Wednesday November 13th, 2019

Trump & disabled vets charities

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Just keeping this around for finding later: Posts Falsely Claim Trump ‘Stole’ From Vets

State Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla, in her Nov. 7 court order, wrote that the $2.8 million donated to the Trump Foundation “was used for Mr. Trump’s political campaign and disbursed by Mr. Trump’s campaign staff, rather than by the Foundation,” in violation of state law. However, she acknowledged that “the Funds did ultimately reach their intended destinations, i.e., charitable organizations supporting veterans.”

on the new Fred Rogers movie

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The Atlantic: My Friend Mister Rogers — I first met him 21 years ago, and now our relationship is the subject of a new movie. He’s never been more revered—or more misunderstood.. So hard to find a summary pull quote of this, but...

I had counted on the plot’s many departures from my life to insulate me from the emotional effect of seeing some version of myself up there, but in the screening room I had no such protection, because the director, Marielle Heller, had been so faithful to the essence of the story. A long time ago, a man had seen something in me I hadn’t seen in myself, and now I was watching him see something in me and couldn’t help but ask, all over again: Who was he? Who was I? And what did he see? “You love people like me,” Matthew Rhys tells Tom Hanks. And when Hanks asks, “What are people like you?,” Rhys answers, “Broken people.” And that broke me, though I had never uttered those words to Fred in my life. He saw something in me, yes. Did he also see through me? Was my brokenness so obvious to him back then? Was Fred’s offer of friendship also a form of judgment?

5 myths about Ukraine

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autistic student killed by school staff

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Exclusive: Mother speaks about autistic son who died after being restrained at El Dorado Hills school

Max grew up in Davis and started his education at a nearby public school, Birch Lane Elementary. His family called those two years a wonderful experience — he had autism, but required no aid and very few services from his teachers. Max later began attending Sacramento’s Sierra School before he enrolled at Guiding Hands in the fall of 2018, and spent only a few months there before he died.

Manslaughter charges filed against staff at El Dorado Hills school in autistic student’s death

Electric Cars & Longevity

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Electric cars are changing the cost of driving

Few have driven a Tesla to the point at which the vehicle really starts to show its age. But Tesloop, a shuttle service in Southern California comprised solely of Teslas, was ticking the odometers of its cars well past 300,000 miles with no signs of slowing.

A tiny pharmacy is identifying big problems with common drugs, including Zantac

Clark-Joseph, an economist with some chemistry training, was drawn to the idea because he kept getting sick. In graduate school, he refilled a prescription only to find that the new, supposedly identical drug didn’t work. When his doctor told him to try another pharmacy because he probably got a bad batch, he was appalled. After similar incidents occurred, he started searching for a lab that would verify the chemical contents of his medication. When he didn’t find an obvious solution, he called his college friend David Light, who had worked in biotech, and suggested that they partner on a business that would verify the chemical contents of drug

It's a marketing piece for Valisure, an online pharmacy that buys drugs in batches and tests for conformance to the expected, and has found problems large enough to cause recalls.

But the notion that there's that much variation in our drug supply (not to mention the various ways in which there are unanticipated drug behaviors in drugs that have gotten to market) is wow.

tocopheryl acetate

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This is fascinating, it's how one producer and a lack of transparency in the supply chain led to a whole bunch of vape oil producers using tocopheryl-acetate in their products pretty much simultaneously, leading to all sorts of health-related issues. Leafly: From ‘Veronica Mars’ to toxic vapes: The rise and fall of Honey Cut

plausible synthesis

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Further filling in the "how did life form?" question: Unified prebiotically plausible synthesis of pyrimidine and purine RNA ribonucleotides Science 04 Oct 2019: Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 76-82 DOI: 10.1126/science.aax2747

In the absence of biological catalysts and metabolism, can atmospheric and geochemical processes provide the substrates and conditions required for production of biological molecules? Becker et al. devised an abiotic synthetic scheme that allows for accumulation of both purine and pyrimidine nucleoside mono- and diphosphates (see the Perspective by Hud and Fialho). A key starting material for this chemistry, hydroxylamine and/or hydroxylamine disulfonate, can form under plausible early atmospheric conditions. Cycles between wet and dry conditions provide the environments necessary to complete formation of purine and pyrimidine bases essentially in one pot.

Suspicionless search of electronics unconstitutional

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ACLU: Federal Court Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Phones and Laptops Unconstitutional

BOSTON — In a major victory for privacy rights, a federal court in Boston today ruled that the government’s suspicionless searches of international travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

Affordable Housing in SF

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98-Year-Old Man Fulfills Mother's Dying Wish To Turn Her SF Property Into Affordable Housing

When San Francisco artist, scientist, and activist Maria “Mitzi” Kolisch died in 1987, she was in the process of trying to turn her humble cottage property in Diamond Heights into housing for low-income adolescents who had aged out of the foster-care system. 32 years later, her son — now 98 years old himself — has finally succeeded in redeveloping her property into eight affordable family townhouses with the help of Habitat for Humanity.

Monday November 11th, 2019

Cycling advocacy OTD

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No helmets, no problem: how the Dutch created a casual biking culture

They ended up gathering enough material for a book, which was released in August 2018 from Island Press: Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality. It’s a tour of Dutch bicycling culture that attempts to extract lessons that can be applied to other cities, including, yes, American cities.

Walking and cycling good for health even in cities with higher levels of air pollution

The health benefits of walking and cycling outweigh the negative effects on health of air pollution, even in cities with high levels of air pollution, according to a study led by researchers from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) and Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. This new evidence strengthens the case for supporting cycling even in polluted cities – an effort that in turn can help reduce vehicle emissions.

Sunday November 10th, 2019

Hide The Pain Harold

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You've seen this guy, he's got the strange grimace and is often holding a coffee cup with one hand on a laptop, and the stock photo of him has garnered all sorts of captions... Experience: my face became a meme

My wife hated Hide the Pain Harold – until I got paid for a Hungarian TV commercial

Florida Man

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Via Shadow, shades of Cloud to Butt: RT The Daily Show @TheDailyShow:

Trump changed his permanent residence to Florida, so we made a browser extension that changes his name to "Florida Man."


Railroads, land grants & economic productivity

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Twitter thread on the economic effects of railroad land grants

The paper is Land Concentration and Long-Run Development:Evidence from the Frontier United States Cory Smith

Summary: Because of the competing desires of the Homestead Act and wanting to get the railroads built quickly, alternating blocks of land were given to lots of individual small owners, or put under the ownership of one large company, and this paper looks at their relative economic productivity. Spoiler: The small land grants were way more productive.

How to read sheet music

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How to read sheet music (YouTube video)

(I think this one came in by way of Mark)

Gender Reveal, again

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Gender reveal stunt led to plane crash in Texas

Another gender reveal stunt went horribly wrong and led to a recent plane crash in Texas, according to a National Transportation Safety Board accident report released Friday.

DAs, incarceration rates, & crime

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The Effect of District Attorneys on Local Criminal Justice Outcomes Sam Krumholz, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics, January 3, 2019


In the United States, elected district attorneys' offices prosecute over 85% of all felony cases, but we know little about their effect on local criminal justice outcomes. Using a newly-collected dataset of district attorney elections, I show that the a Republican district attorney leads to a 18-21% increase in new prison admissions in the two years following their election, while a nonwhite district attorney leads to a 10% decline. In both cases, there are no significant effects on local crime or arrest rates. These results show that the identity of local district attorneys is an important determinant of incarceration rates.

Saturday November 9th, 2019

Like omigosh

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Like omigosh, you should like visit gay Philly on Facebook. Language is weird.

Thursday November 7th, 2019

Contra Costa judge

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I know a lawyer for whom this is a great victory, and this is the second Contra Costa judge removed in a short time, out of something like 111 in the history of California: State Comission removes Contra Costa Judge from bench for multiple acts of misconduct.

The Commission on Judicial Performance, which disciplines judges, determined Laettner engaged in five instances of willful misconduct and 11 instances of prejudicial misconduct. The commission launched a formal investigation into Laettner last year into nine counts of bad conduct alleged by public defenders who appeared before him.

Laettner is the second Contra Costa judge to be removed for misconduct since late 2018, when the commission kicked ex-Judge Bruce C. Mills off the bench for multiple counts of misconduct.

Wednesday November 6th, 2019

Targeted for firearms

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When the YouTube ad is a music producer

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When the YouTube ad is a music producer pitching classes, and has all sorts of sibilance... Hmmm...

There's that old line about how

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There's that old line about how computers let us make more mistakes faster than Tequila and handguns combined. But if we learn from our mistakes, and combine all three...

Saved so I can show to my square dancing friend John, who collects Nash Metropolitans: For sale: Tiny Gasser: 1954 Nash Metropolitan, configured for drag racing.

Monday November 4th, 2019

From Prison to Python

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Carve out some time and watch this. This was the morning opening talk at North Bay Python yesterday, and is a powerful look at how our justice system is failing all of us.

"From Prison to Python" - Shadeed Wallace-Stepter (North Bay Python 2019)

I'll look for a transcript, too.

The immediately subsequent talk: Mass Decarceration: If We Don’t Hire People With Felony Convictions, Who Will?

4 day work week

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In overworked Japan, Microsoft tested a four-day workweek. Productivity soared 40 percent.

The test run, which took place in August and gave employees five consecutive Fridays off, boosted sales per employee by 40 percent, compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the post. The number of pages printed in the office fell by 59 percent, electricity consumption dropped 23 percent, and 94 percent of employees were satisfied with the program.

Lasers for voice exploits!

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Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them

MEMS mics respond to light as if it were sound. No one knows precisely why.

Mind-blowing machine learning technology of the moment: Spleeter has TensorFlow models to split audio tracks. I've been playing with the "remove the voice track" model, and it's blowing my mind.

Related: If anyone has ideas for taking the vocal track and turning it into something that sounds more instrumental or synth-ish so that it doesn't compete with the vocals, I'd love to use this for automating square dance music creation.

Feeling old is being at nbpy and

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Feeling old is being at #nbpy and having someone describe a computer as "tiny" because it only has 256k of memory. Back when I was a kid, we valued every kilobyte, and we talked to our REPL in hex.

Sunday November 3rd, 2019

Seriously, go throw this project a few bucks! #nbpy

Holy shit, Shadeed Wallace-Stepter's talk at North Bay Python 2019 is a must watch when that video gets published. For everyone, not just tech nerds. #nbpy

I'm so old, I remember when XUbuntu was the stripped-down lightweight Ubuntu variant that didn't have a lot of bloat and just worked. (This message brought to you by disabling "tracker", which kept crashing on startup, and trying to figure out how to make lightdm work correctly)

Saturday November 2nd, 2019

Aargh. Ubuntu 19.10 upgrade brook my power management, so my laptop is dead. Sigh. Did enjoy the "How To Build A Terrible Robot" session at North Bay Python, settling in for the machine learning on your cell phone talk. #nbpy

Wandered down to North Bay Python

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Wandered down to North Bay Python, picked up my badge, realized I didn't want to spend this gorgeous day inside. Gonna head back down for the terrible robot, afternoon tea, and TensorFlow talks. Might find a place to hang out and chat until Guido's talk if anyone wants.

Friday November 1st, 2019

Ratepayers lose $13M to idiocy

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Joi Scientific technology NB Power poured millions into doesn't work

One of the company's patents claims it can generate hydrogen at 200 per cent efficiency. For one watt of input energy, the patent says two watts of energy in the form of hydrogen gas are produced.

There's a MeFi thread which points to all the warning signs, but one of the recurring ads on Facebook is some Wall Street Journal pitching a magnets perpetual motion machine thing.

On the other hand, the CEO of New Brunswick Power was on the board of Joi Scientific, so this may have just been a bog-standard case of money-laundering.

something something own petard

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Man who advocated caning for adultery gets caned for adultery

(CNN)An Indonesian man has been publicly flogged for adultery, under a draconian law he helped create.

Mukhlis, a member of the Aceh Ulema Council (MPU) in the deeply conservative Aceh province of Indonesia, received 28 lashes in front of a crowd on Thursday after being caught having an affair with a married woman. Like many Indonesians, Mukhlis goes by a single name.

The Risk of Dying Doing What We Love. Various activities (driving, cycling, base jumping, etc) ranked by risk of death per time doing the activity.

Researchers unearth malware that siphoned SMS texts out of telco’s network

Messagetap monitored telco's network for messages sent between high-value targets.

CDC vaping update

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Update: Characteristics of Patients in a National Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use–Associated Lung Injuries — United States, October 2019

What are the implications for public health practice?

Most EVALI patients report using THC-containing products before symptom onset. CDC recommends that persons should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products containing THC. Because the specific compound or ingredient causing EVALI is not known, persons should consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

7 plus me at square dancing tonight

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7 plus me at square dancing tonight, low because of Halloween, but I think we've picked up another dancer. Charlene says that if everyone shows up we're close to 3 squares.