Sahasrahla's recent activity

  1. Comment on Why I'm possessive about apostrophes in ~humanities

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    Makes me think of this:

    so forget apostrophes, dingbats, guillemets, jù hào, non-English alphabets, etc.

    Makes me think of this:

    When Catholique-Valpy tried to register her daughter's birth, the [Northwest Territories]'s vital statistics division told her it couldn't use the glottal stop. She went more than a year without legally registering her baby as her complaint was processed, paying Sahaiʔa's medical expenses out of pocket because of her inability to file for a territorial health card. She eventually settled for a birth certificate with an amended spelling when the need to register Sahaiʔa's birth became pressing.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Suspected Campaign from Russia on Reddit in ~tech

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    Who knows, maybe they thought it would bump the post, or maybe it just took them a few days to get around to the "reply to this post" ticket. But yeah, Reddit seems pretty terrible about this sort...

    Who knows, maybe they thought it would bump the post, or maybe it just took them a few days to get around to the "reply to this post" ticket.

    But yeah, Reddit seems pretty terrible about this sort of thing. And how many other countries, corporations, political groups, or even individuals are using it to manipulate public opinion with impunity? e.g. One of the few articles I've seen specifically about foreign governments manipulating Reddit (as opposed to all the articles about Facebook, Twitter, etc.) raised a lot of questions about PRC interference but I don't remember the Reddit staff ever addressing anything about that.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on Suspected Campaign from Russia on Reddit in ~tech

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    I wonder how many of those two year old inauthentic accounts still exist? Clicking through to a few of the banned accounts I found this rambling post about how the US was planning to attack North...

    That a vote manipulation operation can continue for more than 2 years before being uncovered and stopped is pretty bad.

    I wonder how many of those two year old inauthentic accounts still exist? Clicking through to a few of the banned accounts I found this rambling post about how the US was planning to attack North Korea (or something, I only skimmed it) and all three non-deleted replies are from accounts that 1. seem to be agreeing with or taking seriously the message in the OP, 2. are two years old, 3. have only posted that one thing, and 4. are still active and haven't been banned by Reddit.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on Limited eating times could be a new way to fight obesity and diabetes in ~health

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    Intermittent fasting (or "time-restricted eating", as the article calls it) seems to be an internet health fad that is actually safe and beneficial with some research to back it up. Anecdotally I...

    Intermittent fasting (or "time-restricted eating", as the article calls it) seems to be an internet health fad that is actually safe and beneficial with some research to back it up. Anecdotally I can say that when I practice IF (usually 16–20 hours fasting each day) I feel more energetic and focused, am less prone to stress eating or overeating, and I normally don't feel hungry at all while fasting (at least once I adapted to it).

    It's also a lot easier to lose or maintain weight if I have that as my goal; if I set a short eating window I'll feel full and satisfied from eating much of the day's food at once (and, counter-intuitively, I feel full much more easily when eating after fasting; I don't have a ravenous appetite after fasting as one might expect) and if I break my fast with something healthy like a meal with lots of vegetables I won't have much of an appetite for junk food in the rest of my eating window, either.

    As for not eating during the fasting window I find it helps to consider the supposed benefits of fasting (e.g. autophagy) which is good motivation to keep going and to not discard the time I've already spent fasting. This also makes unhealthy choices feel more immediate: junk food during my fasting window will break my fast and have immediate consequences, compared to the "one day this might catch up to me if I keep eating like this" attitude I would have otherwise. (And, like I said, junk food during my eating window is also easier to not have because I'll spend much of that time feeling satiated from healthy meals.)

    I don't know if IF is everything its proponents claim but it works for me and seems to be safe1 and at least a little beneficial (or maybe very beneficial) so I find it's worth doing.


    1 I think IF isn't recommended if you're pregnant or breastfeeding or in some other cases, but for most people it's supposed to be safe. I mean, all you're really doing is skipping breakfast and some evening and morning snacks, and maybe having a late lunch. And why would it necessarily be the case that the healthy and natural thing for people to do is constantly eat throughout the day, anyway?

