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Yonatan Zunger has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
STEM Women on G+150,908Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to Dr.  @103389452828130864950 on how men can help with the issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. Yonatan is the Chief Architect of Google+ and also has a PhD in Physics with a strong engineering background. He is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM, and will talk to us about what we can do to encourage women in STEM. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229   and Dr @110756968351492254645  , and you can tune in on Sunday March 2nd at 12.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel(http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event. Follow us on Twitter @stemwomen and on www.stemwomen.netSTEM Women: How Men Can Help with Dr Yonatan Zunger2014-03-02 21:30:0096  
Blogger1,335,928We’re hosting a Hangout on Air with lead Product Manager @109161242786054443993 and lead Engineer @103389452828130864950 to discuss last week’s launch of Google+ Comments for Blogger. If you’ve got questions about the launch, please leave them in the comments below so that Dan and Yonatan can answer them during the Hangout.Join the team behind Google+ Comments for Blogger for a Hangout on Air2013-04-25 20:30:001087  

Yonatan Zunger has been shared in 446 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
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AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Alice Jackson87Google+ Learning Circlehttps://www.youtube.com/c/AliceJackson1https://www.youtube.com/c/IsisIndigohttps://www.youtube.com/c/JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:28:40213000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Learning Circlehttps://www.youtube.com/c/AliceJackson1https://www.youtube.com/c/IsisIndigohttps://www.youtube.com/c/JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:26:48213001
Alice Jackson87Google+ Learning Circlehttps://www.youtube.com/c/AliceJackson1https://www.youtube.com/c/IsisIndigohttps://www.youtube.com/c/JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:26:12213000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Learning Circlehttps://www.youtube.com/c/AliceJackson1https://www.youtube.com/c/IsisIndigohttps://www.youtube.com/c/JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:25:56213000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Marketing Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:24:04238000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Marketing Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:23:30238000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Marketing Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:22:48238001
Alice Jackson87Google+ Marketing Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:22:33238000
Alice Jackson87Google+ YouTube Chrome  Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:18:06237000
Alice Jackson87Google+ YouTube Chrome  Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:17:46237000
Alice Jackson87Google+ YouTube Chrome  CircleCOMMUNITYYOUTUBE GOOGLE+ BLOG TWITTER SOCIAL-MEDIA SEO J.Whttps://plus.google.com/communities/100817452661703884334http://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:15:28237001
Alice Jackson87Google+ YouTube Chrome  CircleCOMMUNITYGOOGLE+ YOUTUBE BLOG TWITTER MARKETING SEO J.WOLFFhttps://plus.google.com/communities/100860980254334731665COMMUNITYYOUTUBE GOOGLE+ BLOG TWITTER SOCIAL-MEDIA SEO J.Whttps://plus.google.com/communities/1008174526617038843342015-04-18 14:14:36237000
Alice Jackson87Google+ YouTube Chrome  CircleCOMMUNITYGOOGLE+ YOUTUBE BLOG TWITTER MARKETING SEO J.WOLFFhttps://plus.google.com/communities/100860980254334731665COMMUNITYYOUTUBE GOOGLE+ BLOG TWITTER SOCIAL-MEDIA SEO J.Whttps://plus.google.com/communities/1008174526617038843342015-04-18 14:14:09237000
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:12:25219000
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:12:01219000
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:11:21219000
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:10:34219001
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:10:09219001
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:09:54219000
Alice Jackson87Google++ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:09:26219000
Alice Jackson87Google+ Circlehttp://alicejackson1.blogspot.com http://isis-indigo.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-18 14:08:31219001
Alice Jackson87Google+ Circlehttps://www.google.com/+AliceJackson1https://www.google.com/+IsisIndigohttps://www.google.com/+JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:07:59219001
Alice Jackson87Google+ Circlehttps://www.google.com/+AliceJackson1https://www.google.com/+IsisIndigohttps://www.google.com/+JannekeWolff2015-04-18 14:07:40219000
Janneke “Chromebook” Wolff1,081Google Vip Circlehttps://isis-indigo.blogspot.com http://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttps://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://chromebookshop-janneke-wolff.blogspot.com2015-04-17 19:03:32195022
Ruta a la Patagonia27,970┊ ☆ ┊☆ ┊ ☆ ┊Great Friends v42 CIRCLE  ┊ ☆ ┊☆ ┊☆┊_________________________________________________●❈●❈●❉●  Please Share From The Original Post! ●❈●❈●❉●▼▼▼▼ CLICK READ MORE FOR FULL CONTENT ▼▼▼▼*This is the Great Friends v42 Google Plus CircleIf you want to participate please kindly frollow the following rules::-)1. Add me to your circles if you haven´t done it already2. Share this circle to Public3. Plus or coment this post so we know you wish to participate in upcoming circlesPlease note: ● You must be an active Google+ user and shares useful content.● Your posts must be family-friendly. No adult, gambling, controversial, politics, religion blogs.Have a nice day!Your blogging friends of: +Ruta a la Patagonia  De camino al Sur el mejor hotel  para alojarte sobre ruta 5, antes de Santa Rosa La Pampa, esta en Trenque Lauquen:+Hotel Howard Johnson Trenque Lauquen Sobre ruta, con amplio parque, pileta climatizada, estacionamiento, wifi, restobar y mucho mas. Ya sea que vayas de camino a Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Villa la Angostura o cualquier otro destino de la cordillera o de la costa de la patagonia (por ruta 33).Consultanos en: www.hjtrenquelauquen.com.ar2015-04-17 13:30:50500565567
Janneke “Chromebook” Wolff702BLOGGER  https://marketing-chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://chromebookshop-janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://chromebook-j-wolff.blogspot.comhttp://janneke-wolff.blogspot.comhttps://isis-indigo.blogspot.com2015-04-10 23:31:33477151418
Ruta a la Patagonia25,609┊ ☆ ┊☆ ┊ ☆ ┊Patagonian Gems v21 CIRCLE  ┊ ☆ ┊☆ ┊☆┊_________________________________________________●❈●❈●❉●  Please Share From The Original Post! ●❈●❈●❉●▼▼▼▼ CLICK READ MORE FOR FULL CONTENT ▼▼▼▼*This is the Patagonian Gems v21 Google Plus CircleIf you want to participate please kindly frollow the following rules::-)1. Add me to your circles if you haven´t done it already2. Share this circle to Public3. Plus or coment this post so we know you wish to participate in upcoming circlesPlease note: ● You must be an active Google+ user and shares useful content.● Your posts must be family-friendly. No adult, gambling, controversial, politics, religion blogs.Have a nice day!Your blogging friends of:   +Ruta a la Patagonia  De camino al Sur el mejor hotel  para alojarte sobre ruta 5, antes de Santa Rosa La Pampa, esta en Trenque Lauquen: +Hotel Howard Johnson Trenque Lauquen Sobre ruta, con amplio parque, pileta climatizada, estacionamiento, wifi, restobar y mucho mas. Ya sea que vayas de camino a Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Villa la Angostura o cualquier otro destino de la cordillera o de la costa de la patagonia (por ruta 33).Consultanos en: www.hjtrenquelauquen.com.ar2015-04-03 22:17:39464121013
John Nuntiatio (TodayNews)63,588A new circle.#circle #newcircle #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #news #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport #small #smallcircle #photography #health2015-04-03 17:54:42428011
Михаил Пушкарев973#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2015-03-30 16:23:07499415
Camila Pedraza0Great people who love to like and have friends,this is my elite circle and i want to shared with you.2015-03-22 13:48:15110000
Daniel Gibbs21,977Active users on Google+. Circle Share If you received a notification, please reshare to your #circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next #circleshare: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#placed #somewhere #in #the #Malay #Archipelago #The #terms #Southeast #Asia #and #Oceania #devised #in #the #th #century #have #had #several #vastly #different #geographic #n #in #greenGeographical #Asia #is #a #cultural #artifact #of #European #conceptions #of #the #world #being 2015-03-17 11:02:414272311
Jayant Khoshiya18,343 +Jayant yadavhttps://plus.google.com/+JayantYadav #circle #circles #circleshare #circleshares #circleshared #circlesharing #circleoftheday #circleoftheweek #follow #followme #followers #following #authicle #authiclecircleshare #authiclecircle #authiclevol45  #public #publiccircle #sharedcircles   #sharedcircle #morefollowers #sharingcircles #sharedpubliccircles #sharedpublicircles #sharedcircle #photography #photographer #bestphotographer #topphotographer #AddCircle #FindCircles #awesome #AwesomePeople #AwesomeCircle #addmetoyourcircles #addcircle #addpeople 2015-03-13 11:18:05458000
Kenneth Nicholson21,521This circle contains people who are very active on Google+.People in this Circle are top google+ engagers and great resharers. These are people that will share and re-post your circles and other content. This is a good circle to connect with each other and gain followers. I highly suggest adding each person in this Circle to your circles as they are likely to interact with youIf you want to continue or wish to get in the next version, please complete 1-4 below.INSTRUCTIONS1. Add me to your circles, if you haven't done so already.2. +1 this circle.3. Publicly share this circle to public, your circles and extended circles.4. Comment to inform me that you have done the above three things.#circlesharing #publiccircle #publicsharedcircles #SharedCircles #circlesharing #circleshare #regions #Languages #of #languagesTime #zones #UTC+ #to #UTC+Internet #TLD #asiaLargest #cities #of #metropolitan #areas #in #Asia #by #population #of #cities #in #AsiaAsia #eni/'e #or #/'e #is #the #Earth's #largest 2015-03-11 06:55:27457336
Robert Best2,685Google+ Relevance CircleWhat people of "relevance" do we have in common? Care to share?This big shared circle contains my most "relevant" circles according to G+. It also only contains people/profiles who post publicly (Either occasionally or prolifically).Do you recognize others in the list? (I think the probability is high)As far as I know, the visual beside the "Add people" button below shows you the 8 people from this circle who are most "relevant" to you. Also, if you click that add people button, the list inside is ordered by "relevance".Some people in this circle I know very well... others I haven't met at all (Besides interfacing with what they share publicly on G+) I'm curious, what circles do we share of high relevance? Give a few people shout outs! Let's have a random chat.You were likely notified of this post... I normally don't share to any of my specific circles, so as to avoid sending out unwanted notifications... But since I have you and your attention here... HELLO! Have we talked before? Why do you think I have you circled? What's of relevance for you? (Besides people on G+) If we do know each other... Have we been in touch lately? If not, let's please catch up!2015-03-03 01:03:39455111
Kristina Natacha0#CircleShar  of the DayBoost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to or stay in this Circle - Share the circleIf you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!------------------------#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshar #news   #travel   #travelphotography   #update #IndonesiaOnly #Jalan #Aberdeen #Belfast #Birmingham #Bristol #Cardiff #Dublin #EastMidlands #Edinburgh #Glasgow #LeedsBradford #London #Manchester #Newcastle #circle #circles #public #publiccircle #circleshare #circlesharing 2015-02-25 16:45:00482000
Allan watson21,270Active users on Google+. Circle Share If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#awesomecircle #circleme #malawi #lilongwe #morocco #morocco #agadir #morocco #casablanca #morocco #fez #morocco #marrakech #morocco #tangier #mozambique #mozambique #maputo #namibia #namibia #walvis_bay #namibia #windhoek #nigeria #nigeria #abuja #nigeria #lagos #rwanda #rwanda #kigali #senegal #senegal #dakar #sierra_leone #sierra_leone #freetown #bloemfontein 2015-02-25 09:53:31483462571
Hemant Atrish157"Circle brings together nice and interesting people.Join the Gathering Circle !! Full of nice and active friends #Engagers #EngagersCircle  #SharedCircle #Marketing #SocialMediaMarketing  #Shared,#Marketing#ZigZag,#Influencersmore at-http://www.poolarchitects.co.uk/2015-02-24 12:03:10246000
Silvio De Rossi50,421TOP INFLUENCERS DeroPLUS CIRCLE 21!Yeppa! It's the DAY of the my new Circle Plus!#sharedcircle #sharedcircles #topcircleshare #deroplusThis is my new #Sharedcircle of #topengagers, a group of TOP interesting people who share unique and original contents.What are you waiting to add them to your circles? :)To be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1) Do +1 at the post!2) Include the circle among your circles!3) Share the circle (include yourself)!4) Smile to life, sun in sunshine!Have a good life!Special thanks my BEST #friends and #followers!#topsharedcircle   #facciamolastoria   #leonardo   #deroplus   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle   #topsharedcircle   #sharedcircleoftheday   #myseoissocial   #besocial   #socializethesocial  #trust #circles  #circleshare  #sharedcircle   #circlesharing   #followers   #social   #socialnetworking   #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #googleplus  #communities   #topsocialcircle   2015-02-18 15:27:54483875781
bob wong547Check out this circle for A+ googlers #sydney #G+ #google+2015-02-01 19:48:20176000
Richard Green93,025Engagers Showcase Circle, February 1, 2015If I sent you a notification, it means that you are included in my Engagers Showcase Circle. “Showcase” means that you are invited to leave a comment (on the original post) with a link to one of your own posts, which ideally should be one of your best recent posts.This circle consists of people who have engaged with one of my recent posts in the form of +1s, comments and reshares.Everyone mentioned below is also included in the circle.Ramanujan's nested radicalhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/3WmvWEHyMNBThe exceptional symmetryhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ioQW2zGjwwMThe mystery of the missing areahttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/QU8aYaTCufqSunrisehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/9QWbSALP2XUShakespearean Logichttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/MBqnMRgBiBJ“Nines” by Eric Standleyhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/aR5BF9uV5n8Cherry pi (reshared from +David Richeson)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/bixJ7eGk3QmHappy New Year!https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ZJYFj1RogaSThe mathematics of card shufflinghttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/fAS8Y3YccfsThe sky and the fork in the path immediately preceding the arrival of the ice rinks of doomhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/2MiqiTJ1FeuiPad landscape art (reshared from +Paul Haworth)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/27EwU49z1g8The fractional chromatic number of the planehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/VbBk9JrLxqmDull (in Scotland) and Boring (in Oregon)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ZuMzApfSPR4Partition and sum is fasthttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/Ad1ism1vJpJThe tautological clockhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/diAyvxM7NuwMathematical Mr Menhttps://pl2015-02-01 15:55:59476198138248
Circles Circles Circles49,036SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS: http://goo.gl/fVX5bZPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/GNkGJhPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/s9RkeEMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/W8VDbBPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD: http://goo.gl/5mr38oOthers CirclesCREATIVES: http://goo.gl/9c5A3XSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/4UAeINTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/whvLzNG+ Pages: http://goo.gl/jNZdWf#circleshare   2015-01-22 16:19:121067218
Circles and Photography35,863Builders 5    1.16.15Add this circle to Build-up your G+ network! Please ReShare.#circleoftheday #circleshare  #circlesharing     #circlesharingforthepeopleplc #sharedcircles     #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircleoftheday #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject #publiccircles #publicsharedcircles       #sharedpublicircles  #circle   2015-01-16 21:44:5840810717
GuruOmBha1,393This circle will add amazing, and wonderful content to you stream.Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to or stay in this Circle - Share the circleIf you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circleshare #circlesharing #sharedcircles #sharingcircles #sharedpubliccircles#sharedcircleoftheday #circlesunday #share #shared #followers #addcircles#publicsharedcircles #share #addpeople #addcircle #addfriends #circle#круги   #круглим  #друзья   #дружба   #circle   #circleshare   #circles  #circlesharing  #круги   #круглим   #кругляши   #музыка   #music   #musicvideo   #love   #lol  #russia   2015-01-09 18:58:4849616822
Sakari Maaranen3,848Here's a circle that's about Life on Earth. Add these people and organizations for everything about the #environment , #biodiversity , and the kind of #values  that can bring sustainable development.This is a broad range of people, many of whom are not necessarily activists, but scientists and experts with generally the right kind of mindset and deep knowledge of these and related issues. Some are thinkers, artists, or younger people with similar interests.Shared because we need more this kind of thinking! Feel free to re-share —  #sustainability  deserves all our attention and is needed right now.Let's make 2015 the year of positive change!Oh, and please let me know, if I'm missing some active people or important organizations. Remember that I don't care about status. It doesn't matter if you are someone new or young or already a superstar, or if your main field is something else. All it takes is some genuine drive to engage and/or follow these topics. So don't be shy! You are as welcome as anyone.2015-01-03 23:20:49115200
Михаил Пушкарев420#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2015-01-01 08:18:30500005
Becky Collins20,667Mobile Marketing Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-12-26 05:30:104645517
Eduard Dimitrov3,781Start of my "Google must be better place campaign". Week one: This post. People currently working for Google. 114 Google's Google+  profiles to add - people actually working for Google  company.Week 2: Shared circle two: More 100 Google employees next week.Week 3: I will show you how to work with google webspam team to aviod problems in Google Webmaster Tools - the right way, tools and tactics.Week 4: Ethics of non-natural links problems in GWT and communication with google webspam team  in Google Webmaster Tools.If you want to receive notifications from me, add me in separate circle and switch on notifications for this circle.Happy Holidays!  #worksatgoogle #googleteam #googleemployees2014-12-23 14:29:071145816
Aly Hodge13,741This is my social media/SEO circle, which contains pages for people who share lots of content on social media, not just about G+.2014-12-20 07:50:59362003
Silvio De Rossi46,461TOP INFLUENCERS DeroPLUS CIRCLE 20!Yeppa! It's the DAY of the my new Circle Plus!#sharedcircle #sharedcircles #topcircleshare #deroplus This is my new #Sharedcircle of #topengagers , a group of TOP interesting people who share unique and original contents.What are you waiting to add them to your circles? :)To be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1) Do +1 at the post!2) Include the circle among your circles!3) Share the circle (include yourself)!4) Smile to life, sun in sunshine!Have a good life!Special thanks my BEST #friends and #followers !#topsharedcircle   #facciamolastoria    #leonardo    #deroplus    #circleoftheday    #sharedcircle    #topsharedcircle    #sharedcircleoftheday    #myseoissocial    #besocial    #socializethesocial   #trust #circles   #circleshare   #sharedcircle    #circlesharing    #followers    #social    #socialnetworking    #topsharedcircle    #circleoftheday    #googleplus   #communities    #topsocialcircle    2014-12-17 15:45:20495160109189
Brian Mcquillan16,218Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to or stay in this Circle - Share the circleIf you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #circleshare #SocialMedia #SharedPublicCircles #PublicCircle #Prague #CircleOfTheDay #followers #follow #AddCircle #Sharers #Engagers #Awesomepeople #ShareAndBeShared #london   #uk  #Aberdeen #Belfast #Birmingham #Bristol #Cardiff #Dublin #EastMidlands #Edinburgh #Glasgow #LeedsBradford #Gatwick #Heathrow 2014-12-17 06:43:524887466112

