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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

Will.Woodhull Re:Alumni politics. (200 comments)

Harvard got into a shitload of trouble in the 1960s when students found, by tracing ownership through layers of flse front corporations, that Harvard University was one the largest and filthiest of Boston's slum lords. Seems they ended up having to mend their ways wrt real estate management or lose some of the endowments and prestige they like to flaunt.

Perhaps this law suit will go the same way. It would benefit the USA and the world in general if a wedge could be driven between academia and Corporate America. Those two should not be in bed together, but there they are, diddling each other under the sheets.

3 days ago
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Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Will.Woodhull Re:And Airplane mode? (201 comments)

I just do bilingual typos.

about two weeks ago
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Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Will.Woodhull Re:And Airplane mode? (201 comments)

Mmmm... conversate...

It's good to see evidence that the English language is still growing. Let's give this one a try: "I was conversating with these guys on slashdot." Yep, it works, though "conversing" would have saved a couple of keystrokes. Still, verbifying a noun that was nounified from a verb has a certain, je nes sais pas, roundness about it.

about two weeks ago
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Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Will.Woodhull Re:About time for a Free baseband processor (201 comments)

I think that on the whole the country would be better off if the right would form a militia to arm bears. I fear grizzlies carrying AK47s in the forests of Yellowstone a lot less than I fear what some of the right are trying to do in Washington. But then again I live on the left coast so I probably do not reflect the values of the heartland. Which was once the bread basket, but there apparently have been anatomical changes.

I for one welcome our gun toting ursine overlords. Heck, they can't make a bigger mess of things than what we've seen in Congress the last two years.

If left is right, then right is wrong. Conversely, if right is wrong, then left is right. But if right is right, then left is wrong-- but that breaks symmetry so it cannot be right. Which means that since left is left it must be right and therefore right must be wrong. No wonder USA politics is so fscked up: the English language does not provide logical support for the USA political system.

This post is a tribute to Sarah Palin, who undoubtedly wished that she had said it first.

about two weeks ago
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Google To Lease and Refurbish Naval Air Base For Space Exploration

Will.Woodhull Re:Not an explanation (89 comments)

Google is an advertising company

You keep saying that. Do you really think if you say that enough, it will magically become true?

"IBM is a hardware company." That's why it was called International Business Machines. Nope. Not any more. Not since the 1980s. Like the Doctor, IBM regenerates. Once in the 1960s when it went from typewriters and hollerith card management machines, and once between 1988 and 1998 when it went from computer hardware to service.

"Microsoft is a software company." Nope. Now it is big into consoles, phones, and all kinds of services. Too bad it hasn't learned how to roll with the times like IBM. But whether it manages to survive, it is no longer a software company.

Do you begin to see the pattern here? Change is inevitable. Resistance is futile.

about two weeks ago
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Google To Lease and Refurbish Naval Air Base For Space Exploration

Will.Woodhull Re:Why rent an airfield? (89 comments)

See a previous post of mine.

Google has long been interested in using stratospheric stations to get around the last mile problem (and probably put Comcast and Verizon out of business). Moffett Field has a huge dirigible hangar. Building a Hindenberg sized drone that could stay on station 60 miles above Salt Lake City and provide Internet service to every household in the Pacific and Mountain time zones could be done today, using yesterday's technology. I'm sure that Google has something in mind that uses contemporary technology, and perhaps plans to develop some new airship technology, too.

about two weeks ago
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Google To Lease and Refurbish Naval Air Base For Space Exploration

Will.Woodhull Re:Companies are not for the benefit of management (89 comments)

Well, I think it is a bit more complicated than this.

Typically the shareholders can replace the Board of Directors who can then fire the CEO and all the other CXXs. But there are few provisions for shareholders to directly veto a company's strategies or tactics.

