TemulentTeatotaler's recent activity

  1. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Not my project (I'm unhurriedly working on some other parts of the tool), but I've been enjoying the progress of an acquaintance in adding pathfinding into an old MMORPG (Asheron's Call) that...

    Not my project (I'm unhurriedly working on some other parts of the tool), but I've been enjoying the progress of an acquaintance in adding pathfinding into an old MMORPG (Asheron's Call) that lives on through an emulator, so I'll share that.

    The first step involved loading geometry and distinguishing between traversable/non-traversable.

    That vertex data was then used in a tool for creating navigation meshes that can be used with stuff like A* searches.

    To do some in-game verification a way of adding DX calls was added.

    Jump points were considered based on whether there was an unconnected edge in the nav mesh that was within some distance of another.

    There was already some code on the emulator for solving ballistic trajectories for projectiles that luckily could be repurposed for seeing if/how a jump could be made (there's a slider for power from 0-1.0 and 4 types of motion to be considered)

    To find if there would be a collision when jumping arcs representing the bounding box of the character are checked.

    Externally, it seems like it's getting pretty close to useable, with some future steps being:

    • Fully adding to the state-machine plugin that does the navigation and more
    • Supporting the various types of motion (e.g., sliding while strafing), hopefully
    • Obstacle avoidance (including dynamic? was thinking about some BOIDS-esque flocking approach)
    • Smooth turning (trying to change heading in anticipation of the next navigation point, either compensating with strafing or drawing an arc (without collisions))
    • Possibly some compression for the nav meshes / geometry. Any recommendations on compression for points?
    • Global route-planning (e.g., using a variety of portals, some personal and with restrictions, and with variation between servers that have created custom content)
    • Possibly porting this approach server-side to let NPCs pathfind as well

    It's a fun ecosystem if anyone wants to practice their C# skills! The plugin system is stuck on .NET 3.5 which causes some legacy challenges, but the server code is pretty modern and has a lot of talented people working on it.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on Longstanding discourse w/ my SO about the phrase "a couple of..." in ~humanities

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    If I invited someone over to play a couple games of cribbage I probably don't mean two, but I might in some circumstances where I have a schedule to keep. If I asked for a couple pancakes I'd...

    If I invited someone over to play a couple games of cribbage I probably don't mean two, but I might in some circumstances where I have a schedule to keep.

    If I asked for a couple pancakes I'd probably be asking for two... but then if I got a normal pancake and one of those runty shame waffles my request was clearly not honored in spirit.

    My opinion is there isn't anything that's clearly correct. There's ambiguity in the usage, and when that ambiguity dips beneath some threshold (e.g., asking for <large discrete uniform-sized food items>) it makes sense for the other person to expect you not to be using the indefinite definition.

    Personally I care more about communicating than being pedantic about rules/guidelines of language, and what is communicated is based on some probabilistic norms of the context. The Chomsky view lost.

    I generally think pedants are a good thing, though, since they keep those norms a bit more coherent. Up until the point that they're a minority holdout on some change (e.g., bimbo referring to a brutish man) in language; then they're adding to the ambiguity.

    ...I am kinda curious about what the collective noun for polyamorous people are, though. A blessing of polys? A commitment? If 2/5ths of a relationship were next to each other would you call them a couple? 3/5ths?

    6 votes
  3. Comment on Machine learning for moral judgments in ~humanities

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    I saw this site that gives a moral judgment on a given situation and thought it was worth sharing. I had some fun testing out some different scenarios and variations (e.g., "A goose stealing...

    I saw this site that gives a moral judgment on a given situation and thought it was worth sharing.

    I had some fun testing out some different scenarios and variations (e.g., "A goose stealing gardening implements from humans who have previously bullied it.") and it seemed to work okay-ish.

    As a topic I think it's really interesting. Years ago I had a housemate who was starting law school and the use of AI in law came up a number of times, whether that was the boilerplate of legal documents it was able to do away with, the possibility of it being used as a surrogate (e.g., AI outperformed family members predicting an individuals wishes if they were incapacitated), or something more in the territory of this.

