Thursday December 8th, 2016

Talking to stop lights

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Audi cars now talk to stop lights in Vegas. Which is to say that they talk over the 4G LTE network to Traffic Technology Services (TTS), of Beaverton, OR, and TTS talks to the stop lights. But still cool.

Although the idea of an Audi driver watching the countdown to a green light and punching it should put fear into slow pedestrians and people who accelerate through yellow lights...

Chuck Jones on the Carrier deal

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Punishing the innocent

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Baltimore's cash bail system traps thousands, propelling the poor deeper into poverty. The bond system means that innocent people who just want to keep their jobs end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Always look on the bright side..

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Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study, Eric S. Kim, Kaitlin A. Hagan, Francine Grodstein, Dawn L. DeMeo, Immaculata De Vivo and Laura D. Kubzansky:

Growing evidence has linked positive psychological attributes like optimism to a lower risk of poor health outcomes, especially cardiovascular disease. It has been demonstrated in randomized trials that optimism can be learned. If associations between optimism and broader health outcomes are established, it may lead to novel interventions that improve public health and longevity. In the present study, we evaluated the association between optimism and cause-specific mortality in women after considering the role of potential confounding (sociodemographic characteristics, depression) and intermediary (health behaviors, health conditions) variables. We used prospective data from the Nurses’ Health Study (n = 70,021). Dispositional optimism was measured in 2004; all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates were assessed from 2006 to 2012. Using Cox proportional hazard models, we found that a higher degree of optimism was associated with a lower mortality risk. After adjustment for sociodemographic confounders, compared with women in the lowest quartile of optimism, women in the highest quartile had a hazard ratio of 0.71 (95% confidence interval: 0.66, 0.76) for all-cause mortality. Adding health behaviors, health conditions, and depression attenuated but did not eliminate the associations (hazard ratio = 0.91, 95% confidence interval: 0.85, 0.97). Associations were maintained for various causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection. Given that optimism was associated with numerous causes of mortality, it may provide a valuable target for new research on strategies to improve health.

BBC: Optimistic women 'cut risk of deadly diseases', NPR: A Brighter Outlook Could Translate To A Longer Life

On millenials and democracy

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That viral graph about millennials’ declining support for democracy? It’s very misleading.:

So where does this graph go wrong? It plots the percentage of people who answer 10, and it treats everyone else the same. The graph treats the people who place themselves at 1 as having the same commitment to democracy as those who answer 9. In reality, almost no one (less than 1 percent) said that democracy is “not at all important.”

Life expectancy declines

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US life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993. The article says that:

Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death.

And the accompanying graph suggests that most of the loss of life expectancy is below age 65.

Via Sensible Endowment.

Advertisers run screaming from anything

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Advertisers run screaming from anything sexy, but line up for hate-filled false news and have to be called out on it

Wednesday December 7th, 2016

Shaving & STDs

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I thought we knew this: NPR: Going Bare Down There May Boost The Risk Of STDs:

"We were surprised at how big the effect was," says Benjamin Breyer, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study. "Right now, we have no way knowing if grooming causes the increase in risk for infections. All we can say is that they're correlated. But I probably would avoid an aggressive shave right before having sex."

Via Sensible Endowment.

Computer skills in developed countries

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Nielsen Norman Group: The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think:

Overall, people with strong technology skills make up a 5–8% sliver of their country’s population, whatever rich country they may be coming from. Go back to the OECD’s definition of the level-3 skills, quoted above. Consider defining your goals based on implicit criteria. Or overcoming unexpected outcomes and impasses while using the computer. Or evaluating the relevance and reliability of information in order to discard distractors. Do these sound like something you are capable of? Of course they do.

Now consider this in the context of how much of basic computer use is just logical thinking...

OECD Skills Studies 2016: Skills Matter: Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills

Going back through Google's spam filter (which is way too freakin' aggressive), another from Shadow: Bike Mine presents an explosive solution to bike theft:

The Bike Mine is a very simple mechanical alarm that uses a titanium trip wire, spring-action punch and shotgun blank commonly referred to as a "saluting blank," all housed in a rubber-wrapped steel body and attached to the bicycle via Velcro straps. The titanium wire gets connected to the wheel or nearby structure, so that when a bike thief moves the bike, the saluting blank goes off, creating a 150 dB blast to wake up the bicycle owner (and half the neighborhood) and ideally scare the thief off immediately.