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Most comments: 289

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2015-03-29 10:31:22 (289 comments, 37 reshares, 313 +1s)Open 

~ The first U.S. penny touts science, not God ~ [Why Evolution Is True] :: The interesting part is the motto on the coin: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”. Now we all know that the “In God We Trust” motto is a relatively recent innovation, but I was surprised to find (although I shouldn’t have been) that the founders rated science as one of the boons of liberty. And nary a mention of the creator. Just another little nail in the coffin of “America founded as a Christian nation.” ::  #atheism

Most reshares: 116

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2015-03-12 02:50:29 (165 comments, 116 reshares, 458 +1s)Open 

Senator Graham (R-SC), during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, announced his intention to stage a military coup if elected. The exact quote:

"[A]nd here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States: I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts."

I really have no idea what one can add to this. He wants to use the military to force Congress to give more money to the military. After that, presumably, he would tell the military to go home, and not use them against Congress ever again.

(And as Taub notes in the story, he's not even saying that he'll use the military to hold Congress prisoner until they vote up or down on the issue; he'sgoing... more »

Most plusones: 486

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2015-04-16 20:53:55 (101 comments, 17 reshares, 486 +1s)Open 

It looks like JJ Abrams may have succeeded in creating a fourth Star Wars movie. It's a bit too early to be sure, of course, and trailers are at their heart lies -- but this one is quite promising indeed.

Latest 50 posts

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2015-04-18 23:13:29 (104 comments, 65 reshares, 223 +1s)Open 

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about economics. In particular, I want to look at why capitalism can both work amazingly well and fail amazingly badly, often at the same time, and is such a great factory for “best of times, worst of times” conditions. The seven-word summary is: “Free markets work, except when they don’t.”

I won’t spend too much time on the first part of the sentence, because presumably you’re familiar with the ways in which free markets can work well. Basically, if two people freely engage in a trade, by definition it makes both parties happier; if it didn’t, they wouldn’t have engaged in that trade in the first place. The more trade is possible, the more people can accumulate things that make them happy – e.g., more free time to spend with their families while getting the same amount of food. There are all sorts of mechanisms which amplify that; probably themost important is “co... more »

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about economics. In particular, I want to look at why capitalism can both work amazingly well and fail amazingly badly, often at the same time, and is such a great factory for “best of times, worst of times” conditions. The seven-word summary is: “Free markets work, except when they don’t.”

I won’t spend too much time on the first part of the sentence, because presumably you’re familiar with the ways in which free markets can work well. Basically, if two people freely engage in a trade, by definition it makes both parties happier; if it didn’t, they wouldn’t have engaged in that trade in the first place. The more trade is possible, the more people can accumulate things that make them happy – e.g., more free time to spend with their families while getting the same amount of food. There are all sorts of mechanisms which amplify that; probably the most important is “comparative advantage,” which shows how if there are enough people around so that everyone can specialize in what they’re best at, everyone comes out ahead. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage if you want to learn more about it; Ricardo’s example is a good place to start)

However, if you’ve paid any attention at all to the world in the past few centuries, you’ve probably already got an objection to what I just said: “You think they wouldn’t have engaged in that trade if it didn’t make them happier? What if they didn’t have a choice?” And you would be perfectly right, and that part is the heart of “except when they don’t.” There are a few ways in which free markets can fail, but most of them are obscure and relatively easy to fix (e.g., limited money supply). The big one, which represents the overwhelming majority of all the problems, is coercion: the argument that a free trade makes both parties happier doesn't apply to trades which are not free.

(And note, by the way, that coercion harms free markets both locally – in that the individuals being coerced lose out, often by a lot – and globally, in that coercion is essentially a “tax” levied by one person on another. Those of you familiar with economics will recognize that whenever the price of something is pushed away from its natural equilibrium, overall value goes down. So when I talk about failures of capitalism, I mean failures that are simultaneously moral and financial failures.)

As far as I can tell, the large majority of coercion comes in three forms, which I’ll call externalization, capture, and inelasticity. These three overlap and most real situations combine them, but what they have in common is that they’re ways in which one person can force someone else to accept a trade that they would normally never take.


Externalization, also known as “negative externalities,” is when I can make everyone else pay my costs. The most common forms which don't overlap heavily with capture (the next item) are when I can take my costs from a poorly-policed commons (e.g., dump waste into an air supply that nobody is monitoring), or when I can spread the costs out so widely that every individual's cost of recovery would exceed the damages to them. (Playing games with individuals less able to individually recover is part of capture and inelasticity)

Capture is the classic positive-feedback problem of any system of human power: you can use your power to get more of it. Pure capture (as opposed to inelasticity) happens when there are central methods of regulation or other power-amplifying systems which you bring under your control via bribery, coercion, etc., and suddenly rather than regulating you they amplify you. That can be anything from regulation of pollution of commons to having the police keep Those People "under control" for you. 

Inelasticity is the result of the fact that the value of money isn't linear. If you have $100,000, then $1 means a lot less to you than if you have $10,000. In particular, people's needs up to a certain wealth level are dominated by constant overheads such as food and housing; so long as your total resource access is of the same scale as those overheads, your financial life is dominated by the severe consequences of falling below any one threshold. Once you're far from those overheads, the value of resources becomes far more linear. Often, a good way to measure this is in terms of "being one <event> away from disaster;" if the event is as small as a flat tire, versus if it's as big as inoperable cancer, it's a huge difference in life.

If two people are about to engage in a deal, and one of them is near-threshold while the other isn't, the one who isn't has huge negotiating leverage. For example, you can give someone a shitty job like mining coal that they would never accept if they had some option other than starvation. 

(Economists will note that in “inelasticity,” I’ve abused a term which actually represents something very natural, which is that the price of some goods isn’t very sensitive to supply or demand. The problem I’m describing here is really the problem of extreme inelasticity: specifically, when a person’s net resources are low enough that the costs of white-pill [“you need this in order to live,” nearly infinitely inelastic] goods become a dominant part of their financial calculus. Better terms for any of these would be welcome.)


There are methods to deal with all of these problems, and they work to varying extents.

The way you solve the first kind of externality is to not have poorly-policed commons. That doesn't necessarily mean enclosure, i.e. giving ownership of those commons to private individuals: in fact, enclosure is extremely susceptible to capture effects, as we saw with the original enclosures in 18th-century England. Methods like cap-and-trade, or simply either (a) requiring people to pay their own damned cleanup costs or (b) being up-front about the fact that we’ve decided to pay those costs as a community in exchange for the net benefits of whatever it is those people do, can be quite effective.

The second kind of externality, where people spread costs around widely – e.g., stealing $5 from every household in a city – can be solved by mechanisms like class-action suits, central regulators and law enforcement. In each case, the idea is to create some kind of entity (be it an ad-hoc collective of individuals or a dedicated set of professionals) which is strong enough, and incented properly, to pursue recovery whenever someone tries to steal from the community. 

There’s a hybrid kind of externality which also uses inelasticity: if you steal from the poor, they’re less likely to have the resources to go after you. This is based on the fact that recovery of any sort tends to have fixed overhead costs, e.g. the time, money, and knowledge required to sue someone. When people’s total spare budget of any of these is tiny because of their basic cost of survival – e.g., when someone is working hourly and can’t afford the time to engage in a lawsuit – it becomes a lot easier to steal with impunity. This is just a nastier variation of the second kind of externality, and is often best solved with a swift kick to a tender area of the anatomy.

You can solve inelasticity by reducing the overhead costs to zero. There are many different overhead costs -- food, shelter, transport, child care, etc., etc. -- and each can be analyzed separately and each creates value in its reduction. One way to reduce those is to literally reduce the cost of the items; e.g., the real cost of clothing has plummeted over the past few centuries, and now lacking clothing is only a major factor for people near the absolute bottom of the resource curve, where clothing is really being used as a substitute for shelter. Another way is to reduce need for the items, e.g. by having housing close enough to work and so on that people don't need lots of transport. A third way is to socialize the costs of these items, e.g. by having functional public transit or health care. That doesn't reduce their intrinsic costs, but it eliminates the inelasticity effect on individuals by averaging their cost over the entire population.

Capture is harder to solve. The best solution proposed so far has been democracy, but as we're well aware, that's more like "the worst solution except for all the other ones that have been proposed." There are some fields in which it can be solved by things like direct competition among regulators, but that has strange failure modes: consider, e.g., the competition among bond rating agencies which was supposed to ensure that bond ratings were meaningful. Unfortunately, all three of them were funded by bond sellers, not buyers, and so had the same incentives; a lot of the mortgage crisis was a consequence of that. (Specifically, that the various CDO's being traded had been AAA-rated based on completely nonsensical models, which any rater that had an incentive to actually think through would have known)


Importantly, though, I think that the first part of that original sentence about free trade is at least as important as the second: capitalism works well when coercion is brought under control. Communism was a recipe for making everybody miserable – and ultimately proved even more vulnerable to capture than capitalism. Feudalism and so on are even worse. Even more significantly, capitalism works better by its own metrics when coercion is eliminated: in fact, economists tend to model these things as a kind of tax on the system.

However, benefit to the system as a whole doesn't translate to benefit as individuals. In particular, if you're making a lot of money off (say) inelasticity, by having a large pool of desperate and subservient workers, then even though the aggregate wealth of society would go up a lot if they weren't so desperate, your own wealth (especially your effective wealth, divided by the cost of converting it to goods) would go down. That creates one hell of an incentive for capture, in forms ranging from direct regulatory capture by bribes, to funding astroturf organizations, to creating entire media and social panics, all the way out to creating social institutions – e.g., feudalism or slavery.

So while solving externalization and inelasticity are extremely important, capture is often the key to the whole deal.

Fortunately, it isn't always the key to the deal: sometimes, for example, someone figures out a way to knock the price of some key good down through the floor so quickly that existing groups can't figure out how to capture it in time. The expansion of Europeans through North America was an interesting example of that case (where the price of land became cheap because anyone could just kill people and take it -- or, once the cost of killing people got socialized into an army, just take it); their expansion through South America much less so, because there expansion was effectively captured as an industry by entrenched nobles. The rise of new technologies is a somewhat less bloodthirsty example: e.g., when companies like FedEx cratered the price of small-scale many-to-many shipping logistics, thousands of new businesses suddenly emerged.

Technology, wisely applied, can knock the pillars of inelasticity out from under people. That creates a sudden chance to rapidly equalize wealth distributions, which in turn has a strong negative effect on capture. The question of whether you can maintain that negative effect after the initial pulse, or whether wealth will inevitably end up re-aggregating through a combination of capture and externalization even in a zero-inelasticity world, is one of the major hard questions we're likely to face in the next few decades.

But it’s one of my major interests, and it’s why I spend my time working on technologies which I think can alter the basic cost calculus of the world, by making something previously necessary and expensive (be it knowledge, or communication, or data storage) nearly free.


