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Comment Re:Always question a study... (Score 5, Informative) 279

There are good points all around this discussion, and a lack of organization. Let's try to clear this up a bit.

Different e-cigarette juices contain different carriers. Some specifically exclude chemicals which produce formaldehyde or, particularly, acetaldehyde, largely because acetaldehyde is known to cause popcorn lung in chronic, high exposure. Most high-quality formulations list their contents in full; and the content of lower-quality formulations is often known, but not readily-listed. High-quality formulations often don't contain chemicals producing acetaldehyde, and use propylene glycol as a carrier; lower-quality formulations also often omit those compounds, but frequently do not.

Different e-cigarettes have different temperatures and control mechanisms as well. They may prevent overheating, or they may reach high temperatures, or they may be designed for brief activation intervals with no temperature controls. Fast-reaction circuits necessarily draw high current, and will overheat without temperature management; thus cheap, fast-reaction circuits intended for brief activation will most often overheat and cause reactions, converting benign substances such as propylene glycol into dangerous substances such as formaldehyde.

Finally, gaseous vapors produce visual distortion when diluted. If you suck in 2cc of suspended smoke or vaporized PPG and then blow it out into the air, it will expand to a liter or more and demonstrate itself as a gray cloud. The real measures are temperature and mass of substance; the substance changes its standard volume at pressure and becomes diluted when diffusing through atmosphere, and so these are poor measurements.

Thus it is wholly-possible to engineer a substantially-safe e-cigarette, if examining specific concerns of e-cigarettes (conversion of chemicals to dangerous chemicals; high-temperature vapor irritating the throat and lungs; basic chemical content). This requires engineering of the compound itself and the delivery device.

Comment Re:Kind of... (Score 2) 32

A lot of things are observable from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

First: ALS affects a tiny, tiny fraction of the population. 36,000 people worldwide. Diverting resources to ALS diverts those resources away from efforts which affect hundreds of millions of people. That means you get to pat your back for pulling bread from 10,000 starving childrens's mouths to feed ONE starving child somewhere a few miles away instead. (Okay, that's not the right metaphor; it's more like you diverted the truck to another state before it even got there, which would necessarily have to bring *all* the food on that particular truck with it; if you were going to take out of people's hands, you wouldn't really take so much. The image is more powerful, though.)

Second, people are prone to pat themselves on the back for finding not-definitely-useful information. They found a gene link. That's a link, but not necessarily causative. This could mean basically nothing, or it could be a tiny step in a long, long chain of things. Economically, this kind of research becomes less-expensive and faster with technology: tiny steps like this every decade give way to steps like this every few months; with the overtaking pace, you can actually just wait for technology to catch up, then *start* your research, and actually arrive at the end point at the same time as a research base started 40 years prior. If this turns out nothing for the next several years, and then an explosion of genetic research techniques appears, then this particular research was an enormous waste of time and resources.

Third, as you observed, everyone wants to imagine they helped. They wave their hands around, put a dollar in a bin with 18 billion dollars, and claim they were part of something when their entire effort was a skipped trip to the vending machine.

Comment Re:Really lousy article (Score 1) 372

That's not the issue: I thought the article was flimsy in the extreme. They could at least have provided a link to background information like the other reply did ( But instead, there is only a forest of links with vaguely worded accusations and denials.

If someone has to go to the police, it's the sexual abuse victim, not the organization.

Comment Really lousy article (Score 3, Insightful) 372

That is one lousy article. The name of the guy is the only thing revealed, and that is a journalistic no-no IMO: you don't give the full name unless charges have been proven. By a judge. About the nature of his "misconduct", the article is very vague: it's couched in different terms, but it's never made clear what happened, when, where, in what context and who were the victims. It also focuses on the sexual transgressions, and only gives a fleeting reference to people being "humiliated, intimidated, bullied", without explaining why. I understand there is some sort of political battle that largely includes both sides in parallel, and that is not even hinted at. In short, it's bad journalism.

Comment Re:Absurd Pile (Score 1) 966

*Who's* national security is undermined?