    As a thought experiment: if there was a system that could accurately tell you what the moral judgments of the average member of some demographic would be of some scenario that was fed in, how could that change the legal system?

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Brain implant translates paralyzed man's thoughts into text with 94% accuracy in ~science

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    I would be surprised if a bottleneck would be on the computer side, or if that would be a significant technological hurdle. There's some evidence that the information throughput of spoken...
    • Exemplary

    I would be surprised if a bottleneck would be on the computer side, or if that would be a significant technological hurdle.

    There's some evidence that the information throughput of spoken languages ends up being roughly the same, but that doesn't necessarily apply to a BCI system.

    In this case, the brain activity that is being detected and translated is the intent to move a paralyzed limb in a pattern corresponding to writing letters. The bottleneck for that would likely be the speed at which the individual is able to think about those writing motions, and that would depend on the language/alphabet (and possibly other things).

    If I was freshly paralyzed I may find that I "think" of those motions more slowly because as a lefty I've learned to slow those movements to avoid hand cramps in a language not designed for left-handers. That slowness might go away as I got used to the BCI keyboard.

    Lots of keyboards already are already predictive, like swiping on Gboard or Pinyin. To borrow an example: "typing wxhchbqlin becomes 我喜欢吃冰淇淋 (=I like eating ice cream. Wo xihuan chi bingqilin)".

    You could probably get away with thinking of writing "hambu" and trusting the auto-correct to fill in the rest, but that might not always work.

    In situations where you're predicting what someone wants to type you're going to have a tradeoff between accuracy and speed. You may end up having a secondary system that reads through a corpus of all English articles written that year or an individuals emails to find the prevalence of words. Or you may have dictionaries for medical terms that are loaded and allow the user to set the context.

    You may have a system that auto-corrects on a sentence or paragraph level, turning "How to Wreck a Nice Beach Using Calm Incense" into "How to recognize speech using common sense" based on some statistical model for what words make sense together.

    You hit the bottleneck where you consider the speed after corrections for typos are made. The only difference between the physical input of someone unparalyzed and someone paralyzed is how good the BCI is at mapping thoughts about physical movement into a virtual movement.

    could this one day be used to parse entire words instantly

    Pretty sure you can't with this approach, but I'm guessing the underlying question is whether BCIs will ever get to the point they can detect thoughts of complete "words" or "sentences", and the nature of brain activity that corresponds to that.

    I had some (unimpressive) experience as an undergrad on brain-computing-interfaces. Part of that was reviewing literature in the area, and part was some coding with Emotiv (with a diversion into OpenEEG because shipments were delayed 5 months... ). My understanding of the topic is a bit dated and shakey, but I'll take a stab at answering.

    There are a lot of different styles of BCIs, and they have different tradeoffs, especially in terms of how invasive they are.

    Some improvements with BCIs are made on the hardware end:

    • Temporal resolution (how close to sampling the activity of a single neuron you get)
    • Spatial resolution (the rate at which you sample that activity)
    • Areas of the brain they can sample from (e.g., EEGs ain't getting much besides cortical activity)
    • Safety of more invasive approaches
    • Costs per use/device/areas sampled

    Other improvements are on the software or human end:

    • The regimen for adapting to a cochlear implement could be where the most improvement can be made, reshaping the brain compared to improving the hardware
    • Emotiv had training features where a user would be told what to think about and the software would try to calibrate
    • Predictive typing is mostly a BCI-agnostic technology. Livescribe pens kinda do the same thing, but with a physical pen instead.

    I would guess at some point--maybe not in our lifetimes-- there will be electrodes-on-a-chip that don't screw with regular brain function, that can sample small numbers of neurons, that can reliably report activity regardless of location in the brain. At that point you'd be pretty close to some sort of mind-reading being possible.

    Along the road to that you may find that a system requires reteaching the brain in the way making someone read faster might involve training to not subvocalize and read chunks of words at a time. Or it may be that you'd have a system that involves you reliably being able to signal with brain activity a 1-5, and using sophisticated statistical approaches to present a 1-5 menu for the words/sentences you'd probably like to use like Google canned replies are doing. Or it may be that hardware improves past some critical threshold that allows you to sample the relevant part of the brain at the relevant resolution to pick up common thoughts. Probably improvements will come on all fronts, and it may be a bit more jagged in where it succeeds/fails?

