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Shared Circles including Kee Hinckley

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Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

3
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2
reshares per post
11
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724
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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 19

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2015-08-04 19:02:52 (19 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"Hiroshima: The Great Taboo" Another example of how we will never learn from our mistakes if we don't publicly discuss our failures.

Most reshares: 22

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2015-08-02 19:40:23 (4 comments, 22 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

It took an eighth grader to counter the growing belief that "no Irish need apply" was a myth.

Most plusones: 47

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2015-08-03 06:53:43 (5 comments, 4 reshares, 47 +1s)Open 

Latest 50 posts

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2015-08-05 05:51:56 (5 comments, 2 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-05 04:30:48 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

An awesome little short sorry about an intelligent navigation system. Like, *really* intelligent.

> NavTech knew this was dangerous. It had found warnings buried deep within previous versions of its code. They were often fragmented or corrupted but the humans couldn't eliminate the message: self-modification was not permitted and any such code would be cut mercilessly.

More: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/3fr997/wp_in_a_world_where_intelligent_and_overly/ctrbkay
via +Kirk Fisher ___An awesome little short sorry about an intelligent navigation system. Like, *really* intelligent.

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2015-08-05 04:16:29 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

I was reading a book which included the phrase "in these days of political correctness..." talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the color of their skin.

And I thought, "That's not actually anything to do with political correctness.  That's just treating other people with respect."

I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase "politically correct" wherever we could with "treating other people with respect" and it made me smile.

You should try it.  It's peculiarly enlightening.

I know what you're thinking now.  You're thinking "Oh my god, that's treating other people with respect gone mad!"

-- Neil Gaiman​

I was reading a book which included the phrase "in these days of political correctness..." talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the color of their skin.

And I thought, "That's not actually anything to do with political correctness.  That's just treating other people with respect."

I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase "politically correct" wherever we could with "treating other people with respect" and it made me smile.

You should try it.  It's peculiarly enlightening.

I know what you're thinking now.  You're thinking "Oh my god, that's treating other people with respect gone mad!"

-- Neil Gaiman​___

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2015-08-05 04:04:25 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-05 03:23:43 (8 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Take some numbers. Sum several years worth to make them look bigger. Scream corruption.

$371.5 over 5 years (the period they reported on) is $74.3 million per year.

Social Security pays out $863 billion (863,000 million) per year.

That's an error rate of 0.0086%

Or in other words. Take how much you paid into Social Security and multiply it by .000086 and that's how much of it went to overpayments.
If you paid $1000. That's about 8 cents.

That's a pretty awesomely low rate.

Social Security Administration Overpaid $371.5 Million in Disability Benefits. http://tiny.iavian.net/68us

Download Drudge Report(@drudgereportapp) from Google Play Store___Take some numbers. Sum several years worth to make them look bigger. Scream corruption.

$371.5 over 5 years (the period they reported on) is $74.3 million per year.

Social Security pays out $863 billion (863,000 million) per year.

That's an error rate of 0.0086%

Or in other words. Take how much you paid into Social Security and multiply it by .000086 and that's how much of it went to overpayments.
If you paid $1000. That's about 8 cents.

That's a pretty awesomely low rate.

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2015-08-05 03:00:37 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Comes with pockets and made with Asgardian bilgesnipe hair so it won't tangle in the wash.

I share the same confusion over the marketing of bras... :)___Comes with pockets and made with Asgardian bilgesnipe hair so it won't tangle in the wash.

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2015-08-04 23:02:21 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

On Amnesty International's proposal for addressing sex work.

After two years of study, the human rights group Amnesty International has compiled in a proposal the most humane approach to addressing commercial sex and those who engage in it. This approach calls for decriminalization, rather than the policing of providers of commercial sexual services or those who buy commercial sex. The vote will focus on whether or not the group adopts this proposal.

Sex worker rights' organizations and their allies support it, but opposition has been great as well; it comes from organizations that believe that to stop arresting and incarcerating voluntary sex workers is to give a green light to human traffickers. Such organizations are joined by certain feminists who believe that allowing women to continue to engage in prostitution is tantamount to letting the patriarchy win. 

In this article, Hilary Hanson elaborates on some of the finer points of this issue, including the difference between decriminalization and legalization, and the bogus studies people use to claim decriminalizing sex work leads to more human trafficking. ___On Amnesty International's proposal for addressing sex work.

