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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

Coffee Cup

The science section of yesterday's New York Times has a piece about New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) by the ever-readable Natalie Angier. She highlights their remarkable intelligence, manifested in their ability to make tools:

Where the liberal fringe meets the tea party and stupid prevails.

What an excellent idea



Re: Approval Voting "What an excellent idea."

I agree. I did though find the concept somewhat counter-intuitive. When I first read that if, in a multi-candidate election, I voted for J, and some one other person voted for K AND L, each vote counts the same and the three candidates would at that point be tied, I said "wait wait! That's not fair, they got more votes than I did! But, of course, not more than I also could have taken. And, the objective isn't to get all the votes you could, but to indicate approval of one or more candidates. If, as the author postulates, it turns out to yield more (left-center, center, right-center) candidates and fewer extremist ones, that would probably be good. And had recent Pres. elections been "Approval Voting", heck, I'd have liked to vote approval of both Hillary and Dennis.

I'd a NEVER voted for Nader. There is a special place in my imaginary hell for that dude. We had a Dodge Dart vehicle once, right after seat belts became required. The interlock system on that vehicle required us to buckle up the ORANGE or NEWSPAPER laid on the passenger seat, BEFORE we could start the engine. grrrr.

While I support smart meters' ability to encourage off-peak power usage I really have a problem with the privacy issue. And I'm not comforted by the 'assurances'. Leaking, hacking and government abuse are all too real. I'm also opposed to 'fastpass' toll collection (and all tolls, actually). Not only are you monitored at the toll plaza but also throughout your travels, as evidenced by 'live' reports of traffic speeds and flow. And electronic transit passes which also record what time you go to work, play, and other travel. I lean towards cash. It's no one's damn business how I spend my money. And Facebook is a crime, as is everything asking for my email address (here, for instance). Little by little all the pieces will be linked to each other. What harm? Maybe none. I have little to hide but in my mind privacy is worth fighting for. Even if it's a losing battle I feel that the struggle is honorable. Don't make it easy for them. There are some benefits to giving up one's privacy, for sure, but I've lived this long without them.

email? Really? Why not just create an email account for your online pseudonymous activities like most of us do?

If you don't want a site owner to be able to find out who or where you are, email is the least of your worries. You should be using a proxy, and if you don't want the people who run the proxy to know either, you probably should run your own pirate ISP or something.


My point is that even if you are using a special email account, all its uses become a package of information. Then if something in that package matches up with other packages of yours, it's a growing dossier. Even if these packages don't link directly to you at first, eventually they (if my conspiracy theory is true) will.

I understand that Kingston or any other politician being evolution denialists or creationists is much worse, but that clip was edited not to show that D.L Hughley is just as ignorant (he said he doesn't "believe" in evolution either). And more inconsistent, since before he was pounding on Kingston for not "believing" in global warming either, you know, "science".

I wish Bill would take a more measured but ultimately harsher line in calling these idiots out. Perhaps he should begin with a few questions:

(1) Mr. Kingston and Mr. Hughley, do you know what the biogeographical evidence supporting evolution is?

(2) Mr. Kingston and Mr. Hughley, do you know what the gene and protein sequence homology evidence in support of evoltion is?

(3) Mr. Kingston has already shown that he is utterly ignorant of the fossil evidence in support of evolution, Care to enlighten us Mr. Hughley?

(4) Mr. Kingston and Mr. Hughley, do you know how "junk DNA" provides evidence in support of evolution? Do you even know what junk DNA is?

Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, this is an entertainment show, so I bring on guests to entertain you. Occasionally though, I really must apologize - not only for their ignorance, but for their ignorance of their ignorance - and, especially, for the pride they take in both.

Occasionally though, I really must apologize - not only for their ignorance, but for their ignorance of their ignorance - and, especially, for the pride they take in both.

this philosophy major couldn't have put it better himself. well put, sir.

Maher doesn't have the credibility to do that anymore though, after his dumb comments on alt-meds and the flu vaccine. He's not said such dumb things in a while, but it's gonna be a long time since he can claim a much higher ground than scientific Dunning-Kruger cases.

Actually, there is a way for him (or anyone) to recover lost credibility - a little thought will lead one to the method for doing so. However, it is clear that this obvious method by which one can recover some lost credibility is difficult to actually make oneself do, and it works only when it must be used sparingly:

Apologize! Say you were wrong and that you should have learned more about the subject before forming an opinion.

Yeah, but in this case in particular I think it's a long shot, especially since he's friends with the HuffPo people. I almost threw a chair at my TV when Chopra went on and they both were ridiculing The Secret.

in the comments on the blog, sasquatch has the best response. check it out; I donawanna steal his/her thunder.

Everything Kingston said reveals how willingly ignorant he is.

The overuse of antibiotics and vaccine arguments that remind people that evolution (ahem - and adaptation) are happening constantly are great little sound bites that can be traced back to Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury strip treating TB.

haha, yeah... I'm liking more the comments on Coyne's blog more than on Pharyngula's lately, though it's a large overlap.

re: are we hard wired to doubt science?

interesting article. i'm sure, somehow, a scientific/neurological explanation for what used to be called "luddites" will prove useful in the future.

Paranoia and hypochondria are already pretty well known, I think.

Speaking of paranoia, Woody Allen: "No, I don't think you're paranoid. I think you're the opposite of paranoid. I think you walk around with the insane delusion that people like you."

touche. if you're referring to me, specifically, using the rapier wit of my fellow jewboy, woody allen: don't worry, i am under no such delusion- at least in terms of my internet "relationships". this, while being one of the least of my personal worries, is something i'm trying to work on, fwiw.

btw, i've read/heard quite a bit of woody, and never heard this one. so thanks.

and, just curious: where does hypochondria fit in here? i thought "luddite" pretty much covered the topic at hand, and can see where paranoia fits into the thrust of the article. but hypochondria? wtf?

Wasn't referring to you.

And by hypochondria I mean the "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" people. That article too was talking about it as a "phenomenon". I don't think there's evidence that it's even a phenomenon. The phenomenon is that people believe it's real.

BTW, the quote is from Deconstructing Harry, one of my favorite movies of his. Very "filthy" compared with his other movies.

ah, thanks. didn't see the whole movie (planning to one day- the clips norm posted here piqued my interest.

and thanks for your other explanation, above. see? i don't assume people are stupid here (especially you) but we all can be pretty cryptic, and sometimes it's worth asking for an explanation. and i appreciate getting a straight answer. which you are better at than most, if i may say so. kudos.


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