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I saw a big flood that killed thousands of people today in the news.

People use CB radios in the USA.   To use special frequencies I needed to take a written HAM radio exam to see that I know the rules of transmitting without interfering with aircraft or my neighbor's TV.  

I'd like to have an exam for gun ownership.  Nothing more than a written drivers license or a CPR class.  

Maybe also something like a road test at a shooting range.  

It could cover topics such as locking up the gun,  keeping it away from children, not to use it in anger.   It might solve some of the gun accidents.  

Kevin
 
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Actually, in a lot of places there are training requirements for gun ownership. The main reason why in the USA elementary schools double as shooting galleries is, I think more to do with the attitudes of the people who possess the guns.

"No Way anyone could stop this, says only country where it happens regularly" to mis-quote an Onion headline. It's been noted that countries like Switzerland feature commuters carry military rifles, but you don't hear about them letting loose.

So while we certainly have an obsession about owning guns here, that's only part of the problem. The root cause is more about the idea that a gun is a magic wand that makes all problems go away and an expectation that every person be an independent island. American Exceptionalism. We don't take no   from nobody!

Which actually seems to be not just a USA tenet, but apparently scuttled more than one Native American peace treaty when a nation signed a pact with the US government, but a handful of tribal leaders refused to go along and spoilt the whole thing. Not that the US Government has always been blameless itself, but the point is that mass social behaviour is just not something we do.

Gun defenders like to say that "An Armed Society is a Polite Society", but there's a reason we outlawed dueling 2 centuries ago.

So, from what I can see, if we want to reduce the carnage, 3 things need to be addressed, and no one element is going to solve the problem:

1. We have way more guns than we need.
2. We think that any time we're upset, we should get them out and use them.
3. We allow people who are mentally unfit to own anything sharper than a rubber ball to have guns.

I could add a fourth, which is that we've allowed ourselves to get so polarized that We are Good and They are Evil and the only way to fight Evil is with force, but that's somewhat of an overlap with item #3.

Back when CB walkie-talkies were a Thing (a là Stranger Things), I was traumatized by hams pretending to be the police ragging us, since the CB channels overlap the 11-meter(?) ham band. That was rather cruel of them. But CB is dead these days. Modern personal license-free operation is somewhere around 400 MHz where the audio quality is better.
 
kevin Abel
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As a HAM radio operator, I find having to take a test to get a license makes us have a better behaved group of people.  We know not to transmit on air traffic frequencies and have some knowledge of handling an emergency.

I would like there to be at least a two step process to own a gun.   A written part and then something about using the gun.  

Also, a criminal background check and things already in place.

And no automatic weapons perhaps.

Thanks,

Kevin
 
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kevin Abel wrote:As a HAM radio operator, I find having to take a test to get a license makes us have a better behaved group of people.  We know not to transmit on air traffic frequencies and have some knowledge of handling an emergency.

I would like there to be at least a two step process to own a gun.   A written part and then something about using the gun.  

Also, a criminal background check and things already in place.

And no automatic weapons perhaps.

Thanks,

Kevin

Well you, sir are obviously a librul Satanistic America-hating atheist Communist Socialist. We's got freedoms in this here USA! And we need automatic weapons so we can defend ourselves against the nuclear drones that will be coming for us en masse when we refuse to wear masks against the imaginary virus that the Chinese attacked us with.

Seriously, when the Second Amendment was passed, people needed ready defense against Indian attacks, possible attempts by the British to regain the colonies by invasion, and only then a Federal Government overreaching itself at a time when the prevailing view was that "States" meant what they traditionally meant — independent nations, though here bound by a mediating and internationally-representing confederation. But that concept was terminated when Grant made Lee surrender at Appomatox.

While there are many incidents where gun training would help, the really egregious issues come from people who obviously knew what to do with guns, but didn't forebear from using them in a way that no exam or license could prevent.

Mental Health people dislike portraying mass shooters as "crazy". And in fact, they're sane enough to approximate functional individuals. But there's something fundamentally wrong with thinking it's OK to commit mass carnage and, seeing as it isn't the norm in most countries, that would imply that something about our culture is rotten and needs to be addressed.
 
kevin Abel
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Your writing is fun to read.

librul Satanistic America-hating atheist Communist Socialist.



liberal most of the time.  The student load forgiveness is an awful idea.