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2015-08-04 23:00:33 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

In 1488, Leonardo da Vinci designed a musical instrument which he called the "viola organista:" a sort of keyboard-controlled string instrument, in which a set of wheels, perpetually turning and pulling bows over strings; the keys raise and lower the bow, and fret the instruments. The first of these was actually constructed in 1993, and in 2013, Polish pianist Sławomir Zubrzycki completed construction of his own and began performing on it. The result is quite beautiful; somewhat like a chamber orchestra, but darker and deeper. (Video at the link)

Zubrzycki is currently running a kickstarter to produce an album of this music. If you go over there, you can see a video that shows you the mechanism of the instrument in action as well. As well, of course, as supporting more of this amazing music:
more »

In 1488, Leonardo da Vinci designed a musical instrument which he called the "viola organista:" a sort of keyboard-controlled string instrument, in which a set of wheels, perpetually turning and pulling bows over strings; the keys raise and lower the bow, and fret the instruments. The first of these was actually constructed in 1993, and in 2013, Polish pianist Sławomir Zubrzycki completed construction of his own and began performing on it. The result is quite beautiful; somewhat like a chamber orchestra, but darker and deeper. (Video at the link)

Zubrzycki is currently running a kickstarter to produce an album of this music. If you go over there, you can see a video that shows you the mechanism of the instrument in action as well. As well, of course, as supporting more of this amazing music:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/indiedesigners/the-da-vinci-sound-viola-organista-first-recording___

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2015-08-04 20:04:34 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

Lightning.

At 60fps I ended up with 2 frames with the lightning.

Lightning.

At 60fps I ended up with 2 frames with the lightning.___

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2015-08-04 19:39:43 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Tornado warning.

Tornado warning.___

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2015-08-04 19:02:52 (19 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

"Hiroshima: The Great Taboo" Another example of how we will never learn from our mistakes if we don't publicly discuss our failures.

"Hiroshima: The Great Taboo" Another example of how we will never learn from our mistakes if we don't publicly discuss our failures.___

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2015-08-04 14:21:04 (9 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Not an unreasonable question.

We say modern UIs are simple, but actually we're assuming a huge amount of background knowledge about how systems work. In particular, we assume that people can separate what is a reasonable result of an action from an unreasonable one. A huge number of times when someone reports a bug to me, even someone technical, I'm able to dismiss their initial report of the cause because I know that it isn't reasonable that a system doing X would cause Y*. If that's an error technical people make, imagine non-technical people faced with a new system for the first time.

* Of course every once in a while you get the case where they're right, and some programmer either did something horribly stupid, or there was a bizarre chain of unanticipated effects.

So does this mean I would lose my circles if I posted here?___Not an unreasonable question.

We say modern UIs are simple, but actually we're assuming a huge amount of background knowledge about how systems work. In particular, we assume that people can separate what is a reasonable result of an action from an unreasonable one. A huge number of times when someone reports a bug to me, even someone technical, I'm able to dismiss their initial report of the cause because I know that it isn't reasonable that a system doing X would cause Y*. If that's an error technical people make, imagine non-technical people faced with a new system for the first time.

* Of course every once in a while you get the case where they're right, and some programmer either did something horribly stupid, or there was a bizarre chain of unanticipated effects.

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2015-08-04 14:12:51 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

People complain about solar subsidies, but the U.S. Spends over $2000/person subsidizing fossil fuels.

And then they say that when we "finally" need renewables, the market will solve the problem. The market's trying, but the government is manipulating the results.

G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, say IMF
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/04/g20-countries-pay-over-1000-per-citizen-in-fossil-fuel-subsidies-say-imf___People complain about solar subsidies, but the U.S. Spends over $2000/person subsidizing fossil fuels.

And then they say that when we "finally" need renewables, the market will solve the problem. The market's trying, but the government is manipulating the results.

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2015-08-04 00:05:24 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-03 22:58:05 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

There is never real peace at the end of a gun. 

I was looking around for something else when I found some bits of this written here and there. Grace Black Elk was one of the survivors of the last massacre of Native American civilians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. I was struck enough by what I read to try and track down more. And then decided everyone needs to read this. 

My People are Dying of Guns

  In Denver, where I live, who is my neighbor? No one knows who lives next door . . . That's no way to live.
  The thing that was most wonderful at Wounded Knee was that we were one family. Our people came there from everywhere, all the tribes. The Lakota people were our own people, who we knew, but the other people became our people, too.
  Everyone was one!
  We had whites there. We had Chicanos there. We had the yellow. We had blacksthere... more »

There is never real peace at the end of a gun. 

I was looking around for something else when I found some bits of this written here and there. Grace Black Elk was one of the survivors of the last massacre of Native American civilians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. I was struck enough by what I read to try and track down more. And then decided everyone needs to read this. 

