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Comments

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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud

klenwell Re:Not the only conservative views he's pushed (617 comments)

Or it could just be carried down the female line. Also, if it is X-linked, gay men who reproduced due to social pressures wouldn't pass it along to their sons. Here's a more nuanced summary of the idea:

A large set of models were examined by the researchers and excluded individually if they implied that alleles would go extinct too easily or overtake the population. The paper concluded that the only model that fit the empirical data was based on sexually antagonistic selection, based in particular on two genes, at least one of which must be on the X chromosome, which determines the maternal genes in male babies. This model implies that there is an interaction between male homosexuality and increased female fertility. This complex dynamic results in the maintenance of male homosexuality at a stable but low frequency, as well as a hereditary effect on male homosexuality through the female line.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/111843.php
http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0002282

more than 4 years ago
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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud

klenwell Re:Not the only conservative views he's pushed (617 comments)

Yes, let's see your citations. The fact that 50% of studies find a significant genetic factor and 50% do not says nothing about their validity. The references to psychology in your signature and alias do not inspire confidence. The field of psychology in general has a pretty atrocious record in addressing the subject of homosexuality scientifically. And I wouldn't expect most psychological studies to have much insight on anything related to genetics.

Moreover, there is evidence that homosexuality may not be genetic, but still not a choice as you suggest. Research indicates that hormones or chemicals in the mother's womb play a significant role in determining sexuality and among men born to mothers who already have had boy (i.e. men with older brothers), there is a greater incidence of homosexuality. This comes up off the top of google: http://www.seattlepi.com/national/275425_gay27.html In short, I would give much greater weight to more recent neuroscientific studies than most strictly psychological studies.

Finally, talk with almost any man who is openly gay (emphasis on openly) and he'll convincingly disabuse you of the notion that it's "choices they made".

For a fascinating account of the tumultuous history of homosexuality and the DSM (a textbook case of the politicization of science for both bad and good), I highly recommend this This American Life broadcast:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/204/81-Words

more than 4 years ago
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Adding Some Spice To *nix Shell Scripts

klenwell I Have Taken Up Bash Scripting with a Vengeance (411 comments)

As a developer, I've become a enthusiastic convert to bash scripting.

Like many, I originally found the syntax ugly and awkward. But with some encouragement and tips from people who know what they're doing I've come to appreciate its power. When I have to do some sort of mind-numbing manual server-related task, I script it. It forces me to think the through the steps, if only minimally, and it codifies knowledge that can be reused and shared. Over time, I have found it a great time-saver even for tasks that I run infrequently. The scripts are a permanent record, there for reference when I need them, and writing them helps me assimilate new information and develop new skills.

As an example of its simple power, consider the main routine of a deployment script I wrote not too long ago:

# Main
preamble
get_command
create_lwd
gzip_app
upload_app
install_app
tag_code
cleanup

Expressive, straightforward, elegant, reliable. You can find the whole script here:

http://code.google.com/p/cakewell/source/browse/dev/bin/nfs_update.sh

P.S. should be a exit 0 at the end of that, but the lameness filter appears to have something against bash scripts itself.

more than 4 years ago
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Self-Destructing USB Stick

klenwell Re:You're naive. (223 comments)

Last week in Texas, three men with assault rifles attempted to ambush and execute a family of four to steal the rims from their SUV. Human life is worthless to criminals.

The lesson I take away from this: logic is worthless to criminals. Why wouldn't they just demand the whole damn SUV? And what is an innocent family of four doing with SUV rims so pimp that they make themselves the irresistible prey of random armed highwaymen?

I get the feeling we're not getting the whole story here. Next time, throw us a breitbart link or something. So at least that way we can get a little more of the incomplete story.

more than 4 years ago
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China Warns Google To Obey Or Leave

klenwell Re:Bullshit. (533 comments)

Peasants don't know and don't care about history. They do know that the local party officials are corrupt, and that many of them are getting shafted. An uncensored, free internet would be a great way for them to learn more,share stories, and organize. It would be an amazing platform for the criticism of the communist party.

