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Archive for the ‘Link Farm’ Category

Link farm August edition

I know I’ve been inactive lately, but that is due to a full–time job that leaves less time for blogging. Still, I will try and keep posting.

In the meantime, here’s a link roundup:

  • The Texas Attorney General admits to deliberate gerrymandering. At least he’s honest.
  • The US might take steps to reduce the over–incarceration caused by the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs. This is a good idea. The vast majority of people imprisoned in the US to lengthy prison sentences are for non–violent crimes like drug possession. This is a huge drain on public resources, and a huge dump of corporate welfare for the prison industrial complex. Ending it would help public finances, and prevent many young people from becoming a permanent underclass. Treating drug addiction as a medical problem would also improve public health, while reducing drug use, and ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs would also reduce crime and gun violence in the US.
    • It does not follow from the above that I necessarily endorse the use of drugs. The primary reason tobacco use causes heart disease is because smoking produces carbon monoxide. Smoking marijuana would produce likewise. (There is still excellent evidence that marijuana has medical uses, however).
  • Noah Smith is right. Libertarianism really is just about protecting the liberty of “local bullies.”

Link farm Sunday in April edition

In no particular order:

Nuclear power has saved about 1.84 million lives over the last 40 years due to the prevention of air pollution (via). A large expansion of it over the next four decades could save from 420 thousand to as many as 7.04 million additional lives.

This is one of the reasons there should be a large–scale increase in nuclear power generation. It is far less deadly than coal, once air pollution and mining deaths are accounted for, not to mention its carbon dioxide emissions’ causal factor in climate change. And nuclear power is safe; most scientists and experts believe that the risks from nuclear power are far overblown, especially considering the threat from global warming.


The teams promoted and relegated for all levels of the IIHF Women’s World Championships are:

Tournament Promoted Relegated
World Championships n/a Czech Republic
Division IA Japan? Latvia
Division IB France Great Britain
Division IIa Hungary Slovenia
Division IIB South Korea South Africa
Division II Qualification Turkey n/a

Since the IIHF does not explicitly say, in both the news report and statistics page, whether Japan was promoted or merely the winner or Division I Group A, I still have no idea what was going on. By the looks of it no one was promoted to the main tournament in 2014, which will keep it at eight teams in 2015. That negates any point of winning the tournament this year, which is a shame. I hope I’m wrong, and that a better explanation is forthcoming. Update: Another possibility is that there will be some sort of qualifier series, like a best–of–three between Japan and whoever wins Division I Group A next year.


Quote of the day from Vyckie Garrison, the co–founder of No Longer Qivering:

“Fanaticism will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”


Yes! JJ, the Unrepentant Old Hippie, lives. She’ll be returning to blogging soon.

Link farm and a random thought

In no particular order:

The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.


Quote of the day (emphasis added):

“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”

I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.


Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).


I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).


Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.


Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.

And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?

This post has been edited since publication.

Blog for Choice 2013

Logo of Blog for Choice Day 2013Today is Blog for Choice Day 2013. The topic for this year is “Why are you pro–choice?”

I am pro–choice because reproductive freedom is an essential prerequisite for women’s rights. Societies where abortion is illegal are among the worst places to be a woman. Societies where opponents of abortion and reproductive freedom get their laws kill women. Reproductive freedom saves lives. Reproductive freedom is one of the most powerful ways to lift women out of poverty.

And with today being the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the need for reproductive freedom is more essential than ever. Recent times have seen record numbers of attempts in the US at chipping away at reproductive rights.

Blog for Choice mini-roundup:

A study all anti–vaxxers should read, but that I know they won’t

Lindsay is currently doing a series of posts on the recent autism hearings in the US Congress. As you might expect from a hearing conducted by anti–science wingnuts, it quickly (as in opening statements) reached the completely discredited and absolutely refuted claim that vaccines (especially the MMR [measles–mumps–rubella]) cause autism.

I’m not going to re–debunk the claim that vaccines cause autism; others have already done that. And I don’t have much to add to what Lindsay is and will be saying. I’ll instead just draw your attention to this study. (Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination – United States, 2001-2010, authored by Berger, Navar-Boggan, and Omer) Although not particularly recent,it is still important to read. Quoting the freely–licensed abstract (my emphasis):

Background
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is associated with several negative outcomes, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The objective of this study was to estimate the numbers of CRS and ASD cases prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States from 2001 through 2010.

Methods
Prevention estimates were calculated through simple mathematical modeling, with values of model parameters determined from published literature. Model parameters included pre-vaccine era CRS incidence, vaccine era CRS incidence, the number of live births per year, and the percentage of CRS cases presenting with an ASD.

Results
Based on our estimates, 16,600 CRS cases (range: 8300-62,250) were prevented by rubella vaccination from 2001 through 2010 in the United States. An estimated 1228 ASD cases were prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States during this time period. Simulating a slight expansion in ASD diagnostic criteria in recent decades, we estimate that a minimum of 830 ASD cases and a maximum of 6225 ASD cases were prevented.

Conclusions
We estimate that rubella vaccination prevented substantial numbers of CRS and ASD cases in the United States from 2001 through 2010. These findings provide additional incentive to maintain high measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage.

And another irony meter bites the dust. Far from causing autism, the MMR vaccine actually prevents it.

Scattered thoughts and random links

I think that the Civilization series is one of the best series of computer games ever. Don’t ask why, but for some reason, it seems to go better for me when this song is repeating endlessly in the background:


Inspired by the Arbourist, I present this quote from Corey Robin, writing in The Nation:

St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both.


Why Liberalism (US definition) works.


I’m most definitely not the first to notice this, but people borrowed from themselves centuries ago. Consider these two annotated Mozart incipits:

Sheet music

The first two bars of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309.

Sheet music

The first two bars of the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 K. 331

The one on top is the first two bars of the first movement of Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309; the one on the bottom is the first two bars of the second movement (the minuet) of Piano Sonata No. 11. K. 311 (that’s the one with the well–known Rondo alla Turca). As can be seen, perhaps even by someone who cannot read music, they begin with almost the exact same phrase. Indeed, they start with the same pattern (ignoring the acciaccaturas) of scale degrees (the annotations above the staves). They also have basically the same pattern of “long” and “short” (ill–defined terms) notes. Just about the most significant difference is the key, as C major and A major are not closely–related.

After these two bars, the two movements diverge significantly.


France and Slovakia qualified for the next round of the 2013 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship. The main tournament is takes place in Finland and starts December 29.

Link farm – seed planting edition

In no particular order:

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