Comment: I don't like that to review the edit history of a page you need to be logged in. Previous edits are also a valuable source of information and should be easily available to everyone, the same as the talk page.
Also, the different languages in which an equivalent article is available should be always visible (and their respective sizes if possible).
As for the World section, in my opinion it's too nation centered. Why not a physical representation of the world? usually this is left aside. The map could show the major mountain ridges, river basins, plains, plateaus, the names of the islands and peninsulas, seas and lakes, and perhaps also the most populated areas.
That's why a similar representation of the World was chosen as the UN emblem, because of its neutrality. Why the North Pole rather than the South Pole? The Northern Hemisphere is much more densely populated and has a larger extension of emerged lands.
As for the layout, it looks cleaner and more similar to a reference book, what in my opinion is good. _____________________
RESHARE: youtube.com - Casteller Uploaded bypamplonaescudero. November 4, 2010
Excerpt from comments:
Kimberly Clark May 27, 2012 Culture is an amazing thing.....maybe it's a deviation of the bull running gene? ---------------------------- Víktor Bautista i Roca May 27, 2012 +Kimberly Clark Please, do not compare / associate with bull running. And answering the question,I've somehow tried it, on the supporting places. I'm Catalan. ---------------------------- Kimberly Clark May 27, 2012 +1 Sorry. I didn't mean to compare it literally to bull running. Just that each culture has what others might see as unusual, that's all. Assimilation is the key to appreciating some cultural traditions. ---------------------------- Víktor Bautista i Roca May 27, 2012 Killing <> creating Individual <> collective / all ages / all classes Golden / baroque <> plain simple clothing Spanish cultural symbol <> Catalan cultural symbol ----------------------------
Víktor Bautista i Roca May 31, 2012 12:46 AM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla I don't think it's considered a cultural symbol of either place. By the way, tell the Portuguese people they are Spanish (if "= from Hispania"). ----------------------------
Zephyr López Cervilla May 31, 2012 1:07 AM (edited) +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "I don't think it's considered a cultural symbol of either place." - So I gather that to be considered as cultural symbol, it should be exclusive of that place? Then, bullfighting shouldn't be considered as Spanish cultural symbol since it is also "a traditional spectacle of" Portugal, México, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and even southern France. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullfighting BTW, +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "tell the Portuguese people they are Spanish (if "= from Hispania")." - Tell the Valencians that they speak Catalan (if "= from Catalonia" ). ----------------------------
Víktor Bautista i Roca May 31, 2012 1:26 AM After reading your personal page and both your comments in this threat, I guess you are nothing but a troll. Anyway one last answer.
Who said it had to be exclusive? Flamenco is an Andalusian symbol but there's flamenco in many other places, fox hunting was a British symbol, although foxes wer hunt in many other places...
Also, I don't get your mention about Valencians. Yes, there are many Valencians whose language is Catalan, my family, for example, as there are many Mexicans whose language is Spanish and many South Africans whose language is English. So? By the way, it was you the one who equated Spanish and from Hispania, and it is now you who is equating to speak Catalan with being from Catalonia. ----------------------------
Zephyr López Cervilla May 31, 2012 5:56 AM (edited) 1. +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "After reading your personal page and both your comments in this threat, I guess you are nothing but a troll" - You may not be familiarized with the concept of argumentum ad hominem fallacy:
"Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This is logically fallacious because it relates to the opponent's personal character, which has nothing to do with the logical merit of the opponent's argument," en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem#Abusive - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "Who said it had to be exclusive?"
- Without further explanation after "I don't think it's considered a cultural symbol of either place."_ it was the most clear conclusion. Otherwise, how can you concile that the first documented bullfights in Pamplona go back to the 14th century and have been performed along the centuries:
+Víktor Bautista i Roca: "+Kimberly Clark Please, do not compare / associate with bull running." "Spanish cultural symbol <> Catalan cultural symbol" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "it was you the one who equated Spanish and from Hispania," - So in which precise moment the inhabitants of Hispania stopped being Spanish?:
But by the last years of the 12th century the whole Iberian Peninsula, whether Muslim or Christian, became known as "Spain" (España, Espanya or Espanha) and the denomination "the Five Kingdoms of Spain" became used to refer to the Muslim Kingdom of Granada, and the Christian Kingdom of Castile and León, Kingdom of Navarre, Kingdom of Portugal and Crown of Aragon. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispania#Moorish_Hispania
The Latin term Hispania was often used during Antiquity and the High Middle Ages as a geographical name for the Iberian Peninsula, but its modern cognates, Spain and Spanish, have become increasingly associated with the Kingdom of Spain alone, after the union of the central peninsular Kingdom of Castile with the eastern peninsular Kingdom of Aragon in the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispania#Name - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. +Víktor Bautista i Roca: "there are many Valencians whose language is Catalan,"
- "Valencian (/vəˈlɛnsiən/ or /vəˈlɛnʃən/; endonym: valencià, IPA: [valensiˈa]) is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valencian
_"The Valencian Statute of Autonomy sets the legal status of Valencian, providing that: - Valencian is the Valencian Community's own language (article 6 section 1). - Valencian is official within the Valencian Community, along with Spanish, which is the official language nationwide. Everyone shall have the right to know it and use it, and receive education in Valencian (article 6 section 2). ... - The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua shall be the normative institution of the Valencian language (article 6 section 8). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valencian#Official_status ---------------------------- URL via post: plus.google.com/102370347732140106252/posts/84R4c11DnxG ----------------------------
Video blurb: <<In the city of Tarragona, Spain, castellers gather every two years to see who can build the highest, most intricate human castles. It requires astonishing strength, finesse, and balance. Not to mention courage. Visit my daily blog of images from Spain at www.randolphimages.tumblr.com >> ----------------------------
Reshared text: "Building the highest, most intricate human castles":
7billionworld.com - 7 billion people on 1 page We recently reached 7 billion people in the world. On this page you can see every single one of us. One by one.
Excerpt from comments:
Justin Moore Apr 12, 2013 Ummmm....is it just me or is the color-coding on this a little bit racist? _________________
Justin Moore Apr 12, 2013 (edited) +Denis Labelle Setting aside my previous objection that the color coding is obviously racially inspired (black for Africa, red for "the Americas" and yellow for "Asia"), in response to your last comment we don't know when the moment was. "The website" is FOS on that point. That's just one person's totally made-up and arbitrary timestamp set around the time demographers started saying that, yes, there were now at least 7 billion people. _________________
Justin Moore Apr 12, 2013 (edited) +Sergey Andrianov Yes, that is partially my point. They color-coded the continents based on racial stereotypes. Certainly, they are untrue stereotypes, but that doesn't change things. There are also Arabs and Caucasians in Africa. It doesn't change the fact that a Eurocentric/Americanist view of the world (the one that divides the continents geopolitically rather than geographically, see Eurasia) associates these continents with socially constructed races with crude, racist color-related appellation. _________________
Zephyr López Cervilla April 13, 2013 4:53 AM (edited) +Justin Moore: "They color-coded the continents based on racial stereotypes" - Have you ever noticed the colors of the Olympic flag? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_symbols#Flag You missed the chance to complain every 2-4 years. +Justin Moore: "It doesn't change the fact that a Eurocentric/Americanist view of the world (the one that divides the continents geopolitically rather than geographically, see Eurasia)" - So you'll be able to explain me how the Olympic flag, designed by Pierre De Coubertin in 1914, is made of 5 rings with these same colors, one for each continent, right? On the other hand, I wonder if you've ever seen a green aborigine from Oceania, a blue European, or even a red-skinned native American. _________________
Justin Moore April 13, 2013 5:04 AM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla Yes, I will explain it. You see, you are mistaken about the symbolism of the Olympic rings. The colors of the rings (along with the white background) represent the colors of all the flags of all the nations participating in the Olympic Games at the time of the symbol's creation. At the time, also, not all continents were represented.
Now, I could have given the creator of this grotesque little exercise in bad demography/statistics a pass on that charge, assuming that they were just as mistaken as you are, if they had assigned the ring colors in the same order that they appear on the flag according to some reasonable order (alphabetical, popular, etc). However, they did not. Rather, the colors are assigned in in a culturally and racially insensitive way, that follows no other rational pattern, and that it strains credulity to maintain could have been random. Three potentially offensive assignments out of three in a system of five matches? I could do the math for you if you still don't believe me... _________________
Zephyr López Cervilla April 13, 2013 6:39 AM +Justin Moore: "The colors of the rings (along with the white background) represent the colors of all the flags of all the nations participating in the Olympic Games at the time of the symbol's creation" - Do you really believe in that tale about the colors of the flags? How many black flags do you know other than the Jolly Roger flag? Had they invited some pirates?
+Justin Moore: "The colors of the rings (along with the white background) represent the colors of all the flags of all the nations participating in the Olympic Games at the time of the symbol's creation" - This is inaccurate:
"The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time. " (1931) — Textes choisis II, p.470. http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/symbols/flag/index.shtml
Justin Moore April 13, 2013 6:44 AM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla You seem to be confusing the symbolism of the number of rings and of their colors. Yes, the number of rings could be said to represent the continents (this is debated even today by Olympic historians), the colors represent the flags. You are clearly being deliberately obtuse with that nonsense about the Jolly Roger: black is a component of many flags (your personal incredulity of the "tale" notwithstanding, I'm afraid).
Anyway, as I already stated, even if one were to give the creators of the 7billionworld project a pass on this (effectively the same as pretending that the colors are representative of continents themselves, which we may do for the sake of argument) the Olympic rings do not specify which colored ring represents which continent. (And of course how could they, when the color symbolism is not in fact tied to continents?) However, the 7billionworld project very much does apply these colors to specific continents without any discernible methodology other than (probably subconscious) geographic and racial stereotyping. Let's also remember that the 7billionworld project isn't exactly representing the continents with these colors, but rather the people on them, which is all the more disturbing.
Oh, and by the way, the flags of Ireland and Latvia (containing maroon and orange) did not exist at the time of Olympic ring's creation. The symbol was formulated in 1914, Ireland's green/white/orange tri-color was adopted in 1916, and Latvia's maroon flag was adopted in 1918. None of these years had Olympic games, BTW, due to that whole World War that was going on at the time.
Regarding the number of continents: It would be necessary to exclude Antarctica (of course). The number of inhabited continents is variously counted as either 4, 5 or 6 (in the USA, where I live, it is taught as 6). If the designer's original intention was for the number of rings (again, number, not color) to represent the continents, I imagine the decision of 5 was an artistically convenient one, as an even number of interlocking rings wouldn't have had the desired symmetry. This last paragraph isn't really an argument, just following on what you wrote on the matter. _________________
Zephyr López Cervilla April 13, 2013 12:47 PM (edited) +Justin Moore: "black is a component of many flags" - Actually, black was part of only a few flags at that time. But if you consider small components, you should also add brown to the list:
+Justin Moore: "the flags of Ireland and Latvia (containing maroon and orange) did not exist at the time of Olympic ring's creation. The symbol was formulated in 1914, Ireland's green/white/orange tri-color was adopted in 1916, and Latvia's maroon flag was adopted in 1918." - My reference is from 1931:
+Justin Moore: "the 7billionworld project very much does apply these colors to specific continents without any discernible methodology other than (probably subconscious) geographic and racial stereotyping"
- I suspect that they have mistakingly assigned green to Oceania and blue to Europe respectively (7billionworld.com/faq.php). In my opinion it is probably the other way around. Oceania is blue because it's the color traditionally assigned to the ocean, and Europe is green. I have no idea why green but there's a flag that is mainly green that represents Europe too: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_flag In this way, the rings can be located in a similar position as in a geographic map, with the south facing up, the north facing down, the east facing left, and the west facing right. _________________
Justin Moore April 13, 2013 11:54 PM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla: "Actually, black was part of only a few flags at that time. But if you consider small components, you should also add brown to the list..."
You're conflating the small number of countries' flags using black as a major component with the inclusion of small components. We could certainly talk about whether the latter ought to be considered, but let's not pretend they were necessarily of consideration to Coubertin.
+Zephyr López Cervilla: _"My reference is from 1931..."
Indeed, the reference (wherein it was printed) is from 1931. But that doesn't mean that is the year the statement was issued. We do know that Baron Coubertin spoke and wrote about the rings as early as 1914, so, most likely, that is the original date of the quote. Even if the quote was genuinely from 1931 (unlikely, IMO) that doesn't mean Coubertin was aware that the conditions for his original symbolism had changed.
Considering both of the above points, you seem to be doing a lot of work to demonstrate that the creator of the rings was lying about his own intentions in designing them...while at the same time using the very same quote to demonstrate that he was telling the truth about other symbolism (albeit in a way that he very much did not indicate). I find this more than a little baffling.
+Zephyr López Cervilla: "I suspect that they have mistakingly [sic] assigned green to Oceania and blue to Europe respectively...In this way, the rings can be located in a similar position as in a geographic map, with the south facing up, the north facing down, the east facing left, and the west facing right."
So what you're saying is that, if the colors of the rings were in a different order, and you flipped the rings upside down and backwards, and pretended it was a map, then the assignment of the ring colors to continents by the 7billionworld project could have something to do with the Olympic flag? Oh, well that makes perfect sense! </sarcasm> _________________
Zephyr López Cervilla April 14, 2013 7:34 AM +Justin Moore: "the reference (wherein it was printed) is from 1931"
+Justin Moore: "Baron Coubertin spoke and wrote about the rings as early as 1914, so, most likely, that is the original date of the quote."
- There are other quotes on the symbolism of the rings, previous to this from 1931, but they are more imprecise:
"...De plus les six couleurs ainsi combinées reproduisent celles de toutes les nations sans exception. Le bleu et jaune de Suéde, Ie bleu et blanc de Gréce, les tricolores français, anglais, américain, allemand, belge, italien, hongrois, le jaune et rouge d’Espagne voisinent avec les innovations brésilienne ou australienne, avec le vieux Japon et la jeune Chine. Voilá vraiment un embléme international." — Revue Olympique, August 1913 la84foundation.org/OlympicInformationCenter/OlympicReview/1992/ore301/ORE301p.pdf
Note that in this other quote he said nothing about colors of national flags. He instead referred to combinations of colors that represent nations.
+Justin Moore: "that doesn't mean Coubertin was aware that the conditions for his original symbolism had changed."
- Alternatively, he may have not been honest about the symbolism of the rings colors from the beginning.
+Justin Moore: "you seem to be doing a lot of work to demonstrate that the creator of the rings was lying about his own intentions in designing them"
+Justin Moore: "...while at the same time using the very same quote to demonstrate that he was telling the truth about other symbolism"
- Rather, to prove inconsistency in his statements:
<<Prior consistent statements and prior inconsistent statements, in the law of evidence, occur where a witness, testifying at trial, makes a statement that is either consistent or inconsistent, respectively, with a previous statement given at an earlier time such as during a discovery, interview, or interrogation. The examiner can impeach the witness when an inconsistent statement is found, and may conversely bolster the credibility of an impeached witness with a prior consistent statement.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_consistent_statements_and_prior_inconsistent_statements
Another potential inconsistency is the use of only one shade of blue in the Olympic flag, whereas in the flags that he claimed to be representing contained at least two distinct shades of blue.
+Justin Moore: "So what you're saying is that, if the colors of the rings were in a different order, and you flipped the rings upside down and backwards, and pretended it was a map, then the assignment of the ring colors to continents by the 7billionworld project could have something to do with the Olympic flag?"
- Nope. What I said is that the spatial assignment of the colors in the Olympic flag already matches the geographical distribution of the continents when projected on a map. There's no need to flip the rings since "up" has nothing to do with "North", "the position of North at the top of maps is arbitrary" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversed_map). Some examples:
<<We got an excellent comment from a reader this week about maps that are not drawn with true north at the top.>> <<If you’re in an unfamiliar setting or confusing surroundings, it’s usually easier to find your way if you first orient the map to your direction of travel. Turning the map until ground and map features are aligned has the advantage that you can always determine directions directly.>> http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2012/02/14/map-orientation-when-true-north-is-not-at-the-top
<<Without a north arrow, it is difficult to determine the orientation of a map. With a north arrow (pointing in the correct direction), a user can determine direction. Some maps, such as topographic maps, will point to "true north" (the north pole) and to magnetic north (where your compass points, to northern Canada). Usually, you won't see something quite as detailed as a compass rose but a map does need to provide orientation.>> http://geography.about.com/od/studygeography/a/mapparts.htm
<<Most modern-day maps typically show an orientation with north at the top of the two-dimentional depiction. In other eras, different directions at the top were more prevalent, and all directions have been used by different societies and cultures to depict our world. The biggest factors that contribute to north being commonly placed at the top of a map include the invention of the compass and the understanding of magnetic north and the egocentricity of society, mainly in Europe.>> http://geography.about.com/od/understandmaps/a/North-At-The-Top-Of-The-Map.htm
As for the spatial disposition of the colors in the Olympic flag, there are 120 different ways (P5) to combine 5 rings of 5 different colors in a 3-2 configuration (or in a 2-3 for the matter). Of the 120 possible combinations, there are only 6 (5%) that result in black-yellow-blue (in representation of Africa, Asia and Oceania respectively) bound together in a dextrorotatory configuration (the same configuration as on the Earth surface), and of those 6, only 2 (1.67%) will result in blue (Oceania) in one of the extremes (Oceania is geographically isolated from the remaining continents other than Asia). So what are the odds that Pierre de Coubertin could have picked that sort of configuration by pure chance? no more than 1.67%. _________________
Justin Moore Apr 14, 2013 10:01 AM +Zephyr López Cervilla: "There are other quotes on the symbolism of the rings, previous to this from 1931, but they are more imprecise...Note that in this other quote he said nothing about colors of national flags. He instead referred to combinations of colors that represent nations."
I do not see how you could honestly say that with any seriousness. He is clearly and unambiguously talking about flag colors. The first sentence is, further, very close in meaning to the very one we've been discussing this whole time. What in the world is it you think he could be referring to when he speaks of the blue and yellow of Sweden, or the tricolor of France? If your case is still that this is some 17-years-later revisionism on his part, then I cannot consider your arguments to be in good faith.
It is also my duty to direct your attention to pg641 of the very document you linked, which gives the English translation of the quote you cited, along with a fascinating note:
"6. Revue Olympique, August 1913. English translation: “Furthermore, the six colours (including the flag’s white background) thus combined reproduce the colours of all the nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tricolours of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol.” Parenthesis mine. Notably absent from the Baron’s list of countries are any from the continent of Africa, further proof for the fact that Coubertin’s “colour inspiration” was derived from national flag hues, rather than from continents and their respective racial connotations."
+Zephyr López Cervilla: "Alternatively, he may have not been honest about the symbolism of the rings colors from the beginning...Rather, to prove inconsistency in his statements."
First, I think you've failed to prove inconsistency, as I've explained above. The very quote you provided seems to indicate beyond any doubt that he intended the colors to represent the flags of participating countries as early as 1913. Beyond that, I'm still trying to wrap my head around what motive you think he could have had to lie about the symbolism. To prop-up the criticisms of another party by some guy on the internet some 86-years-hence?
Recall that you're responding above to my suggestion that the detail of his supposed-1931 statement, "at this time," was, at worst, a technically untrue statement for the fact that conditions had changed substantially since the creation of the symbol, something of which he may not have been aware. It's clearly not inconsistent, for the fact that the statement certainly would have been true in 1913-1914 and is in agreement with his previous statements. My contention is that, if the quote is indeed from 1931, then it was almost certainly either a mistake on his part (either he misspoke or was unaware that the situation had changed) or certain context was missing here (such as him using "at this time" to refer to a verbally predicated time in the past, rather than to refer to "the time now" not present in this quote). The alternative (what you're implying) is that he deliberately and knowingly added an unnecessary inaccurate detail to the statement that could easily be fact-checked. That is certainly not impossible, but makes no sense and seems highly unlikely.
+Zephyr López Cervilla: "Another potential inconsistency is the use of only one shade of blue in the Olympic flag, whereas in the flags that he claimed to be representing contained at least two distinct shades of blue."
Really? I'm sorry, but this seems pretty nit-picky, don't you think? Symbols are, by definition, simplifications of reality. But if you think that his use of one shade of blue to represent all shades of blue is evidence that he's a rotten liar (again, not sure why you think he would lie), well I guess there's not much I can say to convince you otherwise...
+Zephyr López Cervilla: "Nope. What I said is that the spatial assignment of the colors in the Olympic flag already matches the geographical distribution of the continents when projected on a map. There's no need to flip the rings since "up" has nothing to do with "North", "the position of North at the top of maps is arbitrary"
That's suggested by part of what you wrote, but we both know that wasn't your point. Before I continue, we have to remember something: The Olympic rings are not declared by the Olympic organization, nor Coubertin, nor anybody associated with the Olympics, to be assigned by color specifically to any of the continents.
Despite your insistence that somehow the colors themselves (rather than merely the number of rings) represent the continents, even if you were right on this point, there is no official assignment of specific ring colors to specific continents. The issue under discussion, rather, is how 7billionworld assigned them and whether that methodology could be said to follow the order of colors in the Olympic emblem.
Your task, then, was to determine that 7billionworld used a rational methodology to correlate the specific Olympic colors to the inhabitants of the 5-ish inhabited continents. Let me quote the relevant parts of your original statement on the matter:
+Zephyr López Cervilla: "I suspect that they have mistakingly assigned green to Oceania and blue to Europe respectively...In this way, the rings can be located in a similar position as in a geographic map, with the south facing up, the north facing down, the east facing left, and the west facing right."
So the methodology you suggest follows the relative spatial orientation of the interlocking rings, albeit with a few additional assumptions (two you stated, and two others that you didn't but are nevertheless necessary to achieve the assignment that 7billionworld did): 1) They were assigning the colors by superimposing the rings over a projection of the Earth that is rotated 180 degrees from how the vast majority of maps are projected (either that, or rotating the rings 180 degrees from how they are always presented). 2) The map nevertheless preserves Greenwich as the prime meridian (noteworthy, in that it ensures that the interlocked relationships of the rings cannot be maintained). 3) That "The Americas" is seen as a primarily Southern-hemisphere continent (or whatever you want to call the hemispheres in a rotated projection), even though most of the land mass in "The Americas" is in the Northern hemisphere. 4) That, for some reason (you suggest an inexplicable and bizarrely un-corrected accident) they swapped the blue and green rings.
That is indeed a methodology, of sorts, but it is utterly ridiculous. It requires too many unusual assumptions to be a likely methodology that anybody would have ever used for this or any other purpose. Regarding scientific hypotheses, this sort of thing is referred to as a fine-tuning problem, because the explanation appears to be tailored with great specificity to the observed facts. Also, you may be tempted to accuse me of creating a straw-man argument, by adding things to your argument. However, I've not added anything that you won't find to be utterly necessary for what you originally suggested to hold true. You clearly stated the 1st and 4th assumptions, but the 2nd and 3rd must also be true.
Now, you seem to have put a lot of work into justifying the legitimacy of alternative map projections, and I hate to dismiss it all without equivalent comment (I'm sure I've made up for length elsewhere in this comment), but I'm afraid we are already in full agreement on that fact. Yes, the orientation of North as "up" and South as "down" is a (mostly) arbitrary assignment. Nevertheless, it is an unusual choice for someone to choose for such a purpose. More damning for the hypothesis, the organization behind 7billionworld, Worldometers, uses a standard "North-up" orientation in their logo. On its own, the 1st assumption seems increasingly unlikely, but it gets worse from there, as it conflicts with the 2nd and 3rd assumptions.
Expanding what I've already written about the 2nd assumption, if they were already willing to use an alternative projection/orientation, why would they not move the prime meridian to break the map in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Pacific and maintain the locking relationship of the rings? Certainly, for them to use the methodology you suggest, they must have kept the prime meridian where it is or they would have gotten a completely different pattern.
The 3rd (unstated) assumption is certainly not very intuitive. It probably would have been a more intuitive (and elegant) solution to treat "The Americas" as a Northern-hemisphere continent, not flip the projection or rings and move the map break to the Atlantic (basically the opposite of everything done), giving a nice °o°o° pattern. But then it wouldn't have rendered the specific assignment that 7billionworld used.
But the most ridiculous problem is that you still have to change the order. You're assuming that the assignment 7billionworld used is not the one they meant to use. Well, if you're going to go ahead and say that accidentally (or not) switched blue and green, why bother with this map nonsense at all? The methodology you'd developed to this point, despite glossing over rational inconsistencies galore, still doesn't fit the facts, so you infer that somebody made a mistake! Awesome... _________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Apr 14, 2013 5:36 PM (edited) +Justin Moore: "So the methodology you suggest follows the relative spatial orientation of the interlocking rings, albeit with a few additional assumptions (two you stated, and two others that you didn't but are nevertheless necessary to achieve the assignment that 7billionworld did)"
- As I had said in a previous comment, they had mistakenly assigned the colors to Oceania and Europe, so there's no need of additional assumptions "to achieve the assignment that 7billionworld did."
+Justin Moore: " 1) They were assigning the colors by superimposing the rings over a projection of the Earth... from how the vast majority of maps are projected"
- The United Nations didn't have trouble using an "unusual" projection of the Earth for their flag either:
<<The globe used in the original design was an azimuthal projection focused on the North Pole with the United States, the host nation of the conference, at the centre. The projection that was used cut off portions of the Southern Hemisphere at the latitude of Argentina, which was acceptable at the time, as Argentina was not planned to be an original member of the United Nations. The projection was later altered so that no country will be at prominence within the flag. The new logo was now designed so that the globe is bisected in the centre by the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_Nations
+Justin Moore: " 2) The map nevertheless preserves Greenwich as the prime meridian"
+Justin Moore: "it ensures that the interlocked relationships of the rings cannot be maintained"
- I don't know what you mean. The only posible ring link that isn't present would be between America and Asia, but to be represented you would need a cylindric or a sphere-shaped flag. As with flat maps you have to cut somewhere. The region of the Pacific Ocean seems the most suitable region to split the map because of its low population density.
+Justin Moore: " 3) That "The Americas" is seen as a primarily Southern-hemisphere continent (or whatever you want to call the hemispheres in a rotated projection), even though most of the land mass in "The Americas" is in the Northern hemisphere."
- The absolute position of each continent on the globe isn't relevant, but the relative position between the continents (BTW, most of the land mass in Africa is in the Northern hemisphere too). The purpose wasn't to represent the entire globe (the Antarctica and the oceans are absent) but the populated lands. As you can see below, there are two continents further north than the geographical center of all land surfaces on Earth (40° 52′ N) (Europe 54° 54′ N and Asia 43° 40′ 37″ N), and three continents further south (America 14° 36′ N, Africa 02º 04′ N and Oceania/Australia 23° 07′ S):
Africa 02º 04′ 13″ N, 17º 03′ 10″ E (c. of g.) The Geographic Center of Africa N2.378, E16.063 Based on a simple average of the geographic midpoint, center of distance, and average lat/lon. Geographic Midpoint N2.07035 E17.05291 Based on a calculation at geomidpoint.com that finds the center of gravity for the locations specified. Center of Distance N3.1359 E14.02643 Based on a mathematical algorithm at geomidpoint.com that finds the exact point that minimizes the total travel distance from all specified locations. Average Latitude/Longitude N1.92871 E17.10919 Based on a simple average latitude and longitude for the locations via geomidpoint.com - this is equivalent to finding a midpoint on a flat rectangular projection map. https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217371677808636010725.00046eace68a3223c30d3
+Justin Moore: " 4) That, for some reason (you suggest an inexplicable and bizarrely un-corrected accident) they swapped the blue and green rings."
- Perhaps because the flag of the European Union is blue, so nowadays Europe is often represented with that color.
+Justin Moore: "it is an unusual choice for someone to choose for such a purpose."
- It's possible that Pierre de Coubertin considered the 3-2 disposition of the rings more aesthetically pleasing than the 2-3.
+Justin Moore: "why would they not move the prime meridian to break the map in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Pacific and maintain the locking relationship of the rings?"
- If you break the map in the Atlantic, then you have to link America and Asia, but Asia is already linked to Oceania and Africa (and even with Europe, even though not represented in the flag). It would lead to too many links with Asia to be neatly represented in a flag. On the other hand, some territories of Europe (Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Svalbard, Scandinavia) are relatively close to some others of North America (Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut).
+Justin Moore: "It probably would have been a more intuitive (and elegant) solution to treat "The Americas" as a Northern-hemisphere continent, not flip the projection or rings and move the map break to the Atlantic (basically the opposite of everything done), giving a nice °o°o° pattern."
- With such disposition you would have to link the rings of Oceania with America. I think that the island of Oceania that is closest to South America is Easter Island (aka Isla de Pascua, aka Rapa Nui), at 3,512 km from the Chilean coast, a much greater distance than the minimum distance between Iceland and Greenland, of 290 km, while ignoring without justification the much shorter distance between Asia and North America:
<<Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle.>> <<Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (50 residents) is Pitcairn Island at 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi), and the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, at 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi)>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island
<<Although Iceland is closest to Greenland (North America), it is closer to continental Europe than to mainland North America; thus, the island is generally included in Europe for historical, political, cultural, and practical reasons. Geologically the island includes parts of both continental plates. The closest body of land is Greenland (290 km (180 mi)). The closest bodies of land in Europe are the Faroe Islands (420 km (260 mi)); Jan Mayen Island (570 km (350 mi)); Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, both about 740 km (460 mi); and the Scottish mainland and Orkney, both about 750 km (470 mi). The mainland of Norway is about 970 km (600 mi) away.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland#Geography
<<The Bering Strait is a strait 82 kilometres (51 mi; 44 nmi) wide between Cape Dezhnev, Chukchi Peninsula, Russia, the easternmost point (169° 43' E) of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point (168° 05' E) of the North American continent.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait
+Justin Moore: "You're assuming that the assignment 7billionworld used is not the one they meant to use. Well, if you're going to go ahead and say that accidentally (or not) switched blue and green, why bother with this map nonsense at all?"
- I've been discussing the disposition of the colors of the Olympic flag all the time. I even hadn't heard of 7billionworld before. The only thing that I know of them about this issue is that they decided to use the colors of the rings of the Olympic flag as reference (7billionworld.com/faq.php). I couldn't care less if they have accidentally confused some of the colors. Considering the misleading information about their symbolism provided by the same Coubertin and the International Olympic Commitee I'm hardly surprised that they have failed to correctly assign all the colors. Black, yellow are easy guesses, red is relatively easy, but the other two colors aren't so much. _________________
Comment: I don't usually post excerpts taken from Wikipedia articles, but this time I rather do an exception due to the widespread misinformation around this topic and my lack of better references (i.e., other than those provided in this article).
+Teodor Poparescu: "So, in Renaissance, Christianity has disappeared?! This is one of those dumb memes that doesn't even worth debating..."
- I fully agree with you. This seems to be one of those memes made up by someone with a deficient grasp of history of civilizations. It's funny that a person who considers itself a rational thinker and supporter of science won't try to compare its preconceived ideas and prejudices with information from actual historic research supported by evidence, and developed with scientific principles. If you don't know where to start, try with Wikipedia:
EXCERPT: <<The Dark Ages is a historical period used for the first part of the Middle Ages. The term emphasizes the cultural and economic deterioration that supposedly occurred in Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. The label employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the "darkness" of the period with earlier and later periods of "light". The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians. The term "Dark Age" itself derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Originally the term characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the "light of Rome" after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century.  This definition is still found in popular usage, but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century). However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.
The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography) _________________
Modern academic use <<In the 19th century, the term "Dark Ages" was widely used by historians. In 1860, as John Barber notes, Burckhardt in The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy "formulated the classic contrast between the medieval period as the 'dark ages' and the achievements of the Renaissance as a period of revived antiquity that included literature, elegance and erudition".  However, the early 20th century saw a radical re-evaluation of the Middle Ages, and with it a calling into question of the terminology of darkness, or at least of its pejorative use. Historian Denys Hay exemplified this when he spoke ironically of "the lively centuries which we call dark". 
When the term "Dark Ages" is used by historians today, therefore, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem "dark" to us because of the paucity of historical records compared with both earlier and later times. The term is used in this sense (often in the singular) to reference the Bronze Age collapse and the subsequent Greek Dark Ages, the dark ages of Cambodia (c. 1450-1863), and also a hypothetical Digital Dark Age which would ensue if the electronic documents produced in the current period were to become unreadable at some point in the future. Some Byzantinists have used the term "Byzantine Dark Ages" to refer to the period from the earliest Muslim conquests to about 800, because there are no extant historical texts in Greek from this period, and thus the history of the Byzantine Empire and formerly Byzantine territories that were conquered by the Muslims is poorly understood and must be reconstructed from other types of contemporaneous sources, such as religious texts. It is also known that very few Greek manuscripts were copied in this period, indicating that the 7th and 8th centuries, which were a period of crisis for the Byzantines because of the Muslim conquests, were also less intellectually active than other periods. The term "dark age" is not restricted to the discipline of history. Since the archaeological evidence for some periods is abundant and for others scanty, there are also archaeological dark ages.
Since the Late Middle Ages significantly overlap with the Renaissance, the term "Dark Ages" has become restricted to distinct times and places in medieval Europe. Thus the 5th and 6th centuries in Britain, at the height of the Saxon invasions, have been called "the darkest of the Dark Ages",  in view of the societal collapse that characterized the period and the consequent lack of historical records compared with either the Roman era before or the centuries that followed. Further south and east, the same was true in the formerly Roman province of Dacia, where history after the Roman withdrawal went unrecorded for centuries as Slavs, Avars, Bulgars, and others struggled for supremacy in the Danube basin, and events are still disputed. However, at this time the Arab Empire is often considered to have experienced its Golden Age rather than Dark Age; consequently, this usage of the term must also differentiate geographically. While Petrarch's concept of a Dark Age corresponded to a mostly Christian period following pre-Christian Rome, the use of the term today applies mainly to those cultures and periods in Europe least Christianized and thus most sparsely covered by chronicles and other contemporary sources, nearly all written by Catholic clergy at this date.
However, from the mid-20th century onwards, other historians became critical of even this nonjudgmental use of the term for two main reasons. First, it is questionable whether it is possible to use the term "Dark Ages" effectively in a neutral way; scholars may intend this, but it does not mean that ordinary readers will so understand it. Second, the explosion of new knowledge and insight into the history and culture of the Early Middle Ages, which 20th-century scholarship has achieved, means that these centuries are no longer dark even in the sense of "unknown to us". To avoid the value judgment implied by the expression, many historians avoid it altogether.
Historians who use the term usually flag it as incorrect. A recently published history of German literature describes "the dark ages" as "a popular if ignorant manner of speaking" about "the mediaeval period", but then immediately (in the next sentence) goes on to use the term "dark age" to mean "little studied.">> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)#Modern_academic_use _________________
Modern popular use Rational thought and the study of nature <<The medieval period is frequently caricatured as supposedly a "time of ignorance and superstition" which placed "the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity." However, rationality was increasingly held in high regard as the Middle Ages progressed. The historian of science Edward Grant, writes that "If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities".  Furthermore, David Lindberg says that, contrary to common belief, "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led".
The caricature of the period is also reflected in a number of more specific notions. For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. This claim is mistaken. In fact, lecturers in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in favor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers write: "There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference". 
Other misconceptions such as: "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are all cited by Ronald Numbers as examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current historical research. They help maintain the idea of a "Dark Age" spanning through the medieval period.
Unlike pagan Rome, Christian Europe did not exercise a universal prohibition of the dissection and autopsy of the human body and such examinations were carried out regularly from at least the 13th century. It has even been suggested that the Christian theology contributed significantly to the revival of human dissection and autopsy by providing a new socio-religious and cultural context in which the human cadaver was no longer seen as sacrosanct.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)#Modern_popular_use _________________ _________________
EXCERPT: Middle Ages <<Knowledge of the sphericity of the Earth survived into the medieval corpus of knowledge by direct transmission of the texts of Greek antiquity (Aristotle), and via authors such as Isidore of Seville and Beda Venerabilis. It became increasingly traceable with the rise of scholasticism and medieval learning. Spread of this knowledge beyond the immediate sphere of Greco-Roman scholarship was necessarily gradual, associated with the pace of Christianisation of Europe. For example, the first evidence of knowledge of the spherical shape of the Earth in Scandinavia is a 12th-century Old Icelandic translation of Elucidarius.
A non-exhaustive list of more than a hundred Latin and vernacular writers from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages who were aware that the earth was spherical, has been compiled by Reinhard Krüger, professor for Romance literature at the University of Stuttgart.
Krüger's list of the 79 authors known by name:
Late Antiquity Ampelius, Chalcidius, Macrobius, Martianus Capella, Basil of Caesarea, Ambrose of Milan, Aurelius Augustinus, Paulus Orosius, Jordanes, Cassiodorus, Boethius, Visigoth king Sisebut.
Early Middle Ages Isidore of Seville, Beda Venerabilis, Theodulf of Orléans, Vergilius of Salzburg, Irish monk Dicuil, Rabanus Maurus, King Alfred of England, Remigius of Auxerre, Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Leo of Naples (German), Gerbert d’Aurillac (Pope Sylvester II).
High Middle Ages Notker the German of Sankt-Gallen, Hermann of Reichenau, Hildegard von Bingen, Petrus Abaelardus, Honorius Augustodunensis, Gautier de Metz, Adam of Bremen, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Berthold of Regensburg, Guillaume de Conches, Philippe de Thaon (French), Abu-Idrisi, Bernardus Silvestris, Petrus Comestor, Thierry de Chartres, Gautier de Châtillon, Alexander Neckam, Alain de Lille, Averroes, Snorri Sturluson, Moshe ben Maimon, Lambert de Saint-Omer (German), Gervasius of Tilbury, Robert Grosseteste, Johannes de Sacrobosco, Thomas de Cantimpré, Peire de Corbian, Vincent de Beauvais, Robertus Anglicus, Juan Gil de Zámora (Spanish), Ristoro d'Arezzo, Roger Bacon, Jean de Meung, Brunetto Latini, Alfonso X of Castile.
Late Middle Ages Marco Polo, Dante Alighieri, Meister Eckhart, Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II), Perot de Garbelei (German) (divisiones mundi), Cecco d'Ascoli, Fazio degli Uberti (Italian), Levi ben Gershon, Konrad of Megenberg, Nicole Oresme, Petrus Aliacensis, Alfonso de la Torre (German), Toscanelli, Brochard the German (German), Jean de Mandeville, Christine de Pizan, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Caxton, Martin Behaim, Christopher Columbus.
Christian world Isidore of Seville Bishop Isidore of Seville (560–636) taught in his widely read encyclopedia, the Etymologies, that the Earth was round. While some writers have thought he referred to a spherical Earth; this and other writings make it clear that he considered the Earth to be disk or wheel-shaped. He didn't admit the possibility of people dwelling at the antipodes, considering them as legendary and noting that there was no evidence for their existence.
Bede the Venerable The monk Bede (c. 672–735) wrote in his influential treatise on computus, The Reckoning of Time, that the Earth was round, explaining the unequal length of daylight from "the roundness of the Earth, for not without reason is it called 'the orb of the world' on the pages of Holy Scripture and of ordinary literature. It is, in fact, set like a sphere in the middle of the whole universe." (De temporum ratione, 32). The large number of surviving manuscripts of The Reckoning of Time, copied to meet the Carolingian requirement that all priests should study the computus, indicates that many, if not most, priests were exposed to the idea of the sphericity of the Earth. Ælfric of Eynsham paraphrased Bede into Old English, saying "Now the Earth's roundness and the Sun's orbit constitute the obstacle to the day's being equally long in every land."
Bede was lucid about earth's sphericity, writing "We call the earth a globe, not as if the shape of a sphere were expressed in the diversity of plains and mountains, but because, if all things are included in the outline, the earth's circumference will represent the figure of a perfect globe... For truly it is an orb placed in the center of the universe; in its width it is like a circle, and not circular like a shield but rather like a ball, and it extends from its center with perfect roundness on all sides." 
Anania Shirakatsi The 7th-century Armenian scholar Anania Shirakatsi described the world as "being like an egg with a spherical yolk (the globe) surrounded by a layer of white (the atmosphere) and covered with a hard shell (the sky)."
High Middle Ages During the High Middle Ages, the astronomical knowledge in Christian Europe is extended beyond what was transmitted directly from ancient authors by transmission of learning from Medieval Islamic astronomy. An early recipient of such learning was Gerbert d'Aurillac, the later Pope Sylvester II.
Saint Hildegard (Hildegard von Bingen, 1098–1179), depicts the spherical earth several times in her work Liber Divinorum Operum.  Johannes de Sacrobosco (c. 1195 – c. 1256 AD) wrote a famous work on Astronomy called Tractatus de Sphaera, based on Ptolemy, in which he considers the Earth to be spherical.
Late Middle Ages Dante's Divine Comedy, written in Italian in the early 14th century, portrays Earth as a sphere, discussing implications such as the different stars visible in the southern hemisphere, the altered position of the sun, and the various timezones of the Earth. Also, the Elucidarium of Honorius Augustodunensis (c. 1120), an important manual for the instruction of lesser clergy, which was translated into Middle English, Old French, Middle High German, Old Russian, Middle Dutch, Old Norse, Icelandic, Spanish, and several Italian dialects, explicitly refers to a spherical Earth. Likewise, the fact that Bertold von Regensburg (mid-13th century) used the spherical Earth as a sermonic illustration shows that he could assume this knowledge among his congregation. The sermon was held in the vernacular German, and thus was not intended for a learned audience.
Portuguese exploration of Africa and Asia, Columbus voyage to the Americas (1492) and finally Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the earth (1519–21) provided practical evidence of the global shape of the earth.
Islamic world Islamic astronomy inherited the idea of a spherical earth from the Greek astronomical tradition. The Islamic theoretical framework largely relied on the fundamental contributions of Aristotle (De caelo) and Ptolemy (Almagest), both of which worked with the premise that the earth was spherical and at the center of the universe (geocentric model). Early Islamic scholars recognized earth's sphericity, leading Muslim mathematicians to develop spherical trigonometry in order to further mensuration and to calculate the distance and direction from any given point on the Earth to Mecca. This determined the Qibla, or Muslim direction of prayer.
Al-Ma'mun Around 830 AD, Caliph Al-Ma'mun commissioned a group of Muslim astronomers and Muslim geographers to measure the distance from Tadmur (Palmyra) to al-Raqqah, in modern Syria. They found the cities to be separated by one degree of latitude and the meridian arc distance between them to be 662⁄3 miles and thus calculated the Earth's circumference to be 24,000 miles.
Another estimate given by his astronomers was 562⁄3 Arabic miles (111.8 km) per degree, which corresponds to a circumference of 40,248 km, very close to the currently modern values of 111.3 km per degree and 40,068 km circumference, respectively.
Al-Farghānī Al-Farghānī (Latinized as Alfraganus) was a Persian astronomer of the 9th century involved in measuring the diameter of the Earth, and commissioned by Al-Ma'mun. His estimate given above for a degree (562⁄3 Arabic miles) was much more accurate than the 602⁄3 Roman miles (89.7 km) given by Ptolemy. Christopher Columbus uncritically used Alfraganus's figure as if it were in Roman miles instead of in Arabic miles, in order to prove a smaller size of the Earth than that propounded by Ptolemy.
Biruni Abu Rayhan Biruni (973-1048) used a new method to accurately compute the Earth's circumference, by which he arrived at a value that was close to modern values for the Earth's circumference. His estimate of 6,339.9 km for the Earth radius was only 16.8 km less than the modern value of 6,356.7 km. In contrast to his predecessors who measured the Earth's circumference by sighting the Sun simultaneously from two different locations, Biruni developed a new method of using trigonometric calculations based on the angle between a plain and mountain top which yielded more accurate measurements of the Earth's circumference and made it possible for it to be measured by a single person from a single location. Biruni's method was intended to avoid "walking across hot, dusty deserts" and the idea came to him when he was on top of a tall mountain in India. From the top of the mountain, he sighted the angle to the horizon which, along with the mountain's height (which he calculated beforehand), allowed him to calculate the curvature of the Earth. He also made use of algebra to formulate trigonometric equations and used the astrolabe to measure angles.
John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson write in the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive:
"Important contributions to geodesy and geography were also made by Biruni. He introduced techniques to measure the earth and distances on it using triangulation. He found the radius of the earth to be 6339.6 km, a value not obtained in the West until the 16th century. His Masudic canon contains a table giving the coordinates of six hundred places, almost all of which he had direct knowledge." >> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_Earth#Middle_Ages _________________
RESHARE: plus.google.com - G+ displays early signs of anti-intellectual cultureBy Peter Strempel. April 12, 2012
Excerpt from comments of post: Jordan Peacock5:38 AM+1 I'm getting a feel for the changes still. I'm not changing the sorts of content I posts, and it's still the best social media situation for sharing that overall, in my opinion, despite all it's faults; but they are many, and seriously, and apparently not going away. Eventually someone will make headway and what you fear will come to pass. Until then, I'll be here.
Peter Strempel5:44 AM+1 Like you, +Jordan Peacock, I don't intend to change my interests to suit mass marketing strategies. I've never been a FaceBook user, and I credit Google for tunring me on to social media at all. But that won't blind me to a basic equation in the consumer economics value chain: if the value proposition shifts too far towards the sales channel, I will withhold my custom from it.
Jordan Peacock5:46 AM+1 Absolutely; incentives matter in culture creation/curation.
Laura Gibbs5:46 AM Agreed! As a text-friendly person, and a near-sighted one at that, I'm not happy at all so far with the new interface. Thanks for expressing so clearly just what is at stake.
Eric von Foerster5:50 AM (edited)+1 Well, I can't really disagree, because my first thought when seeing the hard to read grey on grey for comments made me wonder why they were making conversation difficult. Someone at Google had to notice it made the post the sole focus and the comments something that took effort to read...physically.
Hangouts makes sense to emphasize, it can be useful or fun, your call on that as a business or an individual.
But like all social networks business models so far, yes, they are going to try to capture the biggest number of users, and most of us, myself included, aren't intellectuals. You are. Most people on G+ that I have observed, comparatively, aren't as narcissistic as users in other social networks, but most people are looking for laughs and quick moments, and just due to a lack of time in this fast paced world, little else.
Since we all have things we like and dislike, doesn't mean that others interests aren't interesting, they just might not be to you. Much of this will boil down to preference. Many find things completely lacking in intellectual appeal to be thought provoking, oddly, what you witnessed did just that by inspiring you to post about it, which created conversation. Other things might inspire an artist or writer etc. you never know how something will impact someone.
But I don't think it's any surprise that the masses can be mindless, as an intellectual you'll suffer the fools anywhere you go, but intellectuals will show up somewhere, and they'll use what's available or opt out entirely. At least on G+ by starting out with a brighter lot it stands a better chance.
If you'll excuse me, some cat pictures are calling me.
Peter Strempel6:06 AM+1 Thanks, +Eric von Foerster, for the feedback. I did explicitly acknowledge the fact that Google doesn't owe me a damned thing. And my intention was to start a debate. So, not all is lost ... yet.
Eric von Foerster6:07 AM+1 I did see that, I didn't mean to imply that you thought that.
Jeff Jockisch6:11 AM+2 I'm not yet concerned with the collapse of discourse, but Im not happy that conversations are harder to follow and that scrolling has been increased.
Laura Gibbs6:12 AM+2 I'm not the person inclined to overanalyze, but the greying out of the comments does truly strike me as, at best, a bad aesthetic choice. Let's hope it's just bad aesthetics...
Eric von Foerster6:19 AM+1 I think the advantage Google+ has over other social networks is the Circles. You can, if you choose, only follow those who post like minded content and ignore the trends and what's hot items. I think part of those features are intended to get people to explore within the community but do end up devolving into lowest common denominator content usually.
Peter Strempel6:25 AM That's true, +Eric von Foerster, but there are two points to note: as I stated in the original post, accessing my own circles has been made harder, not easier, in the new design; and Diaspora has 'Aspects' which are essentially the same as G+'s circles.
Eric von Foerster6:27 AM I don't see how it's harder though, you just make two clicks, it was two clicks before too.
Did not know that about Diaspora, haven't looked since early on.
Juan Schwartz6:30 AM On the subject of comments, I think that can be explained away simply by monitor. Visibility of comments isn't a problem on my (admittedly expensive) monitor. Likewise, the people who developed this theme probably had good monitors, also. I suspect the people who are having trouble reading comments either have monitors with really poor contrast ratios, or just have their monitors improperly configured.
Peter Strempel6:32 AM+4 +Eric von Foerster The circles menu is harder to access because it disappears entirely from view if you scroll into a stream far enough. So you either have to scroll up, then click, and click again on a list that also disappears off-screen (if your list is long enough), or you have to use the Home button to return to the generic stream.
In addition, there is no feature I can see that allows me to make all my circles permanently visible every session as there was in the last interface.
I'm not going to evangelise for Diaspora, and I'm too new to it to make much sense anyway. I'm just saying uniqueness ain't what appears to be.
Eric von Foerster6:34 AM Ok, I see what you're saying.
Eric von Foerster6:36 AM (edited) Juan, no, people with top notch displays of all sizes have complained even after fiddling with settings, very sure that's not it.
Peter Strempel6:41 AM+1 +Juan Schwartz On this topic I am with +Eric von Foerster. My monitor ain't cutting edge anymore, but it is configured to an Adobe colourspace, including some pretty tricky fiddling with the white point. The grey stuff, on my monitor, appears about 30 to 40% black, or the old HTML silver 'colour'.
Charles Bosse6:41 AM+1 I will say, as someone who follows feeds that sometimes exceed several hundred comments, I find it time consuming to pick out pertinent comments from inane quips. I am hopeful, actually, that the new format will help with that. I agree though, that Google should get back out of the practice of removing features without an option to bring them back.
Peter Strempel6:45 AM Hey there, +Charles Bosse, glad to hear from you. What do you see in the new format that will help you? I'm sure I don't know all I ought to, ever. Your feedback would be of great value.
Juan Schwartz6:46 AM I don't know, I don't even have the contrast set especially high on this TV but, if anything, the comments are easier on the eyes than posts.
Peter Strempel6:50 AM Just a thought here, +Juan Schwartz, I don't use hand-helds to G+, but do you? If so, what does it look like on a smaller screen?
Charles Bosse6:50 AM I am on mobile now - I only had a few minutes to play on the new desktop site earlier today, so "hopeful" is a key word. There is a feedback tool in the gear labeled drop down though.
Sreek Menon6:56 AM (edited) +Peter Strempel Great piece of writing and very thought provoking as well. +Allen Firstenberg , thanks for sharing this.
I am probably going to feel horrible after saying this. It is, at the end of the day all about the bottom line. In my opinion Google was not always like that and hence the original paradigm "Do No Evil".
Having said that, I think it is a wrong assumption to think that Google started Google Plus to promote it to a pro-intellectual user base but the fact that a lot of the people who are early adopters to Google+ somehow are quite intellectually good at what they do. For eg:- I have never seen a good original piece of writing like the one from you +Peter Strempel, in FB in the last n number of years and that is quite wonderful. But that could be just my opinion.
I believe Google+ probably because of the fresh design and for a number of other reasons appealed to the intellectual community a lot but if I have to make a decision on Google's behalf given the same challenges they are facing, I will do exactly what Google is doing now. Given the choice of death or survive with lesser quality of life, majority of the people will choose the second. I am guessing walled gardens like FB does not leave Google a choice.
So, while they will regretfully watch the intellectual population leave Google+, they will try to put up a face of gladness if they can survive. While I totally understand and regret Google's move towards "Commercialization", I repeat, I will do the same thing what they did, just so that I won't be eliminated. Good day, sir.
Juan Schwartz6:52 AM +Peter Strempel No idea, I only access G+ from my desktop.
Peter Strempel7:10 AM+1 Thanks for the feedback +Sreek Menon. I do understand commercial priorities. However, I think pursuing those aggressively are not inimical to maintaining features that will keep and increase a demographic that may not be important in a slug-fest for the mass market right now.
It doesn't take a marketing genius, though, to figure out that sooner or later market segmentation and niche marketing will be valuable. So, I guess I agree that G+ has/had an astonishing number of insightful, serious, erudite people posting pretty damn impressive content, and I see that with a very small amount of care for that demographic, Google could pursue the mass market it is after without alienating the niche.
To do that, though, requires deliberate planning and attention to the little details I and others mentioned. I also acknowledged that Vic Gundotra's plot for the future of G+ is entirely opaque to me and many, many others. I might be alarmist in what I'm saying because it may never come to that, but I did acknowledge this possibility in my heading with the words 'early signs'.
There's a maxim in PR about an absence of information leaving a vacuum that always, always fills with speculation and rumour that you could have headed off by presenting information in detail. That possibility still exists, but I personally have never seen any Google staff respond directly to questions that weren't Dorothy Dixers. I was hoping maybe that comments like ours might not be addressed by Google explicitly, but might at least be considered behind the scenes.
Finally, thanks for the compliment. I work hard at trying to put substance front and centre.
Sreek Menon7:18 AM+1 +Peter Strempel You are very welcome. As I said, while I very well understand the essence of your post and agree with it in theory, I would rather prefer not to be disappointed with Google for alienating the niche segment of intellectual users when I know that the alternative for them is to be sidelined and be insignificant.
You, from your tech background must be very aware that it doesn't take much time in the internet age to be sidelined. I will be hopeful that Google will do the fine tuned adjustments in such a way that there is enough stuff in there for the niche user to still hang around and consider it worthwhile to use the tool.
In my case, I think that considering the alternatives, Google Plus is currently my preferred tool to be on, unless they mess it up pretty bad.
Alex Schleber7:18 AM+1 /cc +Alexander Becker +Dieter Mueller
Yllona Richardson7:20 AM +Peter Strempel I admire your eloquence, and I agree with you on several points. However, from an accessibility/design standpoint, the latest G+ interface revision is the easiest for me to read and use. I often use assistive technology, so earlier versions of the G+ interface were problematic.
As for the font+character style (~75% grey) used for comments in the current implementation -- that's the easiest of fixes.
I doubt the design decision for G+ comment styling/presentation within Google was as heavily weighted with philosophical matters as you imply... as previous implementations have revealed -- the process isn't that deep or refined ;)
Rather, I think they're scrambling to meet US Federal compliance for web application design, or at least I'm hoping ....
I haven't yet given the source code for the "new" G+ a thorough examination, but it looks like increasing the color saturation for comment text will be relatively simple.
There are other, more critical issues (for accessibility) to address in the "new" G+ interface, so font/character styling is not at the stop of my list (sorry).
Sreek Menon7:20 AM Also there is a Chrome extension to fix the white space issue (a bit) if you are interested. Search of GExtend within Google Plus.
Alex Schleber7:23 AM +Sreek Menon the whitespace thing is merely the fifth thing that's wrong with all of this. In some sense, what shocks me the most is that among all of the substantial engineering issues that G+ is still facing, they would find the time for this needless visual redesign.
Peter Strempel7:24 AM Wow, +Alex Schleber, along with +Dieter Mueller UX comments and thread, your own thread is really powerful stuff. I do hope that someone at Google takes this on board
Alex Schleber7:26 AM+1 +Peter Strempel they won't. They have already shown their hand by now, and today just sort of sealed things. We have talked with some people on the G+ UX team, and while they may understand our frustrations, they are basically shrugging their shoulders.
Sreek Menon7:29 AM +Alex Schleber With all due respect, It is beyond my ability to understand what are their priorities, really. Apart from being able to show the shareholder how they are spending their money and how they are going to eventually profit from it and staying above in a cut throat software and hardware mobile struggle with Apple and a search engine war with MS, there are more things as a company they are focussed at the moment. While you have every right to emphasize that they are dealing with quite a lot of engineering issues, as a very ordinary end user I am willing to cut them some slack and do what they think is right in terms of how they want to groom their product going forward. Please don't forget that a lot of decisions they make in terms of the functionality of the tool is also influenced by the feedback they get from users. So, probably that is a bit more democratic than we think or know. Having said that, the end user need not necessarily be the shareholder, so maybe we are back to square one.
Peter Strempel7:29 AM +Yllona Richardson Thanks for your comments. I hope that you are right, and I confess to having no insight into accessibility features, considerations for hand-held users, or regulatory compliance issues in the US.
I do sincerely hope you get from these changes what you are looking for.
I accept that I often have a singular point of view, but does appear to me that I am not alone on this one, and my best effort here is to create enough discussion to motivate Google to consider what we are saying - no less, no more.
Randy Resnick7:34 AM+1 Thanks for your thoughtful post, I enjoyed reading it on my mobile app, unencumbered by the design changes :) Your situation as stated, is similar to the world of wine geeks, a tiny percentage of consumers. The larger producers are trying to make mass market wines by profiling them. Yellow Tail is an example of this process, and a very successful one at that. One can assume that much of the change comes from feedback, I think. If you consider the general stream as it looked when it was available, the percentage of animated GIFs was very high. I don't consider myself an intellectual. So far, I'm reserving judgment on the design changes. It's been obvious from the start that non-visual content is less shared than long posts, so I'm not surprised by such changes. As for the circles controls, they're fine for my use of them.
Sreek Menon7:36 AM Just wanted to add that, a few years from now, if FB and G+ are both approaching say a trillion users and if you take a cross section of 1 million users from them for both platforms, I doubt you will be able to see any significant difference in terms of quality of content in both. The same theory will apply to a cross section of posts as well. Just my opinion.
Mark Thurman7:38 AM+1 G+ has the ability, still, to distract me from work. +Peter Strempel is fully aware that I have a busy day ahead and yet he insists on posting thought provoking dialogue and dragging me in like a Empire tractor beam on a cargo ship of Rebel Scum.
My hope is that the feedback to Google (again, harder to find in the new layout) will elicit some style changes and bug fixes pretty quickly. The circle access faux pas is the biggest issue by a mile, despite the trending of #whitespace yesterday and is one that causes immediate frustration amongst the more established users with more circles and a defined method of circle management. Fix that and the other obvious visual challenges that have been introduced and I think a majority of noise will dissipate. However this doesn't address Peters good point about the push towards rewarding more visual posts with more space and the alienation of niche demographics - who are perhaps more likely to be amongst the more established user base.
Greater control over my own stream (no pun intended) is the greatest gift that Google can give me as a user. I would like to see simple volume controls for images/gifs etc or the option to turn them off and replace with an image place-holder of my own choosing. A 48 x 48px icon would be perfect, for me at least. Then I could simply click to expand the post and load the image/gallery/gif etc if I wanted to.
Hagit Katzenelson8:04 AM+2 +Peter Strempel, yes, the Chrome extension works for making comment text readable again. +Tzafrir Rehan created it. It does nothing for the oversized photos and videos though. :) When I saw today's changes my thoughts were more along the line of "who let the newbie design grad take over UI" than a message of priorities from the G+ team. I still hope it's the former.
Juan Schwartz8:09 AM Ugh, why do people write these things in a browser-specific manner? Just release it as a userscript.
Peter Strempel8:31 AM+1 +Sreek Menon, while I don’t disagree with a shareholder focus, I don't support the phenomenon of short-sighted shareholder fetish. Longer-term vision is required for adequate returns in perpetuity than just meeting the next quarterly projections.
Google got to be where it is by telling shareholders that innovation and playing with new products and technologies is where it’s at. I don’t work for Google, so I don’t know whether that culture ever really existed, whether it’s changed, and if so, how it’s changed.
What I can tell from my perspective, though, is that there are no credible indicators to suggest Google will be left in anyone’s wake, least of all FaceBook’s. My concern is that Google is so self-absorbed right now that it may not see it already has mass defectors from FaceBook and a much wider demographic.
There is every reason to plan on keeping both advantages. I just don’t see that reflected in the interface design changes, and I have no other information by which to judge corporate intentions, so I use the only visible auguries to make my prophecies.
Not to put too fine a point on it, my position on this is influenced heavily by the whole underlying concept of what a social medium actually is. For me it starts with that first word: social. To create any lasting social infrastructure, that infrastructure must absolutely accommodate more than a simple majority of its constituents; societies that fail at that level don’t last past one or two inspirational leaders.
It seems to me that FaceBook has not only failed to accommodate more than a perpetually juvenile demographic, it has not yet even had an inspirational leader. That makes things not look too good for its future, no matter what its accounting practices and PR flacks tell us. As an aside, the same might be said for Apple, except Steve Jobs was inspirational,and managed to form a social network around hardware!
Google, on the other hand, started with a premise of innovation and inclusion, not dating and dirty jokes. Dare I say it also had a pretty inspirational leader? May I yet hope that it has another? It currently also has a much wider appeal than to just the eternally juvenile. That is a competitive advantage I wouldn’t throw away no matter how much the bean counters were screaming at me to trash my reputation and go for the cheap seats. In the end, I think, the bean counters would thank a leader for strategic vision and the balls to tell them to stick their quarterly projections back in their briefcases. Business is about leadership in all areas of business, not just spreadsheets and profit forecasts.
So, my suggestion now is that engineering decisions must never be allowed to carry the kind of messages to the market that I'm saying they are in fact carrying — mostly because there isn’t much of an alternative message to listen to, with Google employees being sworn to silence, and executives obviously deciding it’s not important for the user base to know what’s happening.
Sreek Menon8:36 AM +Peter Strempel Well said. I will have to write a reply to you tomorrow. Thanks for taking the time.
Randy Resnick8:46 AM+1 +Peter Strempel isn't the important player the stakeholder rather than the stockholder? I wonder who Google considers as "serious" users (and thus stakeholders). Doesn't Sturgeon's law explain what you see in the majority of posts and shares, and therefore, isn't the responsibility to see "good" content yours in the posters you have circled?
Just as a single example, I abhor those animations and so mostly uncircle anyone sharing them. The result is that I don't see many in a day. If I did the same with people who post text as graphics, I would see those aphorisms, either.
So, just as in my wine geek allusion where we buy wines that aren't on the "trending" or "suggested" lists, can't the conversation continue between like-minded individuals and groups with proper selection?
I don't subscribe to the geo-ghettoisation thing because I am in GMT +2 and I interact with people all over the planet without difficulty. I have about 2,000 circled and I do not expect to add more than 500 to that figure. The only problem with time zones is that if you have something you think deserves a lot of attention worldwide, you can't post it at a specific time (as you can with say, Twitter). For discussion though, I don't see a problem... yet.
Peter Strempel8:58 AM +Randy Resnick The Stakeholder perspective is supposedly the way to look at these things if all the social media marketing dialogue is an indicator, but that's not how US-based corporations appear to be acting right now.
I need to emphasise again that what I say is based on perceptions of 'early signs'. That is to say, if these signs translated into the trends I fear, they would drive me away, but not until then.
My examination of alternatives is based purely on prudent risk management in the absence of information to suggest these early signs will not translate into longer-term trends.
Yes, conversations can continue between like-minded individuals. I just don't know yet under how many layers of needless difficulty in managing such conversations I am prepared to operate; As I see it, G+ is pretty time-consuming for me right now already.
The synchronous/asynchronous fault line may not affect everyone equally, but it is a key dynamic for me.
Thanks for your calming, thoughtful posts here.
Randy Resnick9:13 AM+1 Time consuming is correct: in order to see what I want to see, I need to constantly tune. In my world, this is an attraction of a sort, but I've said from the beginning, G+ requires constant attention to be what I want it to be. I am willing to compromise to a point to make the experience as good as possible. I also want to see things outside my own demographic, whatever that is. So the compromise is less with Google's interface as with me deciding on what I want to put up with in order to have a decent discovery rhythm.
I hope that discovery improves a lot in the next year or two. I feel that "Suggestions" (who to circle) have gone from abysmally awful and inappropriate to actually "pretty good" in the last month or so, somehow. The deep knowledge of social graph that Google has available could make some real magic with this eventually.
Note: I happened on this post (and you) because someone I know shared a share from someone else.
Peter Strempel9:20 AM+1 +Randy Resnick Like you I have eschewed all formulaic advice on cultivating circles this way or that except for continual cultivation. Like you I rely on a base circle of almost always 5000 contacts (ever-changing) to stumble across like-minded individuals.
I will confess that the level of sharing of this comment took me a bit by surprise, particularly since I don't actually know most of the people who did the sharing. A social phenomenon, I suppose <smirk>.
Randy Resnick9:23 AM+1 Peter, your premise stood out to a lot of people and it's true you paint an unappealing future there, but I think we can all agree that time will tell.
Incidentally, I was on Diaspora very early on. No one there. I checked one year later. Still crickets. The only real interesting thing is that it's distributed, like "Laconica" (I forget the new name, or is it Status.net?) but I'm not seeing huge numbers of installs.
Alex Schleber9:31 AM +Randy Resnick +Peter Strempel the problem is that diaspora doesn't create interest graph confluence, which is actually the same problem here, only that google has untold millions of prior google users to throw against the problem to paper over it. E.g. If there were any decent interest graph affordances available to us, then it wouldn't matter that the attention flows here have been so distorted by the sul. But as it stands, a sort of entropy takes hold.
Peter Strempel9:32 AM +Randy Resnick Right now I get the feeling that you're right about Diaspora. I 'stood' there calling out and heard a distant echo: 'hellloooooooo ... anyoneoneone theeeeeeere ... .'
Randy Resnick9:36 AM Peter, for the record, a bunch of people I knew professionally elsewhere were there. We couldn't even get enough energy to talk to each other! It totally lacked a discovery method of any kind.
Alex Schleber9:37 AM +Randy Resnick quote from Dave Winer: ~ a well designed system makes the user feel good for doing 1%, a poorly designed one is making you feel bad for "only" doing 99%.
Circle mgmt has had more of the latter than the former i'm afraid...
Reshared text: G+ displays early signs of anti-intellectual culture
Google Plus is not an altruistic venture, nor does it owe me a damned thing, but as a ‘member’ I nevertheless not only use the platform for my own purposes, but also form opinions about it. What I saw last night was a dismaying deference to anti-intellectual pop culture that does not value fresh ideas, articulate exchanges, or genuine debates. In other words, a tilt towards an anti-intellectual, slavishly populist pap culture.
Demotion of literate exchanges The diminution of the text-based features of G+ must be seen as deliberate, and therefore as a trend that may well continue rather than be addressed at a certain but unknown point.
The problem I foresee is that this emphasis removes from G+the possibility of promoting a vehicle for empowering, re-enforcing and strengthening the one feature of Western civilization that has made it arguably pre-eminent in the world: the free speech and widely disseminated written discourse about all aspects of life from which have sprung democracy, liberty, social advances, challenges to tyranny, and the most educated people in the history of the known universe.
There is a trend in civil society for education and erudition to be under-valued, and mass market products to be lionised unduly just because of profitability and numbers. This trend has already led to massive social and economic dislocation in the US, the UK,and continental Europe. Should we not attempt to halt that disturbing phenomenon? And if so, how can we do that without discourse that is unashamedly intellectual and informed? Do we really need to be shoved aside for a quick buck, or because some people feel threatened by what they see as elitist snobbery?
I think at Google the answer is YES! And that’s a disturbing, personally disappointing observation to make, but I can’t really reach an alternate conclusion. Here’s why.
The interface re-design: what it says My first few months on G+ were a roller-coaster ride of making discoveries about features and connections with people all over the world. It was a refreshing departure from the focus on juvenile trivia that appears to characterise other networks, social and professional.
Yesterday’s unannounced and unexplained interface re-design speaks for itself, screaming at me that G+ is changing direction to become a picture-sharing and YouTube distribution platform.
I say unannounced because I’m not in any Google in-crowd,and unexplained because the +Vic Gundotra blog is marketing puffery, not an explanation of purpose or intent. In the absence of knowledge in these two opaque areas, I must use the only evidence available to me, which is predominantly a massive re-sizing of picture and video content, and a displacement of text by those placeholders, as well as an inexplicable greying-out of posts, making them harder to read, and therefore less appealing to follow.
My assumption is that the interface designers at Google are among the best in the world because the company is an employer of choice. Therefore they didn’t make amateur mistakes, and their choices reflect deliberate strategies to encourage certain ways of using G+, while discouraging others.
So, beyond the grotesquely brash promotion of visual posts,and the deliberate demotion of text-based interaction, what else does there-design tell me?
The disappearing navigation bar for moving between circles,and the need to use multiple menu levels to get to my own circles, suggests G+ wants me to focus mainly on an indiscriminate stream. That stream also compulsorily promotes the rather asinine trending feature, which is invariably linked to lowest common denominator content with appeal primarily to a mass audience that does not discern. No problem with the feature, just the fact that I can’t disable it or swap it out with something more useful.
It is understandable that hangouts should be given increasing focus on G+, and I understand the technology is rather good, to a point. But hangouts are synchronous and limited in number of participants. The asynchronous feature of text posts is a key ingredient to attracting an international audience or communities of interest.
I’ve already vented about the poor text formatting features elsewhere (cf https://plus.google.com/u/0/110168665701189567035/posts/K1btJ2Ex3eW), but I must conclude from the relative neglect of the text-based features that they are not seen as important to Google. That, in itself, says to me that the asynchronous interactions on G+ are regarded as relatively unimportant, a corollary of which is that international interactions are not seen as important to Google.
Is Google business model ghettoised? Does this mean that Google’s business model is ghettoised by region? By lack of concern about markets other than the US and Europe? I wouldn’t know, and I suspect that there is a disconnect at senior executive levels in Google itself between the technical aspects of G+ and an overall business strategy (not the short-term tactics). But as I said, I’m not an insider, and my guess is only as good or bad as yours.
My own response to all of this is to actively look at alternative platforms to continue to connect with people who want to do more than share pictures and watch videos. It’s the first time I’ve been tempted to do that since I started using G+.
My outlook is a bit glum. If the trend apparent in the interface re-design continues, people with literary and intellectual tastes will increasingly abandon G+ as a platform for connecting with likeminded people all over the world. So, if and when Google starts to find an intellectual demographic appealing, I suspect it will have destroyed that consumer base in G+.
Reshared text: IT IS very rare for new evidence to question or even negate the utility of a well-established class of drugs. But after four decades as a standard therapy for heart disease and high blood pressure, it looks like this fate will befall beta blockers. Two major studies published within about a week of each other suggest that the drugs do not work for these conditions. This is a big surprise, with big implications.
The first beta blocker, Inderal, was launched in 1964 by Imperial Chemical Industries for treatment of angina. This drug has been hailed as one of great medical advances of the 20th century. Its inventor, James Black, was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine in 1988.
The 20 or so beta blockers now on the market are very widely used - almost 200 million prescriptions were written for them in the US in 2010. They are standard issue for most people with heart disease or high blood pressure. This may now change.
A large study published last month in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that beta blockers did not prolong the lives of patients - a revelation that must have left many cardiologists shaking their heads (JAMA, vol 308, p 1340).
RESHARE: plus.google.com - Is This Current System of Voting Fair? Do You Have Any Better Solution? By Conrad Carriker. November 7, 2012
Comment: Land can't vote, only people can. My solution is a single electoral constituency in all the territory inhabited by the voter population for this election. That way, all the votes would have the same weight for the election of one of the candidates.
For the parliament I can imagine a more radical departure. As in the presidential election there would be several rounds, but the number of candidates to be elected in the last round would be already the same as the number of seats in the camera.
Here it'd be the most significant difference: once in the parliament, each representative would vote with the votes received in the last round of the election (rather than one representative, one vote).
This way, any voter could feel somehow directly represented by the group of candidates that he or she had chosen in the last round, and in the case that some of his or her representatives decided differently to the voter's desires, the voter could still comfort with the decisions of his/her other representatives. This would have more a psychologic effect than anything.
This could be applied after the first turns to recover the votes that have been cast to candidates who have been eliminated for the next round. However, this would probably make the election process much slower, more complex and expensive.
The addition of an intermediate round is a simpler alternative and would have a similar effect as long as the candidates who had otherwise received the unused votes managed to pass the cutline to enter the intermediate round.
RESHARE: youtube.com - Geodyssey: Part 1, The Messinian Salinity Crisis By Claire (WildwoodClaire1) & Fatassed Cats, Ltd. April 30, 2011
Video blurb: In this, the first episode of my new weekly series "Geodyssey," I discuss the desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea, which occurred several time between about five million and six million years ago...
Comment: What kind of environment was the Mediterranean basin after it dried? At such depths below sea level, currently there's nothing similar on Earth. The greatest depth in emerged lands is the surface of the Dead Sea at 418 m below sea level. But this was a much larger extension of land and at much greater depths, between 3,000 and 5,000 meters below sea level, thus under higher atmospheric pressure and temperature. The current average depth is 1,500 meters but to this you have to add 1,500 m of evaporites (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporite) on the western basin and 3,500 m on the eastern side. Probably that layer of evaporites made the conditions more inhospitable to most living organisms, although the soils didn't have to be particularly salty in all the basin:
The first drilling of the Messinian salt at the deeper parts of the Mediterranean Sea came in the summer of 1970, when geologists aboard the Deep Sea Drilling Program drillship Glomar Challenger brought up drill cores containing arroyo gravels and red and green floodplain silts; and gypsum, anhydrite, rock salt, and various other evaporite minerals that often form from drying of brine or seawater, including in a few places potash, left where the last bitter, mineral-rich waters dried up. One drill core contained a wind-blown cross-bedded deposit of deep-sea foraminiferal ooze that had dried into dust and been blown about on the hot dry abyssal plain by sandstorms and ended up in a brine lake interbedded between two layers of halite. These layers alternated with layers containing marine fossils, indicating a succession of drying and flooding periods. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messinian_salinity_crisis#Confirmation_and_further_evidence
- The high level of salinity cannot be tolerated by many known organisms, most likely reducing the biodiversity of much of the basin. - The basin's low altitude would have made it extremely hot during the summer through adiabatic heating, a conclusion supported by the presence of anhydrite, which is only deposited in water warmer than 35 °C (95 °F) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messinian_salinity_crisis#Dehydrated_geography
Global effects The water from the Mediterranean would have been redistributed in the world ocean, raising global sea level by as much as 10 m (33 ft). The Mediterranean basin also sequestered below its seabed a significant percentage of the salt from Earth's oceans; this decreased the average salinity of the world ocean and raised its freezing point. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messinian_salinity_crisis#Global_effects
Relationship to climate The climate of the abyssal plain during the drought is unknown. There is no situation on Earth directly comparable to the dry Mediterranean, and thus it is not possible to know its climate. There is not even a consensus as to whether the Mediterranean Sea even dried out completely; it seems likeliest that at least three or four large brine lakes on the abyssal plains remained at all times. The extent of desiccation is very hard to judge due to the reflective seismic nature of the salt beds, and the difficulty in drilling cores, making it difficult to map their thickness. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messinian_salinity_crisis#Relationship_to_climate _____________________
Reshared text: Around 6 million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar closed and the Mediterranean mostly dried up. Water poured in again a few times, and enormously thick layers of salt built up, which are still down there now. But after 4000 years the former sea became a deep dry basin, its bottom 3 to 5 kilometers below the sea level, with a few salty lakes here and there. And the Nile dug a huge canyon as it flowed into this wasteland. Frankly, I like it all better now!
Comment about the 9th part: What amuses me most is that they were able to copy and edit all this stuff without having to ask for permission or pay for copyright. As for the documentary, the most disgusting thing they mention is the celeb fashion of visiting a developing country to shop some exotic child. Mainly because of the obscene exhibition and the apparent frivolity of their decisions. Of course, there are several inaccuracies and exagerations, such as the reason why Arnold Schwarzenneger can't actually be President of the US (in my opinion the real reason is much worse, at least the reason that they had invented had something to do with moral values), and the number of homeless people in the US is much lower. Anyway, this documentary is majorly a moral criticism and it's intended to be broadcasted locally. Despite their poverty and lack of freedom, the North Korean lifestyle is probably much more virtuous than this of most Americans, at least based on their moral standard. And yes, chances are that they consider the entertainment based on showing other people's miseries as a vileness.
Blurb of the video: Here is the formal statement I gave to Federal Police on 16 June 2012:
On a trip to visit family in Seoul in April, I was approached by a man and a woman who claimed to be North Korean defectors. They presented me with a DVD that recently came into their possession and asked me to translate it. They also asked me to post the completed film on the Internet so that it could reach a worldwide audience. I believed what I was told and an agreement was made to protect their identities (and mine).
Despite my concerns about what I was viewing when I returned home, I proceeded to translate and post the film on YouTube because of the film's extraordinary content. I have now made public my belief that this film was never intended for a domestic audience in the DPRK. Instead, I believe that these people, who presented themselves as 'defectors' specifically targeted me because of my reputation as a translator and interpreter.
Furthermore, I now believe these people work for the DPRK. The fact that I have continued to translate and post the film in spite of this belief does not make me complicit in their intention to spread their ideology. I chose to keep posting this film because - regardless of who made it - I believe people should see it because of the issues it raises and I stand by my right to post it for people to share and discuss freely with each other.
I have translated this film, laid in the English voice over and subtitles, and on legal advice have blurred the identity of the presenter and/or blacked out certain elements.
0:00 Introduction 6:54 Creating Ideas & Illusions 16:48 Fear 19:35 Religion 25:00 Beware the 1% 28:10 Emulating Psychosis 31:21 Rewriting History 41:15 The Birth of Propaganda 45:49 Cover Ups and Omissions 54:10 Complicity 58:05 Censorship 1:01:50 International Diplomacy 1:06:14 Television 1:08:11 Advertising 1:14:36 The Cult of Celebrity 1:22:34 Distraction 1:28:01 Terrorism 1:35:00 The Revolution Starts Now
Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates! They're nothing but hideous space reptiles! [unmasks them] [audience gasps in terror] Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us! [murmurs] Anonymous woman: He's right, this is a two-party system. Anonymous man: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate. Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away. [Kang and Kodos laugh out loud] . . . [alien whips Marge] Marge: Ouch! I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a planet I've never even heard of. Homer:Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos[alien whips Homer] d'oh! ______________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Sep 19, 2012 5:31 AM (edited) +Ralph Sevy: "i dont vote period. so i take NO responsibilty for the votes of others." - George Carlin Doesn't vote either.
Video blurb: Former New Mexico Governor and current GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson sits down with Alyona for an extended interview. In the first half he says why he wants to be president, talks about what he would do for our economy, and his views on Afghanistan war. _______________________
RESHARE: dailydot.com - How to spot a fake on Google+ January 25, 2012
Excerpt from Comments: Zephyr López Cervilla - Interestingly, Nigar Memmedova (aka Victoria Nigar) has been in Google+ since the early days, at least since July 3, at a time when it was rather hard to get an invitation. As for plagiarism, I don't consider open new posts to share the same links to be a form of plagiarism. The user who first posts a link, a video or a pic isn't usually (or at least often) the author of the content, and most people won't take for granted that they are, either. On the other hand, this user has ackowledged the source of some of her posts: July 15: "AUTOR IS +Игорь Пыльнов"plus.google.com/u/0/110749379267845817082/posts/YWj7MgkqB3f If someone has bothered to make a quick search will have find what probably is the real identity of this user: Nigar Memmedova Intern at SRX Azerbaijan Medical Practice linkedin.com/pub/nigar-memmedova/1b/13a/771 On the other hand, changing her first username (Nigar Memmedova) by Victoria Nigar could be considered as using a pseudonym rather than a false identity or an impersonation of another's identity, which have been authorized since the early days to recognized personalities such as +Snoop Dogg. BTW, the double standard that Google applies to its users thus creating first-class and second-class users is outrageous. As for not working for Google, As for not working for Google, personally I couldn't care less. ——————————————————— Erica Joy - +Zephyr López Cervilla Everything you wrote is in the article. :) ——————————————————— Mark Knipp - +Erica Joy You rock. Thanks for the internet justice. If she needs an apologist (Zephyr?), a fake picture (stolen from susan Coffey, duplicates instead of shares everyone else's posts, and a fake location , then she invites contempt. Follow +Jay Rimmer link to see the lifted picture in another profile. ——————————————————— Zephyr López Cervilla - In fact not exactly the same. In the article there isn't any mention of her early invitation to join Google+ (how many Google+ users were at that time, a few ten of thousand?), nor of her previous identity on LinkedIn. Besides, some statements of the article are nonsense: "The problem is that she doesn’t seem to actually be a Google employee, and may not even be a real person." If she isn't a real person then what is it? a bot?