Im not satanic, America hating.

The most communist Id be is appreciating shared things such as libraries.

Socialist -  I  will enjoy receiving Social Security.

Athiest - I'm a mixture of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Jewish in an Einstein way.  He liked Baruch Spinoza's ideas.

 
Tim Holloway
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librul Satanistic America-hating atheist Communist Socialist.


doubleplus duckspeak! Put me on talk radio!

I've thought about the  student loan thing and the major argument is "I didn't get a free ride, so why should they?"

Well, I'm giving a free ride to every elementary school student in Florida, including the ones who go to Disney World on my tax dollars and I don't have kids. So it's not such a big difference.

Also, when I went to school, you could still do it on a cash basis. These days, forget it. Loans are a virtual necessity these days, and many degree-optional jobs of the past are now no-degree/no-hire. Including my own. Place I worked actually discussed going that way back in the 1980s until they realized that half of the people keeping the mainframe OS running wouldn't qualify.

But possibly the biggest reason? These are the same people we expect to drive our economy. If they have to spend everything servicing the debt that they're not going to be spending it on avocado toast and other drivers of the general economy, they're going to cycle it right back to the money-lenders to spend it all in a tightly-closed loop.

So I cannot get all worked up over student-loan forgiveness given the present economic environment.
 
kevin Abel
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A a new topic...

I live in Pembroke Pines, FL and I miss Manhattan in NYC.

I went to a Language Meetup in a part of Miami called Brickell.  It makes me feel a lot better to have a place to walk around and explore.  The city has building around 75 stories tall.  I'm guessing but they look like that.  The buildings are not rectangular, but more like ovals and fun shapes.  

It's only about a 35 minute drive from my condo.

Brickell has a train that is only one car.  It is called a people mover.  It goes around the city and is free.  I didn't go on it yet but I did see it.  I'll save it for my next visit.

Kevin
 
Tim Holloway
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I've never been to Brickell, but it's the heart of the business district from my impression. Though apparently also residential. And well thought-of.

I liked walking around central Chicago, Wouldn't live there, but, it's always great to visit.

The fun thing about building high-rises in Florida is that you have to find bedrock to set them on. The building originally known as the Gulf Life Tower in Jacksonville purportedly had several piers simply sink out of sight when it was constructed.

I may be biased, but to me, Jacksonville is the only Florida city with a distinctive skyline. Miami has lots of high-rises, but none of them are famous, nor visually distinctive. So it's a serious skyline, but a generic one. Tampa has a cylindrical building of note, but nothing memorable aside from that. Orlando doesn't have a downtown skyline. Or much of a downtown. The real stuff is down by Mouseville. Except for that one eyesore sticking up out of nowhere in Altamonte Springs. I call it "the thumb" because of its shape and the way it utterly doesn't blend in with the area. Fortunately I moved away before it went up, because I lived within walking distance.

But Jacksonville does have a skyline and a riverfront. And, of course, its bridges. All of which contribute to its iconic portrayals. The tallest building is only about 33 stories, I think, but its pyramidal base is very distinctive, as is the "ledge" architecture of the "Gulf Life" tower. I can't remember their current names, and the original owners are long since swallowed up or defunct. Like the "Sears Tower" in Chicago.

Jacksonville also has, or had a single-car trolley that resembles a streetcar and runs downtown only. And the People Mover, which, rather like its Miami equivalent, people love to hate. Downtown is more like ghost town though. Most of the life got sucked out to suburban places like Town Center. But they hope to revive it.
 
kevin Abel
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Tim,

Now I want to take a trip to Jacksonville.   I have drove past the city many times and now I wish that I drove inside of it  to explore.

I'm on page 329 of Head First Java.  There is a Sharpen Your Pencil exercise.   I'm wondering what the answer would be.

I'll start posting it now.  It has a lot of pieces.  It is 11:10 and it is past my bedtime but I want to start posting it now.