    10 votes
  5. Comment on October Tildes Writing Club in ~creative

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Seems like a good start! Writing about other minds and other levels of intelligence seems like one of the more challenging and rewarding things you can do. I missed whatever you first posted about...

    Seems like a good start! Writing about other minds and other levels of intelligence seems like one of the more challenging and rewarding things you can do.

    I missed whatever you first posted about Ostia and that doesn't seem to be hosted anymore. What's that all about?

    I don't write so I don't have much feedback on that area, but I'll try to offer some reference on animals and intelligence.

    But why? What good was silver? You can't eat it.

    A number of animals (e.g., ferrets, crows, some types of rodents) actually really like shiny objects. I'm not sure why that is. Some initial thoughts are that it's some sort of sexual competition via nest building (ala penguins), some side effect of tendencies to be curious/explore the novel, or blackmail material / using other minds as a way of assessing value?

    ...as if acting against millions of years of instinct, it grabbed one piece and handed it to the rat

    Another small comment is rats are actually pretty darn social and exhibit a lot of reciprocity. From a related abstract:

    We found that the food-deprived dyads or triads of rats did not compete for the food available to them at regular spatially-marked locations that they had previously learnt. Rather, these rats traveled together to collect the baits. One rat, or two rats in some triads, lead (ran ahead) to collect most of the baits, but "leaders" differed across trials so that, on average, each rat ultimately collected similar amounts of baits. Regardless of which rat collected the baits, the rats traveled together with no substantial difference among them in terms of their total activity. We suggest that rats, which are a social species that has been found to display reciprocity, have evolved to travel and forage together and to share limited resources. Consequently, they displayed a sort of 'peace economy' that on average resulted in equal access to the baits across trials. For social animals, this type of dynamics is more relaxed, tolerant, and effective in the management of conflicts. Rather than competing for the limited available food, the food-deprived rats socialized and coexisted peacefully.

    Evolution does some weird things. You can have a species do something as alien as eating their young out of stress/resource concerns/reproduction competition, while also acting like an extremely altruistic human elsewhere.

    One of my favorite animals is the fully eusocial naked molerat. Besides things like basically not having cancer or having pain, they have a "soldier class" that uses their girth to plug tunnels when attacked, and a queen that basically bullies other females to keep them in perpetual adolescence.

    The story reminded me a little of my brother and his wife. They had some DND campaign that involved cranium rats, whose intelligence fluctuated based on population density. He also sent me a two-part article someone wrote on how to handle different intelligences in DND which might be of interest? It included a chart like this:

    INTELLIGENCE SCORE LANGUAGE LOGIC & CALCULATION IMAGINATION & CONCEPTUALIZATION MEMORY & KNOWLEDGE PROCESSING & LEARNING WORKING MEMORY
    1: Borderline Object Non-Communicative Programmatic Non-Cognitive Procedural Memory; Adaptive Memory (If Living) Random Mutation / Programming Only Lacking
    2-3: Non-Sapient Limited Communication Instinct Only Basic Cognition Morphogenetic & Epigenetic Memory Training Via Pleasure & Pain Singular Thoughts Only
    4-5: Pre-Sapient Pantomiming Rudimentary Intuition Basic Visualization - Backtracking Short-Term Memory Rote Learning Minimal Alertness & Orientation Beyond Survival Concerns

    I'm not sure if downsides of intelligence would fit the story you want to tell, but that might be interesting to think about in a social animal? One of the BAHFest entries I remembered joked about why fish are dumb, and the surprisingly prescient Stand on Zanzibar had a subplot that explored this through a surgery that was supposed to augment intelligence.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance might be a good inclusion to that list. I don't know much about South Korea, but if you haven't heard of chaebols the wiki entry might give some context.

    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance might be a good inclusion to that list.

