patience_limited's recent activity

  1. Comment on James Lovelock, whose Gaia theory saw the Earth as alive, dies at 103 in ~enviro

    patience_limited
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    Dr. Lovelock’s breadth of knowledge extended from astronomy to zoology. In his later years he became an eminent proponent of nuclear power as a means to help solve global climate change and a pessimist about humankind’s capacity to survive a rapidly warming planet.

    But his global renown rested on three main contributions that he developed during a particularly abundant decade of scientific exploration and curiosity stretching from the late 1950s through the last half of the ’60s.

    One was his invention of the Electron Capture Detector, an inexpensive, portable, exquisitely sensitive device used to help measure the spread of toxic man-made compounds in the environment. The device provided the scientific foundations of Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” a catalyst of the environmental movement.

    The detector also helped provide the basis for regulations in the United States and in other nations that banned harmful chemicals like DDT and PCBs and that sharply reduced the use of hundreds of other compounds as well as the public’s exposure to them.

    Later, his finding that chlorofluorocarbons — the compounds that powered aerosol cans and were used to cool refrigerators and air-conditioners — were present in measurable concentrations in the atmosphere led to the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer. (Chlorofluorocarbons are now banned in most countries under a 1987 international agreement.)

    But Dr. Lovelock may be most widely known for his Gaia theory — that Earth functioned, as he put it, as a “living organism” that is able to “regulate its temperature and chemistry at a comfortable steady state.”

    3 votes
  2. Comment on Can you distinguish Daniel Dennett from a computer? in ~humanities

    patience_limited
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    Dammit, there's my preternatural serendipity again. On the commute to work this morning, I'm idly thinking my way through a first draft short story about an experience of teaching an AI to emulate...

    Dammit, there's my preternatural serendipity again. On the commute to work this morning, I'm idly thinking my way through a first draft short story about an experience of teaching an AI to emulate oneself. There are all the opportunities for humorous and horrifying divergences from the real-life model... but are they really divergent, or just possibilities the original model hasn't manifested yet?

    I'm not a Dennett expert, but I'm familiar enough with his canon, that it's well-known he can be self-contradictory or just plain whimsical and self-mocking. GPT-3 gets this, but it's hard to say that a set of randomness parameters wouldn't generate the same content.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Meet the covid super-dodgers in ~health.coronavirus

    patience_limited
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    F*ck, I hear you. I've had ghastly reactions to the vaccines: 2 - 3 days of fever over 101°F, major arthritis flare for a week, COVID arm with rash and swollen glands for 2 - 3 weeks. I've assumed...

    F*ck, I hear you. I've had ghastly reactions to the vaccines: 2 - 3 days of fever over 101°F, major arthritis flare for a week, COVID arm with rash and swollen glands for 2 - 3 weeks. I've assumed that meant I'd get something similar or worse with a genuine COVID infection.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on Seasonal beverages in ~food

    patience_limited
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    Rosé wine, sparkling wines, and medium-bodied white wines like Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, or Pinot Gris for spring. Lighter, fruity or herbaceous white wines like unoaked Chardonnay...

    Rosé wine, sparkling wines, and medium-bodied white wines like Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, or Pinot Gris for spring.
    Lighter, fruity or herbaceous white wines like unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis-style), Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Vinho Verde, Auxerrois, dry Muscat, Grüner Veltliner for summer.
    Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Blaufrankisch, Valpolicella, and Rhone blends for autumn.
    Heavier reds like Cabernet, California Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Zweigelt, Barbera, Chianti, Malbec, for winter.
    It's not canon, just whatever is appropriate for your climate and seasonal foods.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Meet the covid super-dodgers in ~health.coronavirus

    patience_limited
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    So far, no COVID that we know of. Spouse and I are both over 50, with various conditions that could raise risk of a serious case, so we're both fully vaccinated with two boosters. We're still...

    So far, no COVID that we know of. Spouse and I are both over 50, with various conditions that could raise risk of a serious case, so we're both fully vaccinated with two boosters. We're still masking for shopping trips, medical visits, etc.

    But I'm in the office a few days a week unmasked, we've gone to restaurants, I've had air travel to New York City... and we're still dodging it. To the best of our knowledge. It's entirely possible that what I thought was bad allergies for a day or two was a case, but I've never had a fever (aside from the crushing vaccination reactions...) or enough characteristic symptoms to pull out the test kit.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Hard water solutions? in ~life

    patience_limited
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    We've got drastically hard water, around 170 mg/l hardness, but we're (mostly) managing it with both a point-of-entry salt softener and an ion-exchange system. This is essential because we've got...

    We've got drastically hard water, around 170 mg/l hardness, but we're (mostly) managing it with both a point-of-entry salt softener and an ion-exchange system. This is essential because we've got a continuous-flow boiler for circulating hot water heating - scale can turn into $$$$ problems. However, as mentioned above, hard water is fine for drinking/cooking (though not good for coffeemakers), tastes great, and is healthier than sodium-softened water.

    I understand you can't use a point of entry system, which is a PITA. I've dealt with hard water problems in rentals, and there are a number of products formulated for use in hard water - laundry detergents, body washes/shampoos, etc. I also had good luck with periodic use of a fancy salon shampoo designed to remove soap residue.

    Most common household cleaning (glass, shower tiles, etc.) can be made much easier by daily use of cheap 5% white vinegar diluted to 1% in a spray bottle. It doesn't smell lovely, but it's non-toxic and dissolves mineral residue at about the rate you're laying it down. Run a cup or two of full-strength vinegar through the coffeemaker and dishwasher (not at the same time as soap) every couple of weeks.

    Borax is a useful laundry additive as well.

    I haven't used showerhead ion-exchange cartridges, but there's a review here. They're even more expensive than the last time I looked, so I wouldn't bother unless you have noticeable skin or hair issues after hard-water compatible soaps and lotions. Itchy, dry skin from mineralized soap residue (or use of excessive soap to compensate for little lather) is not psychological - I had eczema problems for years until I lived with soft water for a while.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on What are you battling with right now? in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    Yeah, I was hooked into vape tech and making juices for a while, but I could suck in enormous nicotine doses and it wasn't doing my lungs any more good than burning leaves. Though I haven't had a...

    Yeah, I was hooked into vape tech and making juices for a while, but I could suck in enormous nicotine doses and it wasn't doing my lungs any more good than burning leaves.

    Though I haven't had a cigarette in years, a couple of the people I work with smoke and just smelling it on them when I walk by is enough to kick off the jones. It's hard to comprehend how insidious a behavioral reinforcer nicotine is.

    Mostly, sucking on xylitol mints (IceBreakers Frost is fairly tasty) all day keeps cravings under control, and helps with sicca problems.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on What are you battling with right now? in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    When I say I couldn't quit with the lozenges, it's not like I didn't try hard... I got so sick of the ridiculous pricing and unpleasant flavors that I came up with this some time ago. But I just...

    When I say I couldn't quit with the lozenges, it's not like I didn't try hard... I got so sick of the ridiculous pricing and unpleasant flavors that I came up with this some time ago.

    But I just needed to break the chemical cycle of nicotine blood level drop, craving, chemical spike for relief, followed by blood level drop, especially first thing in the morning.

    Used properly, patches give super steady dosing, and you can change the dosage easily by cutting them to size. I started with 21 mg/day patches, and dropped by 1 mg/week, switching to lower dose patches as needed to keep the size useable.

    I didn't notice much change in sleep quality and timing during the taper or since quitting altogether. However, I'm a poor sleeper at best, and I'd just had surgery when I started the patches. My sleep tracker shows a lot of nights with four hours of sleep or less around that time. At a month of tapering, there was a period where I was down for 8 - 9 hours a night, then back to the usual 5 - 7.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on What are you battling with right now? in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    I've finally quit nicotine as well after 30+ years of on and off addiction. I just could not quit with the lozenges. But I did it with nicotine patches and a pair of scissors... The tapering was...

    I've finally quit nicotine as well after 30+ years of on and off addiction. I just could not quit with the lozenges. But I did it with nicotine patches and a pair of scissors... The tapering was much slower (sixteen weeks) and in smaller increments than the package recommendations.

    By doing the patches, I also discovered that what I really wanted was sugarless mints to help with dry mouth. I do keep a stash of 2 mg nicotine mints around, but haven't touched them in weeks.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on What have you been eating, drinking, and cooking? in ~food

    patience_limited
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    It's berry season, and I just put in a few pounds of fresh-picked raspberries and blackberries to macerate for jam. We had a weirdly cool early to mid-summer and the peas and lettuce are still...

    It's berry season, and I just put in a few pounds of fresh-picked raspberries and blackberries to macerate for jam.

    We had a weirdly cool early to mid-summer and the peas and lettuce are still producing. Spicy wok-charred snow peas were a fantastic meal when you're harvesting half a pound a day.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Daily Harvest sued over illness linked to lentils; cause remains a medical mystery in ~food

    patience_limited
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    It's funny that the spouse and I were just in the grocery store yesterday and I was warning him off a particularly heavily processed plant (pea) protein product. There's still no satisfactory...

    It's funny that the spouse and I were just in the grocery store yesterday and I was warning him off a particularly heavily processed plant (pea) protein product. There's still no satisfactory answer for animal health problems (cardiomyopathy in dogs and cats) and "grain-free" pet food formulations.

    Lentils are a great protein source, but the properties of processed plant protein fractions are only starting to be studied. It's possible that this product had a heavy concentration of trypsin inhibitors (causing excessive pancreatic enzyme secretion), or peptide fractions with other unwanted effects.

