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Everything posted by OldChemE

  1. Sometimes I'd rather not get in a religious debate (guess I was just taking the easy way out)
  2. My wife and I are of the generation that was dating and getting married when the "pill" was just becoming available. Not at all scientific, but I didn't notice any changes going on in our or our many friends' relationships when the wives starting taking birth-control pills.
  3. It seems to me the pew study, like some others asks the wrong question, and consequently the results are too undefined. I've read the report, and it appears they asked whether or not the respondents believed in God. That's a poor question. Were they asking about belief in a Moral Being created by men to guide behavior? Or were they asking about a physical being that created everything? I believe that people created the concept of God to teach moral behaviors, so you could say I believe in God, but I sure don't think there is some creature out there pulling the strings. I make this point because I have been asked by people "do you believe in God" and I answer in the affirmative but certainly don't mean I think there is some creature who created everything.
  4. I very much preferred my flip phone and resisted for years, but finally got one of the new ones (I intentionally will NOT call it a smart phone-- it has no intelligence of its own!) I tested all the available models to find the largest that will still slide into my shirt pocket. 3.5" wide and 7" long. The length comes in handy because I set the screen saver to show the time as an analog dial superimposed on a picture of the grandfather clock in our home.
  5. Well-- we probably all have our pet peeves--but for communication in science we have to have some terminology-- even if it seems arbitrary. I "grew up" in engineering using English units, and got good at remembering the gravity to force conversion (32.2 ft-lbm/lbf-sec^2). Then the US started using metric which I realized was neat because I didn't have to remember the weird conversions-- until I realized I had to remember the real units behind Newtons and Joules. Newton and Joule should be honored to know that scientists thought so highly of them that they used their names to make metric units less transparent. 😏
  6. You're getting a bit 'testy' here, which I can understand because it is a sensitive subject. Actually, we both don't know for sure what we mean by military grade firearms, primarily because it will depend on whomever is in control of a legislature when a law is passed. As for training, licensing and insurance-- that too is dependent on the whims of government. But I have no problem with that because I voluntarily chose to be trained and licensed, and my liability insurance has no exclusions for firearms. Home defense? In the 12 years I have lived in my current home I have never heard of a home invasion-- that's why my guns are unloaded and locked in the safe. But-- I joined this discussion merely to offer a perspective and I've answered your questions, so I think I will check out.
  7. That is a good question that I have not thought about a lot. It's also a bit too open-ended to answer easily. I see no sense in the proliferation of assault rifles (AR-15's and such) to the general public. On the other hand, virtually any semi-auto handgun could be construed by someone to be 'military grade.' The 1911 pistol was adopted by the US military in 1911-- the design is over 100 years old and still in use (and I own one). If we ban public ownership of anything that is 'military grade' we probably need to go back to revolvers (I own several of those). Assuming, however, we could work out a definition that could rationally be expected to prevent mass killings I would be in favor of the limitation. Maybe we should just ban 'factory made' ammunition but let shooters buy the components to build the ammo 😏
  8. Well, yes. Personally, I have long thought that the 2A will get repealed or heavily modified one of these days, and if things keep going as they are I might even vote in favor of the changes. That, for me is a shame, because I am one of the many, many Americans that own guns as a hobby. I own old guns and/or unique guns. Why? I like to work with my hands and restore/reuse old things. Old cars are too costly and hard to fit on a work-bench in the winter. Many old guns are, with all their drawbacks, marvels of engineering. Ammunition is equally interesting, particularly if you have to search out the brass casings or modify newer casings to fit, and make your own bullets and run the tests to determine which type of gunpowder works best, etc, etc, etc. And then, when you think you have everything just perfect, you can go out to the shooting range and kill pieces of paper, find out things are not perfect, and go back to the work bench for further improvements. And I don't carry a gun, and they go to the range unloaded and come home unloaded. And I don't belong to the NRA either. I would say, however, that the oft-repeated thing about the huge number of guns owned in the US is a red-herring. Many of us that own many guns are hobbyists such as myself, and most of those guns are old -- not the ones that are best for the killing.
  9. As noted by exchemist many explosives (including gunpowder) have a built-in oxidizer. The primer in a gun cartridge does not provide oxygen-- it only provides the energy (fire in the case of a primer) to get the chemical reaction started. So, if you really wanted some sort of similar reaction as your energy source you could use some controlled system that feeds discrete quantities of explosive into a chamber and then ignites the explosive using an electrically generated spark. Essentially an internal combustion engine but using a powder instead of a liquid.