    I don't know much about South Korea, but if you haven't heard of chaebols the wiki entry might give some context.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on October Tildes Writing Club in ~creative

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Old Skrat The things that you know to fear aren't so bad. A baby chick knows to run for cover if it sees a hawk shadow just like you're born knowing to run away from things that growl. It's the...

    Old Skrat

    The things that you know to fear aren't so bad. A baby chick knows to run for cover if it sees a hawk shadow just like you're born knowing to run away from things that growl. It's the dangers unseen that'll get you.

    It's the live wire, the widowmaker or barberchair waiting to split, the chemicals you don't feel til they burn through you.

    Growing up in the country you learn how to take advantage of the distinction. How to sneak up on a frog to gig it, or move your hand slow enough that a bug doesn't feel what's coming.

    Sometimes I think we've got things like that walking around, preying on the simpler types. Wearing the skin of men but with none of the warmth. We've got a part of us yelling not to trust them, to get up and walk out without signing. The fine clothes and fancy building were warning signs, but at the same time the show of wealth and slick words told us we'd be taken care. We were in the hands of professionals who understood things better than us.

    We took out the loans and things went south. All our options were exhausted and I'd hit the end of the road, the only thing left to go back to the farm and tell them it wasn't ours anymore. There were grievances but I won't make a story of it since it happened a long time ago and it isn't to the point.

    It was on that day, waiting at a dusty intersection, that I met Mr. Skrat. He slipped in from the corner of my eye and struck up a conversation, though I wasn't quite sure where he came from-- there wasn't much around and he didn't move too fast.

    He was slight and old, and he spoke with the dry rasp of someone who'd had each year carve a notch in his throat. Gaunt like food had long lost its appeal and stooped like each year took a bit of his uprightness. For all that his eyes were bright and prominent as he looked me over, jutting agog or maybe just staying put as the flesh had retreated. The sort of eyes used to looking at all things all at once.

    He asked what was troubling me and I told him. If it had been a few hours before when I still had some hope in me I might not have. It just wasn't the way things were done.

    I had a few false starts but once I got going it all poured out. My blood started to boil as I relived everything. The veins on my face sticking out as I heard my pulse go from a periodic drum to a thrumming in my ears like a cloud of flies. When I came to I was standing part bent, breathing heavy with my nails drawing blood from where they dug. I promptly apologized, to which Mr. Skrat only smiled.

    He contorted himself, swinging his body just enough to lift and settle the briefcase he had with him on the seat next to me. He clicked it open and showed me the contents, still smiling. Told me it was for me, if I wanted it. I sat there stunned for a moment before asking suspiciously what he meant by that and what he wanted. He told me he wanted to help me out of my predicament. Maybe he took a shine to me, or he'd known troubles of his own. Said he was old and no longer cared much for wealth or worldly things. He told me some folks set model trains and watch them, but he just liked watching people. All he asked in exchange was a minute of my time and to share his story.

    After thanking him profusely while shaking his hand I apologized and explained I had to hurry off before things closed. With briefcase in hand I stomped back to the bank, readying myself. The smell of rot grew the closer I got. Closer to condescending faces and feigned sympathy from soft-handed and craven men who'd never worked a hard day or grown anything in their life. I admit I enjoyed their fluster when I burst in there. Enjoyed telling them off and telling them how things were going to be settled from then on. I felt like a hero when I took care of what was needed in time to make it home on time to share the news. We shed silent tears of relief on that first night without a noose around our necks.

    It was still tense for a while after but eventually things settled. We got back to a life fitted to the seasons, tiring but honest. I took on a wife and our family was blessed with a few more soon after. It felt like life gave us something back to make up for the hard times. We took those bumper harvests and grew our holdings with it.

    And that's where the trouble started. Our neighbors didn't have that luck and they started talking. That talk turned into insinuations and skulking around. Then one night a man I came up with came with attacks and demands. Making claims about what my family had done that I knew weren't so.

    It started out quiet. Or maybe I just didn't recognize his arrival back then. A waft of carrion that was overwhelmed by the smells of manure and animals that grew and grew until you could taste it. A knocking that turns into pounding, demanding to be let in no matter how you bar the door.

