Saturday, August 12, 2017


My John didn't go to college, why should my John pay your tuition?---Graffito

There is a growing assumption in public discourse that not having equal access to medical care is a breach of the faith of the democracy. While health care is an admirable desire, is its availability to the people as important as the equal administration of the democracy's laws? It seems to me that the single payer law services would be much more in tune with the aims and responsibilities of a representative government, or at least higher on the list of democratic desires than health care. 40% fee sounds like a lot to pay for justice.

A Food and Drug Administration panel opened a new era in medicine on Wednesday, unanimously recommending that the agency approve the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, transforming them into what scientists call “a living drug” that powerfully bolsters the immune system to shut down the disease.
If the F.D.A. accepts the recommendation, which is likely, the treatment will be the first gene therapy ever to reach the market.(nyt)

Japanese wartime secret police literally arrested Japanese citizens for having “unpatriotic thoughts.” Their official name was the Kempeitai, and they officially named their pursuit the “Thought War.”

Who is...Anne Elliot?

The U.S. has some 160 million workers. The method for measuring employment and unemployment is not to count them all but to use a sample. Sampling is a method that selects a small group believed to be a representative sample to survey, and then generalizes from that sample. The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains a list of 60,000 households it calls monthly to determine who is employed, who isn’t, who has gotten a job that month, who had their hours cut or increased, and so on. Each month one quarter of this sample group is replaced, and after eight months, those who were dropped return to the rotation. This is where employment and unemployment numbers come from. 

 A pair of Apollo-era NASA computers and hundreds of mysterious tape reels have been discovered in a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburgh  ... Most of the tapes are unmarked, but the majority of the rest appear to be instrumentation reels for Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, NASA's fly-by missions to Jupiter and Saturn... At some point in the early 1970s, an IBM engineer working for NASA at the height of the Space Race took home the computers -- and the mysterious tape reels. A scrap dealer, invited to clean out the deceased's electronics-filled basement, discovered the computers.

A majority of Republicans and right-leaning independents think higher education has a negative effect on the country, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center on Monday. The same study has found a consistent increase in distrust of colleges and universities since 2010, when negative perceptions among Republicans was measured at 32 percent. That number now stands at 58 percent. By comparison, 72 percent of Democrats or left-leaning Independents in the study said colleges and universities have a positive impact on the United States.

Golden oldie:
Sarin--500 times more toxic than cyanide--was named in honor of the people who first discovered it: S chrader, Otto A mbros...

"Literature encourages tolerance -- bigots and fanatics seldom have any use for the arts, because they’re so preoccupied with their beliefs and actions that they can’t see them also as possibilities."  So wrote Northrop Frye, writer and critic (14 Jul 1912-1991) Regrettably, this is clearly not so. The arts are not sacred nor are humanity's enslavers always blindly nuts.  Adam Hochschild, in “To End All Wars,” wrote extensively about the manner in which British authors were co-opted to generate support for the British war effort, soon after the outbreak of war in 1914.
Before he wrote 1984, Orwell worked for the British government during World War II as a propagandist at the BBC. Ezra Pound was an eager collaborator with the Fascists. Fascists and communists always co-opt the arts for homicidal ends. Nor are artist so saintly as to reject their efforts. Indeed they might have a more than average faith in governmental power. Academics are unjustifiably confident and self-congratulatory.

From an interview with Elon Musk:Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said. “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”
“Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued.
“It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

The European Union is:

  • 7.2% of the World Population.
  • 23.8% of the World’s GDP.
  • 58% of the World’s Welfare Spending.

Today it's official: "the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who will be portrayed by an actress,"   -- specifically Jodie Whittaker, who American viewers may remember from her performance as CIA officer Sandra Grimes in the 2014 mini-series "The Assets."

Empyrean:  adjective: 1. Relating to the highest heaven, believed to contain pure light or fire. 2. Relating to the sky; celestial. 3. Sublime; elevated. Ety: From Latin empyreus, from Greek empyrios (fiery), from pur (fire). Other words derived from the same root are fire, pyre, pyrosis (heartburn), and pyromania (an irresistible impulse to set things on fire). Earliest documented use: 1500. A synonym of the word is empyreal.
This is where the idiom “to be in seventh heaven” (a state of great bliss) comes from. In many beliefs, heavens are a system of concentric spheres, the seventh heaven being the highest and a place of pure bliss.

Dr. Amy Reed, an anesthesiologist and patient-safety advocate, died in May 2017 after a four-year battle with leiomyosarcoma of the uterus. The cancer was spread by a power morcellator, the medical device used for her 2013 hysterectomy.
The surgical tool, released in 1995, was once lauded for facilitating minimally invasive surgery that decreased recovery times and minimized the risk of post-surgical infections. Morcellation, used to remove uterine fibroids or conduct complete hysterectomies, was performed on approximately 50,000 women a year in the U.S. in the early 2010s.
Yet for patients like Dr. Reed, whose uterine fibroids appeared benign but hid an aggressive type of cancer, morcellation can become a death sentence. The device is equipped with a spinning blade, which slices up tissue for removal piece by piece through small incisions. When the blade cuts through a cancerous tumor, it sprays malignant cells around the body, spreading the disease. Following her procedure, Dr. Reed, a mother of six, was left with advanced, Stage 4 cancer.
Not only do we treat on the margins, we ban on the margins.

A $2 billion private-equity fund that borrowed heavily to buy oil and gas wells before energy prices plunged is now worth essentially nothing, a debacle that is wiping out investments by pensions, endowments and charitable foundations. (wsj)

Darwin confidently asserted towards the end of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) that whatever a man did, he did it better than a woman, therefore “the average standard of mental power in man must be above that of women”.  But Anne Elliot, the heroine of Persuasion by Jane Austen, one of Darwin’s favorite authors says. "Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. The pen has been in their hands."
Geographers Carrie Mott and Daniel Cockayne argued in a recent paper that citing the work of straight white males perpetuates what they call “white heteromasculinism,” which they defined as a “system of oppression” that benefits only those who are “white, male, able-bodied, economically privileged, heterosexual, and cisgendered.” (Cisgendered describes people whose gender identity matches their birth sex.)

Mott, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Cockayne, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, argued that scholars or researchers disproportionately cite the work of white men, thereby unfairly adding credence to the body of knowledge they offer while ignoring the voices of other groups, like women and black male academics. Although citation seems like a mundane practice, the feminist professors argue that citing someone's work has implications on his or her ability to be hired, get promoted and obtain tenured status, among others.
Ms. Mott describes herself as a “feminist political geographer,” who's interested in “how resistance movements mobilize to fight against state-sponsored violence and marginalization.” 
Bias lurks everywhere, even in the geography of Mother Earth. Fortunately bias does not exist in climate research.

In 2004, the neurotoxin Sarin was used by Iraqis against U.S. troops in a shell fired at them. The Sarin was to be created from precursors by the spin of the shell but the effort failed as the chemicals did not mix. 

AAAAaaaannnnnddddd....a graph:

No comments: