Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Thoughts on HAI

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Just making a note of it here so I have it in my blog history: Did a two HAI workshops in the last 3 weeks, doing another this weekend.

Level 1 ("Love Is a Miracle") HAI January 26th-28th.

HAI asks that we not talk about the workshop, both to protect the confidentiality of the participants, and because out of the narrative context the exercises of the weekend might lose some of their power.

Having been through several similar workshops, including the incredibly powerful-for-me New Warrior (now ManKind Project) weekend back in the spring of 1991, I totally understand.

So what I will talk about: There's an opening hand-on heart/sufi circle exercise, and a "sit opposite a partner and do gentle face touching" exercise, both of which are done in the free intro night. I highly recommend the intro night.

And there is nudity. It's always an option, but whether or not you choose to keep your own clothes on, other people will take their clothes off. Some people keep their clothes on all weekend.

As the weekend started out I had a bit of feeling like "okay, I know what's going on here, I'm doing this to get my ticket punched and get invited to the cool parties", and the exercises were fun, but not mind-blowing. Then, for various reasons, I kinda started feeling like I wasn't connecting with people, until on Sunday morning someone came along and blew my mind.

The tears started Monday, about mid-day. It was a good thing. The weekend was an amazing exercise in limerence and constructed love, and deconstructing that. In understanding that the feeling of being in love can be a conscious choice, and some of the tools to play with that feeling.

On February 9th through the 11th I went to the Couple's Workshop, which was similarly powerful, and has opened up all sorts of avenues for conversation and exercise.

This weekend, February 16th through the 18th, off to the Level 2 ("Loving Yourself") workshop.

Pink Pussy hat

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Huge thank you to Kristie for the hat, shirt by Luna Matatas:

Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Arsenic and mercury are gluten free

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University of Illinois: Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

Maria Argos, assistant professor of epidemiology in the UIC School of Public Health, and her colleagues looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey searching for a link between gluten-free diet and biomarkers of toxic metals in blood and urine.

They found 73 participants who reported eating a gluten-free diet among the 7,471 who completed the survey, between 2009 and 2014. Participants ranged in age from 6 to 80 years old.

People who reported eating gluten-free had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine, and mercury in their blood, than those who did not. The arsenic levels were almost twice as high for people eating a gluten-free diet, and mercury levels were 70 percent higher.

“These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet,” Argos said. “But until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free, more research is needed before we can determine whether this diet poses a significant health risk.”

The press release speculates that it's because of the increased consumption of rice flour in gluten free products.

Same press release at Science News Daily: Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

It is amazing that we can ID cars at 50 MPH going through toll booths, but a credit card in physical contact with a chip reader is flakey

Out like Flynn

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RT Julie Klam ‏@JulieKlam added and retweeting Jamie Dupree:

Pay no attention to that man behind the Iron Curtain!

Jamie Dupree @jamiedupree
Rep Jason Chaffetz R-UT tells reporters there's no need to further probe Flynn. "It’s taking care of itself"

Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say

Beware your phone

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RT Caroline O. ‏@RVAwonk:

Those pictures at Mar-a-Lago, showing Trump team using cellphone flashlight cameras to view nat sec info...
Here's some useful context:

The attached image is a quote from CBS News: Beware downloading some apps or risk "being spied on":

Some apps are simply collecting information for advertising purposes. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission settled a lawsuit with a company over its popular Brightest Flashlight app, alleging it transmitted consumers' personal information to third parties without telling them.

But Miliefsky said he's found another flashlight app that can do much more troubling things.

"This one turns on your microphone in the background, listens in on you, and sends an encrypted tunnel to a server we discovered in Beijing," Miliefsky described.

"You're saying that they're actually listening to people's conversations and sending that audio back to Beijing?" Werner asked.

"Yeah, we've tracked it. I can show you where it does it," he said.

Miliefsky said it can be traced to a few blocks from Tiananmen Square on Information Drive in Beijing.

He gave a report on that app to the FBI.

"Because to me, it's spyware at the nth degree," Miliefsky said.

His recommendation?

