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Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
12:35 pm
Edge.og 2014: What scientific ideas need to be retired/ part 3
Originally posted by nancylebov at Edge.og 2014: What scientific ideas need to be retired/ part 3
Every year, Edge publishes answers to a hopefully interesting question. 2014 was about scientific ideas that are ready for retirement...

I've pulled out the bits that I think are interesting, and the result is long enough that I'm posting it in several chunks-- this is the last one. I was running out of attention now and then, so if you think I might have missed more good stuff, I suggest reading the Edge link from the bottom up.

My text is what I agree with. If you want a description of the idea that someone thinks ought to be retired, go to the link.

Evidence-based medicine shouldn't be standard practice because the "evidence" frequently isn't very good.

Mice are so different from people that it's simply useless to use them to study cancer treatment or sepsis treatment.

More detail about how mice are different from people. This could be an example of how one foundational mistake can have a huge effect. Anyone have information about whether countries other than the US depend on mouse studies?

Calculus should not be a prerequisite for studying computer programming.

Experiments trump multiple regression analysis (perhaps especially in social science) because multiple regression analysis doesn't do a good job of teasing out factors which are correlated with each other. Sounds reasonable, but I might be missing something.

Essentialism doesn't capture the complexity of the real world. I agree, and I'll add that essentialism makes it very tempting to ignore information you've got if you've already concluded that you know the essence of something you're looking at.

Malthusianism is wrong. This seems to be true currently-- and did anyone predict a considerable drop in oil prices?

"This nasty idea—that you had to be cruel to be kind to prevent population growing too fast for food supply—directly influenced heartless policy in colonial Ireland, British India, imperial Germany, eugenic California, Nazi Europe, Lyndon Johnson's aid to India and Deng Xiaoping's China. It was encountering a Malthusian tract, The Limits to Growth, that led Song Jian to recommend a one-child policy to Deng." Anyone know whether all of this is historically accurate?

However, the author claims that Mathusianism was never true, and I have no idea whether that's the case.
Thoughts?

One genome per person oversimplifies matters. There's a lot more mosaicism and mutation than you might think.

Now that I think about it, there's a lot of evidence that women pick up cell lines from their sons-- it seems to be easy to check for Y chromosomes. Shouldn't it be just as likely that women pick up cell lines from their daughter?

Also... Timothy Leary thought that women were more mentally flexible than men because of re-imprinting during childbirth. Assuming he was actually on to something, maybe it was actually genetic changes.

Different languages might have effects on cognition, but it's not enough to add up to different worldviews. Dammit, Sapir-Whorf is so convenient for science fiction! However, even pretty weak Sapir-Whorf might be overblown.

Looking for simple explanations is a disaster in social sciences. Seems likely to me.

Maybe the Hard Problem isn't consciousness. Maybe it's coming up with thought experiments that make sense. How much is a philosophical zombie (something that behaves exactly like a person but isn't conscious-- it can do philosophy, but isn't limited to it) like a perpetual motion machine?

Mutations aren't fully random. Sounds good to me.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1078450.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
11:18 am
Writing practice #7
A character

A serial killer in a cyberpunk world: he seeks out those with implants. He transplants each new victim's modification into himself, with the help of black market surgeons(they obviously know the mods are illegitimate but don't know the source). The patchwork nature of his implants means he needs to dev all his own firmware integration patches, and he sells new whole body oses to street samurai(whose limbs might as well be detachable) and other underground clients, who might not be able to afford new implants of all the same brand. He doesn't crave perfection, but change. His face changes at least once every three months, and his eyes never match each other. His downfall eventually comes when he targets a modified dancer for her bioluminescent semi controllable hair. Unknown to him, she's an agent for one of the mega corps, and each of her implants are far more advanced than they seem. Before he can even find and deactivate what should be normal tracking chips, the hair breaks his neck.
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
5:33 pm
writing practice #7
A setting.

Dwarven Mine in semi-generic fantasy universe, but with some twists. These dwarves value knowledge and learning as much as they value gold, workmanship, and never seeing the sun. However, paper is expensive and stone is plentiful. Their entire city, from the surface to near the farthest extent of the mines is carved in words. Poems, stories, Chemical formulae, tomes of natural history cover every wall and ceiling (the floor is seldom used for obvious reasons, though in certain ceremonial areas even that is engraved with letters). The homes of families are decorated with the histories of their line.