That a potty-mouthed, chair-throwing, murder-threatening monkey dancer could hang on as the CEO of the most successful corporation ever while managing to repeatedly bungle every opportunity an evolving market presented makes it clear that shareholders, and even Boards of Directors, cannot exercise sufficient control to avert a slow motion train wreck. And Google is no Microsoft: Google actually has business sense.

about two weeks ago
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Google To Lease and Refurbish Naval Air Base For Space Exploration

Will.Woodhull Re:Straying from the topic of importance (89 comments)

Oh, there is an excellent reason for this, I'm guessing.

Moffet Field has these big hangars because at one time dirigibles were built there. For some time Google has been exploring ways of getting Internet connectivity to hard to reach places using stratospheric platforms. Leasing Moffet Field's hangars makes perfect sense.

This might not be a matter of putting cell phones in the hands of everyone who lives in the Amazon jungle. Picture a drone the size of the Hindenberg that could stay on station, 60 miles above sea level, for years at a time. That would solve a lot of last mile problems, It would destroy the Comcast and Verizon business models

I'm pretty sure that Google is going to be getting into the airship industry. I for one welcome our nascent Sky Net overlords.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

Will.Woodhull Re:First time? (275 comments)

Take another look at what you have quoted from the CDC and factor in what you should know about USDA meat inspection and common kitchen practices in the USA. While the rate of transmission of toxo through improperly prepared meats is undoubtedly very high in some parts of the world, the incidence of that happening in the USA is extremely low. Very few households slaughter and butcher their own animals. Using kitchen utensils on raw meat and then using the same unwashed utensils on cooked meat is considered gross and is only likely to be practiced by persons who ignore risks. Such as (anecdotally) some persons whose behavior has been altered by toxo parasites. The same kitchen techniques that have been taught for decades to prevent trichinosis from pork, venison, and the like will also prevent toxoplasmosis, and since the incidence of trichinosis in the USA is less than 4 per million per year, that route cannot account for anything close to the toxo incidence rate, where 20% of USA residents have had toxo.

The greatest risk of toxo transmission in the USA is from rodent to cat to human. The risk is less if the cat is an indoor cat, not a mouser, and the litter box is handled with proper hygeine. The risk is probably highest among persons who feed stray cats, keep several cats in the house, allow the house cats to hunt outside, and do not use good hygeine with the cat litter. If the household has that odor of stale cat piss, then that is pretty suggestive of a toxic toxo environment.

As to the brochure that Cornell University has had published in its name: I see in the last paragraph that funding for the Cornell Feline Health Center is by donations from the American Association of Feline Practitioners and various unnamed cat fanciers.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

Will.Woodhull Re:First time? (275 comments)

So you are now saying that you agree that the well established toxo transmission route from rodents to cats to humans is a significant public health issue? Then why did you bring up the concerns about the less than one percent possibility of transmission from pigs, sheep, other animals, or (very unlikely!) picking it up by walking a path that some cat had taken recently?

Is there some hidden need that is driving your arguments?

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

Will.Woodhull Re:First time? (275 comments)

No, I do not think I have missed your point.

AND it is NOT that I am ignoring any biological realities. I AM recognizing that the length of time an infected cat can be contagious is unimportant to risk evaluation. Unless of course you have some foolproof method of determining when, exactly, the three week period of being contagious starts and ends.

Toxo is a serious parasitic disease that has left its mark on one in every five persons you come across on the street. That is clear proof that its mode of transmission is very effective, no matter whether any individual cat might be only contagious for a short time. It causes very serious complications of pregnancy, but it also appears to cause long term abberations in adult behavior that affect psychosocial norms and risk-taking behavior.

The CDC thinks it is a serious threat that requires more study, and perhaps they will get around to it when ebola and killer flu is under control. They do have a lot on their plate right now.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

Will.Woodhull Re:First time? (275 comments)

If you live with a woman who has lots of cats and some of the indicators of toxo, then-- because she is likely to be a risk taker-- you are at risk of becoming infected. This is true whether you are husband, lover, child, or room mate. This is because she is a risk taker, and will take risks with how she handles food, kitchen implements, etc that will increase your risk.