"We really have to look at our phone and say, 'This is really a personal computer that fits in our pocket. Let's shut down all the apps we don't use. Let's delete apps that don't make sense and reduce the risk of being spied on,'" Miliefsky said.

Paid Protestors

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RT Jennifer Liao ‏@averagejenn:

People that believe the world is suddenly overrun with paid protestors should have to try and produce a crowd scene for a low-budget movie.

Crossing borders

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Find someone who looks at you the way Ivanka Trump looks at Justin 

Monday February 13th, 2017

Textbook case

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Team solidarity

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Coed CYO hoops team defies archdiocese order to kick girls out, forfeits season:

Two weeks prior, the team was told by the league's director that they should never have played as a coed team and the girls would not be allowed to play on the team for the last two games of the season. Parents said the team's record was wiped, too, since the girls had played in those games "illegally."

St. John's boys CYO basketball players refuse to play without girl teammates But no one expected what was coming next: The boys, hearing the news, decided they simply would not play ball without their girl teammates.

Bullets: dangerous

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One of the things about growing up is all of the stuff we used to do that modern society whines is "too dangerous" for children. Jarts. Riding in the back of pickup trucks. Not having to wear seatbelts in the back seat. Riding bicycles without helmets. And now it turn out that bullets are *dangerous*. What, I ask you, is this world coming to?

Bullet fragments linked to lead poisoning, CDC study says

Thursday February 9th, 2017

Irish Step Dog

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Courtesy of Shadow: Irish Step Dog (animated GIF). Very cute.

RT Corey Bennett @coreybbennett:

I see @Nordstrom and Congress have swapped roles: one checks the executive branch, the other is bought by rich people.

Nuclear Whistleblowers

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Well crap. One of my complaints about the Obama administration was how they didn't step in to stop executive branch harassment of whistleblowers. It just got worse: Trump administration halts penalties against firms that punish nuclear whistleblowers

Farmers with Trump regrets

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Bwahahahaha: NY Times: California farmers backed Trump, but now fear losing field workers:

“If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist,” said Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg whose operation grows, packs and ships peaches, plums and grapes throughout the country. “If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.”

People in the Central Valley are actually having to come to grips with the realities of their vote. Yeah, it's gonna suck for us 'cause produce prices are gonna rise, but...

Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Diet & Research

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Tuesday February 7th, 2017

Boys in Chairs

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Boys In Chairs: That Time I Couldn’t Masturbate By Myself Anymore. A man with spastic cerebral palsy talks about masturbation and sexual satisfaction.

Why is there no amateurfanity Must we

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Why is there no amateurfanity? Must we commercialize everything?

Violence against Nazis

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Jenny posted some pictures of the boat

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Jenny posted some pictures of the boat dives I did with my dad back in December in St Croix

Ricardo Scipio patreon

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Apparently I haven't linked to the work of photographer Ricardo Scipio before. He's started a Patreon feed for his more sexually explicit work:

In 2013, after years of non-sexual content in my work, I followed the lead of my models and decided that my next project was going to be a vehicle that allowed women to explicitly express their sexuality in an authentic and unapologetic way. I decided to embrace sex in ways I had never dared to in the past.

My Sex Goddess project is a celebration of women of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages, expressing their sexuality in an authentic and unapologetic way.

I'm kind of at my limit for Patreon, especially given that we've upped our various recurring donations to advocacy and legal organizations, and his reward tiers are a little steep for my tastes, but what I've seen of his work is pretty cool.

Social Media & protesting

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Inauguration Protesters Targeted for Facebook Searches: Law enforcement is seeking social media info from least two D.C. protest arrestees.

Careful what you organize on. Also, if you're traveling out of the country remember that Customs can detail you 'til you give them unlock codes, so be sure to wipe your browser sync configs, and maybe even set up some tripwires that'll wipe access to anything that uses SSH keys you might have on your mobile devices.

Syrian refugees in Nebraska

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WaPo: How to be an American: Syrian refugees find a home in Trump country, for, among other things, the change of heart:

Soon enough, Dutcher said, empty bottles in the hallway were replaced with children’s bicycles. The loud arguments of a ­drug-addicted couple were replaced by the sounds of children’s laughter.