Illustrative cartoon by Ape Lad (http://goo.gl/QI13CH), CC-NC-ND. Thanks as well to +Xenophrenia​​​ for the initial conversation which sparked this post, and for many other such arguments about the nature of capitalism.___

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2015-04-17 17:12:09 (90 comments, 19 reshares, 133 +1s)Open 

The discussion on a recent post of mine turned to sex work, its morals, its politics, and its law. A theme that came up repeatedly -- and rightly so -- is the importance of seeing any work from the perspective of the people who do it. +Joshua O'Madadhain found this extraordinary article in that category: written by a porn star, about his work and his life and how they intertwine.

I've known a number of people who work in this field, and I would say that Habib's description really rings true to everything I've ever heard anyone else say -- but few have written quite so powerfully about it.

(The link is entirely SFW, incidentally, unless the mere mention of the word "porn" frightens you.)

The discussion on a recent post of mine turned to sex work, its morals, its politics, and its law. A theme that came up repeatedly -- and rightly so -- is the importance of seeing any work from the perspective of the people who do it. +Joshua O'Madadhain found this extraordinary article in that category: written by a porn star, about his work and his life and how they intertwine.

I've known a number of people who work in this field, and I would say that Habib's description really rings true to everything I've ever heard anyone else say -- but few have written quite so powerfully about it.

(The link is entirely SFW, incidentally, unless the mere mention of the word "porn" frightens you.)___

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2015-04-16 20:53:55 (101 comments, 17 reshares, 486 +1s)Open 

It looks like JJ Abrams may have succeeded in creating a fourth Star Wars movie. It's a bit too early to be sure, of course, and trailers are at their heart lies -- but this one is quite promising indeed.

It looks like JJ Abrams may have succeeded in creating a fourth Star Wars movie. It's a bit too early to be sure, of course, and trailers are at their heart lies -- but this one is quite promising indeed.___

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2015-04-16 20:13:59 (67 comments, 9 reshares, 169 +1s)Open 

This is something about Auschwitz's curation that I never thought about: what it means to preserve these things.

I have been there once, and there were four things that hit me so hard that I will never be able to forget them.

One was the room full of hair. There is so much of it. And when you look at it, you can tell that every bit of it was cut off of a person. A person who was screaming, or crying, or beyond either. They harvested the hair to make wigs, to make textiles, to make all sorts of things, you see.

The second was the shoes. The pile of baby shoes, in particular. It is very, very, large. The shoes remind me of my own baby shoes. Each one of them was taken off the feet of a child.

Both the hair and the shoes were simply the last shipment, the ones that never got sent off elsewhere before the Allies came.

The third was the train siding as you enter Birkenau.... more »

The Auschwitz-Birkenau curators have taken an interesting approach to preservation, one that clearly states "this is here; this happened." This approach is particularly difficult in the middle of an overwhelming mass of messy, human stories and fingerprints and rubble.

They have made one exception:
The museum has decided not to conserve one thing: the mass of human hair that fills a vast vitrine. Over the years, the hair has lost its individual colors and has begun to gray. Out of respect for the dead, it cannot be photographed. Several years ago, the International Auschwitz Council of advisers had an agonizing debate about the hair. Some suggested burying it. Others wanted to conserve it. But one adviser raised a point: How can we know if its original owners are dead or alive? Who are we to determine its fate?

It was decided to let the hair decay, on its own, in the vitrine, until it turns to dust.

Hat tip to +Lauren Weinstein ___This is something about Auschwitz's curation that I never thought about: what it means to preserve these things.

I have been there once, and there were four things that hit me so hard that I will never be able to forget them.

One was the room full of hair. There is so much of it. And when you look at it, you can tell that every bit of it was cut off of a person. A person who was screaming, or crying, or beyond either. They harvested the hair to make wigs, to make textiles, to make all sorts of things, you see.

The second was the shoes. The pile of baby shoes, in particular. It is very, very, large. The shoes remind me of my own baby shoes. Each one of them was taken off the feet of a child.

Both the hair and the shoes were simply the last shipment, the ones that never got sent off elsewhere before the Allies came.

The third was the train siding as you enter Birkenau. The layout is very simple: The train stops here. Guards with dogs are waiting and unload everyone. The men's camp is to the right. The women's camp is to the left. Directly ahead are the showers: that's where everyone goes who isn't fit to be worked to death. Birkenau -- the larger second site they built at Auschwitz later in the war, when they needed much more capacity -- is very, very, large.

The fourth was the crematorium. I dreaded approaching this during my entire walk through the facility. This is the place of nightmares, the center of childhood fears. The place where the bodies were shoved into the fire, one after another, by other prisoners forced to work there. Some of the bodies were not yet dead; no matter, the pace had to be maintained. They were simply pushed into the ovens alive.

The word holocaust did not come from there: it is a much older word, for a certain kind of sacrificial offering. In a normal sacrifice, the beast is slaughtered, its first fruits are burned for the gods, and the rest is eaten at a ceremonial meal for the community. This was very important: in Rome and in most ancient cultures, such sacrifices were the only access the general public had to meat. A holocaust is a different offering: it is one where the victim is wholly burned, wholly consumed. Everything is taken, and nothing is left for the community.

If you have never gone to visit this place, or one of the few others like it, you should do so. You will not really understand much of the world until you see it.

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2015-04-15 23:06:02 (14 comments, 7 reshares, 103 +1s)Open 

A short and interesting bit of science about how the force of impact is distributed when a meteor hits soil or sand. As the compression hits faster than the soil can move out of the way, it packs it more tightly and makes the target firmer; force suddenly moves only along the contact points between rocks, in more localized "bolts." That means more resistance force, and also more potential shattering.

The picture below (filmed rather ingeniously!) shows how the force is transmitted when the impact is on a hard (top), medium, or soft (bottom) target.

Interesting isn't it?___A short and interesting bit of science about how the force of impact is distributed when a meteor hits soil or sand. As the compression hits faster than the soil can move out of the way, it packs it more tightly and makes the target firmer; force suddenly moves only along the contact points between rocks, in more localized "bolts." That means more resistance force, and also more potential shattering.

The picture below (filmed rather ingeniously!) shows how the force is transmitted when the impact is on a hard (top), medium, or soft (bottom) target.

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2015-04-15 18:19:31 (161 comments, 51 reshares, 195 +1s)Open 

A warning: This is going to be an article about sex, sex work, and feminism, but it's not a "101" type of issue. It's instead about the subtle ways in which arguments which seem reasonable can be subtly, but dangerously, wrong.

This comic gives a straightforward way to think about the question of whether someone is being "sexually empowered" or "objectified." It explains the two as a duality, with one being good and the other bad, and the difference is all about power and consent.

The problem with this comic is that it's both right and wrong. The right part of it is fairly obvious, but the wrong part is subtle and can be insidious. It has to do with the ways in which the comic talks about how consent can be deficient, influenced by things like financial need. It suggests (correctly) that any consent can ultimately be deficient -- but it focuses... more »

A warning: This is going to be an article about sex, sex work, and feminism, but it's not a "101" type of issue. It's instead about the subtle ways in which arguments which seem reasonable can be subtly, but dangerously, wrong.

This comic gives a straightforward way to think about the question of whether someone is being "sexually empowered" or "objectified." It explains the two as a duality, with one being good and the other bad, and the difference is all about power and consent.

The problem with this comic is that it's both right and wrong. The right part of it is fairly obvious, but the wrong part is subtle and can be insidious. It has to do with the ways in which the comic talks about how consent can be deficient, influenced by things like financial need. It suggests (correctly) that any consent can ultimately be deficient -- but it focuses this on the consent of the "provider," i.e. the model or sex worker or simply a person Dressed In A Certain Way. In doing so, it creates an insidious implication that the consent of anyone doing this is more deficient than other people's consent. That's a "magic wand" sort of argument that lets people argue that any claim of empowerment is actually false, an argument which has very nasty real-world consequences.

One easy way to see the problem is to notice that the same argument this author applies to sex work applies to anything else. Consider this quote:

"Many of those who enter the sex industry as a provider may not be entirely doing so because they want to. There are a number of factors, including poverty level, race, and assigned sex. Providers of commercial sex often face enormous discrimination and criminalization, which also puts power in the hands of others besides the providers themselves."

That's a great argument for why all the sex workers are actually being trafficked (a common argument used for increased criminalization of their customers, incidentally, which ends up having most of the same net effects on sex workers as criminalizing them), while coming with a wonderful out to explain away any sex worker who disagrees: "they're just privileged enough that it doesn't happen to them." But repeat that same sentence while talking about, say, agricultural laborers:

"Many of those who work in tomato fields may not be entirely doing so because they want to. There are a number of factors, including poverty level, race, and assigned sex. Migrant laborers often face enormous discrimination and criminalization, which also puts power in the hands of others besides the providers themselves."

This statement is no less true. In fact, it's true of nearly any kind of work, and that's the key to what's wrong here: it singles out sex as being somehow different, a situation in which consent is always potentially deficient. 


This cartoon doesn't, to its credit, take its arguments and actually pull them to that extreme. It sets up the arguments which can be used to argue that all empowerment is really objectification, and arguments which are routinely used by others to do that, but it doesn't make the claim itself. However, by framing the discussion this way, it sets that up.


The actual flaw is in the dichotomy it suggests between "empowerment" (which is good) and "objectification" (which is bad). You should be suspicious from the first frame, which talks about the power of the "looking" person and the "looked at" person, because power isn't a single axis -- which is exactly what the comic shows later on, as it talks about financial power, cultural power, sexual desire, and so on. 

In any real situation, each side will have some power, and the tradeoffs individuals are making are going to be complex. The sex worker may need the money, but he could also be working construction. His client seems to have the power in the relationship, but any business provider knows that the customer's power isn't actually absolute.

To be clear, I'm not saying that there is always a balance: power imbalances are real, and they absolutely occur in sex work, just like they occur in every other aspect of life. And criminalization and shaming of sex workers make those power imbalances much worse: in fact, if you wanted to analyze the real consequences of US laws on sex work, you could summarize them as being optimized to maximize the vulnerability of sex workers, in favor of anyone who has the power to get them arrested, exposed, and so on.

Which is to say, there's a real power imbalance here, but it has nothing to do with the intrinsics of sex or sex work, or even with deep things like culture: it's something society has deliberately chosen to create.


So what's a more accurate way of describing this? It's to realize that "empowerment" and "objectification" aren't opposites, but things which happen at the same time. Empowerment is about a person having agency and control over their life; objectification is about a person being viewed not as an independent subject, but as the object of a sentence, a means to someone else's ends.

The model may be empowering herself, acquiring a source of income that she can control and developing her own independent sexuality; at the same time, the man watching her may be entirely in his own world, collecting pictures of women and fantasizing absolute control over them, while shaming the women in his life for not looking like them. Which of these people is empowered? Which is objectified? 

The answer is that it's both. This means that we don't get any nice, simple lessons like "porn is good!" or "porn is bad!" which we can use to have rallies and change laws and so on. Instead, we get the real complexities of human life.


There are definitely useful calls to action here, but they're not the simple ones. If you want to do something useful:

* The structural power imbalances which affect workers everywhere are real and significant dangers to our society. Sex work is work: most of the problems are the same. The problems which create deficiencies in consent have huge social and economic costs; cf recent studies like
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2012/03/22/11234/the-costly-business-of-discrimination/
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/is-ending-segregation-the-key-to-ending-poverty/385002/

* There are many structural problems specific to sex work. Laws which criminalize it cut sex workers off from legal recourse altogether. Laws which treat sex work as a "scarlet letter" -- e.g., putting professionals at risk of losing their children to CPS if their employment becomes known -- are even worse. Policies which shame it -- e.g., refusals of payment processors to touch anything remotely related to sex -- again force sex workers into situations where they're dependent on unethical side providers. Political organizations such as RedUP (http://redumbrellaproject.org/) and SWOP (http://www.swopusa.org/) are actively working to fix these issues. Importantly, these are organizations of the actual people involved, not of people coming in to "rescue" them from their lives without actually asking if that's what anyone wants; organizations like that need our support.

(Disclosure: I am a donor to, and supporter of, both of these groups, and encourage others to do so as well)

* And objectification, while not directly tied to this, is something you can directly change about your own life. See https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/TbCgDWPkBGW for more on that.

Thanks to +Carrie Canup for the link.___

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2015-04-15 17:24:29 (11 comments, 52 reshares, 183 +1s)Open 

This is an amazingly well-done "how it's made" video, all about the process by which aluminum beverage cans get built. These cans are so common that we rarely look at them, but they're a marvel of engineering: to save material (important, when you're making hundreds of billions a year!) they're made almost as thin as paper, and when they're empty, they easily crumple to save space while recycling. Yet when full, they can support 6 atmospheres of pressure inside and are sturdy enough to stand on -- and it only takes a single pull of a tab to change one into the other.

+engineerguy does a fantastic job of explaining the whole story, with everything from example parts to animations that show exactly how the subtle steps work.

h/t +Jordan Peacock for finding this!

This is an amazingly well-done "how it's made" video, all about the process by which aluminum beverage cans get built. These cans are so common that we rarely look at them, but they're a marvel of engineering: to save material (important, when you're making hundreds of billions a year!) they're made almost as thin as paper, and when they're empty, they easily crumple to save space while recycling. Yet when full, they can support 6 atmospheres of pressure inside and are sturdy enough to stand on -- and it only takes a single pull of a tab to change one into the other.

+engineerguy does a fantastic job of explaining the whole story, with everything from example parts to animations that show exactly how the subtle steps work.

h/t +Jordan Peacock for finding this!___

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2015-04-14 16:30:03 (37 comments, 64 reshares, 398 +1s)Open 

When physicists write superhero comics.

h/t +Valdis Kletnieks​

From: http://imgur.com/9SoMGLR

Via: +Sabine Hossenfelder 

☺___When physicists write superhero comics.

h/t +Valdis Kletnieks​

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2015-04-13 21:57:32 (29 comments, 50 reshares, 296 +1s)Open 

+Thomas Crouzier is a postdoc at MIT who studies "biological hydrogels" with an eye towards using our understanding of them to design new materials. 

In other words, he studies snot, in the hope of engineering snot-like substances for a wide range of uses. Which is not at all a crazy thing, because as this picture explains, snot is actually pretty amazing. And artificial snot could be very useful.

Science: it's kind of awesome. And lets you be three forever.

Mucus is awesome!!___+Thomas Crouzier is a postdoc at MIT who studies "biological hydrogels" with an eye towards using our understanding of them to design new materials. 

In other words, he studies snot, in the hope of engineering snot-like substances for a wide range of uses. Which is not at all a crazy thing, because as this picture explains, snot is actually pretty amazing. And artificial snot could be very useful.

Science: it's kind of awesome. And lets you be three forever.