  10. Tototally agree. Somehow I find it amusing that one of the oldest principles from the very early days of computer technology has suddenly come back to haunt us in AI: Garbage in-garbage out.
  11. As an alternative, try expressing the situation as an oscillation (I say/he says/.......). When there is too much feedback the oscillation amplitude increases. The goal of conflict resolution is to reduce the amplitude of the oscillation until it approaches zero. In therms of a classical electrical oscillator, this means damped oscillation. The appropriate equations can be found in electrical textbooks. The point of using the oscillator analogy is that an argument can be de-escalated by making small concessions that gradually reduce the amplitude of disagreement (i.e. by turning the out of control oscillation into damped oscillation).
  12. My how times have changed. The last time I saw verbatim answers to a math problem my school gave all 6 of the boys automatic zeroes on the assignment, and retrieved the stolen teachers edition of the textbook they were using.
  13. That's they way I've been cooking pasta for years. Heat to boiling, toss in the pasta and turn down to barely maintain heating.
  14. 15 years ago (previous home, different State) one of my regular golfing buddies was a climate scientist who educated me some on what was going to happen. His comments were very much like the above. To paraphrase: 'We are putting more energy into the atmosphere and the oceans. Its like heating a pan of water to a boil-- lots of exciting things are going to happen, due to the energy input, but we cannot yet predict, exactly, what they will be.'
  15. Having dealt with the situation of death in my extended family, I've concluded that the most common thing following death is a garage sale.
  16. I don't seethe point of making gambling illegal. There is a certain human pleasure in making projections of outcomes and testing them (Why? I don't know-- maybe its something from our evolutionary history). I have known a number of people who gamble in small groups of friends for tiny amounts of money just for the pleasure of it. There used to be a small cafe near Oakdale, CA that I visited where the locals kept their jars of coins stored on the back of the counter for their weekly poker gathering. This sort of gambling is social as well as challenging. As a young man working for the US Forest Service we had our saturday night poker game: You could only buy $20 worth of chips (25 cents each) and the maximum raise was $1. We would play all night for less money than a trip to town. In gambling, just as in drinking or using recreational drugs, the issue is excess, not the act itself.
  17. I understand-- and don't disagree. It just wasn't fun when the playing field got leveled and I found out my company health plan was one of the things to get leveled.
  18. I read your post-- but couldn't find any mention of the hypothesis. What are you trying to say? My own observation from many years of commuting in an area subject to slow traffic is that the fastest route is usually the lane that is obstructed or being eliminated (as in three lanes going to 2). There are always a certain percentage of drivers who are early adopters and change to the open lane early, leaving the others to wait and (politely) merge at the end. Fewer vehicles in the lane that will be ending leads to faster progress in that lane. There is also the matter of distance between cars. If you calculate the number of cars passing a particular point at, say 20 miles per hour, the rate at which cars pass the point is inversely proportional to the gaps between the vehicles. This argues in favor of keeping as close to the vehicle in front as is safe.
  19. Personally, I am ambivalent on the benefits of government involvement in health care or insurance. For over 30 years I worked for a very large corporation that elected to save money on health insurance by being self-insured. They took a reasonable payment from my pay each month (slightly lower than typical premiums) and covered everything. The beauty of that was that their profit motive required that they keep their employees productive. They were very generous about health coverage simply because they wanted their employees at work, not on sick leave (they also went big on health maintenance with gyms located in their facilities so you could work out at lunch if you wanted, etc). They also covered 'borderline' treatments, as long as it helped get the employee back to work (such as weight loss programs or surgeries). Unfortunately, the requirements associated with the new insurance market under Obamacare forced them to stop self-insurance. So-- in my case increased government involvement hurt. My old employer still helps by paying a portion of my annual premiums, but now I too am subject to the profit motive of private insurance.
  20. AP and BBC mainly, occasionally Reuters. Also SCOTUS Blog. I particularly like BBC News for American news, as they don't seem to have as much of a vested interest in putting a spin on the news.
  21. I think you need to put the risk in context to make a good judgement on it. For example, when I was still teaching I had roughly 200 students I saw regularly in the course of a day. 2% would be 4 students that I knew well. If we were talking 2% risk of a deadly consequence - absolutely unacceptable. But, a useful medicine with a 2% risk of children missing a few days of classes -- totally OK.
  22. I believe the main issue with the broad definition is that it makes the problem more easily discounted or ignored ("What, 6 in 10?? politics!")
  23. The parent is not the customer. The Student is the customer. The whole purpose of education is to better a person's life, and that person is the student.
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