Because of the eternal mining for minerals, there's usually plenty of space. Not a lot of people in this world are writing books, and even among the Dwarves reading is a far more popular past-time than writing. Occasional shipments from the surface will bring a trove of new knowledge, stored most carefully in vaults until enough tunnels are dug through the mine to write all the new knowledge. Because the mines follow seems of coal and iron and gold, the tunnels twist and turn. The Librarians of the Mine of knowledge are 1 part archivist, 1 part translator, 1 part cartographer. Commonly, mine cart drivers provide both lookup and taxi services throughout the vast underground city.

Tunneling is an important and respected tradition, and by rights, the dwarf or dwarves who dig a tunnel are guaranteed first refusal on the walls. There are families who pride themselves on their mining craft and laconicity, never writing on their own excavated walls. Occasionally, lone dwarves will combine prospecting with creativity. There are tiny tunnels with hundreds of branches leading to small rooms, covered in fanfiction and lonely poetry.

There are flooded tunnels, used for irrigation or simply through accident, where ancient knowledge is covered in underground rivers of water, waiting to one day be revealed.

The worship of the Word is nearly universal. All children and adults are encouraged to read everything and anything, and discuss it. This extends even to magic. Entire spellbound tomes have been transcribed into the walls of certain airy rooms in the city, and there are more dwarven mages here than in the rest of the wide world combined. Most citizens are nonmagical, but powerful carved runes guard the city from all outside threats. Whenever a tunnel becomes inhabited or is a crucial crossroads to further mines, the Runecarvers guild will write glowing runes into places in the walls left blank by long custom, so the city is illuminated half by lanterns and half by the magic of the Word.

The dwarves are not miserly with knowledge, but know its worth. Foreign scholars, whether human, dwarf, elf or something stranger, are charged hefty fees to enter the city, but are permitted to read and copy as they will. As far as copies, the dwarves idolize memorization. Children are allowed to take rubbings of carvings for their studies, but if an adult is unable to quote near perfectly from works, she is mocked mercilessly.

Defacement of a text, except through obvious accident, is punishable by instant and permanent exile.

The laws and myths of the City are carved in larger letters, close to the highest points of the mine. Space is carefully left blank, though the laws are growing close to filling it. On the other hand, the Wall of the Beginning is mostly blank. It reads:

"In the Beginning, there was the Word. The universe, written into being by-"

Written at least eight centuries ago, the debate has yet to stop over what should come next.

Current Mood: writey
Monday, March 18th, 2013
2:23 pm
Writing Practice #3
Crossover dialogue

LostHope began pestering GoblinKingJ-Dawg at a time ever forgotten.

LH: Such an appalling lack of taste!

LH: First you fill your ramshackle kingdom with Goblins, and now you stoop to enchanting a pewling babe?

GK: What Babe?

LH: Oh you know very well the child I refer to, Jareth! I can scarcely believe you are a cousin of mine.

GK: Ah coz, what is the sport in simply ENCHANTING your lovely quarry? Much more delightful to watch them fight their way to you, and in the end, bow down before you.

LH: Hmph, "bow down" indeed. I do not enchant my guests! They are simply charmed away from dull Britain by my wonderful balls, elegant parties, and feats of power. I know they crave to leave their dreary mortal realm for MY immaculate abode. Why, I'm amazed you can keep even your motley servants in a house so sprawling and inelegant.

GK: you mock my kingdoms and my power, yet you cower and hide from mortal magicians. None save me is lord of my labyrinth, whilst your "Norrel" uses and abandons you like a dishrag.

LH: A dishrag! You dare to question my beauty? My power and intellect and handsomeness?! I've half a mind to gather my faerie legions and have my way with you and your pathetic child's maze!

GK: hah! I dare you to find your way to my chambers! We shall see who is the stronger.

GK went AFK

LH: always he must have the last word! Stephen! Stephen Black! Fetch my shaving tools. I must prepare to meet my foe.

LH Went AFK

Notorious_P.U.C.K began trolling LostHope and GoblinKingJ-Dawg at twilight

NP: lol I could put a girdle round the world, aye and take it off too ;) before these petty lairds might cease to flirt.

Current Mood: creative
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
4:34 pm
Writing Practice #2
An adventure

Why did I tell myself to write an adventure? That's really really vague.