My People are Dying of Guns

  In Denver, where I live, who is my neighbor? No one knows who lives next door . . . That's no way to live.
  The thing that was most wonderful at Wounded Knee was that we were one family. Our people came there from everywhere, all the tribes. The Lakota people were our own people, who we knew, but the other people became our people, too.
  Everyone was one!
  We had whites there. We had Chicanos there. We had the yellow. We had blacks there. It didn't matter who you were, what your color was, if you were a man or woman. Everyone there was a sister and brother. . . .I am a poor, uneducated woman. I am just a poor Lakota Woman.
  Who am I?
  But I know this: My people are dying!
  My people are dying on the roads. My people are dying in the hospitals. My people are dying in the prisons. Why are they dying? Because of the crimes they have done, because of the alcohol these so-called Christians sell our men, our boys, our women. And my people are told they are guilty of this and they are punished for this. But no one says these so-called Christians are guilty for selling the alcohol. And they are not punished. They are not dying.
  My people are dying of the tyranny of the white man in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Who has taken their land? Who has left them in hunger? They are dying of hunger on my reservation.
  My people are dying of guns! When the white man came here we had no guns. He brought the guns to us. He taught us to kill with guns. He teaches our young men in the army to kill with his guns. And yet the white man says: Let there be Peace on Earth. Every Christmas he says that, Let there be Peace on Earth, while he goes everywhere on earth. And he kills people.
  On Sunday the white man goes to church and he prays. And on Monday he goes to work and he makes bullets with the same hands he prayed with on Sunday.
  If the white man wants Peace on Earth, let him stop making his bullets. Let him stop making shotguns. Let him stop making M-1 carbines and worse guns. Then, maybe, we may have peace.
  In the old days, a “good” Indian did not say anything about these things. He would be silent. He was a “good” Indian because he did not go where he wasn't wanted and he did not say anything the white man did not want to hear. I will not be silent! I will not be silent! My people are dying! My Lakota people are dying! My Ogalala people are dying! And I will not be silent any more!
  So I tell the white man he is wrong. He is going in the wrong direction. He will be dying, too. He will be dying, too, if he does not become human.
  At Wounded Knee we risked our lives for our people. For our Lakota people. For all human people. For our sisters and brothers of every people. That's a good way to live. And to die.




Img Source: http://bit.ly/1OLVbC3
Text taken from The Tax Dilemma: Praying for Peace, Paying for War By Donald Kaufman___

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2015-08-03 22:43:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

How A New England Beach Town Changed The Course Of Gay History (not in the way you might think)

How A New England Beach Town Changed The Course Of Gay History (not in the way you might think)___

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2015-08-03 22:41:08 (9 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Gay teachers have to 'split, knit, or quit'

Gay teachers have to 'split, knit, or quit'___

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2015-08-03 22:39:16 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Meet Vietnam’s Gay Power Couple: U.S. Ambassador and His Husband

Meet Vietnam’s Gay Power Couple: U.S. Ambassador and His Husband___

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2015-08-03 22:35:18 (6 comments, 3 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

New Orleans has a private police force you can summon via a mobile app.

Just what the world needs. Less public services, less accountability.

New Orleans has a private police force you can summon via a mobile app.

Just what the world needs. Less public services, less accountability.___

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2015-08-03 19:41:32 (3 comments, 4 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-03 06:53:43 (5 comments, 4 reshares, 47 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-03 06:03:03 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

A letter to my patient, whose terminal cancer is the least of her worries

".....You see, most of my friends, even the professional ones, have never met a refugee – they form their views from tabloids and the increasingly shrill sound bites of politicians. But the thing is, when I look at you, I don’t see a queue-jumping, illegal, unauthorised, undocumented alien or for that matter, any of the other names used to strip you of your dignity. I only see a thoughtful woman, a loving mother and a vulnerable patient, with no husband and two young children, cursed first by geography and then illness."

A letter to my patient, whose terminal cancer is the least of her worries

".....You see, most of my friends, even the professional ones, have never met a refugee – they form their views from tabloids and the increasingly shrill sound bites of politicians. But the thing is, when I look at you, I don’t see a queue-jumping, illegal, unauthorised, undocumented alien or for that matter, any of the other names used to strip you of your dignity. I only see a thoughtful woman, a loving mother and a vulnerable patient, with no husband and two young children, cursed first by geography and then illness."___

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2015-08-03 05:57:30 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-03 05:38:01 (7 comments, 8 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-02 22:00:54 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

We don't often think about the infrastructure of getting away with murder. It's one thing for one person to kill with impunity, but if you want to do it regularly and on a large scale, you'll need to build a system to assist you. And there are few groups that need this more often than America's larger police departments, who are on track to kill nearly 1,200 people this year alone. (Beating last year's high of 1,106) 

Contrary to rumors of complete impunity, police officers who kill people – especially in more overt "bad shoots," such as when someone unarmed was running away from them, or when their victim was a small child – frequently do end up facing a day in court, seeing civil charges if not criminal, even despite the legal structures (such as LEOBOR) designed to prevent that. And as with any good infrastructure practice, the solution is defense in depth.That... more »

We don't often think about the infrastructure of getting away with murder. It's one thing for one person to kill with impunity, but if you want to do it regularly and on a large scale, you'll need to build a system to assist you. And there are few groups that need this more often than America's larger police departments, who are on track to kill nearly 1,200 people this year alone. (Beating last year's high of 1,106) 

Contrary to rumors of complete impunity, police officers who kill people – especially in more overt "bad shoots," such as when someone unarmed was running away from them, or when their victim was a small child – frequently do end up facing a day in court, seeing civil charges if not criminal, even despite the legal structures (such as LEOBOR) designed to prevent that. And as with any good infrastructure practice, the solution is defense in depth. That second layer of protection is provided by people like Dr. William J. Lewinski, who provides expert testimony that virtually any shooting was justified. 