"That the profile’s non-legitimacy has only really come to light now is interesting since, until recently, Google has been at war with those who’ve not used their real name on Google by banning their accounts. The real-name rules were relaxed ever so slightly yesterday; you can have a pseudonym on Google+, as long as it’s an established identity, and Google can verify who you really are." Another inaccurate statement, some privileged users have been using pseudonyms for a long time. For instance, +Snoop Dogg was already using his as early as July 13, 2011 (https://plus.google.com/114474252347218597235/posts/c8gxviaiu1u)
+Mark Knipp, many users prefer to pick pics of celebs as their avatar (not only in Google+ but also in many internet forums). As for her alleged "fake location", neither we nor the author of the article can possibly know whether that user has been living there or not, so the attribution of being fake is but another drop of sensationalism to the recipe. ——————————————————— Jordan Gill - Interesting that the G+ world found out. But who is the batman behind this investigation? ——————————————————— Erica Joy - +Zephyr López Cervilla Back before this article was published (long before in fact) there were numerous posts on Google+ about the authenticity of the account. Several people took it upon themselves to do significant research on the account and dug up the same details you can find in the article.
If this person has a fake name, fake picture, fake account details, what distinguishes him/her/it from all the other accounts out there that have similar qualities and do the same steal then reshare actions that people report as spam, aside from being able to hoodwink 40,000+ people?
Feel free to continue being the contrarian/apologist but the fact of the matter is, this account fails every single one of my personal tests for "real". If you disagree, feel free to mute this post and move along. ——————————————————— Zephyr López Cervilla - +Erica Joy said: "Back before this article was published (long before in fact) there were numerous posts on Google+ about the authenticity of the account." Did I mention otherwise?
"Several people took it upon themselves to do significant research on the account and dug up the same details you can find in the article." What details? All that info can be obtained in 5 minutes. If they had really made significant research on her account they may have been able to find out who had given her the invitation to join Google+.
"If you disagree, feel free to mute this post and move along." So if I disagree I'm invited to move along, right? In other words, only comments that agree with your view are welcome. ——————————————————— Erica Joy - +Zephyr López Cervilla No, I just don't feel arguing on the internet is a fruitful endeavor, especially when we're discussing a 100% fake account. You think this account is ok and you're entitled to your opinion. I do not. I mean, feel free to talk to yourself if you like but I won't be responding to you further.
FWIW, who invited whom to Google+ isn't information that can be dug up, I'm afraid. ——————————————————— Gabriel Vasile - +Erica Joy I KNOW!!! And I posted about this profile being fake as well! And a Google offficial CONFIRMED me she's NOT a googler! And they didn't do anything about it! And she's STEALING posts from What's Hot all the time! And I reported and blocked her! Or him! Or it! I have no idea who she/him/it is! See here:https://plus.google.com/106393478695568433143/posts/Gte8UTwuxn1 ——————————————————— Zephyr López Cervilla - I agree with you about some arguments being fruitless, and this is probably one of them. Paraphrasing Thomas Paine words, "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
Despite so I accept your offer to talk to myself just in case somebody else is reading:
+Erica Joy said: "we're discussing a 100% fake account."
"Photo? Fake." Not exactly but rather the pic of a celeb, as avatar. I can find you in Google+ hundreds if not thousands of others in no time. Is Google willing to block every account with a profile photo different from a real image of its user?
"Name? Fake." A change of name doen't necessarily mean a fake name, especially when it preserves part of the original name. a person named Nigar Memmedova in her everyday life decided to change her user name by Victoria Nigar. It could be her "artistic" name, it's been common for actors and artists to change the order of their names (e.g., Pablo Picasso) or pick some them from a relative or replace them to Americanize their names (e.g., Kirk Douglas). In fact, we don't even know if Victoria is actually her other baptismal (official) name. BTW, are you officially named Erika Joy? Don't you have a middle name? If Google+ requires our real names in our accounts why aren't you using yours?
"Places lived? Fake." You can't possibly know, even if you had verified her real identity you'd have hard time trying to find out where she has lived.
"Employer? Fake. Has never worked at Google. Ever." So all the faked of her account is finally reduced to a line about her employment, probably for you what makes the 100% of any account. However, many people don't put much attention to it. Many people judge others' accounts for their content, and in this case, for the quality of her "spam" as someone said.
"If this person has a fake name, fake picture, fake account details, what distinguishes him/her/it from all the other accounts out there that have similar qualities and do the same steal then reshare actions that people report as spam, aside from being able to hoodwink 40,000+ people?" She know how to choose content that many others will find valuable. Not usually my cup of tea, but many others have perfect right to disagree with me.
"who invited whom to Google+ isn't information that can be dug up, I'm afraid." Not even by an insider, right?
+Gabriel Vasile said: "And she's STEALING posts" Did you help write SOPA/PIPA? The correct term to use is "COPYING". She couldn't possibly steal something that is still available for everyone to see. ——————————————————— Erica Joy - +Zephyr López Cervilla 1 point of contention...
The name is actually Ulvi Rehimoff, the first name this account ever used. Check the Buzz postings for the profile (https://profiles.google.com/110749379267845817082/buzz) then press More until you get to the end. Watch the names change until you get to the first (Ulvi Rehimoff).
Larry Pogemiller, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education: "When the legislature convenes in January, my intent is to work with the Governor and Legislature to appropriately update the statute to meet modern-day circumstances. Until that time, I see no reason for our office to require registration of free, not-for-credit offerings."
Comment: Yet, non-free online courses and any kind of classroom degree courses will not be allowed without obtaining permission from the state bureaucracy and paying a hefty annual fee:
<<State law prohibits degree-granting institutions from offering instruction in Minnesota without obtaining permission from the office and paying a registration fee. (The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, plus a $1,200 annual renewal. )>> ______________
Notice: If you have already watched the debate, you can vote to influence which candidates will advance to the October 30 debate. You have to order the four candidates in order of preference. The voting will be closed at 10:30pm EDT / 7:30 PDT on October 24. To vote go here: http://freeandequal.org/vote
Video blurb: <<During the Free and Equal Debate Gary Johnson discusses the changes he would make if elected president.
Reshared text: Why I support Gary Johnson This is a short clip from the Free& Equal debate held last night (shocker- the candidates directly answered the questions put forth by the moderator, Larry King). Since I'm sick of all the articles and posts belittling other candidate and trying to get people to NOT vote for this person or that, I thought I'd show you why Johnson has my vote. This is it. Right here. Even though he's sick as a dog during this debate, Johnson nails it.
Will he win the election? Barring some miracle, no, he won't. But he can get 5% of the vote which is a game changer. 5% of the vote means 100million+ in federal campaign funds to use in the next election - and Johnson will run again. This is a two campaign strategy. It also means he gets Major Party status, which puts you on the ballot automatically in all 50 states. Think that isn't a big deal? Almost 1/15 of the total campaign budget and months of time was spent just on getting Johnson on the ballot in 49 states. I believe his campaign has spent a total of 5 million in total for his entire campaign.
So if you are in a state that is for sure going to either Romney or Obama - your vote doesn't matter very much if you vote for one of them. But if you vote for Johnson? Your vote matters a great deal.
General introductory comment: Since I've been included in a science circle and I have the commitment to post about science at least once a week, and also, since there are already many science news outlets out there and other users posting links to science news, I've decided to start posting some not very well known research gems and quirky works from the past.
In that field I'll find much less competition since few people have taken their time and the interest to compile so extended and heterogeneous archive as my collection of articles is (I've been doing for more than 6 years so at this point I already consider myself as an articles collector).
I'll have a major limitation though, I'll have to restrict my references and links to papers that are freely available somewhere in the Internet. Only in those cases in which I consider a particular article too interesting to be overlooked I'll give references of articles that require subscription. In such cases I'll try to include a brief description or excerpt for those who can't have access to the paper.
Comment on article: Given my condition of barefoot runner I've thought it'd be good idea start my posts series about peculiar research from the past with a century-old work of podiatry that helps support that we barefoot runners are probably in the right path, closer that many current podiatrists would be willing to admit. Fortunately, in this case the work is of open access and the copyright has already expired.
- Hoffmann, Phil. Conclusions drawn from a comparative study of the feet of barefooted and shoe-wearing peoples. The American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery. October, 1905 vol. 3 (2) pp. 105-136 [currently: The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. 1905; s2-3:105-136]
Presented at the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Association at Boston, June 6, 7, 8, 1905.
The relative lengths of the foot and its component parts are practically the same in barefooted and shoe-wearing races.
Its form, functions and range of voluntary and passive motion are the same in both up to the time of shoe-wearing, after which progressive characteristic deformation and inhibition of function ensue. Here, as in other instances, acquired characteristics are not transmitted. The children of shoe-wearers inherit the same type of foot as do those of barefooted races, and this type is changed only in so far as footwear modifies it.
The height and shape of the longitudinal arch have no bearing on the strength or usefulness of the foot. Weakness of the arch is rarely, if ever, accompanied by breaking or lowering, and flat foot as a pathological entity hardly exists.
There is no relationship or coincidence between the height of the arch and the character of the gait.
These studies were by no means as thorough as I would like to have made them, though they represent the congenial work of many hours stolen from the humdrum of practical existence. I am deeply indebted to Dr. W J McGee, Chief of the Department of Anthropology, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and Dr. W. P. Wilson, President of the Philippine Exposition Board, through whose aid these studies were rendered possible. -------------------------
- Rao UB and Joseph B. The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot. A survey of 2300 children. J Bone Joint Surg Br (1992) vol. 74 (4) pp. 525-7
We analysed static footprints of 2300 children between the ages of four and 13 years to establish the influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot. The incidence among children who used footwear was 8.6% compared with 2.8% in those who did not (p less than 0.001). Significant differences between the predominance in shod and unshod children were noted in all age groups, most marked in those with generalised ligament laxity. Flat foot was most common in children who wore closed-toe shoes, less common in those who wore sandals or slippers, and least in the unshod. Our findings suggest that shoe-wearing in early childhood is detrimental to the development of a normal longitudinal arch. -------------------------
Some of the pictures of this article have been used in numerous blog posts and other articles, often without any reference to the original source, e.g.,
In either case I'd strongly advise reading the original article to understand what those pictures really mean. Anyway, it's a rather entertaining reading with frequent references to exotic cultures. -------------------------
Some posts and articles referring to this article:
Comment: There are many possible confounding factors in that study that haven't been corrected.
Excerpt: <<People who were both successful and famous died earliest. The average age at death of performers and athletes, 77.2 years, wasn't exactly young, but it was younger than those who had achieved success in other fields. Businesspeople and their ilk lived longest. In fact, their average age at death, 83 years, was higher than the national average for 2010 of 78.7 years.
Philanthropists, academics, and doctors were more likely than others to die of "old age," a diagnosis that occurred least often for performers, athletes, and creatives.>>
<<The authors cite studies showing how drug use and other risky behavior is associated with fame (including later in life, once fame had faded), and question whether that, along with performance-enhancing behavior, might have played a role in the reduced life spans seen here.
They also note that lung cancer deaths were most common in performers, which they suggest correlates with stars being more likely to be chronic smokers. However, those rates were similar to the national average.>> _________
<<actors, singers, musicians and dancers were all co-classified as ‘performers’, non-performing creative workers (e.g. writers, composers, artists and photographers) as ‘creatives’, whereas historians, linguists, philosophers and economists were co-classified as ‘academics’. These occupational subgroups were further consolidated to create four key categories: (i) performance/sports, (ii) creative/writing, (iii) business/military/political and (iv) professional/academic/religious, with remaining subgroups (e.g. philanthropy) grouped as (v) ‘other’.>>
<<Causes of death in individuals living longer than 85 years, if attributed to phrases deemed imprecise in that context (including ‘cardiac arrest’, ‘heart failure’ or ‘pneumonia’) were redefined for the purposes of this study as ‘old age’, as were unattributed deaths in this age group. In contrast, unattributed deaths at ages younger than 85, including wordings such as ‘after a short illness’, were recorded as ‘non-specified’. For analytic purposes, death due to ‘lung cancer’ was interpreted as a marker of probable long-term cigarette smoking.9>>
<<With respect to occupations, the youngest ages of death were seen in performers/sports (77.2 ± 1.7) and creatives (78.47 ± 0.75), and the oldest in pro- fessionals/academics (81.7 ± 1.4) and business/politics/military (83 ± 1.2; Table 2). The main disease subtypes associated with earlier (premature) deaths were accident and misadventure (66.2 ± 2.7), infection other than pneumonia (68.6 ± 3.6) and organ- specified cancer (73 ± 0.9; Table 3).
Overall, deaths from cancer trended towards being more frequent in creatives (29%) and performers (27%), and less in professionals/academics (24%), military–political (20.4%) and sports (18%). More specifically, lung cancer deaths—representing 15.5% of all cancer deaths (correcting to 22.1% when non-specified cancers are excluded, which is lower than the US national figure of 28%11)— were commonest in performers, and significantly less common in professionals/academics (7.4 vs. 1.4%>>
<<The average life expectancy of a US citizen born today is 75.6 years for males and 80.8 years for females. Unexpectedly, the average age of death for NYT males in our study was older (80.35), and for females younger (78.8), than these averages. This discrepancy is best explained by the finding that, relative to males, females were significantly over- represented in the NYT performance/sports category, which proved in turn to be associated with shorter lifespan, while under-represented in longer-lived fields of NYT interest such as professionals/ academics. In contrast, no sex difference in the pattern of fatal disease categories was evident.>>
<<Difficulties in accurately attributing causes of deaths are illustrated by our study, and are partly quantifiable by the ‘not specified’ and ‘old age’ categorizations. The study design reflects our impression that the attributed cause of death in obituaries has greater precision at younger ages, while losing meaning as competing causes of expected death (arbitrarily defined here as older than 85 years) accumulate. Indeed, if our analysis is restricted to specified causes of death as defined, up to 43% of NYT deaths were attributable to cancer and 31% to cardiovascular disease, which compares with 29 and 30% for the US national averages, respectively, when the same correction is made across all ages.12 Our data also indicate that lung cancer deaths in NYT performers/sports categories approximated the national average, whereas the rest of the cohort exhibited lower mortality to this diagnosis.
The use of ‘recreational’ drugs, such as alcohol13 and cannabis,14 has long been associated with cre- ativity, while addictive psychoactive drugs, such as anxiolytics and opiates, have been implicated in performance-enhancing behaviours and coping strategies.15 Risk behaviours such as smoking,16 binge drinking and other drug abuse may likewise occur more often in adolescents who academically underperform yet remain heavily involved in sports.17–19 Other observational studies have sug- gested shorter lifespans for high achievers in various fields20 and for other non-conformists or outsiders.21,22 Yet, this study also indicates that certain occupational NYT subgroups such as philanthropy, business and medicine are associated with older ages of death, implying that the risks of achievement in some career types may be discounted or even reversed by wealth, recognition or related advantages.
There are important limitations to our analysis. First, our study sheds no light on whether other complex variables (e.g. relating to family background,23 deprivation or abuse, drug exposure or childhood personality24) predispose to the risk taking and ambition,25 which may plausibly increase the probability of NYT fame. Second, we acknowledge that the style of obituary itself changes over time,26 driven in part by changing attitudes towards diseases such as HIV infection.27 Third, being a retrospective uncontrolled study, we cannot exclude that the play of chance has inadvertently confused data-derived subsets with statistical significance. Our conclusions are therefore offered as hypothesis-generating only, and should be tested in the prospective context of larger correlative or controlled studies.
In summary, the possibility that performance-based success and fame usually translates into health advantages28 is not supported by our NYT obituary analysis, in common with analyses of non-performing hyperachievers.29 Indeed, our data raise the intriguing speculation that young people contemplating certain careers (e.g. performing arts and professional sports) may be faced, consciously or otherwise, with a faustian choice: namely, 1. to maximize their career potential and competitiveness even though the required psychological and physical costs may be expected to shorten their longevity, or 2. to fall short of their career potential so as to balance their lives and permit a normal lifespan.>>
Reshared text: I spent 4 hours, at least, inside Notre Dame. I'd never spent quality time with a cathedral before so it took a while to get in a grove. The place is as overwhelming as you might imagine and at first I was pointing my camera at everything. Then I figured out that what I liked the most were the shapes of the arches.
I also finally discovered a good use for the high ISO on my new camera. I loved the grain instead of despairing over it.
Comment 1: I'm posting this article mainly to share the following comments that were posted below,
Leofwine 18 March 2013 6:55pm @Whitt- Actually, on the issue of gay marriage, I think libertarians are kind of not on the same page as social liberals. The liberals I know approve of gay marriage and believe government should "legalize" gay marriage. However, none of them believe that polygamous marriage should be legalized. In other words, they still believe that it is government's job to tell us which kinds of marriage are "legal". It's still a big government mindset. The libertarian view, by contrast, is that marriage of any kind - straight, gay, polygamous, polyandrous, you name it - ought not to be within the scope of government to regulate at all. I agree. Whether I personally approve or disapprove of gay marriage, polygamy, etc., is irrelevant. It's none of my business, and it ought to be none of government's business. It ought to be entirely a private matter.
Jonathan Bauman 18 March 2013 8:20pm Oh, my, goodness. So much ignorance going on in the comments here. I would expect better of a site from the UK. Alright people, I am going to define a libertarian, and hopefully its not too 'deep' for you or too 'fundamental' or logical. But its really, very simple and the most rational, common-sense worldview. Libertarianism can be boiled down to one principle: Non-aggression. The initiation of aggression is the only thing that is really illegal. Harming or directly threatening to harm one's person or ones property, who has not violated anyone else's rights, is the initiation of force and is fundamentally wrong. So is imprisonment, slavery, etc. You are using force against someone who hasn't used force against you (i.e. not self defense). Now for the part that I will suddenly lose people because they can't make logical deductions (or have been too indoctrinated into tradition and liturgical state-dependence): Individuals who are in government are still individuals. They are not special. They are nor magical. They are not gods or anything somehow 'better' than us. They should have the same rights and responsibilities as any other individual. Therefore, these individuals should not initiate force upon another person who has not aggressed someone else or violated their human rights defined above. Demanding for and person to give up their money at the threat of force (imprisonment and ultimately execution) is a violation of human rights. I did not sign a VOLUNTARY contract with the government! Certainly, if I voluntarily entered an agreement in which I was to pay for services, and did not pay, then that would be a violation of their rights (theft) and I would be subject to consequences (preferably consequences equal to the crime), but that is NOT the case with any modern government. To put it bluntly, they are all fundamentally thieves, agressors and murderers. Why do they get away with it? Because they control your education, your parent's education and so much of the messages you and those around you receive. So few of us take time to think critically about what is actually going on because luckily we have not yet become an enemy of the state so we are happy reaping the benefits of criminals, letting injustice run rampant around us. What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? _________________
Comment 2: I must say that I don't personally believe in justice. In my opinion justice is but a social construct maintained because it has been historically convenient, even if it has a inheritable component, as with human language (or any other for the matter). Justice, like with language, could be easily replaced by something else that performed the same task. So if I support the non-aggression principle is from a utilitarian perspective. I do believe that a society based on common and voluntary association of its members can work more effectively to achieve each individual's goals than a social structure based on coercion and violence.
Excerpt <<The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest funder of biomedical research in the world. Between 2002 and 2011, it issued around 460,000 research grants totalling almost US$200 billion.>>
<<However, concern is growing in the scientific community that funding systems based on peer review, such as those currently used by the NIH, encourage conformity if not mediocrity, and that such systems may ignore truly innovative thinkers.[2, 3, 4] One tantalizing question is whether biomedical researchers who do the most influential scientific work get funded by the NIH.
The influence of scientific work is difficult to measure, and one might have to wait a long time to understand it. One proxy measurement is the number of citations that scientific publications receive. Using citation metrics to appraise scientists and their work has many pitfalls, and ranking people on the basis of modest differences in metrics is precarious. However, one uncontestable fact is that highly cited papers (and thus their authors) have had a major influence, for whatever reason, on the evolution of scientific debate and on the practice of science.
To explore the link between highly cited research and NIH funding, we evaluated scientists who have published papers since 2001 — as first, last or single authors — that have so far received 1,000 citations or more. We found that three out of five authors of these influential papers do not currently have NIH funding as principal investigators. Conversely, we found that a large majority of the current members of NIH study sections — the people who recommend which grants to fund — do have NIH funding for their work irrespective of their citation impact, which is typically modest.>>
<<the NIH's mandate is to fund “the best science, by the best scientists” — regardless of age or employment sector. We think our findings suggest that this aim is not being met.
To ensure that we captured people who were eligible for NIH funding, we focused on scientists in the life and health sciences whose affiliation address was in the United States. We aimed to assess whether these scientists currently receive NIH funding as principal investigators using information from the NIH RePORTER website. (For detailed methods, see Supplementary Information.)
Of the more than 20 million papers published worldwide between 2001 and 2012 and catalogued by the Scopus database, 1,380 had received 1,000 citations or more as of April 2012. Of those 1,380 papers, 700 were catalogued in the life or health sciences and had an author affiliation in the United States. These 700 papers had a total of 1,172 discrete single, first or last authors.>>
<<the NIH policy is to invite principal investigators of funded projects to become members of study sections (see go.nature.com/kgtlrm).>>
<<We also wanted to look closely at members of NIH study sections because these scientists are arguably the most influential group in the grant-funding process.
We discovered that serving on a study section is not necessarily tied to impact in the scientific literature. (see 'Is funding tied to impact?). When we cross-checked the NIH study-section rosters against the list of 1,172 authors of highly cited papers, we found only 72 US-based authors who between them had published 84 eligible articles with 1,000 or more citations each and who were current members of an NIH study section. These 72 authors comprised 0.8% of the 8,517 study-section members. Most of the 72 (n = 64, 88.9%) currently received NIH funding.
The rate of NIH funding among highly cited researchers is not much better and may be worse than that of biomedical scientists in general. Annual data for the years 2001–11 suggest that 24–37% of biomedical scientists who applied for grants were funded as principal investigators (these rates even exclude some types of grants; see go.nature.com/gohji3report.nih.gov/nihdatabook/index.aspx?catid=5). The acceptance rates for individual grants are substantially lower, but if one allows for several grants submitted and for several years of submissions, a sizeable portion of general applicants — if not the majority — probably end up being awarded at least one grant.
Among authors of extremely highly cited papers, study-section members and non-members showed no significant difference in their total number of highly cited papers, despite the fact that members of study sections were significantly more likely than non-members to have current NIH funding. This was true both for authors with multiple highly cited papers (13/13 versus 13/19, p = 0.024) and for those with a single eligible highly cited paper (51/59 versus 91/243, p < 0.0001) and overall in a stratified analysis (p < 0.0001).>>
<<We found that the grants of study-section members were more similar to other currently funded NIH grants than were non-members' grants (median score 421.9 versus 387.6, p = 0.039). This could suggest that study-section members fund work that is more similar to their own, or that they are chosen to serve as study-section members because of similarities between their own and funded grants.>>
<<We thus examined a random sample of 100 NIH study-section members. Not surprisingly, 83% were currently funded by the NIH. The citation impact of the 100 NIH study-section members was usually good or very good, but not exceptional: the most highly cited paper they had ever published as single, first or last author had received a median of 136 (90–229) citations and most were already mid- or late-career researchers (80% were associate or full professors). Only 1 of the 100 had ever published a paper with 1,000 or more citations as single, first or last author (see Appendix 1 of Supplementary Information for additional citation metrics).
This overall picture (see 'Is funding tied to impact?') might, in part, be explained by the NIH policy to try to recruit reviewers who are successful in securing grants (see go.nature.com/kgtlrm). Even so, it is worrying that the majority of highly cited investigators do not have current NIH funding as principal investigators.>>
<<We feel that by allowing grant holders to serve as grant reviewers, a conflict of interest becomes inescapable.>>
<<More alternative funding modes should be tested in pilot schemes and in experimental controlled studies of optimizing funding processes. For example, the American Cancer Society uses impartial laymen known as stakeholders in their grant reviews to limit bias, which may reduce the influence of strongly opinionated group members (see go.nature.com/iosnre). Using non-experts or experts from different scientific fields in the study sections could also help to reduce the impact of a vocal minority.[4, 9]>>
Affiliations - Joshua M. Nicholson is in the Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. - John P. A. Ioannidis is at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, California, USA. Correspondence to: John P. A. Ioannidis ______________
Excerpt: <<Armed with a stack of books and 880 pounds of mainly sardines and granola, the 73-year-old seasoned boat builder plans to wedge inside what he affectionately calls a "survival capsule," and spend up to a year-and-a-half reading, writing, thinking and soaking up the wonders of nature. Mr. Yrvind is knee deep in the building of his boat.
If successful, he will win the honor of using the smallest—and probably slowest—boat ever to circle the world without docking. "I'll be completely safe. It's like a ping-pong ball in the sea, it never breaks," Mr. Yrvind said while showing the boat in his workshop. "A small boat constructed the right way is always stronger than a big boat.">> . . . <<This time, Mr. Yrvind wants to push the limits with a vessel of a mere 10 feet—less than half the size of the boat that in 2010 set the current record for being the smallest to circumnavigate the globe nonstop.
Made out of composite materials, the "Yrvind 10" is designed to weigh 1½ tons, have a rounded 6-foot bow and stern and feature two sails. The width-to-length ratio, the rounded edges and a heavy center of gravity—with the floor stuffed with books and food packed in watertight containers—should quickly right the boat should it flip, Mr. Yrvind said.
"It will capsize, it will pitchpole, but it will always come back up," Mr. Yrvind said while demonstrating how he plans to strap himself in a seat belt at the bottom of a 31-inch bed to combat thrusts from the waves. "No matter how it twists and turns, I'll be lying here calmly reading."
At deck, a big rope tied around his waist will keep him attached to the boat at all times, even when going for an occasional dip in cold waters.
The journey of some 30,000 nautical miles is slated to commence on Ireland's southern tip, travel past South Africa and sail eastbound south of Australia. This includes a full circumnavigation around the stormy Southern Ocean and past Cape Horn, where nearby the so-called Roaring Forties—the strong winds at 40 degrees latitude—can whip up 32-foot waves and winds that make sailing in an open vessel akin to sticking your head out of a car window at high speeds. The waters around the Cape are particularly challenging with strong currents and the risk of icebergs having led some sailors to their death.
As if that wasn't challenging enough, this Swede wants to complete the roundabout without making any pit stops to rest or stock up on supplies.>> _____________________
<<Open your System Preferences under the Apple menu and click on International.>>
[ in Mac OS X 10.7 this is called Language & Text ]
<<Click on the Input Menu tab,>>
[ now Input Sources ]
<<scroll down, and put a check mark next to Dvorak. You may also want to try Dvorak - Qwerty which uses Dvorak for typing but Qwerty for keyboard shortcuts like ⌘ (command) A. This can be handy if you've memorized common command combinations like ⌘X,C,V (for cut, copy, paste), etc by location on your keyboard, however, in the long run it's easier to use Dvorak for key shortcuts as well.
Make sure to choose the Use one input source in all documents option which is off by default. If you don't do this, each application tracks separately whether you're using Dvorak or Qwerty which can be very confusing! Of course, if you really want to use separate sources in each application, go right ahead - you've been warned!
Accounts Preference Pane It is also highly recommended that you check the Show input menu in menu bar option which provides an easy way to flip back and forth between Dvorak and Qwerty. Note that a keyboard shortcut for switching between layouts can also be selected if you like.>> _______________________
Go to Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts and verify whether ⌘ (command) A isn't already assigned to Spotlight. If that wasn't the case, your shortcuts wouldn't open the keyboard layouts panel and you couldn't swap them this way. Still, you will be able to access by clicking on the keyboard layout icon of the menu bar, between the battery charge and the date/time display. _______________________
RESHARE: I'm against IP rights but I don't think that the Supreme Court have been wrong this time. The agreement reached in an international convention seems to have the same level as an international treaty. That agreement has been already ratified by the Senate, therefore it overrules any article or amendment in the Constitution (the Constitution states so). So, the SC simply applied the law the right way. In my opinion, the best way to solve this kind of problems is to get rid of copyright and patent rights, which are arbitrary by nature and that have been arbitrarily protected since their creation. They are a matter in which the Government should have never entered. After all, why the government should curtail others' freedom for the purpose of supposedly promote the creation in arts and technology? Why should the Government subsidize any field over the rest? Such policy can only lead to malinvestment. People don't need the Government deciding for them to grant monopolies on others' freedoms expense. Before the "invention" of such rights there were already art and technology, such rights aren't applied in other fields of knowledge such as Science, basic research, Mathematics and Philosophy (e.g., the first who discovers a new galaxy, a new extrasolar planet, a new phenomenon of nature, or develops a new theory doesn't gain the exclusive rights to profit from it). Why the Government should discourage intellectual work in other fields by offering an easier living on developing technology or creating art in the first place?
Article. VI. All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Reshared text: George Orwell must be spinning in his grave. We have just witnessed the birth of the Ministry of Truth. The Supreme Court needs to be put in its place. They have usurped the power of the legislature and become a panel of nine unelected oligarchs.
RESHARE: Link to Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946):http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm which I find more useful to read than the excerpt that has been taken out of context. In my opinion the following are more insightful excerpts:
[...] Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.
[...] When one critic writes, "The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality," while another writes, "The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness," the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.
Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
[...] In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."
[...] I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. [...]
Reshared text: Memo To Myself: George Orwell's Essay On Language And Writing
I wish I would have been motivated to read and follow this very good advice back when I was first learning to write. I'm still learning.
Excerpt from "Politics and the English Language," 1946
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. (ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do. (iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active. (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Video blurb: <<Welcome to the world of a national obsession and a place where people say 'orf' instead of 'off'. Tea connoisseurs will benefit from the six golden tips for making the perfect cuppa, as well as countless other handy hints (never store your tea next to cheese, for example). There's an assessment of the pros and cons of various teapots and words of wisdom about the tea bush itself.
Slightly grotesque methods for producing tea en masse are demonstrated - it was wartime, after all - and tea had to be produced by the oceanful. As such, there are some top tips for cleaning that hard-to-reach tap in your tea urn. Remember: "a dirty tap means dirty tea". (Robin Baker)
All titles on the BFI Films channel are preserved in the vast collections of the BFI National Archive. To find out more about the Archive visit bfi.org.uk/archive-collections >> ___________
Excerpt: 1) In general, store tea leaves in an airtight container, preferably away from cheese, soap, spices and other items with strong aromas. 2) Also keep the tea off of the ground and away from walls. 3) Always use a good quality tea. You’ll spend a little more money, but you’ll actually get more bang for your pound. 4) Use fresh water. Stale water makes stale tea, which no one needs, especially in wartime. 5) Make sure you warm your teapot before adding hot water and tea leaves. 6) Use the right ratio of tea leaves to water. 7) Steep the tea in water that’s neither under-boiled nor over-boiled. 8) Let the tea infuse for the right amount of time. 3-5 minutes should cover most kinds of tea. Other kinds will need more time. 9) Use tea pots made of china, earthenware, and stainless steel. Avoid ones made of enamel or tin. 10) Don’t add milk to the tea too soon. Wait for the last possible minute. ___________
Note: A highly important tip at 5:56 (or better leave them loose inside the teapot).
Comment: I don't add any milk to my tea. It seems that the reason why Europeans started to add milk to their teas (whereas the Chinese had never done so) was to smoothen the astringency and unpalatable aftertaste of poorly-made or poor-quality tea. Clearly, it had little to do with a nutritive purpose since the amount of milk added is so little that it will hardly have any effect on their diet. Other peoples who have traditionally used milk to prepare their tea are the Tibetans, Mongols and other central Asian peoples. In those cases the tea is used as a flavoring for their milky beverages. In any case, the tea that they have traditionally aquired through trade wouldn't probably be of enough good quality and characteristics to drink it alone. ___________
RESHARE: plus.google.com - Potential Independent States in Europe By OneEurope. November 18, 2012
Excerpt from comments of via G+ post:
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 18, 2012 5:41 PM I would be in favor of leaving Spain if that meant that the power of the national government would not be seized by somebody else. I don't want to be coerced by an even more inefficient and corrupt gang. And to prevent more language wars, let's take the English as the only official language (to write contracts, bills and so on). __________________
Michelle Cameron Nov 18, 2012 5:44 PM +Zephyr López Cervilla I am a native English speaker, but I too think we need a common language in Europe, though I am not convinced it needs to be English unless the majority choose it. I'd be just as happy with German, French, or Esperanto. __________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 18, 2012 6:31 PM (edited) +2 +Michelle Cameron: "within Europe we don't need to adopt English as our internal working language" - I believe that if most Europeans (and Americans) don't adopt English as their lingua franca, it'll be Chinese what will be imposed, and frankly, I'd rather learn English than Mandarin Chinese, at least as my main communication language. How many Westerners would prefer to learn Chinese instead of English? __________________
Florian Jouanel Nov 18, 2012 6:29 PM +2 Calling for Independence is IMHO because individuals with considerable power in the region want more power. No state will profit from separating themselves.
And where a lot of northern countries like our German friends might believe that they would be better off without the rest of the Eu, I believe they are strongly mistaken. To compete with other world powers Europe needs to organize itself, get rid of idiotic bureaucracies, and actually be united.
The amount of languages & cultures Europe has is exceptional and something Europeans share and should be proud of. This does not mean separating yourself from the others. __________________
Florian Jouanel Nov 18, 2012 6:31 PM +1 +Zephyr López Cervilla I don't think Chinese will ever be " lingua franca" ... Chinese might be the most difficult language in the world to learn. Whereas Germanic & Latin languages are considered easiest. __________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 18, 2012 6:50 PM (edited) +Florian Jouanel, the Chinese is already very extended (not only prevalent in China but also present in some nearby countries), and most importantly, China will become the largest economy in the world by the end of this decade (and still it will grow further). Getting an edge in trading is a powerful incentive to learn new languages, no matter how difficult they are. As for its inherent difficulty, they have highly reduced the number of characters so that it can be easily written in typewriters and computers (and stored in digital databases and archives). I guess the tendency will be to use the sounds chosen in their typed language as phonetic standard. __________________
Thomas Zadro Nov 18, 2012 6:51 PM +Zephyr López Cervilla Well, I recall the 80s when the same was said about Japanese. More likely that Chinese will learn English as it is the language of most of their customers ;-) __________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 18, 2012 7:09 PM (edited) China has more than 10 times Japan's population, and Japan never became the leading economy of the world.
+Thomas Zadro: "it is the language of most of their customers"
- You overlooked that the Chinese domestic market will also become the world's largest in addition of being the main producers, so the Chinese will be the main customers of many foreign corporations. If you want to sell something in the Chinese market you'd better learn their language. __________________
Florian Jouanel Nov 18, 2012 7:09 PM +1 +Zephyr López Cervilla Strong arguments :). Although... I have studied IBL (International business & Languages). I also wanted to give Chinese a shot, but I was strongly recommanded against it. The time and effort to put in chinese doesn't weigh up to the profit it will give you. Furthermore, what +Thomas Zadro is saying is also another point I was told. Since English is easier to learn the Chinese are learning English.
I won't deny the huge advantage it would have to know how to speak Chinese... __________________
Olivier Malinur Nov 18, 2012 9:03 PM Why do you need a "Lingua Franca" ? It never existed and will never be. Even the original "Lingua Franca" was just a pidgin. I just believe there will be multiple languages, like there is now: spanish, arabic, english, french, russian etc... Come to Kazakhstan or Azerbaidjan: english is useless. Travel to Mali or Congo: your best english or chinese will be helpless. It will keep on like this ! People should put in their heads that we are in a multipolar world now. __________________
Federico Diato* Nov 18, 2012 9:03 PM +1 What do you think about a referendum in Europe to choose one common language? So you have the language of your country/region and first foreign language that you have to learn is the same for everybody in Europe. __________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 19, 2012 12:23 AM (edited) +Olivier Malinur: "Come to Kazakhstan or Azerbaidjan: english is useless. Travel to Mali or Congo: your best english or chinese will be helpless."
- None of those countries is economically relevant (nor in other areas such as science or technology):
GDP (nominal) United Nations, 2010 Rank | Country | millions of US$ 50 | Kazakhstan | 146,908 70 | Azerbaijan | 51,797 127 | Mali | 9,204 112 | Congo, Democratic Republic of the | 13,230 122 | Congo, Republic of the | 10,775 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
You should have chosen better examples, like Brazil or Russia, even though there are already many Russians who speak English or at least they can understand it.
Languages have performed in many occasions as barriers between human groups to limit cultural exchange between them. A clear example is the linguistic atomization in New Guinea:
<<The island is presently populated by very nearly a thousand different tribal groups and a near-equivalent number of separate languages, which makes New Guinea the most linguistically diverse area in the world. Ethnologue's 14th edition lists 826 languages of Papua New Guinea and 257 languages of Irian Jaya, total 1073 languages, with 12 languages overlapping. They fall into one of two groups, the Papuan languages and the Austronesian languages.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_guinea#People
If you want, with some time I can find you the reference of some study on the causes of the linguistic atomization in New Guinea. BTW, even the Papuans have lingua franca:
<<The primary lingua franca of the country is Tok Pisin (commonly known in English as New Guinea Pidgin or Melanesian Pidgin), in which much of the debate in Parliament is conducted, many information campaigns and advertisements are presented, and until recently a national newspaper, Wantok, was published. The only area where Tok Pisin is not prevalent is the southern region of Papua, where people often use the third official language, Hiri Motu.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea#Demographics
However, it i known that linguistic atomization has a number of serious drawbacks. The main one is that it makes trading more difficult (another is that it hampers the diffusion of new technological and cultural innovations).
One of the reasons of the prosperity of the US is that all the territory is integrated in a single uniform market, this help reduce distribution and marketing costs.
Also, there's an easy mobility of its workforce, people don't have o learn a new language to work in another state so many Americans don't doubt to move where there are more job opportunities.
Many if not most Americans have worked in different states during their careers. With the academic institutions this compatibility is even more significant. Students don't have any barriers to study in other states, including language. Likewise, in the US parents aren't deterred to move by the effects of having to learn a new language on the academic performance of their children. __________________
Cédric Lombion Nov 19, 2012 2:33 AM +Zephyr López Cervilla there need to be an alternate path. The UE is already a sui generis union of countries. I think we need to innovate and find a way to avoid the cultural impoverishment and the social fracture that would come with a lingua franca.
This is not to say that we shouldn't push the teaching of several languages. But a lingua franca means that everybody learns this particular language (and the perception of the world associated with it) and that if you want to discuss with a european public institution, you necessarily have to speak this language.
This won't work. It will create a disconnection between the european social sphere and people in their respective countries (like it is now). And we can't invoke economic reasons again and again. So far that's what we did, and it's obvious that while the single market is (almost) a reality, people do not think themselves as Europeans. Which is the most important hamper to innovation.
