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Comment Re:Cyclists DON'T obey the law! (Score 1) 696

Hm. I have been hit twice, but both were fairly early in my career of being a serious commuter (and one involved a narrow shoulder with an abrupt drop off and a really difficult driver - I might have a better radar now for difficult drivers, but damn he was an asshole.) I've fallen rather more recently... but I'm a four season commuter, in Cleveland, and I will at times push my luck in the snow on what my carbide studded tires can take. It's, ah, kind of fun, when I'm in the mood.

Of course I do that in part because as long as I'm in circumstances I'm comfortable in (and if I'm not, mostly I grab a shuttle), I'm just not that afraid of falling. I mean, falling in the way of cars would be awful, but all the years of martial arts training has meant that usually at worst I get a bruise or two on my ankles if I didn't get them all the way clear of the frame.

(p.s. Not that this is probably news, but having moved here from the west coast, bar mitts are amazing. OMG.)

Comment Re:Cyclists DON'T obey the law! (Score 2) 696

There was a study done one this, mostly pointing out that there was a lot of confirmation bias in play - that people who were incensed at bicyclists not obeying traffic laws generally did not noticed automobile drivers committing similar acts. (This is, of course, a general observation, I can't say jack about you in particular.)

I think there are a lot of factors here - some are cultural, where people think of bicyclists and interlopers and inappropriate in their use of space, and bicyclists regard automobiles as both physical and idealistic threats. But some of them are design - I've spent most of my time commuting in areas with very low commuter rates (and often high speeds - I am extremely polite and painfully aware of my lack of exoskeleton thank you*.) Some urban designs really don't encourage bicycles and cars to play well together.

I'm currently living in a midwestern city where the streets are generally not in the best repair but the shoulders are especially dire. Now, really, I'd prefer to ride on the shoulder as much as possible, and be out of everyone's way, but often the state of the shoulder makes that too dangerous. For my commute, and for places I go frequently, I've found routes that don't have this problem, but it's not a great situation (even though local drivers for the most part are considerate if sometimes clueless - I don't need a full carwidth's distance between me and a car, nice thought, not really helping traffic here.)

* In my Microsoft days, pretty every week at least one person would post to the internal discussion board about having joined the "roadkill club", which is to say having sustained a major injury while commuting.

Comment Re:Stanley Pruisner (Score 1) 53

Mm. The prion work has been largely supported. However, he was not the first person to originate the concept of an infectious protein, and there's an argument to be made that his primary contribution to the field was the name "prion".

I wouldn't disregard his work, but double check everything. (A former labmate in a previous lab went toe to toe against him for her dissertation work - and totally won, but watching him try to bash by means of his position when he just didn't have the data was pretty unsettling.)

Still, this is pretty exciting if it stands up.

Comment Re:Don't Prions come from eating Meat? (Score 1) 53

What they showed was that what was presumably a misfolding disorder was also infectious. They didn't show a means of transmission that would be viable in the wild - you don't just have someone's brain matter fly into your head. This isn't the same prion (PRP) as that related to Mad Cow. The means of transmission might be completely different. It might not transmit at all - it might be that proteins misfold spontaneously, and once you've gotten one (or more likely, a few) they drag a bunch of others along, but that it is not transmissible between persons. It might be similar to mad cow, or it might be a different mechanism - keep in mind the difference between Mad Cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease - one you could only get if you either had the misfolding yourself or if you ate someone's brain. The other you could get from eating cow neural tissue.

And, of course, Mad Cow, for all that it was both very infectious and quick moving for a prion, was super inefficient overall. And awful lot (tens of thousands, at least) infected cows entered the food supply for every person who got Mad Cow. The takeaway? While most prions we know of aren't nearly so bad, there's room for prions to be much, much worse.

Comment Re:Now we need... (Score 1) 206

Despite my self imposed limits, my family generally has tended to be kind of ridiculously fertile - in my generation there are almost forty first cousins (though admittedly some of my uncles and aunts went through multiple marriages to manage this feat.) My grandmother had my youngest and favorite Aunt, a retired CSI who now does medical auditing, when she was 46. ...of course, increased rates doesn't mean the absolute rates are high, just that they're higher than they would have been.

