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Comment Re:Not the only conservative views he's pushed (Score 1) 617

Or it could just be carried down the female line. Also, if it is X-linked, gay men who reproduced due to social pressures wouldn't pass it along to their sons. Here's a more nuanced summary of the idea:

A large set of models were examined by the researchers and excluded individually if they implied that alleles would go extinct too easily or overtake the population. The paper concluded that the only model that fit the empirical data was based on sexually antagonistic selection, based in particular on two genes, at least one of which must be on the X chromosome, which determines the maternal genes in male babies. This model implies that there is an interaction between male homosexuality and increased female fertility. This complex dynamic results in the maintenance of male homosexuality at a stable but low frequency, as well as a hereditary effect on male homosexuality through the female line.

Comment Re:Not the only conservative views he's pushed (Score 2, Informative) 617

Yes, let's see your citations. The fact that 50% of studies find a significant genetic factor and 50% do not says nothing about their validity. The references to psychology in your signature and alias do not inspire confidence. The field of psychology in general has a pretty atrocious record in addressing the subject of homosexuality scientifically. And I wouldn't expect most psychological studies to have much insight on anything related to genetics.

Moreover, there is evidence that homosexuality may not be genetic, but still not a choice as you suggest. Research indicates that hormones or chemicals in the mother's womb play a significant role in determining sexuality and among men born to mothers who already have had boy (i.e. men with older brothers), there is a greater incidence of homosexuality. This comes up off the top of google: In short, I would give much greater weight to more recent neuroscientific studies than most strictly psychological studies.

Finally, talk with almost any man who is openly gay (emphasis on openly) and he'll convincingly disabuse you of the notion that it's "choices they made".

For a fascinating account of the tumultuous history of homosexuality and the DSM (a textbook case of the politicization of science for both bad and good), I highly recommend this This American Life broadcast:

Comment I Have Taken Up Bash Scripting with a Vengeance (Score 1) 411

As a developer, I've become a enthusiastic convert to bash scripting.

Like many, I originally found the syntax ugly and awkward. But with some encouragement and tips from people who know what they're doing I've come to appreciate its power. When I have to do some sort of mind-numbing manual server-related task, I script it. It forces me to think the through the steps, if only minimally, and it codifies knowledge that can be reused and shared. Over time, I have found it a great time-saver even for tasks that I run infrequently. The scripts are a permanent record, there for reference when I need them, and writing them helps me assimilate new information and develop new skills.

As an example of its simple power, consider the main routine of a deployment script I wrote not too long ago:

# Main

Expressive, straightforward, elegant, reliable. You can find the whole script here:

P.S. should be a exit 0 at the end of that, but the lameness filter appears to have something against bash scripts itself.

Comment Re:You're naive. (Score 1) 223

Last week in Texas, three men with assault rifles attempted to ambush and execute a family of four to steal the rims from their SUV. Human life is worthless to criminals.

The lesson I take away from this: logic is worthless to criminals. Why wouldn't they just demand the whole damn SUV? And what is an innocent family of four doing with SUV rims so pimp that they make themselves the irresistible prey of random armed highwaymen?

I get the feeling we're not getting the whole story here. Next time, throw us a breitbart link or something. So at least that way we can get a little more of the incomplete story.

Comment Re:Bullshit. (Score 4, Interesting) 533

Peasants don't know and don't care about history. They do know that the local party officials are corrupt, and that many of them are getting shafted. An uncensored, free internet would be a great way for them to learn more,share stories, and organize. It would be an amazing platform for the criticism of the communist party.

On this subject, see the recent NY Times article about the Chinese "human search engine":

China’s Cyberposse

The article asserts that the internet is being leveraged by the central party for this very purpose.

The article was a bit eye-opening for me for it showed:

A) how most Chinese citizens' interest and usage of the internet differs from most American (less social networks, more B.B.S.-driven interaction)

B) how the internet is a developing platform for reform in China

C) how it can both be a platform for reform and yet still censored

D) how it could accomplish all these things without Google and still satisfy most Chinese citizens

I'm for Google standing up for principle. I'm not convinced how much impact it would really have.

Comment Re:Not the judges per se (Score 2, Interesting) 391

This was my conclusion, too, as soon as I read the headline after hearing this story on NPR last week:

From that report:

One patron, Christian Lingreen, says his native Denmark has 100 percent Wi-Fi coverage — Italy maybe just 1 percent. "I love Italy," he says, "but I have to say [information technology], that is not their cup of tea."

Nearby sits Riikka Vanio of Finland, who is a mother of two children. "In the school, it's impossible to pass information to other parents through Internet, because none of them have Internet connection at home or not even e-mail address," she says. "So it's not part of their culture yet."

Nevertheless, Italy's right-wing government is going far beyond its European partners with the decree that would require Web sites with video content to request authorization and would mandate the vetting of copyrighted videos before they're uploaded.

Comment Re:There's a problem with this coverage (Score 1) 561

I've got no karma points to give out at the moment, so all I can offer is my appreciation. Thanks for the informed rebuttal. I find it telling that the parent comment by DiamondGeezer, scored 5, weighs in on an article about poorly sourced climate change data with a series of uncited claims that, upon review, turn out to be bullshit.

