stunningpicture:

Putting an engineering degree to good use

stunningpicture:

Putting an engineering degree to good use

(via izzylobo)

http://countersignal.tumblr.com/post/94383416063/ubi-is-probably-a-bad-idea-anyway-it-seems-like

countersignal:

estelendur:

slatestarscratchpad:

countersignal:

UBI is probably a bad idea anyway. It seems like one of those things that nerds who have only ever been around other nerds would support on the very false and rarely-stated premise that everyone is like them.

But in this case, not even that is an excuse. Presumably, nerds have been to college….

I would like to register my presence as a psychiatrist in the Detroit area, who works with some of the most impoverished and screwed-up people in the country, and who continues to think that universal basic income is a good idea.

I don’t think it will turn them all into astrophysicists and poets. But I think there’s a decent fraction of them who could do productive work if they could keep their heads above water for a little while (which UBI would help with), and another fraction who are unlikely to do productive work and who are being failed and kept miserable by the current system.

I’ll go further and say I have a lot of attempted suicides whom I have to treat, and I’m in charge of enforcing the government’s prohibition on them killing themselves. Some of them are people with nice lives who happen to be having an episode of depression which can be treated pharmacologically. Others…aren’t.

And you know, this latter group, their arguments for why they want to do it - it’s quicker than starving to death, less unpleasant than living in squalid homeless shelters their whole lives, easier than having to get a job with ten disabilities and a criminal record - they’re not bad arguments.

And I feel like if the government is going to mandate they stay alive, then it’s also the government’s job to ensure they have enough resources to live on without sinking into constant misery.

Also, for what it’s worth, among UBI’s current proponents is an anthropologist and activist from a working class background. He has spent a lot of time coming to understand people who are nothing like him, and has concluded that they are basically decent and mostly want to be useful. Definitely not a nerd who only knows other nerds (and there are poor nerds, too).

Wouldn’t “they mostly want to be useful” be an argument for mass infrastructure programs, not UBI?

The logic, translated from David Graeber(’s twitter and writings), goes more or less:

1. If UBI, then people are not required to take whatever job is available to survive
2. People still mostly want to be useful, so most people will still have a job
3. People will only have to work as many hours at that job as seems appropriate to them
4. Leaving plenty of job hours for everyone who wants to work and giving everyone free time to pursue things like creative pursuits and leisure

The ethical underpinning here, which is non-explicit, which I am about to make explicit, is that someone’s worth to society should not be measured by the amount of economic labor they perform. It seems to me that “solve hungry people by mass infrastructure programs” is still basically operating under the idea that one must perform economically productive labor in order to deserve not to starve.

Graeber argues that the human/emotional/mental/spiritual labor of “creating each other,” taking care of each other, raising children, and so on is every bit as valuable as immediately economically productive labor, and can be found in all types of economies (even ones that don’t really deserve the name “economy”).

My religion tells me that everyone is possessed of a baseline worth and dignity, so for me UBI is a religious thing: give everyone a fair chance at a dignified life and affirm their inherent worth. Some people will waste and squander it, yes. But every system has cheats and I don’t believe anyone should be forced to work 60 hours a week, or even 40, to have food on the table and a roof over their head.

[✐meme] three sentence fic meme

mrsroy:

Give me the name of a character or pairing and I’ll write a three-sentence fic about them.

(via catpella)

ash-of-the-loam:

homesteadilee:

ash-of-the-loam:

uristmcdorf:

ash-of-the-loam:

celestial-sexhair:

dreamingofdoctorwho:

essayofthoughts:

indigoumbrella:

essayofthoughts:

indigoumbrella:

huffpostarts:

In The Not So Distant Future, Glow-In-The-Dark Trees Could Replace Street Lights

Is that… is that even healthy?

There are sea organisms and fungi which glow in the dark and there’s fireflies and jellyfish which glow in the dark. It doesn’t do them any harm nor does it do the people around them any harm. I would say its pretty healthy, as well as it would mean more photosynthesis happening in cities which mean cleaner air.

I was just curious about how they were doing it and for some reason I didn’t think to click the link. But thanks! It makes more sense now. I was afraid it was some kind of chemical thing.

nah just genetic modification using existing bioluminescent genes. Genetics is really cool, and so is bioluminescence. I mean they’ve already made pigs glow using jellyfish genes and pigs are waaay more complicated than trees iirc. So they’re actually (i think) less likely to muck it up with trees.