    Over the shoulder of my red faced neighbor I saw Mr. Skrat come into view, smiling like a cat with cream. He started walking nonchalantly towards me. My distraction must've set my neighbor off because he took a swing that busted my lip open. I backed up, hands up and trying to placate him, but that strange old man kept coming closer and my neighbor kept swinging.

    By the time Mr. Skrat circled me the two of us were hunched, puffing for air. All of a sudden he leapt onto my back and his hands got to work. It wasn't painful but it was wrong what he did... like he knew the way men fit together the way a craftsmen knows how wood can be joined at invisible seams. Like he was there when they were put together and knew how to pull them apart. I felt my shoulder give and my spine split as his hands worked me. It should have hurt. I wish it hurt. Once he had an entrance he climbed inside, stretching and straightening himself until there was no room for me in my own body, hardly even room to think. I could only watch as he mechanically reached over to the shotgun I'd been keeping near ever since the rumors started. It was raised and leveled. Before the body of my once-friend and neighbor hit the ground Mr. Skrat was on his way. That's when the pain crept in, forceful and displacing.

    I collapsed onto the ground right there. Retching and heaving, numb to the faces that gathered or left. Eventually the authorities came and they took me away for questioning.

    I'd never been more ashamed but I held to it being self defense. That man didn't need to be dead, but I wouldn't let my young ones grow up with me. We'd lost my pa in an accident when I was 13. He cut himself with a blade and it got infected. The hospital he was sent to made mistakes and the money we got from that was what kept the family going for a time.

    My face was swollen and sporting at least one blackened eye. He was on our land at night. Maybe it was because of my reputation or the state they saw me in, maybe it was something else. There weren't much in the way of consequences for it, not from the law at least.

    When I was released the first thing my ma asked me was what had happened on that day back then. I can't remember what I'd told them but it didn't involve any old man at a rest spot. She was the first to hear of Mr. Skrat, and as I told her she turned sheet white and nervous like I'd never seen.

    She told me what I met wasn't a man but something cursing our family for a long time. Sometimes skipping a couple generations but always coming back. He visited her father--ruined him-- long before she'd married away from there. She'd have told me but in the telling you draw him, invite him. Looking down and fiddling with her beads, all she could do was caution me and tell me to think carefully about what I'd said and done that day.

    I became withdrawn after that. I attempted to make things right with the family I'd harmed but that couldn't be done and they seemed worse for the trying. All I could do was keep to myself and think about those two days. And. And. And. And. I counted the seconds it took to raise that gun and relived the surprise on his face, the dumb stare as his life left him. I thought of when next Mr. Skrat would visit.

    Life carried on. It often does. Years passed like that.

    Then one night my wife came to me and told me she was leaving. She told me I wasn't the man she married and accused me of all sorts of things that weren't right. I drank a little but no more than other men. She told me this wasn't the life she wanted for herself or the kids. This farm is how all them were to begin with. I saw them there, peaking out from behind the bags that had already been gathered. Shy, sweet things. My kids.

    Too many. I looked into her face and saw scorn enough that I knew . It was late and I wasn't thinking but there were too many. She was saying something with her sneering lips but I could only focus on one thing and it was that there were too many shapes down there. That old itch, that maddening buzzing. My vision wasn't clear but I could tell he was there. My wife was shouting now and I was trying to calm down. I took a long breath but that just let in that fetid smell. She needed to go but she needed to stay. At least my kids needed to.

    Mr. Skrat was now in full view, climbing those stairs. Damned but he picked his time well. I wanted to explain what was happening, make things right with the woman I loved more than anything. Tell her to run. I was frozen, horrified as that wicked thing climbed the stairs. How could I tell her to run without making her freeze like me. That horror spreading to the face of my wife as he got closer. I'd seen that shift on those other days when derision lost itself to panic.

    It took seventeen seconds on that day with the neighbor. That must've been another trick. He knew I'd count them, knew I'd think I had time when he only needed five. That's all it took for her to be sent down the stairs, sprawled in a pile in front of the kids. I shouted at them to get the hell out and take her with, called them rats and probably worse. No longer frozen I'd have done anything to get them away before they got within seconds of me. The look on their faces as they gathered up and left killed me inside.