    4 votes
  5. Comment on The new debtor's prisons: High-interest loan companies are using Utah’s small claims courts to arrest borrowers and take their bail money in ~finance

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    Another tragic article about debt, this one from the UK: How debt kills — Jerome Rogers: 1995 - 2016 (Copied from my comment in the Tildes discussion)

    Another tragic article about debt, this one from the UK: How debt kills — Jerome Rogers: 1995 - 2016

    (Copied from my comment in the Tildes discussion)

    This story is Kafkaesque: a teenager goes into debt to take a job providing a critical service for businesses and hospitals, he earns a negative amount of money while his bosses profit, he is fined and then fined again for not having enough money to pay his fines, he is harassed by collection agents who stop him from earning money until he pays them, he takes on debt with impossible interest rates to pay off enough of his other debts to start earning money again, and seeing no way out he kills himself after a final visit from a collection agent.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on Can't seem to play the games I want to play, considering a forced-march approach. in ~games

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    I think I get where OP is coming from though because I find I'm the same way with certain things. There are books I know I'll enjoy that I might have a hard time starting on because there are...

    I think I get where OP is coming from though because I find I'm the same way with certain things. There are books I know I'll enjoy that I might have a hard time starting on because there are always more approachable time wasters that feel like they're not as much of a commitment. Browsing Reddit or news or whatever is easy (almost automatic) to sit down and do, and it always feels like I could just do it for a few minutes and then move on to something else. A book, or even a game, feels like more of a commitment. It's me saying, "I have this precious small block of time, and this is how I'm using it." Reddit et al. never feel like that... until it's an hour later and I learn once again that unlike every other consumable, not using time doesn't conserve it.

    There's also a certain 'activation energy' involved with some tasks, the amount of effort I have to put in before I get anything out of it. A book might have a slow or difficult start before it hooks me or I get used to the author's world; a video game might have a learning or re-learning curve to get past or some tedium at the beginning before I get to the parts I enjoy. Even if the thing I want to do is fun there can be this barrier that makes me feel like, eh, not now.

    As for what might help OP, I think this kind of thing is best understood as a type of procrastination. One method that might work is when you find yourself looking for a bunch of complex ways to make yourself do what you want to do, just sit down and say, "that seems like a lot of work, I'll just do the thing to avoid all that other nonsense." So, like, when you have some time just sit down and start up a game even if you don't feel like it and tell yourself, "I'll do this for 1 hour and then see if I feel like continuing."

    9 votes
  7. Comment on New York’s Subway Map Like You’ve Never Seen It Before in ~design

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    With the designer drawing the curves in the lines by literally feeling them as he rode at first I was wondering, wouldn't there be plans or records that could be more accurate? But then it...

    With the designer drawing the curves in the lines by literally feeling them as he rode at first I was wondering, wouldn't there be plans or records that could be more accurate? But then it explained that it was a solution to riders feeling confused and it clicked with me that representing the subjective experience of someone riding the train was more important than geographic accuracy. A good example of keeping in mind what you're really trying to represent and help with in design.

    9 votes
  8. Comment on Hong Kong Democracy Slogans Heard at Mainland Chinese Protest in ~news

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    Two interesting implications of this is that some information on the protests is spreading on the Mainland despite censorship (maybe, I don't know if official news about Hong Kong has ever...

    Two interesting implications of this is that some information on the protests is spreading on the Mainland despite censorship (maybe, I don't know if official news about Hong Kong has ever included protester slogans) and opinions on the protests are not as uniformly negative as is often presented.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on The Citizen Scientist Who Finds Killers from Her Couch: How CeCe Moore is using her genetic knowledge to expose murderers. in ~tech

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    Note on the source link "This article was originally published on June 22, 2018, by MIT Technology Review, and is republished [on Pocket] with permission." Since the original has a soft paywall I...
    Note on the source link "This article was originally published on June 22, 2018, by MIT Technology Review, and is republished [on Pocket] with permission."