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2015-04-13 19:22:54 (88 comments, 33 reshares, 171 +1s)Open 

From earliest history, there has been conflict between people who live upriver and people who live downriver. Someone upriver has the power to seize control of the water supply which is generally the lifeblood of the people further down from them. Survival means that the people downriver must get effective control over their supply, whether it be by treaty, by conquering the people upriver from them, or by being conquered by the people upriver. 

Where I live, in California, we are experiencing a slow version of this, as systems of water rights developed over a century ago, when the distribution of both water and people was extremely different, are falling apart under the strains of a worst-in-a-millennium drought. But the situation in the Nile Valley is even worse.

Several things contribute to this. The first is the simple growth of population: Egypt now has 82 million people, Sudan... more »

From earliest history, there has been conflict between people who live upriver and people who live downriver. Someone upriver has the power to seize control of the water supply which is generally the lifeblood of the people further down from them. Survival means that the people downriver must get effective control over their supply, whether it be by treaty, by conquering the people upriver from them, or by being conquered by the people upriver. 

Where I live, in California, we are experiencing a slow version of this, as systems of water rights developed over a century ago, when the distribution of both water and people was extremely different, are falling apart under the strains of a worst-in-a-millennium drought. But the situation in the Nile Valley is even worse.

Several things contribute to this. The first is the simple growth of population: Egypt now has 82 million people, Sudan 38, and Ethiopia has grown to a full 96 million. To understand this properly, you need to realize that the borders of Egypt shown on a map are almost complete nonsense: Egypt consists of a narrow Nile Valley, ranging from tens of miles wide at its northern reaches to narrow enough that someone strong enough could throw a frisbee across it at its narrowest, in which the entire population lives, along with all the agriculture and industry; beyond that narrow valley is open desert, home primarily to sand dunes and the occasional scorpion. This part of the world is the Nile Valley.

The second complex issue is the Aswan Dam. When Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power after overthrowing the monarchy, one of his first promises was to build a tremendous hydroelectric dam to provide the electricity which would modernize the country. As part of trying to get international loans to fund its building, countries asked for feasibility studies; those studies all came back saying that the dam was a terrible idea, as it would interrupt the regular cycle of flooding of the Nile which is the foundation of the richness of the Nile Valley's soil. The dam would work fine for a few years, at which point the soil would start to die, the desert would encroach, and the country would starve to death. Nobody wanted to fund this.

But Nasser had made promises, and he needed to keep them, so he sought funding from "alternate sources" -- that is, the Soviet Union, who was quite happy to fund this and get Egypt in their pocket. ("Fund" ended up meaning that Soviet engineers showed up and built everything and then left, incidentally, leading to almost no technology or skills transfer -- but that's another story) And things unfolded almost exactly the way the analyses said: Egypt now  had electricity, but its farmland has been steadily collapsing, the desert encroaching and the valley getting narrower. 

This collapse of life along most of the length of the valley has led to almost unimaginable desperation, and to tens of millions of people flooding into the cities of Cairo and Alexandria hoping for a chance at a better job -- leading to some of the most extraordinary slums you have ever seen (did you know that it's possible to build a ten-story high mud hut? The trick is to build a frame of cement and rebar, and then use mud-brick walls for the rest. No windows; the walls aren't sturdy enough to support that) and even more extraordinary unemployment, which was one of the key things that led to the revolutions of the Arab Spring, the subsequent political rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, and our latest Egyptian dictatorship.

But the pressure from collapsing agriculture is extremely keenly felt: the government's single largest annual expense is the wheat import which it uses to keep bread cheap enough to avoid mass starvation. Political upheavals in Egypt tend to happen, like clockwork, a few months after something interferes with the wheat harvest. (The original revolution which toppled Mubarak, for example, happened after Russia closed off its entire foreign wheat sales, after a serious drought led to major crop failures in Russia and Ukraine.) You may notice that, as the climate continues to change, wheat harvests become increasingly unpredictable.

Further South, Sudan hasn't been politically strong enough to try to wrest control of anything from Egypt since the Assyrians conquered Upper Egypt. But Ethiopia is a different matter: the highland empire has been a political power in Eastern Africa for millennia. As its population rises and it finds itself no longer quite as distracted by the chaos which has overwhelmed it for decades (famines and wars, mostly: the rains in Ethiopia are notoriously unreliable), it has gotten some very different ideas about just how Nile water should be allocated from what its neighbors downstream have historically gotten out of it.

This ascent of Ethiopian power in the Nile Valley is important and worth watching. Egypt and Sudan will keep negotiating with it, but their political power is not at its strongest right now, and it's quite possible that this could pass a "critical threshold" beyond which they can no longer really hold back Ethiopian power, at which point Ethiopia may take more of the Nile's resources for itself, further weakening Egypt and Sudan.

But at the end of the day, the problems are very fundamental:

There are nearly 220 million people living in the Nile's watershed, and it's not at all clear that the Nile has enough water to support them.

None of the powers along the valley are in strong enough shape to make huge infrastructural investments to increase efficiency. They might be able to make some.

This water is critical for everything from electricity, to irrigation, to soil fertilization, to simply drinking it, as well as holding back the desert.

Any failure of this water system can therefore have catastrophic human and political consequences.

Political problems in the Nile Valley can spread out along several significant axes. Because of the Suez Canal, Egypt and East Africa have strategic control over sea traffic through the Red Sea, and one of the key transport routes between Europe and Asia. (cf the effect that Somali piracy was having on sea traffic there) Egypt is by far the most populous Arab state, and its cultural and media influence is tremendous: Cairo is the Hollywood of the Arabic language. It's also the gateway between the Middle East and North Africa, and North Africa has a range of influences on Europe, being after all neighbors across the Mediterranean Sea. (Lots of people leaving North Africa would, for example, mean lots of North Africans arriving in Europe)

So this is a situation well worth paying attention to over the next decade: the availability of water, electricity, and agriculture in the Nile Valley, and the political struggles between players along the river, will be a major factor shaping our world, especially the band going from East Africa, up through the Middle East, into North Africa and Europe, in years to come.___

2015-04-10 01:57:30 (61 comments, 45 reshares, 274 +1s)Open 

A classic story from the bowels of maintaining computer systems. Yes, the world is really like this, sometimes.

Spoiler: the chairman in this story is not wrong, but the problem is hilarious. This is my favorite kind of debugging: take various random bits of information and put them together to open the heavens and shine the light of enlightenment upon the brokenness that resides within the system.

I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.

"We're having a problem sending email out of the department."
"What's the problem?" I asked.
"We can't send mail more than 500 miles," the chairman explained.
I choked on my latte.  "Come again?"
"We can't send mail farther than 500 miles from here," he repeated. "A little bit more, actually.  Call it 520 miles.  But no farther."___A classic story from the bowels of maintaining computer systems. Yes, the world is really like this, sometimes.

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2015-04-09 17:36:14 (29 comments, 35 reshares, 261 +1s)Open 

Another launch today is the culmination of a very long period of work involving special 3D scanners being carted to the far corners of the Earth. We've worked with museums to produce high-quality 3D scans of a spectacular range of things, from historical artifacts to the +California Academy of Sciences​' skull collection.

(For those who are unaware, the CAS is not just a museum, it's a research institute, and has one of the largest and most significant collections of biological specimens in the world -- over 46 million items. Their skull collection is particularly famous, and (prior to the major renovation done after the Loma Prieta earthquake) was on display in a warehouse-sized room, absolutely filled with every kind of skull you can imagine. It was an amazing experience to walk into. Now you can see some of that experience yourself)

In addition to being tremendous fun to looka... more »

Today, we're glad to announce the launch of the new 3D feature on the Google Cultural Institute website: http://goo.gl/1p93XR

You can now admire hundreds of multi-dimensional objects from our six pilot partners' collections, from the extensive set of animal skulls of the +California Academy of Sciences (http://goo.gl/xQyk3F) to the Oldest Mask in the world at +The Israel Museum, Jerusalem(http://goo.gl/HtGFhy). #3D #artstech___Another launch today is the culmination of a very long period of work involving special 3D scanners being carted to the far corners of the Earth. We've worked with museums to produce high-quality 3D scans of a spectacular range of things, from historical artifacts to the +California Academy of Sciences​' skull collection.

(For those who are unaware, the CAS is not just a museum, it's a research institute, and has one of the largest and most significant collections of biological specimens in the world -- over 46 million items. Their skull collection is particularly famous, and (prior to the major renovation done after the Loma Prieta earthquake) was on display in a warehouse-sized room, absolutely filled with every kind of skull you can imagine. It was an amazing experience to walk into. Now you can see some of that experience yourself)

In addition to being tremendous fun to look around, this scanning project will have huge value to researchers around the world, who can now seriously examine artifacts from wherever they are, in enough detail to learn things and make discoveries, and without risking damage to the artifacts themselves.

So this is a big step forward not just for fun, but for making the world's scientific and cultural heritage available to all of us.

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2015-04-09 17:26:14 (28 comments, 4 reshares, 157 +1s)Open 

Playing with the new Snapseed. This is a copper pot, made in Damascus sometime around the late 19th or early 20th century. 

(Now, shared with an actual image attached!) 

Playing with the new Snapseed. This is a copper pot, made in Damascus sometime around the late 19th or early 20th century. 

(Now, shared with an actual image attached!) ___

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2015-04-09 16:17:31 (65 comments, 44 reshares, 234 +1s)Open 

Attention everyone who takes pictures: If you take photos on your cell phone, you want this software. I've had a chance to play with it in its development over the past year, and it's something really new: a serious photo-editing stack (made by the people who make Nik Software, for those who know their photography) that runs on your mobile device, which can be as easy to use as Instagram filters or as powerful as a desktop tool, depending on what you want.

It's loads of fun to play with, and the results are kind of amazing. Go get this.

Our latest release from the Google Streams, Photos, and Sharing team. :)

Perfect your photos in a snap with the new Snapseed

With billions of images being uploaded and shared on a daily basis, we want to make it fast and easy for people to perfect their photos. What once required a desktop computer, costly software and hours of editing work, can now be accomplished quickly in a powerful app --  +Snapseed  

The new #Snapseed app gives you the precision and control of professional photo editing software on your phone or tablet. We’ve updated the app in many ways while staying true to our mission of helping everyone easily create extraordinary images. Here are the highlights:

New tools including Lens Blur, Tonal Contrast, intelligent perspective Transform, and Spot Healing

Selectively apply filters and effects to parts of the image using the Brush tool

Non-destructive editing via Stacks allows you to re-edit or undo any change. You can also copy edits from one image to another

Snapseed works with your phone camera shots as well as images from DSLRs, compact cameras, and more.

Get it today as it rolls out on the Play Store http://goo.gl/sQSfLM and the App Store http://goo.gl/irPbd4___Attention everyone who takes pictures: If you take photos on your cell phone, you want this software. I've had a chance to play with it in its development over the past year, and it's something really new: a serious photo-editing stack (made by the people who make Nik Software, for those who know their photography) that runs on your mobile device, which can be as easy to use as Instagram filters or as powerful as a desktop tool, depending on what you want.

It's loads of fun to play with, and the results are kind of amazing. Go get this.

Our latest release from the Google Streams, Photos, and Sharing team. :)

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2015-04-08 00:23:49 (74 comments, 17 reshares, 329 +1s)Open 

I have always had a thing for control panels. Real, proper ones, with physical switches and lights -- there's a great deal to be said for that intuitiveness of always knowing where an indicator or control surface will be, of being able to find things by touch, all the things you can't do with modern screen displays.

The thing that came closest to making me switch to becoming an experimental physicist was the time that, my senior year of undergrad, I built a small cosmic ray observatory out of various old parts we had lying around, including a rack full of mid-1940's-vintage counters. Each counter had six columns; each column had the digits zero through nine, with a light for each, and as the counter incremented, the lights moved. It is hard to express the joy of building such a thing, and of watching the blinkenlights start to move as cosmic rays strike your detector. It fills a... more »

Our fully functioning operator's desk (with obvious upgrades) in the 88" #Cyclotron control room. 

Learn more here » http://bit.ly/88cyclo

#photooftheday   #vintage   #science  ___I have always had a thing for control panels. Real, proper ones, with physical switches and lights -- there's a great deal to be said for that intuitiveness of always knowing where an indicator or control surface will be, of being able to find things by touch, all the things you can't do with modern screen displays.

The thing that came closest to making me switch to becoming an experimental physicist was the time that, my senior year of undergrad, I built a small cosmic ray observatory out of various old parts we had lying around, including a rack full of mid-1940's-vintage counters. Each counter had six columns; each column had the digits zero through nine, with a light for each, and as the counter incremented, the lights moved. It is hard to express the joy of building such a thing, and of watching the blinkenlights start to move as cosmic rays strike your detector. It fills a scientist's or an engineer's heart with a strange sort of joy.

So I can't look at the operator's desk of the old Berkeley cyclotron without deeply, profoundly, coveting its control panel, and wanting to have it set up in my office, just so I can control something with it. I don't even care what.

This is a sign that I am a particular kind of geek. I know.

(This particular cyclotron dates back to 1962, by the way, and remains an important tool to this day: it provides a clean beam of high-energy protons which are useful for studying everything from nuclear structure, to heavy elements, to developing and testing a wide range of technologies. You can read more about it and its history at http://www2.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/early-years.html)

Via +D. Luria

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2015-04-07 15:43:05 (27 comments, 26 reshares, 228 +1s)Open 

This is (a) interesting science and (b) awesome science. I mean, how often do you get to make artificial lava and pour it over ice to see what happens?

It's directly useful because it helps us understand what happens when volcanos erupt in icy regions, and in particular how the lava can destabilize and break the ice, and move over it -- quite a bit faster than anticipated.

It's indirectly useful because by understanding the resulting formations, we'll likely find things in the geological record in the future and suddenly understand much better what was going on: for example, we might be able to suddenly recognize that a certain area used to have ice on it based on the ways in which lava has turned into rock there, which would tell us all sorts of things about its climate.

And it's even less directly useful because the scientists responsible now have the best party trick... more »

Hot Lava Over Cold Ice

❆ The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland highlighted the importance of understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt through ice.

❅ In order to improve our understanding of these spectacular events, we have conducted large-scale experiments by pouring 100-300 kg (~220-660 pounds) of melted rock onto blocks of ice and snow (http://blogs.dickinson.edu/edwardsb/2012/08/29/lava-ice-snow-experiments-at-syracuse/).

❄ The preliminary results of this study are both expected (ice melts!) and somewhat unexpected (lava can travel on top of snow; melted water can bubble up through lava).

☼ Benjamin Edwards and colleagues have also tested the ability of layers of volcanic ash (sand in the experiments) to slow down the melting process.

☀ Results show that if ice or snow is covered by volcanic ash at the start of an eruption, this will significantly slow the rate of melting if lava flows later move over the ash-covered ice.

