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Everything posted by BobHamburger

  1. Avoiding gray areas is my goal also; that's why the whole "reasonable doubt" concept is insufficient in death-penalty cases. What I was getting at with the notion of "incontrovertible guilt" is a situation where there is no doubt whatsoever that the accused committed the crime. The accused is holding a smoking gun, the victim's blood is splattered all over the accused, DNA from the accused is found in the relevant body cavities of the victim, and 100 reputable witnesses saw the crime in broad daylight. Or, in the case of Gacy, the accused's basement contains the bodies of over 30 victims, all of whom having the accused's DNA on or in them. Evil, beyond social redemption, is illustrated when the accused asserts that they enjoyed what they did, they have no remorse, and they'll do it again if they can, and these statements are backed up by multiple psychological profiles which substantiate those assertions. The examples I brought up -- Gacy and Bundy -- illustrate both of these concepts well.
  2. I have a problem with the concept of a jury of my "peers." Who, exactly, are my peers? My neighbors? Coworkers? College classmates? Correspondents on LAVA? Do any countries use permanent, professional jurors? I wonder how that would work out here.
  3. I'll bite. In general I oppose capital punishment, simply because of the possibility of executing an innocent person. On the other hand, there are some people out there who are so irredeemably evil that they simply did not deserve to live any more; mass-murdering pedophiles like John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy come to mind. I believe that there needs to be a higher level of guilt in such cases; not merely beyond a reasonable doubt, but beyond any shadow of a doubt, incontrovertibly guilty and beyond social redemption. In only those cases do I believe that the state is justified in taking a life.
  4. I'd wager that none of us on this board have ever had any formal legal training. While we're certainly all entitled to our opinions, better-informed and more experienced minds have gone through these concepts at length. Mark, however much you might philosophically object to the concept of jury nullification, there is a long history behind the concept, predating the birth of the US and the creation of our constitution. I'll cite just two examples for consideration: District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, in Unites States v. Dougherty, 1972, saying: "[The jury has an] unreviewable and irreversible power...to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge...The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard uncontradicted evidence and instructions of the judge; for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave law." In his writing on the subject, retired professor Kelley L. Ross commented: "If [judges and juries] were to... hold themselves powerless to disobey unjust and morally despicable laws, they should be told that "obeying orders" was not accepted as a defense in the Nazi war crime trials at Nuremberg."
  5. Absolutely correct, Chris. I don't feel guilty one bit. I've been paying into this system for almost 30 years, and now I need to use it; seems to me this is the whole basis of insurance. I put up money and I say, "Bet ya I'm gonna get sick!" The insurance carrier counters with, "Bet you're not gonna get sick!" One of the things that's not right about the current system is that insurance carriers sometimes drop customers just when they need the coverage. I don't even understand how that can be legal, but we hear horror stories all the time of people who get their policies canceled just as they get diagnosed with cancer or some other chronic, expensive-to-treat condition.
  6. Use your favorite low-pass filter; that's all that an envelope detector really is anyway.
  7. This is all very interesting, I don't need to lose any weight; I'm 5'10" and 163 lbs. I've never even been close to overweight. My cholesterol is also well under control (<140), between the low saturated fat intake and Lipitor. I could use a boost to my HDL, which averages in the high 20's, and which I've been told is genetic.
  8. Just don't forget that you'll need Old Glory Robot Insurance
  9. This illustrates how most people are either ignorant of -- or in complete denial about -- the absolutely crushing costs to which they could be subjected. A simple hospital stay and surgery and you're looking at a $100K bill. This kind of thing would financially wipe out most middle-class families.