Here's the (sadly canceled) Bike Mine kickstarter campaign

Tuesday December 6th, 2016

Hard to tell at night but what looks

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Hard to tell at night but what looks like a huge smoke plume from something north of Richmond to the top of the bay on the east side

Monday December 5th, 2016

Modern circuit breakers are pretty

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Modern circuit breakers are pretty amazing. #itworks #ow #gonnaleaveamark

Sunday December 4th, 2016

More wheels

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Another from Shadow: Cool tall bike with more wheels..

The solution is dangerous because of the problem!

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Via Shadow: RT Re-Think CS11 @StopCS11

In light of today's #airpollutionwarnings in London we call on @tfl and @MayorofLondon to halt all Cycle Superhighway Schemes until reviewed

nicely summed up in the Reddit thread: Anti-cycling lobby wants halt to cycle superhighway in London because of air pollution levels.

Christian FGM in the US

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FGM (female genital mutilation) happened to me in white, midwest America'

Yes, it was 1947, but Christianity is not nearly so far removed from Islam as its adherents would have you believe.

Friday December 2nd, 2016

The medicine against which all others are measured

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Tara Parker-Pope writing in The New York Times: Believing in Treatments That Don’t Work. On cough syrup, antibiotics for ear infections, beta-blockers for heart attack victims, back surgery, arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee, and other procedures that fare no better than placebo.

Thursday December 1st, 2016

Anyone know what of an air

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Anyone know what % of an air conditioner cost is labor? Trying to figure out how <$900/job/year is enough to not move a plant.

ECC Poetry: Revenge. An excerpt:

because real talk, you didn’t stop the future from coming.
You just delayed our coronation.
We have the same deviant haircuts we had yesterday;
we are still getting gay-married like nobody’s business
because it’s still nobody’s business;
there’s a Muslim kid in Kansas who has already written the schematic
for the robot that will steal your job in manufacturing,
and that robot? Will also be gay, so get used to it:

Wednesday November 30th, 2016

Much concern about the new

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Much concern about the new administration gutting Social Security, but I doubt civilization will last long enough for that to matter.

Glass sex toy safety

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Fascinating read on glass sex toy safety, including how you can look for annealed glass yourself.

RT Robert Rutledge @rerutled:

When Democrats get elected, Republicans run out and buy guns. When Republicans get elected, Democrats run out and buy IUDs.


Pretty motorcycle

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South Garage Motorcycles Neboruta BMW R75/7. Wood seat, fenders and tank patches, leather wrapped handlebars. Probably completely impractical, but gorgeous.

AIDS Taught Me Sex Was Deadly. A Pill Changed That. Fascinating quick look at PrEP, Truvada, and the impacts that a $18,000 a year pill that causes a 99% reduction in AIDS transmission rates, vs 70% for condoms, is having on a culture.

RT Justin Miller ‏@justinjm1:

They said if America voted for Hillary, Goldman Sachs would run the government—and they were right!

Tuesday November 29th, 2016

needs more publicity

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This needs more publicity: Petaluma police department deploying GPS tracked "bait" packages

Not clear: Is this some sort of "I can whup any sumbitch in the house!" sort of declaration?

So it didn't propose stripping

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So it didn't propose stripping citizenship, but we know where The Donald got that 1 year in prison thing:

Monday November 28th, 2016

Trump Ipsum

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Trump Ipsum: Make placeholder text great again! Unsurprisingly, it tends to be a little repetitive and one-note.

Your reminder that Putin is playing

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Your reminder that Putin is playing revisionist history with Stalin's legacy Washington Post: In Putin’s Russia, it just got easier to find the perpetrators of Stalin’s purges:

The archive, culled from the records of Stalin’s security forces (the NKVD) and posted on the website of Memorial, the human rights group, for the first time names those who carried out some 700,000 executions from 1935 to 1939 during “The Great Terror.” Russian President Vladi­mir Putin has in recent years revised Stalin’s legacy, emphasizing the dictator’s role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II and turning the Soviet Union into a world power.

Fidel Castro dead

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