On this subject, see the recent NY Times article about the Chinese "human search engine":

China’s Cyberposse

The article asserts that the internet is being leveraged by the central party for this very purpose.

The article was a bit eye-opening for me for it showed:

A) how most Chinese citizens' interest and usage of the internet differs from most American (less social networks, more B.B.S.-driven interaction)

B) how the internet is a developing platform for reform in China

C) how it can both be a platform for reform and yet still censored

D) how it could accomplish all these things without Google and still satisfy most Chinese citizens

I'm for Google standing up for principle. I'm not convinced how much impact it would really have.

more than 4 years ago
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On Social Networks, You Are Who You Know

klenwell Re:Kick it up a notch: spokeo.com (171 comments)

go to Spokeo and type in your name

And by searching for my name on their site, I'm sure I'm only giving them a little more information with which to ferret me out.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video

klenwell Re:Not the judges per se (391 comments)

This was my conclusion, too, as soon as I read the headline after hearing this story on NPR last week:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123761651

From that report:

One patron, Christian Lingreen, says his native Denmark has 100 percent Wi-Fi coverage — Italy maybe just 1 percent. "I love Italy," he says, "but I have to say [information technology], that is not their cup of tea."

Nearby sits Riikka Vanio of Finland, who is a mother of two children. "In the school, it's impossible to pass information to other parents through Internet, because none of them have Internet connection at home or not even e-mail address," she says. "So it's not part of their culture yet."

Nevertheless, Italy's right-wing government is going far beyond its European partners with the decree that would require Web sites with video content to request authorization and would mandate the vetting of copyrighted videos before they're uploaded.

more than 4 years ago
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Claims of Himalayan Glacier Disaster Melt Away

klenwell Re:There's a problem with this coverage (561 comments)

I've got no karma points to give out at the moment, so all I can offer is my appreciation. Thanks for the informed rebuttal. I find it telling that the parent comment by DiamondGeezer, scored 5, weighs in on an article about poorly sourced climate change data with a series of uncited claims that, upon review, turn out to be bullshit.

more than 4 years ago
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Novelist Blames Piracy On Open Source Culture

klenwell Re:WTH is Sherman Alexie? (494 comments)

I don't really care about Sherman Alexie's opinion as a commentator on intellectual property in the digital age, or a lot of the politics topics he might opine on when he appears, for instance, as a guest on The Colbert Report. But as a fiction writer, he is known and worthy of being known. One of my favorite short stories, "What You Pawn I Will Redeem", is written by him. It may even hold some key to his position on the topic, which is probably more complex than "open source is bad because I'm a filthy greedy novelist." I'm on the radical edge of support for open source and digital culture, but some of their ramifications for society and culture scare me a bit, too.

Interestingly, his story is still available online on the New Yorker site:
http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/04/21/030421fi_fiction?currentPage=all

I recommend reading it, but only because it's a brilliant story. I first read it in the magazine and bought the collection of short stories it later appeared in as a result of that exposure. I suppose this could have happened as a result of, say, a link to a free copy posted on the internet somewhere. But, in fact, it would have a much greater probability of happening precisely because it appeared in the New Yorker and not at the end of a random link on the internet.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Doesn't Exercise Lead To Weight Loss?

klenwell Re:How can that be? (978 comments)

Or go with the flow. As TFA points out, whether you lose weight or not, work out a few hours a week and you're healthier.

My own experience confirms this. All my life, I was too thin. Then I left school and got an office job about 5 years ago. All the sudden I'm not having a problem keeping on the pounds. I never got noticeably overweight but I was getting a little soft around the center. Signed up for a 24-hour fitness membership a couple years ago and was surprised that my weight continued to inch up.

