What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Linkee-poo would never give you up for Lent

With the overdose of politics yesterday, I'm on the wagon today.

Noted with a birthday coming up in a few months, the trebuchet toaster. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

One of the old writers' tricks to find awkward sentences is to read the manuscript out loud. I'll admit I'm a little shy about doing this (although I know I shouldn't be). When I read and write, I do hear the words in my head, but I know that I'm hearing the words I meant to type, not what I actually typed. Jay Lake is trying out something interesting by having the computer read his text back to him. Hmmm, I might have to try that.

One of the reasons why people who pirate (who actually use what they pirated) pirate. I probably would have fit the word "pirate" in there one more time, but I had to go to the bathroom. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

Jim Hines talks about one of those problems with epublishing. I read the screed from the mentioned author about how wonderful Amazon is to authors and had the same thought. Which is why I didn't link to it, even to make fun of it. There was just no point to try and correct people who are so far up in the kool-aid they don't know what color it is. But the all the arguments are about the same thing, if you publish though Amazon, Amazon is your publisher. And they can do whatever they want with your book and you can't say squat. Doesn't sound like a good deal to me. This is like marrying those Terms of Service Agreements with contractual law. Somewhat good when you're using a service, somewhat bad when that service uses you.

Well, of course I'd think about it for charity's sake. The 5K Run for Your Life, Zombie Obstacle Course. Some people will do anything for a good zombie tie-in. And the chance to get muddy. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Jurassic Park meets Day of the Triffids. A 32,000 year old seed cache gets germinated. What could go wrong?

Tobias Buckell links to an article about how brainstorming doesn't work. I've seen it work both ways, but here's the difference for what we're talking about. Brainstorming doesn't work for everything. In this case, what the research shows isn't that brainstorming doesn't work, but that it doesn't work for problem solving. Brainstorming (when done well) does work in a creative atmosphere where the concept is to generate open-ended ideas (the opposite of solving problems). For problem solving, there's multiple variables that are dependent on each other. In that case, yes, brainstorming is the wrong approach. The main issue here is that "brainstorming works for this, it must be great for everything." And here you can substitute "brainstorming" with any popular business fad (teams, cross-pollination, etc). At my last job one of the final business trends we tried was "Lean Manufacturing." If you've worked in the past decade, you're probably familiar with that term. It's the hot thing. But it doesn't work everywhere. In fact, where it does work is a pretty small segment of business. But that doesn't mean that everybody and their kid sister isn't trying to incorporate it's philosophies into all their businesses, including the one sector that it absolutely doesn't work at all - the service sector. I have either issues with some of the further statements, that what we're seeing here is the pendulum changing its arch, but that would require a full article. However, I do recommend you read the article because there actually is a lot of good stuff in there.

A new study shows that kids who don't conform to society's gender roles are at higher risk of abuse. (Grokked from Jay Lake) And that "The abuse is most often perpetrated by parents or other adults in the household…". Quelle surprise. Even though "… children are likely to display a wide variety of behaviors that have no connection to their future sexual orientation: 85% of gender-non-conforming children in the study were heterosexual in adulthood." Again, quelle surprise. Then there is this NPR Story (hopefully they will fix the transcript soon) on the rise in Gender Identity Disorder. The diagnosis of which is escalating (mostly because of media attention and over-worried parents). Look, even in my decades old intro to psychology class we learned that before puberty, kids try on different identities, including those of the opposite sex. But because society is now hyper-vigilant of "zomg, they have teh gay" parents are freaking the fuck out, IMHO. Hell, when I was young, it was a major thing that I was left handed, because it "wasn't normal." Sometimes I wonder if it's not better to go back to the times of "mother's little helper." If we create a society that is accepting and tolerant, and teach our children to respond that way, these things wouldn't be an issue.

The end of Moore's Law. (Pointed to by John)

On eating a gluten free diet when you don't have celiac disease. This article is nominally about, "it's all in your head." But here it shows some of the limits of science. "…many of these patients may be told by their doctors that they have 'gluten sensitivity' or 'nonceliac gluten intolerance', newish disorders that are frequently made after celiac has been ruled out. The trouble is, according to the authors of the paper, experts don’t agree on a standard definition for this sort of condition, and there’s no reliable way to test for it… Gluten is a component of the more complex protein mixture… As a consequence, it cannot be considered the sole agent responsible for functional symptoms in persons who eat bread and pasta, and other [starchy] proteins…" What the paper's authors are saying is, "We don't have the tests to show this is a disease. And since we haven't tested it, it could be any one of those other components of the gluten containing foods that's causing your problems (if you really have those problems to begin with). There's the blind spot, which more than likely won't be resolved. Because who is going to pay for the double-blind research to show that there are people who have problems with gluten, but don't have celiac disease? That's a lot of money (because you'll have to isolate the problems to the gluten, not just removing the complex proteins that include gluten). The gluten-free food industry won't (even though they would benefit), because they only have to hint at it's possibility to increase sales. There's no drug being tested to help, so pharma won't test it. And finally, nobody is dying, and we have other problems that are causing people to die and that's where the national institutes will spend their (ever decreasing) money. This is the same thing as "vitamins don't help", or "Omega-3s are snake oil" and "herbals can't possibly do anything (unless they interfere with other pharmaceuticals)." From a scientific standpoint, you need to take those positions, because all there are (in accepted literature to the US Health System) is anecdotal evidence. The last paragraph of the article is basically, "even if your patients 'say' they 'feel better' with a gluten free diet, unless there's observable evidence (diarrhea, emesis, and rashes), it's all in their head." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

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