  10. So, my friends out there in LAVAland, you must have all noticed that I've been posting a bit more over the past few days. As I mentioned in this posting, I've had some medically-enforced time off lately, and I've been told not to do any work at home. Which leaves me with time on my hands to ponder life, the universe, and everything. I logged on to my health insurance provider today to look at my claims history. I was horrified to see that my 5 day hospital stay, triple angioplasty, and associated tests and physician charges totaled to roughly $95K. Of course, that's not the negotiated amount that the insurance company will be paying; that figure is closer to $22K. Still a lot, but not almost six figures. A Chevy vs. a Benz. Let's think about this for a second. The hospital etc. will accept 25% of the full retail charge and consider that complete payment. My cardiologist and the rest of his buddies are still making a tidy living from the Medicare-agreed-upon standard rates. This is simply not right. The health care system has a two-tier pricing system: they agree to heavily discount (or charge appropriately, depending on your viewpoint) the group of patients who can guarantee payment, and the people with no insurance get royally screwed. I've heard the arguments before: hospitals get stiffed so often by cash customers that they need to recover the costs wherever they can. Maybe it's the only way they can keep operating, but I'll say it again: this is simply not right. EDIT: just in case you were wondering, my out-of-pocket cost for this escapade is the $200 hospital stay co-pay. Everything else is covered 100%.
  11. Ben, the government impinges upon your right to own and bear arms all the time. Without all kinds of regulations, limitations, certifications, or permits, the average citizen can't own artillery, fully-automatic weapons, or even a shotgun with less than an 18" barrel. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Your birthright only exists because at the founding of this country there was no standing military. It was the expectation that every able-bodied man would show up equipped with his own gun, ready to fight the Redcoats. Every 2nd Amendment case that has gone before the Supreme Court has ended up being interpreted within this historical context. 230 years later, we have standing armies, and furthermore we don't need to go out and hunt for our meals. One could well make an argument that the 2nd Amendment is obsolete. Keep in mind my stance on this: I agree with you that the government should not be able to take away individual ownership of guns (unless you're a convicted felon, which is yet another digression...) But I also believe that rights and responsibilities are inseparable. Our right to keep and bear arms comes with an implicit social responsibility that this will be done in a manner which does not infringe on the next guy's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And so we have laws and regulations which delineate actions for the common good. Watch what happens when I take your statement about cars and change a few words here and there: I could shoot any type of gun I want as long as bullets never leave my own property. To shoot a gun in a public space, I need a license. Public spaces are a shared resource built and maintained by the community for our mutual benefit. The community agrees on the rules under which that shared resource is used. I can't fire a gun on the public spaces and render them dangerous for others... I love a good debate, too. Thankfully, this is a forum with polite, educated, and articulate contributors. Ever try this stuff on, say, the Rants and Raves page on Craigslist? Some real whackos there.
  12. I'm neither a rabid right-wing gun advocate nor left-wing gun control wimp. I have no issues, however, with the prudent control and regulation of the purchase, ownership, and transfer of firearms. I do not believe these concepts abrogate or limit our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The UN's program is entirely focused around the illegal trafficking of firearms, and their statements need to be considered within that context, not some conspiratorial they're-out-to-get-us mindset. I don't see the evil intent that others do. Let me draw a parallel to illustrate my feelings on the subject: I don't think that owning a gun should be any easier than, say, driving a car. In order to get a driver's license, a person needs to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and proficiency to prove that they are not a danger to themselves or others. Employed correctly, an automobile or firearm can be put to constructive use in a way that benefits the owner. Incorrect use results in property damage, injury, or death. Right now, it's way easier in most states to buy any kind of gun than it is to get a driver's license, and I think that is wrong. Let the flaming rage on...
  13. Actually, I'm lactose intolerant, so cow's milk and I never cross paths. I use soy milk on cereal these days. Wonderful stuff.
  14. Not at all; neither side is immune from using rhetoric in their arguments. I don't support PETA or Greenpeace for the same reasons. From my slightly left of center viewpoint, though, it seems that the folks on the right side of the aisle are more consistently flexible with the boundaries of truth. Or maybe I just notice it more.
