Quickies

Quickies: The earliest US website, rights of pregnant women, and common misconceptions

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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15 Comments

  1. The only problem I find with the Misconceptions link – I ran away before, the local police DID make my parents wait 24 hours before allowing my missing person report to be filed. This may be something that varies from towns/counties/states/regions/etc.

          1. Police love phone calls. Everything you say in a phone call is another statement that may be useful to them in court. Every phone call is another lead. Every conversation is another person they can potentially extort, um, call as a witness in exchange for not charging them with accessory, interfering with an investigation, etc.

          2. Plus, if I were running a rational police department, I would accept any report at any time, even if there was a policy they we didn’t act on missing persons reports until 24 hours had elapsed.

            That way all essential contact information, descriptions, etc. would be on file in case it was needed and the reporting person’s memory of events would be much more reliable a few hours after they last saw the person than after a sleepless night of worrying and confabulation… (“I did see a strange, green minivan driving slowly down the street shortly after they left the house”, when it was actually a blue windowless utility van on last night’s episode of “Law and Order”.)

            IRL, any 24 hour time limit could only apply to adults. I know I’ve personally participated in or witnessed police-organized searches for children who were missing for only a few hours. (Fortunately, they were always found quickly and a short distance from home, safe and unharmed, either lost in the woods or attempting to walk to some destination that an older child would have known was too far away… I grew up in a woodsy area at the edge of suburbia in the 50’s and 60’s, when things were very different and children were left on their own much more often. If anything, I think police would be quicker to react today.)

          3. This is the oldest SLAC web page. Both links actually work, but not the phone number lookup on the first link, nor the document index on the second link. You can get help on the second link’s page, though! I was interested to see how they handled data entry on the phone number lookup page.

            The pages load very very quickly: no graphics, no fancy formatting, no alternate fonts, just plain text.

          4. I suppose it makes sense in TV/films that they limit you to one phonecall, because there’s more tension.

            If no-one answered, and they just said “OK, can I have another phonecall?” “Sure,” it would ruin the drama a bit.

        1. Or they had a problem with crazy parents trying to get at their kids’ friends they don’t like. I knew someone who was raised in a “parent by cop” household. One date had the cops called on him for kidnapping when they were less than an hour late getting home (back before cell phones were common). The last thing she told me when she was almost 21 was that she was going into the army, making it a career and “there is nothing my parents can do to stop me.”

          If you were the police chief there and you had a problem like that you could solve with a “no missing person report for 24 hours unless there is other evidence” policy, would you implement it? Or would you keep filing reports on kids at their boyfriend’s home, at the cafe across from their school, etc.?

          This is a deeply personal issue for me because I saw what it did to someone I cared about. I bet policies like that protect more people than they ever endanger.

  2. Got to say, that mythconception infographic really points to the good of skepticism.

    Out of the 52 myths represented I only still believed one (Iron Maiden is real though, I’ve seen their videos) but used to actually believe all but ten of them at some time in my life.

    Funnily of the ten I never believed, I only knew about one before I became skeptical and that one I never believed because an adult told me it was bullshit from the start (the one about swimming).

    Anyone who tells you skepticism isn’t worthwhile needs to go away and try to think about what they’ve done.

  3. The article about civil rights of pregnant women is horrifying. But I have a simple solution. From the article:

    “These cases, individually and collectively, highlight what is so often missed when the focus is on attacking or defending abortion, namely that all pregnant women are at risk of losing a wide range of fundamental rights that are at the core of constitutional personhood in the United States.”

    So if these women would just take the simple step of incorporating as a wholly-owned sole proprietorship, the Supreme Court would be forced by its own logic to uphold their corporate personhood rights.

      1. When Worf and Quark (or was it Rom?) were trapped by an ion storm on some deserted planet, the Ferengi was convinced he would die there, and his bones would lie forever bleaching in the sun, unmourned and unsold.

        The Ferengi: the core constituency of misogynist Republicans throughout the Galaxy.

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