“The Muslims here were all about family and they just loved everyone,” Dutcher said. “I remember the people who lived here before; they took for granted everything this country gave them. These people, they really changed my heart.”

Monday February 6th, 2017

Autos & Asthma

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Federal Trade Commission: What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen:

What did Vizio know about what was going on in the privacy of consumers’ homes? On a second-by-second basis, Vizio collected a selection of pixels on the screen that it matched to a database of TV, movie, and commercial content. What’s more, Vizio identified viewing data from cable or broadband service providers, set-top boxes, streaming devices, DVD players, and over-the-air broadcasts. Add it all up and Vizio captured as many as 100 billion data points each day from millions of TVs.

Vizio then turned that mountain of data into cash by selling consumers’ viewing histories to advertisers and others. And let’s be clear: We’re not talking about summary information about national viewing trends. According to the complaint, Vizio got personal. The company provided consumers’ IP addresses to data aggregators, who then matched the address with an individual consumer or household. Vizio’s contracts with third parties prohibited the re-identification of consumers and households by name, but allowed a host of other personal details – for example, sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, and home ownership. And Vizio permitted these companies to track and target its consumers across devices.

Federal Trade Commission: VIZIO to Pay $2.2 Million to FTC, State of New Jersey to Settle Charges It Collected Viewing Histories on 11 Million Smart Televisions without Users’ Consent

Modern DDOS

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Modern DDOS: "[X] is undecided on hotbutton issue, call their office at ..."

Moderate drinking

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Maybe moderate drinking isn't so good for you after all. Turns out there's a high correlation between wealth and moderate drinking, and being wealthy is good for you.

84 Lumber ad

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Holy shit. The long version of 84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial - The Entire Journey. The closest 84 Lumber is 320 miles away, and it makes me want to buy from them.

Brianna Wu for Congress

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Brianna Wu is here, queer, and running for Congressin Massachusetts.

I’m about to use a word a politician probably shouldn’t, but the hell with that. The guy I’m going against is everything broken in the Democratic party. He’s a 62-year-old white guy that’s spent most of his career fighting gay rights and women’s rights. Do you know he once introduced an amendment to give people that committed hate crimes against LGBT people a get-out-of-jail-free card if they were found to have acted “lasciviously”? This is the guy I’m supposed to wait to get bored in the Trump era? Give me a break.

Friday February 3rd, 2017

Migrating the Flutterby system to use FastCGI. Holla if you see any problems, s'il vous plait.

Federal gag rule & abortions

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The Trump global gag rule: an attack on US family planning and global health aid

Moreover, there is no evidence that the global gag rule has ever resulted in its stated aim of reducing abortion. The first study to measure the effect of the gag rule showed that this policy could actually have resulted in an increase in abortions. Another study assessed the gag rule in Ghana and found that because of declines in the availability of contraceptive services, both fertility and abortion rates were higher during the gag rule years than during non-gag rule years in rural and poor populations. This is consistent with anecdotal data that the gag rule's main effect has been to reduce women's access to quality contraceptive services, thereby increasing the probability of unintended pregnancy and making recourse to abortion more likely.


Vaccines & SIDS

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Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis, Vennemann MM, et al. Vaccine. 2007..

CONCLUSIONS: Immunisations are associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS. There are biological reasons why this association may be causal, but other factors, such as the healthy vaccinee effect, may be important. ...

Thursday February 2nd, 2017

I work from home

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I work from home:

911 OPERATOR: 911—what’s your emergency?

ROBERT: Hi, I . . . uh . . . I work from home.

OPERATOR: O.K., is anyone else there with you, sir?

ROBERT: No, I’m alone.

OPERATOR: And when’s the last time you saw someone else? Was that today?

ROBERT: Uh, my wife . . . this morning, I guess.


Way way way too close to home.