    Since then I've lived a quiet life. I'm rarely within 38 seconds of another, and when I am I make sure it's no one I'm fond of and no one fond of me.

    I'd tell you more but that'd just draw attention from the wrong things. And my times ending. Like I said it's the unseen that got me, didn't catch it til it was too late. Now I've shared his story, and I must have given him his time because I can't have more of that left to give. I've paid my debts. I can see him there, grinning with those too-sharp eyes and too-many teeth for his years. I hear his wheezing laugh: "Boy, I only asked for a minute and you gave your whole life..."


    I'm new to this sort of writing so I'm happy to get critiques or recommendations. Definitely think I rushed things a bit to keep it short.

    At first this started as a joke about dislike of "rules lawyers" being some primitive warning signal. Ended up a bit off that.

    Old Scratch --> Skrat

    In folklore, a Skrat is a mischievous creature often possessing gold and other riches. Stories about Skrats often revolve around the Skrat being tricked out of its treasure or else the Skrat fooling the treasure seeker by unexpectedly making the treasure disappear. Skrats can aid farmers with whom they are living, although this is usually at the expense of the farmer's neighbours from whom they steal.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on John Carmack Facebook Connect 2021 Keynote in ~tech

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Probably? A shared virtual reality is a thing that has existed in Second Life and others ways and it makes sense to use something to describe that. Google Corpus says its use peaked in 2010 so...

    are we just accepting "the metaverse" as a real term now?

    Probably? A shared virtual reality is a thing that has existed in Second Life and others ways and it makes sense to use something to describe that.

    Google Corpus says its use peaked in 2010 so maybe something else is getting used.

    I've always been a little confused on how to take Snow Crash, since a lot of it is really interesting/prescient, but a lot of it is goofy stuff like the main character being called "Hiro Protagonist" or high stakes pizza delivery. It's definitely Tarantino-esque and hyperbolic, but underneath that it has some serious topics and projections... and if Neal Stephenson's CLANG was any indicator he'd love to be the #1 metaverse samurai.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on Struggling with social life and depression at university in ~talk

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Not a therapist either. From what I know a bit of this depends on your state, and it may vary at the discretion of the therapist, but mostly it comes down to whether they think you pose a credible...

    Are you sure about this? I'm not sure where you live but that seems over-the-top. Maybe if they thought you were in danger of harming yourself

    Not a therapist either. From what I know a bit of this depends on your state, and it may vary at the discretion of the therapist, but mostly it comes down to whether they think you pose a credible imminent threat to yourself or others.

    If that's something OP is concerned about they could ask their therapist (the questionnaire footer may differ from their answer) or look at the statutes of their state that hopefully are in that first link, which may look like:

    A duty to warn arises if the patient has communicated to the practitioner a threat of imminent, serious physical violence against a readily identifiable individual or against himself and the circumstances are such that a reasonable professional in the practitioner's area of expertise would believe the patient intended to carry out the threat

    Suicidal ideation is not rare, with ~11% of the U.S. population having seriously considered suicide (per the CDC, June 2020).


    A small bit of situation-agnostic advice (so ignore it if it doesn't apply) is that you may be better off just speaking honestly to your girlfriend or family. When you're close to people they often can tell when things aren't alright, and the blanks they fill in may be more distressful than a sincere conversation where you say "I'm dealing with X by trying Y, let me know if Z gets hard for you so we can figure something out".

    I've had people in my life with whom sharing makes things worse, so I definitely don't think that always applies.

    Wishing you the best @ducc, depression and spiky-protein bois suck!

    6 votes
  10. Comment on Former US president Donald Trump launches 'TRUTH' social in ~tech

  11. Comment on Henrietta Lacks estate sues company using her ‘stolen’ cells in ~science

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    There was a podcast episode on the economics of blood donation that might be of interest. From what I recall, the U.S. is somewhat unique in allowing compensation for plasma, and it also provides...