❃ These experiments show good agreement with observations from volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Sicily, including the ability of lava to find weaknesses in ice and a tunnel underneath ice.

❋ Once the lava has found its way to the base of the ice, it can continue to flow beneath the ice layers by exploiting pre-existing fractures.

References and Further Reading:

1. Article from : http://www.geosociety.org/news/pr/13-40.htm
2.http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/06/20/G34305.1.abstract
3. http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/do-it-yourself-lava-flows

GIF Source : http://goo.gl/PSudht

#scienceeveryday   #lava   #ice  ___This is (a) interesting science and (b) awesome science. I mean, how often do you get to make artificial lava and pour it over ice to see what happens?

It's directly useful because it helps us understand what happens when volcanos erupt in icy regions, and in particular how the lava can destabilize and break the ice, and move over it -- quite a bit faster than anticipated.

It's indirectly useful because by understanding the resulting formations, we'll likely find things in the geological record in the future and suddenly understand much better what was going on: for example, we might be able to suddenly recognize that a certain area used to have ice on it based on the ways in which lava has turned into rock there, which would tell us all sorts of things about its climate.

And it's even less directly useful because the scientists responsible now have the best party trick ever.

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2015-04-07 01:03:00 (28 comments, 13 reshares, 175 +1s)Open 

Yes, Game of Thrones is big enough to be a statistical universe. A statistical universe of death, that is.

For those of you unfamiliar with Bayesian statistics, the plots in this are basically graphs of chance of survival. Say, for example, a new noble character shows up. The graph below shows that after two books, said character has a somewhere between 70 and 97% chance of still being alive if they're an Arryn, but only a 55 to 72% chance if they're a Stark. After a full seven books, the odds drop to 38-91% (Arryn) and 32-56% (Stark).

The range of chances is because there aren't enough characters to be really certain; as there are more Starks who have been around for a lot of books, the range of predictions for them is tighter because we have more experience to look back on.

A short summary of the results:

* In the short run, it's better to be noble than not,... more »

Statistics & +Game of Thrones? You're speaking my language.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/4/8339605/bayesian-survival-analysis-game-of-thrones___Yes, Game of Thrones is big enough to be a statistical universe. A statistical universe of death, that is.

For those of you unfamiliar with Bayesian statistics, the plots in this are basically graphs of chance of survival. Say, for example, a new noble character shows up. The graph below shows that after two books, said character has a somewhere between 70 and 97% chance of still being alive if they're an Arryn, but only a 55 to 72% chance if they're a Stark. After a full seven books, the odds drop to 38-91% (Arryn) and 32-56% (Stark).

The range of chances is because there aren't enough characters to be really certain; as there are more Starks who have been around for a lot of books, the range of predictions for them is tighter because we have more experience to look back on.

A short summary of the results:

* In the short run, it's better to be noble than not, because if you're not noble and you're mentioned in the book at all, you're very likely to be wearing a red shirt. If you manage to survive that initial dropoff, however, your odds may well be better than that of the nobles. It's not that good to be the king.

* It is markedly better for your survival to be female than to be male.

* Being either a Wildling or a member of the Night's Watch is really bad for your health.

* Staying out of wars entirely -- e.g., being an Arryn, Tyrell, or Martell -- is an excellent idea for those interested in surviving.

* Your best bet of all for survival is to stay the hell out of books by George R. R. Martin.

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2015-04-06 23:45:58 (15 comments, 4 reshares, 71 +1s)Open 

This post is not really about Easter.

It is, really, about cadavers, and their history in medical anatomy – and even more, their history in art. Artists have long needed to understand human musculature, and especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, prior to the passage of the English Anatomy Act, the requisite cadavers were very hard to find. (Which, in turn, led to an entire professional speciality, that of the Resurrectionist – something else which, despite its name, has nothing to do with Easter)

I should warn you that the article below is going to get rather graphic, and the linked article even more so, so if you proceed you should be aware that it's all about the interesting things people do with cadavers. 

But hell, if you're one of my readers, you've probably seen stranger things by now.

I forgot to wish you a happy Easter, so here is a cadaver.

As you may imagine, believers have historically harbored a great deal of interest in the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. In the days before science and religion "consciously uncoupled" due to irreconcilable differences, they played together a great deal -- often in a happy ménage with art.

Christianity actually provided the basis that allowed for this merry triad. As with many religions, the taboo surrounding the desecration of corpses was a feature of early Christianity, but it did not extend to criminals who had been condemned to death. In fact, dissection was occasionally prescribed as part of the punishment for murder (though many, many more crimes carried the possibility of the death penalty in Britain including "strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7 to 14 years of age." Kids were routinely executed in Britain until 1908, when the minimum age was set to 16. Only in 1933 was the age raised to 18.)

Dissection as a form of punishment was common in English law and adopted by the United States' First Congress in the Crimes Act of 1790 (at least for murders that occurred in federal jurisdiction. At that time, the only state that had such a provision for people convicted of murder was New York).

In any event -- this very Christian act of turning over the bodies of convicted murderers to science resulted in some fascinating insights into Christianity itself. In England in 1801, three artists who had been debating the accuracy of conventional portrayals of the crucifixion got a surgeon to help them acquire the cadaver of a recently convicted murderer. The body was still warm when it was nailed to a cross, allowing it to settle into a natural position. The artists made a cast of it, and then another after the corpse was flayed to allow the viewer to see the musculature of the body in the same position.

These two casts, titled "Anatomy of a Crucifixion" were a public sensation, with crowds excitedly gathering to see the reenactment of the torture and death of their god, a pivotal moment for all Christians. This wasn't entirely pious -- the late-Georgian and Victorian eras are charming for their unabashed delight with death. Not only were executions popular, but murder tourism was a thriving industry, with people taking trips to see scenes of gruesome crimes much as we take vacations today. Just as we may buy postcards or painted coconuts, murder tourists bought (or stole) items from crime scenes, and visited macabre museums just to see collections (or alleged collections) of such things. (And you thought Grand Theft Auto was violent...)

Americans, it should be noted, were not entirely different from their English counterparts -- Thomas Edison himself made at least two ghastly films -- the 1901 "Execution of Czolgosz" (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5a7_1391327458) and "Electrocution of an Elephant" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD0Q5FeF_wU) two years later. (It could be said that the entirety of the War of the Currents was a multi-year circus of death.)

Ultimately, executions both in the United States (beginning in 1890) and Britain (1868) were made private not out of concern with the graphic violence of dealing state-sanctioned death, but due to concern with the way such displays invariably aroused the "unwashed masses" to disorder. This, of course, was not an issue in 1801 when the casts of "Anatomy of a Crucifixion" were first exhibited. One of them (which is pictured in the link below, so please make sure your Victorian sensitivities are up to spec) can still be seen at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

(via +Jennifer Ouellette) ___This post is not really about Easter.

It is, really, about cadavers, and their history in medical anatomy – and even more, their history in art. Artists have long needed to understand human musculature, and especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, prior to the passage of the English Anatomy Act, the requisite cadavers were very hard to find. (Which, in turn, led to an entire professional speciality, that of the Resurrectionist – something else which, despite its name, has nothing to do with Easter)

I should warn you that the article below is going to get rather graphic, and the linked article even more so, so if you proceed you should be aware that it's all about the interesting things people do with cadavers. 

But hell, if you're one of my readers, you've probably seen stranger things by now.

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2015-04-04 06:25:01 (60 comments, 45 reshares, 462 +1s)Open 

I don't know if I'll ever look at stingrays the same again. Or ravioli.

Via +Cindy Brown​

" Baby stingrays look like raviolis  [sic] stuffed with tiny damned souls "

credit: https://imgur.com/LM3AQiR___I don't know if I'll ever look at stingrays the same again. Or ravioli.

Via +Cindy Brown​

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2015-04-03 10:11:55 (39 comments, 23 reshares, 228 +1s)Open 

The Saturn V was truly a beautiful craft. It's hard to understand just how big it is without seeing it; if you ever go to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC (which you should!) you can see one of the engines, and get a bit of a sense of scale. You could park a car inside it.

Also: I need to get a copy of the book this cross section comes from. That's awesome!

Saturn V Rocket

The Saturn V (spoken as "Saturn five") was an American human-rated expendable rocket used by NASA between 1966 and 1973. The three-stage liquid-fueled launch vehicle was developed to support the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon, and was later used to launch Skylab, the first American space station.

The Saturn V was launched 13 times from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with no loss of crew or payload. The Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) of 118,000 kilograms (260,000 lb).

The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, and IBM as the lead contractors. Von Braun's design was based in part on his work on the Aggregate series of rockets, especially the A-10, A-11, and A-12, in Germany during World War II.

To date, the Saturn V remains the only launch vehicle able to transport human beings beyond low Earth orbit. A total of 24 astronauts were launched to the Moon, three of them twice, in the four years spanning December 1968 through December 1972.

#saturnv   #nasa   #astronaut   #apollo   #rocket   #capecanaveral   #wernhervonbraun   #spaceexploration  +NASA  #moon   #skylab  

via/ wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V

Design of Stephen Biesty, in the book " Incredible Cross-Sections" of Dorling Kindersley (DK) Publishers___The Saturn V was truly a beautiful craft. It's hard to understand just how big it is without seeing it; if you ever go to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC (which you should!) you can see one of the engines, and get a bit of a sense of scale. You could park a car inside it.

Also: I need to get a copy of the book this cross section comes from. That's awesome!

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2015-04-02 08:36:56 (226 comments, 37 reshares, 239 +1s)Open 

I am afraid that this article is revealing too many of the secrets of CS education. (FWIW, Llorothaag is only one option for learning about networking. Many engineers prefer to make offerings to Elegba.)

“How did you learn to do all this?!” The ancient Spider-Goddess Llorothaag came to me in a harrowing blood-soaked vision. In exchange for perpetual servitude as her handmaiden, she imparted knowledge of IP subnetting.

h/t +Danial Hallock​

I am afraid that this article is revealing too many of the secrets of CS education. (FWIW, Llorothaag is only one option for learning about networking. Many engineers prefer to make offerings to Elegba.)

“How did you learn to do all this?!” The ancient Spider-Goddess Llorothaag came to me in a harrowing blood-soaked vision. In exchange for perpetual servitude as her handmaiden, she imparted knowledge of IP subnetting.

h/t +Danial Hallock​___

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2015-03-29 10:31:22 (289 comments, 37 reshares, 313 +1s)Open 

Something interesting I learned today. Also, it's quite a beautiful coin: the image feels halfway between 18th-century representations of national figures (Columbia, Brittania, Marianne, etc) and late 19th-century Romantic representations of science, nature, and so on.

We had some good numismatic art back in the 1790's apparently.

Via +Jennifer Freeman​

~ The first U.S. penny touts science, not God ~ [Why Evolution Is True] :: The interesting part is the motto on the coin: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”. Now we all know that the “In God We Trust” motto is a relatively recent innovation, but I was surprised to find (although I shouldn’t have been) that the founders rated science as one of the boons of liberty. And nary a mention of the creator. Just another little nail in the coffin of “America founded as a Christian nation.” ::  #atheism___Something interesting I learned today. Also, it's quite a beautiful coin: the image feels halfway between 18th-century representations of national figures (Columbia, Brittania, Marianne, etc) and late 19th-century Romantic representations of science, nature, and so on.

We had some good numismatic art back in the 1790's apparently.

Via +Jennifer Freeman​

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2015-03-26 11:41:42 (61 comments, 38 reshares, 231 +1s)Open 

This graph is Greek to me. Actually, it's Chinese, as my native language is Hebrew and that's our metaphor for incomprehensibility. Were it Chinese, I would say that it's Heavenly Script to me, instead.

Reminds me of the old joke about how people say that something isn't brain surgery. So someone asked a bunch of brain surgeons what they say, and the answer was "it's not rocket science." Rocket scientists, in turn, say that it's not theoretical physics; theoretical physicists say that it's not car mechanics.

Fascinating graph. "The phrase actually comes from a Medieval Latin proverb, “Graecum est; non potest legi,” meaning “It is Greek; it cannot be read.” From there, the phrase filtered into many European languages. Today, English, Spanish, Polish, Norwegian and Swedish all use Greek as a metaphor for incomprehensibility.

Mark Liberman, a professor linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, started wondering what the equivalent was in different languages. Drawing on a variety of sources, including Wikipedia, Omniglot and user comments, he created the graph above, which shows the language that other languages use to describe things that are hard or impossible to understand."___This graph is Greek to me. Actually, it's Chinese, as my native language is Hebrew and that's our metaphor for incomprehensibility. Were it Chinese, I would say that it's Heavenly Script to me, instead.

Reminds me of the old joke about how people say that something isn't brain surgery. So someone asked a bunch of brain surgeons what they say, and the answer was "it's not rocket science." Rocket scientists, in turn, say that it's not theoretical physics; theoretical physicists say that it's not car mechanics.

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2015-03-25 06:49:37 (155 comments, 20 reshares, 234 +1s)Open 

An important reminder: pit bulls are actually very sweet-tempered dogs and are known for being good with children. The infinite media reports about how they (or various other breeds; the panic of the day varies) are somehow "inherently dangerous" are nothing but sloppy reporting; they don't have magical locking jaws, or a native bloodlust, or anything else other dogs don't have. If a dog is vicious, that's because of the way it's been reared - and any dog can be reared viciously.

There are serious consequences to this media frenzy: cities and apartments set up "breed restrictions" which force dogs or residents out, and dogs die in shelters because people are afraid to adopt them.

Don't fall for this nonsense. If you're looking to adopt a dog, keep an eye out for these unloved breeds - they're great dogs and need you badly.

Despite their reputation, the United Kennel Club doesn't recommended using pitbulls as guard dogs because they're too friendly with strangers.___An important reminder: pit bulls are actually very sweet-tempered dogs and are known for being good with children. The infinite media reports about how they (or various other breeds; the panic of the day varies) are somehow "inherently dangerous" are nothing but sloppy reporting; they don't have magical locking jaws, or a native bloodlust, or anything else other dogs don't have. If a dog is vicious, that's because of the way it's been reared - and any dog can be reared viciously.

There are serious consequences to this media frenzy: cities and apartments set up "breed restrictions" which force dogs or residents out, and dogs die in shelters because people are afraid to adopt them.

Don't fall for this nonsense. If you're looking to adopt a dog, keep an eye out for these unloved breeds - they're great dogs and need you badly.

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2015-03-22 06:35:29 (32 comments, 6 reshares, 131 +1s)Open 

Quoth +Saladin Ahmed: Every other science fiction illustration is bullshit compared to this. ht @PulpLibrarian.

And, seriously, can you argue with that? Although I'm not sure, between the man and the giant chicken, which is meant to be the food and which the god.

(h/t +Chris Stehlik for finding this among Saladin's tweets, where I somehow missed it)

Quoth +Saladin Ahmed: Every other science fiction illustration is bullshit compared to this. ht @PulpLibrarian.