  15. So, I'm sitting here watching my son play with his motorized airplane toy (he's four and a half and impossibly cute), when the phone rings. It's a representative for the National Rifle Association, who proceeds to play me a recorded message from Wayne LaPierre, NRA's president, about how the UN is trying to push a global gun ban. We need to stand up, take action, and get out our checkbooks to ensure that keeping and bearing arms, our inalienable 2nd Amendment right, as American as apple pie and the 4th of July (and jingoism and xenophobia), isn't trampled by some foreign folks. Hey, I'm a big advocate of individual freedoms and personal rights; seems like a sound plan of action to me. Trouble is, it's complete horse manure. As you can read here, there's no such agenda at the UN. It's a fabrication by the NRA to get people riled up so they'll donate money to the cause. Did it ever occur to the marketing people at the NRA that using outright lies might backfire? The bigger question: why do so many right-wing organizations try to galvanize public support through the dissemination of exaggerations and falsehoods? Are the platform positions so inherently weak that their supporters won't endorse them otherwise? You know, I used to be a member of the NRA in the 1980s. I neither hunt nor own any guns, but I enjoy target shooting on occasion. I applauded the NRA's advocacy of constitutional rights, but I was compelled to let my membership lapse when I could no longer ignore their increasingly inaccurate and strident tone. This latest ploy really strikes me as a prime example of "shooting yourself in the foot." Ironic, huh?
  16. I can't argue with exercise, Paul. The cardiac rehab program that I completed three years ago really brought me back to life after the initial MI. But it's no panacea either... does anybody remember the running guru, Jim Fixx? He croaked of -- you got it -- a heart attack at age 52.
  17. Ugggh. The conservative pundits have gotten their clutches on yet another conspiracy. Here's how it always plays out: 1. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the blow-hards will have a field day 2. There will be endless counter-charges, recriminations, and nervous hand-wringing from all sides 3. The sources of their information will be shown to be bogus, fabricated, exaggerated, or otherwise found to be utterly without credibility, and then, 4. Without any attempt at correcting the public opinion or otherwise "un-ringing the bell," the yellow journalists will quickly and unapologetically rush right into the next big "breaking" scandal You know, everybody just needs to shut the @#$%^ up already. If 0.1% of the effort expended on this nonsense were to be invested in productive endeavors, we could have cured cancer by now. OK... perhaps cancer is a stretch; how about coronary artery disease? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  18. The extremists (Ornish et. al) advocate complete abstinence from alcohol. Most of the other studies that I've seen advocate moderate (not more than 1-2 drinks/day) consumption as being part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Some studies focus on red wine (with its corresponding resveratrol content), while others maintain that the source of alcohol is irrelevant. I probably have about 5 drinks/week, averaging less than one a day. I like a good small-batch bourbon on the rocks before dinner, or some wine or beer with dinner. Both my personal MD and cardiologist think this is just fine. But if I really need to drink more, well, somebody twist my arm.
  19. Thanks so much for your well intentioned reply. The article you referenced -- and accompanying physician's website -- illustrate some of the difficulties in researching this subject and getting a clear picture of the choices available and true, current state of the art. I've found that web content on this subject falls into three pretty clear categories: 1. Out-and-out fraud and quackery. It's been around since the beginning of time, and the Internet has just made it that much easier for all of the crooks and petty thieves out there to make a quick buck off of people's fears and misinformation. The sites that extol "oral chelation" for cleaning out atherosclerotic plaque are a prime example of this kind of BS. 2. Research articles published in refereed journals. At the other end of the spectrum entirely, they offer no quick fixes, only scholarly research that requires careful interpretation. 3. Sites created by legitimate medical practitioners which steathfully advance their own private for-profit agendas. These are probably the most misleading and insidious, because unlike (1) they hide their quackery under a thin veneer of legitimacy. Worse, they justify their positions by using carefully constructed argumentative techniques, picking and choosing reference articles which back their positions while ignoring those which contradict it. Read a little bit deeper and you see that Dr. McDougall is pushing his $4,000, ten-day residential "program." Hardly an unbiased source of data. Every single mention of extreme lifestyle and dietary modifications, as a method for treating, slowing, or reversing coronary artery disease, ultimately funnels back to a single study performed in the 90's by Dean Ornish. His results were extremely encouraging and have been reported over and over again ad nauseum. Unfortunately, his study used a statistically insignificant sample and did not account for a whole host of confounding factors. Most damning, however, is that dozens of attempts to repeat or validate his findings have been completely unsuccessful. Ornish's studies are generally considered as bad research and pseudo-science by the cardiology community. My personal cardiologist doesn't make money by prescribing drugs or referring me to surgical interventions; if there were some simple magic bullet lifestyle change he could recommend, that he hasn't already, he'd do it in a heartbeat (so to speak).