The risk of getting toxo cannot be controlled by you exercising good hygeinic practices. It also depends on everyone around you who handles cats to also exercise good hygeine. But those with toxo are the ones who will stretch the "5 second rule" to "less than a minute". And then comfortably serve you the canape that was just rescued from the floor next to the cat's litter box.

Not all cat owners are dangerous to your health. But those who have multiple cats and don't mind living in a house with a permanent faint odor of cat piss maybe should be regarded as dangerous.

BTW, I don't know for sure whether this is a gender-specific thing and I may be doing a bad in implying that this is a women's issue kind of thing. Anecdotally it seems that way, and the research seems to suggest that men are not as susceptible to toxo induced behavioral problems as are women. But I don't know that for sure.

about two weeks ago
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Nevada Earthquake Swarm Increases Chance of Larger Quake

Will.Woodhull Re:hm... (65 comments)

There is not much in that area except sagebrush and antelopes. The geologic survey found nothing of economic interest: a lot of old basalt flows. There are some wildlife study areas. It is an 8 hour drive from San Francisco, the same from Portland OR, and hundreds of miles from any fracking activity.

I've been watching this swarm on the USGS World Earthquake Map. If it were not so inaccessible, I'd drive out there, but to do that safely would require carrying jerry cans of gas, and water and food for several days. This place is way back of beyond.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Discover a Virus That Changes the Brain To "Make Humans More Stupid"

Will.Woodhull Re:First time? (275 comments)

That doesn't explain the high prevalence of toxo antibodies in some human populations. CDC estimates about 20% of the USA population has been affected by toxo at some time in their life. Toxo is a very prevalent parasite, suggesting that its modes of transmission are a lot more effective than parent post implies.

There is anecdotal evidence that women who choose to live with multiple cats are often polyamorous or blatantly promiscuous, take risks with social norms that lead to frequent loss of jobs, and are exceptionally tolerant of the stench of cat piss. Rats that have been infected with toxo have been shown to become more daring than the average rat, and to be attracted to the odor of cat piss.

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (669 comments)

Ah! Good, you do know how to qualify your statements. I like the way you have backed off from declaring that parallel evolution is impossible, and now say it is extremely unlikely. Good for you. Now learn to say it the correct way the first time.

There are always alternative hypotheses that may be true. Any theory is never more than a best guess, that could be wrong. If you are totally sure about something, you are not doing science, you are doing belief.

Healthy belief systems are valuable and need at least as much pruning and nurturing as scientific theories. But do not conflate the two: they are different.

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (669 comments)

There is nothing so absurd as the phrase "science denier". So sorry my earlier post rattled your cage. Go back to sleep, comfortable in your belief in Science and that everything proposed as a theory must be true, because everybody-- except the real scientists-- say it is.

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Only YEC denies it (669 comments)

I'll grant that the Pope is stepping away from the old doctrine that the Creator was like some guy in a toy shop putting together the Universe like a kid with a giant set of Legos putting together something a little bit complex. That's a big step. It begins the process of healing the rift between the Catholic churches (and all the Protestant and evangelical spin-offs) and the Gnostics and other panentheists (with their understanding that Deity might reside within the Creation, rather than there being some kind of barrier between us lowly earthern creatures and the heavenly beings).

But the Big Bang of science is not understood as something that happened separately from some heavenly realm that exists independent of it. The Big Bang states that the Universe gave birth to itself, and by implication gave birth to any gods or other form of Deity that may be around today. It is going to take a great many more steps before the Roman Catholic Church will be able to accept that premise. And it will have to apologize for persecuting a lot of the heretics it has created, starting with the Gnostics, on its way to that acceptance. However there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus or in that covenant that conflicts with a Big Bang approach to spirituality. The understanding of Jesus would shift a little-- Big Bang Christianity would necessarily become more tolerant for one thing-- but it is not unreasonable to think that institutions, including religions, should evolve along with the rest of the Universe.

