Category: links

Links for August 2017

IRS agents vs money recovered
Civil War diaoramas done with cats
How the very rich legally avoid paying taxes
Hugo winners 2017

Best Novel
The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Kamikara pop up penguin by Haruki Nakamura website
America seized the traitor Lee’s plantation

Links for July 2017

Mary Katharine Goddard, printer of the Declaration of Independence and postmaster

In her boldest move, Goddard put her full name at the bottom of all the copies of the Declaration that her printing presses churned out and distributed to the colonies. It was the first copy young America would see that included the original signers’ names — and Congress commissioned her for the important job.


Solving a Rubik’s cube quickly is NP complete

In 2010, programmers found that a 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube can be solved in a maximum of 20 moves from any starting position, no matter how scrambled.

A year later, Demaine, Eisenstat and their colleagues devised a formula to solve a Rubik’s cube with sides of any length and found that the number of moves required for a cube of side n is proportional to n2/log n.

Finding the number for a cube with n=3 took several years of computing time and Demaine estimates that the n=4 case would take billions of times longer. “I conjecture it will never be fully solved,” he says.

This is the upper limit for the most scrambled cubes, but many cubes will not take that long. Figuring out whether any given configuration of a cube will take fewer moves is tricky. “We know an algorithm to solve all cubes in a reasonable amount of time,” Demaine says. “But if I give you a particular configuration of the cube, and then you want to solve it with the fewest moves for that configuration, that’s really tough.”

Cryolevitating magnet on a mobius stripSurprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off by Julia Belluz

Why did Europe lose the Crusades?

Have fewer kids?

Love & Cockroaches

Obamacare reduced medical bankruptcies

Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), 1972-1995

Doctor salaries (ave $204,000 – $443,000 by speciality)

Republicans try to kill CBO (Congressional Budget Office)

X-Rated Furniture Of Catherine The Great

Killing hypothalamus stem cells reduces lifeaspan 10%, might speed up aging

Study of indiana school voucher program finds that at best it is a waste of money and that it likely retards learning. The details are worse than the title suggests

DOE ignorance and mismanagement by the Trump admin

Links for June 2017

The rise of homegrown terror on the right. This growing domestic menace deserves more time than it’s getting. by Arie Perliger

The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly avarage of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly avarage of more than 300 since 2001. These incidents have grown even more common since President Donald Trump’s election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that researches U.S. extremism, reported 900 bias-related incidents against minorities in the first 10 days after Trump’s election – compared to several dozen in a normal week – and the group found that many of the harassers invoked the then-president-elect’s name. Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that tracks anti-Semitism, recorded an 86 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the first three months of 2017.

Proove Biosciences raided by Feds — doctor payoffs and an opioid test that doesn’t work

The Abortion Battlefield by Marcia Angell

Four years later, Slepian was murdered at his home. The total count between 1978 and 2015, writes Haugeberg, was eleven murders (nine of them physicians), twenty-six attempted murders, 185 arsons, forty-two bombings, and 1,534 vandalizations of clinics.

Super D&D map
There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes (Charles Murray is a racist)

Why Are Bird Eggs Egg-Shaped? An Eggsplainer: A new study points to a surprising reason for the varied shape of bird eggs—and shows that most eggs aren’t actually egg-shaped. Egg-scuse me? by Ed Yong. pdf

Links for March 2017

The Hamilton Hustle: Why liberals have embraced our most dangerously reactionary founder by Matt Stoller
GOP Bill Would Let Your Employer Demand to See Your Genetic Information by Eric Levitz

A brief and mundane history of being a woman by El Jones

The geometry of weird-shaped dice
The U.S. Tax Code Actually Doesn’t “Soak the Rich” by Nick Buffie
Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In The US by Chris Ladd
Yes, Your Sleep Schedule Is Making You Sick by Richard A. Friedman

The Crazification Factor

John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is —

Tyrone: 27%.

John: … you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.

Links for February 2017

Stock Grant Sizes In Pre-IPO Tech Companies
Adorable Swedish Tradition Has Its Roots in Human Experimentation
Trump Is the Boss From Hell
Bernie Sanders’ Hack Lets You Call White House, whitehouseinc.org
Keep It Simple and Take Credit by Jack Meserve

Gov. Rauner hires former Comptroller Munger as deputy governor

To my Jewish, Irish, Asian and Italian friends
KKK, American Nazi Party praise Trump’s hiring of Bannon

This Far-Right Tweet About “The Future That Liberals Want” Backfired Into A Huge Meme

Chicago SF clubs and events:
MythInk is a club for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror writers of Columbia College
Might still be local: National Space Society Director, Public Affairs Vice President, and Education & Outreach Chair. Enterprise in Space Technical Adviser, Science & Educational Outreach Director, Lynne F. Zielinsk

Chicago Society’s 2016 Conference Space: Speculation and Exploration
This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World

Links for January 2017

Repairing a Canon EF lens, photos

Rep. Meadows targets campus rape rule
The Republican Congress’s priority is eliminating rules to prevent rape on College campuses. The ‘Freedom Caucus’ is all about the freedom to rape. Republicans, the pro-rape party. Terrible headline–by quoting Rep. Meadows, it affirms his opinion of the rules.

what vichy france can teach us about the normalization of state violence by Aliza Luft
“…in August 1940, even before France and Germany embarked upon an official collaboration, the French Catholic episcopate formally endorsed the Vichy regime’s first anti-Semitic decree, the Statut des Juifs. Shortly thereafter, the State Council, Vichy’s highest judicial body, purged all Jews from public office. Simultaneously, more Catholics were ushered into government appointments than at any time since 1878.”


Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary by Malcolm Sheppard


Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery By JOHN A. FARRELL

To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.


Science Of Rain-x and Aquapel

Rain-X is more hydrophobic, but wears off. Aquapel (fluorine based) bind covalently but is not as hydophobic.

Leaving Conservatism Behind by Matthew Sitman

Everyday Authoritarianism is Boring and Tolerable by Tom Pepinsky


Spy Agencies Say: Yeah, Russia Did It

The US intelligence agencies’s report is out–Russia hacked the US election to get Trump elected. Republican response–we think Russia is great now! Love Putin, he’s so old man hunky! Remember the good old days, when Republicans preferred America to its long time enemies?

Good for the Heart, Good for the Brain. Despite a growing conviction among researchers that lifestyle choices matter, Americans still view Alzheimer’s as a predominantly inherited disease. by Joshua C. Kendall

10 Discworld Quotes You’ll Desperately Need for the Next Four Years

And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions. – Feet of Clay

Commander Vimes didn’t like the phrase “The innocent have nothing to fear,” believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like “The innocent have nothing to fear.” – Snuff


A supplement maker tried to silence this Harvard doctor — and put academic freedom on trial

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Economics: Through Jobs, Freedom

Why Do Republicans Hate Obamacare? by Kevin Drum


Why large dogs live fast—and die young By Elizabeth Pennisi

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—For most mammals, size matters: Large ones, such as elephants and whales, live far longer than small ones like rodents. But among dogs, that rule is reversed. Tiny Chihuahuas, for example, can live up to 15 years—8 years longer than their much larger cousins, Great Danes. Now, a team of undergraduates may be closer to figuring out why. The most likely culprit? More harmful oxygen free radicals in fast-growing, fuel-burning puppies.

In the adult dog cells, energy and free radical production was about equal in the two breed sizes. But in the puppy cells, that balance was off. Adult large and small dogs had about equal amounts of antioxidants, but the cells from large breed puppies had too many excess free radicals for the antioxidants to fight, the undergrads reported here last week at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. That’s likely because large breed puppies have fast metabolisms, growing faster and requiring more energy than smaller breeds, Winward says. Cell damage even at this young age can have long-lasting effects.

The results are preliminary, and there are other ideas about why dogs age the way they do. But if the findings hold up, it might be possible to extend large dogs’ lives with antioxidant supplements for puppies, Winward suggests. These antioxidants could help get rid of those young dogs’ extra free radicals before they do damage.

Antioxidants will not work to extend large dogs lifespans. Antioxidant supplements of many types have been tried in all types of animals with nearly all trials failing. I recall an antioxidant used as a preservative showed a positive effect in house flys where flight was measured as the flys aged. The flight muscles have a high oxygen demand.


2016 is hottest year, breaks records set in 2015, 2014, 2010, 2005!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

An election fraud fake news masterpiece

How Purdue Pharma created the opioid addiction epidemic

Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually


Blue Lives Matter by Albert Samaha

BuzzFeed News reviewed 62 incidents of video footage contradicting an officer’s statement in a police report or testimony. From traffic stops to fatal force, these cases reveal how cops are incentivized to lie — and why they get away with it.

Links for December 2016

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), new Secretary of HHS, is a member of a fringe medical organization. Anti-science Bircher / Ayn Randian nutters.
The Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project, harlanellisonbooks.com
Lego machine with strain wave gearing
NASA Fractal branching ultra-dexterous robots (Bush robots), 1999
2016 National Popular Vote Tracker
Why Pat McCrory Lost and What It Means in Trump’s America
Republicans like Putin, 45% like/55% dislike Based on YouGov polling.
Bird photo booth
On Pizzagate and conservative delusion by Jim Wright
Report: Chicago cops ignored recommendation to fire officers after Laquan McDonald shooting

Links for Nov 2016

The Skeptical Chymists — associated with a modern version of a 1920’s chem set for kids
Amateur chemistry discussion board
Estimated 1:20000 eggs in the US are contaminated with Salmonella enterica. The fraction varies as infection rises and falls in flocks, at times 1:10 eggs are contaminated. The majority of egg-laying flocks have Salmonella infections, but only a subset of chickens are infected, only some eggs get contaminated, and egg-washing reduces Salmonella in eggs. Still this works out to over 2e6 contaminated eggs / year in the US.
What Central Asia’s spectacular states can tell us about authoritarianism in America.
Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen
. Notes from a reporter in Putin’s Russia on what to expect.
Rants on 2016 US election
Global sea ice super anomaly Nov 2016
An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America By Forsetti’s Justice
Paul Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare
What you — yes, you — can do to save America from tyranny. Written by Timothy Snyder
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism by Lawrence Britt

Links for October 2016

Harry Truman, 1952

I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are–when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people–then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party.


The Post’s Jane Ridley tells why she was staunchly anti-vax until she had a frightening wake-up call

How Trump Took Hate Groups Mainstream. The full story of his connection with far-right extremists. by Sarah Posner and David Neiwert

Profile of Chicago school system head Forrest Claypool–the guy who sold CTA fare system Ventra to a private company.

A Science Fiction Tasting Menu for the As Yet Uninitiated (not books I would pick, but some interesting comments)