  20. I'm looking for advice from the collective brainpower assembled on this site... Four years ago, at age 45, I suffered a heart attack from a completely blocked LAD artery. I had an angioplasty to unplug the vessel, but there was some small residual antero-apical damage that left me with a mild arrhythmia. Since then, I've been taking aspirin, Plavix, a beta-blocker, and Lipitor. I've changed my diet to a very low sat-fat, low cholesterol approach, and I try to get regular strenuous exercise. I'm not a smoker, not diabetic, don't drink a lot, and have never been even close to overweight. I've religiously followed-up with my cardiologist in the interim. Over the last year or so I was starting to believe that the incident was a once-in-a-lifetime fortuitous early warning and that everything was under control. Or so I thought, until the evening of Thursday, Nov. 19. Out of nowhere my arrhythmia got much worse, accompanied by angina that would not go away with nitroglycerin pills. Long story short: Ambulance ride to the hospital, a battery of tests, and in the end, another angioplasty with three (yes, 3) more stents. The bright side was no heart attack this time, just three more dangerously narrowed coronary arteries (circumflex, obtuse marginal, and LAD again, further distal to the original blockage) that needed the Roto-Rooter treatment. What's really depressing me is that I've done just about everything to reduce the risk factors within my control, but my body nevertheless seems hell-bent on clogging up my heart's circulatory system. I'm looking for ideas on new medications, new research, anything credible that the LAVA brain trust can suggest. Please keep your recommendations based in science and provable facts.
  21. Congrats on your new little cluster of joy!
  22. I worked for many years for a Select Integrator, and was involved with recruiting and training new hires. Categorically, the ones who had had at least a modicum of CS training -- the requisite couple of classes that every engineering curriculum includes nowadays -- did far better than those who had never done any formal programming before. To a reasonably educated individual, the common conceptual base which underlies virtually all programming is more important than the specific language a person learns first. I'm one of those old codgers who had 20 years of text-based language experience prior to learning LabVIEW. My first week at Bloomy was spent taking Basics I and II, and I came up to speed in LV like an F-18 getting shot off of a carrier deck. Anybody with an open mind to new concepts will readily embrace them regardless of age or prior experience; prior programming will give them a solid foundation to build upon.
  23. is working on distributed real-time control applications.

  24. After 9 years of being a CLD, and fending numerous "I thought you already were a CLA" comments, I finally decided to take the plunge. I have to admit that I have a much greater respect for the Architect community; that exam isn't exactly a walk in the park. Well, it's done, I passed, and now I have a lovely certificate. Suitable for framing or wrapping fish.
  25. QUOTE (Tim_S @ May 16 2009, 10:49 PM) I'd go one step further: set up a machine with separate boot partitions for each version of LV that you want to install and support. It's a royal pain to approach it this way, as it requires you to re-install all of the toolkits as you mentioned, but from my perspective it's the only sure-fire way to keep the various versions completely clean and self-consistent. When you install newer versions, there's an annoying tendency for the newer drivers, DAQ stuff, etc., to overwrite what's already in place. Our friends at NI naturally assume that all you're ever interested in is upgrading to the latest and greatest.
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