Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Linkee-poo, helter skelter in a summer swelter, the birds flew off with a fallout shelter, eight miles high and falling fast

PBS Newshour's Brief but Spectacular with Carl Reiner.

The Walters Art Museum's online manuscript library. (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

Finally, cosplaying without anyone knowing. Star Trek panties for adults (there are other clothing options, but this was the main link shared). (Grokked from Kelly Link)

Cup Noodles, instant raman, turns 45. Not sure how I could have made it through college without instant raman (although we didn't have many Cup Noodles, it was the plastic wrap kind). But now at over 45 that salt load from them is a bit too much for my stomach (and blood pressure) to take anymore.

A child with three genetic parents has been born. Okay, everybody settle down here. The couple has a mitochondrial genetic disorder, and the third parent donated her mitochondrial DNA. And this really isn't "splicing" as mitochondria are separate organelles that current thought believes was an entire separate organism that an early eukaryote incorporated whole. While mitochondria have evolved with their host organism, there isn't much difference (mostly) between humans and our DNA doesn't interact (on the whole) with mitochondrial DNA in a way that would cause problems (that we know of). Much of this, the consternation you see, is people actually having to admit that we don't know much about our own cells and how they behave (sure, we know a lot, but a lot more is inferred than observed). So could there be problems down the road? Sure. But my money would be on "not".

"The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial pancreas — a cellphone-sized device that automatically takes care of checking a patient's blood sugar and delivers lifesaving insulin as needed." That's fantastic and I appreciate the hoopla and I think this will be great for Type I patients (who have insurance or can afford it on their own), I'm slightly bothered by the announcement because your pancreas does more than insulin production (and technically your hypothalamus checks your blood sugar).

The Note to Self podcast on Facebook's algorithms and what they know and what they think they know about you. This is how Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter and… make their money, their real product is you, and they will sell you). "And here's where you come in, dear N2S listener. We are collaborating with ProPublica on their Black Box Data Project, which has just launched. You can take part in this important digital experiment. So go download the Google Chrome extension for your web browser at propublica.org/blackbox. Tell us what you find out and how it makes you feel." That plugin will go through your Facebook profiles and dig out most of the information Facebook has about you.

"It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them." I'm old enough to remember a time before annual performance reviews so I remember why we have them and why they capture what they do capture. Before the performance review, it was very common for those favored employees to rise to the top where as unfavored employees (even if they did most of the work or added the most quality and value added to the job) stayed where they were and weren't recognized. Larger companies realized they were losing their best (chance at profit) and so instituted a system of review where metrics would decide who advanced and who didn't. Unfortunately for most places favoritism still is the rule (which has lead to such things as 360 degree reviews and cross-company peer reviews, which still hasn't really solved the problem) and those metrics decided on were the ones most easily identifiable. At my own day thing they're trying to "normalize" the curve (70% of employees were getting 4s and 5s on a 5 point scale) and force the numbers into a standard bell curve. So what they did was take a high performing workforce and deincentivized them.

"Police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work, an Associated Press investigation has found." Sure you can trust the police. (Grokked from John)

Funny how when researchers look for inherent bias they often find it. In this case in an experiment with pre-K school teachers who were asked to watch 4 students for signs of trouble. As researchers watched their eye movements, they disproportionately spent more time watching the African-American male child. And then they did more studies on the "severity" of specific actions. "(A)ccording to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended from preschool than white children. Put another way, black children account for roughly 19 percent of all preschoolers, but nearly half of preschoolers who get suspended."

"California, the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds, is barring Wells Fargo & Co. from underwriting state debt and handling its banking transactions after the company admitted to opening potentially millions of bogus customer accounts." Right now it's only for a year, but still interesting. (Grokked from Dan)

"In a press conference just held concerning today's shooting at an elementary school in South Carolina, Anderson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Garland Major reassured the community that terrorism was not a factor because the victims and the shooter were all white." Head desk. I wonder is the people of Raqqa suddenly realize that ISIL mounting the heads of dissidents and those they feel aren't fully islamic (people who question their authority) on the park fence in the central city isn't terrorism, because they're all (mostly) middle-eastern? Thank gods Dylan Roof didn't shoot all those black people in South Carolina because then they wouldn't have called it terrorism… oh, wait. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The Nuisance Committee (Cards Against Humanity) and their billboard. Note to committee, remember good advertising, you have to visually make it clear that Trumpster is the bad guy. Not everyone will read a quip sentence, but they will see Trump's name. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

In Ohio, our Secretary of State Jon Husted says our elections can't be hacked. And then he goes on to reveal he has no idea what hacking means.