Specifically designed to appear like a railroaded kobold hunt to start out with but then it opens out into actually different playthroughs depending on party makeup and skill checks.

Ok, here's an idea: The adventuring party encounters a real life game of Werewolf. This works best with small parties or even just one person travelling on their own (I started writing this unsure as to whether it would be a roleplaying adventure or an adventure for some character/s in a story or show). You arrive to find a village arguing over the corpse of one of their own. On examination, it's clear they were killed by some sort of huge predator, and partially devoured. You have to use charisma, intelligence, and wisdom to figure out who the monster or monsters are and avoid suspicion yourself. You can convince the villagers who to lynch, or tell them not to lynch anyone. If chaotic evil, you take on the anarchist role in the debate, rooting for the werewolf to thrive. You can make knowledge checks (Or use the detect evil spell, should you be playing that kind of game or character) to use silver to check for werewolves, which will cause the first one you use it on the turn and attack you. There can be a number of werewolves (probably 3). If you methodically continue checking against village protests "You already found the werewolf! You can't be suspicious of ME!" when you reach the next werewolf they both change and attack you. If you stop after finding a single werewolf, the villagers offer to let you stay the night and provide you with a feast to celebrate, and promise to pay you double the next day after you kill the kobolds. In the night there is a 1d4 chance of two werewolves ambushing you as you sleep, or you awake to find another dead villager (roll a d20. On 1-6 one of the more interesting NPCS dies, otherwise a random boring one). If you fail to find a werewolf on the first day, whether or not you lynch someone, you awake to find another dead villager. You have to work harder for the citizens not to turn against your newly arrived party, especially if you helped someone get lynched. The townsfolk should be low enough level that a werewolf could definitely defeat one but numerous enough in number that you REALLY don't want to have to fight them. On the first day, a very difficult tracking check would allow you to find where the werewolf turned, but not lead you back to its human home. On the second day a fairly easy check will allow you to figure out where the werewolf/wolves came from. Repeat as necessary?

Civilian characters:
These characters are all important or know something. Depending on which one, you can use charisma, int, or wisdom checks to figure out what to ask them or to convince them to tell you what they think. The checks should be somewhat hard, and require more than one to assemble a good picture of the situation, in order to get the players to interact with more NPCs and to encourage the encounter to go on longer than just the first day/night.

Guard Captain (the most suspicious civilian, quick to accuse the merchant or your party. If a werewolf is revealed he will help fight it. Friends with the butcher.)

Butcher (His daughter is the first victim. He's visibly distraught. If he's a werewolf, it's the unwilling semi unknowing kind. If he's not a wolf, and a wolf is revealed, he will go berserk and attack it, probably dying due to being low level.)

Mayor (Trusts the adventurers more than most because he hired them to come and get rid of some kobolds in the woods. Friends with the silversmith.)

Merchant (the merchant arrived either with your party [you are escorting him?] or very close to your party and is who the townsfolk are most suspicious of to start. The merchant should always be innocent for drama purposes but you can have him travel with a guard/s who are wolves.)

Alchemist (if the alchemist is attacked, there's an explosion of his workshop in the night, and one of the wolves is seen by someone limping off. He was out the other night and saw the Mayor.)

Silversmith (If the silversmith is attacked in the night by the wolves, he lives and you find out that werewolves are vulnerable to silver)

The rest of the town is uninteresting (Unless they're wolves).

If you're DMing this, you can either choose or create your own characters to be wolves or you can just say they're nameless villagers. You can also roll dice to randomize wolves and modify the adventure based on the results.

This is basically stream of thought, so forgive any inconsistencies.

Current Mood: NOT A WEREWOLF
Friday, March 8th, 2013
4:30 pm
Writing Practice #1
Friday, so it's a brief fanfic or outline:

HPMOR/harry potter topic thanks to Ginny

Let's go with an outline for now.

Immediately after Harry theorizes that Quirrel would clearly have his hands on a philosopher's stone, flash back to this. It should be similar in style to Harry's attempted attack on Moody but instead of being 6 turns of the clock, it's several vastly different times and places. People trying to defeat or find Nicholas Flamel, a centuries old wizard, who like Harry vastly underestimate his competence.