I do not have a solution, really. But as much as Chinese economy won't grow forever at this pace because of social reasons, the UE needs to think about innovative ways to promote exchange and innovation within its borders. Which means avoiding economy as the single mantra. __________________
ABSTRACT Because they provide exclusive property rights, patents are generally considered to be an effective way to promote intellectual discovery. Here, we propose a different compensation scheme, in which everyone holds shares in the components of potential discoveries and can trade those shares in an anonymous market. In it, incentives to invent are indirect, through changes in share prices. In a series of experiments, we used the knapsack problem (in which participants have to determine the most valuable subset of objects that can fit in a knapsack of fixed volume) as a typical representation of intellectual discovery problems. We found that our “markets system” performed better than the patent system.
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 2:55 PM (edited) - Public [ OP ] Apple was awarded $1,000,000,000+ in their intellectual property legal case.
Another example of how lack of competition and a free-market of ideas creates monopoly.
Corporations and IP; not free-market, but lame-market.
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 2:56 PM IP = monopoly on an idea __________________________
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 3:04 PM (edited) i believe it is monopoly... i do not believe it is possible to legitimately "own" an idea. __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 25, 2012 3:16 PM (edited) +1 The IP laws create monopolies on ideas, but it isn't Apple's monopoly. Microsoft, Samsung, Motorola/Google and others also have their share in this IP monopoly. The smartphone market itself is an oligopoly of the big corporations with arsenals of patents. __________________________
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 3:16 PM (edited) Along the lines of the comment I made on a related post, I think "ownership" by definition implies control over the owned material, and that this control in turn implies the rights to use and exclude. This MAY loosely be viewed as a monopoly, I guess ... it excludes others from using it without your permission ... but so what? That's quite different from the business dominance meaning of monopoly, and (imo) no inherently bad. I think that you and I should have the benefit of control over our own intellectual products - ideas that you or I come up with that are (more or less) unique and valuable. The issue of how PRACTICAL it may be to "protect" such ideas, of course, is a separate (and quite important) matter. __________________________
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 3:16 PM an idea is infinitely reproducible, able to be reproduced without taking the original idea from the originator.
IP is a state fiction, for example can a legislature that respects the common law right of property, determine how long you can own a pencil? __________________________
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 3:18 PM No, Jeremy, someone else USING my ideas may indeed detract from its value and/or utility to me. How do you feel about plagiarism, as a closely related example? __________________________
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 3:21 PM All ownership is a "fiction" in the sense you're using it +Jeremy Dahl ... which, I think, is your way of saying that it's meaningless without societal or governmental definition (and protection). That's how society works - agreements made (in principal) for or on behalf of the whole that affect the individuals within it. The ownership concept is one of these agreements ... not one that is required by the laws of physics, to be sure, but one that is commonly accepted by the laws of society. __________________________
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 3:24 PM (edited) sole possession of things is not a collective construct __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 25, 2012 3:52 PM (edited) +1 The purpose of material ownership is the allocation of scarce resources. Ideas aren't scarce resources, they can dwell in the mind of many people at the same time. The IP laws were created to artificially restrict the spread and use of ideas, a non scarce resource with the sole intention to profit a few against the benefit of others. In that sense IP doesn't differ much from other monopolistic practices. The same argument that you have used can be applied to any other monopoly. For instance, the person who sells salt can also argue that any competition in the sale of salt would detract value to their business. __________________________
Kirill Rebrov August 25, 2012 3:53 PM Anyway I see positive sides. It motivates new startups and inventors to bring radically new ideas and innovations on market. Which is, I believe, the solely purpose of competitive market. __________________________
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 3:56 PM Sole possession is not a collective construct, but PROTECTION of the rights of sole possession is! __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 25, 2012 3:57 PM (edited) +Kirill Rebrov: "I see positive sides. It motivates new startups and inventors to bring radically new ideas and innovations on market." - But do you have any evidence that this is the net effect of IP? __________________________
Jeremy Dahl August 25, 2012 3:57 PM legal, common connotation, or etymological?
monopoly (n.) "exclusive control of a commodity or trade," 1530s, from L. monopolium, from Gk. monopolion
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 4:03 PM Umm, why is it a given the the "purpose" of material ownership is allocation of scarce resources? That's one effect, certainly, but not an obvious requirement. Ownership also (can) carry with it the ability to be compensated. Relatedly, if someone is willing to pay me to try to generate valuable ideas do you think they should be able to profit from their "investment" in me? Without IP protection, it seems to me (or the ability to maintain trade secrets) this disappears. __________________________
Kirill Rebrov August 25, 2012 4:18 PM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla It’s my implication. This is not net effect of IP. This is effect of tough competition at all where IP is one of the tools to compete. And important tool to prevent using of old ideas. Yes, sometimes it has side effects. E.g. inability to create more robust and competitive product if concept of this product is protected by IP. But it’s a stimulus to create conceptually new product. __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 25, 2012 4:25 PM (edited) +Joel Krugler: "if someone is willing to pay me to try to generate valuable ideas do you think they should be able to profit from their "investment" in me? Without IP protection, it seems to me (or the ability to maintain trade secrets) this disappears." - That's why contracts exist. You can agree with the other party the conditions in which your valuable ideas will be delivered to your customer in exchange of money (or whatever else) which may include the restricted diffusion of those ideas. But unlike IP, contracts don't bind third parties who haven't signed the terms of those contracts. __________________________
Joel Krugler August 25, 2012 6:44 PM My point, +Zephyr López Cervilla , was not about any contractual commitment (real or implied) between the hypothetical "me" and my employer. The point was that without IP protection I might well not have an employer - because without the ability to "own" the results the employer would have little incentive to invest in such IP generation. __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 25, 2012 7:53 PM (edited) +Joel Krugler: "The point was that without IP protection I might well not have an employer - because without the ability to "own" the results the employer would have little incentive to invest in such IP generation."
- Without IP you can still own your results, what you can't do is prevent others from producing the same results. So the success of your intellectual production will highly depend on the ability of your employer to find creative ways to put it in the market, offering a product or service that is valuable for their customers.
Here you are an example from "Against Inellectual Monopoly" of a case of successful software development without IP protection (I can't say how this case could be generalized to other situations, though):
“Pirating” Software The idea that a software producer – say Microsoft – could earn a profit without copyright protection always puzzles people. Without copyright protection, would not “pirates” step in and sell cheaper imitations, putting Microsoft out of business? While this is an interesting theory of how markets work, it is not one supported by the facts.
Again, we turn to open source software and the Linux computer operating system. Because it is open source, Linux may be resold commercially, but only if the source code is made freely available, including any modifications made to the original program. For example, Red Hat is a company that sold a modified and customized Linux system with easy installation and many other useful features. Although the underlying Linux system is obtained by Red Hat for free, the customization and testing conducted by Red Hat is costly. Using prices quoted on the Internet on July 10, 2002, Red Hat charged $59.95 for a package containing its system. Because it is based on the underlying Linux system, Red Hat must also make available its code to competitors. As a result, anyone who wishes to can sell their own “Red Hat” system. And, in fact, there were at least two companies, Hcidesign and Linuxemporium, that did exactly this. For example, on July 10, 2002, Hcidesign offered for sale Red Hat Linux 7.2 for a price of $16.00, about 1/3rd of the price charged by Red Hat. Linuxemporium.co.uk offered a similar deal.
So how does Red Hat stay in business? For starters, it turns out that Red Hat sold many more $59.95 packages than Hcidesign and Linuxemporium sold $16.00 packages. Moreover Red Hat is a large well known company, while no one has ever heard of the other two, nor does it appear that they ever represented a dangerous market threat to Red Hat.9 How could this be? Or more accurately, how could this not be? Have you ever used software that worked properly? If you had a problem with software you bought, and had to call the seller for advice – who would you prefer to call – the people who wrote the program, or the people who copied it?
The story is not over yet, please bear with us. Taking years in writing a book chapter is not a proof of high productivity, but there is a silver lining. On December 24, 2006, we went back to the Internet to see what happened to these three companies. All three of them still exist, and many other have joined the game. After years of having all its innovations mercilessly “pirated” Red Hat is still the market leader, has a world wide web of offices, sells lots of Linux-based software products while also giving away lots of others for free and its revenues are soaring. Hcidesign, in spite the advantage of being a legal pirate does not seem to have done very well; it is still there, but it is selling very few products and all Linux-based products are now off its shelves. Linuxemporium had a more interesting life. After either changing its name to or been acquired by ChyGwyn, it is back in business under the original name and it is thriving. Indeed, it has pioneered an entire new line of business: it sells at positive prices software that is downloadable for free from the original companies, by claiming it sells “high class software for the cognoscenti”. The power and creativity of competitive markets sometimes surprise even us!
Print version: - Boldrin, Michele and Levine, David K. Against Intellectual Monopoly.Cambridge University Press, 2008
Joel Krugler August 26, 2012 9:46 PM Is your point really that preventing others from freely re-producing and selling products from your ideas - ideas which, for the sake of argument, were developed as a result of your investment - has NO significant impact on your ability to get a return from such investment? Of course there are well-known examples, many, of being profitable without the benefit of IP protection - but I assume that most folks against such protection don't deny that it benefits the protected party, in general. As for SHOULD it be protected - I must say that my notion of fairness is that the investor and inventor deserves protected ownership. Does this benefit society? Hard to tell -- because it depends, I think, upon whether there's a strong data-based case that innovation is inhibited by lac of IP protection - or encouraged by its absence. Anecdotal, perhaps idiosyncratic, examples can be raised in defense of either view. I haven't seen such data ... perhaps it exists, though.
Zephyr López Cervilla August 26, 2012 2:20 AM (edited) +Joel Krugler: "As for SHOULD it be protected - I must say that my notion of fairness is that the investor and inventor deserves protected ownership."
- There are multiple ways to protect your investment without the enforcement of IP and the public expense that it represents. 1. Don't invest on any project that can be easily reproduced. 2. Agree the price with your customers before you have invested in the development of the idea. 3. Restrict the distribution of your idea to your customers by contract or any other means (e.g., by limiting the access to it). 4. the traditional method successfully practiced during centuries, keep your idea secret. Industrial secrets have always worked well and are still used in many industrial processes, perhaps to extend the profit period beyond the limits offered by patents, perhaps to avoid the costs of litigations, or perhaps because the idea isn't patentable or the patent can be easily circumvented.
+Joel Krugler: "Does this benefit society? Hard to tell -- because it depends, I think, upon whether there's a strong data-based case that innovation is inhibited by lac of IP protection - or encouraged by its absence. Anecdotal, perhaps idiosyncratic, examples can be raised in defense of either view. I haven't seen such data ... perhaps it exists, though."
Joel Krugler August 26, 2012 2:57 PM +Zephyr López Cervilla I want to thank you for your thoughtful and referenced replies and comments. While I can't say that I've reversed my positions on this subject, you have made me think them through more carefully and reconsider several points. __________________________
Globally (not just in the North Atlantic), there is an average of about 90 tropical storms every year. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), globally "[t]here is no clear trend in the annual numbers [i.e. frequency] of tropical cyclones."
However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990, the long-term average number of tropical storms was about 10, including about 5 hurricanes. For the period of 1998-2007, the average is about 15 tropical storms per year, including about 8 hurricanes. This increase in frequency correlates strongly with the rise in North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and recent peer-reviewed scientific studies link this temperature increase to global warming.
There is an ongoing scientific debate about the link between increased North Atlantic hurricane activity and global warming. The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rates the probability of such a link as “more likely than not.” View a figure of the frequency of tropical storms in the North Atlantic.
Is the intensity of hurricanes increasing?
Several peer-reviewed studies show a clear global trend toward increased intensity of the strongest hurricanes over the past two or three decades. The strongest trends are in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), it is “more likely than not” (better than even odds) that there is a human contribution to the observed trend of hurricane intensification since the 1970s. In the future, “it is likely [better than 2 to 1 odds] that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical [sea surface temperatures].” __________________________
Excerpt from comments in a related G+ post:
Zephyr López Cervilla 5:06 AM So is every huracane caused by climate change? __________________________
J. Alberto Rojas 5:11 AM +6 No, but the fact that the hurricane got to those latitudes, indeed it is... __________________________
James O'Brien 5:11 AM +8 +Zephyr López Cervilla No. The analogy I heard on the radio is take a hitter like Barrie Bonds. He was a good hitter with lots of home runs. That's before climate change. Now give him steroids and a cork bat. Is every homerun because of the steroids or cork bat? No, but statistically he will get more homeruns. __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla 5:38 PM (edited) +J. Alberto Rojas, do you know of any statistics showing that there has been an increase in the incidence of hurricanes at high latitudes over the last decades? __________________________
However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990, the long-term average number of tropical storms was about 10, including about 5 hurricanes. For the period of 1998-2007, the average is about 15 tropical storms per year, including about 8 hurricanes. This increase in frequency correlates strongly with the rise in North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and recent peer-reviewed scientific studies link this temperature increase to global warming.
Several peer-reviewed studies show a clear global trend toward increased intensity of the strongest hurricanes over the past two or three decades. The strongest trends are in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. __________________________
George Gaylor 6:14 AM +2 +Zephyr López Cervilla Sandy was never rated more than a category 2 storm. Storms that strength hit Florida or Georgia and it's called "heavy rain", because storms like that hit all the time. The reason it caused so much damage and devastation is that storms that strong never hit that far north, so the buildings and infrastructure are not there to deal with it. Also there aren't usually this many big storms in a season, we start from A in the alphabet and go from there, Katrina was a "late" storm for that year, this year we got all the way to Sandy..... __________________________
Joachim THIBAULT 8:05 AM +5 +Zephyr López Cervilla Did you know there is absoluty no debat, no doubt in Peer-reviewed scientific article since 20 years about Climat change ? Yes, 0%, none, zero, nothing, niet, nada, rien. The debat or doubt exist only in popular press because some lobbyist have made a gread job. They have done the same for the dangerousity og cigarets. Off Course now we know for the cigarets, but we know it too for climat change. With NO doubt. __________________________
- Those aren't links to some statistical analysis of the frequency of hurricanes at higher latitudes, and more importantly, the linked page does not contain the references of such studies. Even assuming that the data and values mentioned (without no references) are accurate and representative, there's no way to know how significant they are statistically speaking.
Besides, there's something fishy in those studies:
<<However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990, the long-term average number of tropical storms was about 10, including about 5 hurricanes. For the period of 1998-2007, the average is about 15 tropical storms per year, including about 8 hurricanes.>>
The period of time used as baseline was 1850-1990, however, the records from more than the first half of that period are incomplete and likely to be unreliable (the meteorological satellites and even the radar had yet to be invented).
The data was probably inferred from some proxy. For instance, they may have assumed that the proportion of storms that reach the coast (and have been included in the records) over the total number of storms remained constant over time as well as the distribution of their intensities.
This case exemplifies why it's valuable to read the studies rather than simply a leaflet without supplementary information or references to support its claims. Additionally, there's this implied assumption, which is generally bogus:
<<This increase in frequency correlates strongly with the rise in North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and recent peer-reviewed scientific studies link this temperature increase to global warming.>>
i.e., if A is statistically correlated with B, and B correlated with C, (then A is correlated with C.) [what they try to imply without actually mention it]
But this asumption is generally false. Only if there're very strong correlations in all the premisses, this argument may be valid.
[For instance, being female is correlated with higher incidence of autoimmune diseases, and suffering an autoimmune disease is correlated with reduced life expectancy, however being female isn't correlated with lower life expectancy, rather the other way round. Why? because the correlation between the correlated variables is rather weak despite that the two seem to be correct.]
To prove correlation between two variables you have to perform an independent study using directly the data from those variables. Has somebody already performed some statistical analysis of the correlation between those two variables? Who knows, but we should take into account that many negative results are never published.
There's something else fishy. They compared the periods 1850-1990 and 1998-2007. Why did they leave 1991-1997 aside? Some suspicious, distrustful people might tend to believe that they cherry picked the time periods to get a better fit.
The possible correlation between hurricane frequency and global warming is questioned even in the content of same page that you linked:
<<There is an ongoing scientific debate about the link between increased North Atlantic hurricane activity and global warming. The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rates the probability of such a link as “more likely than not.”>>
Of course, you cherry picked the fragment that best supported your previous beliefs, a common symptom of confirmation bias. ________________ ________________ ________________
+Joachim THIBAULT: "Did you know there is absoluty no debat, no doubt in Peer-reviewed scientific article since 20 years about Climat change ? Yes, 0%, none, zero, nothing, niet, nada, rien."
Nature (in a 2006 editorial, ref. below): “scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth."
<<the peer-review process often pressures researchers to shy away from striking out in genuinely new directions, and instead to build on the findings of their colleagues (that is, their potential reviewers) in ways that only seem like breakthroughs>>
<<The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.>>
<<Though scientists and science journalists are constantly talking up the value of the peer-review process, researchers admit among themselves that biased, erroneous, and even blatantly fraudulent studies easily slip through it.>>
Unlike the page linked in a previous post, I do include the main references of these two articles:
Michael Lewis Nov 3, 2012 1:39 PM (edited) +1 Wow, that's a long way to go to claim you want me to post actual studies instead of information about the results. My link covers everything the NOAA and other national and international weather centers have said. If you search those sites you'll get the original papers and articles.
I don't think I need to find the scientific papers for you. Apparently you're able to do that yourself, however, I am not sure what most of your links have to do with hurricanes and global warming. Drugs? Economics? Because you're just denying anything is true? Do you often stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and sing, "la la la?"
I do think it's interesting you claim the information is inferred, and then do some inferring of your own. That's an interesting debate style.
Have a great life denying climate change. I'm going to mute this because I don't have time to go back and forth on this. __________________________
Robbie Adams Nov 3, 2012 1:52 PM You will have many believing climate change is not real... These are the very same type of individuals that believed the Ozone layer was not being destroyed by use of CFC's and also denied scientific proof. Welcome to the era of the Tin Foil Hat denials... __________________________
Zephyr López Cervilla Nov 3, 2012 4:49 PM (edited) +Michael Lewis: "My link covers everything the NOAA and other national and international weather centers have said. If you search those sites you'll get the original papers and articles. I don't think I need to find the scientific papers for you."
- So is that your pretext for your laziness? The website of your links doesn't even belong to any academic institution or governmental agency:
<<Welcome to C2ES – the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions – an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change.>> c2es.org/about
No wonder they don't provide any references for their information, that way it's easier for them to skew the content at will. This way nobody can check whether the content matches the references. They haven't even bothered to hide their political agenda, they are an environmentalist think tank:
<<Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues.>> c2es.org/about
<<Founded in 1998 with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pew Center was widely recognized in the United States and abroad as a credible, independent force for pragmatic climate action. Named by the University of Pennsylvania the world’s top environmental think tank in 2009, the nonpartisan Center was a valued source of information and analysis, an effective bridge between diverse interests, and an established leader in catalyzing constructive business engagement.>> c2es.org/about/history
<<At C2ES, we believe that ensuring safe, reliable, affordable energy for all – while protecting the global climate – is a paramount challenge of the 21st century. We see signs of progress around the world. But far greater effort is needed if we are to keep these challenges from becoming true crises. Now more than ever, we need committed voices with the expertise to cut through complexity and craft innovative solutions; the independence to separate fact from fiction; and the credibility to work with all sides to build common ground.>> c2es.org/about
+Michael Lewis: "I am not sure what most of your links have to do with hurricanes and global warming. Drugs? Economics?"
- Research in climate science, on medical science, cancer research... they all have their share of crap. Or do you believe perhaps that climatologists are immune and their peer-reviewed articles are much more reliable and accurate than those published on medical science? As for the paper on economics, if you had bothered to read the article written by David H. Freedman in The Atlantic you would have found that it's explicitly cited. As a matter of fact, Climatology is much closer to Economics than Medical Science, both are weak sciences and their theories seldom have been experimentally tested. __________________________
RESHARE: Why Feb. Has 28/29 Days Whereas Jul. & Aug. and Dec. & Jan. Have 31
Disclaimer: the contents of this video is a girl who likes to spit while talking to the camera. In case you decide to watch the video don't forget to have an umbrella at hand.
Excerpt from comments: On the other hand, how many people actually know why the calendar makers took the decision that February had to have only 28/29 days, whereas some consecutive months like July and August, and December and January would have 31?
In other words, that winter season should have a month of 28/29 days (February), one of 31 (January), and other 31 days from the sum of winter days in December and March; whereas spring needed one of 30 (April), one of 31 (May), and other 31 from the sum of spring days in March and June; and so on. Explanation: <<From the March equinox it takes 92.75 days until the June solstice, then 93.65 days until the September equinox, 89.85 days until the December solstice and finally 88.99 days until the March equinox.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season#Astronomical
And they wanted that all the seasons (except for the northern fall) started around the 21st day of the different months to simplify things but mainly to keep March 21 as the approximate date for the vernal equinox as a reference for the most important Christian festivity, Easter. Even though the length of the tropical year is near 20 minutes shorter than the astronomical year due to the Earth's axial precession (aka precession of the equinoxes), our Gregorian calendar already corrects for such effect (i.e., in the next 25,772 years the Earth will have turned around the Sun only approximately 25,771 times, 1 turn less than the number of calendar years). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_precession_(astronomy) Besides, they also resynchronized the calendar so that the vernal equinox fell again on March 21:
<<Gregory dropped 10 days to bring the calendar back into synchronization with the seasons. Lilius originally proposed that the 10-day correction should be implemented by deleting the Julian leap day on each of its ten occurrences during a period of 40 years, thereby providing for a gradual return of the equinox to 21 March. However, Clavius's opinion was that the correction should take place in one move, and it was this advice which prevailed with Gregory. Accordingly, when the new calendar was put in use, the error accumulated in the 13 centuries since the Council of Nicaea was corrected by a deletion of ten days. The last day of the Julian calendar was Thursday, 4 October 1582 and this was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582 (the cycle of weekdays was not affected).>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar#Gregorian_reform Funnily, in the next 3,000 years all the effort made in distributing a different number of days per month to make the solstices coincide with the 21st day of June and December will have become useless, since by that time the northern spring will become the shortest season and northern winter will be longer than is now.
Stephen Ritger - +Zephyr López Cervilla Yup...it's because of the slight eccentricity of the Earth's orbit. For the Northern Hemisphere, we are closer to the Sun in winter and therefore the orbital velocity is greater than in summer.
Zephyr López Cervilla - +Stephen Ritger, and why the optional extra day in February? Probably because it's the last month before the vernal equinox, so they could monitor more closely the length of the days during the previous months and eventually fine tune the calendar adding or not adding an extra day to make it coincide with March 21st.
Stephen Ritger - +Zephyr López Cervilla Well, February is the obvious choice for adding a leap day because it is the shortest month.
Zephyr López Cervilla - +Stephen Ritger, they could have given December and January 30 days, then February could have 30 and 31, and winter would still have around 90 days. So why then give February 28 days? 28 days is approximately a lunar cycle, perhaps they wanted ro have a reference on the Moon phase on 21 February to know on what phase would be by the following equinox. Some festivities like Easter are fixed in the calendar according to the Moon cycles as well.
Stephen Ritger - +Zephyr López Cervilla February is the shortest month because when the calendar was first created in Roman times, February was the LAST month on the calendar (their calendar started in what is now March), and was just long enough to use up the remaining days of the year.
Zephyr López Cervilla - +Stephen Ritger, this doesn't make much sense, until the reform of the Julian calendar the year had 355 days so they needed to add a leap month from time to time to adjust their calendar to the solar year ( or more accurately, the seasonal cycles). They intercalated that month adter the first 23 days of February. So, when Julious Caesar reformed the calendar to the actual structure (except for the removal of some leap years introduced in the Gregorian calendar), he could have easily added a couple of days more two February, in fact he added a total of 10 days to other months to go from 355 to 365. BTW, by that time February was no longer the last month of the year either. The number of 28 days disn't have any particular significance for the Romans since they did't have any problem in shortening it to 23 from time to time to make room to another month. I guess there must be a more rational explanation to their decision of lengthening some of the other months while keeping February with 28 days, except for the leap years in which Julius Caesar (or Octavius) decided to start adding a day every four years.
Stephen Ritger - +Zephyr López Cervilla I believe I already presented that.
Ken MacMillan - We should just ditch the whole thing & go to a linear date.
Ken MacMillan - That's the astronomical julian date. I was just reading about it on wikipedia. What we use at work is called an ordinal date. We call it julian though. It's what I mistakenly called linear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601#Ordinal_dates
Zephyr López Cervilla - +Stephen Ritger, did you? I had the impression that you just stated that February was the shortest month because it was the last. Before Julius Caesar February wasn't the last month anymore, the king Numa Pompilius had "reformed the calendar prefixing January and February around 713 BC to the original ten months" almost 7 centuries before. Additionally, before the Julian reform there were 7 months of 29 days. Caesar added 10 new days to the calendar to get rid of the leap months so, why did he decide to keep 28 days for February instead of adding days to it? December and January had 29 days before 45 BC so, why did he give them 2 extra days to them instead of just 1, and then add 2 extra days to February? Ref.: 1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar#Table_of_months 2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar
Zephyr López Cervilla - "No one knows why February was left with 28 and remained an unlucky month. It may be related to the fact that Romans honored the dead and performed rites of purification in February." slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/02/28_days.html "It may be related to the fact", that's just pure speculation. So is this the best explanation that they could think of?
Zephyr López Cervilla - Interesting, but they don't add much to what we already knew. This line dosen't agree with the info of Wikipedia, though: "It was the last month of the year (January didn't become the first month until centuries later)" straightdope.com/columns/read/442/how-come-february-has-only-28-days I have to admit that I overlooked a detail in the post in which I tried to justify the reason of the extra days in the months of the northern summer and the shorter months in winter, and that is the precesion of the effect of the axial precession since 45 BC till today. In 2,056 years the vernal equinox has come closer to the periabsis. Since the pace of this precession is roughly proportional to the pace of the movement of the Earth around the Sun, and the whole precession cycle takes about 25,772 years, then 2,056/25,772 = x/325.25, where x (x = 26 days) is the number of days to add to nowadays vernal equinox to determine where the vernal equinox was 2,056 years ago (using as reference the spacial location of the Earth in the present year). So the Earth was in the equinox in the position of the orbit in which it is nowadays on April 16. Based on that, assuming that the vernal equinox fell around March 21 (restoring that was what the Gregorian calendar was about) the periapsis didn't fall on January 3 but 26 days before that date, on December 8, 45 BC. The question is, how did affect this new position of the periapsis to the length of the seasons? Obviously, the shortest season at that time was autumn rather than winter.
The problem with the scientific measuring systems, units, nomenclature and so on is that scientists tend to behave like politicians when they gather to standarize or harmonize things. They are prone to accept compromises and tradeoffs. They are hesitant to make significant changes unless the previous system doesn't work at all. They favor the traditional criterion over a new more efficient and rational one as long as they can still use the old one. Examples of irrational criteria accepted by scientific consensus: 1. kilogram (kg) is the fundamental unit for mass although it has the name of a multiple of another unit (gram); 2. dB 3. meter 4. k Vs. M, G, T, etc.
Proof of Ron Paul's Racism! ROCK SOLID EVIDENCE! "...And here is Ron Paul at the local KKK meeting. Note that 4 of the others have been identified as donors to the Paul campaign. If you know the identities of the other klansmen, please let us know."
"There you have it, absolute proof of Ron Paul's racism. Now you know that the media is completely justified in their smearing of Dr. Paul."
"On the one hand, 6 sentences that a man says he didn't write, on the other hand hundreds of hours of videos, speeches, books, 6 million sentences that we know he wrote & spoke that have no racist undertones. Lets go with the 6 sentences."
Excerpt: <<In 'Consanguinity in Context,' author and medical geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Murdoch University in Australia examines common misconceptions about cousin marriage from legal, cultural, religious and medical perspectives.
Marriage between cousins is taboo in much of the Western world. In the United States, 31 of 50 states outlaw marriage between first cousins, or allow it only under certain circumstances.
Although cousin marriage is banned in much of the US, the practice is tolerated and even encouraged in other parts of the world. In South Asia and the Middle East, for example, 20-50% of marriages are between first cousins or even closer relatives. They're in good company. More than 10% of people worldwide are married to a second cousin or closer, or have parents who are cousins.>> . . . <<Opponents argue that first cousin marriage increases the risk of passing on genetic abnormalities. But for Bittles, 35 years of research on the health effects of cousin marriage have led him to believe that the risks of marrying a cousin have been greatly exaggerated.
There's no doubt that children whose parents are close biological relatives are at a greater average risk of inheriting genetic disorders, Bittles writes. Studies of cousin marriages worldwide suggest that the risks of illness and early death are three to four percent higher than in the rest of the population.
But the risks apply primarily to couples who are carriers of disorders that are normally very, very rare, Bittles explained. "For over 90% of cousin marriages, their risk [of having a child with a genetic abnormality] is the same as it is for the general population," he said.
What's more, many studies of the effects of cousin marriage fail to account for the influence of non-genetic factors on infant health, such as socioeconomic status, maternal diet during pregnancy, and infections. "Many of the data are exceedingly poor," Bittles said.>> . . . <<One surprising and oft-neglected advantage of marriage between close biological relatives is a phenomenon called purging, in which disease genes are exposed and removed from the gene pool.
Thanks to purging, marriage between close relatives in early human populations would have kept the prevalence of genetic disorders low, Bittles explained.
Today, cousin marriage is on the rise in regions with a large influx of immigrants from areas where the practice is more common, such as North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southern Asia.
But in the long-term, shrinking family sizes and increased mobility in many parts of the world means that cousin marriage is likely to decline. In the absence of purging, harmful genetic variants could accumulate over time.
"We may be creating a problem for ourselves in future generations," Bittles said.>>
Comment: It summarizes perfectly my previous information on this topic. I only miss some reference to the effect of inbreeding on the immunity of a population and its vulnerability in front epidemics, which is probably what explains why there have been evolved some mechanisms to limit the rate of inbreeding in many animal species.
<<The MHC genes are highly polymorphic; this means that there are many different alleles in the different individuals inside a population. The polymorphism is so high that in a mixed population (non-endogamic) there are not two individuals with exactly the same set of MHC genes and molecules, with the exception of identical twins.>>
<<On the other hand, inside a population, the presence of many different alleles ensures there will always be an individual with a specific MHC molecule able to load the correct peptide to recognize a specific microbe. The evolution of the MHC polymorphism ensures that a population will not succumb to a new pathogen or a mutated one, because at least some individuals will be able to develop an adequate immune response to win over the pathogen.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_histocompatibility_complex#HLA_biology ____
<<It has been proposed that MHC is related to mate choice in some human populations, a theory that has found support by studies by Ober and colleagues in 1997, as well as by Chaix and colleagues in 2008. However, the latter findings have been controversial. If it exists, the phenomena might be mediated by olfaction, as MHC phenotype appears strongly involved in the strength and pleasantness of perceived odour of compounds from sweat. Fatty acid esters—such as methyl undecanoate, methyl decanoate, methyl nonanoate, methyl octanoate and methyl hexanoate—show strong connection to MHC.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_histocompatibility_complex#MHC_in_sexual_mate_selection ____
<<Pathogenic co-evolution, a counter-hypothesis, posits that common alleles are under greatest pathogenic pressure, driving positive selection of uncommon alleles—moving targets, so to say, for pathogens. As pathogenic pressure on the previously common alleles decreases, their frequency in the population stabilizes, and remain circulating in a large population.>>
<<Relatively low MHC diversity has been observed in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), and giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In 2007 low MHC diversity was attributed a role in disease susceptibility in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), native to the isolated island of Tasmania, such that an antigen of a transmissible tumor, involved in devil facial tumour disease, appears to be recognized as a self antigen. To offset inbreeding, efforts to sustain genetic diversity in populations of endangered species and of captive animals have been suggested.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_histocompatibility_complex#MHC_evolutionary_diversity ___________
Comment: I think that it's a bit exaggerated to call "evolution" to the simple purge of deleterious mutations in homozygosis. At least it may be misleading. It's a process easily reversible (unlike many other evolutionary processes) and doesn't provide any gain of function.
John Baez Jan 23, 2013 6:58 AM (edited) - Public Here is a very nice discussion of that burst of gamma rays that may have reached us in 774 or 775 AD. You can see how the amount of carbon-14 in trees shot up at this time!
Question: through what reaction do gamma rays produce carbon-14? Is it just
N14 + gamma → C14 + e+ + nu
or something more complicated?
I also really like +Alun Salt's comment on this post, which I will copy here:
On the unreliability of historical records
This is the best explanation I've seen of the recent tree-ring carbon spike. The only bit I can quibble with is the idea that a solar flare or supernova would be in the historical record as a matter of course.
For AD 774 the European astronomical records are notoriously bad till the Renaissance. I'm currently reading John Ramsey's catalogue of Greco-Roman comets (http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/156806844) and if it weren't for the east Asian records there'd be very little you could say with much certainty about astronomical events being viewed in Europe.
The problem is that people get the impression historians turn to the east Asian records because they're so accurate. In fact it's because they're there which is much more than can be said about records from elsewhere in the world. In fact for the first millennium AD the east Asian records aren't that good either. Korea doesn't really get going with independent observations till around AD 1000. Japan takes off in the ninth century AD (inspired by a major event?) which just leaves China. (http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/2003JHA....34..111S/0000111.000.html)
Because latitude affects what you can see any event below a declination of -60º isn't likely to appear in any of the contemporary records. If I were sure there was an astronomical source of rays to be found, that's where I'd start looking. But that's not a sure thing.
It's not enough for someone to make a record, it has to survive too. Not much survives from this era in Europe. I don't know what events in China and the rest of east Asia caused records to be lost, but I would be surprised if we had 100% of what was written. Given that China is the only source for a lot of events, if we have lost anything from there how would we know?
To see how good Chinese sources were around AD 774/5 I've had a look at comet records for the era. Gary Kronk records a comet for AD 773 in Chiu T'ang shu, T'ang hui yao and Hsin T'ang shu These were all written two or three hundred years after the event. In AD 776 there is a comet according to Ku chin t'u shu chi ch'eng_ which Kronk says dates from 1726. No other record mentions it, so it looks like the records are incomplete it it's possible that a supernova could be missing in this period. All in all there are about 21 comets recorded in the eighth century AD up to 776 and then nothing till AD 812. With the 776 record being from such a late source it's possible we're missing records, so a supernova observation might not have survived to the present day. (http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/614874005)
What about an aurora from a Coronal Mass Ejection? When it came up someone on Twitter mentioned that a fiery cross in the sky is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for this period. This could be an aurora. I mentioned this on someone's Facebook stream and someone else, who knows much more about Anglo-Saxon England than me said there's no such thing as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. There are a few different versions at the same time and they don't all say the same thing. It's also very hard to put an accurate date to some of the events. In the end the astronomical record for AD 774/5 is so poor and fragmentary that fitting any historical record to it is a bit like finding shapes in clouds.
If the source is conclusively found then I think there's a good chance of finding something in the historical record that can be matched to it, but I can't see much hope of information going the other way so that the historical record can say much about the astronomical source.
The thing that puzzles me is that the reference is always to a set of Japanese trees with the carbon-spike. I can see how that's where it was spotted, but wouldn't an astronomical event have a worldwide effect? If I were near a well-stocked library I'd be flipping though a journal like Radiocarbon and looking for calibration curves from other sources to see if there were similar spikes in tree elsewhere.
Zephyr López Cervilla Jan 23, 2013 8:04 AM But if the C-14 spike hasn't been found in other tree rings that have been dated around that time, the cause of the spike can't be a global astronomic event. What other processes can generate a C-14 spike at a local level? ________
Jerzy Michał Pawlak Jan 23, 2013 8:34 AM +1 +Zephyr López Cervilla I don't really think you may have anything like a "local C14 spike". The C14 found in trees has been absorbed from the atmosphere, as CO2. A dose of radiation that would produce such spike already inside the tree, would probably have killed it in the first place You see from the plot, that increased C14 intake continued for several years after the event - the atmosphere mixing is strong enough to distribute the C14 globally on such time scale. ________
Zephyr López Cervilla Jan 23, 2013 8:40 AM It doesn't necessarily have to come directly from the atmosphere, the C-14-enriched CO2 could have arrived at the trees disolved in the water taken up by the roots. Otherwise, how can you explain the absence of that C-14 spike in the tree rings from orher parts of the world (e.g., California)? ________
John Baez Jan 23, 2013 8:59 AM +3 Perhaps they haven't found a carbon-14 spike in other tree rings because they haven't looked very hard! I've just been studying a bit about the history of American Southwest around this time period. They have very good collections of tree rings, since pueblos were build using thousands of ponderosa pines. This allows them to date things very accurately - often to the exact year - using dendrochronology. Maybe they didn't look hard for a blip in carbon-14 around 775 AD. But I'm not an expert - I don't know what all they've done.
Anyway, I think it would be good to look for this carbon-14 spike in some other tree rings. If people haven't done it yet, they probably will now. ________
Jerzy Michał Pawlak Jan 23, 2013 9:11 AM (edited) +Zephyr López Cervilla Still it is difficult to imagine a source of C14 on the earth surface, that would not kill the life locally. Normally C14 is created by cosmic radiation high in the atmosphere. Any strong source of radiation producing significant amounts of C14 close to the earth surface, or even under it, is bound to leave some other traces as well. ________
Reshared text: This figure from a recent article in Nature (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11123) is a rather puzzling observation. It shows a dramatic rise in the level of carbon 14 around 774 AD. The data was gathered from a couple of Japanese cedar trees. Because we can date the rings in these trees we know their age, and by taking measurements of carbon 14 within each tree ring we have a measure of how the levels varied year by year. This spike in carbon 14 around 774 – 775 AD is huge (about a 20% increase) which makes its origin a bit of a mystery.
You are probably familiar with carbon 14 as a way to determine the age of objects. This works because carbon 14 decays at a known rate into carbon 12, so by measuring the level of carbon 14 in some dead material we can determine how long it has been dead. This method works because living things constantly take in carbon through food and air while they are alive, and the level of carbon 14 in the atmosphere is constantly replenished by high energy astronomical events such as solar flares and cosmic rays. The level of carbon 14 in the atmosphere rises and falls over time, but it is generally pretty constant. A spike such as this one is unusual, and means that some very energetic astronomical event must have occurred around 774.
So what could have caused such a large spike? The common cause of a carbon 14 spike is a solar flare. These occur on a fairly regular basis, which can cause a stream of high-energy particles to strike our atmosphere, creating things like the northern lights. They can also bombard nitrogen in our upper atmosphere with high-energy neutrons which creates carbon 14. The problem is that solar flares typically only produce a carbon increase of a few percent. This event is much, much larger than that, so it couldn’t have been caused by a solar flare.
Suppose then that it was some huge solar flare, specifically what is known as a solar proton event. This is when a large solar flare or coronal mass ejection sends streams of high-energy protons our way. A spike of protons could produce a spike of carbon 14 when it interacts with our atmosphere. The problem with this idea is that unlike high-energy neutrons, high-energy protons are deflected by our magnetic field. Some protons can get through, but not most of them. So to create such a large rise in carbon 14 the solar proton event would have had to be huge. Really, really, huge. It would have been the largest solar event ever. We’ve seen such “super flares” on sunlike stars, but never on the sun. And we’d know if one occurred because it would create tremendous northern lights, and even likely destroy much of the ozone layer resulting in mass extinctions. The year 774 is well within recorded history, and if such a super flare occurred, someone would have written about it. Nobody did.
Another possibility is that it was caused by a supernova. A supernova produces gamma rays when can also generate carbon 14 when it strikes the atmosphere. The figure above actually compares the carbon 14 spike with an expected various lengths of gamma ray bombardments due to a supernova. The models seem to fit pretty well, so it would seem we have found our culprit. There’s just one problem. To create such a large spike the supernova must have been closer than 6,500 light years, which is fairly close on astronomical scales. This means it would have easily been observed by historical astronomers. In 1006 a supernova occurred about 7,200 light years away, and it was observed in detail by Chinese and Arab astronomers. There’s no mention of a similar supernova just 230 years earlier. Such a supernova would also have a remnant that we could observe today, but nothing known seems to match.