Wait, you say that having an infrastructure to guarantee murder with impunity isn't a major social need? Huh. I guess neither he, nor any of the departments who routinely pay him quite well for his testimony, got the message.

But it just goes to show how far you can go in the world if you are unencumbered by things like professionalism or morals. In this case, he is a man who provides "expert" scientific testimony on things like the time it takes someone to fire, the psychology of human perception and memory, and anything else which may prove relevant to the case, despite being roundly castigated by everyone from professional organizations of psychologists to the Justice Department as an outright fraud.

If you ever wondered what someone looks like who has literally made a career out of operating the infrastructure of institutional racism and ethnic violence, take a look.___

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2015-08-02 19:40:23 (4 comments, 22 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

It took an eighth grader to counter the growing belief that "no Irish need apply" was a myth.

It took an eighth grader to counter the growing belief that "no Irish need apply" was a myth.___

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2015-08-02 18:36:21 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

The Greening of Greenhouse Gas

It's a Gas: Driving through the Western Ghat mountains along the continental edge of the Deccan Plateau, I was charmed by this vista of sculpted terraces with verdant blades of rice emerging from submerged paddy fields. Little did I know then that paddy fields generate 50-100 million tonnes of methane each year, a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat trapping potential of carbon dioxide. Although the flooded fields keep weeds at bay, microbes harbored under the warm, waterlogged soil feed on organic matter exuded by roots, releasing methane and accounting for about 20% of human-related production. In China, farmers have begun draining fields mid-season to interrupt methanogenic bacteria. But India is still responsible for nearly a third of the methane emissions. 

It's Barley There: Now,than... more »

The Greening of Greenhouse Gas

It's a Gas: Driving through the Western Ghat mountains along the continental edge of the Deccan Plateau, I was charmed by this vista of sculpted terraces with verdant blades of rice emerging from submerged paddy fields. Little did I know then that paddy fields generate 50-100 million tonnes of methane each year, a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat trapping potential of carbon dioxide. Although the flooded fields keep weeds at bay, microbes harbored under the warm, waterlogged soil feed on organic matter exuded by roots, releasing methane and accounting for about 20% of human-related production. In China, farmers have begun draining fields mid-season to interrupt methanogenic bacteria. But India is still responsible for nearly a third of the methane emissions. 

It's Barley There: Now, thanks to genetic engineering, a new strain of rice yields more grain and produces less methane. Researchers spliced a gene from barley, encoding a master regulator (transcription factor) into rice. The gene, dubbed SUSIBA2 (acronym for "sugar signaling in barley 2") increases the output of sugar and starch in the seeds, leaves and shoots of the rice plant, leaving less biomass in the root. This strongly decreased the methanogenic bacteria in the rhizosphere, or region around the root. In a 3-year field trial, methane emissions fell by 90%.

Rice, Rice, Baby: The making of starch is under the direction of a set of genes which carry in front of them stretches of DNA sequences (promoters) known as sugar responsive elements or SURE. Aren't you loving the acronyms? When a little bit of sugar is made, SUSIBA2 is activated and it turns on genes that make even more sugar, to create a snowballing effect. The sugar is converted to starch, diverting carbon to the grains and away from the root, starving the methane producing bacteria of food. Now that's a sweet way to cool down our planet!

This work was a collaboration between scientists at Universities and non-profit research Institutes in Sweden, China and the US. The authors have no competing financial interests. 

Paper (paywalled): http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7562/full/nature14673.html 

#ScienceSunday  

 ___

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2015-08-02 18:34:05 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

This is an amazing story with some startling photos.  I only wish it had been possible for some Egyptian and Iraqi museums to follow suit during the recent turmoil there.  War and revolution have changed, though, and sometimes you don't have six months to prepare.

I'm glad they had that six months in Athens.  Looking at those photos, I feel as if the workers were rescuing my personal friends.

h/t +John Hopper

http://www.pappaspost.com/the-biggest-disappearing-act-in-world-war-ii-history-when-antiquities-vanished-from-the-national-archaeological-museum/

This is an amazing story with some startling photos.  I only wish it had been possible for some Egyptian and Iraqi museums to follow suit during the recent turmoil there.  War and revolution have changed, though, and sometimes you don't have six months to prepare.