    Since the original has a soft paywall I posted this version. The original can be found here.

    Provided a DNA profile, [CeCe Moore] first assesses, on a scale of 1 to 5, whether or not genetic genealogy is likely to break the case. A 5 is nearly hopeless. A 1 is a sure bet. The ranking depends on factors like the quality of the DNA and what a quick search reveals about the number of matching relatives in a growing open database called GEDmatch. [emphasis added]

    Moore developed a practice helping people track down sperm donors and mothers who’d given them up for adoption. She does not care that a man signed a contract with a sperm bank, or that a woman signed adoption papers. “A child is not party to that agreement,” she says. “I strongly believe each individual has the right to knowledge of their roots. When I learned there was a group of people denied access to that information, I felt it was a societal wrong. I wanted to do something about it.”

    Moore is both an exposer of secrets and a keeper of them. DNA results let her see infidelity, or what is termed “mistaken paternity.” She is, in her free time, creating a database of incest. She says she has probably encountered more direct DNA evidence of incest than any other person in the world.

    “There are really deep, heavy secrets people carry,” she says.

    According to a mathematical analysis performed in May 2018 by Doc Edge and Graham Coop, who are geneticists at the University of California, Davis, the chance that an American of European background has at least one second cousin (and perhaps a closer relative) in a database the size of GEDmatch is 25 percent. For other races, the figure is lower.

    Once she locates possible ancestors, she then moves forward in history, locating every child and every child’s child until the present. This process illuminates the family tree to which the suspect belongs. There is no CSI atmosphere, no multiple screens and large computers. It’s just Moore on the sofa toggling between sites like Newspapers.com and Classmates.com, school yearbooks, Facebook, and census records. [emphasis added]

    Moore must be careful that her work is correct. Sometimes she may provide more than one name if the answer is unclear. This means placing innocent people in the web of suspicion. “I do worry about innocent people being caught up,” she says. “The other side is they are already investigating hundreds of people. Completely unrelated people. When I do this work, [I give them] a much smaller list.”

    Police catching serial killers and solving other old murders with genetic information people have sent for testing has been in the news for a while, but this is an angle I didn't know about. Here, a private individual has been doing her own investigations with a public genetic database (and other sites like Facebook) not just to catch murderers but also to find mothers who put their kids up for adoption, sperm donors, and cases of infidelity and incest. This raises a lot of questions and concerns about the ethics of accessing and analyzing others' genetic data.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on A Comment Is An Invitation For Refactoring in ~comp

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    I feel like this sort of thing comes from the idea of the True Programmer that a lot of people internalize. A True Programmer, among other things, is 1. so good at coding that their code is...

    I feel like this sort of thing comes from the idea of the True Programmer that a lot of people internalize. A True Programmer, among other things, is 1. so good at coding that their code is self-explanatory, and 2. so good at reading code that comments never help them, unlike the mere mortals they hate having to work with. And, to question either of these things is an admission of failure and a statement that you are not a True Programmer yourself. The practicality of these rules matters less than the ideal because supporting that ideal is a statement of basic competency. To say otherwise is to admit that maybe your code or ability to read code isn't perfect, because in the perfect world of the True Programmer comments are superfluous and only serve to discredit those who use them.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on E-books at libraries are a huge hit, leading to long waits, reader hacks and worried publishers in ~tech

    Sahasrahla
    Link Parent
    I agree it's absolutely ridiculous. Adding to this, we have the technology now to make every book available to everyone with an internet connection. We could build the best and most complete...

    I guess what's frustrating for me is that publishers are artificially recreating this poor experience with digital books, which we know are infinitely replicable.