Kevin
 
Tim Holloway
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kevin Abel wrote:Tim,

Now I want to take a trip to Jacksonville.   I have drove past the city many times and now I wish that I drove inside of it  to explore.
Kevin



Well, as a tourist destination, it reeks. Downtown is pretty lifeless and has been since all the big companies moved to suburban campuses off Southside Blvd and J Turner Butler. Although they're trying to rebuild it. Downtown Dallas in the 1980s was worse, though. Precious little touristy stuff, aside from the zoo, er Jacksonville Zoological Gardens. Haven't been to the Miami Metrozoo, to see how it compares, but it's pretty good. Miami and Tampa (Lowry Park) are the only other really major zoos in the state, since the Central Florida zoo was stuck back in the depressing 1960s last time I was there (supposed to be better now). Mostly Orlando's wildlife is splattered over their tourist attractions, although the area is a wonderful place to meet bears.

The beaches are decent, but the really good beaches are all on Florida's West coast. Night life is allegedly OK, but as a software geek, I couldn't say. Obviously we don't get too many visits from Taylor Swift, but there are some pretty good concerts. And of course, what used to be billed as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" — the Florida-Georgia game — is coming up next month, give or take.  Also the Jazz Festival, which may not be world-famous as in years gone by, but is still a staple in May.

The views of and from the bridges are scenic, and each down bridge is lit with its own distinctive color.

One thing you won't see, alas, is the Jacksonville Landing. It was a cool place, but they demolished it last year. Likely  to become high-rises in the future.

For seriously touristy things, though, St. Augustine is 25 miles from my front door.
 
Tim Holloway
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Oh yes, and then there's the food distinctive to Jacksonville. The Camel Rider and Steak-in-a-Sack.

It's actually hard to find them South of Downtown, but they are part of the unique heritage that comes from being one of the diaspora targets of the Palestinian village of Ramallah.

Ramallah is primarily Islamic and troubled now, but a hundred years or so ago, it was majority (Orthodox) Christian. You don't see their names much in places around town, but many of the people have been prominent citizens.  Many becaume lawyers and doctors, and even a former mayor. And some ran sandwich shops, including the local chain known as The Sheikh.

A Camel Rider is definitely not halal, as it's essentially the innards of a submarine sandwich in pita bread. Properly consumed with cherry limeade and optional hot sauce.

The Steak in a Sack is more diverse. One place I used to eat regularly made almost a beef stew in pita, but my favorite version was a chopped beefsteak with a Mediterranean blend of spices (and onion?) that I've never been able to properly re-create. Diced tomato and/or cheese optional. Been years since I had one. They were a speciality of the sandwich shop in the former IBM building on the Southbank.

South of Downtown you can find Lubi's. Their take is quite different and they like to do hot peppers, but good stuff!
 
kevin Abel
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I don't think I have been to the Miami metro zoo.  Now I want to go.  

I am both a software need and opposite.  I switch between IT and Trumpet playing in a bar and swing dancing the same day.  I don't drink much.

I hope you don't mind me switching topics suddenly so often here.

I just ran into this and it reminds me of polymorphism:

Bayesian inference is a statistical method that combines prior knowledge with new evidence to make intelligent guesswork. For example, if you know what a dog looks like and you see a furry animal with four legs, you might use your prior knowledge to guess it’s a dog.
 
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kevin Abel wrote:Bayesian inference is a statistical method that combines prior knowledge with new evidence to make intelligent guesswork. For example, if you know what a dog looks like and you see a furry animal with four legs, you might use your prior knowledge to guess it’s a dog.


And then when you learn that the animal is a wolf, you update your posterior knowledge accordingly. This becomes  your new prior knowledge.
 
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Featherless biped
 
kevin Abel
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Paul,
I read a story which I think is true.  
A dog was hit by a car and was recently rescued.  It looked weird and they did a DNA test on it.
It has both Dox and Fox genes.  It was strange because the two animals have different amount of chromosomes.
Kevin
 
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https://www.businessinsider.com/dog-fox-hybrid-discovered-brazil-hit-by-car-2023-9
 
kevin Abel
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Were back in Hurricane season again down here in Florida.

Kevin
 
Tim Holloway
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Yup, TS Alberto formed and moved into Mexico already. That mess in South Florida a week or so back might have developed circulation had it not been mostly over land. There's a mess of semi-organized not-quite circulation off N Fla right now. Ironically, I'm still short of rain. The previous deluge (the one that hit 2 days after gov. DeSantis forbade talking about Climate Change in the Free State of Florida) didn't deposit anything much North of Daytona, and the stuff offshore here seems to fall apart before it comes onshore. Meh.

Speaking of Freedom, as in "we banned the book on book banning", the governor's edict that state bridges can only be illuminated in State-approved colors hits hard here. Forget about "Pride Month". The bridges of Jacksonville each had their proper color and green isn't on the approved list.
 
kevin Abel
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I recently watched a video of sunami footage that killed hundreds of thousands of people at once.  It was difficult to watch families relaxing on the beach and then a 50 foot wave washes them away.  
 
kevin Abel
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I get the DeBlasio and DeSantis names mixed up.  Now they both have bridge stories.

Kevin
 
Tim Holloway
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Well, DeSantis is the one with the white boots and the pudding on his fingers.

Joke, I also have white boots. I needed something to wear when pressure washing and that was what was in stock. They clean well, though, since all the kicked-up dirt shows.

I'm actually very sad, because when he first took office he seemed promising, but he killed that early when Covid hit. Local governments were regulating masks and exposure based on local conditions, so, for example, Broward County was especially vigilant and the rural areas less so. But he believes in Small Government, so he dictated a one-size-fits-all solution, figuring that the smallest possible goverment was himself alone. Then he appointed an anti-vax Surgeon General. This earned hit the nickname "DeathSentence".

While we do have an especially fractious crop of state governors right now, with Texas vying with Florida for most restrictions and Arkansas legalizing child labor, DeSantis seems to excel at finding no aspect of life too petty to regulate and I'm thus glad he's term-limited. In the mean time, he's spending a lot of my tax money passing edicts that promptly get shot down in court. Unkind people have even suggested that he's getting kickbacks from contracted law firms.
 
kevin Abel
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Tim,

There are other mass casualty events such as a tsunami wiping out 240,000 people at once.   I know that people die for different reasons, but the attack on 9/11 and my short time volunteering still bothers me.  

I'd like the second amendment to be like the system in Japan where there are very few gun killings a year.  Theirs is working for them.  Maybe we could copy it.  Maybe both sides of  the argument could meet in the middle and use it.

Thanks,

Kevin  
 
Tim Holloway
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No.

We are Pure. We are Righteous. We are Holy.

They are Corrupt. They are Criminal. They are Satan.

This is America in the 21st Century.  There can be no compromise with Evil. It and all its practitioners must be utterly exterminated.

Extremism isn't new to America, but it was Reagan and Gingrich who made extremism mainstream. Barry Goldwater (who was a pretty alarming person himself) warned against letting religion into politics.

But politician will sell their souls for votes, and the souls of everyone else. Turn the Earth into poisoned slag. Make it uninhabitable, just to get elected. And the fundamentalists love it. Incite the literal Armageddon. They think that they can FORCE Jesus to come back and bring about the New Heaven.

Sadly there's a "First Conservative Church" not far from here. I've no doubt that a lot of the sermons are political, favoring one party and getting tax deductions.

So, unfortunately we are not at a point where minds can meet. Not as long as "meeting" means, "My Way or the Highway!".

I don't think that the simple fact that the USA has an extreme ratio of guns-to-people is the main problem, however. It has been pointed out that some nations, such as Switzerland expect their citizens to have arms. Then again, their citizenship includes membership in a well-ordered militia.

Most of the world's nations are old enough that historically the ruling class discouraged the ownership of weapons. The USA and Australia were both founded post-aristocratically (Canada less so) and in environments that were essentially untamed. Australia saw a horrific school shooting and passed strict firearms regulations. Nothing further of significance has happened since. So gun regulation does appear to have some effect.

On the other hand, we have American Exceptionalism. No American is better than any other American (unless they're rich). And if they think they are, we have an obligation to keep them from disrespecting us. And while not everyone can afford a good lawyer or has mighty fists, the gun is the Great Equalizer. And why talk when you can shoot?

So, again, I think the #1 solution would be a cultural shift to where more peaceful solutions are prized (and available!).  

 
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