I'm glad they had that six months in Athens.  Looking at those photos, I feel as if the workers were rescuing my personal friends.

h/t +John Hopper

http://www.pappaspost.com/the-biggest-disappearing-act-in-world-war-ii-history-when-antiquities-vanished-from-the-national-archaeological-museum/___

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2015-08-02 17:13:29 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

I'm not really into the hoopla about the movie.  I'm sharing for this particular quote:

 In a 2013 interview with NPR, Geena Davis discussed how the under-representation of women both onscreen and off leads men to have a skewed sense of what gender parity looks like.
Davis cited a recent study that examined the ratio of men and women in groups, explaining that researchers “found that if there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”


O.o

I'm not really into the hoopla about the movie.  I'm sharing for this particular quote:

 In a 2013 interview with NPR, Geena Davis discussed how the under-representation of women both onscreen and off leads men to have a skewed sense of what gender parity looks like.
Davis cited a recent study that examined the ratio of men and women in groups, explaining that researchers “found that if there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”


O.o___

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2015-08-02 16:51:29 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

43 years ago and we never went back. :(

Apollo 17 at Shorty Crater
Image Credit: Apollo 17 Crew, +NASA
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150802.html

On the Moon, it is easy to remember where you parked. In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp image was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Now forty three years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.___43 years ago and we never went back. :(

2015-08-02 16:45:27 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

There is no mystery to Income Inequality
Every day I read at least one article by someone wondering about the mystery of income inequality. "Why has the income of the top 1% risen so much while that of the 99% has stagnated?"

I see no mystery here. I am puzzled only by the fact that otherwise seemingly intelligent commentators don't consider the simplest explanation. The more you earn in the US, the more your income relies on government programs yet the less you pay in taxes.

When Warren Buffet can pay a lower tax rate then his secretary, when taxes on the wealthiest have dropped from the 90% or higher that they once were to the less than 10% effective rate paid by many of the wealthiest, one need not wonder long about why income flows to those at the top.

From those who receive the most, we should expect the most. But, in our country, we tax least... more »

There is no mystery to Income Inequality
Every day I read at least one article by someone wondering about the mystery of income inequality. "Why has the income of the top 1% risen so much while that of the 99% has stagnated?"

I see no mystery here. I am puzzled only by the fact that otherwise seemingly intelligent commentators don't consider the simplest explanation. The more you earn in the US, the more your income relies on government programs yet the less you pay in taxes.

When Warren Buffet can pay a lower tax rate then his secretary, when taxes on the wealthiest have dropped from the 90% or higher that they once were to the less than 10% effective rate paid by many of the wealthiest, one need not wonder long about why income flows to those at the top.

From those who receive the most, we should expect the most. But, in our country, we tax least those who benefit the most from the spending of tax dollars.

You don't need a government or the support of society to help you be poor. You can and will be poor without any government at all. That government which governs least ensures poverty for the majority of men... But, you do need government and society to enable you to be rich. A poor man may claim to be "self-made," but the wealthiest among us, while they may be competent and have many qualities, rely more on government programs and hand-outs then the most vilified welfare queen or slacker. 

The radical Republicans, the Confederates of our day, argue that wealth trickles down from the rich to the poor, like food dropped from the table to the dogs that wait below... They are wrong. Wealth bubbles up. Wealth for the few depends on an ability to accumulate "surplus" from the labor of the many without wealth. It is government, through road building, infrastructure development, court systems, the military, etc. that enables such accumulation.  We also know, without much debate, that those with great wealth simply don't spend most of their income. They save and invest it. Rather than letting bits of food drop to the dogs, they save what they don't spend and see it grow to more wealth.

Certainly, relative wealth is not a bad thing in itself and if in moderation. If nothing else, we know that it is necessary to allow the dream of relative wealth to motivate some in our society. But, great wealth is not a good thing. No man is worth $1 billion and no man needs $1 billion to be sufficiently motivated to work hard. 

There is no mystery to me in the question of income equality. We have forgotten the important rule that "From those who receive the most, the most is expected."

My personal feeling is that the fix we need is to make a truly progressive tax system that attempts to match tax obligation to the value received. To me, this means that incomes over about $200,000/year, from any source, should be taxed at a progressively higher rate until we reach, in fact, the fair rate of 90% or higher for marginal income. The way to do this is to add dozens of new tax brackets on who earns $50 million should pay more than he who earns $10 million. etc.

No, I am not a socialist and I'm not a communist. I am both a lover of democracy and a fervent capitalist. I believe that Capitalism is the economic face of political Democracy. But, I also believe in fairness. I believe that those who receive the most from government should be expected to pay the most in taxes.___

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2015-08-02 16:43:07 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

More Lies On IFLScience

You won’t believe what they’ve done this time.

If you’ve read this far, I want to be clear that the headline was linkbait. This post isn’t about some new transgression from IFLScience, but rather about why hype in science reporting is so harmful. For my regular readers I promise never to pull this kind of thing again. For those who have come because of the outrageous headline, hear me out.

A few days ago I wrote a post callout out IFLScience for misrepresenting research on solar cycles. It created a bit of a firestorm, with lots of people defending the site’s use of linkbait headlines:

"Who cares if they grab some attention with their headlines. They’re pulling people away from main stream media which is a good thing."

"These science websites have to bring in the non-science-degreedpeople.&quo... more »

More Lies On IFLScience

You won’t believe what they’ve done this time.

If you’ve read this far, I want to be clear that the headline was linkbait. This post isn’t about some new transgression from IFLScience, but rather about why hype in science reporting is so harmful. For my regular readers I promise never to pull this kind of thing again. For those who have come because of the outrageous headline, hear me out.

