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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 1 declined, 3 accepted (4 total, 75.00% accepted)

+ - Outlaw Puns? What pun is that? 1

Submitted by FreedomFirstThenPeac
FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "A story in The Guardian tells us that in an Orwellian-like move to legislate language, the Chinese are attempting to stop the use of puns because they are disruptive and may lead to chaos (not the mathematical kind) and as such are unsuitable for use. However, Chinese is rife with puns, with this example quoted in the story

When couples marry, people will give them dates and peanuts – a reference to the wish Zaosheng guizi or “May you soon give birth to a son”. The word for dates is also zao and peanuts are huasheng

The powerful date and peanut lobbies are up in arms, claiming that such a ban will cost them more than peanuts. Their claim? "If you outlaw puns. Only criminals will have puns.""

+ - Back the Future in Nuclear Armageddon

Submitted by FreedomFirstThenPeac
FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "As a former Cold Warrior (both launch officer side and staff analytical mathematician side) I now appreciate more than ever the bitterness I saw in former WW2 warriors when they would see a Japanese car. One even commented that he was pretty unhappy that he had served in submarines to beat the Japanese, only to see their products rolling down the streets. Now I see that the President who was elected partially on a "no new nukes" plank is presiding over a major ramping up of US nuclear power.

This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy.

Mind you, Mutual Assured Destruction is a dangerous path, and one we managed to negotiate only because we were lucky (and we were) and because we were careful (and we were). As a strategy, it only works with rational people (e.g., world powers with lots to lose) who might have irrational expectations that they will win in the long run, the rapid fall of imperialist Russia was helpful (I have seen blackboard talks on this as a mathematical result in game theory). This speed minimized the time we spent in the high-risk regions while transiting from MAD to where we were in the 1990's, but the political world has changed, and this President is finding it hard to toe a pedagogical line in the face of neo-realpolitiks.

Refs:

"
Science

+ - Can't sleep? Maybe it not just those powerdrinks!

Submitted by FreedomFirstThenPeac
FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "SciAm reported that late night video, especially the "I'll just read my tablet so sweetie can sleep" variety, might be to blame for sleeplessness. It re-programs your circadian rhythms through your primary EM coding interface (eyeballs). So now I'll be wearing blue-suppressing sunglasses to bed, think that'll get noticed?

Refs:
  1. The first ref is the SciAm article Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime
  2. The second is a what's what list of great references from the literature f.lux sleep research site
"
Social Networks

+ - Detecting depression from your internet mechanics->

Submitted by FreedomFirstThenPeac
FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "Apparently we could diagnose you as depressed if the mechanics of your internet use fit certain patterns. By using a cleverly embedded questionnaire that classifies the subject as depressed, and by using existing net usage data collection to collect features (variables), researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology were able to correctly predict the diagnoses of the questionnaire using the net usage data. I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression."
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To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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