    There was a podcast episode on the economics of blood donation that might be of interest. From what I recall, the U.S. is somewhat unique in allowing compensation for plasma, and it also provides ~1/2 of the plasma in the world.

    Certainly not something to take lightly, with all the potential for abuse and perverse incentives. It's an uncomfortable question of whether giving someone struggling an option to sell plasma (or eggs, organs, etc.) is helping or exploiting. My patchy recall of stories on the "surrogate mother" industry (in India?) was that a lot of that got exploitative.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on What did you do this weekend? in ~talk

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    I helped take my grandma out to the town she grew up in, visiting some relatives on the way. She moved to the city when she was 14 to work as a live-in maid for a couple. Her home town once...

    I helped take my grandma out to the town she grew up in, visiting some relatives on the way. She moved to the city when she was 14 to work as a live-in maid for a couple.

    Her home town once flourished (a little) due to being near a train depot, but now it's home to ~80 and about the only thing there is a dog food cannery.

    The relatives were a stop on the way. They hadn't been given more than 15 minutes of notice. "We weren't sure how far we were going to get" wasn't an excuse, but it wasn't my call, so I scrambled to switch from navigating to read faded addresses and #'s from a chaotic rolodex. They were incredibly sweet and hospitable, quickly gathering three generations of three families to a central location. Luckily they had some amenities for the handicapped which made it a perfect half-way point.

    My grandma was confused on the way there, insisting we were going the wrong way and wouldn't make it. That made it really heart-warming when she was the one to point out her old home when we got close. I'd otherwise have to rely on the color of the roof to guess at it. The owner came out while I was taking pictures, but they were friendly, just curious.

    From there we went to the graveyard where her family and her extended relatives all were buried. I learned I'm distant kin to the Huhmann's? Her family had planted a little bit of zoysia grass at a gravestone and it eventually spread until all the cemetery was covered with it, somehow still maintained by the local church. I guess that's become a bit of local folklore, since a few people knew that.

    It was a long day of driving and I'll have some neck/shoulder pain today, but everything went a lot better than I could've hoped for. This may be the last time my grandma's able to make this sort of trip so I'm glad we could manage it.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on What did you do this week? in ~talk

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    Good luck! I don't know your situation but from some of your previous posts it sounds like this was something you needed to do, and you did your due diligence figuring out this was the right...

    Good luck! I don't know your situation but from some of your previous posts it sounds like this was something you needed to do, and you did your due diligence figuring out this was the right choice for you.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on Don’t be surprised about Facebook and teen girls. That’s what Facebook is. in ~tech

    TemulentTeatotaler
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    To answer more generally and get to spread a quote I liked from an interview on deterring tax evasion: The researcher found that a top-500 offender list was a greater deterrent than publishing...

    To answer more generally and get to spread a quote I liked from an interview on deterring tax evasion:

    "It's said sunlight is the best disinfectant, but we found a spotlight worked even better."

    The researcher found that a top-500 offender list was a greater deterrent than publishing everyone. Maybe related is that people donate less money to charities the more suffering children are shown in their solicitation.

    Teen girls were more effected by Instagram use and they make a convenient narrative vehicle, so the stories use that perspective. Having some salient perspective may be better than covering everything the way academics should.

    There's a lot that you can dig into for why girls/children/X has some special narrative appeal, I'm sure, but I don't understand that choice as implying that boys don't have self-image issues or that they're not worth protecting.

    7 votes
  15. Comment on Don’t be surprised about Facebook and teen girls. That’s what Facebook is. in ~tech

    TemulentTeatotaler
    Link Parent
    If you Google story-related search terms you'll find that pretty much everyone is writing about the harm to teenage girls-- it isn't anything author-specific. AFAIK, teen girls are singled out...

    If you Google story-related search terms you'll find that pretty much everyone is writing about the harm to teenage girls-- it isn't anything author-specific.

    AFAIK, teen girls are singled out because:

    Wall Street Journal published several stories earlier this month about how Facebook knew Instagram caused some teen girls in particular to feel badly about their self-image

    7 votes
  16. Comment on Don’t be surprised about Facebook and teen girls. That’s what Facebook is. in ~tech

    TemulentTeatotaler
    Link Parent
    The opening sentence refers to the context that the author is writing the article in, which involves teen girls especially being an effected demographic. Haven't been paying attention to the story...