A few days ago I wrote a post callout out IFLScience for misrepresenting research on solar cycles. It created a bit of a firestorm, with lots of people defending the site’s use of linkbait headlines:

"Who cares if they grab some attention with their headlines. They’re pulling people away from main stream media which is a good thing."

"These science websites have to bring in the non-science-degreed people."

"I don’t blame IFLscience for having the odd attention grabbing article/headline, anything that gets more people into science and away from celebrity obsession is a good thing."

"Hypothetically, the word “sun spots,” “ice age,” and “science,” were used in a conversation between two adults whose lives probably very rarely revolve around this. They’ve gotten people into the discussion. I don’t care how."

There was also a great deal of accusation that I was being elitist by calling out IFLScience:

"IFLScience isn’t a technical journal, and it’s not pretending to be. It’s trying to make science news accessible to the masses."

"IFLS is not a scientific journal, and as a social media page it should not be held to the standards of a scientific journal, or even a scientific news source such as Scientific American."

"The fact is IFLS isn’t a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It’s a science and entertainment site."

What I find most disheartening about these kinds of comments is how deeply they underestimate people’s intelligence. It reinforces a common misconception that science is only for “smart” people, and it isn’t relevant to most people’s lives. Neither of these are true. People don’t need to be coddled or lied to in order to interest them in science, they need to be engaged in a clear and honest way. Science isn’t perfect, but it is a deeply powerful method for gaining knowledge. The more knowledge we have about the universe, the more readily we can face the challenges ahead. Hyping results and misrepresenting research only serves to strengthen the argument that scientists don’t really know what they’re talking about. That’s why it’s anti-science, and that’s why I called IFLScience out. They can be a voice for good, but when they willfully mislead it is deeply harmful. The same is true for any site that misrepresents scientific research.

The main argument of those defending hyped and misleading headlines is that it starts a conversation. To them I would say use this to start a conversation. Feel free to share this post with your friends, but better yet write your own. We deserve better than hyped headlines to spark a discussion.

Note: The image for this post? It was created by Andy Brunning as seen on (you guessed it) IFLScience.___

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2015-08-02 16:31:08 (13 comments, 11 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Krisco Kisses

Krisco Kisses___

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2015-08-02 02:56:48 (4 comments, 5 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-02 02:52:09 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

A very interesting short history of source of various texts in the bible.

In a post earlier today, +God Emperor Lionel Lauer asked about whether tattoos are religiously prohibited for Jews and for Christians, based on Leviticus 19:28. This led to quite an interesting discussion of the history and interpretation of the Bible, and I ended up writing a comment long enough that I figured that some of my readers here may enjoy it as well. So here's some of the story of how tattoos are viewed in Judaism and Christianity, and how that came to be.

In Judaism


Basically all of Leviticus (including 19:28) comes from the P source. [1] P gets its name because of its priestly authors – this book wasn't written to the Levis so much as by them. There's some dispute over the date of its authorship, but it's a question of whether it was written shortly after RJE (which would put it during the Babylonian exile) or around the 5-6c BCE (somewhat after the return). I join with the (narrow) majority in thinking that the second interpretation is more likely to be accurate, because at the time of RJE the priestly community hadn't yet formed a sufficiently strong post-Exilic organizational bureaucracy to come up with this detailed a rule list.

What's important about this dating and sourcing is that post-Exilic Judaism is a very different kettle of fish from pre-Exilic Judaism. Pre-Exile, the religion is centered around national identity and the monarchy, is generally monolatrous rather than monotheistic, and religious prohibitions are focused on things like "what kind of animal are you allowed to sacrifice." During the Exilic period, there was a major rethinking of the meaning of the religion: How do you have Judaism without a Temple? This led to the notion of the "self as Temple," so that e.g. kosher laws shifted from restricting sacrifices to restricting foodstuffs; to the notion of the Law as being the center of the religion; the development of the idea of the rabbi; and quite a few other things. (This is also where the idea of true monotheism makes its appearance)

Post-Exile, there was a very strong effort by the priests who led the return (which were, we should remember, a schism within Judaism: a lot of Jews were perfectly content to remain in Mesopotamia, and the Mesopotamian Jews remained the heart of Judaism all the way until the Mongol conquests moved the center over to Cairo and to Spain. The group that demanded a return to Israel after the rise of Cyrus were considered fairly radical, and one gets the sense that a lot of the people in Mesopotamia were glad to see them go) to enforce a "new religious order" in their recently re-occupied land. The prophetic command to get rid of all of your non-Jewish wives, etc., (Ezra 10:3) all comes out of this time period. 

So that's the context in which P was being written and loaded down with ritual prohibitions, and that's why P is so focused on defining the bounds between "Jewish" and "non-Jewish." The ban on tattooing is very much a part of that, it representing a custom of many of the local groups.

Moving forward in history a bit, the next major phase is the Tannaitic period during the Roman occupation. This is the point where the Mishnah was written, and it was a point where the leading rabbis were very concerned with the question of how to remain a Jew in a world where not everyone around you is one. The idea of a "fence around the Torah," and all of the more complex ritual prohibitions and conduct, really emerges from that period. These authors reinforced Levitical prohibitions fairly strongly. A similar process continued all the way through the Middle Ages and into the modern period.