In which case

GLOWY

FORESTS

GLOWY

TREES

GLOWY

EVERYTHING

(I like glowy things)

I’m hoping they do this safely in a way that doesn’t make the trees extra susceptible to diseases. Like I know some scientists were breeding a kind of fish that glows under black light or something like that, and they were breeding them in such a way that they got sick really easily (breeding them through incest). I hope that doesn’t happen. (I just hope the trees are safe and stuff ahhh)

I’m sorry I’m still stuck on

glowing

tREES

FOR

STREETLIGHTS

The “oh so horrifying GMO” science practice involves directly placing the gene for glowiness into the organisms genome in a place where it’s not going to mess with any other functions. So unless people get lazy there’s not much reason to hyper inbreed these plants. (Making something glow without having it mess up anything in the organism is super basic to a vast amount of research so, yeah.)

The only thing that concerns me with this is cross-pollination. Like, the chance that these trees could spread their bioluminscence to wild trees outside of towns. We already see problems with GMO crops spreading contaminating non-GMO ones (which isn’t an ooga-booga chemicals issue but a legal one related to who owns the rights to seeds and the right to label produce as non-GMO).

I’d be concerned about bioluminescnt wild trees. Mostly because wild places are few and far between, and now pretty much the only places you can go where you can actually see the starts at even a fraction of their true visibility because of light pollution. I have literally seen the Milky Way only once in my life with my own bare eyes. It would suck if that was lost.

Yeah the conversation about GMOs is complicated because what Monsanto does with it often doesn’t get distinguished from what could be done with it by more ethical companies/where the technology actually has advanced to. (Monsanto has totally screwed over a technology that will be really vital for alleviating problems of environmental degradation while also getting everyone fed.)

I do know that they have worked out the issue of potential cross pollination (aka figured out how to make it a non issue) though I think its relatively new and likely not something Monsanto has an interest in including in the modified crops they have on offer. (Since this way they get to sue small farmers out of existence, which is great for them business wise and also because they are soulless they don’t have any scruples about doing something like that.)

I forget what the mechanism they developed was (it’s been something like two years since that particular seminar speaker came through) but yeah, they’ve figured out how to keep GMO pollen from I think, being biochemically compatible with the stigmas of wild varieties? Which would pretty much negate the issue. No matter how much pollen got spread around, it would have about as much effect on wild trees as being ‘pollinated’ by bits of sand.

At least, that’s my understanding of the situation. I know a lot of this research has been done in rice, but many basic functionality genes are conserved across all plant species, so.

ETA: Also, since street trees are so heavily managed anyway, an even more simple way of preventing glowiness from spreading would simply be to make the trees produce sterile flowers - this is already really common among ornamental cultivars of apple, cherry, and pear. The flowers are lovely, so they’re very popular, but no city wants to clean up all the squashed and rotting pears that non-sterile trees produce.

I’m now picturing glowing ornamental pear trees. If they could make the blossoms glow, too… oh, stars, that’s a sight worth living to see outside of my imagination.

I keep telling people that if you think about it, we are actually living in an age of magic.

Cause I mean. GLOWING TREES.

Also re glowing blossoms, its completely doable. You can very precisely pick which parts of the plant you want a protein to be expressed in. You could totally do it so that GFP is produced in the floral tissue!

Proto-Indo-European Hangman

allthingslinguistic:

This is a game of hangman where all of the words are reconstructed Proto-Indo-European words. I can’t claim it’s easy (in fact, it’s really quite hard), but it’s definitely an interesting way of learning more about PIE.

image

After a few rounds, you may get a better sense of which sounds are more versus less common in PIE, and after a few more, you may start noticing repeats, as it’s only drawing on a list of 18 words. Of course, you could also cheat and look up a list of Proto-Indo-European words to help. 

elefantnap:

I hope small purple squids are still relevant.

(via ozymandias271)

http://ozymandias271.tumblr.com/post/95357460582/atamiantos-this-is-a-good-response-on-reddit-to

atamiantos:

This is a good response on reddit to someone asking how to reduce their anxiety about playing Go, and it applies to basically everything in life.

One idea is to try to adopt what psychologists call an “incremental” rather than an “entity” mindset. When people have entity…

(Source: atamiantos)

awwww-cute:

Daddy Daddy…listen

awwww-cute:

Daddy Daddy…listen

(via izzylobo)

http://countersignal.tumblr.com/post/94383416063/ubi-is-probably-a-bad-idea-anyway-it-seems-like

slatestarscratchpad:

countersignal:

UBI is probably a bad idea anyway. It seems like one of those things that nerds who have only ever been around other nerds would support on the very false and rarely-stated premise that everyone is like them.

But in this case, not even that is an excuse. Presumably, nerds have been to college….

I would like to register my presence as a psychiatrist in the Detroit area, who works with some of the most impoverished and screwed-up people in the country, and who continues to think that universal basic income is a good idea.