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (669 comments)

The Bible explains nothing in nature and no amount of re-interpreting changes that fact.

Except of course the book of Ezekiel and Erich von Daniken.

Not saying the Pope should begin the beatification process for von Daniken. But von Daniken was right in recognizing that the limitations of the language and mental maps of the bible's writers needs to be taken into account when trying to process biblical books within a contemporary frame of thought.

Plus, von Daniken was the first to describe a quadcopter. That's got to be worth something.

If only the Time Lords had imposed a ban against visiting the Middle East during the biblical period, there would be a lot fewer miracles for us to fret over. Blame all this Creationism hoohahrah on Doctor Who.

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (669 comments)

Unless they populated Earth with every single lifeform, that wouldn't be possible, since all lifeforms have a single family tree.

There is nothing quite like watching someone argue against a belief system with a piece of an opposing belief.

about a month ago
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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Will.Woodhull Re:Bennett on e-commerce (283 comments)

The success that MS attained in the server market was pretty much entirely due to their closed ecosystem and the need for any institution whose secretaries were using Windows to use MS servers as well. In short, MS was able to leverage its GUI interface in a way that limited any of its customers from using a non-MS server OS.

In contrast to this, in areas where the Windows interface had no influence (think web page servers and HTTP protocol), Linux distros emerged quickly as the front runners, and are clearly the dominate force by any measure other than sales dollars.

MS' revenues going from $25b to $60b under Ballmer was mostly due to the stranglehold monopolistic closed ecosystem that Gates built, before he gave Microsoft as a plaything to Ballmer, his buddy.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Wanted: ebola-proof suits and/or terrestrial robots

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  about a month ago

Will.Woodhull (1038600) writes "An open letter to the greatest philanthropists of our time:

Ebola is going to be an increasingly important thing in our lives for at least a couple of decades. An infection with a +70% mortality rate that is on an exponential growth curve is not going to be contained and eradicated any time soon. We are going to live with it, and some of us are likely to die from it, for years to come

We need something similar to a spacesuit to replace the protective garments that care givers are currently wearing. The suit needs to be immune to agents that can be used to assure disinfection of all its exposed surfaces. For instance, the wearer might need to be able to walk through an intense microwave chamber, or a massive bon fire, and probably through fog chambers of antivirus chemicals without being affected, and without destroying the suit's re-useability. The suit would also need to provide a good interior environment, including cooling, sip tubes for hydration and feeding, etc. Last, it should be bullet proof, since in many environments where it would be used there would be persons who would be willing to kill for the apparent advantages the suit might seem to provide. Finally, it needs to be mass produced: everyone involved in healthcare delivery should have one at hand.

Any well built ebola proof suit is likely to be a good basis for designing a spacesuit. Even in the unlikely event that we find some way to get rid of ebola in the next few months, the work done on the ebola suit would be of benefit.

Would someone like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet take this project on? We need these suits-- like literally yesterday when you think of the number of health care providers who have died from ebola, and some of those deaths have even been among persons who have the best possible gear now available, and the very best training in how to use it."
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A weighty comic: xkcd on gravity wells

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Will.Woodhull writes "xkcd's comic for today is a wonderful description of the solar system in terms of gravity wells. Don't miss it!

It does raise a couple of questions: how accurate are the numbers (can we trust our comics in this day and age)? should this be incorporated into K-12 schooling? And what's with those Titanics: it seems like like they are singing a Frank Sinatra lyric with their lungs full of helium?"

Link to Original Source

Journals

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First Entry

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I was active on Slashdot from June, 2002 to about a month ago as MysticGoat, account #582871.

I am continuing from this time forward with this account, under a nickname that is very close to my name in real life.

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