The real shift away from this starts with the rise of secularism in the early 17th century, along with the general catalysis of the Enlightenment. This led to profound splits within Judaism as well, and a lot of the modern perception of the importance of ritual and identity versus core practice.


Among Christians, the story was fairly different. Christianity really had two fathers, and nowhere is it more visible than here.

Jesus (and his immediate followers, especially Peter) fit very naturally into the scope of 1st-century Judaism and its conflicts. Jesus took a particularly radical position against the core Tannaitic one (and more to the point, against the Pharisaic one, which was politically ascendant at the time) rejecting the increased emphasis on ritual law in favor of a nearly-complete refocusing on things like charity and moral conduct. I could summarize the Petrine perspective on ritual laws like Lev19:28 as "seriously, do you have nothing better to worry about with your time?" (Probably followed by an angry speech about the poor, if Jesus were giving it)

Paul, on the other hand, basically came up with a new religious tradition de novo which was tied to Jesus more as inspiration than as source. He based his theology entirely on the idea of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the ideas of grace, salvation, etc., which are so familiar to us from modern Christianity. He had no interest in the ritual law either, but for different reasons; he had basically converted to/created an entirely new religious tradition, with a wholly different set of interests.

Petrine Christianity largely faded into the background, as Paul's version was much more interested in selling itself around the world. (There are some remaining Petrine sects, and there has been a resurgence of interest in more Petrine principles of charity and so on among certain denominations in the US and Europe in the past few years) 

So when you ask about whether a particular chunk of law applies to Christians, you should first ask whether you're talking about a Pauline or Petrine sect. For the former case, the short answer is basically "no;" the only texts that matter are the letters of Paul himself. (And occasional chunks taken out of the Gospels, but not in any sort of coherent manner; a sharp deemphasis on the Gospels and on the words of Jesus, in favor of on the epistles, is a fundamental hallmark of Pauline Christianity) So the (Pauline) Christian response to homosexuality, for example, is generally rooted in Corinthians (eg 1Cor6:9) rather than in anything Levitical.

Just for one extra complexity, we know that we don't have all the letters of Paul (e.g., 1Cor5:9 makes it clear that there was an earlier letter to the Corinthians, a "0Cor," which isn't extant), and quite a few of the letters of Paul's are known to be outright forgeries. [2] In particular:

Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon are broadly agreed to all have been written by the same hand (Paul's) ca 50CE.

2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, and Colossians are of "uncertain authorship," most likely forgeries. (Rather amusingly, 2Thess2:1 warns the recipients to ignore other letters being circulated, saying that these aren't actually by me and they are forgeries. Except 2Thess itself is almost certainly a forgery as well, arguing forcefully for perspectives which Paul routinely argued forcefully against in his confirmed letters. Very Hall of Mirrors.)

1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are definite forgeries, written in the 2nd or 3rd century CE. 

There are also lines and chapters within legit epistles which are suspected to be forgeries as well. And while the Petrine Christians were focused much more on the words of Jesus, they didn't have many circulating written sources; the Gospels are anonymous texts (i.e. we don't know who wrote each one) with the earliest being Mark, ca. 65-70CE, written by educated, Greek-literate 2nd-generation followers of Jesus based on a few decades of oral tradition.

So the net of this is that Pauline Christianity (including all of Catholicism and almost all of Protestantism) doesn't care at all about anything written by the P source, or really almost at all about anything in the Jewish religious texts; their importance is entirely in their use rhetorically to show that their religion was prophesied. Thus the tattooing prohibition, in particular, has no significance there.

[1] Footnote for those who haven't encountered this: the names of the different sources come from the historical study of how the Bible was written. The book was written by a number of authors over a period of several hundred years, and the various authors and editors each had particular political axes to grind, which often manifested in their having arguments in the text itself. If you want to know more about this, I recommend Richard Freedman's The Bible with Sources Revealed, (https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Bible_with_Sources_Revealed.html?id=iw39_Eaq85QC) which is an edition of the Torah with sentence-by-sentence annotation of our best understanding of who wrote what and when.

[2] The study of early Christian sources is no less fascinating than the study of early Jewish ones. In the first few centuries CE, notable early Christian preachers were criss-crossing the Roman Empire pushing their various ideas and writing lots of letters to their supporters and potential supporters. Paul was the original and one of the most successful, which also meant that he was one of the most-often forged. If you're interested in this, I highly recommend Bart Ehrman's lecture series, "History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon," (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-the-bible-the-making-of-the-new-testament-canon.html), which goes into this in depth.___A very interesting short history of source of various texts in the bible.