Comment Re:WTH is Sherman Alexie? (Score 1) 494

I don't really care about Sherman Alexie's opinion as a commentator on intellectual property in the digital age, or a lot of the politics topics he might opine on when he appears, for instance, as a guest on The Colbert Report. But as a fiction writer, he is known and worthy of being known. One of my favorite short stories, "What You Pawn I Will Redeem", is written by him. It may even hold some key to his position on the topic, which is probably more complex than "open source is bad because I'm a filthy greedy novelist." I'm on the radical edge of support for open source and digital culture, but some of their ramifications for society and culture scare me a bit, too.

Interestingly, his story is still available online on the New Yorker site:

I recommend reading it, but only because it's a brilliant story. I first read it in the magazine and bought the collection of short stories it later appeared in as a result of that exposure. I suppose this could have happened as a result of, say, a link to a free copy posted on the internet somewhere. But, in fact, it would have a much greater probability of happening precisely because it appeared in the New Yorker and not at the end of a random link on the internet.

Comment Re:How can that be? (Score 4, Interesting) 978

Or go with the flow. As TFA points out, whether you lose weight or not, work out a few hours a week and you're healthier.

My own experience confirms this. All my life, I was too thin. Then I left school and got an office job about 5 years ago. All the sudden I'm not having a problem keeping on the pounds. I never got noticeably overweight but I was getting a little soft around the center. Signed up for a 24-hour fitness membership a couple years ago and was surprised that my weight continued to inch up.

Finally, earlier this year, I changed up my workout. More cardio, less weightlifting. Also went from around 4 1.5-hour workouts a week to 6. I just treat it like my job. As soon as I get off work, it's off to the gym for two hours (which has the advantage of waiting out traffic.) I also made some adjustments to my diet. Less fast food. Replaced cola with coffee (caffeine) or lemonade (sweet). And though my sweet tooth is as sweet as ever, I am more conscious about eating that extra snack or the dessert that was left in the break room, and consequently, I probably eat a few less calories on average.

But my real secret weapon: the Nintendo DS. I needed something to distract me from the drudgery of the stairmaster and lifecycle and I can only gawk at the girls for so long. I don't play video games otherwise, so I look forward to an hour or so playing with the DS while I sweat. Turned-based games like Advanced Wars (or chess) are perfect for the stairmaster.

The result: for the last 6 months, I've been shedding a pound or so every 2 weeks, about the same as the study. A few months of that will add up.

Comment Re:Krugman called FOR the bubble (Score 1) 127

I don't read that as calling for a bubble, rather he is pointing out that Greenspan is trapped and must create another one to sustain the already inflated valuations. This implies that he's putting off a problem rather than dealing with it. Which does seem to be what subsequently happened.

That's how I read it, too. Krugman continues in the same article:

Bear in mind also that government officials have a stake in accentuating the positive. The administration needs a recovery because, with deficits exploding, the only way it can justify that tax cut is by pretending that it was just what the economy needed. Mr. Greenspan needs one to avoid awkward questions about his own role in creating the stock market bubble.

Bush and Greenspan needed a bubble to sell their tax breaks. More recently, others (as Krugman has noted) have been demanding a bubble, too:

Comment Speaking of Class-Action Suits (Score 0, Offtopic) 412

Not sure if this is related or not, but I had a puzzling experience with AT&T related to my DSL service recently.

I have had a AT&T Basic DSL plan for over a year now. It's ~350kbs down/~750 kbs up. It's never been great, but I'm a pretty light user, just internet surfing and moving files back and forth every once in a while between a remote server and my machine, and internet radio. I run Ubuntu 8.4 with a Linksys Router (wireless off) and use Firefox.

About a week ago, my internet connection started getting really sluggish. Couldn't even support my streaming radio. I opened Ubuntu's system monitor and download rate was capped at 40kbs. I would it test it by trying to load youtube videos. Every once in a while it would briefly spike above that, like at 60kbs, then right back down. Youtube was impossible.

I called AT&T customer support at the beginning of the week. They referred me to tech support recommending I request "Tier 2". So I finally had time to call this evening. After about 20 mins on hold and with Tier 1, I got to Tier 2, a woman in Texas, who opened a ticket and told me I would get a call back this evening or tomorrow. About an hour later, I get a call back with a recorded message saying everything is fixed and asking me to press 1 or 9 or something to confirm or press 0 for a technician. I'm curious to find out what happened so I press 0. Meanwhile, I fire up youtube, look at my system monitor, and sure enough it's scaling up to 80, 100kbs.

After a 10 min wait, I get a guy in California who sounds like he's been dealing with AT&T customer support for the last 2 hours. I'm polite, do my little Columbo routine, tell him I'm just following up and am curious and am updating my own notes (which I've learning to always take in these situations) and ask him if he can tell me how the issue was fixed.

He was pretty vague saying he didn't see anything that indicated it "was optimized." He said they just ran a line test and that seems to have fixed it. I asked him if it would have been restricted for some reason? He said it might if the line was showing "intermittent signal." I didn't press the issue. I just said, "Well, it looks like the issue is solved," thanked him and said goodbye.

Anybody have any further insight into what might have been happening? Was AT&T capping my broadband -- at 40kbs!? Is there a more innocent explanation?

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