    Edit: Dang, the Reddit commentary sounds awful. Aflatoxin is a possibility, but major acute aflatoxin poisoning outbreaks in humans are historically rare, and Daily Harvest would have to have catastrophically and conspicuously f*cked up.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on What is the most pedantic, arrogant, obnoxious answer for the sentence "Good morning!" you can think of? in ~creative

    patience_limited
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    "It isn't morning for at least 50% of humanity, and I'll thank you not to judge its quality in advance of the experience." (Hand this role to Benedict Cumberbatch while he mangles Holmes.)

    "It isn't morning for at least 50% of humanity, and I'll thank you not to judge its quality in advance of the experience."

    (Hand this role to Benedict Cumberbatch while he mangles Holmes.)

    6 votes
  13. Comment on No injuries after explosion reported at Texas LNG facility in ~news

    patience_limited
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    This news is a week old. The latest word is that the Freeport LNG facility is sufficiently damaged that it will be at least three months before it returns to partial operation. The peculiar detail...

    This news is a week old. The latest word is that the Freeport LNG facility is sufficiently damaged that it will be at least three months before it returns to partial operation.

    The peculiar detail is that the closure may temporarily stabilize or lower U.S. natural gas prices since a substantial amount can't be liquefied for export. The accident is still being investigated, but it's believed to have been caused by a transient overpressure in a transfer line.

    Not to speculate too much in advance of the facts, but this is a scenario that's been modeled for attacks on SCADA systems.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - May 27-29 in ~news

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    The Economist has a very good dissection of Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine.

    The Economist has a very good dissection of Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on Texas school shooting kills nineteen children, two adults in ~news

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    As it happened, I was at dinner with a co-worker whose spouse is an elementary school teacher in Texas (Dallas) when this news broke. They were frantically texting each other with reassurances and...

    As it happened, I was at dinner with a co-worker whose spouse is an elementary school teacher in Texas (Dallas) when this news broke. They were frantically texting each other with reassurances and concerns for a half-hour or so afterward.

    Apparently, the Texas State Legislature is again mooting laws to arm teachers as a defense... and the spouse was discussing resignation plans if that nonsensical response came to pass. They were actively frightened about the mental health of their stressed-out fellow teachers, and self-aware about their own bad days.

    I remember how extreme it seemed when the inner-city high school my mother taught at installed metal detectors, because of increasing knife (!) crime. We've accepted intrusive scans and searches at airports, courthouses, and governmental buildings. It's unbelievable to me that we're accepting ever-escalating threats of violence in daily life without doing anything to control the widespread availability of extremely portable, concealable lethal weapons.

    16 votes
  16. Comment on Tech recommendations request: looking for a Linux-friendly 13" laptop in ~tech

    patience_limited
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    Sorry, this is what had me confused. Like GamersNexus, I had a horrible experience with the wrong memory shipped (ordered 64 GB of ECC memory to refurbish a salvaged Dell server, not cheap, got...

    Sorry, this is what had me confused. Like GamersNexus, I had a horrible experience with the wrong memory shipped (ordered 64 GB of ECC memory to refurbish a salvaged Dell server, not cheap, got non-ECC of a completely incorrect type instead) and never exchanged or refunded, and haven't bought anything from Newegg in years.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on Tech recommendations request: looking for a Linux-friendly 13" laptop in ~tech

    patience_limited
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    Woot is basically a warehouse-sale outlet for Amazon. But Amazon owns NewEgg as well. There's not really any non-Amazon big name direct retail source for cheap computers and parts in the U.S. anymore.

    Woot is basically a warehouse-sale outlet for Amazon. But Amazon owns NewEgg as well. There's not really any non-Amazon big name direct retail source for cheap computers and parts in the U.S. anymore.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on Canada eliminates mandatory waiting period for gay men to donate blood in ~lgbt

    patience_limited
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    It's worse than that; I ran into problems with one of the private bloodmobile services that rejected people who'd ever had sex with a man who'd ever had sex with another man. [Private bloodmobile...

    It's worse than that; I ran into problems with one of the private bloodmobile services that rejected people who'd ever had sex with a man who'd ever had sex with another man. [Private bloodmobile services are a U.S. thing. They've supplanted the Red Cross in many areas, and I suspect they're paranoid about liability.]

    5 votes
  19. Comment on Poland and the Jews. It’s complicated. in ~humanities

    patience_limited
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    Poland and the rest of the Pale were the collision points for Eastern and Western Christianity. It was easy to avoid internecine strife by aiming Christian animosities at the local Jewry. This was...

    Poland and the rest of the Pale were the collision points for Eastern and Western Christianity. It was easy to avoid internecine strife by aiming Christian animosities at the local Jewry. This was explicit policy negotiated among the clergy of the various sects, as was promotion of the blood libel. It's not surprising that the Christian devout weren't willing to help Jews under any circumstances.

    You can add in the traditional religious prohibitions on usury that resulted in lending at interest only by Jews throughout most of the region. Hence the resentment and jealousy of perceived wealth that led to the "Lucky Jew" (ha!) figurines.