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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Will.Woodhull Re:In lost the will to live ... (704 comments)

I like what you are saying.

An elder Navaho woman once said to me that "We are the way that ideas move through time." I don't know whether this came from her experience or was rooted in her culture: I don't talk that language so Navaho culture is mostly opaque to me, and what I can see is probably distorted in more ways than I realize. But my basic point here is that the idea that human cultures evolve appears to be an old one that is present in several and probably all cultures.

To quote (almost) Robert Frost: We all dance in a circle and suppose; / The Secret sits in the middle and knows. It could well be that theism is to human culture as the center is to the circumference of the circle: it may be that human culture cannot exist without a God principle, just as a circle cannot exist without a center, BUT in both cases the God and the center --while absolutely necessary-- may be empty, without any independent existence.

That would not make the God principle any less real, but would mean that its reality is a necessary part of the way we experience the Universe. God might be an integral part of the Observer and have nothing at all to do with whatever is Objective Reality.

Thus spake me, who is a Goddess loving panentheist.

yesterday
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Will.Woodhull Re:In lost the will to live ... (704 comments)

Atheism has been [around] far longer than any sort of theism has, the idea of God is one that had to be invented by people.

Alternatively, it could be that some form of theism is inherent in the way humans have evolved.

The only true atheist I have met was a total sociopath of a man, completely oriented to narcisism.

I have also met a lot of people who describe themselves as atheists, but in each of these cases it seems that their definition of atheism involves negating the idea of Deity (where "Deity" is an inclusive term for belief in God, Gaia, Goddess, multiple gods, pantheistic spirits, etc). So Deity was, through its negation, very much a part of their world view. In each of these cases there seemed to be some sense of rightness that pretty much functioned as Deity no matter what the person chose to call it. That is, their "atheism" seemed to be of the "I am not a believer in God (but I have pantheistic belief, or believe I am myself sacred, etc).

That one true atheist, the sociopath, never stated a belief or disbelief. That was unimportant to him. The only thing that was important to him was enjoying himself as much as he possibly could without paying for his pleasure if he could possibly arrange for someone else to foot the bill. He was a thief of convenience, a great imposter, and a con artist. But he was rarely a burglar and never an armed robber-- I think those would have required too much work.

yesterday
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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Will.Woodhull Re:Does HFCS count? (294 comments)

Parent post is a good example of quibbling over words.

The stuff is called "high fructose" because sucrose, or normal table sugar, is one fructose molecule bonded to one glucose molecule but HFCS contains 5% of fructose that is not bound to a glucose molecule. This is significant. Hydrogen peroxide used in wound treatments is only 3% H2O2 and 97% H2O, but has very different physiologic effects than plain H2O.

While HFCS could be used in lower quantities for the same level of sweetness as sucrose, it is often used to make the product sweeter than could be done with sucrose alone. As is the case in many soft drinks sold in the USA. But the more significant concern is that HFCS laden foods and drinks cause one to crave more since the HFCS interferes with the "I've had enough" mechanisms that normally govern food/drink intake. And another concern that bears repeating is that HFCS puts an increased burden on the liver and the blood glucose homeostatic mechanisms that are adapted to handling normal table sugars.

Again, my personal concern is that HFCS on the label is a marker I can use to avoid foods and drinks that predispose me to exercise induced asthma problems. And I don't care whether it is the HFCS or some other crap that is often used when HFCS is adulterating the food.

5 days ago
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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Will.Woodhull Re:Does HFCS count? (294 comments)

HFCS is more of a "super sugar" than a sugar substitute. Fructose is a natural sugar, and HFCS in its pure laboratory form is only a highly concentrated fructose derived from corn. (high fructose corn syrup).

For me at least, it is a health concern since if I eat or drink some things that contain HFCS I am more prone to asthma attacks. This may not be due to the HFCS itself; it may be some impurity in food quality HFCS, or it may be some other additive that is commonly used with HFCS. I don't care: I know if I avoid HFCS I don't have asthma; otherwise I often have exercise induced asthma which really limits my bicycling.

HFCS is used in foods and drinks for a couple of reasons: it has a sweeter taste than sucrose; it has a documented affect on depressing satiation so people consume more of the product than if sucrose was used; and I think because it is a liquid that is often shipped in railway tanker cars its delivery costs to the food factory are cheaper.

Fructose is a form of sugar that has to be converted in the liver to a different form before it can be used. HFCS puts a strain on the liver, and the blood glucose regulatory mechanisms, that does not occur with any natural foods. Anyone with a history of hepatitis, hypoglycemia, or diabetes maybe would want to avoid HFCS.