Finally, earlier this year, I changed up my workout. More cardio, less weightlifting. Also went from around 4 1.5-hour workouts a week to 6. I just treat it like my job. As soon as I get off work, it's off to the gym for two hours (which has the advantage of waiting out traffic.) I also made some adjustments to my diet. Less fast food. Replaced cola with coffee (caffeine) or lemonade (sweet). And though my sweet tooth is as sweet as ever, I am more conscious about eating that extra snack or the dessert that was left in the break room, and consequently, I probably eat a few less calories on average.

But my real secret weapon: the Nintendo DS. I needed something to distract me from the drudgery of the stairmaster and lifecycle and I can only gawk at the girls for so long. I don't play video games otherwise, so I look forward to an hour or so playing with the DS while I sweat. Turned-based games like Advanced Wars (or chess) are perfect for the stairmaster.

The result: for the last 6 months, I've been shedding a pound or so every 2 weeks, about the same as the study. A few months of that will add up.

about 5 years ago
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Charlie Stross, Paul Krugman Discuss the Future

klenwell Re:Krugman called FOR the bubble (127 comments)

I don't read that as calling for a bubble, rather he is pointing out that Greenspan is trapped and must create another one to sustain the already inflated valuations. This implies that he's putting off a problem rather than dealing with it. Which does seem to be what subsequently happened.

That's how I read it, too. Krugman continues in the same article:

Bear in mind also that government officials have a stake in accentuating the positive. The administration needs a recovery because, with deficits exploding, the only way it can justify that tax cut is by pretending that it was just what the economy needed. Mr. Greenspan needs one to avoid awkward questions about his own role in creating the stock market bubble.

Bush and Greenspan needed a bubble to sell their tax breaks. More recently, others (as Krugman has noted) have been demanding a bubble, too:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/recession_plagued_nation_demands

more than 5 years ago
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AT&T Makes Its Terms of Service Even Worse, To Discourage Lawsuits

klenwell Re:Speaking of Class-Action Suits (412 comments)

Thanks for the reply. Not that any of it makes any sense to me. :) But if an AT&T tech had said something to that effect, it would have saved me running all over the internet looking for an explanation.

more than 5 years ago
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AT&T Makes Its Terms of Service Even Worse, To Discourage Lawsuits

klenwell Speaking of Class-Action Suits (412 comments)

Not sure if this is related or not, but I had a puzzling experience with AT&T related to my DSL service recently.

I have had a AT&T Basic DSL plan for over a year now. It's ~350kbs down/~750 kbs up. It's never been great, but I'm a pretty light user, just internet surfing and moving files back and forth every once in a while between a remote server and my machine, and internet radio. I run Ubuntu 8.4 with a Linksys Router (wireless off) and use Firefox.

About a week ago, my internet connection started getting really sluggish. Couldn't even support my streaming radio. I opened Ubuntu's system monitor and download rate was capped at 40kbs. I would it test it by trying to load youtube videos. Every once in a while it would briefly spike above that, like at 60kbs, then right back down. Youtube was impossible.

I called AT&T customer support at the beginning of the week. They referred me to tech support recommending I request "Tier 2". So I finally had time to call this evening. After about 20 mins on hold and with Tier 1, I got to Tier 2, a woman in Texas, who opened a ticket and told me I would get a call back this evening or tomorrow. About an hour later, I get a call back with a recorded message saying everything is fixed and asking me to press 1 or 9 or something to confirm or press 0 for a technician. I'm curious to find out what happened so I press 0. Meanwhile, I fire up youtube, look at my system monitor, and sure enough it's scaling up to 80, 100kbs.

After a 10 min wait, I get a guy in California who sounds like he's been dealing with AT&T customer support for the last 2 hours. I'm polite, do my little Columbo routine, tell him I'm just following up and am curious and am updating my own notes (which I've learning to always take in these situations) and ask him if he can tell me how the issue was fixed.

He was pretty vague saying he didn't see anything that indicated it "was optimized." He said they just ran a line test and that seems to have fixed it. I asked him if it would have been restricted for some reason? He said it might if the line was showing "intermittent signal." I didn't press the issue. I just said, "Well, it looks like the issue is solved," thanked him and said goodbye.

