate the attractiveness of women. The graph predictably showed that very underweight or very overweight women were perceived as less attractive. At what BMI did the graph peak? 19.5. In fairness, attactiveness dropped off more quickly with lower BMIs than with higher BMIs...apparently, men find "a little chunky" to be ok, but find "skin and bones" to be a turnoff.
I say just leave it up to the judges. And if the judges consistently select winners that that public disagrees with, then find new judges.