And, seriously, can you argue with that? Although I'm not sure, between the man and the giant chicken, which is meant to be the food and which the god.

(h/t +Chris Stehlik for finding this among Saladin's tweets, where I somehow missed it)___

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2015-03-21 21:31:09 (167 comments, 86 reshares, 295 +1s)Open 

There's a new paper out in Genome Research which shows something rather fascinating that seems to have happened in human history, right after the agricultural revolution. The two graphs below show the number of men (left) and women (right) alive at various times in history whose genes are still around today. (We can measure this separately because Y-chromosome DNA is transmitted only through men, and mitochondrial DNA only through women) 

There are lots of reasons that you would expect this curve to increase as you move forward in time. The simplest part of this is the "common ancestor" effect. If someone is your ancestor, then all of their ancestors are your ancestors, too. This means that, as you go farther back in time, anyone who's along your family tree is an ancestor of a bigger and bigger chunk of people. In fact, once you go far enough back, you'll encounter a... more »

There's a new paper out in Genome Research which shows something rather fascinating that seems to have happened in human history, right after the agricultural revolution. The two graphs below show the number of men (left) and women (right) alive at various times in history whose genes are still around today. (We can measure this separately because Y-chromosome DNA is transmitted only through men, and mitochondrial DNA only through women) 

There are lots of reasons that you would expect this curve to increase as you move forward in time. The simplest part of this is the "common ancestor" effect. If someone is your ancestor, then all of their ancestors are your ancestors, too. This means that, as you go farther back in time, anyone who's along your family tree is an ancestor of a bigger and bigger chunk of people. In fact, once you go far enough back, you'll encounter a person who is a common ancestor for everyone in your population group, or even in the world -- and once you've encountered this first common ancestor, every one of their ancestors is a common ancestor, too! This means that a bit further back in time, you suddenly pass a second threshold: at that point, everyone who was alive then is either a common ancestor of everyone alive today, or of nobody alive today. (If you're curious about this, there are a few famous papers by +Douglas Rohde and a few others on this subject, where with a combination of historical population data and computer simulations, they managed to show that the most recent common ancestor of all humanity probably lived only a few thousand years ago, and in either southeast or northeast Asia: http://tedlab.mit.edu/~dr/Papers/Rohde-MRCA-two.pdf)

So because of this effect, you would expect that as you go far back in time, the number of people who are ancestors of people alive today would end up being a roughly fixed fraction of the population: everyone's either a common ancestor, or not an ancestor at all.

Now, the other important thing about the agricultural revolution is that it made the population boom: grain fields can support orders of magnitude more people than hunting and gathering or nomadic herding. (This is also why the agricultural revolution leads to the original rise of cities)

If you look at the curve on the right -- estimated number of women who are ancestors of living humans today, as a function of time -- you see exactly that. Right around 15,000 years ago (15kya), the number of women skyrockets, and starts to level off around 10,000 years ago. This is exactly what you would expect if nutrition suddenly improved by a lot, and it suggest that it was the early agricultural revolution -- that first cultivation of crops, rather than the rise of effective mass agriculture and the rise of early cities -- that had the biggest effect.

But the plot for men is bizarrely different. At 15kya, the gauge for men doesn't move. And then at 10kya, when the "big" agricultural revolution hits and cities start to emerge, the number for men plummets, only to recover and show the giant population-related spike around 5,000 years ago. At its most extreme, the ratio of female to male ancestors was 17:1!

What happened here? The authors suggest that this was most likely a cultural effect, rather than a mysterious plague which only affected men. My own quick summary of thoughts:

(1) The effects which created the initial surge in female long-term reproduction, around 15kya, don't seem to have affected men much at all. This suggests that we're seeing a huge nutritional effect on the success rate of pregnancies.

(2) The crash in male reproduction around 10kya suggests that most men were suddenly unable to reproduce, even as lots of women were doing so. This means that small numbers of men were having lots of children, and most weren't having any at all, or at least none which appear to have survived. Since you would suspect that most men might object to this, that suggests rather extraordinary application of force: i.e., the rise of the agricultural state brought with it tremendous power asymmetries and the rise of very wide polygyny. 

(3) Around 5kya, this effect seems to have vanished even more quickly than it appeared. If anything, that's more fascinating, because 5kya is already within visibility of the literary record. (The story of the marriage of Inanna, for example, contains some fairly clear allusions to the tension between nomadism and agriculture) A change this rapid, from extremely concentrated harems to some kind of more level marriage system, would seem to require a tremendous social event going with it, something big enough that I'm surprised that we don't see at least allusions to it in a wide range of early literary records.

In fact, this third point is enough to make me actively suspicious: this is a huge effect, something which would have defined human society for hundreds of generations and the response to which would likely have had effects for hundreds of generations to come. Its uniformity across geographic regions (colors in the graph) is similarly surprising: cultural shifts affecting the entire world don't Just Happen.

So I'm going to take this result with a great deal of caution until there's further confirmation, but the questions which it poses are fascinating, and this is clearly a direction worth more research.___

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2015-03-21 04:04:37 (24 comments, 22 reshares, 185 +1s)Open 

I really shouldn't find this article quite as amusing as I do. But I suppose this article was inevitable: one way or another, the truth would out.

Man Who Powers Microsoft’s Internet Explorer To Retire After 20 Year’s Service
#nerdhumour   #nerdhumor  ___I really shouldn't find this article quite as amusing as I do. But I suppose this article was inevitable: one way or another, the truth would out.

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2015-03-20 23:00:24 (26 comments, 38 reshares, 165 +1s)Open 

The New Horizons spacecraft is quickly approaching Pluto, and we will soon have high-resolution maps of this distant world's surface. The New Horizons team has decided to do something unusual: they're opening up a public campaign to nominate and vote for names for the surface features that will be discovered.

Names will come from three different themes: the history of exploration, the literature of exploration, and the mythology of the underworld. (You can read more about the themes, and why they were chosen, on the site) The ballot will be open until April 7th. 

For all those who want to join in leaving our mark on an alien world, now is the time!

The New Horizons spacecraft is quickly approaching Pluto, and we will soon have high-resolution maps of this distant world's surface. The New Horizons team has decided to do something unusual: they're opening up a public campaign to nominate and vote for names for the surface features that will be discovered.

Names will come from three different themes: the history of exploration, the literature of exploration, and the mythology of the underworld. (You can read more about the themes, and why they were chosen, on the site) The ballot will be open until April 7th. 

For all those who want to join in leaving our mark on an alien world, now is the time!___

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2015-03-19 19:49:28 (41 comments, 3 reshares, 72 +1s)Open 

In case you were wondering: Yes, cadaver dogs can tell if you left a dead body on the carpet and then moved it later. 

And I won't even ask why you were already wondering about this. But that does explain the carpet cleaning bills.

Three Reasons Not to Leave a Dead Body on the Carpet (more on cadaver dogs) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/dog-spies/2015/03/19/three-reasons-not-to-leave-a-dead-body-on-the-carpet/___In case you were wondering: Yes, cadaver dogs can tell if you left a dead body on the carpet and then moved it later. 

And I won't even ask why you were already wondering about this. But that does explain the carpet cleaning bills.

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2015-03-19 17:28:13 (74 comments, 33 reshares, 126 +1s)Open 

This is a very interesting essay on the cognitive and social psychology of religion: about how religious belief and ritual serve to stabilize societies and achieve important ends. This can range from enforcing rules about stealing and charity (in urbanized societies) to resource conservation and border management (among Siberian herders). Generally, the idea of this article is that religion is a strategy for social organization.

And it includes some interesting and non-obvious results about how our minds work. For example:

"There appears to be a rule, then, deep in our mental programming that tells us: minds without bodies know more than those with bodies."

God is an evolved organizational strategy that made people think they were being watched: http://j.mp/1MRil7U  ___This is a very interesting essay on the cognitive and social psychology of religion: about how religious belief and ritual serve to stabilize societies and achieve important ends. This can range from enforcing rules about stealing and charity (in urbanized societies) to resource conservation and border management (among Siberian herders). Generally, the idea of this article is that religion is a strategy for social organization.

And it includes some interesting and non-obvious results about how our minds work. For example:

"There appears to be a rule, then, deep in our mental programming that tells us: minds without bodies know more than those with bodies."

2015-03-19 03:50:32 (17 comments, 9 reshares, 121 +1s)Open 

Some interesting calculations: What would it look like if our Sun were replaced by various other stars, from the tiny, red, Barnard's Star, just 14% of its size, all the way up to Aldebaran, 70% more massive but 44 times the diameter.

Why doesn't this image show what would happen with even bigger stars? Because you would very quickly be seeing an image of nothing but blinding bluish-white light taking up the entire sky. And stars which are even only a bit larger than Aldebaran start to pose bigger problems: if our Sun were replaced with Deneb, we would almost be inside it. And Deneb is far from the largest star known; that would be UY Scuti, merely ten times our Sun's mass, but large enough that not only Earth, but even Saturn would be engulfed by it; it almost reaches out to Uranus. (And at 340,000 times the total brightness of the Sun, the view from inside it could best be described as... more »

The Sun replaced with other stars, "based on the absolute brightness, spectral class, and radius" of the various substitutions. Which is to say, the artists are aware that more than the sky would look different if you actually made the substitution.

I do wonder about the colors, I think we all learned from that dress business that these things are tricky at best.___Some interesting calculations: What would it look like if our Sun were replaced by various other stars, from the tiny, red, Barnard's Star, just 14% of its size, all the way up to Aldebaran, 70% more massive but 44 times the diameter.

Why doesn't this image show what would happen with even bigger stars? Because you would very quickly be seeing an image of nothing but blinding bluish-white light taking up the entire sky. And stars which are even only a bit larger than Aldebaran start to pose bigger problems: if our Sun were replaced with Deneb, we would almost be inside it. And Deneb is far from the largest star known; that would be UY Scuti, merely ten times our Sun's mass, but large enough that not only Earth, but even Saturn would be engulfed by it; it almost reaches out to Uranus. (And at 340,000 times the total brightness of the Sun, the view from inside it could best be described as "bright")

Also on this site: pictures of what it would look like if the Moon were replaced with various other bodies. (http://www.halcyonmaps.com/moon-replaced-with-other-bodies/) However, I don't think that one adequately captures the brightness impact: by my quick calculation, a night by the light of a full Jupiter would be about as well-lit as the interior of a well-lit home at night. 

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2015-03-18 22:56:54 (85 comments, 71 reshares, 376 +1s)Open 

How do you keep mosquitos out of a hospital in the jungle? With a laser sentry gun, that's how.

This thing optically tracks bugs, identifies them, and then shoots them with a short, high-powered laser pulse. It can apparently keep bugs out of a large area very effectively - including areas where netting is completely impractical.

For example, in our new Enrichment Center.

h/t +Rugger Ducky​

This model of a laser bug zapper, which will soon be manufactured in the US, uses a photonic fence to track bugs within a specified area and kill them. The inventors hope it can be used in places like African hospitals to rid them of mosquitos that carry malaria and cause major issues. http://bit.ly/1bfh1Ac___How do you keep mosquitos out of a hospital in the jungle? With a laser sentry gun, that's how.

This thing optically tracks bugs, identifies them, and then shoots them with a short, high-powered laser pulse. It can apparently keep bugs out of a large area very effectively - including areas where netting is completely impractical.

For example, in our new Enrichment Center.

h/t +Rugger Ducky​

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2015-03-18 20:43:26 (24 comments, 23 reshares, 235 +1s)Open 

Zoom in on this picture. You won't get its full majesty up small. When you look at it up close, you'll see the roiling storms on the Jovian surface, and how amazingly three-dimensional Europa appears, floating above it.

Europa / Jupiter, by NASA Voyager. (credit: NASA/Kinetikon Pictures) via +reddit.___Zoom in on this picture. You won't get its full majesty up small. When you look at it up close, you'll see the roiling storms on the Jovian surface, and how amazingly three-dimensional Europa appears, floating above it.

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2015-03-18 19:24:38 (76 comments, 38 reshares, 232 +1s)Open 

This is not a satire piece. I want to try to emphasize that. 

Yes, a State Department spokesperson did respond to allegations that we were involved in some putative coup planning around Venezuela by saying that "[a]s a matter of long standing policy the United States does not support transitions by non-constitutional means." Yes, she did get called on it by a reporter who asked her just what "long-standing" is supposed to mean. She even managed to keep an almost-straight face while answering that -- but even she seems to have been on the verge of breaking out laughing.

I'll let Claude Rains give the appropriate commentary on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME

h/t +Kee Hinckley​ 

This is not a satire piece. I want to try to emphasize that. 

Yes, a State Department spokesperson did respond to allegations that we were involved in some putative coup planning around Venezuela by saying that "[a]s a matter of long standing policy the United States does not support transitions by non-constitutional means." Yes, she did get called on it by a reporter who asked her just what "long-standing" is supposed to mean. She even managed to keep an almost-straight face while answering that -- but even she seems to have been on the verge of breaking out laughing.

I'll let Claude Rains give the appropriate commentary on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME

h/t +Kee Hinckley​ ___

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2015-03-18 00:27:19 (62 comments, 34 reshares, 169 +1s)Open 

I'm watching the Israeli election results with bated breath. So far, exit polls show the election extremely close, with a slight edge towards Netanyahu's attempt to form a new coalition government -- but it's close. This campaign has been marked by a new kind of polarization, one fostered rather actively by Avigdor Lieberman and his Israel Beiteinu party, and has spread among more of the right wing -- overt and rather bloodthirsty racism appears to now be the name of the game.

Updated: As more votes are counted, it's looking like 30 seats for Likud, 24 for Zionist Union, so Netanyahu is most likely going to get to form the new government. Whee.

The diagram below is the best summary I've seen of the exit polling. Even if you follow Israeli politics, it may be very hard to figure out who the players in it are, because the parties seem to change from one... more »

I'm watching the Israeli election results with bated breath. So far, exit polls show the election extremely close, with a slight edge towards Netanyahu's attempt to form a new coalition government -- but it's close. This campaign has been marked by a new kind of polarization, one fostered rather actively by Avigdor Lieberman and his Israel Beiteinu party, and has spread among more of the right wing -- overt and rather bloodthirsty racism appears to now be the name of the game.

Updated: As more votes are counted, it's looking like 30 seats for Likud, 24 for Zionist Union, so Netanyahu is most likely going to get to form the new government. Whee.

The diagram below is the best summary I've seen of the exit polling. Even if you follow Israeli politics, it may be very hard to figure out who the players in it are, because the parties seem to change from one election to the next, so for those who are interested, here's a short summary. (NB: The parties here are ordered not based on a single, linear political spectrum -- there are two major axes in Israel, left-right and secular-religious -- but based on their likelihood to ever form a coalition with one another.)

