The depth of thought, philosophical reflection, and factual detail of this book make it a magnificent read, written by a master of English prose. It is relevant at this moment as it may never be again.
(We realize that bus service is somewhat limited out here at the beach, but we still encourage coastsiders to use SamTrans to get around locally and commute to/from Colma and Daly City BART, where real rapid transit begins. We thank Matt Levie for raising this issue. See comment thread below.)
Ironically, Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce, who infamously blew an out call at first base to deny Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game, was named the best ump in an ESPN poll of 100 ballplayers. (Polled players also said not to extend instant replay to out calls, favoring the current policy of video only for disputed home runs and foul balls.) After Joyce saw replay of his blown call, he admitted his mistake and apologized publicly and personally to Galarraga, who accepted the apology graciously. Maybe Joyce and Galarraga could tour the country speaking on good sportsmanship. God knows the country, and all sports, could use a bit more of that, and a little less horn blowing.JUAN MAYBURRITO
Do ultrasonic anti-bark collars and handheld devices work? They are based on use of positive punishment to teach a dog not to bark. Positive punishment is one of the four types of learning theory to explain how dogs acquire information and behavior. The terms are positive and negative punishment, and positive and negative reinforcement. These are not value judgments. The animal receives something (positive) or something is taken away (negative). Ultrasound anti-bark devices use the same learning theory as shock collars and citronella spray collars, but the unpleasant consequence for barking is a sound rather than a spray or shock.I have no experience with ultrasonic devices but would imagine the results would be similar to shock collars or spray collars with perhaps less discomfort. So sometimes, on some animals, the devices would work. Some animals develop phobias, because they are not sure what causes the irritating sound (the dog doesn't know if that unpleasant sound came from the child he just barked at); and because wind can cause some devices to go off, the dog can become confused, upset, and perhaps more neurotic. Sometimes dogs just get used to the pain or discomfort and ignore the sound (on shock-collared dogs I have seen burn marks where the dog ignored the pain to continue a behavior). Sometimes the underlying reason the dog is barking (not enough exercise or mental stimulation) can turn into self-mutilation or other stress relief if barking is discouraged.
Ultrasonic devices can be a quick fix or they can create other issues. If possible, the reason the dog is barking could be relieved, and alternative behaviors could be positively reinforced. More exercise (perhaps at a dog park) and mental stimulation (through Kongs and other puzzle toys) can often help cure the problem.Bev Kingsbury
"Utah's Republican Senate candidates have outlined a vision for reforming Social Security that includes raising retirement ages, private accounts and, in Mike Lee's case, taking the retirement safety net away from the federal government and letting states run it. "Somewhere down the road we need to ask: Is the federal government the right government to be administering this?" Lee asked. "You don't find a retirement system in [the Constitution]. That, with the 10th Amendment, says it's a program best administered by the states." Lee's proposal would mark a historic shift in the 75-year-old program, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in three cases in 1937 is a constitutional exercise of federal power. ... For his part, Lee also proposed significant increases in the retirement age for younger workers, suggesting that for workers 20 years from retirement, the age at which they would qualify for benefits should be raised by one year every other year. That means a worker who is 47 years old now -- 20 years from full retirement under the current system -- would not be able to retire until he or she is 77 years old, adding an extra 10 years to their expected period of employment."