So the cause of this spike is unknown at the moment. We might be able to solve the mystery however by looking for similar spikes in other elements such as beryllium 10. We could also look further into historical data. For now, what we do know is that an astronomical event hit us pretty hard in the 8th century.
Video blurb: <<Kirk Sorensen is founder of Flibe Energy and is an advocate for nuclear energy based on thorium and liquid-fluoride fuels. For five years he has authored the blog "Energy from Thorium" and helped grow an online community of thousands who support a renewed effort to develop thorium as an energy source. He is a 1999 graduate of Georgia Tech in aerospace engineering and is also a graduate student in nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee. He has spoken publicly on thorium at the Manchester International Forum in 2009, at NASA's Green Energy Forum in 2008, and in several TechTalks at Google. He has been featured in Wired magazine, Machine Design magazine, the Economist, the UK Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, and on Russia Today.
He also taught nuclear engineering at Tennessee Technological University as a guest lecturer. He is active in nonprofit advocacy organizations such as the Thorium Energy Alliance and the International Thorium Energy Organization. He is married and has four small children.>> _________________
Other public lectures:
- Bonometti, Joe. The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be.Google TechTalks. November 18, 2008 (55 min 17 sec) youtu.be/AHs2Ugxo7-8
- Hargraves, Robert. Aim High: Using Thorium Energy to Address Environmental Problem.Google TechTalks. May 26, 2009 (59 min 50 sec) youtu.be/VgKfS74hVvQ
- LeBlanc, David. Liquid Fluoride Reactors: A New Beginning for an Old Idea.Google TechTalks. February 19, 2009 (1 h 7 min 16 sec) youtu.be/8F0tUDJ35So
- Sorensen, Kirk. Energy From Thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor.Google TechTalks. July 20, 2009 (1 h 22 min 9 sec) youtu.be/AZR0UKxNPh8
- Sorensen, Kirk. Is Nuclear Waste Really Waste?Google TechTalks. December 6, 2010 (40 min 40 sec) youtu.be/rv-mFSoZOkE
Paolo Kuslan Nov 20, 2012 5:25 PM We can not watch natural landscapes filled with wind mills or fields of solar panels.
Gaythia Weis Nov 20, 2012 5:27 PM +Paolo Kuslan As opposed to what alternative?
Paolo Kuslan Nov 20, 2012 5:29 PM +2 Solar panel on EVERY building and micro wind mills in the house gardens.
Gaythia Weis Nov 20, 2012 5:37 PM (edited) +1 +Paolo Kuslan I'd agree with that also. At least for solar. Microwindmills are a good idea but one that would need regulations as to maintenance and location to negate impacts on neighbors. But I believe that to be effective enough to displace fossil fuels, it will be necessary to locate large scale facilities in logical locations.
- This website is of an environmentalist organization, a naturally biased source of information:
"The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world." ucsusa.org/about
- That page doesn't even provide specific references to its statements. E.g.,
1."LFTRs also present proliferation and terrorism risks because they involve the continuous “reprocessing” of the spent fuel to separate out uranium-233, which could be used in a nuclear weapon."
2."the Department of Energy has found that reactors fueled with thorium and uranium do not provide any clear advantages over uranium-only reactors in terms of waste management, proliferation risk, safety, economics, or sustainability."
1."But when thorium is used instead of uranium-238 as a fertile material to kickstart nuclear fission, the thorium eventually "becomes uranium-233, which fissions almost instantaneously in the reactor, generating other isotopes that make power," Grae says. That means usable weapons-grade nuclear material is not produced, which would theoretically eliminate some security issues now associated with nuclear plants." popularmechanics.com/science/energy/next-generation/the-truth-about-thorium-and-nuclear-power
3a."The MSRE was a 7.4 MWth test reactor simulating the neutronic "kernel" of a type of inherently safe epithermal thorium breeder reactor called the Liquid fluoride thorium reactor. It primarily used two fuels: first uranium-235 and later uranium-233. The last, 233UF4 was the result of breeding from thorium in other reactors. Since this was an engineering test, the large, expensive breeding blanket of thorium salt was omitted in favor of neutron measurements." . . . "For simplicity, it was to be a fairly small, one-fluid (i.e. non-breeding) reactor operating at 10 MWth or less, with heat rejection to the air via a secondary (fuel-free) salt." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-Salt_Reactor_Experiment
3b."A separate blanket of thorium salt absorbs the neutrons and convert from thorium to protactinium-233. Protactinium-233 can be left in the blanket region where neutron flux is lower, so that it slowly decays to U-233 fissile fuel, rather than capture neutrons. This bred fissile U-233 can be recovered by simple fluorination, and placed in the core to fission. The core's salt is also purified, first by fluorination to remove uranium, then vacuum distillation to remove and reuse light atomic weight carrier salts." . . . "Graphite was the chosen material by ORNL because of its low neutron absorption, compatibility with the molten salts, high temperature resistance, and sufficient strength and integrity to separate the fuel and blanket salts. The effect of neutron radiation on graphite is to slowly shrink and then swell the graphite to cause an increase in porosity and a deterioration in physical properties. Graphite pipes would change length, and may crack and leak. ORNL chose not to pursue the two-fluid design, and no examples of the two-fluid reactor were ever constructed." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor#Two_Fluid_Reactor
Caption: "I wanted it to seem like the druggies inside the house were really fucked up. And what better way to show that than drawing everything around them like a kid's drawing. I had a fun time doing the research and practicing drawing like a kid. My mom found these really old and dried up crayons I had as a kid, so they were probably somewhere around 18 years old." mikkelsommer.blogspot.com/2009/04/crayon-drug-raid.html ________________
Synopsis: Neglected by the government and with no heroic memories or loving family members to return to, the two weary soldiers seek solace in alcohol, drug and nihilistic hedonism. Constantly haunted by nightmares of their recent tumultuous pasts, they desperately struggle to stay on the surface of reality. In front of a bank in Utah, armed and emotionally numbed, they step out of a Ford Maverick. For what would feel like a split second, in the middle of their final self-annihilating act, one of them sees something he had never envisioned; an awakening? mikkelsommer.blogspot.com/2011/03/obsolete.html
Fungus Party October 25, 2008 - Fungus Party (done) http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_UxJTu8NcA80/SQO4vTXNjgI/AAAAAAAAADI/RCpPCCgYiuo/s1600-h/funguspartyDONE.jpg Caption: This is another drawing for my class theme jam. This was the week before last weeks theme, fungus party. I got stuck in the middle, but finally finished today. (here's the lines in pencil.) (here's the first try...which is where I got stuck. I've never done a piece with so many characters in it at once and I ended up given every single thing an individual color which is just a pain! I ended up with these colors and thought they where way to awkward and a little all over the place.) and the final version. I decided to start all over with the colors earlier today and it probably took my around 6 hours to finish. mikkelsommer.blogspot.com/2008/10/fungus-party.html ________________
nytimes.com - La-La Land: The Origins By Peter Edidin (The New York Times). August 21, 2005
Excerpt: <<Los Angeles's distance from New York was also comforting to independent film producers, making it easier for them to avoid being harassed or sued by the Motion Picture Patents Company, a k a the Trust, which Thomas Edison helped create in 1909. The Trust, which included the dominant producers, distributor and film stock manufacturer, was intended to monopolize the entire industry.>>
- Edidin, Peter La-La Land: The OriginsThe New York Times. August 21, 2005 _______________
Excerpt from comments of a related G+ post:
+Wiebe de Haas: <<"As state-granted monopolies, patents have been criticized as inconsistent with free trade. On that basis, in 1869 the Netherlands abolished patents, and did not reintroduce them until 1912.">> . . . - Patents were introduced in Switzerland at the end 19th century (for the first time), in 1888, by means of a law of a very limited scope:
<<With such strong public feeling against patent protection it is no wonder that it took Switzerland—a conservative country where national referenda often determine important policy decisions — almost half a century to enact its first national patent law in 1888. The law was so limited in scope, however, that its usefulness for patent protection was at best dubious. Indeed, successful lobbying by the Swiss chemical industry resulted in the 1888 national patent law protecting only inventions that could be represented by mechanical models. Two decades and some international pressure were necessary for the legislature to rectify this Swiss anomaly.>>
Incidentally, the Hollywood's cinematographic industry arose as the result of many independent filmakers who went to California to produce their movies to avoid being sued or harassed by the MPPC (aka Edison Trust) on the basis of Thomas A. Edison's American patents relating to motion picture cameras:
<<The MPPC was preceded by the Edison licensing system, in effect in 1907–1908, on which the MPPC was modeled. Since the 1890s, Thomas Edison owned most of the major American patents relating to motion picture cameras. The Edison Manufacturing Company's patent lawsuits against each of its domestic competitors crippled the American film industry, reducing American production mainly to two companies: Edison and Biograph, which used a different camera design. This left Edison's other rivals with little recourse but to import foreign-made films, mainly French and British.
Since 1902, Edison had also been notifying distributors and exhibitors that if they did not use Edison machines and films exclusively, they would be subject to litigation for supporting filmmaking that infringed Edison's patents. Exhausted by the lawsuits, Edison's competitors — Essanay, Kalem, Pathé Frères, Selig, and Vitagraph — approached him in 1907 to negotiate a licensing agreement, which Lubin was also invited to join. The one notable filmmaker excluded from the licensing agreement was Biograph, which Edison hoped to squeeze out of the market. No further applicants could become licensees. The purpose of the licensing agreement, according to an Edison lawyer, was to "preserve the business of present manufacturers and not to throw the field open to all competitors.">> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Patents_Company#Creation
<<Many independent filmmakers, who controlled from one-quarter to one-third of the domestic marketplace, responded to the creation of the MPPC by moving their operations to Hollywood, whose distance from Edison's home base of New Jersey made it more difficult for the MPPC to enforce its patents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and covers the area, was averse to enforcing patent claims.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Patents_Company#Backlash_and_decline
References 6. Peter Edidin, "La-La Land: The Origins", The New York Times, August 21, 2005, p. 4.2. "Los Angeles's distance from New York was also comforting to independent film producers, making it easier for them to avoid being harassed or sued by the Motion Picture Patents Company, a k a the Trust, which Thomas Edison helped create in 1909." nytimes.com/2005/08/21/weekinreview/21basics.html
7. See, e.g., Zan v. Mackenzie, 80 F. 732 (9th Cir. 1897); Germain v. Wilgus, 67 F. 597 (9th Cir. 1895); Johnson Co. v. Pac. Rolling Mills Co., 51 F. 762 (9th Cir. 1892). _______________
<< Thomas Edison was among the first to produce such a device, the kinetoscope, whose heavy-handed patent enforcement caused early filmmakers to look for alternatives.>> . . . <<The film patents wars of the early 20th century led to the spread of film companies across the U.S. Many worked with equipment for which they did not own the rights, and thus filming in New York could be dangerous; it was close to Edison's Company headquarters, and to agents the company set out to seize cameras. By 1912, most major film companies had set up production facilities in Southern California near or in Los Angeles because of the location's proximity to Mexico, as well as the region's favorable year-round weather.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_the_United_States#Origins
Reference 3. Jacobs, L. Rise of the American film, The.Harcourt Brace, New York, 1930; p. 85 _______________
<<The litigation over patents between all the major American film-making companies had continued, and at the end of 1908 they decided to pool their patents and form a trust to use them to control the American film business. The companies concerned were Pathé, Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph, Lubin, Selig, Essanay, Kalem, and the Kleine Optical Company, a major importer of European films. The George Eastman company, the only manufacturer of film stock in the United States, was also part of the combine, which was called the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), and Eastman Kodak agreed to only supply the members with film stock. License fees for distributing and projecting films were extracted from all distributors and exhibitors. The producing companies that were part of the trust were allocated production quotas (two reels, i.e. films, a week for the biggest ones, one reel a week for the smaller), which were supposed to be enough to fill the programmes of the licensed exhibitors. Vitagraph and Edison already had multiple production units, and so had no difficulty meeting their quota, but in 1908 Biograph lost their one working director. They offered the job of making their films to D. W. Griffith, an unimportant actor and playwright, who took up the job, and found he had a gift for it. Alone he made all the Biograph films from 1908 to 1910. This amounted to 30 minutes of screen time a week.
But the market was bigger than the Motion Picture Patents Company members could supply. Although 6,000 exhibitors signed with the MPPC, about 2,000 others did not. A minority of the exchanges (i.e. distributors) stayed outside the MPPC, and in 1909 these independent exchanges immediately began to fund new film producing companies. By 1911 there were enough independent and foreign films available to programme all the shows of the independent exhibitors, and in 1912 the independents had nearly half of the market. The MPPC had effectively been defeated in its plan to control the whole United States market, and the government anti-trust action, which only now started against the MPPC, was not really necessary to defeat it.>>
<<Up to 1913, most American film production was still carried out around New York, but because of the monopoly of Thomas Edison's film patents, many filmmakers had moved to Southern California, hoping to escape the litany of lawsuits that the Edison Company had been bringing to protect its monopoly. Once there in Southern California, the film industry grew continuously.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_film#1906_to_1914 ___________________________
Comment: This results go in the same line as the notion expressed by Donald I. Williamson on hybridization having a much more significative role in evolution than previously thought, although in this case at a modest scale (between closely related species), whereas he suggested that there could have been successful hybridization events between animal species of different phyla, notion that according to Lynn Magulis, doesn't adhere to Darwinian orthodoxy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_I._Williamson
I personally think of this fierce opposition of the mainstream evolutionists as a bit childish. There's evidence that in other living organisms relatively complex such as plants, successful hybridization events between non closely-related species has been and is still relatively common. So why to negate that this can have occurred also in animals, even if seldom?
Summary To reconstruct modern human evolutionary history and identify loci that have shaped hunter-gatherer adaptation, we sequenced the whole genomes of five individuals in each of three different hunter-gatherer populations at >60× coverage: Pygmies from Cameroon and Khoesan-speaking Hadza and Sandawe from Tanzania. We identify 13.4 million variants, substantially increasing the set of known human variation. We found evidence of archaic introgression in all three populations, and the distribution of time to most recent common ancestors from these regions is similar to that observed for introgressed regions in Europeans. Additionally, we identify numerous loci that harbor signatures of local adaptation, including genes involved in immunity, metabolism, olfactory and taste perception, reproduction, and wound healing. Within the Pygmy population, we identify multiple highly differentiated loci that play a role in growth and anterior pituitary function and are associated with height.
Reshared text: "After decades of digging, paleoanthropologists looking for fossilized human bones have established a reasonably clear picture: Modern humans arose in Africa some 200,000 years ago and all archaic species of humans then disappeared, surviving only outside Africa, as did the Neanderthals in Europe. Geneticists studying DNA now say that, to the contrary, a previously unknown archaic species of human, a cousin of the Neanderthals, may have lingered in Africa until perhaps 25,000 years ago, coexisting with the modern humans and on occasion interbreeding with them.
The geneticists reached this conclusion, reported on Thursday in the journal Cell, after decoding the entire genome of three isolated hunter-gatherer peoples in Africa, hoping to cast light on the origins of modern human evolution. But the finding is regarded skeptically by some paleoanthropologists because of the absence in the fossil record of anything that would support the geneticists’ statistical calculations.
Two of the hunter-gatherers in the study, the Hadza and Sandawe of Tanzania, speak click languages and carry ancient DNA lineages that trace to the earliest branchings of the human family tree. The third group is that of the forest-dwelling pygmies of Cameroon, who also have ancient lineages and unusual blood types.
The geneticists, led by Joseph Lachance and Sarah A. Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, decoded the entire genomes of five men from each of these groups. The costs of whole-genome sequencing have fallen so much that the technique can now be applied to populations for the first time, said Dr. Tishkoff, who paid the company Complete Genomics around $10,000 for each of the 15 genomes.
Among the DNA sequences special to pygmies, Dr. Tishkoff and colleagues found a variant of the usual gene that controls development of the pituitary gland, the source of the hormones that control reproduction and growth. This could be the cause of the pygmies’ short stature and early age of reproduction, the researchers say.
The genomes of the pygmies and the Hadza and Sandawe click-speakers contained many short stretches of DNA with highly unusual sequences. Through mutation, the genomes of species that once had a common ancestor grow increasingly unlike one another. Dr. Tishkoff’s team interprets these divergent DNA sequences as genetic remnants of an interbreeding with an archaic species of human. Genetic calculations suggest the interbreeding took place between 20,000 and 80,000 years ago.
From calculations of the amount of divergence in the DNA, the geneticists estimate that the archaic species split from the ancestors of modern humans about 1.2 million years ago, about the same time as did the ancestors of the Neanderthals, who dominated Europe during the end of the last ice age.
But the archaic species has a different DNA sequence from that of Neanderthals, whose genome has been reconstructed from DNA surviving in ancient bones, and so may be a sister species, the geneticists say.
Inquiries into human origins are on strong ground when genetic data and fossil evidence point in the same direction, but at present geneticists and paleoanthropologists have somewhat different stories to tell. All human fossil remains in Africa for the last 100,000 years, and probably the last 200,000 years, are of modern humans, providing no support for a coexistent archaic species. Another team of geneticists reported in 2010 the finding that Neanderthals had interbred 100,000 years ago with Europeans and Asians, but not Africans. This, too, conflicted with the fossil evidence in implying that modern humans left Africa 100,000 years ago, some 55,000 years before the earliest known fossil evidence of this exodus.
In a report still under review, a third group of geneticists says there are signs of Neanderthals having interbred with Asians and East Africans. But Neanderthals were a cold-adapted species that never reached East Africa.
These three claims of interbreeding have opened up a serious discordance between geneticists and paleoanthropologists. For digesting the geneticists’ claims, “sup with a long spoon,” advised Bernard Wood, a paleoanthropologist at George Washington University.
Richard Klein, a paleoanthropologist at Stanford University, said the new claim of archaic and modern human interbreeding “is a further example of the tendency for geneticists to ignore fossil and archaeological evidence, perhaps because they think it can always be molded to fit the genetics after the fact.”
Dr. Klein said the claims of interbreeding could be “a methodological artifact” in the statistical assumptions on which the geneticists’ calculations are based. The flaw may come to light when enough inconsistent claims are published. “Meanwhile, I think it’s important to regard such claims skeptically when they are so clearly at odds with the fossil and archaeological records,” he said.
Dr. Tishkoff said that she agreed on the need for caution in making statistical inferences, and that there are other events besides interbreeding, like a piece of DNA getting flipped around the wrong way, that can make a single DNA sequence look ancient. “But when you see it at a genomewide level, it’s harder to explain away,” she said."
RESHARE: phys.org - Ions, not particles, make silver toxic to bacteria Provided by Rice University. July 11, 2012
Comment: I had heard somewhere that the copper used in pipes, cookware, and water jars had provided safer water and inhibited bacterial growth. Perhaps Cu ions could work in a similar way to Ag. In fact, oxidized copper (usually in the form of copper carbonate or copper acetate) is poisonous and has been used as fungicide and algaecide:
ABSTRACT For nearly a decade, researchers have debated the mechanisms by which AgNPs exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms. The most elusive question has been whether the AgNPs exert direct “particle-specific” effects beyond the known antimicrobial activity of released silver ions (Ag+). Here, we infer that Ag+ is the definitive molecular toxicant. We rule out direct particle-specific biological effects by showing the lack of toxicity of AgNPs when synthesized and tested under strictly anaerobic conditions that preclude Ag(0) oxidation and Ag+ release. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the toxicity of various AgNPs (PEG- or PVP- coated, of three different sizes each) accurately follows the dose–response pattern of E. coli exposed to Ag+ (added as AgNO3). Surprisingly, E. coli survival was stimulated by relatively low (sublethal) concentration of all tested AgNPs and AgNO3 (at 3–8 μg/L Ag+, or 12–31% of the minimum lethal concentration (MLC)), suggesting a hormetic response that would be counterproductive to antimicrobial applications. Overall, this work suggests that AgNP morphological properties known to affect antimicrobial activity are indirect effectors that primarily influence Ag+ release. Accordingly, antibacterial activity could be controlled (and environmental impacts could be mitigated) by modulating Ag+ release, possibly through manipulation of oxygen availability, particle size, shape, and/or type of coating.
Silver has been used as an antibacterial agent for hundreds of years, since the Phoenicians circa 1200BC to the 1900s when people used silver coins in milk bottles to keep it fresh. There has long been a debate about how the process works but that seems answered now by Rice University. "Silver ions delivered by nanoparticles to bacteria promote lysis". Lysis is the breaking down of a cell. The silver ions (Ag+) are released as part of the oxidization process so there doesn't need to be direct contact to work.
RESHARE: lifeslittlemysteries.com - Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents? By Natalie Wolchover. January 9, 2012
Comment: There are much stronger differences between British and American accents than the Rhotic/non-rhotic dichotomy. The accent from Northern England is even more distinctive and it has little to do with the upper class status of their speakers. I tend to believe that their accent is closer to the ancestral pronunciation and that the American has evolved separately in the last two centuries by contact with other accents (Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, Swede, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Yiddish, Russian, Norwegian, Hungarian, Greek, French, and Spanish). As a matter of fact, the Northeastern American accent is closer to the British accent than, say Midwestern, Southern, or Californian accents. Interestingly, Australian accents are closer to the British ones, whereas Canadian accents are more similar to some American accents. Perhaps because of the similarities between the immigrant origin of their respective populations. e.g. Bernard Morey · Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Then how to explain Australian English? It's non-rhotic and derived from Cockney and the dregs of British society around 1800. Transportees weren't adopting upper class pronunciation. Kevin Herridge I agree, Bernard. I am from East London, living in New Orleans, and often get mistaken for Australian. I just tell people that most of the the convicts shipped out to Australia were either from East London or Irish, hence the similarity in accent. Terence Francis Ha ha ha made me laugh! In '67 I was in Banff, Alberta with a Londoner and an Aussie. Recent arrivals, the Aussie repeated several times, What the...? Canadians oughta sound more like you & me - not like some Yank! He believed - given Australia and Canada's background similarities - SHOULD sound similar. Why he was angry is hard figure out...
Chris Steenson · Rainford Rani Brooks/Jessica Azzinnari May I ask then what process is used to determine the pronounciation of particular words (of say, the English language) for a group of people who died maybe 100 years ago? Do you suggest that language is not a living, constantly evolving part of human history and that merely the physical remains are enough to establish the relevant dialect? If this is the case; how is it that experts are unable to accurately and agree upon the enunciation of languages like Latin, Ogham, and others of long passed civilisations? ... My point is that given it is the same language that we all speak now - and one that has changed noticeably within our own generation world wide, how can anyone make an authorative statement as to the aural accent of anyone lond dead? If you can provide reliable and accurate evidence of how an unheard accent might sound and then actually prove that, I'll be happy to concede to the point.
In the same way as with ancestral DNA sequences are determined. Comparing many existing accents and finding their similarities and differences, trying to determine the place and moment of new changes and the pattern of their dissemination. Applying the parsimony principle when different alternative pathways can lead to the same result and no further information is available. Nevertheless, there are often complementary information, historic records of migrations and contacts with different populations can sometimes explain the appearance of changes (again, based on similarities with other accents of other languages). It's analogous to the work done in genetics to determine the phylogeny of a group of different organisms with a common ancestry, or the work in population genetics when studying the rate of hybridization between groups and genetic fluxes. __________________
Reshared text: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?
In 1776, whether you were declaring America independent from the crown or swearing your loyalty to King George III, your pronunciation would have been much the same. At that time, American and British accents hadn't yet diverged. What's surprising, though, is that Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen's English.
It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly.
Traditional English, whether spoken in the British Isles or the American colonies, was largely "rhotic." Rhotic speakers pronounce the "R" sound in such words as "hard" and "winter," while non-rhotic speakers do not. Today, however, non-rhotic speech is common throughout most of Britain. For example, most modern Brits would tell you it's been a "hahd wintuh."
It was around the time of the American Revolution that non-rhotic speech came into use among the upper class in southern England , in and around London. According to John Algeo in "The Cambridge History of the English Language" (Cambridge University Press, 2001), this shift occurred because people of low birth rank who had become wealthy during the Industrial Revolution were seeking ways to distinguish themselves from other commoners; they cultivated the prestigious non-rhotic pronunciation in order to demonstrate their new upper-class status .
"London pronunciation became the prerogative of a new breed of specialists — orthoepists and teachers of elocution. The orthoepists decided upon correct pronunciations, compiled pronouncing dictionaries and, in private and expensive tutoring sessions, drilled enterprising citizens in fashionable articulation," Algeo wrote.
The lofty manner of speech developed by these specialists gradually became standardized — it is officially called "Received Pronunciation" — and it spread across Britain. However, people in the north of England, Scotland and Ireland have largely maintained their traditional rhotic accents.
Most American accents have also remained rhotic, with some exceptions: New York and Boston accents have become non-rhotic. According to Algeo, after the Revolutionary War, these cities were "under the strongest influence by the British elite."
en.wikipedia.org - Current status of human civilization (Kardashev scale) By Wikipedia editors. Retrieved May 28, 2012
<< Current status of human civilization
Michio Kaku suggested that humans may attain Type I status in about 100–200 years, Type II status in a few thousand years, and Type III status in about 100,000 to a million years. Carl Sagan suggested to define intermediate values (not considered in Kardashev's original) by interpolating and extrapolating the values given above for types 1, 2 and 3, by using the formula K = log10(M·W) / 10, where value K is a civilization's Kardashev rating and MW is the power it uses, in megawatts. He calculated humanity's civilization type (in 1973) to be about 0.7, with respect to this extrapolation (apparently using 10 terawatt (TW) as the value for 1970s humanity). In 2008, total world energy consumption was 474 exajoules (474×1018 J=132,000 TWh), equivalent to an average energy consumption rate of 15 terawatts (1.504×1013 W - 0.7 Kardashev scale). The total photosynthetic productivity of earth is between ~1500–2250 TW, or 47,300–71,000 exajoules per year. Using a figure of 178,000 TJ of solar energy hitting the Earth's surface (see Earth's energy budget), the total photosynthetic efficiency of the planet is 0.84% to 1.26%, making nature a 0.8 Kardashev scale civilization.
Sarah Kavassalis May 28, 2012 2:03 AM (OP) Huh. Certainly makes the 'how do we get people to take the environment more seriously?' question more difficult if 'education' isn't really the answer. ---------------------------------
Zephyr López Cervilla May 28, 2012 2:49 AM Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said... "What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society." eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/yu-ysc052512.php
- So Ellen Peters et al. arrogated to themselves the authority to determine what is better for society? ---------------------------------
aimee whitcroft May 28, 2012 3:00 AM Um, many people would agree that treating our environment well is, indeed, a good thing for society overall (even if individuals are sometimes inconvenienced). And, to be honest, it is often pretty clear when an action is positive for, or damaging to, a society. It's kinda how we end up having laws and so forth. ---------------------------------
Zephyr López Cervilla May 28, 2012 3:48 AM So for instance, was the Neolithic Revolution a good thing for society overall? Unlike some people beliefs, people usually lived well in the Paleolithic Age. In fact, their health and living conditions were much better than later. And for the environment? What was it better, the wild environment or the land progressively occupied for crops and animal husbandry with a relatively small number of species? What about the Industrial Revolution? Was it good for society? and for the environment? Changes usually imply a tradeoff. Some people are harmed, some other are able to find opportunities. Many people have fear to change, but either founded or not change is inevitable. For example, the farming revolution [under those conditions] was unstoppable. Those societies who continued living in a hunter and gatherer economy were progressively pushed and forced to leave their land by other more numerous farming peoples despite their better living conditions. ---------------------------------
aimee whitcroft May 28, 2012 3:48 AM Zephyr, this thread (and the post which started it) are clearly about climate change, and getting the public (and politicians) to behave in a way which suggests they understand the immediacy of the problem. The scientists made that clear, and were certainly not appointing themselves the deciders of all that is good/bad. Beware extrapolation outwards where it's not needed. --------------------------------- URL related G+ post: plus.google.com/109017328710054242431/posts/aPitzHwcZLw --------------------------------- #kardashevscale #nikolaikardashev #michiokaku #carlsagan ---------------------------------
sciencedaily.com - Experiment Provides Unprecedented Insight Into Cloud Formation August 25, 2011 (reposted after 14 hours)
Comment: This is news 7-month old that I had missed at the time the first results came (published on 25 August, 2011). Nevertheless, it still has of significative value since this is one of the few and reliable experimental systems to assess the different theoretical models that have been proposed on the formation of clouds and their consequent impact in the Earth's climate. The formation of clouds is one of the most essential modulating elements of the climate (due to its effects on the amount of Sun radiation reflected and emitted), and yet it's very poorly understood. Interestingly, it took almost a year to publish the brief paper (a letter) since the editor reception. The first time I heard of the CLOUD project was at some point between 2002-2004 thanks to Nigel Calder's reference to a hypothesis on cloud formation that had been proposed by Henrik Svensmark. However, the submission of the CLOUD proposal at CERN goes back to April 24, 2000 (reference below) so it's taken more than a decade until the first experimental results has been published. It'd suggest to watch the colloquium hosted byJasper Kirby, the lead researcher of the study, on June 2009, at a time when they hadn't yet obtained the first results. Additionally, there're a couple of explanatory videos about the experiment and the project after the first results were published.
Journal reference: - Jasper Kirkby et al. Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation.Nature, 2011; 476 (7361): 429 DOI: 10.1038/nature10343
Received 09 September 2010 Accepted 24 June 2011 Published online 24 August 2011
AUTHORS Jasper Kirkby, Joachim Curtius, João Almeida, Eimear Dunne, Jonathan Duplissy, Sebastian Ehrhart, Alessandro Franchin, Stéphanie Gagné, Luisa Ickes, Andreas Kürten, Agnieszka Kupc, Axel Metzger, Francesco Riccobono, Linda Rondo, Siegfried Schobesberger, Georgios Tsagkogeorgas, Daniela Wimmer, Antonio Amorim, Federico Bianchi, Martin Breitenlechner, André David, Josef Dommen, Andrew Downard, Mikael Ehn, Richard C. Flagan, Stefan Haider, Armin Hansel, Daniel Hauser, Werner Jud, Heikki Junninen, Fabian Kreissl, Alexander Kvashin, Ari Laaksonen, Katrianne Lehtipalo, Jorge Lima, Edward R. Lovejoy, Vladimir Makhmutov, Serge Mathot, Jyri Mikkilä, Pierre Minginette, Sandra Mogo, Tuomo Nieminen, Antti Onnela, Paulo Pereira, Tuukka Petäjä, Ralf Schnitzhofer, John H. Seinfeld, Mikko Sipilä, Yuri Stozhkov, Frank Stratmann, Antonio Tomé, Joonas Vanhanen, Yrjo Viisanen, Aron Vrtala, Paul E. Wagner, Hansueli Walther, Ernest Weingartner, Heike Wex, Paul M. Winkler, Kenneth S. Carslaw, Douglas R. Worsnop, Urs Baltensperger, Markku Kulmala.
ABSTRACT <<Atmospheric aerosols exert an important influence on climate through their effects on stratiform cloud albedo and lifetime and the invigoration of convective storms. Model calculations suggest that almost half of the global cloud condensation nuclei in the atmospheric boundary layer may originate from the nucleation of aerosols from trace condensable vapours, although the sensitivity of the number of cloud condensation nuclei to changes of nucleation rate may be small. Despite extensive research, fundamental questions remain about the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid particles and the mechanisms responsible, including the roles of galactic cosmic rays and other chemical species such as ammonia. Here we present the first results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN. We find that atmospherically relevant ammonia mixing ratios of 100 parts per trillion by volume, or less, increase the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid particles more than 100–1,000-fold. Time-resolved molecular measurements reveal that nucleation pro- ceeds by a base-stabilization mechanism involving the stepwise accretion of ammonia molecules. Ions increase the nucleation rate by an additional factor of between two and more than ten at ground-level galactic-cosmic-ray intensities, provided that the nucleation rate lies below the limiting ion-pair production rate. We find that ion-induced binary nucleation of H2SO4–H2O can occur in the mid-troposphere but is negligible in the boundary layer. However, even with the large enhancements in rate due to ammonia and ions, atmospheric concentrations of ammonia and sulphuric acid are insufficient to account for observed boundary-layer nucleation.>>
INTRODUCTION <<The primary vapour responsible for atmospheric nucleation is thought to be sulphuric acid. However, theory suggests that peak con- centrations in the boundary layer (10^6–10^7 cm^-3; ref. 8) are usually too low for the binary nucleation of H2SO4–H2O to proceed. Furthermore, after nucleation there is generally insufficient H2SO4 to grow the clusters to cloud condensation nucleus sizes (more than 50nm), so organic species are primarily responsible for particle growth. Nucleation of sulphuric acid particles is known to be enhanced by the presence of ternary species such as ammonia or organic compounds such as amines or oxidized organic compounds. Ions are also expected to enhance nucleation, and ion-induced nucleation has been observed in the atmosphere. Because the primary source of ions in the global troposphere is galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), their role in atmospheric nucleation is of considerable interest as a possible physical mechanism for climate variability caused by the Sun.
Here we address three issues that currently limit our understanding of atmospheric nucleation and its influence on climate. First, quantitative measurements of the roles of ions and ternary vapours are lacking. Second, the nucleation mechanism and the molecular composition of the critical nucleus have not been directly measured. Third, it remains an open question whether laboratory measurements are able to reproduce atmospheric observations: recent experiments have concluded that atmospheric concentrations of H2SO4 and H2O without ternary vapours are sufficient or insufficient to explain boundary-layer nucleation rates.
We present here the first results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN (see Methods, Supplementary Information and Supplementary Fig. 1 for experimental details). The measurements, obtained at the CERN Proton Synchrotron, represent the most rigorous laboratory evaluation yet accomplished of binary, ternary and ion-induced nucleation of sulphuric acid particles under atmospheric conditions.>>
LAST WORDS <<The CLOUD measurements have also quantified the enhancement of ion-induced nucleation compared with neutral nucleation. Ground-level GCR ionization substantially increases the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid and sulphuric acid–ammonia particles, by between twofold and tenfold or more, provided that the nucleation rate lies below the limiting ion-pair production rate. Although we have not yet duplicated the concentrations or complexities of atmospheric organic vapours, we find that ion enhancement of nucleation occurs for all temperatures, humidities and cluster compositions observed so far. Ion-induced nucleation will manifest itself as a steady production of new particles that is difficult to isolate in atmospheric observations because of other sources of variability but is nevertheless taking place and could be quite large when averaged globally over the troposphere. However, the fraction of these freshly nucleated particles that grow to sufficient sizes to seed cloud droplets, as well as the role of organic vapours in the nucleation and growth processes, remain open questions experimentally. These are important findings for the potential link between galactic cosmic rays and clouds.>>
RESHARE: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy - Ötzi the Iceman / Similaun Man / Man from Hauslabjoch Lived about 5,300 years ago. Found in Ötztal (valley), on 19 September, 1991
Pic #2: tattoos on acupressure/acupuncture spots.
Tattoos <<Ötzi had several carbon tattoos including groups of short, parallel, vertical lines to both sides of the lumbar spine, a cruciform mark behind the right knee, and various marks around both ankles. Radiological examination of his bones showed "age-conditioned or strain-induced degeneration" in these areas, including osteochondrosis and slight spondylosis in the lumbar spine and wear-and-tear degeneration in the knee and especially the ankle joints. It has been speculated that these tattoos may have been related to pain relief treatments similar to acupressure or acupuncture. If so, this is at least 2000 years before their previously known earliest use in China (c. 1000 BC).>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi_the_Iceman#Tattoos
Genetic analysis <<A group of scientists have sequenced Ötzi's full genome and the report was published on 28 February 2012. Dr. Eduard Egarter-Vigl said in an interview that the Y-DNA of Ötzi belongs to the subclade G2a4 which has since been renamed G2a2b. Analysis of his mitochondrial DNA has shown that Ötzi belongs to the K1 subclade, but cannot be categorized into any of the three modern branches of that subclade (K1a, K1b or K1c). The new subclade has provisionally been named K1ö for Ötzi. Multiplex assay study was able to confirm that the Iceman's mtDNA belongs to a new European mtDNA clade with a very limited distribution amongst modern data sets. He is most closely related to southern Europeans, particularly geographically isolated populations of Sardinia and Corsica. DNA analysis also showed him at high risk of atherosclerosis, lactose intolerance, and the presence of the DNA sequence of Borrelia burgdorferi making him the earliest known human with Lyme disease.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi_the_Iceman#Genetic_analysis
Legal dispute Italian law entitled the Simons to a finders' fee from the South Tyrolean provincial government of 25% of the value of Ötzi. In 1994 the authorities offered a "symbolic" reward of 10 million lire (€5,200), which the Simons turned down. In 2003, the Simons filed a lawsuit which asked a court in Bolzano to recognize their role in Ötzi's discovery and declare them his "official discoverers". The court decided in the Simons' favor in November 2003, and at the end of December that year the Simons announced that they were seeking US$300,000 as their fee. The provincial government decided to appeal. In addition, two people came forward to claim that they were part of the same mountaineering party that came across Ötzi and discovered the body first: Magdalena Mohar Jarc, a Slovenian actress, who alleged that she discovered the corpse first, and shortly after returning to an alpine house, asked Helmut Simon to take photographs of Ötzi. Sandra Nemeth, from Switzerland, who contended that she found the corpse before Helmut and Erika Simon, and that she spat on Ötzi to make sure that her DNA would be found on the body later. She asked for a DNA test on the remains, but experts believed that there was little chance of finding any trace. The rival claims were heard by a Bolzano court. The legal case angered Mrs. Simon, who alleged that neither woman was present on the mountain that day. This position is supported by a detailed description of the Iceman's discovery by Austrian researcher Elisabeth Rastbichler-Zissernig. In 2005, Mrs. Simon's lawyer said: "Mrs. Simon is very upset by all this and by the fact that these two new claimants have decided to appear 14 years after Ötzi was found." In 2004, Helmut Simon died. Two years later, in June 2006, an appeals court affirmed that the Simons had indeed discovered the Iceman and were therefore entitled to a finder's fee. It also ruled that the provincial government had to pay the Simons' legal costs. After this ruling, Mrs. Erika Simon reduced her claim to €150,000. The provincial government's response was that the expenses it had incurred to establish a museum and the costs of preserving the Iceman should be considered in determining the finder's fee. It insisted it would pay no more than €50,000. In September 2006, the authorities appealed the case to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation. On 29 September 2008 it was announced that the provincial government and Mrs. Simon had reached a settlement of the dispute, under which she would receive €150,000 in recognition of Ötzi's discovery by her and her late husband and the tourist income that it attracts.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi_the_Iceman#Legal_dispute
Reshared text: Move over +Sheldon Cooper, I think I've found my next board game! I've mentioned 3 dimensional chess from Star Trek, virtual chess over hangouts, and vertical chess that can double as art, but this 3 Man Chess board takes the cake. It's a variant that can accommodate three players without compromising any of the original rules! So what do you say, any takers? ;)
youtube.com - Nancy Sinatra - You Only Live Twice By John Barry and Leslie Bricusse. 1967
Comment: The song in the record of the movie soundtrack is of much better sound quality: itunes.apple.com/us/album/you-only-live-twice/id306797750?i=306797751&l=en In contrast, the music of this video is like hearing a cheap radio receiver tuned to an AM radio station. I picked this over the rest is because it was the only video I could find on YouTube 1. with the titles scene of the movie, and 2. without the idiotic introductory scene of the James Bond movies. BTW, I recommend a thorough sampling of all Nancy Sinatra's albums, you may discover some gems which never became great hits (not here the case). ____________
'You Only Live Twice' Lyrics
You Only Live Twice or so it seems, One life for yourself and one for your dreams.
You drift through the years and life seems tame, Till one dream appears and love is its name.