Starting from the left:

The three Arab parties decided to merge and run together as the Joint List, and they seem pretty likely to end up at 13 seats. These represent the Israeli Arab population.

Meretz ("Vigor") is a left-wing secular party, advocating a two-state solution, social justice, human rights, and environmentalism.

The biggest center-left party, Labor, and the second-biggest, Hatnuah, ("The Movement") joined up to run together as the Zionist Union. This would be the center of any left-wing coalition. Labor supports having a peace process, and Hatnuah is also particularly interested in integrating the Arab and Haredi (ultra-orthodox) communities more deeply into society. On those rare occasions that economics really matter in an election, Labor is Socialist; but in Israel, the gamut of economic positions is relatively narrow, from "we should have a free market with a few aspects of socialism" to "we should have a free market with a few more aspects of socialism."

Yesh Atid ("There is a future") is a secular party that popped almost out of nowhere a few years ago. Their main interest is in checking the influence of the ultra-orthodox, and ending their various special exemptions and religious privileges. They generally align with the left bloc on other issues.

Kulanu ("All of us") is a center-right secular party. (It and Hatnuah formed out of the fission of the Kadima ("Forward!") party a few years ago, which in turn formed out of the fusion of various left- and right-wing elements after both of the major center-left and -right parties collapsed in flames) They're focused on economic issues, especially keeping the cost of living under control and breaking up monopolies; on strategic issues, they're fairly security-oriented but also believe in a two-state solution.

UTJ is where things start to get weird. They're an ultra-orthodox party that I've posted about before, in the context of their campaign during the last election against geometry. (https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/QinuQ5yTzgP) They are also, in general, against any sort of system of public education apart from religious education, and think that we shouldn't have all of these public works and instead invest more in religious education. They have no opinion on matters of peace and security at all; these things involve secular people and non-Jews, so they really don't care. If you think of them as an isolationist and non-violent version of the Taliban, you'll basically get the idea.

Shas is another religious party, which likewise doesn't care much about peace and such issues. They have only two issues they really care about -- religion and corruption -- and they're strongly in favor of both. Their votes are basically for sale to whichever coalition will pay them off appropriately, and as a result they end up in nearly every coalition. Unfortunately, part of their price includes continuing control over the Interior Ministry, which means things like marriage law being determined by their rabbis. They represent a somewhat mystically-oriented branch of Judaism which is very popular among parts of the Sephardic working class, and so their campaigns tend to involve people taking oaths and receiving talismans and so on. Israeli politics is surreal.

Likud ("The Consolidation") is the big secular center-right party, and the party of the current PM, Netanyahu. Historically, the party has been on the "security" side of the peace/security tension, and is a bit more free-market oriented than Labor, in those few elections where economic issues matter. (But there's no radical difference here; their economic policies are pretty similar to those of Kulanu or Yesh Atid) However, thanks to their very close relationship with Israel Beiteinu and similar groups, they've recently gone in, shall we say, a more interesting direction, with Netanyahu making a statement earlier today about keeping all those Arabs from voting too much and making sure the state stays Jewish.

Netanyahu is known as being profoundly opportunist, and willing to do anything and hold any platform he needs in order to get power. Racism sells to voters he's unsure about, so: more racism. He has also been explaining, in the past few weeks, how an international Zionist conspiracy is trying to unseat him. (No, really. cf: https://plus.google.com/+AndreasSchou/posts/auDniwSz6Ui)

(Incidentally, this is tied to the parties you don't see on this chart, Yahad ("Together") and Otzma Yehudit ("Jewish Strength"). The OY party is described as "neo-Kahanist," with Meir Kahane being the assassinated former leader of the Kach party, a party which was basically kicked out of the country for being a terrorist organization. The Kach platform can be summarized as "genocide." They are not nice people. These guys are the equivalent of European political parties that don't try to hide their Nazi affiliations much at all. They're not on this chart because, thank all the gods, they didn't get enough votes to pass the 3.25% threshold to get any seats. But these are the "stray votes to pick up" that many parties on the farther right are interested in)

And now we get to Israel Beiteinu. ("Israel is our homeland") If you're familiar with European far-right secular political parties, you can basically guess what these guys are like; think of an Israeli version of UKIP, at best. However, in the run-up to the election they've decided to dispense with the subtlety, calling for "disloyal" Arab citizens to be beheaded. (https://plus.google.com/+AndreasSchou/posts/VkZp2D1ShLM) The exact definition of "disloyal" was left as an exercise for the listener. This party's voting base is basically entirely working-class Russian immigrants who feel generally disenfranchised and disconnected from broader society, and who are quite familiar with what we politely call "nationalist" political parties.

Finally, we have Habayit Hayehudi. ("Jewish Home") They are a right-wing, religious party which believes that Jews are divinely commanded to maintain control over the entire land of Israel. Settlement-building is a divine commandment for them, and that's what many of them go off and do, legally or otherwise.

So you can see why some of these parties might not want to make a coalition with one another.

Another way to read this graph: The Joint List, Meretz, and the Zionist Union are all fairly together on subjects of peace and human rights, which is ultimately their primary issue. Likewise, Likud, Israel Beiteinu, and Jewish Home are all fairly together on subjects of security and Jewish supremacy, which are their primary issues. Yesh Atid, UTJ, and Shas are all primarily about the religious/secular divide; YA lines up enough with the left-wing coalition on other things that they'll join that, which means that UTJ and Shas will join the right wing.


Basically, what a lot of it is boiling down to is this. The Zionist Union will try to form a center-left bloc, which will be committed to a two-state solution, to broader integration of the Arab population, and to human rights. They're going to need Yesh Atid, which means they're going to also be anti-clerical. Simultaneously, Likud is going to try to form a center-right bloc, with a kind of nationalism / racism as party platform, and Netanyahu stated firmly and publicly yesterday that there will be no two-state solution or real negotiations so long as he is in power. Shas and UTJ will join this coalition, if nothing else because Yesh Atid will join the other one.

And that leaves Kulanu in the middle, and its party head, Moshe Kahlon, as kingmaker. The party's policies could get along with either coalition; while historically, Kulanu is basically a break-off of Likud, Likud has also shifted since then, so Kulanu's allegiance isn't a slam-dunk. The two large party leaders -- Netanyahu (aka Bibi) for Likud, Herzog (aka Bugi) for Labor -- will be up very late tonight negotiating and offering deals.

Oddsmakers are giving a slight edge to the right wing as of now, but it's still fairly far up in the air. But the difference between the two putative coalitions is stark and has gotten starker in the past few days: the left bloc being committed to a peace process, a two-state solution, and integration of Arab, Orthodox, and secular Jewish citizens into a single polity, and the right bloc being committed to increased settlements, no giving up of land, and to rather thoroughly disenfranchising Arabs in particular.

Those of you who occasionally talk about wanting multi-party government in the US: watching this sort of thing in action, and just how much power fairly small parties end up with, is exactly why I think that would be a terrible idea.

And now, having offended nearly everybody who has read this far, I'll go back to watching the news.___

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2015-03-16 22:13:55 (16 comments, 19 reshares, 133 +1s)Open 

Alas, no Brazil or Doctor Strangelove in this deck.

Via +Piera Coppola.

Cult movies turned into children's books
by Josh Cooley
http://www.cooleycooley.com/___Alas, no Brazil or Doctor Strangelove in this deck.

Via +Piera Coppola.

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2015-03-16 20:10:29 (34 comments, 17 reshares, 125 +1s)Open 

Already, the scarecrows in Nagoro outnumber the living. Gradually, as its human inhabitants die or leave, they are being replaced by straw men in their honor, and Ayano -- their maker -- continually makes the rounds, repairing them and adding new ones.

But one day, she will no longer be there to maintain them, and if there is no-one else to take up the mantle, they have only a few years to live before they fall apart. The last remains of Nagoro will be schoolrooms full of gradually collapsing straw children.

There is only one good way to avert this. The scarecrows need to be taught to maintain one another.

h/t +Rosa Golijan.

Already, the scarecrows in Nagoro outnumber the living. Gradually, as its human inhabitants die or leave, they are being replaced by straw men in their honor, and Ayano -- their maker -- continually makes the rounds, repairing them and adding new ones.

But one day, she will no longer be there to maintain them, and if there is no-one else to take up the mantle, they have only a few years to live before they fall apart. The last remains of Nagoro will be schoolrooms full of gradually collapsing straw children.

There is only one good way to avert this. The scarecrows need to be taught to maintain one another.

h/t +Rosa Golijan.___

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2015-03-15 21:47:58 (146 comments, 19 reshares, 289 +1s)Open 

Your question for today: was the Senate conspiracy to assassinate Caesar a good idea at the time? Was it a good idea with twenty years' hindsight, given the civil war which followed and the ultimate rise of Augustus? How about now, with over two thousand years worth of hindsight?

You would think that these answers would get easier over time, but they really don't seem to.

h/t +Jordan Peacock​

___Your question for today: was the Senate conspiracy to assassinate Caesar a good idea at the time? Was it a good idea with twenty years' hindsight, given the civil war which followed and the ultimate rise of Augustus? How about now, with over two thousand years worth of hindsight?

You would think that these answers would get easier over time, but they really don't seem to.

h/t +Jordan Peacock​

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2015-03-15 20:04:02 (76 comments, 56 reshares, 195 +1s)Open 

There's a very interesting article here, giving a new hypothesis about the underlying mechanism of autism: that it's a disorder of the system that lets us predict the future based on the past. This could explain a wide variety of the observed features across the spectrum, depending on whether prediction is more compromised at short or long timescales; e.g., trouble with predicting at millisecond timescales could lead to language impairment, whereas second timescales would affect social interaction.

There's rather a lot to this hypothesis, but the paper is short and easy to read, so if you're interested I would recommend just jumping directly to it at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/42/15220.full . It gives plausible explanations for a wide variety of traits on the autistic spectrum, from "insistence on sameness" to sensory hypersensitivity to islands of proficiency.... more »

" #autism  as a disorder of prediction" in #openacces #neuroscience___There's a very interesting article here, giving a new hypothesis about the underlying mechanism of autism: that it's a disorder of the system that lets us predict the future based on the past. This could explain a wide variety of the observed features across the spectrum, depending on whether prediction is more compromised at short or long timescales; e.g., trouble with predicting at millisecond timescales could lead to language impairment, whereas second timescales would affect social interaction.

There's rather a lot to this hypothesis, but the paper is short and easy to read, so if you're interested I would recommend just jumping directly to it at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/42/15220.full . It gives plausible explanations for a wide variety of traits on the autistic spectrum, from "insistence on sameness" to sensory hypersensitivity to islands of proficiency. Usefully, the paper makes a number of very concrete predictions, so it should be possible to test this model and figure out if it's correct in relatively short order.

If correct, it's also got a lot of practical use. On the research side, this would give some strong hints towards the biological basis for autism, focusing on the systems that learn from time series. On the daily life side, understanding what someone else isn't understanding could be very helpful in communicating and working better with people along the autistic spectrum.

h/t +Daniel Estrada 

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2015-03-15 01:52:46 (92 comments, 20 reshares, 185 +1s)Open 

Apparently, there has been a sharp rise in membership in paramilitary organizations in Poland, ever since the USSR Russia invaded the Crimea. I can't say as this seems ill-founded to me; Putin has made it fairly clear that he is not only opposed to European involvement in what he sees as his sphere of influence, but that he is quite willing to go to war to achieve that. (Or rather, "recognize that the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine wants to fight off opp..." oh, nevermind, I can't put together proper Official Sentences to explain how the Russian forces in Ukraine aren't really Russian at all, they just look Russian and happen to be wearing uniforms and bearing arms that were in Moscow not long ago)

I would estimate that the risk is highest in places where there are significant ethnic Russian minorities -- especially areas like Kaliningrad, and the Baltic states where... more »

Apparently, there has been a sharp rise in membership in paramilitary organizations in Poland, ever since the USSR Russia invaded the Crimea. I can't say as this seems ill-founded to me; Putin has made it fairly clear that he is not only opposed to European involvement in what he sees as his sphere of influence, but that he is quite willing to go to war to achieve that. (Or rather, "recognize that the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine wants to fight off opp..." oh, nevermind, I can't put together proper Official Sentences to explain how the Russian forces in Ukraine aren't really Russian at all, they just look Russian and happen to be wearing uniforms and bearing arms that were in Moscow not long ago)

I would estimate that the risk is highest in places where there are significant ethnic Russian minorities -- especially areas like Kaliningrad, and the Baltic states where Stalin made sure to move lots of Russians (like he did in Ukraine) for precisely this sort of purpose. Of course, Poland has the classic problem of geography: it's big, flat, and between Russia and Germany, so rather than forming a natural barrier it's often seen as the area that various sides need to control "for their own safety."

I don't expect war in Poland or in the Baltics in 2015, but under the circumstances, I wouldn't say that it's insane for those countries to start drilling and preparing for trouble pre-emptively. Sometimes clear military readiness is a good way to avert wars, too.

[Cue arrival of furious Russian apologists calling me a Ukrainian shill or a Western shill, furious Ukrainian apologists calling me a Russian shill, and probably furious Mongol apologists calling me a Khwarezmi shill. Seriously, you would think that by now, given the number of articles I've put up on which every side was absolutely convinced that I was being paid by the other side, someone would get kind of suspicious of these hypotheses.]___

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2015-03-14 23:31:33 (29 comments, 12 reshares, 93 +1s)Open 

I don't normally post business articles -- it's not my main subject -- but this is a rather interesting analysis of Keurig's business model. It's often been described as a classical "razors and blades" model, where you buy the device cheaply and then spend a lot on refills, but this article points out that the model is different because the consumable you buy in this case is the primary thing you want, and that changes customers' attitudes towards the product. (Another example they give of a similar model are game consoles, where you buy the initial device and then games) The argument is that this leads to fundamentally different dynamics, more similar to those of software services than to traditional hardware.

NB that this isn't an analysis of Keurig machines per se; there's plenty of argument about their environmental costs, the quality of coffee, etc.,... more »

I don't normally post business articles -- it's not my main subject -- but this is a rather interesting analysis of Keurig's business model. It's often been described as a classical "razors and blades" model, where you buy the device cheaply and then spend a lot on refills, but this article points out that the model is different because the consumable you buy in this case is the primary thing you want, and that changes customers' attitudes towards the product. (Another example they give of a similar model are game consoles, where you buy the initial device and then games) The argument is that this leads to fundamentally different dynamics, more similar to those of software services than to traditional hardware.

NB that this isn't an analysis of Keurig machines per se; there's plenty of argument about their environmental costs, the quality of coffee, etc., etc. Which is good, because I have yet to hear a single interesting thing said about that subject. (And as I'm the sort of coffee drinker who has his own regular suppliers, I'm really not the target market for those anyway.)___

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2015-03-14 20:09:54 (49 comments, 10 reshares, 108 +1s)Open 

The sorts of things that show up in my threads...

