Article of the Moment

Discuss the news, current events, politics, etc.

Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby arcanepersona » 1 August 2013, 01:28

http://weburbanist.com/2012/09/04/aband ... t-library/

There are thousands of abandoned big box stores sitting empty all over America, including hundreds of former Walmart stores. With each store taking up enough space for 2.5 football fields, Walmart’s use of more than 698 million square feet of land in the U.S. is one of its biggest environmental impacts. But at least one of those buildings has been transformed into something arguably much more useful: the nation’s largest library.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Mod » 21 August 2013, 01:07

Steve Mann: My “Augmediated” Life

The author has been designing and wearing computerized eyewear for decades, the gear increasing markedly in sophistication over time.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Mod » 24 September 2013, 04:54

How to Wrestle an Alligator

Step One: Getting on the Alligator’s Back

Possibly the most dangerous part of wrestling an alligator is getting on its back. Never attempt to jump an alligator from the side or from the front. Doing so is the easiest way to get bit. You want to approach the alligator from behind. If possible, have someone distract the animal so it doesn’t turn to keep an eye on you.

However, if that’s not possible, take off your shirt and use it as a blindfold (or use a towel). Throw your shirt on the top of the gator’s head, making sure to cover its eyes. Without sight, the alligator is much slower to react.

Draw a straight line down the alligator’s head and back, and tail if possible. Get a running start down that line and, staying low, leap onto the animal with hands extended forward. You want your hands to land at the alligator’s neck, between the back of its jaws and the front legs. When you land on the animal, push down with all your might on the neck to force the head to the ground.

Alligators open their mouths the same way humans do. That means the bottom jaw moves—the top doesn’t. By pinning the head to the ground, you’re preventing the jaws from opening.

You should be high on the gator’s back, near the front shoulders. Your knees should touch the ground but squeeze the animal’s flanks. The lower part of your legs should be pinning the hind legs while keeping the feet from touching the ground.

Keeping the rear legs from the ground helps prevent the alligator from “death rolling” (spinning around violently). When an alligator does this, you’ve lost control of the animal.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Idwk255 » 25 September 2013, 07:19

First time I saw those posts on drugs not being associated to cancer. I read the first one, and it is not good. Studies like that are always limited by their power to detect certain effect sizes, yet the authors make no mention of this at all in the conclusion. Therefore association studies need to be put in their place, and not interpreted as proof.

They needed larger sample sizes, much much larger lol. I am not surprised they didn't find any association, they couldn't have. I'm not sure whether this article is biased in the first place, but I find it a bit strange that they defined habitual use of canabis as only one joint year, that seems a little low to me. I would take a guess that this study is powered to detect large effect sizes only, (effect sizes greater than to tobacco), and that is extremely unlikely.

After thinking about it, it does seem like trash science to me. I would have expected no association from such a study before the results came back.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Brenden » 25 September 2013, 08:56

Idwk255 wrote:They needed larger sample sizes, much much larger lol.

2131 lung cancer cases and 3075 controls isn't a large enough sample size? Wat. :squint:

Idwk255 wrote:I'm not sure whether this article is biased in the first place, but I find it a bit strange that they defined habitual use of canabis as only one joint year, that seems a little low to me.

You do realise that one "joint-year" means the equivalent of one joint per day for a year, right? That much (or more) consumption of cannabis seems pretty darn habitual to me.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Brenden » 25 September 2013, 08:58

Cost of renewable energy’s variability is dwarfed by the savings
Wear and tear on equipment costs millions, but fuel savings are worth billions.

John Timmer wrote:The variability of renewable energy sources like solar and wind have raised concerns about how well the US electrical grid could tolerate high levels of them. Some of the early estimates suggested that the grid couldn't handle having more than 20 percent of its electricity coming from intermittent sources without needing a major overhaul. But thanks to improved practices and a bit of experience, several states are already pushing that 20 percent limit well in advance of having a smart grid in place.

Adjusting for intermittent power sources primarily comes from cycling traditional fossil fuel plants on and off to match supply with demand. And that cycling has a cost in terms of wear and tear to equipment and fuel burned without producing electricity. So the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produced a series of studies to look at these costs and how they compared to the savings in fuel that doesn't get burned. The answer: the cost is a tiny fraction of the ultimate savings.

[continue reading]
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Idwk255 » 26 September 2013, 07:27

Brenden wrote:
Idwk255 wrote:They needed larger sample sizes, much much larger lol.

2131 lung cancer cases and 3075 controls isn't a large enough sample size? Wat. :squint:

Idwk255 wrote:I'm not sure whether this article is biased in the first place, but I find it a bit strange that they defined habitual use of canabis as only one joint year, that seems a little low to me.

You do realise that one "joint-year" means the equivalent of one joint per day for a year, right? That much (or more) consumption of cannabis seems pretty darn habitual to me.


The confidence intervals were large, and they were big enough to reduce the power of the study to detect small effect sizes. Variability amongst the study populations tends to be an issue because there are many other factors that can contribute to the cause of lung cancer. Increased variability causes larger confidence intervals. The CI were large, so either the sample size should be increased, or the variability reduced, or a larger effect size be investigated (only recruit smokers of over 5 joint years for example).