Anybody have any further insight into what might have been happening? Was AT&T capping my broadband -- at 40kbs!? Is there a more innocent explanation?

more than 5 years ago
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Scientist Forced To Remove Earthquake Prediction

klenwell Re:Over predicting (485 comments)

Thank you for injecting a measure of reason and decency in what has been, for the most part, an unbelievably aggravating thread for me.

more than 5 years ago
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North Korea Launches "Communication Satellite" Rocket

klenwell Re:Outstanding. (492 comments)

There is going to be a large loss of civilian life and infrastructure in South Korea because of this.

I believe the term of art I've heard experts on the region use to describe South Korea's role in any military resolution of the matter is "kill box".

more than 5 years ago
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How Do I Put an Invention Into the Public Domain?

klenwell Re:Have to publish it in the right place (233 comments)

What about Google's Knol? Wikipedia specifically prohibits original research. Knol welcomes it. You could also start an article on the broader subject of prior art and invite people to contribute to that.

You need a Google account, but that would insure attribution. And you can even see how many people have viewed it.

It also gives the idea a fixed url or permalink which could be the starting point for wider circulation.

more than 5 years ago
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The Chinese (Web Servers) Are Coming

klenwell Re:Self-Censored (231 comments)

trickle-down economics *works*.

Yeah, it got Reagan elected. As an economic theory, it's bunk - rich people are rich because they spend a lot less than they earn.

Or, failing that, because they spent a lot before the rest of us caught on.

more than 5 years ago
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Edit-Approval System Proposed For English-Language Wikipedia

klenwell Re:Will there be no wiki truths? (439 comments)

You sir have master (with incredible (and absolute)) skill the art of parenthetical (the use of parenthesis to denote (or markup (or provide additional detail))) writing.

My hat is off to you :)

Some people speak with a lisp. He writes with it.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Patent Dispute Blocks Promising ALS Treatment

klenwell klenwell writes  |  more than 5 years ago

klenwell writes "The New York Times today is carrying a story about a family's desperate efforts to find a treatment for Joshua Thompson, a 34 year-old father of two, suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Once diagnosed, the best treatment Joshua's doctor could offer was a prescription for Rilutek, a drug which "typically prolongs life by a few months". Through online research, Joshua's mother discovered Iplex, another drug originally intended for helping childing with growth deficiencies that showed promising results for A.L.S. sufferers who had tried it. But the drug was initially unavailable due to a settlement arising from a patent dispute:

[T]he drug's maker, Insmed, lost a patent infringement lawsuit to a biotechnology firm that was already selling a drug for short stature that had similar properties. Iplex , however, was thought to be more potent for treating A.L.S. Insmed agreed to pull its drug off the market. Only the Italian Health Ministry, which had begun to distribute the drug to A.L.S. patients under a compassionate use program, could continue to buy it. Kathy dashed off a letter to the F.D.A.... But the agency could not weigh in until Insmed agreed to make the drug available. And Insmed's hands were tied by the settlement agreement.

Before lashing out at the drug companies involved, or the F.D.A. for standing in the way of experimental trials, make sure you read the whole article. In the end, an agreement between drug companies, and a reversal of course by the F.D.A., allowed Joshua to start treatment with Iplex as a "compassionate use" exception."
Link to Original Source

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Chasing it: What's the next market bubble?

klenwell klenwell writes  |  more than 6 years ago

klenwell writes "During my adult lifetime, we've had the dotcom bubble (and collapse) followed now by the housing bubble (and collapse). With markets in disarray, now is perhaps the time to start focusing on the next bubble. For once the markets have readjusted themselves, there will be just as much loose capital as ever looking for a fix.

My money's (not literally) on energy:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87991822

A friend of mine with whom I was discussing this recently pointed out that it's not necessarily easy for most ordinary people to get into the energy — or energy futures — market. I noted that the same could have been said, to a large extent, of stocks and homes before the last two bubbles. Indeed, it was the financial and technological innovations allowing the general public to get in on the action that really freed speculation. And I imagine many of the world's sharpest minds are already at work coming up with a solution to whatever problems of access are holding down the next bubble.