Part of me really wants to figure out if someone could make a decent game out of this. I mean, when this happens in real life, the stakes could not possibly be higher: it's literally life or death for millions of people, generally including you and your family.

The problem, of course, is that negotiations always feel like you're slogging through a complete lack of agency. When video games succeed, it's typically because they're a "fantasy of agency" in the sense of Bujold's famous talk. (http://www.dendarii.com/denver08.html) If this idea seems completely ridiculous, it's not because the stakes are low or the complexity can't have a good curve, it's because you're watching the characters in the game bash their heads against tables and scream at each other because they can't get anything... more »

OMG this video is riotous. Thunk!

h/t's to +Yonatan Zunger for starting the comment parade (very good reading in itself), which led to a comment by +LM Stewart  who provided the YouTube link.

For a helping of Yonatan's instigation agitation, go read
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+YonatanZunger/posts/HTHqiU9jojM___The sorts of things that show up in my threads...

Part of me really wants to figure out if someone could make a decent game out of this. I mean, when this happens in real life, the stakes could not possibly be higher: it's literally life or death for millions of people, generally including you and your family.

The problem, of course, is that negotiations always feel like you're slogging through a complete lack of agency. When video games succeed, it's typically because they're a "fantasy of agency" in the sense of Bujold's famous talk. (http://www.dendarii.com/denver08.html) If this idea seems completely ridiculous, it's not because the stakes are low or the complexity can't have a good curve, it's because you're watching the characters in the game bash their heads against tables and scream at each other because they can't get anything done.

So here's a question for gamers and game designers: Is it possible, even in theory, to make a good game which involves challenges that are about a lack of agency and working hard to make a really complicated system change? Or is this something which the medium is fundamentally not good at?

(Yes, I can turn even a 1-minute clip from John Oliver into a serious philosophical discussion. I have the power!)

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2015-03-14 06:03:10 (164 comments, 21 reshares, 282 +1s)Open 

A few days ago, a sitting US Senator and candidate for President announced his intention to, if elected, stage a military coup. ("Hah hah! I was only joking! Really!" went the correction, several hours later) (I'm paraphrasing. He didn't actually issue a correction. His press secretary issued a statement saying that he didn't really mean it. You should all feel safe now.) 

Today, noted right-wing commentator Glenn Beck threatened to quit the NRA because it was being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. To make it clear, the Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian right-wing political organization, and the alleged agent of this infiltration is Grover Norquist, a noted anarchist who has through a strange sequence of events become very powerful among Washington's right wing. Because, you know, conservative government officials are often beholden to anarchists.

Why,... more »

A few days ago, a sitting US Senator and candidate for President announced his intention to, if elected, stage a military coup. ("Hah hah! I was only joking! Really!" went the correction, several hours later) (I'm paraphrasing. He didn't actually issue a correction. His press secretary issued a statement saying that he didn't really mean it. You should all feel safe now.) 

Today, noted right-wing commentator Glenn Beck threatened to quit the NRA because it was being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. To make it clear, the Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian right-wing political organization, and the alleged agent of this infiltration is Grover Norquist, a noted anarchist who has through a strange sequence of events become very powerful among Washington's right wing. Because, you know, conservative government officials are often beholden to anarchists.

Why, exactly, an Egyptian religio-political organization would want to infiltrate the NRA is left as an exercise for the reader.

Maybe this seems unusually strange to me because I grew up during the Cold War. I hear things like this and imagine Soviet propagandists cackling with glee, while inside the Kremlin, urgent meetings of the Politburo discuss KGB reports and try to figure out if the US is actually about to fall to a military dictatorship. Missile silos go on alert. And I imagine the right wing of the US government quickly clubbing anyone who went too crazy over the head, possibly literally, because the last thing they want would be to strengthen the USSR's hand.

But no, we live in a post-Soviet era, and I am starting to suspect that one of the most lasting consequences of the "hyperpower" era of the US may be that all of the chains which held complete lunatics in check have simultaneously been released, and so the inmates are not only running the asylum, they have been elected to its board of directors.

I don't even know how to satire, anymore.

h/t +Irreverent Monk​​ for this article, and for the further gradual erosion of my sanity.___

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2015-03-14 05:11:14 (56 comments, 8 reshares, 161 +1s)Open 

Because you need some questionable horror for your evening.

I'm not sure what's most disturbing: the children's glassy, drugged stares, that make it not quite clear if they're real or dolls, or their father's knowing, almost flirtatious smirk, as he looks in the rear-view mirror.

Mid-century children's books: WTF?

... To Hell!___Because you need some questionable horror for your evening.

I'm not sure what's most disturbing: the children's glassy, drugged stares, that make it not quite clear if they're real or dolls, or their father's knowing, almost flirtatious smirk, as he looks in the rear-view mirror.

Mid-century children's books: WTF?

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2015-03-12 02:50:29 (165 comments, 116 reshares, 458 +1s)Open 

Senator Graham (R-SC), during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, announced his intention to stage a military coup if elected. The exact quote:

"[A]nd here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States: I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts."

I really have no idea what one can add to this. He wants to use the military to force Congress to give more money to the military. After that, presumably, he would tell the military to go home, and not use them against Congress ever again.

(And as Taub notes in the story, he's not even saying that he'll use the military to hold Congress prisoner until they vote up or down on the issue; he'sgoing... more »

Senator Graham (R-SC), during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, announced his intention to stage a military coup if elected. The exact quote:

"[A]nd here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States: I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts."

I really have no idea what one can add to this. He wants to use the military to force Congress to give more money to the military. After that, presumably, he would tell the military to go home, and not use them against Congress ever again.

(And as Taub notes in the story, he's not even saying that he'll use the military to hold Congress prisoner until they vote up or down on the issue; he's going to hold them prisoner until they vote a particular way.)

What the ever-loving fuck has this country come to that sitting US Senators consider calling for a military coup to be the sort of thing one does while campaigning for President?

(Audio recording here: http://benswann.com/graham-military-force-congress/)___

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2015-03-12 01:14:02 (67 comments, 55 reshares, 252 +1s)Open 

In 2007, I encountered an unusual news story: the Chinese government had decreed that it would be illegal for Buddhist lamas to reincarnate without government permission. Having already encountered news stories about the Dongzhou Buddha Council, officially described as "a superstitious organization in charge of divine activities in Dongzhou," I started to imagine a special unit of the People's Liberation Army, trained in doctrine and religion, then killed so that they could infiltrate the Celestial Bureaucracy and ensure that nobody reincarnated without authorization.*

This week, postmortem tensions rose again, as the Dalai Lama suggested that he may decide not to reincarnate at all. The Chinese government is apparently quite unhappy with this, and says that this is not up to him: "Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and over the end or survival of... more »

In 2007, I encountered an unusual news story: the Chinese government had decreed that it would be illegal for Buddhist lamas to reincarnate without government permission. Having already encountered news stories about the Dongzhou Buddha Council, officially described as "a superstitious organization in charge of divine activities in Dongzhou," I started to imagine a special unit of the People's Liberation Army, trained in doctrine and religion, then killed so that they could infiltrate the Celestial Bureaucracy and ensure that nobody reincarnated without authorization.*

This week, postmortem tensions rose again, as the Dalai Lama suggested that he may decide not to reincarnate at all. The Chinese government is apparently quite unhappy with this, and says that this is not up to him: "Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and over the end or survival of this lineage, resides in the central government of China," according to Party official Zhu Weiqun. 

If you ever thought that government gets too involved in your affairs, you ain't got nothing on the Dalai Lama.


In case it isn't clear, what Zhu is really saying is that the Dalai Lama should have no choice in whether he has a successor; he will have a successor, and that successor will be chosen by Beijing, and that successor will support Chinese official policy in Tibet. There are two things the Chinese government is perpetually terrified of: that regions which it considers "its own" (such as Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the South China Sea, and for all I can tell also Japan, Australia, and Poland) might openly reject its rule, making its inability to control everyone it wants to manifest and exposing it to collapse; and that a religious or political movement within the country would lead to revolution. Religious movements are particularly worrisome because historically, many of China's biggest revolutions have been driven by the rise of sects like the Yellow Turbans; political movements tend to be driven by dissatisfied high officials with strong regional ties. For similar reasons, they work hard to suppress any notion of regional identity, suppressing local languages and festivals, and moving around populations to create new facts on the ground; this is why there has been a huge (government-sponsored) Han migration into Xinjiang, previously ethnically Uighur, in the past several years.

This is also why you will make enemies by referring to Chinese "languages;" officially, everything from Mandarin to Cantonese to Hakka is a single language, despite being mutually incomprehensible. The official argument is that they share a writing system, but as any linguist will explain to you, written languages are simply additional languages which people speak, not an intrinsic part of a spoken language; written and spoken English differ far more than you might guess. But suggesting that there is not a single Chinese language might imply that there is not a single Chinese people, and so perhaps there should not be a single Chinese state.

To be fair, there is some good reason behind this beyond a simple will to power: when Chinese governments fall, it historically leads to spectacularly bloody civil wars. The Communist takeover (including its various "cleanups" like the Great Leap Forward) cost between 30 and 70 million lives, by most estimates;** the previous uprising, the Taiping Rebellion of 1850-64, killed nearly 20 million, a figure all the more alarming when you realize that it was done mostly with farm implements. It was (by far) the deadliest war in human history at the time, and only the World Wars have surpassed it.

Of course, that's a fancy way of saying that by guaranteeing that any succession to you will have to be incredibly violent, you create a certain kind of incentive to let you stay in power. The overall logic of this, and how it might be applied elsewhere in life, is left as an exercise for the reader. 

* Several years later, this turned into a major plot point of an RPG I was running. The lama which the PC's were looking for turned out to have gone into hiding; he had died, and while an "official" reincarnation had been installed in his place, it quickly became clear that this wasn't the real deal; in fact, this special unit was still looking for the real incarnation, hoping to extract key information from him. The players ultimately found him in the countryside, having reincarnated as a Bactrian camel. When pressed as to why he chose this unusual hiding place, he replied in English: "Camel is sort of like lama, no?"

It is possible that I may have set up that entire year-long plot arc just so I could use that line.

** See e.g. http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Mao for a collection of estimates by different authors.___

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2015-03-11 22:04:35 (47 comments, 13 reshares, 186 +1s)Open 

OK, so this is kind of beautiful to watch. It's also a profoundly bad idea: don't do this at home, or in the lab, or anywhere else. Quite apart from the fact that you're setting a rather large open fire on your table, the smoke coming off of this is something you really do not want to be inhaling. 

Trimethyl borate isn't particularly useful on its own, but it's a key ingredient in making several more useful substances, like sodium borohydride, which is an important bleaching agent, is important in the production of many antibiotics, and may prove useful in storing hydrogen for fuel. (In all these cases, the material is used as a tool in an intermediate step, and is not part of the finished product) 

It's also a key ingredient in manufacturing triethylborane (TEB), which is used as an igniter for rocket engines and other engines that use very hot-burning fuels,l... more »

OK, so this is kind of beautiful to watch. It's also a profoundly bad idea: don't do this at home, or in the lab, or anywhere else. Quite apart from the fact that you're setting a rather large open fire on your table, the smoke coming off of this is something you really do not want to be inhaling. 

Trimethyl borate isn't particularly useful on its own, but it's a key ingredient in making several more useful substances, like sodium borohydride, which is an important bleaching agent, is important in the production of many antibiotics, and may prove useful in storing hydrogen for fuel. (In all these cases, the material is used as a tool in an intermediate step, and is not part of the finished product) 

It's also a key ingredient in manufacturing triethylborane (TEB), which is used as an igniter for rocket engines and other engines that use very hot-burning fuels, like the ones on an SR-71. TEB is useful as an igniter because it's pyrophoric (bursts into flame very quickly on contact with air) and burns very hot; whenever your fuel and oxidizer aren't hypergolic (i.e., burst into flame on contact with each other) and you need too much heat to use something like an electrical starter like your car does, it's handy. Just don't stand downwind when it fires.

(Really, you shouldn't stand directly behind a rocket engine for a whole host of reasons, and TEB combustion fumes are kind of the least of them)

h/t +David Stroe.___

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2015-03-11 04:26:06 (22 comments, 33 reshares, 216 +1s)Open 

This is kind of wonderful, but also makes me want to go in and adjust everything until it works right again.

Via +Daniel Estrada​

Faig Ahmed: Carpet Woven To Look Like A Glitch.
Join the Simple Science and Interesting Things Community and share interesting stuff!
https://plus.google.com/communities/117518490246975838002

Baku-based artist Faig Ahmed combines the beauty of traditional Azerbaijani rugs with technological glitches in his on-going series of contemporary carpets. Using the artistic qualities of these tapestries, he disassembles their conventional structure to rearrange and fragment it. The result often resembles a rug that doubles as a fascinating modern sculpture
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/faig-ahmed-glitch-rugs___This is kind of wonderful, but also makes me want to go in and adjust everything until it works right again.

Via +Daniel Estrada​

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2015-03-11 00:24:43 (82 comments, 35 reshares, 248 +1s)Open 

It looks like #GamerGate  has finally achieved something important: it got Congress to lean on the FBI to make harassment and stalking a priority. I'm very happy to hear this: while there are some laws on the books, they're often unevenly enforced, often for the simple reason that police departments don't know they exist, or because local law enforcement has very little experience with the Internet as a whole and doesn't really know what's going on. 

I'm also going to take this as an opportunity to recommend a very important new book on the subject. +Danielle Keats Citron of the University of Maryland just put out Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, which is possibly the best book written on the subject. She studies the situation, explains the range of things going on, what the law and social customs are like, and offers a range of concrete proposals, for everything from lawen... more »

It looks like #GamerGate  has finally achieved something important: it got Congress to lean on the FBI to make harassment and stalking a priority. I'm very happy to hear this: while there are some laws on the books, they're often unevenly enforced, often for the simple reason that police departments don't know they exist, or because local law enforcement has very little experience with the Internet as a whole and doesn't really know what's going on. 

I'm also going to take this as an opportunity to recommend a very important new book on the subject. +Danielle Keats Citron of the University of Maryland just put out Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, which is possibly the best book written on the subject. She studies the situation, explains the range of things going on, what the law and social customs are like, and offers a range of concrete proposals, for everything from law enforcement to legislation to company policies.

Those who have worked with me or discussed serious legal or policy issues with me know that I am not famous for saying yes to proposals; rather, I tend to respond with half a dozen complicated corner cases designed to show all the ways in which a proposal can go wrong. So you may particularly appreciate how rare it is for me to say that this analysis is profoundly nuanced, comes with a deep understanding of tradeoffs and consequences, and seems overall quite feasible and to include numerous good ideas. If you're at all interested in this subject, I strongly recommend picking it up.

https://books.google.com/books?id=wmiABAAAQBAJ___

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