Eh. I've always been extremely careful about birth control (I just had this talk with my sixteen year old nephew, pointing out that the familial rates of fertility might suggest that he be a belt and suspenders man if he wants to avoid paternity), but were I to become pregnant at this point in my life, I would be hard core about pre-natal testing, but it's not unlikely that I'd carry to term. Not something I'm seeking out - and I had a few guys audition for "father of my children" once I left my ex - but an experience I have mixed feelings about missing out on.

Comment Re:Now we need... (Score 1) 206

Being in my forties, it's a toss up whether I'd manage to have children at all, and autism is hardly the only thing that increases with maternal age (I seem to recall that there are some risk factors associated with paternal age as well). This was, in fact, my point - even if it was a high priority for their postulated struggling post-apocalyptic community to make babies (and seriously, I think you want to make sure you have the basics covered before you get on with the breeding) I am just not your best candidate. I'd always figured that if I hadn't had kids by the time I was thirty-five - and I was aiming for late twenties - I wasn't having them. However, my ex rather abruptly decided that he wanted not to have kids, and for me to quit my job and take care of him... well, hence the ex part.

(Between my martial arts students and my undergraduate research students, I pretty much get any need to nurture taken care of, and I might make a better teacher than I would a parent. I have a twisted enough sense of humor than I regret not inflicted my genes on the next generation - but when I looked into donating eggs, while apparently I looked like a great donor, they said I'd have to lay off of the training for a month, and, well, no.)

"(Guess why autism rates are skyrocketing? That's right, women having kids well past their thirties because they were too busy having a job. Thanks feminism.)"

There are so many things wrong with this line. First of all, you're pulling out one factor that is correlated (let us repeat together, correlation does not imply causality) and trying to put all the increase in autism rates (which are hard to track anyway because diagnostics have changed so much) at its feet. The research simply doesn't support this - this is clearly far more about your political agenda than about the science. Especially since the science shows linkages to paternal age as well.

(Just a couple of abstract links: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... )

But it's equally asinine to lay women having children later because they have jobs at the feet of feminism. Hell, you could just as strongly make exactly the reverse argument, that feminism in its current form arose in part because of women entering the workforce and achieving such a degree of economic independence. This isn't something that just happened - you're looking at the results of huge changes with industrialization, better medicine, the rise of birth control*, increasing automation of housework, and so on. Do you want to have an economy that works? Well, from where we are right now, women have got to be in the workplace in large numbers - it's not some hobby, it's economic necessity, both on the individual household level and in terms of our country.

* And seriously, for all the guys who seem to fantasize about a time when women would be forced to be homemakers because they got pregnant just like that, isn't it awfully nice to be able to have sex without worrying about having kids? I am highly pro-birth control myself. Yay, more sex, fewer worries.

Comment Re:Now we need... (Score 4, Insightful) 206

It's hardly a matter of one political bend or another - I just had Jehova's Witnesses on my porch trying to tell about the world that is to come, and how only the really good people will be in it (making for a much smaller population, they emphasized) and God's going to clean everything up...

But you'll see it as a trope in fiction of all stripes. There's some terrible disaster, and mankind re-emerges into a form that somehow fits the political biases of the author. A lot of people imagine that being in horrible circumstances like that, fighting for survival with less technology and an awful lot fewer people would make for a simpler, more real world and yearn for it.

Not that long ago, here on Slashdot, a bunch of people were explaining to me that in such a world, as a woman, I would go back into my biologically ordained role of reproductive servitude, which struck me as saying a lot more about their preoccupations, I thought, than anything else, but then people always seem to project their fantasies into these scenarios. (Especially since I'd already mentioned that I was in my forties, as well as being a martial artist and martial arts instructor and having an awful lot of skills useful in such a society.)

Comment Re:Depends on what you mean by "camping", and wher (Score 1) 146

I haven't done what the OP is suggesting, but I used to (including in a much lamer age of data coverage) take off hiking while vaguely babysitting database builds - every time I'd hit a ridge or a peak I'd check for connectivity, and if I had it, I'd check to make sure nothing had broken too terribly. (And if I was feeling bratty, snap a picture and send it to my labmates.) But this was up in the Cascades - the terrain matters.

Another of my rules of thumb - more generally than just with the above excursions - was to do as much as possible on my phone (which was much easier to recharge via solar.) The solar sets ups have gotten better, and computer batteries have gotten better - I'm less stingy these days, but still. (But OTOH, the OP is describing activities where much of the time various checks might be able to be done via phone, saving the computer battery.)