Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suicide Rate Goes Down for Gay and Lesbian Teenagers in Supportive Communities

Suicide Rate Goes Down for Gay and Lesbian Teenagers in Supportive Communities
By Denise Witmer, About.com Guide April 20, 2011

"According to a study reported in Pediatrics, gay and lesbian teens have a lower rate of suicide attempts in communities that support them. This support came through awareness or support groups at school or just a higher density of same sex couples in the community. This is good news - although it is still high at 20% of gay or lesbian teens in those areas reporting that they had attempted suicide at least once - hopefully as communities become more diverse, we will see less teen suicide due to differences in sexuality."

This is such a no-brainer. Love and support kids and they will tend to thrive. It's hard enough to be a teen in the best of communities and circumstances. Add fear, hatred, prejudice, and ridicule and it's a wonder any teen makes it to there twenty's.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Prince William County Public Schools censor 'It Gets Better'

Prince William County Public Schools censor 'It Gets Better'
April 11, 2011 - 05:00 PM
By Amanda Hess (Twitter @amandahess)

"On Prince William County Public Schools computers, students can't get to It Gets Better. Today, the ACLU of Virginia sent a strongly-worded letter [PDF] urging Prince William County Public Schools to stop censoring LGBT websites on school computers. PWCPS has outfitted its computers with a Blue Coat Systems web filtering mechanism that allows administrators to choose from dozens of categories of websites to block from student view–among them "illegal drugs," "pornography," and "LGBT." The schools currently elect to filter all gay, lesbian, and transgender-related content."

There are two things that stand out in this. First, that "Net Nanny" URL blocking programs are fairly useless (they either block far to much or hardly anything at all). Second, and more importantly, that the idea all LGBT web sites can be lumped into the category of porn is asinine. Anyone who could think that needs to brush up on the meaning of the phrase -

Hate is not a family value.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sick and tired of crappy hardware and worse software

I know I have, on occasion, mentioned that I am less than entheuastic about Microsoft and their products. Well, there's also some hardware vendors that get a little annoying, too. Todays spotlight is on eMachines and Dell. The former made the box I have been using for my schoolwork for the last couple of years. It was running Vista with all kinds of other Microsoft products. Unfortunately, this is mandated by the fact that the online schools all standardizes on Microsoft solutions. I can understand their reasoning, but it is still a huge pain-in-the-rear. Well, this system has been flaky from the get-go. Today, it finally died completely.

This is where Dell comes into play. There was a computer we got for my Mum a few years back that she never really used. This turned out to be fortuitous, in light of the previously mentioned situation. I proceeded to set this box up and installed Windows 7 on it. Due to the classes I am taking, I need a halfway decent video card in the box. Thus, I took the card out of the old system to put into this new one. But the Dell box is non-standard in its hardware setup so I had to jury rig it into the case. It's working, but the connection is precarious. But there is now another problem to deal with.

The hard drive in the eMachines is no longer being recognized at all. The only hope of recovering all the class work is to take the drive out and hook it up to the Dell. If the drive isn't physically damaged this shouldn't be tremendously difficult. My guess is that the drive is relatively ok and the problem lies with Vista. So tomorrow I'll be back messing around with hardware again. Unfortunately, since I've already missed three days of classwork, this is going to put me even further behind.

When I finally get all of this settled down I am going to redo the eMachines box with either Linux or one of the BSD's. At least it'll be a usable box then.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I! Hate! Microsoft!!!

Someday, I'm going to take a sabbatical and go to Redmond, Washington. Once there, I will visit the Microsoft facilities and politely register a complaint about their products. Specifically, that said products are significantly responsible for a goodly portion of my hair loss. Also, they did a fair job of helping me fail some classes over the last few years. I know there is absolutely no recompense for the troubles this company is directly and indirectly responsible for. But just letting them know, politely, how much aggravation they have caused will be worth the trip.