I don’t think it will turn them all into astrophysicists and poets. But I think there’s a decent fraction of them who could do productive work if they could keep their heads above water for a little while (which UBI would help with), and another fraction who are unlikely to do productive work and who are being failed and kept miserable by the current system.

I’ll go further and say I have a lot of attempted suicides whom I have to treat, and I’m in charge of enforcing the government’s prohibition on them killing themselves. Some of them are people with nice lives who happen to be having an episode of depression which can be treated pharmacologically. Others…aren’t.

And you know, this latter group, their arguments for why they want to do it - it’s quicker than starving to death, less unpleasant than living in squalid homeless shelters their whole lives, easier than having to get a job with ten disabilities and a criminal record - they’re not bad arguments.

And I feel like if the government is going to mandate they stay alive, then it’s also the government’s job to ensure they have enough resources to live on without sinking into constant misery.

Also, for what it’s worth, among UBI’s current proponents is an anthropologist and activist from a working class background. He has spent a lot of time coming to understand people who are nothing like him, and has concluded that they are basically decent and mostly want to be useful. Definitely not a nerd who only knows other nerds (and there are poor nerds, too).

(via ozymandias271)

Hallucinatory 'voices' shaped by local culture, Stanford anthropologist says

slatestarscratchpad:

queenshulamit:

mhd-hbd:

sonata-green:

teethingontigers:

'Voices as bombardment'

"The striking difference was that while many of the African and Indian subjects registered predominantly positive experiences with their voices, not one American did. Rather, the U.S. subjects were more likely to report experiences as violent and hateful – and evidence of a sick condition.

The Americans experienced voices as bombardment and as symptoms of a brain disease caused by genes or trauma.

One participant described the voices as “like torturing people, to take their eye out with a fork, or cut someone’s head and drink their blood, really nasty stuff.” Other Americans (five of them) even spoke of their voices as a call to battle or war – “‘the warfare of everyone just yelling.’”

Moreover, the Americans mostly did not report that they knew who spoke to them and they seemed to have 
less personal relationships with their voices, according to Luhrmann.

Among the Indians in Chennai, more than half (11) heard voices of kin or family members commanding them to do tasks. “They talk as if elder people advising younger people,” one subject said. That contrasts to the Americans, only two of whom heard family members. Also, the Indians heard fewer threatening voices than the Americans – several heard the voices as playful, as manifesting spirits or magic, and even as entertaining. Finally, not as many of them described the voices in terms of a medical or psychiatric problem, as all of the Americans did.

In Accra, Ghana, where the culture accepts that disembodied spirits can talk, few subjects described voices in brain disease terms. When people talked about their voices, 10 of them called the experience predominantly positive; 16 of them reported hearing God audibly. “‘Mostly, the voices are good,’” one participant remarked. 

Individual self vs. the collective

Why the difference? Luhrmann offered an explanation: Europeans and Americans tend to see themselves as individuals motivated by a sense of self identity, whereas outside the West, people imagine the mind and self interwoven with others and defined through relationships.

"Actual people do not always follow social norms," the scholars noted. "Nonetheless, the more independent emphasis of what we typically call the ‘West’ and the more interdependent emphasis of other societies has been demonstrated ethnographically and experimentally in many places."

As a result, hearing voices in a specific context may differ significantly for the person involved, they wrote. In America, the voices were an intrusion and a threat to one’s private world – the voices could not be controlled.

However, in India and Africa, the subjects were not as troubled by the voices – they seemed on one level to make sense in a more relational world. Still, differences existed between the participants in India and Africa; the former’s voice-hearing experience emphasized playfulness and sex, whereas the latter more often involved the voice of God.

The religiosity or urban nature of the culture did not seem to be a factor in how the voices were viewed, Luhrmann said.

"Instead, the difference seems to be that the Chennai (India) and Accra (Ghana) participants were more comfortable interpreting their voices as relationships and not as the sign of a violated mind," the researchers wrote.

Obvious alternate hypothesis: they’re actually hearing spirits, and the American spirits are angry.

Obvious test: take a hearer from one location to another, and see if the voices change with location.

I have an overwhelming prior against that “obvious” alternative.

I’d say it’s a cultural phenomenon, like near death experiences varying by cultural religion.

I thought that comment was a joke but probably I am a numpty?

I have lots of (American) patients who hear voices that say nice things to them. They’re usually in the hospital for some other psychiatric symptom and the voices come out incidentally on a general screening, because otherwise they would have no reason to talk about them.

People who hear nice voices tend to keep quiet because it doesn’t really fit into a social role and creeps people out, whereas the people who hear hostile voices are either more likely to talk about it (in order to seek help) or more likely to have it come out (say in a criminal investigation that ends with “the voices told me to do it.”)