And love is a stranger who'll beckon you on, Don't think of the danger or the stranger is gone.
This dream is for you, so pay the price. Make one dream come true, you only live twice.
And love is a stranger who'll beckon you on, Don't think of the danger or the stranger is gone.
This dream is for you, so pay the price. Make one dream come true, you only live twice. ____________
Michael E. Mann: "I think we have to stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy#Climatic_Research_Unit_emails ___________________
Excerpt from comments:
John Baez Aug 11, 2012 8:47 AM (edited) - Public The people who continue to attack climate scientist Michael Mann's famous old work remind me of the people who try to disprove special relativity by finding flaws in the original experiment that tested it. They forget that science is massively cross-checked. No one experiment proves a theory, so finding a flaw in one experiment - or paper - can''t disprove a theory. Sending death threats to a scientist is even more pathetic: doing this is practically an admission that you can't win a fair argument.
John Baez Aug 11, 2012 7:50 AM I'll remind people that as usual, I will delete any comments that are impolite: rudeness, ridicule or bullying of any sort are forbidden.
Charlie Ebert Aug 11, 2012 8:15 AM (edited) "Planet of the Apes" was based off of fiction? Gee. I wonder where they looked to find the inspiration for that movie. Ha ha. Well, at least they aren't trying to pass a constitutional amendment against the guy. He doesn't have that kind of social trouble yet... I have to laugh at this John. I'm sorry. There are times when I feel that this country is just one great big mental institution. It's the planet of the crazies... I guess it's all in WHO YOU RESPECT. People who live under bridges and are alcoholics sometimes make up theories also but are hardly ever attacked in doing so by the people who have put their faith in 2000 year old books of knowledge...
Reshared text: "There is a clear connection between the behavior at climate denialist blogs and the abuse directed towards climate scientists. Denialist blog posts constantly leap from their own flawed scientific analyses to the conclusion that climate scientists must be guilty of fraud, data manipulation, and other immoral behavior. The letters received by climate scientists contain this same sort of language, with baseless accusations of fraud and data manipulation, followed by abusive language and often death threats."
"Climate denialist blogs are also the source of the CEI and National Review accusations of fraud, which soon warped into a denigrating comparison betwen an honest climate scientist and a serial child molester. Instead of condemning this reprehensible behavior, climate denialist ringleader WattsUpWithThat in particular appears to encourage it."
RESHARE: Shot taken from the top of Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles By Tom Anderson. April 12, 2012
257 comments (excerpt)
Scott Price 8:50 AM Very nice capture!
Nicole Dy 8:50 AM nice.....^_^
Dale Wood 8:51 AM I love it when the sun makes those SPECTACULAR rays of light thru the cloulds...Nice Pic!!<D
Aishwarya Mitra 8:55 AM the sky is looking awesome
Arief Nasution 8:56 AM nice
Bryan Nabong 8:57 AM love the lines in the clouds! oh... and clouds!
Carolyn St.Charles 9:04 AM You can cloud my profile, +Tom Anderson Very nicely done.
Hilman Sofyan 9:04 AM i like it,,,
ferry enzo 9:05 AM wow
Melissa Solito 9:06 AM Fantastic shot! :) Can I also use this for my profile cover photo? Heehee!
onnie hull 9:11 AM really pretty +Tom Anderson
Leon Malan 9:23 AM Awesome...well done on the shot...and the composition...
DALLAS Toya 9:37 AM glorius Tom! are u taking these pics?? ------------------------- Tom Anderson 9:39 AM +2 thanks +DALLAS Toya yes, I'm a "newbie" photographer :) ------------------------- Cassandra Van Hout 9:40 AM Wow. The sky looks almost unreal. :) ------------------------- Zephyr López Cervilla 9:43 AM +2 The framing is OK but I don't like much the filter applied, specially its effect on the vegetation. I'd rather see the real colors of the plants, although probably is a matter of personal preference, like with the food. I wouldn't be eager to eat the most exquisite blue cheese either. Likewise, I would only add or apply some filter to prevent artifacts such as a white sky when it's actually blue, to remove excessive reflexion that is hindering to see the shape of the objects or when it isn't desired, etc. Perhaps shooting later in the afternoon or earlier in the morning would have improved the lightning of the scene (or during a solar eclipse.) ------------------------- elvira manoppo Vira 9:44 AM Very nice............ ------------------------- DALLAS Toya 9:45 AM +Tom Anderson im really impressed. your pics are awe-inspiring! what kinda cam & lens you working with? my daughter is a newbie photographer too. on yearbook staff @ her high school. ------------------------- Jianyao Zhou 9:48 AM Very nice. ------------------------- Tom Anderson 9:49 AM +1 +Zephyr López Cervilla what makes you think I or anyone would want to read what you've just written? :) ------------------------- Muhammad Usman 9:49 AM nice...
neelaka sumedha 9:50 AM Nice
Putuma Mvovo 9:51 AM explains the parallel universes theory ... it looks amazing
Siva Kumar 9:55 AM Awesome..!!!
Josh Benoit 9:56 AM Nice shot! Love the colour balance. Bottom left looks a little screwy though. ------------------------- Tom Anderson 9:56 AM +DALLAS Toya I'm using a Nikon D4 :) ------------------------- Kazuo Ishikawa 9:59 AM great!
Jon Joh 9:59 AM earthporn
Gemi Tiara Widuri 10:03 AM awesome
milly vassallo 10:04 AM wow
Belbayar Purevdagva 10:05 AM wow
anthony tee 10:09 AM i love it
Siva Kumar 10:10 AM Sure..! Everyone will Love It..!;-);-)
Vaibhav Sharma 10:11 AM LIKE
Albert Lum 10:12 AM i like it
Sayyidatul Lailiyah 10:14 AM woww.. thats sooo beautiful..
selva raj 10:17 AM sweet location ------------------------- Tom Anderson 10:17 AM thanks +Oskar Haeger ------------------------- Neeraj Bakshi 10:18 AM that's natural beauty
Carrie, Quite Contrary 10:18 AM Glorious beauty, thank you for sharing! ;0)
Chris Ng 10:19 AM awesome
Bryant Carter 10:20 AM Nice view. Makes you wanna soar over it almost.
Eric Stoliker 10:33 AM Another real nice one Tom!
Karen Taylor 10:37 AM Great shot.
Royce Lohonauman 10:37 AM Great Shoot Tom :)
rizh U marquez 10:38 AM +1 wOw nice
Hui Hui 10:38 AM this is awesomE! ------------------------- Zephyr López Cervilla 10:56 AM (edited) +3 +Tom Anderson: "+Zephyr López Cervilla what makes you think I or anyone would want to read what you've just written? :)" - Well, I thought that this was the comments section, thus not just restricted to questions or flattery (nothing against those, otherwise). I usually try to write in my comments what I think regardless of what others may want to listen. As I see it, any comment is valuable if it fits to the topic (or try to ask or answer a more or less related question), and it doesn't make use of unnecesary harsh language or personal attacks trying to annoy others or make them angry. And it's valuable even if the comment turns out to be unintentionally mistaken or inaccurate. Perhaps I'm not very picky with others comments. Of course, nobody is forced to read a particular comment if they don't want. ------------------------- Tom Anderson 11:01 AM +Zephyr López Cervilla I noticed Thomas Hawk posted this today: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104987932455782713675/posts/MN7gKMtii9p ... In particular, the quote "Unless someone holds their work up and specifically asks for negative criticism, I think it's bad form to offer it up unsolicited. Most of this is just petty jealousy masked as criticism," is what I was thinking about. I wouldn't walk up to your wife and point out that she's ugly or I don't like her makeup... It's just rude and unnecessary. ------------------------- Ishita Sachan 11:03 AM+1 Nice pic Tom. Can U tag some more?????????????? If U can!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anshumaan yadav 11:04 AM r u a photographer ..as u click so nice pics.
Catching Kumpin 11:05 AM so nice
Yanudett Leiva 11:07 AM nice :)
Donna BlacK 11:10 AM beautiful pic, every day a new painting in the sky to see
wahyu rizki indah permatasari 11:13 AM wow.. what a beautiful pict :)
appu jha 11:13 AM nice picture
aashiyana kk 11:14 AM nice pic
jodo gays 11:18 AM super
wira mask 11:20 AM amazing
*Sherjeel Chughtai*11:20 AM this is beautiful
Kirsten Plotkin 11:21 AM Wow! Tom. That's a great photo
Maya Gem 11:22 AM a great photo !!!!
Judy Wenger 11:24 AM This photo makes me feel as though I am flying above the landscape. Well done.
Aditya Kanade11:24 AM in love with this sky... :) <3 ------------------------- Saim Khan 11:25 AM+1 photo is is great but what is meant by LA ------------------------- Jercy John11:32 AM Amazing..
Suman Chakraborty11:32 AM Awesome... ------------------------- Tom Anderson 11:33 AM hi +Saim Khan Sorry, being a little America-centric. LA stands for Los Angeles :-) ------------------------- Hasnur Jaman 11:36 AM My dreams comes true
Shiva Kumar 11:37 AM Excellent
imtiaz ali 11:37 AM lovely
Shubhendu Bikash Mazumder 11:38 AM Amazing . . .
prathamesh more 11:40 AM awesome
Chinta Catterfeld 11:46 AM amazing.....
Alexander Novikov 11:46 AM Great!
Carlos Balderas 11:47 AM Awesome shot. The background looks nice, and the sky with two different types of clouds look fantastic.
Zaid Solomons 11:58 AM I feel like super man , cool pic ....
Rey Sarmiento 12:26 PM wow.. amazing shot ------------------------- Zephyr López Cervilla 12:35 PM (edited) +2 +Tom Anderson: <<+Zephyr López Cervilla I noticed Thomas Hawk posted this today: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104987932455782713675/posts/MN7gKMtii9p ... In particular, the quote "Unless someone holds their work up and specifically asks for negative criticism, I think it's bad form to offer it up unsolicited. Most of this is just petty jealousy masked as criticism," is what I was thinking about. I wouldn't walk up to your wife and point out that she's ugly or I don't like her makeup... It's just rude and unnecessary.>>
- That's Thomas Hawk's opinion, it doesn't necessarily make it true (or right), although I would agree with a significant part of his post.
"Most of this is just petty jealousy masked as criticism"
Since my previous comment didn't mask anything I can't take the hint. I was honest giving my opinion. If I had been moved by jelousy I guess would have negatively criticized other pictures before, or in a more intensive manner, or perhaps other more personal pictures. As I said in my first post my criticism was probably a matter of personal preference, so I agree with Hawks when he says that art is subjective. Even so, I tried to explain my preference, I usually like to see things (or at least landscapes) as close as if I was there, or at least have that feeling. If I had tried to maliciously attack your work, I guess I would have tried to support my criticism with something more other than my personal preference (the opposite isn't necessarily true, you can be well intended and yet try to find more support for your criticism.)
It's funny because somehow Thomas Hawk's post is also about filters:
"By empowering us with filters, as individuals, this frees Google from the messy work of broader censorship and having to, as a company, deal with the the worst of the worst in a community."
Fortunately, we have still places where we can express our opinion with relative freedom. Have a good day. ------------------------- . . . ------------------------- Tom Anderson 6:36 PM +2 +Zephyr López Cervilla I agree you don't seem malicious or jealous. I recognize you qualified your own thoughts by noting it's personal preference. If I told you your wife was unattractive and I preferred brunettes to blondes and that her makeup was all wrong and then said, "but I know most of the world prefers blondes" does that make it any less rude? Did you ask for my critique? No. You pointed out that you like to say what you think, regardless of what other people want to hear... You're not a child Zephyr, you don't need to blurt out everything that's in your head... My point: show some decorum. Don't criticize others' creative works unless they ask for your opinion. ------------------------- #psychology #socialmedia #filters #photography #photoshop #instagram #tomanderson #flickr #thomashawk ------------------------- URL source post: plus.google.com/112063946124358686266/posts/dj5u72xxpbK
Reshared text: Interesting clouds, aren't they? I've seen these kind of stretched out clouds before, but I'd never seen puffy clouds underneath these stretchers.. I wonder if that means the wind was at different speeds at different altitudes? Maybe a cloud expert can chime in here... :-)
This shot was taken from the top of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Note: On the day G+ launched its new profile style, I was in LA. I went out to capture a cover photo and this was the shot I took. Some people had asked to see the full photo, here it is... (My cover photo is a really close-up crop of this photo.)
RESHARE: discovermagazine.com - Chocolate & Red Meat Can Be Bad for Your Science: Why Many Nutrition Studies Are All Wrong By Gary Taubes. April 5, 2012
Excerpt: <<Both of these studies were classic examples of what is known technically as observational epidemiology, a field of research I discussed at great length back in 2007 in a cover article for in the New York Times Magazine. The article was called “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?” and I made the argument that this particular pursuit is closer to a pseudoscience than a real science.
As a case study, I used a collaboration of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, led by Walter Willett, who runs the Nurses’ Health Study. And I pointed out that every time that these Harvard researchers had claimed that an association observed in their observational trials was a causal relationship—that food or drug X caused disease or health benefit Y—and that this supposed causal relationship had then been tested in experiment, the experiment had failed to confirm the causal interpretation—i.e., the folks from Harvard got it wrong. Not most times, but every time.>>
RESHARE: reason.com/reasontv - How 'Pro-Choice' Are Democrats? (3:52) Produced by Paul Detrick and Zach Weissmueller. September 5, 2012
Comment: Did nobody want to comment on this post? This video deserves better. It reveals the hypocrisy of most democrat voters, and the myth that they are liberal in social issues. If they were really liberal-minded, they would accept people's freedom to do with their own lives what they saw fit. In contrast, they don't want to let people eat what they want, buy certain kind of light bulbs, send their children to the school that they want, and respect their right not to join a union. That attitude has nothing of liberal, it's simply despotic. It has a clear precedent:
<<In effect, the monarchs ruled with the intent of improving the lives of their subjects in order to strengthen or reinforce their authority. Implicit in this philosophy was that the sovereign knew the interests of his subjects better than they themselves; his responsibility to them thus precluded their political participation.
Video blurb: <<The official Democratic Party platform "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."
Reason TV talked with Democratic delegates and supporters at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and found that most were on board with the party's strong pro-choice stance. But when pressed to talk about whether or not they were pro-choice in areas of human activity beyond abortion, delegates and supporters seemed less certain and, at times, outright hostile to the notion of increased choice.>>
Advice: If you're an American voter, I'd suggest you to vote for the "independent" candidate Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), the only pro-choice candidate for almost* any personal decision.
*: Johnson's electoral program only proposes the legalization of marihuana but not any of the "hard" drugs, what I judge as an abuse on the right to take personal decisions that don't undermine the rights of others.
RESHARE: torrentfreak.com - Music Piracy Is NOT a Problem, It’s an Excuse By Sudara Williams (Ramen Music) June 30, 2012
It’s 2012 and “Piracy” is still a hot topic of conversation in the industry. People who torrent music or have a huge music library are accused of screwing over artists, stealing, and being entitled. Piracy is still cited as The Main Reason Why Artists Are Broke. ____________________
Excerpt from G+ comments:
Kennedy Pittman July 3, 2012 6:00 AM Stealing music IS stealing. I am glad it's becoming more convenient to use legal services than to steal. I would probably still have a job in music if people didn't steal so don't tell me it doesn't hurt anybody.
Kennedy Pittman July 3, 2012 6:13 AM +1 Also, saying "I'll pay the artists not the labels" is like saying "I'll pay actors but not studios or directors".
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think artists should try to change people. Artists must find new biz models. The thieves are your fans - embrace them But the ignorance of the thieves drives me nuts. ____________________
Comment: Protecting copyright is like protecting slavery. When the slaves were freed and went away the economy of the plantations of cotton and sugar cane were damaged. Certainly, had never existed the abolishment of slavery, slave traders and many other people who worked in the slave industry would have kept their jobs.
+Chris Pirillo: "Copyright ≠ Slavery" - Both copyright and slavery are restrictions to individual freedom for the economic profit of a minority (respectively planters/sugar producers/cotton manufacturers, and professional artists and writers).
If copyright is such a good thing, why don't we extend it to any intellectual work? Of course, all in the name of promoting progress and innovation. For instance,
1. in science: physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, biology, etc. E.g., you would need permission of Albert Einstein's descendents (Einstein died in 1955 + 70 years = 2025) to publish any work on relativity, on the photoelectric effect, or to use derivative ideas of those theories in any sci-fi novel and movie, technologic devices such as solar panels or even for accurate GPS-based measurements.
Every time that a sismic evaluation was performed to build some structure until 2000, they should have payed a fee to Alfred Wegener for the use of his continental drift theory in which all predictions of quakes are based upon.
To use of the genetic code (1960s) to determine DNA sequences from amino acidic sequences or vice-versa everyone should ask the heirs of Leder, Nirenberg et al. for permission and pay a fee.
What better recognition of their talent and contribution to the progress of humankind than paying them for their discoveries and derivative work?
2. in technology: patent rights, instead of about 20 years, the rest of the lifetime of the inventor plus 70 years.
If the Walt Disney's decendents can still take some profit from Micky Mouse and Goofy, why not Wright Brothers heirs? Imagine how many planes are flying over the world using manouvring devices that were first developed by the Wright. During the first years the aviation couldn't produce much profit, it's been in the last 40 years when the goose of the golden eggs has begun to lay, since Orville died in 1948 his heirs would profit of their powered-airplane related patents until 2018.
Likewise for gasoline cars, Karl Benz died in 1929, plus 70 years would be until 1999 with the exclusive for the gasoline-engine automobiles.
3. in language: everytime someone creates a new word or new expression that person would have all the rest of their life to exploit their creation with the exclusive of its use, plus 70 years for their heirs.
E.g., Internet (1974), website (c. 1993), smartphone (1973), laptop (1983), user interface, email, web server, software (1958), digital camera (c. 1990), video/audio stream, download/upload, pixel (1965), etc.
Could you imagine how many words we could have now if their creators could get some money of their words? Just as the names of the web domains florished when they could register and sell their rights.
There would be firms devoted to invent words and market the use of their words, similarly to the news agencies when selling their pictures to the media. You want to use some new word in your blog, an email, a comment in a forum, a post, an article, a book? in such case you should pay for it to its legitimate creator.
Our vocabulary would dramatically increase with the addition of billions of new words. Shakespeare's efforts to enrich the English language would dwarf in front of this revolution in language.
If you support copyright but you're willing to leave out certain kind of intellectual work because you find it convenient then you are being a hypocrite, you're supporting a double standards policy that has nothing to do with fairness and equity, but simple greed, intended to protect the interests and priveleges of a caste of intellectuals and artists.
RESHARE: usatoday.com - Climate Summit By Joel Pett. July 16, 2009
Comment: So they couldn't care less about the climate, it's just a pretext to push their own political agenda: - protectionism, - interventionist foreign policy, - planned economy, - environmentalism, - nanny state, - crony capitalism, - technocracy, - eugenics, indoctrination, - etc., etc.
Climate Summit - Energy Independence - Preserve Rainforests - Sustainability - Green Jobs - Livable Cities - Renewables - Clean Water, Air - Healthy Children - etc. etc. Technocrat: "What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"
Abstract Tauopathy in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease starts in the entorhinal cortex (EC) and spreads anatomically in a defined pattern. To test whether pathology initiating in the EC spreads through the brain along synaptically connected circuits, we have generated a transgenic mouse model that differentially expresses pathological human tau in the EC and we have examined the distribution of tau pathology at different timepoints. In relatively young mice (10–11 months old), human tau was present in some cell bodies, but it was mostly observed in axons within the superficial layers of the medial and lateral EC, and at the terminal zones of the perforant pathway. In old mice (>22 months old), intense human tau immunoreactivity was readily detected not only in neurons in the superficial layers of the EC, but also in the subiculum, a substantial number of hippocampal pyramidal neurons especially in CA1, and in dentate gyrus granule cells. Scattered immunoreactive neurons were also seen in the deeper layers of the EC and in perirhinal and secondary somatosensory cortex. Immunoreactivity with the conformation-specific tau antibody MC1 correlated with the accumulation of argyrophilic material seen in old, but not young mice. In old mice, axonal human tau immunoreactivity, especially at the endzones of the perforant pathway, was greatly reduced. Relocalization of tau from axons to somatodendritic compartments and propagation of tauopathy to regions outside of the EC correlated with mature tangle formation in neurons in the EC as revealed by thioflavin-S staining. Our data demonstrate propagation of pathology from the EC and support a trans-synaptic mechanism of spread along anatomically connected networks, between connected and vulnerable neurons. In general, the mouse recapitulates the tauopathy that defines the early stages of AD and provides a model for testing mechanisms and functional outcomes associated with disease progression. __________________________________
The New York Times - Path Is Found for the Spread of Alzheimer’s By Gina Kolata. February 1, 2012
Excerpt: <<Alzheimer’s disease seems to spread like an infection from brain cell to brain cell, two new studies in mice have found. But instead of viruses or bacteria, what is being spread is a distorted protein known as tau.
The surprising finding answers a longstanding question and has immediate implications for developing treatments, researchers said. And they suspect that other degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s may spread in a similar way.
Alzheimer’s researchers have long known that dying, tau-filled cells first emerge in a small area of the brain where memories are made and stored. The disease then slowly moves outward to larger areas that involve remembering and reasoning.
But for more than a quarter-century, researchers have been unable to decide between two explanations. One is that the spread may mean that the disease is transmitted from neuron to neuron, perhaps along the paths that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. Or it could simply mean that some brain areas are more resilient than others and resist the disease longer.
The new studies provide an answer. And they indicate it may be possible to bring Alzheimer’s disease to an abrupt halt early on by preventing cell-to-cell transmission, perhaps with an antibody that blocks tau.>> __________________________________
Comment: I remember some years ago they started a clinical trial intended to generate an immune response against the beta-amyloid peptide using a smaller oligopeptide (some kind of vaccine against it). However they had to cancelled it after some patients started to suffer from generalized inflammation in the brain (it's possible that some of them even died). The problem seemed to be that the immune reaction wasn't specific enough (there was cross immunity). Later they tried creating an even smaller oligopeptide that could generate an immunogenic response against the beta-amyloid peptide with the hope that this time the response generated were more specific. I have no idea if that new peptide was ever tested in humans. On the other hand, the use of a mass-produced antibodies (necessarily of different allotype from the patient ones) for a prolonged period of time against the peptide tau would be a much more expensive procedure and would probably need of a combined treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, causing similar adverse effects to immune suppression required after an organ transplant. __________________________________
Excerpt: <<The studies, done independently by researchers at Columbia and Harvard, involved genetically engineered mice that could make abnormal human tau proteins, predominantly in the entorhinal (pronounced en-toh-RYE-nal) cortex, a sliver of tissue behind the ears, toward the middle of the brain, where cells first start dying in Alzheimer’s disease. As expected, tau showed up there. And, as also expected, entorhinal cortex cells in the mice started dying, filled with tangled, spaghettilike strands of tau.
Over the next two years, the cell death and destruction spread outward to other cells along the same network. Since those other cells could not make human tau, the only way they could get the protein was by transmission from nerve cell to nerve cell.
And that, said Dr. Samuel E. Gandy, associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, was “very unexpected, very intriguing.”
Although the studies were in mice, researchers say they expect that the same phenomenon occurs in humans because the mice had a human tau gene and the progressive wave of cell death matched what they see in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
One study, by Karen Duff and Dr. Scott A. Small and their colleagues at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center, was published on Wednesday in the journal PLoS One. The other, by Dr. Bradley T. Hyman, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his colleagues, is to be published in the journal Neuron.
Both groups of researchers were inspired by the many observations over the years that Alzheimer’s starts in the entorhinal cortex and spreads.>>
RESHARE: The Great Coures - Your Deceptive Mind. A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills - Lecture 19. The Trap of Grand Conspiracy Thinking By Steven Novella, M.D. (clinical neurologist, assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine) (29 min 38 sec)
Josh Sugarmann (Violence Policy Center): "While motor vehicle-related deaths are on a steady decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy, gun deaths continue unabated."
<<Wow, gun deaths continue unabated, eh Josh? Not so much. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, you are a big fat liar! You can easily go here and do your own table; I used violent crime rates for the entire U.S. from 1960 to 2010 and extracted the Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate to make this graph>> _______________
Comment: It is correct (although the graphical representation is quite improvable and may be misleading), the rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in the US was in 2010 less than half the rates of 1979, 1980, 1981 or 1991:
<<unlike burgers, gas and groceries, firearms are not a perishable or consumable product. They don’t go away. A rifle used in the 2009 Holocaust Museum shooting was nearly 100 years old, but was still an effective murder weapon.
According to ATF reports, in 2010 there were 5,459,240 new firearms manufactured in the United States, nearly all (95 percent) for the U.S. market. An additional 3,252,404 firearms were imported to the United States.
Right now if you don’t have a criminal record and you have not been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, you can buy guns. In 2010 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ran 16,454,951 background checks for firearms purchases. Only a small number of these purchases (78,211 or 0.48 percent) were denied.
Since 1998 there have been more than 151 million NICS checks. Each check doesn’t necessarily represent a single gun, just a single transaction. If one were to purchase two guns at one time, there would only be one check.
Violent crime rates have been falling in recent years, but the number of people killed by firearms in the United States remains high. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms, more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined.>>
Comment: Interestingly, more than half gun homicides are suicides:
<<In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm. There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides, with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States
<<Firearm—In 2007, 31,224 persons died from firearm injuries in the United States (Tables 18–20), accounting for 17.1 percent of all injury deaths that year. Firearm suicide at 55.6 percent and homicide at 40.5 percent were the two major component causes of all firearm injury deaths in 2007. In 2007, the age-adjusted death rate for firearm suicide and homicide was unchanged statistically from 2006. The age-adjusted rate for all firearm injuries was the same in 2007 as in 2006—10.2 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population (Tables 18–20). In 2007, males had a firearm-related, age-adjusted death rate that was 6.7 times that for females. By comparison with the rate for the white population, the rate for the black population was 2.2 times higher; AIAN, 18.0 per cent lower; and API, 67.4 percent lower (Table 19). The non-Hispanic white population’s rate was 1.2 times that for the Hispanic population, and the rate for the non-Hispanic black population was 2.7 times that for the Hispanic population (Table 20).>> ___________
Potential adverse cardiovascular effects from excessive endurance exercise By James H. O'Keefe. June 7, 2012
Comment: The reference of this medical paper and the interview to Dr. James O'Keefe (one of its authors) should have been included in a related previous post (plus.google.com/u/0/114605547533973731226/posts/PoLNBHtxpX4). However, at the time I shared that post neither this video nor the article had been published/posted yet.
Paper reference: - O'Keefe JH et al. Potential adverse cardiovascular effects from excessive endurance exercise. Mayo Clin Proc (2012) vol. 87 (6) pp. 587-95
ABSTRACT A routine of regular exercise is highly effective for prevention and treatment of many common chronic diseases and improves cardiovascular (CV) health and longevity. However, long-term excessive endurance exercise may induce pathologic structural remodeling of the heart and large arteries. Emerging data suggest that chronic training for and competing in extreme endurance events such as marathons, ultramarathons, ironman distance triathlons, and very long distance bicycle races, can cause transient acute volume overload of the atria and right ventricle, with transient reductions in right ventricular ejection fraction and elevations of cardiac biomarkers, all of which return to normal within 1 week. Over months to years of repetitive injury, this process, in some individuals, may lead to patchy myocardial fibrosis, particularly in the atria, interventricular septum, and right ventricle, creating a substrate for atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. Additionally, long-term excessive sustained exercise may be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening. However, this concept is still hypothetical and there is some inconsistency in the reported findings. Furthermore, lifelong vigorous exercisers generally have low mortality rates and excellent functional capacity. Notwithstanding, the hypothesis that long-term excessive endurance exercise may induce adverse CV remodeling warrants further investigation to identify at-risk individuals and formulate physical fitness regimens for conferring optimal CV health and longevity.
Authors: James H. O'Keefe, MD, Harshal R. Patil, MD, Carl J. Lavie, MD, Anthony Magalski, MD, Robert A. Vogel, MD, Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH
- Bouchard C, Blair SN, Church TS, Earnest CP, Hagberg JM, et al. (2012) Adverse Metabolic Response to Regular Exercise: Is It a Rare or Common Occurrence?PLoS ONE 7(5): e37887. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037887
Background Individuals differ in the response to regular exercise. Whether there are people who experience adverse changes in cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors has never been addressed.
Methodology/Principal Findings An adverse response is defined as an exercise-induced change that worsens a risk factor beyond measurement error and expected day-to-day variation. Sixty subjects were measured three times over a period of three weeks, and variation in resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) and in fasting plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), and insulin (FI) was quantified. The technical error (TE) defined as the within-subject standard deviation derived from these measurements was computed. An adverse response for a given risk factor was defined as a change that was at least two TEs away from no change but in an adverse direction. Thus an adverse response was recorded if an increase reached 10 mm Hg or more for SBP, 0.42 mmol/L or more for TG, or 24 pmol/L or more for FI or if a decrease reached 0.12 mmol/L or more for HDL-C. Completers from six exercise studies were used in the present analysis: Whites (N = 473) and Blacks (N = 250) from the HERITAGE Family Study; Whites and Blacks from DREW (N = 326), from INFLAME (N = 70), and from STRRIDE (N = 303); and Whites from a University of Maryland cohort (N = 160) and from a University of Jyvaskyla study (N = 105), for a total of 1,687 men and women. Using the above definitions, 126 subjects (8.4%) had an adverse change in FI. Numbers of adverse responders reached 12.2% for SBP, 10.4% for TG, and 13.3% for HDL-C. About 7% of participants experienced adverse responses in two or more risk factors.
Conclusions/Significance Adverse responses to regular exercise in cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors occur. Identifying the predictors of such unwarranted responses and how to prevent them will provide the foundation for personalized exercise prescription.
RESHARE: reuters.com - Pakistani doctor jailed for helping CIA find bin Laden By Ibrahim Shinwari and Jibran Ahmad. May 23, 2012
Comment: Regardless of any possible political considerations, what this doctor did is against his deontological code. He may have also incurred in a criminal act by faking a vaccination campaign. He didn't perform the appropriate procedure so now there are numerous people who believe that have been immunized who really aren't:
<<In March health workers administered the vaccine in a poor neighbourhood on the edge of Abbottabad called Nawa Sher. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in three doses, the second a month after the first. But in April, instead of administering the second dose in Nawa Sher, the doctor returned to Abbottabad and moved the nurses on to Bilal Town, the suburb where Bin Laden lived.>> guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/11/cia-fake-vaccinations-osama-bin-ladens-dna
Besides, as Professor Vincent Racaniello pointed out in a previous post, the regretable behavior of this doctor can cause negative consequences for vaccination programs (plus.google.com/116255230904882614629/posts/gUs81Es48zs). If people find out that the vaccination campaigns are being used for other purposes, their reluctance to participate in such campaigns will necessarily increase, especially if they believe they're performed by unscrupulous doctors who give preference to their interest over their professional ethics. How many lives can cost the negative effects on vaccination programs in the form of nonimmunized people who become infected, develop the disease and end up dying or suffering severe sequels for the rest of their lives? ------------------------
Reshared text: Shakil Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track bin Laden in a Pakistani town, where he was killed in a U.S. special forces raid last May.
RESHARE: plus.google.com - Of Mouse and Man - The Power of Blocking By Nicholas Ong. April 30, 2012
Comment: It's good to see people making use of their sense of humor to describe reality even when it isn't nice. Also, the name of that circle in the pic is priceless. If someday I happen to share a circle I'll include Nicholas Ong. I'm looking forward to the day Google will rename the comments section to "flattery."
Marc Belley 6:41 PM Thanks, +Nicholas Ong for this. Agreed with you. That type of theocratic cowardly behavior is not cool. He can't be the Internet Space King. that's already me, damnit
Here is my comment on my re-share:
One of the most important posts ever written on this social network.
The one by +Nicholas Ong, not +Thomas Hawk.
I came up with a few theories about TH's post, actually: 1. Google asked him to write a + (positive, like an electron, not Plus, like the network... or is G+ an Electron in the Universe of the Internet?) post about the network that emphasizes one of the key differentiating factors between #googleplus and more traditional forms of Streamertainment?
2. SUL are like the Forum Moderators of Web1.0 forums, or even like reddit subreddit moderators. They control the flow of information, because they are the high visibility people on this network. I
It turns into a pyramid structure of censorship, where people can't get their identities recognized in central discussions... and in doing that, the censorship that's possible is way worse than what I've seen in any traditional forum. This makes one random person a very important central information control.
And I know, inside, that +Google+ doesn't want it that way. The whole point (in theory) was to stop censorship. But allowing everyone to be their own, Google relies on their Goodwill to control things... so not having central forums makes this in a Theocracy. Not cool.
Also, it's not like this is an entirely new concept. Ignore Lists have existed for a long time before +Google even existed. But it didn't block everyone else from seeing things. ----------------------------
Reshared text: Of Mouse and Man - The Power of Blocking
Thomas Hawk recently wrote a piece of Bull Roar that may sounds intelligent for just few seconds, but mostly it was a PR stunt to justify his own doing.
In the post, he wrote “The #1 feature, more than anything else (by a mile),that Google+ gets so right is in allowing us the ability to block haters, griefers, spammers, trolls, asshats etc. -- whatever you want to call them.Want to get rid of someone? Just block them and they become entirely invisibile to you everywhere on the site.”
I’d like to politely bring everyone’s attention to a simple fact, that Facebook and Flickr (where he was notorious) have the same blocking feature implemented ages ago.
Praising a Blocking feature as #1 right thing by Google Plus is... well… let’s just say inside his skull is emptier than I thought or perhaps those words came out of his southern orifice.
He continued: ” It's like they don't even exist anymore.”
Ho ho ho! A picture of an ostrich buried its head into the ground comes to mind.
I have a lot more to pick on where he had contradicted himself, but I ‘ll just let that be. Let’s jump to the last paragraph; “I welcome dissent and difference of opinion in debate and conversation -- but when it gets personal, or when people target others unfairly, it's nice that we have such a powerful tool to help. Thanks to Google for getting this so right-- and thanks to all of you for helping to keep the public discussion so thoughtful,engaging and respectful.“
I put it to you that TH is unable to hold up a discussion or debate regardless of its civility - including when there’s no personal attack or anyone being disrespectful – without being a prejudicial bigot.
I hate to break this news, but if you have blocked me from seeing your posts, I still can see it, all I needed to do is just log out of G+ and voila, every piece of your post appears again. How powerful is this tool that you needed to lick the G+ balls twice? Do you fear your days on SUL are numbered?
Note that I have never had any interest to engage him in the past nor have I ever challenge him at his post. I have however been observing his behaviour for months to know better.
I agreed to blocking spammers, but blocking people with different or opposite views? (That’s called dissent btw)
That’s being naively arrogant with a supremacist outlook. Most of all, that’s a Cowardly (mousy) act.
This part is no class act +J. Rae Chipera (re your comment on his post).
Reshared text: Copyright used to make sense, in the days of content fixed on something more difficult to copy than electronic bits, as a way of encouraging the work of creative people. But the truth is that, today, neither of those conditions are the same. Bits are infinitely copyable. And the profits from creative works mostly go to either huge corporations or wealthy celebrity "artists". Most individual authors and creative people in other media now only see their income decline, since it can contribute hardly anything to the profits of huge media corporations.
But this same situation is why copyright laws are continually being made more perverse and obnoxious all the time.
Excerpt: BELIEVE IT OR NOT <<The most common response by the challenged scientists was: "you didn't do it right." Indeed, cancer biology is fiendishly complex, noted Phil Sharp, a cancer biologist and Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Comment: Regardless of the accuracy of the results or the honesty of the researchers, their work is worthless if their results cannot be reproduced. The publication of irreproducible results in science is as useful as publishing the previous winner combinations of the lottery.
Excerpt: <<The failure to win "the war on cancer" has been blamed on many factors, from the use of mouse models that are irrelevant to human cancers to risk-averse funding agencies. But recently a new culprit has emerged: too many basic scientific discoveries, done in animals or cells growing in lab dishes and meant to show the way to a new drug, are wrong.
<<Begley's experience echoes a report from scientists at Bayer AG last year. Neither group of researchers alleges fraud, nor would they identify the research they had tried to replicate.
But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers.
George Robertson of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia previously worked at Merck on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. While at Merck, he also found many academic studies that did not hold up. "It drives people in industry crazy. Why are we seeing a collapse of the pharma and biotech industries? One possibility is that academia is not providing accurate findings," he said.>>
BELIEVE IT OR NOT <<Scientists at Bayer did not have much more success. In a 2011 paper titled, "Believe it or not," they analyzed in-house projects that built on "exciting published data" from basic science studies. "Often, key data could not be reproduced," wrote Khusru Asadullah, vice president and head of target discovery at Bayer HealthCare in Berlin, and colleagues.
Of 47 cancer projects at Bayer during 2011, less than one-quarter could reproduce previously reported findings, despite the efforts of three or four scientists working full time for up to a year. Bayer dropped the projects.
Bayer and Amgen found that the prestige of a journal was no guarantee a paper would be solid. "The scientific community assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value," Begley and Lee Ellis of MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote in Nature. It assumes, too, that "the main message of the paper can be relied on ... Unfortunately, this is not always the case."
When the Amgen replication team of about 100 scientists could not confirm reported results, they contacted the authors. Those who cooperated discussed what might account for the inability of Amgen to confirm the results. Some let Amgen borrow antibodies and other materials used in the original study or even repeat experiments under the original authors' direction.
Some authors required the Amgen scientists sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from disclosing data at odds with the original findings. "The world will never know" which 47 studies -- many of them highly cited -- are apparently wrong, Begley said.>>
THE BEST STORY <<Other scientists worry that something less innocuous explains the lack of reproducibility.
Part way through his project to reproduce promising studies, Begley met for breakfast at a cancer conference with the lead scientist of one of the problematic studies.
"We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure," said Begley. "I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It's very disillusioning."
Such selective publication is just one reason the scientific literature is peppered with incorrect results.
For one thing, basic science studies are rarely "blinded" the way clinical trials are. That is, researchers know which cell line or mouse got a treatment or had cancer. That can be a problem when data are subject to interpretation, as a researcher who is intellectually invested in a theory is more likely to interpret ambiguous evidence in its favor.
The problem goes beyond cancer.
On Tuesday, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences heard testimony that the number of scientific papers that had to be retracted increased more than tenfold over the last decade; the number of journal articles published rose only 44 percent.
Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.
"The surest ticket to getting a grant or job is getting published in a high-profile journal," said Fang. "This is an unhealthy belief that can lead a scientist to engage in sensationalism and sometimes even dishonest behavior."
The academic reward system discourages efforts to ensure a finding was not a fluke. Nor is there an incentive to verify someone else's discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, most potential cancer-drug targets were backed by 100 to 200 publications. Now each may have fewer than half a dozen.