5 days ago
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Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Will.Woodhull Re:Bikes lanes are nice (213 comments)

Suggest you re-read grandparent post, and TFA. This time do so with an emphasis on comprehension, if that is within your capability.

about two weeks ago
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Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Will.Woodhull Re:Bikes lanes are nice (213 comments)

An excellent time for a century ride (100 miles) is under 6 hours. Or 17+ mph. Most commuter bicyclists do about 15 mph.

However most automotive traffic on the downtown streets of every city I have seen in the last 20 odd years never exceed 20 mph, and spend a lot of time waiting at stop lights. They probably average between 5 and 10 mph. Bicycles usually leave them in the dust, waiting for a light to turn, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Will.Woodhull Re:Bikes lanes are nice (213 comments)

But getting rid of those bikers, which honestly do not belong on the road, could only of helped.

That's just really bad logic.

A bicycle doesn't take up anywhere near as much road space as a car. On crowded downtown streets, where cars cannot travel faster than bikes, every person on a bike is one less vehicle in your gridlock. And one less competitor for that parking space you are looking for. Bikes make a helluvalot of sense in highly trafficked areas, and bike lanes which encourage more people to use bicycles is one of the best things that can be done to improve the commutes of automobile drivers.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Say Neanderthals Created Cave Art

Will.Woodhull Re:Neanderthals = Humans (91 comments)

Most of today's works of art would not survive 10,000 years neglect, the exception being stonework. And we have done very little of that in the last hundred years. If we went away tomorrow, visitors to Earth 10,000 years from now would have trouble determining whether some of our contemporary art was done before or after the Lascaux cave paintings.

So cave art is special in that way.

It is also special because this old stuff was done in the flickering and moving light of torches. Photographs do not capture the art, especially in this type of petroglyph where the changing shadows as a torch was brought toward the work or moved from side to side would have been the point of the grooves.

It would be cool to model these in Blender or Maya, and make movies using a point source of light as the light changed intensity and was moved about. Or just take movies of the original cave art as someone carried a torch toward, away, and across it. The art here is definitely in the shadows, not the physical grooves.

Cave art is special in this way, too: we are not seeing it as the artist intended it to be seen. It is probably a lot more sophisticated than what the camera shows.

about three weeks ago
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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

Will.Woodhull Re:It'd be nice... (248 comments)

Press conferences are not about openness. Traditionally, press conferences are about high level dissemination of propaganda and dysinformation. Like LBJ and the Vietnam Gulf of Tonkin incident; Nixon and the Parot Beak; Bush and Iraq's WMD; and so on.

about three weeks ago
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Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

Will.Woodhull The FedEx bomber (52 comments)

Google is always doing weird experimental shit. So this is not news.

What would be news is what FedEx or UPS are working on wrt drones. Imagine a FedEx jet flying high over a city, its bombay doors opening to spill out a fleet drone quadcopters that deliver the goods to designated rooftop landing pads. Imagine a world where technology is paying as much attention to the last 2,000 (vertical) feet of delivery as we do to the last mile of communications.

about three weeks ago
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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

Will.Woodhull Re:Good way to make yourself ill (133 comments)

Yeah, because what was good enough for the Roman slaves and medieval serfs is obviously the best life style for everybody.

Look to our roots in hunting/gathering, and you find there was no set pattern for sleep. When picking berries, you slept in the shade when it was too hot or at camp when it was too dark; otherwise you picked while watching the sunrise and picked while watching the sun set. When the smelt were running, you scooped up fish in the moonlight, cleaned fish as the sun rose, gathered wood and greenery for the smoking fires in the morning, and took long siestas during the heat of the day.

Our ancestors may have averaged 8 or 10 hours of sleep in a day, but for the most part it was in bits and pieces. Mostly no more than 4-6 hours at any one time, with the rest in siestas or naps as tasks allowed.

about three weeks ago
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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

Will.Woodhull Re:Anecdotal verification (133 comments)

I've done this for years, and didn't even know it was a thing. Seems to work.

Works for me too, especially when bumping into dead ends doing creative work.

I'm a writer; I can put in a solid day's work on the proofreading and minor editing/revision aspects, but sometimes spend days or weeks trying to find a good point of view for a scene, or effective way to present character development. Best thing when realizing I've just spent half a day writing crap: have a cup of coffee and nap 15 minutes.

about three weeks ago
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Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

Will.Woodhull Re:not so fast (128 comments)

You missed one:

Correlation does not imply

Ah, fuck it. Multiple repetitions of a meme does correlate with poor language skills and a consequent inability to express anything of value.