Attempt the first, 1430: Unexpectedly attacked with a simple axe, Flamel takes a severe wound but is able to use wandless magic to decapitate his would-be assassin.

Attempt the eighth (Flamel went into extreme hiding for a while), sometime in 1500: A conversation between two Flamel-hunters about possible sightings and rumors of men living in places for longer than they should or families of men who all seem to look the same. After one leaves, the other sits drinking at the bar for a while. A woman sits next to him, and he says "Well, that one would've gotten pretty close if I hadn't just sent him looking for a seemingly unaging, paleskinned shaman in Mongolia." As they fly away from The Leaky Cauldron on broomsticks, their features seem to shift. The woman becomes Flamel, and the man resolves into his wife.

Attempt the 421st, 1948: Tom Marvolo Riddle, soon after graduating Hogwarts. Barely escapes alive, in part due to Flamel's humorous tolerance of an opponent so young.

Attempt the 450th, 1979: Lord Voldemort, at the height of the Wizarding War with Death Eaters at his side, goes to Godric's Hollow, where Flamel is currently living. This time, his body is destroyed by Flamel, but not without Harry's Family being caught in the crossfire between Death Eaters and Flamel. Flamel is able to save Harry from the destruction. He uses false memories on the baby and other bystanders, and negotiates with Dumbledore, who is an old friend, to invent the prophecy to draw attention away from himself. Very few people ever heard this original prophecy, so faking it wouldn't be that hard. Not sure how to work the whole Snape overhearing thing into it.


Feedback is welcome but I'm mainly doing this for myself to practice writing more.

Current Mood: Fantastic
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
9:46 pm
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
1:06 am
Story Fragments
Cyberpunk:
Techno-Gypsies. The advent of global high-speed internet, telecommuting, and personal uplinks has changed what it means to be a gypsy. Wherever their caravans roll, they're no longer isolated. No longer fragmented by distance and arbitrary national borders, gypsy culture has unified and changed. Gypsy children grow up learning to hack at their father's knee, and play with circuit-boards and RAM. A welcome sight in any town, techno-gypsy tech support is the best in the world. Whatever hardware you've got, they can fix it. But what most people don't know is that they do a thriving underground business in hacking. Data retrieval, illegal backups of classified data, identity manufacture and viruses made to order.

Silly Sci-fi
The doctor invents or otherwise acquires a device for tracking footprints through time, but the device is somewhat fuzzy as to exactly WHEN the actual footprints are made. Ends up tracking footprints that are actually being made by something following directly behind him.

Urban Fantasy
Meta-Astrology. As everyone knows, astrology is bunk. But a certain non-conformist seer in New York isn't everyone. With the proper knowledge, the proper spells, and 200 of the proper newspapers, she taps into a source of knowledge that no one else is even aware of. The collective knowledge, put together from a thousand tiny pieces of clairvoyance, that the astrologers create.

Current Mood: fictional
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
1:13 am
Way better posts
So here is a post with a bunch of photos of things from since when last I posted in roughly chronotriggeral order, with maybe some captions I guess?

Read more...Collapse )
Monday, February 13th, 2012
5:54 pm
posts?
Man I haven't made a post in quite a while, though not as long as my last giant hiatus. Sorry lex! I can't really think of a thing I want to post about right now. If you like looking at pictures I take, you can go to bit.ly/mishaphotos where I now automatically upload every picture I take on my phone! Recent hits include the waiter who looked like he was from the 30s, and a bunch of shots taken with the panorama thing I downloaded of quality varying from amazing, to OK, to horrifically mutating people. The app is a little sketchy so try not to mind the repeating photos. Also try not to get freaked out by the crazy purple nutter-butter walrus.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
8:22 pm
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
12:22 am
Genconnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
From Gencon etc.

This is another picture post, but lex said she wanted captions so FINE. This is deadpool!
lots o picsCollapse )
Sunday, July 10th, 2011
7:59 pm
My weekend
They say a picture's worth a thousand words so here is a novella about my weekend, in achronological order

Read less, see moreCollapse )
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
2:18 am
gotta post or the t-lex will eat me
Today I went kayaking for a few hours with sam.