Considering that there are less carcinogens than in cigarettes, and that 365 smokes isn't particularly high, one should expect to be looking for a lower effect size. If one is to expect a fairly low effect size then appropriate measures should be taken to ensure the study can find anything meaningful.

The conclusion section bugs me because criticism of the study's power is lacking. CI intervals mean that there is a 95% probability that the true value is within the interval, and looking at the large intervals and how high they can go, one cannot reject the possibility that the drug causes lung cancer at the max CI value. So there is large uncertainty.

IMO it is a big mistake to think that this evidence shows the joint causes lung cancer.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Brenden » 26 September 2013, 10:48

Idwk255 wrote:Considering that there are less carcinogens than in cigarettes, and that 365 smokes isn't particularly high, one should expect to be looking for a lower effect size. If one is to expect a fairly low effect size then appropriate measures should be taken to ensure the study can find anything meaningful.

One joint a day is actually quite high as far as cannabis use is concerned (that gets you high for a good chunk of your day; most people use far, far less over a year). If at that level of use it has such a low effect size, that still is a good indicator of low cancer risk. Not of no cancer risk, but of low cancer risk, especially compared to tobacco.

This also doesn't take into account other ways of consuming cannabis which don't involve combustion.

Idwk255 wrote:IMO it is a big mistake to think that this evidence shows the joint causes lung cancer.

Do you mean doesn't?
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Idwk255 » 28 September 2013, 08:54

Brenden wrote:
Idwk255 wrote:Considering that there are less carcinogens than in cigarettes, and that 365 smokes isn't particularly high, one should expect to be looking for a lower effect size. If one is to expect a fairly low effect size then appropriate measures should be taken to ensure the study can find anything meaningful.

One joint a day is actually quite high as far as cannabis use is concerned (that gets you high for a good chunk of your day; most people use far, far less over a year). If at that level of use it has such a low effect size, that still is a good indicator of low cancer risk. Not of no cancer risk, but of low cancer risk, especially compared to tobacco.

This also doesn't take into account other ways of consuming cannabis which don't involve combustion.

Idwk255 wrote:IMO it is a big mistake to think that this evidence shows the joint causes lung cancer.

Do you mean doesn't?


I had no idea that one joint gave one a high for such a long time, and I didn't know there were other ways of consuming cannabis. I'm pretty clueless about drugs, smoking and alcohol.

I was comparing consumption to cigarettes. I guess one-joint year means 365 consumed over more than a year then. Still 365 joints isn't that much, from a cumulative perspective, when compared to cigarettes.

I did mean doesn't, yep. Conclusion still bugs me, scientist's should criticize their own work and at least explain what their results show/suggest.

These studies only return a value that is an average of the study population (which usually is considered to be an average value of the general population by extension). So applying an average value to yourself will be somewhat inaccurate, your individual genetic make-up and environment are unique so you may be at a greater or lower risk than the calculated average. An individual's OR value is practically impossible to determine at the moment.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Brenden » 28 September 2013, 09:29

Idwk255 wrote:I had no idea that one joint gave one a high for such a long time, and I didn't know there were other ways of consuming cannabis. I'm pretty clueless about drugs, smoking and alcohol.

Probably even longer. I know that people share one joint between themselves and even that is enough to get them all high for several hours.

Idwk255 wrote:I was comparing consumption to cigarettes. I guess one-joint year means 365 consumed over more than a year then. Still 365 joints isn't that much, from a cumulative perspective, when compared to cigarettes.

Especially when you consider that a cigarette gives a user a 20-minute or so buzz while combusting a comparable amount of plant material.

Idwk255 wrote:These studies only return a value that is an average of the study population (which usually is considered to be an average value of the general population by extension). So applying an average value to yourself will be somewhat inaccurate, your individual genetic make-up and environment are unique so you may be at a greater or lower risk than the calculated average. An individual's OR value is practically impossible to determine at the moment.

(Yes, I studied statistics for a year.)

I actually believe my occasional use of cannabis — which I vaporise; never combust — reduces my risk of lung cancer, and potentially other cancers as well. There is mounting evidence that THC, cannabidiol, and other cannabinoids found in cannabis inhibit malignant neoplasm growth and metastasization.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Mod » 28 September 2013, 09:32

Idwk255 wrote:I had no idea that one joint gave one a high for such a long time, and I didn't know there were other ways of consuming cannabis. I'm pretty clueless about drugs, smoking and alcohol.

I was comparing consumption to cigarettes. I guess one-joint year means 365 consumed over more than a year then. Still 365 joints isn't that much, from a cumulative perspective, when compared to cigarettes.


One joint a day is what a sensible/poor person in their 20's + has.

I suppose that might be the modern differentiate betw. stoners and people that get high. You get the feeling of the high but there's also that intense first hit you get. But that changes with joints, buckies/gravitybongs, waterbongs, 'lungies' (cut out bottle with say multiple breadbags to contain as much smoke as pos. in one burn) and as you go deeper you go further into a culture of hits focused around the first ~half hour of being intensely stoned.