Bicycles & autonomous cars

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The Self-Driving Car's Bicycle Problem:

However, when it comes to spotting and orienting bikes and bicyclists, performance drops significantly. Deep3DBox is among the best, yet it spots only 74 percent of bikes in the benchmarking test. And though it can orient over 88 percent of the cars in the test images, it scores just 59 percent for the bikes.

Bud-sex: Sex between rural straight men:

...All of the straight men avoid effeminate men, and several insulted male effeminacy, contributing to the widespread devaluation of femininity. Moreover, thirteen were married and had extramarital sex without their wife’s knowledge, underscoring their male entitlement and unwillingness to consider ethical non-monogamy. The participants enjoy marginalized sexual practices, but they are unwilling to challenge heterosexism or other forms of domination, maintaining numerous systems of inequality.

Tried this. It worked: Cook's Illustrated: Better Fried Tofu. 1/4 cup of salt boiled in 4 cups of water as a brine, Marinate tofu sliced about 1" thick for 15 minutes. Pat dry and drain for at least 15 minutes. Cut into cubes and fry for 4-5 minutes per side.

Crispy, still tofu-ey. Pretty good.

Riots make people Republican

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New Study Shows Riots Make America Conservative. This is why there are agitators.

The paper is Do Protest Tactics Matter? Evidence from the 1960s Black Insurgency:

Examining county-level voting patterns, I find that black-led protests in which some violence occurs are associated with a statistically significant decline in Democratic vote-share in the 1964, 1968 and 1972 presidential elections. Black-led nonviolent protests, by contrast, exhibit a statistically significant positive relationship with county-level Democratic vote-share in the same period. Further, I find that in the 1968 presidential election exposure to violent protests caused a decline in Democratic vote- share. Examining counterfactual scenarios in the 1968 election, I estimate that fewer violent protests are associated with a substantially increased likelihood that the Democratic presidential nominee, Hubert Humphrey, would have beaten the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon. As African Americans were strongly identified with the Democratic party in this time period, my results suggest that, in at least some contexts, political violence by a subordinate group may contribute to a backlash among segments of the dominant group and encourage outcomes directly at odds with the preferences of the protestors.

Note, paper is from a guy's private web site, has not been peer reviewed, so I only got there from the New York Magazine article above and have no good vetting of it.

Via crasch.

Square Dance history

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Marie-Laure Colomban posted this video on Facebook:

For those who do not yet know this dance if peculiar: yes yes! We used the kangaroo, the horse or the frog in the parisian salons of 1913

It's a square dance, super energetic, lots of high jumping. What square dancing could be.

Unintended consequences

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This thread of tweets from Zeeshan Sheikh‏ @zxed:

Tech companies vowed to not help make a national muslim registry.

Trump puts out a Muslim Ban

Tech companies (Apple,Facebook, Google, Uber, Microsoft, Stripe, and more ) pen a draft letter to trump

"mentions concern for how the order will affect employees with visas, and explains that the companies are prepared to lend a hand"

"to help the Trump administration make logical and necessary changes" - Guess what the help will be?

"Build a national registry database for the people from the countries I banned" - Yes, we come full circle to the national muslim registry.

Every once in a while I buy Libertarian

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Every once in a while I buy Libertarian arguments that cigarette taxes are too high. Then I see staff employed to sweep up discarded butts...

Wednesday February 1st, 2017

Dong slider

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New Conan Game Lets Players Adjust Genital Size.

Go for the giggles, stay for the animated GIFs.

Thanks Tara

Dong slider

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New Conan Game Lets Players Adjust Genital Size.

Go for the giggles, stay for the animated GIFs.

Thanks Tara

10 Meter Power

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Okay, I'm 4:30 into this and it's pretty awesome: Ten Meter Tower (New York Times video), a documentary of people deciding whether nor not to jump off of a 10 meter diving platform.

Thanks, crasch!

Shoot for the moon

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RT Rick Gualtieri ‏@RickGualtieri:

Inspiration of the day: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll still be in ... err ... the cold dead, vacuum of space.

I suck at this

(And I can highly recommend his "Bill the Vampire" series if you're looking for some lighthearted end of the world vampires fighting yetis urban fantasy...)