"If you can write it up and get it published you're not even thinking of reproducibility," said Ken Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. "You make an observation and move on. There is no incentive to find out it was wrong.">>
medicalxpress.com - Research duo say that far too many preclinical cancer study results are just plain wrong By Bob Yirka. March 29, 2012
(Medical Xpress) - C. Glenn Begley, formerly head of cancer research at pharmaceutical giant Amgen and Lee M. Ellis a cancer researcher at the University of Texas, have published a paper together in Nature that is sure to cause a storm of controversy in the cancer research community. They say they have found that more than ninety percent of papers published in science journals describing "landmark" breakthroughs in preclinical cancer research, describe work that is not reproducible, and are thus, just plain wrong. medicalxpress.com/news/2012-03-duo-preclinical-cancer-results-plain.html
Excerpt: <<In their paper the two describe the dismal success rate Amgen had in reproducing results from research papers, while Begley was still head of cancer research there. They say that out of fifty three “landmark” papers researched, only six described results that were reproducible, which is just about 11%. Another paper last year described how German giant Bayer AG, was only able to duplicate results described in 25% of preclinical cancer research papers it looked at.>>
<<The two say that there are various reasons for work appearing in science journals that is wrong, and suggest very few of them are related to outright fraud. They propose that instead it has more to do with the high-pressure research environment that forces researchers to publish or die. Such an environment they say, can lead to researchers leaving out data in their studies that doesn’t support their conclusions, massaging results or to interpret findings based more on gut feelings than actual science. The two also point the finger at science journals that seek out papers that will create the most buzz, rather than those that are found to actually lead to helping doctors help patients. Another problem they say is that very few true success stories are out there compared to the number of researchers working on cancer research, which makes the competition for publication that much harder, and which is unsettling when considering the huge amount of money that goes into cancer research.>> medicalxpress.com/news/2012-03-duo-preclinical-cancer-results-plain.html -------------------------
Excerpt: <<Unquestionably, a significant contributor to failure in oncology trials is the quality of published preclinical data. Drug development relies heavily on the literature, especially with regards to new targets and biology.>>
Confirming research findings <<The scientific community assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value — that although there might be some errors in detail, the main message of the paper can be relied on and the data will, for the most part, stand the test of time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although the issue of irreproducible data has been discussed between scientists for decades, it has recently received greater attention (see go.nature.com/q7i2up) as the costs of drug development have increased along with the number of late-stage clinical-trial failures and the demand for more effective therapies.>>
<<In studies for which findings could be reproduced, authors had paid close attention to controls, reagents, investigator bias and describing the complete data set. For results that could not be reproduced, however, data were not routinely analysed by investigators blinded to the experimental versus control groups. Investigators frequently presented the results of one experiment, such as a single Western-blot analysis. They sometimes said they presented specific experiments that supported their underlying hypothesis, but that were not reflective of the entire data set. There are no guidelines that require all data sets to be reported in a paper; often, original data are removed during the peer review and publication process.
Unfortunately, Amgen's findings are consistent with those of others in industry. A team at Bayer HealthCare in Germany last year reported that only about 25% of published preclinical studies could be validated to the point at which projects could continue. Notably, published cancer research represented 70% of the studies analysed in that report, some of which might overlap with the 53 papers examined at Amgen.
Some non-reproducible preclinical papers had spawned an entire field, with hundreds of secondary publications that expanded on elements of the original observation, but did not actually seek to confirm or falsify its fundamental basis. More troubling, some of the research has triggered a series of clinical studies — suggesting that many patients had subjected themselves to a trial of a regimen or agent that probably wouldn't work.
These results, although disturbing, do not mean that the entire system is flawed. There are many examples of outstanding research that has been rapidly and reliably translated into clinical benefit. In 2011, several new cancer drugs were approved, built on robust preclinical data. However, the inability of industry and clinical trials to validate results from the majority of publications on potential therapeutic targets suggests a general, systemic problem. On speaking with many investigators in academia and industry, we found widespread recognition of this issue.>>
Improving the preclinical environment <<As with clinical studies, preclinical investigators should be blinded to the control and treatment arms, and use only rigorously validated reagents. All experiments should include and show appropriate positive and negative controls. Critical experiments should be repeated, preferably by different investigators in the same lab, and the entire data set must be represented in the final publication. For example, showing data from tumour models in which a drug is inactive, and may not completely fit an original hypothesis, is just as important as showing models in which the hypothesis was confirmed.
Studies should not be published using a single cell line or model, but should include a number of well-characterized cancer cell lines that are representative of the intended patient population. Cancer researchers must commit to making the difficult, time-consuming and costly transition towards new research tools, as well as adopting more robust, predictive tumour models and improved validation strategies. Similarly, efforts to identify patient-selection biomarkers should be mandatory at the outset of drug development.
Comment: I couldn't agree more. Reproducibility is the most essential factor in research.
Ultimately, however, the responsibility for design, analysis and presentation of data rests with investigators, the laboratory and the host institution. All are accountable for poor experimental design, a lack of robust supportive data or selective data presentation. The scientific process demands the highest standards of quality, ethics and rigour.>>
Building a stronger system <<What reasons underlie the publication of erroneous, selective or irreproducible data? The academic system and peer-review process tolerates and perhaps even inadvertently encourages such conduct. To obtain funding, a job, promotion or tenure, researchers need a strong publication record, often including a first-authored high-impact publication. Journal editors, reviewers and grant-review committees often look for a scientific finding that is simple, clear and complete — a 'perfect' story. It is therefore tempting for investigators to submit selected data sets for publication, or even to massage data to fit the underlying hypothesis.>>
Comment: Some years ago I spent some time collecting papers about a couple of genes and their possible relation to tonal language. These are their references (written in an informal way) and links:
ASPM & microcephalin
1. Nat Genet Oct 2002 Vol. 32 pp. 316–320 ASPM is a major determinant of cerebral cortical size Jacquelyn Bond, Emma Roberts, Ganesh H. Mochida, Daniel J. Hampshire, Sheila Scott, Jonathan M. Askham, Kelly Springell, Meera Mahadevan, Yanick J. Crow, Alexander F. Markham, Christopher A. Walsh & C. Geoffrey Woods nature.com/ng/journal/v32/n2/abs/ng995.html
3. Hum Mol Genet. 2004 Jun 1;13(11) pp. 1139-45. Epub 2004 Mar 31 Reconstructing the evolutionary history of microcephalin, a gene controlling human brain size Patrick D. Evans, Jeffrey R. Anderson, Eric J. Vallender, Sun Shim Choi and Bruce T. Lahn http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/11/1139.full
5. Science 9 September 2005 pp. 1717-1720 Microcephalin, a Gene Regulating Brain Size, Continues to Evolve Adaptively in Humans Patrick D. Evans, Sandra L. Gilbert, Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, Eric J. Vallender, Jeffrey R. Anderson, Leila M. Vaez-Azizi, Sarah A. Tishkoff, Richard R. Hudson, Bruce T. Lahn sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5741/1717
6. Science 9 September 2005 pp. 1720-1722 Ongoing Adaptive Evolution of ASPM, a Brain Size Determinant in Homo sapiens Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, Sandra L. Gilbert, Patrick D. Evans, Eric J. Vallender, Jeffrey R. Anderson, Richard R. Hudson, Sarah A. Tishkoff, Bruce T. Lahn sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5741/1720
7. PNAS November 28, 2006 vol. 103 no. 48 pp. 18178-18183 Evidence that the adaptive allele of the brain size gene microcephalin introgressed into Homo sapiens from an archaic Homo lineage Patrick D. Evans, Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, Eric J. Vallender, Richard R. Hudson, and Bruce T. Lahn pnas.org/content/103/48/18178.full
8. Hum Mol Genet. 2007 Mar 15;16(6) pp. 600-8. Epub 2007 Jan 12 The ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM and Microcephalin is not explained by increased intelligence Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, Danielle Posthuma, Sandra L. Gilbert, Penelope Lind, M. Florencia Gosso, Michelle Luciano, Sarah E. Harris, Timothy C. Bates, Tinca J.C. Polderman, Lawrence J. Whalley, Helen Fox, John M. Starr, Patrick D. Evans, Grant W. Montgomery, Croydon Fernandes, Peter Heutink, Nicholas G. Martin, Dorret I. Boomsma, Ian J. Deary, Margaret J. Wright, Eco J.C. de Geus, and Bruce T. Lahn http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/6/600.full
10. PNAS June 26, 2007 vol. 104 no. 26 pp. 10755-10756 Language and genes: A new perspective on the origins of human cultural diversity Daniel Nettle pnas.org/content/104/26/10755.full
11. PNAS June 26, 2007 vol. 104 no. 26 pp. 10944-10949 Linguistic tone is related to the population frequency of the adaptive haplogroups of two brain size genes, ASPM and Microcephalin Dan Dediu and D. Robert Ladd pnas.org/content/104/26/10944.full
Reference paper present study: - Bidelman GM et al.Tone Language Speakers and Musicians Share Enhanced Perceptual and Cognitive Abilities for Musical Pitch: Evidence for Bidirectionality between the Domains of Language and Music.PLoS ONE (2013) vol. 8 (4) pp. e60676 plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0060676
Reshared text: Speaking a tonal language (such as Cantonese) primes the brain for musical training
Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences' Rotman Research Institute (RRI) in Toronto have found the strongest evidence yet that speaking a tonal language may improve how the brain hears music. While the findings may boost the egos of tonal language speakers who excel in musicianship, they are exciting neuroscientists for another reason: they represent the first strong evidence that music and language – which share overlapping brain structures – have bi-directional benefits!
Reshared text: I hate the way they're teasing us with this, but if - I repeat, IF - they've discovered the nature of dark matter, this will make the discovery of the Higgs look very small and boring. So I can't resist talking about it.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is the thing that looks like a fat white can sitting on the space station here. In its first 18 months of operation, it's detected almost 8 billion electrons and their antiparticles - positrons - shooting through space. If dark matter is made of weakly interacting massive particles, they may occasionally collide and turn into electron-positron pairs. For a long time, Sam Ting - who won the Nobel prize for discovering the charmed quark - has wanted to look for these and learn more about dark matter. He proposed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in 1995, and with the help of at least 500 other people the current version was delivered to the International Space Station on May 19, 2011. They plan to release a paper on their results quite soon.
They aren't saying what they've seen! But here's what Sam Ting has said:
"It will not be a minor paper."
"We've waited 18 years to write this paper, and we're now making the final check. I would imagine in two or three weeks, we should be able to make an announcement. We have six analysis groups to analyse the same results. Physicists as you know - everybody has their own interpretations, and we're now making sure everyone agrees with each other. And this is pretty much done now."
youtube.com - George Carlin on Oaths, Rights and Privileges Uploaded by AmmonRa801, on June 24, 2008
Comment: Where do rights come from? According to George Carlin they don't come from anywhere, rights are imaginary, they are just ideas that people made up. Just like laws, including "natural" laws, all made up by people for their own convenience.
What is their purpose? In my opinion they were probably developed to facilitate coexistence within groups of people who were living together and had to share the same space and distribute a number of limited resources. They were the product of successive negociations to maximize the profit of everyone. The problem with rights is when they are misused for other purpose.
<<By 1890 Thomas Parker’s battery-powered trams were carrying passengers around Birmingham, England. His electrically-operated trams had been carrying passengers around Blackpool for the previous five years. He claimed to have had an electrically powered vehicle running as early as 1884 and developed many prototypes during his lifetime. He religiously obeyed the Light Locomotive Act, the red flag law, which was only banished in 1896. The red flag law set a speed limit of 4 m.p.h. in open country and 2 m.p.h. in towns. The Act required three drivers for each vehicle, two to travel in the vehicle and one to walk ahead carrying a red flag.>> electricvehiclesnews.com/History/historyearlyIII.htm __________________
Walter Baker's Torpedo <<May 31,1902. A beautiful Memorial Day weekend was the coup de grâce for racing on public roads. Walter C. Baker, a 34-year-old engineering graduate of the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland who had been building electric vehicles for several years, unveiled an electric racer of unusual design dubbed the "Road Torpedo." Baker mounted a torpedo-shaped frame of wood and angle iron on 36-inch wire wheels with wooden rims and three-inch pneumatic tires. The body was covered with oilcloth and painted black, as were the wheel disks. The Torpedo was the first car to have an aerodynamic body that enclosed both driver and platform. Under the torpedo-shaped body was tandem seating for a driver in the front, and an electrician behind switching the battery as the car gained speed. It had a 12 H.P. Elwell-Parker motor. The 3,100 pound vehicle marked the world's first use of a safety belt.
Baker took his vehicle to Ormond Beach, Florida and pushed it to a speed of 104 miles an hour, a new official speed record. He took the vehicle out many times to demonstrate its speed, supposedly reaching 127 miles an hour before the wheels fell off his vehicle and he went skittering down the beach. For a brief shining moment in history, Walter C. Baker was the fastest human alive. Undeterred from his quest for speed he went back to his shop and designed an electric racer that was far more powerful than that which went before. During its first test on a Staten Island Speedway he crashed into the crowd which had gathered to watch, killing two spectators. Walter Baker's place in history was assured for his official record of 104 miles an hour, a record for electric vehicles that stood for 64 years; however, after the crash in Staten Island, he would never race again.>> electricvehiclesnews.com/History/historyearlyIV.htm __________________
en.wikipedia.org - Negative temperature (excerpt) In physics, certain systems can achieve negative temperature; that is, their thermodynamic temperature can be expressed as a negative quantity on the kelvin scale. ...a system with a truly negative temperature in absolute terms on the kelvin scale is hotter than any system with a positive temperature. If a negative-temperature system and a positive-temperature system come in contact, heat will flow from the negative- to the positive-temperature system.
That a system at negative temperature is hotter than any system at positive temperature is paradoxical if absolute temperature is interpreted as an average internal energy of the system. The paradox is resolved by understanding temperature through its more rigorous definition as the tradeoff between energy and entropy, with the reciprocal of the temperature, thermodynamic beta, as the more fundamental quantity. Systems with positive temperature increase in entropy as one adds energy to the system. Systems with negative temperature decrease in entropy as one adds energy to the system. _______________________
Excerpt from comments related G+ post:
John Mink August 13, 2012 4:25 AM Honestly, given that we can achieve temperatures of negative kelvin (as in below 0K) I don't feel like kelvin is special anymore en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_temperature _______________________
Zephyr López Cervilla August 13, 2012 4:00 AM There's a professor of Physical Chemistry named Arieh Ben-Naim who has proposed the reformulation of the magnitudes of entropy and temperature. Instead, he would define temperature T as a unit of energy, and entropy S as a dimensionless quantity, a measure of missing information, neg-information or uncertainty.
Reference: - Ben-Naim, Arieh. A Farewell to Entropy: Statistical Thermodynamics Based on Information. (2008) World Scientific, Toh Tuck Link, Singapore.
In such case, you could never have negative temperatures because the internal energy of a system can't be negative. In those rare cases, adding energy may decrease uncertainty (the missing information) but never temperature/energy of the system.
Excerpt: The FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP) isn't self-propelled. It is actually a huge specialized buoy. FLIP was created 50 years ago, in 1962, by two Scripps scientists, Drs. Fred Fisher and Fred Spiess, because they needed a more quiet and stable place than a research ship to study how sound waves behave under water. Ships were unsuitable as they bob up and down and roll side to side. When flipped, most of the buoyancy for the platform is provided by water at depths below the influence of surface waves, hence FLIP is a stable platform mostly immune to wave action. FLIP is 355 feet (108 meters), conceived and developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California. During the flip, everyone stands on the outside decks. As FLIP flips, the decks slowly become bulkheads and the bulkhead becomes the deck. Most rooms on FLIP have two doors; one to use when horizontal, the other when FLIP is vertical. Some of FLIP's furnishings are built so they can rotate to a new position as FLIP flips. Other equipment must be unbolted and moved. Some things, like tables in the galley (kitchen) and sinks in the washroom, are built twice so one is always in the correct position. The entire flip operation takes twenty-eight minutes. -----------------------------
Source G+ post: (newly posted because I prefer the animation)
Ralph Roberts May 19, 2012 3:52 PM (edited) - Public RP FLIP, the Strangest Ship in the World ... Amusing Planet - "he U.S. Office of Naval Research owns a very strange piece of oceanographic equipment. It’s called the FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP) ... FLIP is 355 feet (108 meters) long with small quarters at the front and a long hollow ballast at the end. When the tanks are filled with air, FLIP floats in its horizontal position. But when they are filled with seawater the lower 300 feet of FLIP sinks under the water and the lighter end rises. ... Most rooms on FLIP have two doors; one to use when horizontal, the other when FLIP is vertical. Some of FLIP's furnishings are built so they can rotate to a new position as FLIP flips. Other equipment must be unbolted and moved. ..." more:http://bit.ly/M4x5Tt URL source post: plus.google.com/109201681846030076792/posts/3nwkgzyifXC -----------------------------
RESHARE: plus.google.com - New Calendar System Based upon Ancient Lunar Calendars By Joshua Roy. May 16, 2012
Comment: "This season we continue our proud tradition of bringing you the finest in intellectual discourse."
I've got another idea: How about if we move the Earth a little away from the Sun so that the year has exactly 400 days? Then we can divide the year into 4 seasons, and each season divided into 10 weeks of 10 days each.
And to prevent a new ice age due to the reduction of radiation reaching the Earth we blow up the Panama isthmus so that the oceanic currents can carry the warm water cumulated in the intertropical region toward the poles more efficiently. After having moved the Earth from its orbit, blowing up the Isthmus of Panama should be a relatively easy task to accomplish.
Another option is to replace our decimal numeration by a hexadecimal numeration. For that purpose it'd be convenient to divide the year into a multiple of a power of 16, the best option is to divide the year into 256 days (16 · 16).
Moving the Earth closer to the Sun isn't a very good alternative in this case, especially considering that in the next billion of years the solar radiation will progressively increase. In this case, the best solution I've found is to extend the duration of the day about a 43% (365.25 / 256) what would give us days of 34.2 hours.
Eah year could be divided into 4 seasons of 64 long days, each season divided into 4 months of 16 days (we can also fiddle with the Moon orbit to get the lunar month right), and each month divided into 4 weeks of 4 days. Four days may look too short for a week but since the day now lasts 43% more, this would turn to be almost 6 of our current days.
To adapt to much longer days we could sleep twice a day. A longer period during the night and a shorter nap at around noon to avoid the hottest hours of the day (that would also last 43% longer, so it wouldn't be very good idea being in the sun at around those hours anyway).
To slow down the spinning of the Earth we only have to set up an impact of the Earth against an asteroid at an acute angle with the Earth's trajectory with the precise transfer of angular momentum between the two bodies. -----------------
Entire quote: "I am Jonathan Goldstein, host of WireTap, and this season we continue our proud tradition of bringing you the finest in intellectual discourse. - Editithing. - Editing! - Editithing. - It's pronounced "editing." - Editithing. - It's "editing!" - Editithing. To hear the thrilling conclusion to this debate and many others, tune in to WireTap, download our podcast at cbc.ca/wiretap ." -----------------
Reshared text: I've replicated a new calendar system based upon some ancient lunar calendars I've been studying.
It is 364 days in length 360 cardinal days and 4 intercalatory days. It fixes the year into four broad 3 month segments so that 91 day cycle (1 intercalatory day and 3 full months of normal days) exist in a fixed fashion of 30 days per month). Since 91 is divisible by 7, the days of the week fall on the same date every year so that businesses can regulate and match their calendars to their working week. Every 5-6 years, an intercalatory week would have to be added to the beginning of the new year in order to make it align to the solar cycles. This would fix four intercalatory holidays per year and 1 intercalatory week of celebration into place every 5-6 years which could be shared by all of the people who followed this calendar. Also, the 360 cardinal days would generally align with the 360 degrees the earth must travel through in its orbit around the sun.
The four intercalatory days could be fixed in place to nearly approximate the equinox and solstice cycle, and the beginning of the year could occur around March 22nd every year, giving us a spring time new year's celebration. I guess it is probably a silly idea to devise a new calendar, but the irregularity of our current system has always bothered me.
Reshared text: I love shooting weddings, particularly when the ceremony is in a church. I often find myself reflecting quite deeply about how lucky I am to be doing what I do and sharing in others happiest moments. It's a real privilege.
RESHARE: The Manicouagan Crater from the International Space Station By Expedition 30 Crew. February 3, 2012
Comment: Interestingly, Canada (14) and Australia (13) are overrepresented in the list of largest impact craters on Earth, whereas Russia, a much more extensive country, only shows 6 large hits. I think there's a good explanation for the higher abundance in Australia and also partially in Canada. Australia has remained geologically rather inactive for the last hundred of millions of years, with no new formation of high mountain ranges, little precipitation, therefore with no very accused erosion caused by rain, and by the absence of glaciers, what also favored a lower rate of sedimentation. Not surprisingly together with Greenland, the oldest rocks on Earth dating back billions of years have been found there. The abundance in Canada (and Greenland) can be explained by similar reasons (except for the glaciers), perhaps the glacial cover could prevent the stronger long-term erosion caused by precipitation. Interestingly, there're only 2 large impacts in the tropical zone (Mexico and Brazil),those with the most important regions of intense precipitation (all of them except to New Zealand and Japan). Ref.:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth
I guess some Geologist or person versed on Geologic Science like +Emily Lakdawalla? could either support or debunk my guess, and in any case give a more reliable and accurate explanation to this apparent clustering of large impacts over the territory of Canada and Australia.
Incidentally, it seems that the description of the pic is in some extent inaccurate. This isn't the Newfoundland coast but the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the province of New Brunswick, the lights of the metropolitan area of of New York and Boston in the background on the left, the Gaspé Peninsula (province of Québec) in the center of the pic, above the city of Québec, Montréal in the background, the estuary of the Saint Lawrence River close to the Gaspé Peninsula on its right, and region of Côte-Nord (Québec) with the Manicouagan Crater on the right (west-southwest is up), what explains why there is land at both sides of it. Had been the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, open sea would be present at least at one of the sides. Pictured on 20120203, 055233 GMT, 24-mm lens.
Sebastien Nadeau - Do you have the NASA link to this image ? I want to download the picture directly from the NASA website ! :)
Helene Quander - I have only this link: Ron Garan,Nasa Astronaut
Peter Caltner - +Sebastien Nadeau +Helene Quander The JSC catalog number of this image is ISS030E072467. If you are not familiar with the procedure for getting hi-res pix which have to be requested (free of charge, of course) I suggest you to take the high resolution image (4256 x 2832, 933 kB) from my twitpic account here (hover over the image and click "view full size"):http://twitpic.com/8mti53
Peter Caltner - +Fred Vermeer The JSC catalog aka NASA Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth also contains data about the approximate ISS position at the time the pix were taken. For this photo it says: 51.6 N, 58.5 W which is in the easternmost corner of Quebec, over land at the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, approx. 15 miles north of Saint Augustin.
Peter Caltner - +Elyse David I used the photos given in your comment and produced a time lapse video, which I posted (public) to my G+ account here: http://bit.ly/z6w3Jv It has been compiled so that it conveys an impression of the actual speed of the ISS over the globe, which makes the transitions between the individual images appear less smoothly than usually.
Reshared text: Once again, a photograph from the International Space Station that exposes our imagination to more than can be seen #FromSpace . Surrounded by a necklace of artificial light, the coast of Newfoundland reveals remarkably preserved fossils from Earth’s pre-Cambrian past, more than 500 million years ago. These remnants of life forms on our planet are so precious to understanding it, that visitors to their resting place must be accompanied by an official tour guide. Closer to our own time, the Manicouagan crater, which is both visible and familiar to astronauts in space and to the +Fragile Oasis community on Earth, is the result of an asteroid smashing into the planet about 215 million years ago. With thanks to +Peter Caltner, who spotted this jewel taken at 05:52 GMT on February 3, 2012 from among the 50,613 photographs (and counting) transmitted to +NASA by the Expedition 30 crew, currently conducting scientific research in orbit 250 miles above the Earth.
Why do zebras have stripes? Did you know that a zebra embryo is all black, and only acquires white stripes late in development?
• Evolutionary biologists have long pondered this. Wallace suggested that stripes provide camouflage in tall grass, but Darwin (1867) cleverly pointed out that zebras roam in open habitats where the grass is short. (Happy Birthday, Mr. Darwin!) Other theories suggest that moving stripes dazzle predators, offer visual communication in courtship or bonding, or thermoregulation (apparently stripes work better in cooling the animal than solid color). Oh, yes, stripes are fashion forward too! (Thank you Fake Science!)
• New research points to an unexpected advantage: protection from horsefly bites. Blood sucking horseflies are more than a nuisance. They spread disease and have negative fitness impact. Horseflies are strongly attracted to horizontally polarized light (waves aligned horizontally), like light reflected from bodies of water, where they lay their eggs and reproduce. Researchers showed that white and black polarize light differently, such that zebra stripes confuse the flies. Using horse models painted in different colors they showed that the best effects in keeping away flies were with natural stripe patterns found in zebras. Leopard spots are so passé.
stefan jeffers - Interesting studies. However, I am a bit bemused by the clause, "white and black polarize light differently", considering black is about light being absorbed, not reflected. Could it be about some geometrical feature of the pigment molecules and how they are aligned in the hair? Or the flies are seeing some other frequencies, and black is not black to them? Or, hmm, maybe that simply means that the white is polarized and the black is not?
Rajini Rao - +stefan jeffers , my understanding was that black does polarize light and the brightness of the white reflects. The combination, particularly with narrow stripes, is difficult for the horsefly to see. The black stripes can reflect highly polarized light which might be attractive to polarotactic tabanids if the polarizing black surface were not fragmented by unpolarizing white stripes. I'll be happy to send the pdf to anyone who offers to decipher this better for us!
Jeff Stump - Wow, that is interesting. However, it is hard to fathom that horseflies (and the disease they carry) are the primary selective pressure responsible for pushing the Zebra's gene pool towards the development of stripes on the body. I don't know much about horseflies, so forgive my ignorance; but how much do horseflies impact fitness? Does the disease often lead to death of the host?
If this is the case, then it is very interesting to note which defense the population of Zebras evolved first--i.e. why didn't this selective pressure lead to a more profound immune response to the particular disease agent? Why stripes? Was the striped mutant gene already present in the population by chance and the immune response wasn't?
Rajini Rao - Very good questions, +Zephyr López Cervilla ! Forgive me for being lazy and posting this paragraph from the JEB paper that answers some of your questions:" All three zebra species have the narrowest stripes and the thinnest skin on their head and legs (Figs 1, 2, supplementary material Fig. S4), where the stripe widths are so small that they effectively do not attract tabanid flies (Fig. 3). This phenomenon may reflect an evolutionary adaptation. In the head, there are several sensory organs (eyes, ears, tongue, muzzle), the efficient functioning of which is most important for survival. The legs also are indispensable to escape from predators. Consequently, head and legs must be protected in the best possible way from blood-sucking parasites (e.g. tabanid and tsetse flies), since any injury to these body parts due to aggressive biting insects might result in their insufficient functioning, undermining the escape and survival of the animal. Furthermore, in the head and legs, the blood vessels can more easily be reached through the thin hide, and a more efficient protection is therefore urgently needed for these body parts. We suggest that the numerous narrow stripes on the head and legs of zebras may serve such a visual protection. "
Rajini Rao - Hi +Jeff Stump , quoting from the paper: Horseflies, or tabanids (Tabanidae), are vectors of several dangerous pathogens (Foil, 1989; Hall et al., 1998) and, if irritated by them, horses and cattle cannot graze, the consequence of which is the reduction of their body mass and milk production (Hunter and Moorhouse, 1976; Harris et al., 1987; Lehane, 2005). This suggests negative fitness consequences for animals that attract tabanid flies.Depending on the geographical distribution of different tabanid species in the vicinity of zebras in Africa (Uscher, 1972), these blood-sucking flies can also cause serious health problems for such equines (Leclercq, 1954; Kingdon, 1979; Moss, 1982; Leclercq and Maldes, 1987; Churcher, 1993; Leclercq, 2000; Tegegne, 2004). But you raise a good point: is this sufficient advantage to select for stripes? The authors conclude that other explanations are valid too. They also wonder why eurasian counterparts of zebras, i.e., horses have lost their stripes (apparently they once had stripes!) despite being in fly infested areas too.
Zephyr López Cervilla - I've remembered something that may help explain the differences in color pattern between zebras and other herbivores that most probably will also suffer from fly bites (horseflies or tse-tse flies). Horses (also camels, and in some extent also cows) are among the few groups of mammals that need to sweat to cool down their bodies (and also humans even more efficiently), probably because their body is too voluminous to prevent from overheating without any efficient cooling mechanism when they need to run a long distance. So we have a large animal that sweats a lot with a stripe pattern as protection against micropredators, and other smaller and thinner herbivores with a camouflage pattern against macro-predators, all living together. And,
"Furthermore, in the head and legs, the blood vessels can more easily be reached through the thin hide, and a more efficient protection is therefore urgently needed for these body parts."
So perhaps the other herbivores don't need stripes because they have a thicker skin and longer hair that partially protect them from the bites, whereas the zebras need a thinner skin, shorter hair and a extensive superficial network of capillaries under their skin to facilitate cooling their bodies efficiently by sweating. Additionally, it's likely the sweat will "help" attract those flies.
So this could help explain why horseflies are called like that, i.e., why they prefer to bite not only zebras, but also other equids such as horses. Because they all have a thinner and more vascularized skin to help them cool down by sweating, although unlike humans most of their sweat doesn't come directly from blood. Sweat glands of equids are apocrine glands whereas most human sweat glands are eccrine glands. This cooling mechanism also means zebras are more dependent on water (they usually need to drink water once a day) whereas other smaller herbivores such as small antilopes can survive without drinking water for longer periods of time or even never.
Zephyr López Cervilla - +Jeff Stump, the immune system can do little against eukaryotic parasites. For instance, all these herbivores are parasitized by Trypanosoma in endemic areas. The protection of the immune system in these cases relies on mechanisms of the innate immune system and the humoral reponse activated by immunoglobulins E (IgE), the same that causes allergies. The innate reponse is the most ancient defense mechanisms shared by all vertebrates that can't be easilly improved by a few mutations but rather the other way round, these have been highly preserved along evolution. In these cases the innate immune system have little specificity, they recognize general patterns associated to a wide array of different pathogens. In the case of eukaryotic parasites the humoral repone of their hosts can limit the extension of the parasitization but it won't get rid of them. That's why the African wild animals won't usually die of sleeping sickness whereas the domestic cattle brought by the Europeans are much more susceptible and will eventually die if they're raised in an endemic area and tse-tse flies haven't been eradicated from that area. Even so, the heavier the parasitization in the wild animals, the greater the negative effects of the parasites on their biological fitness.
Edit: actually, in the case of Trypanosoma adaptive response of the adaptive immune system (cellular response: T cells and humoral response: B cells releasing immunoglobulins, and the content released by basophills and mast cells) plays a role limiting the extension, but Trypanosoma has evolved a great capacity to present different antigenic determinants on its surface, not by mutation but by simple expression of different set of molecules on its surface. A great fraction of its genome encodes for surface proteins that can be periodically replaced by others on the parasite, thus avoiding its complete clearance by the immune system. On the other hand, the humoral response of the immune system has a more important role in other kind of eukaryotic parasites such as ecto- and/or endoparaitic round worms, trematodes, and some endoparasitic protozoans. The basic idea is the same, the immune system can't clear the parasitization, but in the case of local wild mammals, these are sufficiently adapted to live with the parasites, whereas domestic animals and humans can't and will probably die if parasitized (it also depends on the particular sub-species of Trypanosoma brucei, one of them has worse prognosis than the other).
J Stasko - +Rajini Rao Send the pdf! Did you know that a zebra embryo is all black, and only acquires white stripes late in development? (Is this due to selective apoptosis of melanin-producing cells, similar to the way our fingers develop?)
Zephyr López Cervilla - +J Stasko, that's an interesting question. I'd also like to know how their stripe pattern is specified and generated. Is it controlled in some way by the segmentation process during the embryonary development, or otherwise it doesn't keep any correspondence at all? What is what makes the boundaries between stripes become so neatly defined and traced along a curved path so regular?
However, I doubt that the embryonary development of zebras has been well studied if anything at all. Those are large and wild animals, what will make it complex and expensive to work with them. I guess that they could discover that their hair coat is initially black from studies with miscarried embryos and fetuses obtained from pregnant females living in the wild or kept in captivity (e.g., from zoos). A similar case will probably occur with horses even though horses are domestic animals, that is, easier to breed and keep in captivity. How did they learned that horse embryos also present at some point a similar stripe pattern? I guess that from sporadic findings in miscarried embryos.
Zephyr López Cervilla - Perhaps the mechanism that determines boundaries between stripes operates in a similiar fashion in zebra and zebrafish, but it hasn't to be necessarily the case unless in both species such mechanism is regulated in some unexpected way by homologous processes of their embryonary development.
J Stasko - How many stripes are there? Is this related to the number of segments in the animal, is it associated with dermatomes?
Zephyr López Cervilla - Each segment could generate more than one stripe, however, the stripes on the limbs and face would require to be determined in a different fashion. Alternatively, the stripe pattern could be following the migration pattern of the cells of the neural crest that give rise to the melanocytes. In that case, the different stripes would be generated by the advance of the wavefront of those cells at certain periods of time, by some means their inactivation (and future apoptosis) would become synchronized with all the other cells that had migrated a similar distance. Another interesting point to be determined is how those melanocytes that have been inactivated are rescued in horses to remove the original stripe pattern. Or perhaps there's another later migration wave?
In another vein, I 've had a look at some pics of tigers, and the arrangement of the stripe pattern is rather similar to the zebra's (except for the rump). I wouldn't be surprised if both used the same mechanism of determination to arrange the stripes along their body.
Rajini Rao - Good job, +JEFFREY COSGROVE , for finding exactly the same research story that this post is linked to ;) But, yes, the combination of polarizing light from the black and reflection from the white fails to attract the tabanids (horseflies).
Zephyr López Cervilla - I've counted the number of stripes of one color that arise from the vertebral column area, and its number roughly corresponds to the number of vertebrae in each section, at least the 7 cervical vertebrae and other 17 vertebrae (12 thoracic and 5 lumbar vertebrae). The hypothetical stripes corresponding to the 5 sacral vertebrae can't be spotted in the pics I've found (the sacral area doesn't seem to be a favorite area to take in the pics).
In any case, this correspondence doesn't give any clue on how the thinner stripes on the face, the legs and the tail are generated, nor the wide, almost horizontal stripes on the hindquarters.
If I had to propose a hypothesis, I'd say that the imprinting for the pigmentation pattern (either pigmented or depigmented/apoptotic) is already established in each segment when the precursors of the pigmentary cells are still in the neural crest. Then they migrate from there to cover all the skin. Initially all those pigmentary cells start synthesizing pigment (the hair coat of zebra fetuses is dark without any stripes). At some point, the cells that originated from the spots imprinted to be depigmented/apoptotic cells will stop synthesizing pigment or die by apoptosis. Thus, each white stripe that arises from the backbone follows the pathway that the precursors of the pigmentary cells had traveled from the imprinting spot for deactivation/apoptosis of a particular segment.
RESHARE: Zephyr López Cervilla - +Joseph Collins said: "so now I'm a terrorist for wanting to save many lives, even if it costs a few Iranian scientists' lives?" According to your criterion any scientist working in the Manhattan Project should have been killed to save the lives of hundred of thousands of Japanese civilians.
+Joseph Collins said: "This is a war brewing, and there will be casualties." No, it is not. Perhaps the brewing of a US military attack on Iran (or less likely, an invasion). Any possible clash would occur in Iranian territory. There's no way Iran can attack the US territory or the US Armed Forces, they simply don't have the means. The only targe that may be in their reach is Israel but this attack is also very unlikely because Israel has stronger armed forces, effective weapons to neutralize this kind of attacks and a real nuclear arsenal as a deterrent of such kind of attacks. The deterrent effect is the only reason Iran would be interested in developing nuclear weapons, to deter any foreign attack of their territory, a threat confirmed by the present warmonger campaign trying the persuade the public opinion that a preventive attack on Iran can be justified for security concerns, more specifically, to ensure the oil supply from Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates.
-FYI: Navigation "Ships moving through the Strait follow a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), which separates inbound from outbound traffic to reduce the risk of collision. The traffic lane is six miles (10 km) wide, including two two-mile (3 km)-wide traffic lanes, one inbound and one outbound, separated by a two-mile (3 km) wide separation median. To traverse the Strait, ships pass through the territorial waters of Iran and Oman under the transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Although not all countries have ratified the convention, most countries, including the U.S., accept these customary navigation rules as codified in the Convention." Ref.:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Hormuz#Navigation
"The UNCLOS replaces the older and weaker 'freedom of the seas' concept, dating from the 17th century: national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation's coastlines, usually three nautical miles, according to the 'cannon shot' rule developed by the Dutch jurist Cornelius van Bynkershoek. All waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters: free to all nations, but belonging to none of them (the mare liberum principle promulgated by Grotius). In the early 20th century, some nations expressed their desire to extend national claims: to include mineral resources, to protect fish stocks, and to provide the means to enforce pollution controls. (The League of Nations called a 1930 conference at The Hague, but no agreements resulted.) Using the customary international law principle of a nation's right to protect its natural resources, President Truman in 1945 extended United States control to all the natural resources of its continental shelf. Other nations were quick to follow suit. Between 1946 and 1950, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador extended their rights to a distance of 200 nautical miles to cover their Humboldt Current fishing grounds. Other nations extended their territorial seas to 12 nautical miles. By 1967, only 25 nations still used the old three-mile limit, while 66 nations had set a 12-mile territorial limit and eight had set a 200-mile limit. As of May 28, 2008, only two countries still use the three-mile limit: Jordan and Palau. That limit is also used in certain Australian islands, an area of Belize, some Japanese straits, certain areas of Papua New Guinea, and a few British Overseas Territories, such as Anguilla." Ref.:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea#Historical_background
"In 1973, Gaddafi claimed much of the Gulf of Sidra to be within Libyan internal waters by drawing a straight line at 32 degrees, 30 minutes north between a point near Benghazi and the western headland of the gulf at Misrata with an exclusive 62 nautical miles (115 km) fishing zone. Gaddafi declared it The Line of Death, the crossing of which would invite a military response. The United States claimed its rights to conduct naval operations in international waters, a standard of 12-mile (19 km) territorial limit from a country's shore. Gaddafi claimed it to be a territorial sea, not just a coastal area. In response the United States authorized Naval exercises in the Gulf of Sidra to conduct Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations. On several occasions Libyan fighter planes harassed United States military planes maneuvering in the area." Ref.:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Sidra#Cold_war_period
So who has been the main aggressor force for the last decades?
+Joseph Collins said: "Afghanistan? Good decision, as May 2, 2011 proved. Perhaps, now that we got bin Laden, we can start to withdraw and focus on other terrorist havens...like Iran. The war between the extremist Muslim organizations* and the Western Civilization they love to vilify is far from over." 1. Presumably they didn't kill him in Afghanistan but in Pakistan. BTW, Pakistan is an Islamic country with real nuclear weapons but for some odd reason (and unlike Iran) Pakistan doesn't represent a serious threat to the US national security. 2. How do you know that they actually killed Osama bin Laden? Did you see the body? Did you read the autopsy? A DNA test alone isn't enough evidence. You can't know when they obtained that sample and from whom. It could have been obtained from any of his numerous close relatives. ———————————————— Jason Wightman - +Joseph Collins please take a look at these two links. The first is a post from Michael Scheuer who is the former CIA officer in charge of the Bin Laden Unit and knows a few things about our involvement in the middle east to say the least. http://tinyurl.com/7e2g8ds .
The second is a video which give some background to why we are at war in the middle east. Ron Paul's Foreign Policy Views Explained in 13 Minutes ———————————————— Joseph Collins - +Tyler Lewis "The Great Agnostic" was, unfortunately, gravely mistaken. As for my own career plans, I do not intend to join the military. My skill set makes me a poor match for a soldier. However, I do want to work for the US government. Also, I have several friends who want to join the armed forces.
+Sayed Ali Hamed Mosavian An essential characteristic of terrorists is that they kill people. I have never killed anyone. Therefore, I am not a terrorist, and I am truly insulted that you would call me one. You could argue that I support terrorism (I would obviously disagree), but calling me an actual terrorist is both untrue and outside the bounds of general civility. Your question “Who was behind 9/11?” actually works against your argument. The Iranian government sponsors terrorism, as do other (but not necessarily all) nations in the Middle East. While the Taliban and al Qaeda were directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Iran and other terrorist sponsors should also be held accountable for their actions. OK, so the US was shortsighted in training Afghans to help fight the Soviets. I think most people who know about this can admit that, in retrospect, it was a bad idea. However, the only way this is relevant to this discussion is to further prove that America needs a president who won’t make rash decisions or do things just to raise his approval rating.