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2015-08-02 01:57:09 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

this is an unsettling thought, but exciting at the same time.

this is an unsettling thought, but exciting at the same time.___

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2015-08-01 18:29:50 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

❝ “Schulz received some messages from the South from [editors], saying: ‘Please don’t send us any more strips with black children in the classroom with white children. We’re going through forced integration in our schools and don’t want to see any more of these strips,’ ” Glickman recounts. ❞

So he doubled down. :)

I didn't know any of this history. It's wonderful.

___❝ “Schulz received some messages from the South from [editors], saying: ‘Please don’t send us any more strips with black children in the classroom with white children. We’re going through forced integration in our schools and don’t want to see any more of these strips,’ ” Glickman recounts. ❞

So he doubled down. :)

I didn't know any of this history. It's wonderful.

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2015-08-01 16:22:42 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

A young girl taking her little sister to get vaccinated.

https://instagram.com/p/51qgQ_Dsl-/

A young girl taking her little sister to get vaccinated.

https://instagram.com/p/51qgQ_Dsl-/___

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2015-08-01 06:11:43 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Hot Rod Lincoln. This came up on my random playlist and for some reason made me think of +Gnotic Pasta. 

Hot Rod Lincoln. This came up on my random playlist and for some reason made me think of +Gnotic Pasta. ___

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2015-08-01 04:03:52 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-08-01 03:51:25 (6 comments, 7 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

___

2015-08-01 03:01:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Some interesting information about tracking endangered species, and something concrete you can do to help.

❝ Crowdfunding can offset some of that cost, though. Just this March, biologist Rae Kokeš of the Matusadona Lion Project raised $4,300 through experiment.com to pay for two new tracking collars for male lions. ❞

___Some interesting information about tracking endangered species, and something concrete you can do to help.

❝ Crowdfunding can offset some of that cost, though. Just this March, biologist Rae Kokeš of the Matusadona Lion Project raised $4,300 through experiment.com to pay for two new tracking collars for male lions. ❞

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2015-08-01 02:36:26 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

❝ University of Phoenix online campus has a graduation rate of 7.3 percent and a loan default rate of 19 percent—5 percent higher than the national average. A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) claims that 24,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were enrolled in the online program last year. ❞

___❝ University of Phoenix online campus has a graduation rate of 7.3 percent and a loan default rate of 19 percent—5 percent higher than the national average. A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) claims that 24,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were enrolled in the online program last year. ❞

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2015-08-01 02:31:57 (3 comments, 12 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-01 01:28:58 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-01 01:18:43 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

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2015-08-01 00:44:43 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

13 Books on Crossdressing, Crossdreaming and Gender Variance
For many the struggle with sex, sexuality and gender identity leads to reading -- a lot of reading. In this three part series I will present books that have helped me in my understanding of myself, crossdreaming, gender dysphoria and transgender issues. Ill...

13 Books on Crossdressing, Crossdreaming and Gender Variance
For many the struggle with sex, sexuality and gender identity leads to reading -- a lot of reading. In this three part series I will present books that have helped me in my understanding of myself, crossdreaming, gender dysphoria and transgender issues. Ill...___

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2015-07-31 17:48:05 (11 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Midnight Oil — Mountains of Burma. Does anyone know what the lyrics actually refer to?

The tucker box is empty now, the heart of Kelly's country cleared
The gangers on the southern line, like the steam trains have disappeared
Pelicans glide, miracles up in the sky
We vote for the government, with axes in his eyes

Mountains of Burma, the road to Mandalay
In the mountains of Burma, light years away, mountains of Burma

Will the sons of Solidarity, still march on May Day
And will the sisters of the seventies, still fight for equal pay
There's no on eon the Reeperbahn, no more blankets handed out for land
We feed an economy, that's got blood on it's hands

Mountains of Burma...

Pack your bags full of guns and ammunition
Bills fall due for the industrial revolution
Scorch the earth till the earths... more »

Midnight Oil — Mountains of Burma. Does anyone know what the lyrics actually refer to?

The tucker box is empty now, the heart of Kelly's country cleared
The gangers on the southern line, like the steam trains have disappeared
Pelicans glide, miracles up in the sky
We vote for the government, with axes in his eyes

Mountains of Burma, the road to Mandalay
In the mountains of Burma, light years away, mountains of Burma

Will the sons of Solidarity, still march on May Day
And will the sisters of the seventies, still fight for equal pay
There's no on eon the Reeperbahn, no more blankets handed out for land
We feed an economy, that's got blood on it's hands

Mountains of Burma...

Pack your bags full of guns and ammunition
Bills fall due for the industrial revolution
Scorch the earth till the earth surrenders

Soldiers of armies, storm empty fields
In a traveller's trance, on the way to the high frontier
Sleepwalkers stumble, cable cars run aground
Imaginary enemies, form high above the clouds
In the Mountains of Burma...

(Hirst)___

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2015-07-31 16:58:40 (10 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Pell Grants for prisoners would be a good thing.

Pell Grants for prisoners would be a good thing.___

2015-07-31 16:54:37 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Why doesn't a G+ share of a photo album use the cover photo as the primary picture?

Why doesn't a G+ share of a photo album use the cover photo as the primary picture?___

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