    I agree it's absolutely ridiculous. Adding to this, we have the technology now to make every book available to everyone with an internet connection. We could build the best and most complete library in the history of the world with infinite copies of any book available globally. In fact, this library arguably exists already in the form of Google Books (and their scanning/OCR efforts) but the doors of that library are locked.

    That being said, though, I don't disagree with the publishing industry here. Why would I ever pay for an ebook when I could always get it for free from the library without limitation? (You could say the library pays for the ebook but that's the system we have now, including a digital copy expiring after a certain number of loans, i.e. forcing that a library pays more if an ebook is lent more; incidentally, physical books can wear out surprisingly quickly as well and aren't a "buy it once" investment for a library either.)

    Authors and others (editors, illustrators, the person sweeping the publishing office's floor, etc.) need to get paid to make a living. Sure, many authors enjoy their work and do it out of passion and have day-jobs, but that's a situation that should get better not worse. If we take advantage of their passion to not pay them it's no better than, say, the exploitation in the gaming industry of programmers who are expected to work unpaid hours because of their love for what they do. There's also the practicality that writing takes a lot of time and relying on full-time employment unrelated to writing limits this, especially in the case of non-fiction writers that have to do a lot of research and travel. At least now a popular enough writer has the option of taking their writing full-time (albeit for pretty low wages in most cases).

    So, I don't know what the solution is, short of a post-scarcity society where everyone can just do what they want anyway. Making all books free and paying authors with a pay-what-you-want patron system would be worse than our current system because many authors are already on Patreon and similar systems, and taking all their revenue from book sales wouldn't help. Only paying authors (and publishers, etc.) for physical books would severely cut into their livelihood. Even saying "the problem is capitalism" and replacing that with something else would run up against the same problems of how to decide which authors get supported and how to get them that support and how much.

    I guess my point is it's a ridiculous and maybe even a sad problem, but while the technological issues are easy to solve the social "how we organize our collective labour and distribute the product of that labour" issue is a much more difficult one to figure out, and both solutions are needed to solve this problem and enact the obvious technological solution.

    14 votes
  12. Comment on In a major ethical leap for the tech world, Chinese start-ups have built algorithms that the government uses to track [Uighurs] members of a largely Muslim minority group. in ~tech

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    Article is from April, found it linked from this BBC article from today: China due to introduce face scans for mobile users A few highlights: Of course, all this takes place in the context of...

    Article is from April, found it linked from this BBC article from today: China due to introduce face scans for mobile users

    A few highlights:

    One Chinese start-up, CloudWalk, outlined a sample experience in marketing its own surveillance systems. The technology, it said, could recognize “sensitive groups of people.”
    “If originally one Uighur lives in a neighborhood, and within 20 days six Uighurs appear,” it said on its website, “it immediately sends alarms” to law enforcement.

    [facial recognition products] help advance China’s architecture for social control. To make the algorithms work, the police have put together face-image databases for people with criminal records, mental illnesses, records of drug use, and those who petitioned the government over grievances, according to two of the people and procurement documents.

    The software extends the state’s ability to label Uighurs to the rest of the country. One national database stores the faces of all Uighurs who leave Xinjiang, according to two of the people.

    ...a procurement document for Hebei Province described how the police should be notified when multiple Uighurs booked the same flight on the same day.

    Of course, all this takes place in the context of China's concentration camps for Uighurs:

    China’s Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang: More than a million Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in China’s Xinjiang Province. The reeducation camps are just one part of the government’s crackdown on Uighurs.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on Tildes Pen Pals in ~talk

    Sahasrahla
    Link
    Just to expand on this: pen pal and language exchange websites can also be a great way to meet people around the world who are open to long-form email/letter exchanges, whether or not you're...

    Just to expand on this: pen pal and language exchange websites can also be a great way to meet people around the world who are open to long-form email/letter exchanges, whether or not you're trying to learn another language. (But, good luck to everyone who wants to get something going on Tildes!)

    6 votes