2005-10-18 22:50 in /politics/CA
Well, it’s that time of year again and time to heat up the blog with a little politics. Again, I’m going to make an attempt to explain my opinion on most of the California propositions before the election. This isn’t really an attempt to convince anyone else, but more because I think it’s a good exercise for myself to work through the basis and arguments for my positions. I’m planning to go roughly in order, but as the election gets closer, I might skip around.
73 is a constitutional amendment requiring a waiting period and parental notification prior to a minor obtaining an abortion. This is not a black-and-white issue and I have sympathies on both sides.
As a general rule, parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their children, and this includes medical decisions. Except in situations of imminent risk of death or severe and permanent bodily damage, we require parental consent for medical treatment of a minor. Pregnancy does not present any immediate risk and, although having a child is a big deal, only by a significant stretch can it be considered severe bodily damage. So, allowing abortions without parental consent really does entail a departure from general principle, which requires thought and real justification.
Towards that justification, one consideration is that pregnancy really is an exceptional condition which in many ways is, and ought to be, treated differently from true medical pathologies. However, this is only sufficient to open the door to a discussion. The more significant line of inquiry notes that as a society we are awful at talking about sex, thinking about sex, and taking actions regarding sex; and we’re a hundred times worse when our parents or children are involved. The point of the general principle of parental consent is not to treat children as chattels, but to improve the general welfare of children, who may not be ready to make these decisions for themselves. If, however, the effect is negative in some case, we ought to make exceptions. Potentially, this is such a case. If children will actually place themselves in greater danger rather than talk to their parents, then the requirement of parental consent ought to be waived. I tend to think that the studies support that this is the case for teenage pregnancies and abortions, but I concede that there is room for uncertainty.
Having waffled thus far, I will say, though, that I am unequivocally opposed to this proposition on technical grounds. The proposition is a constitutional amendment. I think that to begin with, this subject is inappropriate for the constitution. Furthermore, given the subtlety of the argument, and the uncertainty in the data, I think it would be a mistake to engrave such a rule so permanently.
2005-10-18 14:52 in /tech/yahoo/ypn
JenSense just posted something perpetuating the idea that some types of rotation between AdSense and YPN may “confuse” the YPN crawler / analyser. From the inside developer perspective, there’s no reason to believe this ought to be the case. Unfortunately, this rumor seems to have been started by a support engineer here, although it’s been disclaimed by Paul, both in his blog and in comments to Tim Flight.
Jen’s suggestion that there might be an issue with how he was rotating (per-view) compared to how she and others are rotating (per-user), doesn’t really hold up, since the crawler looks like a new user every time it visits. Most likely, the reason that Tim saw more RON ads was simply that the semantically targeted ads for his content are not as high value as those for the SEM/SEO crowd, so RON ads are more likely to get swapped in.