+Chris Cecil probably only know servicepeople who share your ideology. If there are LGBT military personel, clearly the military has some political and social diversity.
+Zephyr López Cervilla So perhaps it would be unwise for Iran to attack the US or Israel. However, we don’t want Iran turning into another North Korea, do we? North Korea has used its nuclear capabilities as a bargaining strategy to get what they want. The fewer countries with nuclear capabilities, the better. Of course, it’s not realistic to expect every country with nukes to get rid of them because countries like having the military and diplomatic power nuclear weapons give them. Iran Air 655: Another oops. I really don’t know much about this incident and don’t have the time to change that. From your description, however, it seems that the cruiser mistook the airplane for something it wasn’t. It’s possible the Airbus wasn’t where the US Navy expected it to be. I really doubt someone could knowingly shoot down a commercial airplane without a good reason, which would be hard to find. The exception, of course, is a terrorist, and US Navy captains are not terrorists. Therefore, this was not an intentional act of aggression on the part of the US. Libya territorial/coastal waters: Most of us know that Gaddafi was a dictator suffering from cranial-rectal juxtaposition (his head was up his butt). No wonder the US chose to stand up to his overbearing claims on what should be international waters. I’m having trouble finding a clear map of the “Line of Death,” nor am I well-versed in Libyan geography, so I really don’t know how drastic this aquatic claim was. Therefore, you have insufficient evidence to support your claim that the US is the biggest aggressor in the last half-century. The US strives to maintain world order and security to the best of our ability. Being the most powerful nation in the world, it is our responsibility to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Examples: the Kurds against whom Saddam Hussein committed genocide, South Korea, Afghans (I remember that, when we removed the Taliban from power, lots of men celebrated by cutting their beards, something the Taliban didn’t allow. And regulating the length of men’s beards was only the beginning of how the Taliban violated their population’s natural rights. Osama bin Laden: Yes, Pakistan is country that we need to pay attention to as well. And you’re really going to question that we killed bin Laden? If we hadn’t killed him, our forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan would still be looking for him. And Obama didn’t even receive a significant, lasting boost in his poll numbers. Such a suggestion erases any credibility you once had in my mind.
Since this comment thread has descended into calling me a terrorist and making unsupportable claims, I quit. We aren’t going to convince each other of our position, I stand alone in my views among those still commenting, and I’ve spent more than enough time responding to incurably misguided people. Rather than waste any more of my time, I’m gonna figure out how to stop following this comment thread. Goodbye and God bless. ———————————————— Sayed Ali Hamed Mosavian - -a terrorist is who believes in terrorism and advocates terrorism, which in this case can be you; on less you change your mind. -the only big sponsor of terrorism I know in the world is US government right now. -about 9/11, I just wanted to show you how accurate are the accusations against Iran. -who gave America this "authority" to raise terrorist groups like Taliban in the world? and then come and fight with them?! -America needs a president who can lower this hatred against US in the world, not one who will escalate it. ———————————————— Tyler Lewis - +Joseph Collins it's pretty easy to sit there and say how we should go to war when you're too much of a pussy to sign up and fight for yourself. It's so easy to have some other Mother send a son, Wife send a husband, son or daughter send a father. Unless you're willing to fight in the fight shut your damn mouth. ———————————————— Zephyr López Cervilla - +Joseph Collins said: "we don’t want Iran turning into another North Korea, do we?" This is their people's business as long as they don't attack others.
"It’s possible the Airbus wasn’t where the US Navy expected it to be." Such as over Iran's territorial waters.
"I really doubt someone could knowingly shoot down a commercial airplane without a good reason, which would be hard to find. The exception, of course, is a terrorist, and US Navy captains are not terrorists." Is this some sort of circular reasoning?
"so I really don’t know how drastic this aquatic claim was. Therefore, you have insufficient evidence to support your claim that the US is the biggest aggressor in the last half-century." What is the name of this kind of logic?
"you have insufficient evidence to support your claim that the US is the biggest aggressor in the last half-century." Let me do the math: Vietnam, Libya, Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Iran, Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, Afghanistan.
"Being the most powerful nation in the world, it is our responsibility to defend those who cannot defend themselves." The same kind of protection Napoleon, Hitler and Vitto Corleone were eager to give.
"And you’re really going to question that we killed bin Laden?" Has yo seen the body? Do you know of any forensic report about the corpse signed by a specialist MD?
"If we hadn’t killed him, our forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan would still be looking for him." Unless he had already died several years before.
With just eight days until Florida's primary and 50 delegates at stake - the largest prize thus far - we've been tracking the in-state search traffic. Tomorrow we'll share which candidates and what buzzwords Floridians searched for during the debates. Stay tuned!
Mark Thornton: Our first speaker this morning is Stephan Kinsella. He is a patent attorney from Houston and the editor of Libertarian Papers. His lecture this morning is going to be on Intellectual Property and Economic Development.
Stephan Kinsella: Thanks Mark. I’m very glad to be here at the Mises University. I was here a couple of years ago. It is always a great thing. So let me get started. I have a lot to cover so I will try to go as quickly as possible without going too fast.
Most of you should already be familiar with the basic idea of praxeology. There is a reason I’m going to start with this and it will become clearer in a moment. Praxeology is the formal study of the implications of the fact that men use means to attain various ends.
What we do is we start with incontestable or a priori propositions that are related to human action and its categories. Primarily, for the purposes of our lecture today, humans employ scarce means to pursue ends. There are, of course, other categories applied in action such as causality, choice, cost, profit, and loss.
Now another aspect of economic analysis is contingent facts. After we recognize and establish what the a priori categories of action are, we explicitly introduce certain contingent facts to make the analysis interesting.
As Hoppe explains:
“Mises explains the entire body of economic theory as implied in and deducible from a conceptual understanding of the meaning of action plus a few general, explicitly introduced assumptions about the empirical reality in which action has taken place”.
So, in other words, we make some assumptions to make the analysis more interesting and more relevant to our lives. Mises, of course, talks explicitly about this.
The branches of praxeology would include both catalytics and Crusoe economics for example. So, for example, we would assume private property rights and a market to make the analysis interesting. We would assume there is a money society, for example, instead of just barter. Economic analysis presupposes some legal system as well and a property rights framework. In a market economy, this include at least private property and scarce resources and related rights like contract and negotiable instruments, promissory notes and debts, service contracts, and so on. When you see economists reason about a banking system or an economy, they are taking for granted, or they are assuming, that there is in place a certain legal system, a certain respect for private property rights. These are not a priori assumptions. These are explicitly introduced background assumptions about the nature of legal rights that are possessed by actors.
Economics is just a branch of praxeology, according to Mises. It is the most developed branch so far. What other branches of praxeology could there be? Of course, economics
can include Crusoe economics and catalytics. Mieses said that other branches could include the study of war, game theory, and things like this.
Roderick Long has a comment that the way we sometimes use economics is so broad that it is basically the same thing as praxeology so it is not clear what types of fields would not be included in economics that would be praxeology. In any case, you will see Austrians explicity use praxeological analysis and economic analysis to analyze the effects of aggression as well as private property and the free market.
For example, Mises analyzes the Hamburg Market economy and State Interventionism. Rothbard analyzes the effects of violent intervention in the market. So, in this case, the explicitly introduced assumptions is the existence of a state and certain interventions in the economy that contravene some type of baseline private property rights that we would analyze in a free market economy situation.
Now I bring this up because we want to talk about intellectual property. We need to understand what we mean by the term and how it plays a role in economic analysis. Over the last couple of centuries, in the Western legal systems, the Western legal systems have protected, along with property rights and scarce resources, so called intellectual property or IP rights. It is called industrial property in Europe, primarily.
As a general matter, you can think of IP, in the legal sense, as legal rights related to creation of the intellect or the mind. That is why the word intellect is used. It traditionally includes four main types:
Patent Copyright Patents are basically a monopoly privilege granted by the state covering the exclusive right to make or use or sell an invention. Think of a mousetrap.
A copyright is a similar monopoly privilege to be the exclusive person who can copy or distribute or perform publicly certain original works of expressions like novels or paintings or movies.
Trademark Trade Secret Trademark identifies the source of goods. Like the Coca-cola mark tells you you’re getting the Coca-cola from a certain manufacturer.
Trade secrets describe useful knowledge that you keep it secret that helps you gain a competitive advantage and that the state provides certain protections for.
We’re going to focus primarily on patent and copyright.
These aren’t the only rights. These rights arose roughly 200 years ago in the West in a systematic modern form, but, over the years, there have been others added such as boat hold designs, the semiconductor mask work protection, the trademark law was amended in ’95 to add an anti-dilution right. Most of you may be familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 which has resulted in a lot of these take down notices on YouTube. There is a No Electronic Theft Act in 1997. Even the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 have some IP aspects to it. Of course, there is pending legislation in world wide treaties. There is the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which is pending, the Protect IP Act in the U.S.. There is current clamoring for fashion rights. The fashion industry is not currently protected very much by IP and even database rights.
Think of the term intellectual property in two different ways. It is used in the legal way that I have been describing to describe state granted rights. It is important here to recognize that patent and copyrights were not originally called property. Fritz Machlup and Edith Penrose did a famous study in 1950 that explained that those who started using the word property in conjunction with inventions had a very definite purpose in mind. They wanted to substitute a word with a respectable connotation, property, for a word that had an unpleasant ring, privilege. So, basically, it was a concerted propaganda campaign to sell these ideas. There was some opposition among free market economists
and other people to the idea of the government granting these privileges in a systematic way in a modern free market economy to certain people that applied.
Now, if you talk to businessmen and investors, they will often use the term IP, or intellectual property, just to refer to the knowledge that their company has or a given target company has. They don’t really mean patent and copyright. They’ll talk about “my IP” and they mean their secret sauce or the knowledge that the employees have, the way they have of doing things, what makes them unique.
This usage is not incompatible with the free market and it has little to do with the state. In this meaning, the investor or the businessman would think of patent or copyright as just one legal way of protecting your knowledge, but it is the same thing as it. For purposes of today’s lecture and for purposes of economic analysis, we need to analyze each type of IP differently. We need to analyze state interventions that protect knowledge differently than the way we analyze the use of knowledge by actors and by entrepreneurs.
Let’s think of what the role of scarce resources and knowledge are in action. Both scarce resources and knowledge are essential categories of action. This is why I started with praxeology. The structure of human action is essential to understand for purposes of seeing the role of knowledge and scarce resources. So the role of scarce resources in action, of course, is to be a means. Human action employs scarce means. A scarce
means is that which is causally efficacious at achieving your end. So when you act, whether as an entrepreneur or any individual even doing a non-commercial activity, you have some end in mind, some goal you want to achieve. You have to select a means that will help you achieve that. Your action employs that means.
These means, as Mises explained, are necessarily scarce. A scarce means is something that can only be used by one actor at a time. If two or more actors attempt to use this means, then there is necessarily conflict.
What is the role of knowledge in action? You can think of knowledge as information, recipes as Rothbard called it, ideas. They are a guide to action. As Mises wrote:
“Action is purpose of conduct. It is not simply behavior, but behavior begot by judgments of value, aiming at a definite end and guided by ideas concerning the suitability or the unsuitability of definite means”.
- from Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
Guido Hulsmann also has some good stuff on this as do a lot of other Austrian writers, including Rothbard.
I’ll elaborate on this further on in the lecture, but knowledge enriches and expands the universe of ends and means. This is why it is useful in action. Let me give a simple
example. Imagine that your end is to satisfy your hunger. This is what Mises might call a felt uneasiness. You are uneasy at the prospect of not eating something in the near future because you’ll get even hungrier. You want to satisfy your hunger. You want to satisfy it in a way that you will enjoy. You want some delicious food.
From your past knowledge and experience, you are aware of the possibility of making a cake. You are aware that you like cakes. You are aware that you have ingredients and the ability to make a cake, scarce resources. You are aware of the technique you would use to make a cake and you are aware of different types of cakes.
You consider your ends. You can make a chocolate cake or a lemon cake. These are two ends that you consider. This is where choice comes into play. The human actor chooses which end he wants to pursue and the one he doesn’t choose would be the opportunity cost of the action. All these action categories play a role here.
Then the actor considers, based upon his knowledge, which means he is going to employ to achieve his end. He has settled on the lemon cake. He knows there are different means he can employ to achieve this lemon cake. He can purchase one from a store. He could hire somebody to bake it. He could even steal it from someone. He could acquire the ingredients or use the ingredients he has at hand and bake the cake himself.
He considers these different means and then he makes a choice about what means he uses to achieve his end. In this way, knowledge guides the actions that humans engage in, guides the selection of means and the selection of ends.
Imagine if you acquire more knowledge. You acquire knowledge of another type of cake, like coconut cake. Now, if you are aware of this coconut cake, you are aware of three choices instead of two. Your universe of ends has been expanded by knowledge. If you prefer coconut to chocolate and lemon, and if you choose the coconut, now you’re better off than before because it is preferable to you over what the lemon was. This knowledge helps to increase your wealth or your subjective satisfaction.
Also, if you know of another way to make a cake or to obtain a cake, because of your technical knowledge, this helps you possibly choose a more efficient way to achieve your end.
You can see that the more knowledge that is available, the more efficient action is, the more wealth generating action is because we have more ends and means.
A few months ago, Jeff Tucker and I wrote an article trying to classify the role of knowledge and put it in the structure of human action in economic theory, especially Austrian theory. Basically, you can think of the means you use to achieve your ends as scarce goods, but you can think of knowledge, like recipes, ideas, information as non-
scarce goods. Of course, there are other things that you could call non-goods. Scarce non-goods would be something like a mud pie. It is a scarce resource, but it’s not a good because it’s not useful or poison or some of Jeff Tucker’s examples.
A non-scarce, non-good would be something like a bad idea or an awful sound or gibberish text. It is not useful and it is not scarce. This is a way to think about the role of knowledge and how to classify knowledge and to contrast it with what scarce resources are.
Let’s now think about property rights and scarcity. Given this understanding of the role of scarce means, what is the purpose of property rights? The very purpose of property rights is, in response to the scarcity, to make permit conflict avoidance. It is basically to assign an owner to a given scarce resource so that the resources, the means, can be used productively and cooperatively. This promotes efficiency in the division of labor.
As a simple example, let’s go back to the cake idea. If I’m baking a cake, if I’m making it myself, I might need a mixing bowl, ingredients, a spoon, my oven, my kitchen, my own body, standing room, time, and knowledge as well. If I’m making the cake and my neighbor also wants to make a similar cake at the same time, we can’t use the same spoon at the same time. If he takes my spoon from me, he has deprived me of the ability to make it. In fact, if we fight over the spoon, we’re both engaged in the activity of conflict and we’re not going to be productively engaged in using the resources. We’re going to
be engaged in destruction, and clashing, and war. So the purpose of property rights is to allocate an owner to the spoon so that it can be used at least by that person productively.
But, if my neighbor has his own ingredients, his own spoon, his own mixing bowl and we both know how to make this coconut cake, we can both use the same recipe at the same time. We don’t need ownership of that recipe in order to use it productively as action. We can each use that knowledge to guide our actions at the same time. So this is how property rights are used for scarce goods, but they make no sense for knowledge.
Given this, what is the nature and the function of the IP rights that the state does grant, that is the monopoly privileges the state does grant in ideas in the form of patent and copyright? They don’t protect property rights although they are called intellectual property rights. They restrict the flow of information. This is what they do. They restrict the use and flow of information. You can see from our previous discussion that the more knowledge actors have, the better. If you restrict it, it can only be harmful to economic productivity.
In fact, there is a free market economist who wrote fairly recently in favor of patent and copyright. He said, to paraphrase the late economist John Robinson, patent and copyright slow down the diffusion of new ideas for a reason, to insure there will be more new ideas to diffuse.
I wouldn’t agree with the latter part of his statement, but he is admitting that patent and copyrights slow down the diffusion of ideas. This is suppose to be an argument in favor of this.
Another advocate of IP, he is not a free market advocate as far as I know, he’s a standard law professor, he wrote:
“Governments adopt international property rights laws in the belief that a privileged, monopolistic domain, operating on the margins of the free market economy, promotes the long term cultural and technological progress better than a regime of unbridled competition”
You can see the effect of patent and copyright is basically to protect people who have certain knowledge from competition when they use that knowledge in producing something on the free market. The entire purpose of patent and copyright is to protect people from competition. You can see in this quote the fear of “unbridled competition”.
I don’t have the best chart here. I used a free service to try to do this, but you can think of it this way. This is how most advocates of IP view the world. On the bottom axis, the horizontal axis, basically they’re afraid of competition being too easy. If it is too easy for someone to compete with you, then these people think there should be a law in place that will make it harder for people to compete with you: raise the barrier to entry, give you some kind of monopoly for a while, something like that.
In the case of recipes, which I have in the middle of the bottom, what they see is the need for IP law increases as it gets easier to compete with people. You can see this is not really a pro free market or a pro competitive idea. In fact, one wonders if, as competition gets easier in the realm of scarce goods, will these people start advocating protectionist or mercantilist type measures? Border’s just went out of business because of competition from Amazon. Competition is getting easier in some ways nowadays, even in the realm of brick and mortar businesses and scarce resources because of the internet, because of expanding division of labor, because of increasing population, because of many developing countries coming into the capitalist system.
As we have more competition, the regular economy is going to approach the way the digital or the knowledge economy is. That is, there will be more competition. So will the people that advocate IP laws be afraid of this increased competition?
One thing to recognize is that this system is administered by the State. It is no surprise that it does impose waste and cost on the economy in a variety of ways and also because it is the grant of a monopoly privilege which stifles competition. Here is where you can economically analyze the effect of state IP law. We can see what kind of results we would expect to see and that we have seen.
We would expect to see lots of cost, like:
Litigation cost; (0:19:07)
Reduced innovation. If you protect someone from competition, they don’t have to innovate as much; Reduced competition and; The formation of oligopolies
Let’s just consider some of these costs here. One of the costs would be lost innovation. If a group of companies, or one company, dominates a given field with their early innovations, which they patent, outside companies are prohibited from entering that field. They are not going to bother to invest resources to innovate in a field they can’t compete in. So you definitely have lost innovations from patents.
The proponents of the patent system would say the patent system incentivizes innovation. I don’t believe that is true, but even if it does, the point is it definitely also reduces some innovation.
The patent system costs billions of dollars a year in addition to any innovation suppression costs. I have estimated that $41 billion a year in the U.S. because of patents alone. I think this is very conservative, to be honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was hundreds of billions. That is just the cost of U.S. patents.
Other costs of IP is it helps justify the FDA system and its costs. These sort of feed on each other. People say if you have a FDA system that regulates pharmaceutical
companies, then we need to give these companies a patent monopoly to protect from the increased cost they suffer under the FDA system. There are arguments that go back the other way.
The U.S. system is probably the most draconian patent and copyright system in the world. I have a link to a blog post here, India Shrugging. There are some companies now afraid to enter the U.S. market because they are stepping on so many patents, they are afraid they’re going to be sued. There are some software developers that are now withdrawing their aps from the Apple IOS market.
Just to give you a flavor of what this patent system encourages, let’s take a look at some recent patent suits:
Lodsys [an Intellectual Ventures-related company] suing Apple IOS developers; The Android smart phone platform is in serious trouble; Apple is suing Samsung over its Galaxy products; Samsung is striking back at Apple with 10 patents of its own; Microsoft is demanding that Samsung pay $15 royalties from every Android phone it sells On the other hand, Microsoft is on the receiving end sometimes of these patents. i4i recently won $300 million from Microsoft in a patent infringement claim.
Just in the last month or two, Nortel went bankrupt and had 6000 patents that were being auctioned. Google first bid $1 billion, or the square root of $2 billion. Then they bid $2 billion something. Then they bid π billion, $3.14 billion for the patents and still lost. A consortium of rival smart phone makers primarily (RIM which makes the Blackberry, Microsoft which makes the Window phone, Apple the iPhone, and others) came together in a consortium and bid $4.25 billion in the biggest patent sale in history to buy these 6000 patents.
The reason they did it was because Google doesn’t have a lot of patents. Google is one of the least offensive companies in this regard. Let’s say Google has 700 patents. Google and their Android platform is vulnerable to be sued by rivals like Apple, as we see in the earlier bullet points higher on the page.
Google wanted these 6000 patents, not to go around suing people and extorting money from people, not for shakedown purposes, but it’s like a porcupine defense. Google wanted to have a big arsenal of patents to make Apple and Microsoft, RIM and others afraid to sue them. If Apple sues Google for patent infringement, then Apple knows that Google can pore through its 7000 high stack of patents and find something that Apple might be infringing and countersue them. So, basically, all these large companies have these patents solely to keep each other from suing each other. Of course, the small guys on the outside have no defense. They have no porcupine quills. They can be sued by anyone inside this sort of walled garden, so they don’t enter the field. They’re afraid to.
Moreover, if they are sued, they can’t even afford the $3 million legal fees, not to mention the $300 million damage award if they were to lose. You can see what this does. It creates oligopolies, oligopolized industries, who are protected from competition by raised barriers to entry.
In any case, these companies bid $4.25 billion just to keep Google from having a defensive shield. This is one case where our normal opposition to the FTC and the anti-trust law might be a little bit…I wouldn’t cry if the FTC were to look at this consortium of Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others using the monopoly granted by the state, the patents in a monopolistic way, although we can’t endorse that.
RIM, on the other hand, struck a licensing deal with Intellectual Adventures, one of these patent trolls, for $30,000 of their IP assets. RIM, the Blackberry maker, had previously had to pay $600 million to NTP for patent infringement. Most of these companies are being hurt and helped by the patent system, although, overall, they’re being helped in the sense that outside competition from small upstarts is quashed.
There are some other results. This is a slightly older chart, showing just some of the patent lawsuits in the mobile smart phone area as of a couple years ago. This is not the free market. I just updated this last night. Just yesterday, Google’s General Counsel, Kent Walker, said, because they lost this π billion dollar bid for the Nortel patents, he said software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation.
I just wonder kind of and just software patents? I guarantee that the patents that Apple and RIM and Microsoft have are not just software patents that they’re targeting the Android system with. The problem is with patents in general, not just software patents.
What other costs of IP are there? They are also used to justify restrictions on free trade, even by Libertarians and free market economists. In the case of the drug re-import situation. The FDA regulates drugs. It only authorizes approved drugs to be sold. They’re usually patented. The manufacturers in the U.S. will export them to other countries like Canada which have price controls. So they have to sell these drugs at a reduced price in Canada. We’ll not in favor of price controls, but evidently Bayer and others think they can make a profit selling it at $100 instead of $300 or whatever. You have a drug that has been legally manufactured and sold to a buyer in Canada. This drug is then re-imported to the United States and re-sold. This is just arbitrage.
It doesn’t violate the patent law because there is something called exhaustion doctrine which means the maker can only take one bite out of the apple. When they sold it legally in Canada, they had already exhausted their patent monopoly, so they can’t complain about it that way. So, of course, what they do is they get the FDA to block the import, saying we haven’t approved it yet, even though it is the same drug by the same company that is approved in the U.S., but it is sold in Canada first so it is not approved here. You have free market economists, Richard Epstein, Doug Bandow from CATO, Michael Krause, arguing against re-importation of drugs, arguing that the federal government,
through the FDC, or other means, should prohibit free trade because it would be a way of getting around the patent rights of U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
You can see how this patent mentality corrupts even the free trade bonafides of the Libertarians and free market economists.
It also leads to calls for extensions of the patent system, I mentioned earlier fashion is being lobbied for it now, and American and Western imperialism internationally through the World Trade Organization and this ACTA Treaty. They are trying to twist the arms of other countries, Russia, China, India, to adopt the American style IP law. They’re trying to extend it to other fields like fashion, even mixed drinks, bartenders want that, recipes, newspaper headlines in Germany; they want a copyright on the headline of a newspaper article.
They’re expanding the penalties. It’s like the drug war. They always want to ramp up the drug war: impose the death penalty, put people in jail for longer times. The same thing is going on here as people are more and more able to evade IP law, especially with the internet encryption, torrenting, file sharing. What they’re doing is they’re trying to increase the penalties, including no due process, administrative accusation of three strikes and you’re out and you’re banned from the internet for life. These kinds of things are coming. It’s scary.
What about other costs of IP? First of all, it makes everyone a criminal, a criminal. There is a study by John Tehranian. He estimates, by typical activities most people that have access to the internet engage in every year, we each rack up a liability of $4.5 billion a year, each person. This is not an exaggeration. This is literally true. This is the effect of these laws. You can see it in some of the notorious examples we have seen, Jamie Thomas, a single mother, who downloaded 18 songs and ended up losing and being fined millions of dollars; things like this.
It also leads to calls for federal government stimulation of innovation through taxes. After all, the argument is, if we don’t have patent and copyright law, there will be sub-optimal production of songs and music and inventions. In some ideal world, we are going to have this much, but we only have this much because of market failure, the public goods problem. So the government comes in and gives these monopolies and raises the level back to where it should be.
How do we know that we are at the optimal level? Maybe the patent system helps get us to a higher level of innovation, but not quite high enough. Maybe the real ideal level is even higher. In fact, this is what a lot of IP advocates call for. They call for the federal government to tax people, collect the money, give it to a panel of government appointed experts and bureaucrats and look around the country and see whose innovation that year is deserving of a little reward and hand out the rewards. In fact, even some free market economists have called for a $80 billion a year taxpayer funded innovation prize just for
medical technology, just for medical. If you think of all the areas that patents cover, chemical, electrical, software, business methods, and if you think about other types of IP, copyright, if you scale this up, it could be trillions a year, trillions a year, of taxpayer robbery to incentivize innovation even beyond what the patent monopoly could do. In fact, one of these free market guys even supports, for the arts, what he call artistic freedom vouchers; $20 billion a year to give money to creators and artists.
Of course, there are other costs to IP: death, jail, and censorship. There are literally people dying today in America because of patents or going to jail or being threatened with jail. There is a recent lawsuit where some guy owning a patent is trying to force Ford not to use certain safety features in their car because it violates their patent. They really want money from Ford, but the implicit threat is if you don’t pay me money, I will use the courts to make you take this safety feature out of the car. People would die because of the patent.
There is a case going on right now where there is a maker called Genzyme which makes a drug called Fabrazyme which is for a rare disease. It is in short supply because only one company has the patent. They’re selling most of the drug to Europe because they have a better profit there because of this particular case. There are Americans who can’t buy the drug. There are no competitors because competition is outlawed. There is one substitute drug being made in Europe, but it can’t be imported here because the FDA hasn’t approved it.
It also leads to forum shopping. Marshall, Texas, not too far from Houston, is the patent ligation capital of the world because they give the highest awards. There is a whole industry there, at least for the patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures and copyright trolls like the notorious Righthaven.
Copyright is literally and often used for censorship. Howard Hughes one time, for example, almost succeeded in using copyright to try and block a biography he didn’t like. He just bought the copyrights to some information that was going to be used in some biographies. Some filmmakers have used it to censor criticism. J. D. Salinger got a court to literally order an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye to be blocked from publication by a U.S. Court. That is literally censorship and thought control.
From the examples I gave earlier, it should also be clear that patents lead to a lot of waste. You have these companies spending billions of dollars for patents that only serve to keep their big competitors from suing them. So this is just a dead weight loss on society and it reduces competition from smaller upstarts.
Rothbard talks about another effect of patents on the markets. That is patents are always arbitrary on what they cover. They reward some types of things, but some types of inventions and innovations are outside the scope of patents; for example, mathematical algorithms or certain types of medical procedures nowadays and certain abstract theories of physics. Einstein’s formula, E=mc² was not patentable, for example, even though it
was beneficial to mankind; although Einstein actually didn’t invent E=mc², so bad example.
As Rothbard points out, when the patent system will give you a monopoly over a certain type of innovation, people are going to tend to divert their R&D efforts in that direction. This distorts the economy from what it otherwise would be.
Milton Friedman also recognized this. The existence of patents tends to divert activity towards patentable inventions. It doesn’t have a neutral effect on the market. It distorts the market.
What about empirical studies about these claims that patents actually improve innovation? I’ll just go through a few of these here. Basically, economists regularly and almost universally concede that there is no evidence and, in fact, the evidence is the other way around.
Levine says, empirically, IP doesn’t increase creation and innovation.
Fritz Machlup in 1958 said that economists do not have enough information to conclude that the patent system confers a net benefit or loss. He says we just don’t know. We can’t know the answer to these things.
George Priest, in 1986, said, “In the current state of knowledge, economists know almost nothing about the effect on social welfare of the patent system”.
A recent study in 2004 by two French economists conclude something similar. We don’t know anything more now than we did in Machlup’s day when he concluded we just can’t know.
A recent study by two law professors, Meurer and Bessen, concluded empirically, on average, the patent system discourages innovation.
This is the economic analysis of state IP. It reduces competition. It raises barriers to entry. It creates oligopolies. It reduces innovation. It creates societal waste and costs. It distorts R&D. It does injustice to individuals. It causes writ seeking and ever expanding laws along the lines of controls and pre-controls.
Let’s switch to free market IP or knowledge. The role of knowledge in a free society, as we have talked about already, greater knowledge expands the universe of ends and means. It improves action. It increases efficiency and wealth. It enables human progress. More societal knowledge is good. This is what allows human progress over time. The pool of knowledge we can all draw on to make our decisions about what means to use, what ends to pursue, always grows. This is one reason why we have societal progress.
Let’s get to what I was aiming at through all this preliminary talk. What are the sources of wealth? We are talking about economic development. As Hoppe explains, there are only three ways to generate wealth. You can acquire and increase wealth through homesteading, production, and contractual exchange. Those are the only three ways; or through expropriating that from others.
Let’s look at these three types:
We have original appropriation. That is, you are taking something that was not owned out of the commons. That is a way of creating new property. That is the only way to create new property. That is a way of increasing wealth. The person who homesteads something is better off after the acquisition.
Production now means not to create something new out of nothing. It means to transform property you already own. That also creates wealth. If you beat metal into a sword, now you have an object that is more valuable to you. You have created wealth. You have used knowledge to do that, but you don’t create new property titles.
Finally, there is trade or contractual exchange. Of course, when two people make an exchange, each one is better off after the exchange. They are not equal. It is not true that if you pay $100 for an iPod, that the iPod is worth $100. The iPod is worth more than $100 to you. The $100 is worth more than the iPod to Apple. Both parties are better off
after the exchange. This is implicit in Rothbard’s Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics.
The only way that we can guarantee there is wealth generated in society, and that everyone is better off, is if there is no aggression and property rights are respected. When you have property rights and you have contract – contract simply means the right of the owner of the property to do what he wants with it. He is the one who gets to give permission so someone can use his property or to deny permission or, in the case of external resources, to alienate it or to sell it to others. When you have property rights and contract, you have a free market that leads to trade and wealth is created in that way.
And in production – this is universally recognized by the great Libertarian thinkers, Rothbard, Rand, Mises, and Hoppe. They all explained that we create wealth by rearranging resources that we own already. There is a common fallacy that we produce things. This is actually part of the Randian mistake about IP. They think, well, if you produce something, you own it. We produce ideas that are valuable so we should own those. The mistake they’re making is they’re misusing a metaphor. When we say we produce something, all we mean is we transform something owned already. We make it more valuable. You can see Rand recognized this in another context. She said, “The power to rearrange is the only creative power we possess. Creation does not bring something into existence out of nothing. It just means to bring into existence an arrangement”.
Of course, you have to own some object to rearrange it. Rothbard said something similar. He said, “Man can work with numerous elements he finds in his environment (these are scarce means) by rearranging them in order to bring about the satisfaction of his ends”.
Of course, Rothbard has been accused of borrowing his ideas from Rand, which is false, as we can see Mises wrote even before both of them something very similar, “there is a widespread misconception about the nature of production”.
He talked about this naïve view that it is bringing something into existence that didn’t previously exist. He says no. What production is is you combine your personal forces, that is your human action, with the forces of nature, these are scarce resources in the world, so that you bring about a particular desired arrangement of material. He says, “No human act or production amounts to more than altering the position of things in space and leaving the rest to nature”.
That means using causal laws.
How does knowledge and the free market play a role in these three sources of wealth: original appropriation, trade, and production or transformation? We can focus on three aspects of the market which enhance or enable these three ways of creating wealth.
We first have, in an advanced free market economy when property rights are respected, we can expect to see cooperation among people. They are not just isolated. We don’t have Crusoe economics. We have an advanced society with cooperation, where people can use each other as means, as Mises says, and the division of labor and the specialization of labor. We also have the continual acquisition of knowledge or learning and emulation by people, and we have market competition.
Let’s look at each of these three things in turn and see how they affect the three primary sources of wealth generation.
Learning is acquiring knowledge. When you have property rights respected and freedom, then people will learn. They will learn from others. They will learn from the culture that we have born into and from observing other people, even other people in the market, even their competitors. They’ll sometimes emulate them. This leads to the acquisition of more knowledge. If you see a competitor open a grocery store and have wider supermarket aisles and it attracts more customers, you’ve learned something about the way the world works. So, as we discussed earlier, this enlarges your universe of possible ends and means which enhances wealth. When you have more ends, as we discussed earlier, when you know of more possible ends, than you can have greater wealth satisfaction, lower opportunity costs. I gave the cake example earlier, but you can also think of this. If you need to cross a river, or have a way to cross a river, you can build a
long road around it or build a boat, but now, if you know a bridge is possible, that is your end. You might choose to build a bridge instead.
A larger universe of possible means also enhances wealth creation. It allows a more efficient use of causal laws to achieve our ends. For example, instead of making a bridge on beams or on arches, now we can make it with a cable. That is another means we know of to make a bridge.
How does this play a role in the creation of wealth? The greater knowledge of possible ends and means, technical knowledge, scientific knowledge, causal knowledge, even cultural knowledge, artistic knowledge, it helps you be a better homesteader. For example, instead of throwing oil away as being bad, now you’re aware that oil can be used productively. So you now homestead the oil productively. Now your wealth has increased.
In production, when you transform goods, if you know of better techniques to transform the iron into steel, instead of just an iron sword, you make a better sword. Or you might make a car instead of a chariot.
Even contractual exchange can be enhanced by more knowledge because the parties know more about how they can use the things they’re trading. They know more about
possible trades out there. They know more about other prices that have been exchanged in the market.
All three ways of creating wealth are enhanced by greater knowledge.
Finally, when competition is permitted on the market, when IP laws don’t come in and protect market actors from competition, than emulation is possible. Emulation leads to competition, leads to constant striving to satisfy consumers, to increase efficiency and lower costs. You can use better means to do this if you know of more possibilities. You can innovate. You improve products so you have more production and more trade.
Basically, competition, emulation, the division of labor, cooperation, the spread of knowledge, the possibility of learning on the market leads to immense wealth creation and the improvement of living standards, technological, economic, and social progress.
youtube.com - YouTube Full Name Upgrade (2/2) July 20, 2012
Comment update 2: It seems that Google rolled out this update in the US on June 29. For some reason I missed the announcement: http://goo.gl/e9chg
Comment update: Once you have updated your profile on YouTube, you'll be able to receive notifications from Google+ and post directly from YouTube on Google+. Old comment: Can the lack of anonymity improve the quality of the comments? If both kind of users are displayed in the same comments section, I can't see how, but perhaps Google is intended to segregate them in two lists. _________________ #youtube#youtubeupdate#youtubeusernames
"Among those respondents who indicated the warming would be harmful (including those who indicated that the harms and benefits would occur in equal measures), only a small minority indicated that all (2%) or a large amount (20%) of the harms can be prevented through mitigation and adaptation measures; the more common responses were that a moderate amount (46%) or a small amount (22%) of the harm can be prevented."
- Since when what the majority believe is guarantee of being the truth? Science isn't a matter of majorities, but about finding the most accurate description of the world and supporting it with evidence (and in experimental science with experimental evidence.)
3. Do you think that the global warming that has occurred over the past 150 years has been caused... [Asked if answer to Question 1 is “Yes”]
Mostly by human activity 59% More-or-less equally by human activity and natural events 11% Mostly by natural events 6% I do not believe we (scientists) know enough yet to determine the degree of human or natural causation, even in the general terms stated in the categories above 23% I don’t know 1%
"only about 1 out of 4 AMS Members responded to the survey. The extent to which the findings reported here represent theviews of all AMS Members is therefore unknown."
- I knew there had to be a big flaw in the methodology of this survey, there was a clear bias in the method of selection of the sample. Everybody knows that Climate Change deniers are more willing to respond any survey, whereas the immense majority of accepters consider that the science is settled and are not eager to waste their precious time supporting the obvious. Such bias is likely the cause that only 59% of the sample believe that the human activity is the major contributor to the current global warming. Otherwise, how could these data be compatible with the following statements?
Scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth's climate system is unequivocally warming and it is more than 90% certain that humans are causing it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:
25. Which of the following best describes your primary professional focus over the past 12 months?
Research 41% Education 11% Forecasting (including for broadcast) 19% Engineering 5% Business activities (business development, sales, service, etc.) 5% Policy 2% Administration/management 8% Other 9%
- Yet, only a small fraction of the sample are true specialists in climate science, most of them are simple meteorologists specifically trained to work in short-term weather forecasts at the local level, so they don't qualify as climate experts. This may sound elitist but the current level of specialization and required expertise in climate science is so huge and the methodology applied so complex that nobody can really grasp the real significance of the findings, nor can evaluate and integrate the results in a meaningful way to reach the correct conclusions, save for the few actual experts in this field. Supporting such perception:
A poll performed by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at University of Illinois at Chicago received replies from 3,146 of the 10,257 polled Earth scientists. Results were analyzed globally and by specialization. 76 out of 79 climatologists who "listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change" believed that mean global temperatures had risen compared to pre-1800s levels. Seventy-five of 77 believed that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Among all respondents, 90% agreed that temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800 levels, and 82% agreed that humans significantly influence the global temperature. Economic geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, [ a.k.a. deniers and nay-sayers* ] with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in significant human involvement. The authors summarised the findings:
Perhaps more importantly, only about 1 out of 4 AMS Members responded to the survey. The extent to which the findings reported here represent theviews of all AMS Members is therefore unknown.* Additional analysis will beconducted to compare the demographics of respondents to non-respondents MS CICCC Survey Preliminary Findings – Page 5 (as a means of assessing the representativeness of the findings), and to codeand analyze the written responses to open-ended questions in the survey. A large majority of respondents to the survey (81%) agreed with thestatement: “the response options provided in this survey…allowed me to fairly represent my views.” Small but important minorities of respondents disagreed (12%), or neither agreed nor disagreed (8%).
Methods On December 29th, 2011, an email was sent to all 7,197 AMS voting Members (for whom AMS had email addresses as of that date), inviting them to participate in a web-based survey about climate change. A second and third invitation was emailed to non-respondents 7 and 14 days later, respectively. Of the 7,197 members on the initial list, 135 were ineligible because their email addresses were invalid. The valid initial denominator of the study, therefore, was 7,062. Of these 7,062 people, 1,862 completed at least someportion of the survey (as of 12:40pm on January 15th), yielding a minimum response rate of 26.4% (which assumes that all non-respondents were eligible to participate).
Background AMS Members are a diverse group of professionals from throughout the weather and climate enterprise. Members must meet at least one of the following professional and/or educational requirements (although AMS holds a broad and inclusive interpretation of these requirements): hold a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the atmospheric or related sciences; or hold a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in some other science or a related field and be currently engaged in a professional activity in which his or her knowledge is applied to the advancement or application of the atmospheric or related sciences; or have completed at least 20 semester hours of college level course work in the atmospheric or related sciences and have at least three years of professional experience in the last five years.