Everyone's. The core principle of NATO is that an attack on any NATO member will be treated as an attack on all NATO members. Thus, traditionally, Russia would be very reluctant to attack any NATO member because it would be guaranteed to bring about a strong counterattack, which at best would be costly to all parties and at worst could escalate into World War 3, which not even Putin wants.

However, if Russia has cause to believe that the USA will not honor its commitments to NATO, that could tempt Russia to try to "take back" one or more of the East European countries it lost after the cold war (similar to the way it "took back" part of the Ukraine in 2014).

By his loose talk, Trump has given Russia (and the world) cause to believe that he might decide not defend all NATO members; that the commitments of the USA might not be honored if Trump is elected.

So let's imagine that Trump is elected, and then Russia bets that Trump won't bother to defend, say, Lithuania, and so Russia sends in their troops to "reclaim" Lithuania.

Now what happens? Either Trump doesn't respond, in which case NATO is exposed a paper tiger, and Russia (and potentially others) now feel free to invade more countries when they want to; or Trump does respond, and now we're involved in a hot war with Russia that could easily turn nuclear.

Either outcome sucks. That's why politics at this level isn't a game, and shouldn't be treated as one. Trump's words have real consequences, even if he thinks he is only joking (or more likely, just isn't thinking at all).

Comment Re:Does this surprise anyone? (Score 1) 966

That is speculative, to be kind. You have absolutely no way to prove that the email server was setup for that purpose. To demonstrate their intent you would need something that you have no evidence to support.

Typically later actions are enough to prove intent. You're really bending over backward to give her the benefit of the doubt, and I understand that. But if it were you or I this is extra jail time.

Do you have a source for that?

Yes, in fact I do.

Nobody has shown that such an offense happened.

Yes, that's tampering with evidence. Try pulling this kind of nonsense if you're involved with a subpoena and see what happens. Prosecutors and judges will not accept "You can't prove what I deleted has any connection to the case" as a valid defense.

Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 5, Informative) 32

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Comment Re:Theatres are terminal (Score 1) 325

Then you'll be able to just relax and enjoy a 3d show from the comfort of your own home.
If you end up wanting to watch a 2d movie (some people still watch the occasional black and white or silent movie) you'll be able to put on your VR goggles and simulate any theater you like. People will be able to engage in far more escapy escapism with VR.

People thought that photographs, movies, talkies and color movies were all gimmicks when they first came out.
The scientists and engineers have been doing their part to make VR possible. I can't wait to see what the artists do to make VR jaw droppingly awesome.

Comment Re:I'd be excited too, if Comcast lost my address (Score 1) 64

The city should require the cable monopolies to provide service to everyone they can in their monopoly areas

It's the city blocking it (or at least was, I see all sorts of articles about the mayor THINKING about changing Rule 2-2009, but I haven't seen a single one about it actually being changed).

In order to install new telecom cabinets, 60% of the OWNERS (not the person renting the house, whatever guy in Florida or China or wherever who owns it) of the buildings within 100 feet of the cabinet has to approve the construction, and nonresponders are considered "No" votes.

Seattle is weird.

Comment Re:Does this surprise anyone? (Score 2) 966

Illegal has a specific meaning...

Yes, and this falls within that meaning because the point was to evade official records statutes and control evidence of other wrongdoing.

There is no evidence whatsoever that the emails were lost after the subpoena was issued.

Lost? You mean, "lost" as in misplaced, or "lost" as in deliberately deleted? That's not a typical usage of the word "lost". And yes, we know it happened after the subpoena because Hillary's lawyers have admitted the process they used to comply with the subpoena. And this is kind of joke all on its own: They searched all the email for a handful of keywords and deleted the everything else. So they searched for "Libya" but not, say, "Lib", which would be a common abbreviation, along with probably "L". No judge would have tolerated that from a normal person.

In this country the judge does need a reason to hand out a sentence that long. No such reason has been established yet in this case.

Tampering with evidence carries a maximum sentence of twenty years. On top of that we have criminal contempt of court and destruction of federal records.

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