What do you think will be the next speculative market bubble?

Tom"
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klenwell klenwell writes  |  more than 8 years ago

klenwell (960296) writes "This is a question sure to stir up some reasoned debate, still I was wondering...

Al Gore takes a lot of flack in certain quarters for his (misquoted) title as "inventor of the internet". Nevertheless, he was crucial in the development of its infrastructure and its growth as a mass media platform. See for instance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore_controversies #Influence_on_the_Internet

Question: where do you think the internet and world wide web would be today if the current administration had been in power during its critical formative period in the early to mid 1990s?"

Journals

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Proposal for an User ID API

klenwell klenwell writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As a website developer and administrator, I've explored the OpenID site, read the recent articles about Microsoft's tentative endorsement of it, studied the comments about the announcement on Slashdot, and I confess it still doesn't fully make sense to me. What would make sense is a User ID API along the lines of what Google is now offering with their GData API suite. It wouldn't necessarily have to be Google, but it would probably have to be an established email or login broker like Google, Yahoo!, MSN, perhaps even Wikipedia or Myspace. More ideally, still, it might be a non-profit or government organization. (If we're going to have a SSN or national ID card, why not a national email address? The states of CA or MA could lead the way if necessary, though I admit I'd have more faith in a Google or Yahoo.) More than one API would be fine, as long as they were simple to deploy, as protective as possible of user's privacy, reliable and convenient, and attractive to smaller site admins.

How would it work? Here's a rough scenario based on how the Google API functions. Imagine you have a blog where you'd like to limit comments from new, unidentified visitors but don't want to put them through the hassle of registering with your site or solving a CAPTCHA every time they visit. You have your comment form with email field. When unknown visitor submits comment, the info gets relayed to the appropriate API server, which then could return relevant authenticating data. This data might include:

boolean indicating if active cookie is currently set for visitor
unix timestamp indicating when this account was created/registers
unix timestamp indicating last time this account was active
user's display name
url for hot-linkable user profile image (opt-in)
other opt-in profile information

The API would enable the site admin to define restrictions and hurdles based on the data returned. For instance, if the site admin finds she is getting a lot of spam for Gmail account created within the last three days, she could create script to require CAPTCHA validation for accounts less than 3 days old, etc.

The incentive for account authenticating services like Google or Yahoo would be obvious.

The drawbacks? The first one that springs to mind would be the leviathan one: do we want to centralize this service and trust public ID authentication to a large corporation (Auth Super Site) like Google or Yahoo? Wouldn't they be in perfect position to abuse this power down the line? Perhaps. The service would necessarily require aggregation of data with a large, central authority. But this has already been done with the major webmail and social networking site, which is why they make perfect candidates. And the data does not have to be that personal. Basically, just a user id and something indicating that the user has been around for a while and is not a spammer or hacker.

Also, the service could allow site admins to send data back to the Auth Super Site on abusive behavior. For example, code:900 (possible spam) user input:love your site, hey check out mine.

Such a service would seem to fit hand-in-glove with what Google is doing with their ClientLogin API and Analytics and Website Tool services. (Perhaps they have something like this in the works?) I'm a big proponent of this kind of service. Is anyone else hoping for something like this? Is there some falsifier or are there other drawbacks that I'm missing?

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The Internet Without Al Gore

klenwell klenwell writes  |  more than 8 years ago

This is a question sure to stir up some reasoned debate, still I was wondering...

Al Gore takes a lot of flack in certain quarters for his (misquoted) title as "inventor of the internet". Nevertheless, he was crucial in the development of its infrastructure and its growth as a mass media platform. See for instance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore_controversies#Influence_on_the_Internet

Question: where do you think the internet and world wide web would be today if the current administration had been in power during its critical formative period in the early to mid 1990s?

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