Sunday October 20th, 2019

Killer Asteroids

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This Awful Tabloid Predicts a Killer Asteroid Almost Every Day — Is this the worst science journalism on the internet?

On October 4, 2019, <del></del>writers at the British tabloid The Daily Express published five separate articles about what they claimed were killer asteroids careening toward the Earth.

At the Express, this seems fairly typical. It’s rare for a day to go by without the newspaper warning, or heavily implying, that a deadly space rock is about to annihilate civilization. Between September 7 and October 8, for instance, we counted 87 Express articles about killer asteroids — which works out to an average of nearly three doomsday space posts per day.

Poe's Law suggests that it's not, in fact the worst science journalism on the Internet, buuuut...


You'd bid on this

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You'd bid on this, right?

Saturday October 19th, 2019

Another shot of the chocolate cups

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Another shot of the chocolate cups. We're gonna fill them with a Meyer lemon custard, garnish with raspberries, and see what we can do with some pineapple sage...

It's not a competition

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It's not a competition, some cookies or brownies for the dessert auction would be fine... #itsacompetition

Friday October 18th, 2019

False witnesses

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Fred Clark — False witnesses. Fascinating theory about the "satanic panic" and P&G and the spread of unbelievable falsehoods, and how these things are about group identity.

Truth Hurts literal MSPaint

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Thursday October 17th, 2019

US decline of Christianity

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North Shore Squares

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Saving this off so I can pass it along to Charlene and Jim: CALLERLAB document on how North Shore Squares and caller Bruce Holmes brought a square dance club from zero to 50 members. Some take-aways from the how-to story:

  • No crinolines!
  • SSD 50
  • Non square dance music (he specifically mentions EDM)
  • Some good flyer content on what square dancing is

Wednesday October 16th, 2019

Yay Figured out how to remove Siri

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Yay! Figured out how to remove Siri from the Touchbar (System Preferences -> Extensions -> Touch Bar -> Customize Control Strip ...).

Brain activity and aging

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Live fast, think hard, die young. At least in mice. Excessive brain activity linked to a shorter life

Researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed brain tissue donated to human brain banks by people ranging in age from their 60s and 70s to centenarians who lived to be 100 or older. They found that people who died before their mid-80s had lower levels in their brains of a protein called REST that tamps down genes involved in sparking brain activity, compared to the very oldest people. REST had already been shown to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease. But they weren’t sure whether REST somehow protected people from death or was just a sign of further aging.

Harvard Medical School press release: In a first, scientists pinpoint neural activity's role in human longevity

The study, published Oct. 16 in Nature, is based on findings from human brains, mice and worms and suggests that excessive activity in the brain is linked to shorter life spans, while suppressing such overactivity extends life.

Bitcoin tracing busts child abusers

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US DOJ: South Korean National and Hundreds of Others Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which was Funded by Bitcoin:

“Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”

I suppose the best thing about Bitcoin and blockchain based crypto currencies is the immutable public record of every transaction...

That dark cloud spreading northward is

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That dark cloud spreading northward is apparently burning storage tanks at the refinery in Crockett

Tuesday October 15th, 2019

FBI abusing NSA database

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Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what…

The FBI routinely misused a database, gathered by the NSA with the specific purpose of searching for foreign intelligence threats, by searching it for everything from vetting to spying on relatives.

Via Violet Blue

Legacy of Mao

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Washington Post — The Volokh Conspiracy — Remembering the biggest mass murder in the history of the world:

Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

Monday October 14th, 2019


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ABC news memory hole

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Oh geez: ABC News apparently aired some video from the "Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot" as video of Syria attacks

Source video: Knob Creek Machine gun shoot. 2017, Merica (YouTube video)

I guess what bothers me most about this is that a Google news search for "abc news all out military assault kurdish civilians" is bringing up a whole bunch of "404" or "this video has been marked private" results; rather than taking responsibility and posting corrections on those search results, it's just "memory hole, this didn't exist".

I hope ABC posts a full post-mortem of how this happened.

Car Pollution

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Car Pollution In Boston Area Neighborhoods Poses Health Risk To Residents, New Research Finds

Levy's research also found minorities in Massachusetts are breathing in more of this stuff than white people because of living in communities with greater exposure. And those with lower educational attainment have more exposure than more educated people. Massachusetts is currently working with eight other states to develop a policy for reducing the region's transportation emissions.

Sunday October 13th, 2019

Fort Worth cops kill woman in her own home

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Don't call the police unless you want someone killed: Woman killed in own home when Fort Worth officer shoots her, police and witness say :

Police released a statement Saturday afternoon saying officers responded at 2:25 a.m. to a report the front door of a home was open in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue. James Smith, who called a non-emergency police number, said he saw the doors were open and the lights were on, which struck him as unusual. He knew Jefferson, his neighbor, was home with her 8-year-old nephew.

Apparently they shot her through the window.

Saturday October 12th, 2019


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If you are at all interested in the intersection of consent and sex and work and all that stuff rolled into one, this is an amazing essay: N+1 Magazine: Lorelei Lee — Cash/Consent — The war on sex work

... I remember Hall testifying to the committee that he had written this bill because someone needed to be “a voice for the voiceless,” and that person would be him. I sat beside him at a podium microphone. My coworkers stood in a long line at a microphone behind him, waiting for him to stop so we could speak.

Via Eros Blog: Making Porn And Doing Sex Work: It’s Complicated

Friday October 11th, 2019

A number of people have been posting this story as indication of some sort of malfeasance by PG&E. I'm not gonna defend PG&E, but this is a failure of social services, or the medical system, not PG&E. Here in relatively dense Petaluma we had an 18 hour outage because someone missed the curve at Mountain View and Fairview (the one in the middle of with the white rocks and the reflectors) and took out the power pole. I realize California doesn't have much in the way of thunderstorms, but they occur, and when I lived in Chattanooga we lost power regularly because of such things.

Yes, 4 or 5 days without power is a thing (although when we lived in Lagunitas, within an hour of San Francisco, that wasn't that unusual.

If you're 12 minutes of power failure away from death, in freakin' Pollock Pines California, that's not the fault of the power company.

Northern California man found dead 12 minutes after PG&E power shutoff, fire district says

SFPD assaulted cyclist

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SFPD officer accused of lying under oath after severely beating bicyclist in SF’s Mission

Officers celebrated with ‘high-fives’ and ‘fist-bumps’ after beating man who rode bike on sidewalk, per witness testimony — and body camera footage