"Thirty-six members of 3% of Idaho, many in leadership positions, announced their resignations Tuesday evening after they said $2,901 in donations earmarked for four Idaho men accused in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada were improperly spent… They claim Brandon Curtiss, the group’s president, spent the money on unauthorized car accessories, car washes, camping at an Idaho state park, iTunes music downloads, gasoline and food at restaurants, among other charges." Isn't that some kind of libertarian ideal?

"If you’re looking for an entry-level job in politics, and you don’t mind being a thorn in the opponent’s side, campaigns have a gig for you: tracker."

"A Fox News executive sent a memo to television producers and the politics team on Tuesday afternoon reminding employees that unscientific online polls 'do not meet our editorial standards.'" To which the crowd responds, "Since when?" The obvious answer is since more adults types started running Fox News. "At least three Fox News hosts cited unscientific online polls in the hours after Monday night's presidential debate to suggest Donald Trump emerged as the winner of the political showdown." Because that's what they do. "Since the memo was issued, however, some Fox hosts have continued to cite the online polls, often failing to even note such polls were unscientific and conducted over the internet." My guess is we're seeing the sunset of Sean Hannity here.

The Congress overrides President Obama's veto for the first time in 8 years. "The lawsuit legislation now becomes law despite elements that Obama and top Pentagon officials warn could put U.S. troops and interests at risk." I love the excuse that "our bill is narrowly tailored" because it's not actually a defense about how other countries could write laws violating sovereign immunity (because their laws may not be narrowly tailored).

"Their reasoning was that a spending bill that lasts only through the middle of December — which is the case in the agreed-upon bill — means lawmakers will have to pass another spending bill before President Obama leaves office." And won't that just toast some of their pants. So while it's not completely done, apparently faced with losing their jobs, the Congress can get things done. Lets we forget (because the CR has become the new normal) their job was to pass multiple spending authority (appropriations) bills before the beginning of the new fiscal year (Oct 1). When I was a kid, that was mostly completed by the August recess.

"'The entire administration of the state of Ohio could be eliminated through inaction alone. This legislation impacts the core functions of government. It has the potential to change the normal operating procedure of the state of Ohio.'" I'm sure it'll be fine. I mean, shouldn't the legislature review and approve all parts of an administration, the departments, the functions, all of it? What could possibly go wrong?

"A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." Laws and taxes are for rubes and stupid people. (Grokked from George Takei)

"'If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the campaign trail, if a candidate thinks that not paying taxes makes you smart, or that it's good business when people lose their homes. If a candidate regularly and flippantly makes cruel and insulting comments about women, about how we look and how we act, well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is.'" Thank you, First Lady. Thank you. (Grokked from Lara Kristin Herndon)

Now if the Democrats remember to remind the base that this election is also for the direction of the Supreme Court for the next generation (as the GOP and the Trumpster has been doing with his crowds), we might win.

"Donald Trump's campaign is instructing its supporters to use figures like Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers to beat back concerns about how Trump described a former winner of 'Miss Universe,' according to a copy of Wednesday campaign talking points obtained by CNN." This is what's known as throwing sand in the bull's eyes. For having a lot of "smart" and "political" people on his campaign, doesn't any of them see how this opens up their own candidate to his past infidelities (and the rumors of him raping and abusing his first wife, which fortunately for him the judge recently ruled the divorce proceedings would remain sealed - however that isn't a final judgement)? And it only generates sympathy and empathy for Hillary? These people really need to step out of the conservative spin-cycle they've insulated themselves in. And no, it wasn't restraint that kept him from bringing up Bill's infidelities, he was never given an opening. It would have looked childish just blurting it out.

"'Raise your hand if you’re not a Christian conservative,' Trump then said. 'I want to see this, right? Oh there’s a couple people, that’s all right… I think we’ll keep them, right?' Trump asked the crowd. 'Should we keep them in the room, yes? I think so.'"

Tweet of my heart: @ByRosenberg Worth repeating America in 2000: 65,900 reporters,128,600 PR people; America in 2015: 45,800 reporters, 218,000 PR people (per @BLS_gov) (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

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