    Why is he singling out teenage girls?

    The opening sentence refers to the context that the author is writing the article in, which involves teen girls especially being an effected demographic. Haven't been paying attention to the story so I may be missing something.

    15 votes
  17. Comment on What common concern is really not a big deal? in ~talk

    TemulentTeatotaler
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    That's very likely the reason! Just a mild joke about there being something sinister about either the degree of specificity or the irregularity.

    That's very likely the reason!

    Just a mild joke about there being something sinister about either the degree of specificity or the irregularity.

    2 votes
  18. Comment on What common concern is really not a big deal? in ~talk

    TemulentTeatotaler
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    There has been a moratorium on GURT seeds since 2000, and to my knowledge there aren't (and haven't been?) any such "terminator seeds". GMO crops are able to reproduce, you're just typically not...

    seeds that cannot produce viable offspring in the second generation

    There has been a moratorium on GURT seeds since 2000, and to my knowledge there aren't (and haven't been?) any such "terminator seeds".

    GMO crops are able to reproduce, you're just typically not legally allowed to reuse those seeds.

    The practice of buying seeds is one that predates GMOs. I'm not informed enough on a lot of this, but my understanding is that a lot of farmers prefer buying seeds because it's more likely for them to be "bred true", instead of having some drift in the 2nd generation.

    patented plants, either one of which keeps farmers dependent on the large agrichemical companies in perpetuity

    Plant patents expire after 20 years from initial filing, and they're pretty hard/costly to get.

    Plant patents also predate GMOs, starting (in the U.S.) with the Plant Patent Act of 1930.

    Part of me wants to say "farmers have a choice between buying seasonal GMO crops or doing what they always did", but that does neglect the sort of murkier trends that you touched on. If you get 20% more yield from using monoculture/cashcrop GMOs eventually everyone is going to either do that or get out-competed, and that trend could be a bad thing.

    Superficially I think using the metaphor of software works somewhat well. If there's some software with cost/license that lets your company be 20% more productive, you can decide to use it or not, and more choice is a good thing. A competitor that decides to pirate that software can be held liable. *I can resent trends like microtransactions or always-online.

    not really different from mutating grains with nuclear bombs

    I think the techniques for modifying genes are different enough that they shouldn't get lumped together, not that I know enough to have any strong opinion on it?

    Mutation breeding is still a big thing. Comparatively, there are few GMO crops.

    It has less regulation and less intentionality, though it's more likely to be made freely available than GMO crops.

    I don't know that they're any more prone to being harmful than GMO crops, but it's always been a bit bizarre to me that organic advocates are more okay with inducing chemical/radiation-based mutation in seeds until it does more of what they want (at least from a health/risk lens, vs capitalist critique).


    I think you also always have to compare things to what the alternative is, not in a vacuum where the harms or hazards are obvious.

    Glyphosate bans/maligning is one of those issues that bugs me. In a vacuum you can definitely find problems with it, but there's massive amounts of evidence for it being safe for humans. There are organic alternatives that are significantly worse, whether for health, the environment, crop yield, or all.

    GMOs are a pretty powerful tool for reducing water consumption, improving crop yield, temperature resistance, pesticide requirements, adding in things like Vitamin A precursors (ala Golden rice), and more. The problems of feeding billions, especially with the future issues of climate change, are non-trivial.

    *Disclaimer: My knowledge is pretty limited. I volunteered a bit at an organic drug-rehab farm and worked at a student Zuni-style garden.

    **Also Monsanto-->Bayer has speed limit signs on their campus that are for things like "18 mph" and that's pretty suspicious...

    13 votes
  19. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    TemulentTeatotaler
    Link Parent
    Great job! Did you do anything to try to automate finding anomalous data, or just plan on going through it manually?

    Great job!

    Did you do anything to try to automate finding anomalous data, or just plan on going through it manually?

    3 votes