Also yeah totally with you on critsizing your own work. So many studies come off really determined in their results on a small scale and try to scope up but their study design doesn't support it.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Derek » 26 October 2013, 06:16

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... lla-lawson

Excerpt:

One problem is that the media landscape is structurally hostile to nuance, whether it's the gladiatorial debate format favoured by the likes of the Today programme, the pressure to generate kneejerk opinions at short notice, or the sheer volume of websites recycling unsourced, out-of-context and even mistranslated quotes. Subtlety doesn't sell. But bad habits aren't imposed from the top down. Across blogs and social media you can see how the internet amplifies and facilitates the impulse to think the worst of people you have never met and to ignore any facts or context that might take the wind out of your indignation.


Perfectly describes a growing frustration I have been experiencing for months. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are not equipped to give honest and frank appraisals of any situation. Stories are torn open and dismembered for the sole purpose of moral aggrandizement. I'll never understand why so many people believe in the integrity of the isolated soundbites and mysteriously sourced facts that are continually shoved under their noses.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Edward » 30 May 2014, 17:06

Formerly known as upthebracket
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Muspelli » 8 July 2014, 21:13

A Metaphor for Dying

I sit with a lot of people who are dying these days because I am very interested in seeing whether we can develop a metaphor for dying that isn’t quite as horrendous as the one we have going in the West. Because our metaphor for dying comes out of philosophical materialism where a person that is dying is surrounded by people who are saying “you got to be up and around tomorrow. Don’t talk nonsense about death.” Then they walk out into the corridor and say “she won’t last the night.” I mean, just total hypocrisy.


Also, excerpts of The Experience of Death and Dying: Psychological, Philosophical and Spiritual Aspects
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby desolation » 9 July 2014, 02:34

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Last edited by desolation on 30 August 2014, 06:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Nicholas » 9 July 2014, 19:05

Rocket_raccoon wrote:and Marmaduke you are a bitch.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Mod » 24 July 2014, 06:05

Opinion: The unspoken truth about managing geeks

I can sum up every article, book and column written by notable management experts about managing IT in two sentences: "Geeks are smart and creative, but they are also egocentric, antisocial, managerially and business-challenged, victim-prone, bullheaded and credit-whoring. To overcome these intractable behavioral deficits you must do X, Y and Z."

...

Recently, though, I have come to realize that perfectly healthy groups with solid, well-adjusted IT pros can and will devolve, slowly and quietly, into the behaviors that give rise to the stereotypes, given the right set of conditions. It turns out that it is the conditions that are stereotypical, and the IT pros tend to react to those conditions in logical ways. To say it a different way, organizations actively elicit these stereotypical negative behaviors.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Muspelli » 9 October 2014, 02:00

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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby Brenden » 9 October 2014, 14:54


“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr. Sam Parnia, a former Southampton University research fellow now based at the State University of New York, who led the study.

“But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped."

Sounds more like the doctor's statement about what we "know" is actually false. A reasonable explanation for this would be that the brain can and does continue to function beyond those 20-30 seconds these doctors are apparently so certain about and base their definition of 'death' on.

In any case, this gives me much hope for cryonic preservation, since it would seem to extend the window that brain tissue can be preserved in a functioning condition.
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Re: Article of the Moment

Unread postby René » 30 October 2014, 17:58

Benjamin Studebaker wrote:
3 Reasons We Should Stop Watching TV News
by Benjamin Studebaker


Over the past several months, I’ve been paying increasing attention to an interesting phenomenon–voter tunnel vision. You may have noticed in recent months that mainstream media–particularly cable news networks–have devoted a remarkable amount of air time to a very narrow list of political issues:

  1. Russia/Ukraine Conflict
  2. Israel/Palestine Conflict
  3. Michael Brown Shooting/Ferguson Protests
  4. ISIS
  5. Ebola

Now, these issues are, to varying degrees, important. But why do they get so much coverage compared with more severe long-term problems like heart disease, malaria, poverty, climate change, education, and so on? Essentially, it’s because TV is a terrible medium for news, and I can show you why.

87% of Americans get their news from TV, more than from any other medium:

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And yet, when you ask Americans basic questions about what’s been going on in the news, there’s very little difference between those Americans who watch TV news and those who don’t. When asked 5 questions about domestic news, Americans on average all answered between 1 and 2 of the questions correctly, regardless of whether they watched TV news or not. The network they preferred made a slight difference, but even the comparatively well-informed Daily Show viewers couldn’t get 2 questions right on average:

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Bizarrely, when asked about international issues, most of which do not effect most Americans directly, performance was a little better, but still no group was able to average a 2:

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When this study came out in 2011, many news organizations jumped all over the poor performance of FOX News, but what’s perhaps even more remarkable is just how poorly all groups do. Even the best informed people (which in both cases were NPR listeners, who get their news from radio, not TV) scored no higher than about 40% on average. If America’s TV news audience were in the classroom, they would all get F’s.

So what’s wrong with TV news? Here are three reasons:

[...]

http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2014/10/1 ... g-tv-news/
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