Beyond that, there is nothing more to say.

about a month ago
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Munich Council Say Talk of LiMux Demise Is Greatly Exaggerated

Will.Woodhull Re:NT is best (190 comments)

And yet involving yourself or your company in the Microsoft ecosystem continues to be a waste of your resources.

For all core business functions, the Linux ecosystem, despite its pimples and occasionally awkward behavior, now offers the better current and future value. And it is rapidly completing its maturation and as it does so its complexion is clearing up and it is continuing to replace its remaining adolescent behaviors with more sophisticated ways of getting along in adult society.

Microsoft's best long term strategy is to convert its software to open source and merge it into the Linux ecosystem while developing support services as its primary source of revenue. That has worked for IBM; it could work as well for Microsoft. But it means that Microsoft needs to embrace FOSS and begin extinguishing its own proprietary software while learning to dance to the music the rest of the world is tuned in on (rather than dancing to whatever it is that is that it has been playing on its own private ear buds).

Flamebait? Or an insightful summation of the situation? You decide. Since even the author of this post doesn't know which he has done.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

Will.Woodhull Re:Dobsonian (187 comments)

All I would add to this is that from my experience as a kid with a 4 in reflector in 3 or 4 foot cardboard tube (good EQ mount) is that high power eye pieces may not be very useful, due to vibration in the tube. So I would suggest getting a low power and a medium power eyepiece to start, and being very careful about buying high power eyepieces.

Unfortunately my experience was too long ago for me to remember what magnification my eye pieces were. But others might chime in...

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

Will.Woodhull Re:Dobsonian (187 comments)

The problem mentioned in parent post was not due to the type of mount. But due to a mismatch between the quality of the optics and the amount of money spent on the mount.

A 10 inch reflector needs to be mounted on a stand weighing several hundred pounds or there is not enough mass/inertia to make use of the 'scope's capability. There will be too much vibration just from persons walking near by.

You can't put fine optics on a cheap mount of any kind and get acceptable performance. And any mount that would be knocked off calibration by a slight bump is not good enough for a 10 in mirror.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

Will.Woodhull Re:Dobsonian (187 comments)

I disagree with parent. An equatorial mount is the way to go, short of a computer controlled motorized mount of any kind.

The problem is not that of initially pointing the 'scope at the celestial object. Anyone can do that with either type of mount. The problem is tracking the object after it is found. An equatorial mount that locks the scope to the object's track is the only way to go within an affordable price range.

I was 12 or 13 yo when my Dad decided that I showed enough interest in astronomy to be worthy of owning a telescope. My birthday present that year was a used 4 inch reflector on an equatorial mount with a couple of eye pieces. I loved that thing.

I can attest that a 13 yo can learn to use an equatorial mount with ease, including aligning it properly with a magnetic compass, which also involved learning to adjust for the difference between magnetic and true North. All of which was fascinating. I learned all this without adult supervision (Dad was not into astronomy), and I am certain that a motivated younger child could easily learn all this with good adult direction.

The frustrations I encountered with this first telescope experience were in aligning the mirror and aligning the spotting scope with the main tube. In retrospect it would have been much better if an adult had done those things for me. Other sources of frustration were that the spotting scope's crosshairs were not very visible in the dark, and that scope's tube was not rigid enough for the higher power eyepiece to be of much use (too much vibration and jitters). These details should probably be considered when making the purchase.

Don't discount craigslist, etc, as a good source for a used telescope. Some who start with an entry level 'scope lose interest and sell their's, others upgrade to better equipment when they can. A second hand 'scope from someone who is spending beaucoup bucks on a better replacement is likely to be in excellent working order, and could be a really good deal. Plus, often the seller would willingly give a potential buyer a free night time demo, with rings of Saturn or moons of Jupiter...

Oh yeah, there is prob'ly an amateur astronomy club around you somewhere. They put on star gazing parties where a person could look at a number of different set-ups and get a lot of info from their owners.

about a month ago
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Western US Drought Has Made Earth's Crust Rise

Will.Woodhull Re:Tectonics (90 comments)

Yes, the two findings (CA rising and 6.0 equake) are closely related. As has become common knowledge, the San Andreas fault is about to slip in a majorily massive way, and all of the USA east of it is going to sink into the Atlantic Ocean.

Oh. And what RealHocusLocus said about you typing during an equake...

about a month ago

Submissions

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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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