From Jul 6, 2011


Then I abandoned him and for some reason 2 lovely people wanted to have tea with me so Dobra happened. After that I went to my first capoeira class for like 8 months. It hurts real fucking good. Then I went to see Caustic at the Union terrace, which was pretty awesome. On the way there down state street I ran into some street musicians who stopped me so they could give me a Reagan 84 pin, which is pretty awesome. On the way back to my car I saw a hula hoop fight. When eventually I get home nicole is like, hey do you want to go out, and I'm like, obv so I change my shirt and then we bog down for like 20 minutes playing catchphrase. Eventually we manage to get out of the house only to then again get bogged down at Tim's, and then we FINALLY went places. Did some dancing, it was pretty sweet. Going to be SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO achy tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
1:45 am
Cucumbers or books or something
A mandolin slicer* makes eating cucumber WAY more awesome than just cramming cucumbers into your mouth. It also lets you make perfect slices of tomato or onion for sandwiches. Probably my favorite kitchen purchase I've made, not counting the pepper grinder I filled with cumin.

Books are pretty great, and are often written by amazing authors, but something you have to remember is that the people who write the BACKS of books have that job because they are NOT amazing authors. If they were they'd be writing the front top part and most of the middle sections of books, not the backs! In my experience book backs are inaccurate, mildly spoiling, and convey very little about how much I might actually enjoy a book. My strategy is to read the first x pages (where x is however many I feel like) to see if I like the book. If I start stumbling into bookshelves at the bookstore that's usually a good sign.


Re:something: Everyone should readHPMOR, especially LEX who I hear tell might be reading this VERY post. It's better than x-men!


Here is a test picture
From Jun 25, 2011


*A mandolin slicer is one of these not one of these
Monday, June 27th, 2011
9:20 pm
Today weather.com said it was going to thunderstorm so I didn't kayak. Instead I went to a bike store to upgrade my seat and actually get a helmet (so my brains don't end up on the streets, where they'll obviously take to dealing drugs to survive). Then I tried to go to a book store so I could buy sky coyote so lex can read it. Eventually I end up downtown and by the third or so bookstore i get fed up not finding it or almost any kage baker books so I google her to see if her stuff is temporarily out of print or something, and find out she's been dead for like a year. D:. Anyway, despite the lies of Weather.com it was splendorous outside and I enjoyed state street and had some dobra.

When i got home I decided to give my sweet new bikecessories a whirl and successfully biked TO a destination for the first time, instead of just for 1-2 blocks and then giving up. I managed to get over to governor's island, one of my favorite walking places.

Some of my random encounters includeCollapse )
Sunday, June 26th, 2011
12:39 am
kayaking and stuff
lex said ze wants me to post so I decided to dust off the old telagramalivejournophone and transmit some nonsense through the luminiferous ether. I got a bike so I could learn to bike places, so today I biked for 10 minutes before I decided it made my butt hurt too much. So instead I kayaked for 3.5 hours, to lake monona and back by way of tenny park. I saw a lot of ducks, and what I think is a muskrat?

This is a picture of cranes, it's not from this kayaking but I put it in here anyway
From Jun 25, 2011


This is a pile of ducks
From Jun 25, 2011

This is me in a kayak
From Jun 25, 2011


There's no picture of the muskrat because I was using my phone camera in a waterproof bag so it's awkard to take fast or good pictures.

I also went to see super 8. It was fairly disappointing. It stole the plot and action from several other movies and added very little, while also not making any sense. The kids were solid actors though, and the parts focusing on them were reasonably entertaining.

Current Mood: quixotic
Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
4:04 pm
I'm going to jail. (first meme in forever that actually seemed interesting)
If you saw ME in a police car, what would you think I got arrested for? Answer me, then post to your own journal and see how many crimes you get accused of.
Saturday, July 19th, 2008
12:27 am
joss whedon is a dick
Doctor horrible just made me want to watch serenity.

If I scrub out of this ptq due to lack of sleep I'm blaming joss whedon

Current Mood: I don't wanna explode
Friday, June 13th, 2008
10:28 pm
Normal everday human topics. :)
Hey friends! Perfectly happy day today, everything normal, no zombies at all anywhere. But I am a bit lonely. Come over and bring your soft, juicy, delicious tempting brains snacks. We'll have all sorts of fun times and no one will die, I promise! bring all your friends and heck, anyone else who's still alive. Everyone's brain is welcome!

P.S. People with chainsaws or lawnmowers unwelcome.





bliteotw

Current Mood: hungry
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