- The Obamarama Roll-out
- There Are People Who Write Like This
- A Novel Proposition
- The New Phrenology
- Government of the zombies, by the zombies, for the zombies
- Ancient critters you never heard of
- Diversity in Your Fiction
- The Pope Reads Science Fiction
1. The Obamarama Roll-out
|Yeah, I'm looking at you.|
Charette: They said that they needed five weeks at the minimum to test it, and they’re still making all these changes. Where will that five-week window fit? If they had stopped right then and tested it for five weeks, they wouldn’t have been able to finish on time. And five weeks was probably the absolute minimum they needed, assuming everything worked. They’re patching the system as they go along and as Sebelius admitted, they’re doing very local unit tests (which, by the way, is what got them into this mess in the first place, with each contractor saying, "Well, my stuff works"). If they discover something major, they may have to run the whole system test again.Why aren't people who think they can repeal the laws of actuarial science called "science deniers"? Who knows what will come out of this massive transfer of wealth from young, low-earner families to insurance companies? It just won't be insurance. Next, they will legislate the value of pi to be 3.0. Makes the math much easier.
Jones (IEEE): So they’ll most likely gain functionality, but security is not a given.
Charette: Yes, unfortunately. It would be very surprising if there isn’t some type of breach, either at the federal or state level, by this time next year. If you can breach some of these high security defense department or intelligence systems, what’s the probability that the Obamacare website is not going to be breached? That likelihood approaches zero if it isn’t zero.
2. There Are People Who Write Like This
At The Nation, one Mychal Denzel Smith reports (There Is Still Misogyny in Progressive Movements) on a contretemps at a correctness meeting:
Last week, Brittney Cooper, a professor at Rutgers University and contributor to Salon.com, spoke on a panel at the Brecht Forum in Brooklyn, New York, on the concepts of “ally, privilege, and comrade” when building coalition across social justice movements. By her account of what happened during this discussion, the theme of the evening was completely undermined. At the Crunk Feminist Collective blog, she writes:He goes on to rant and even throw a cup of water at the writer, which act is classed as an assault. There is much here for amusement, in addition to the appalling behavior reported. Not least are the official usages of terms. The term Black is capitalized, but white is not. (The implication is that the one is a woman who happens to be white while the other is essentially black who happens to be a man.) Building coalition (not 'building coalitions' or 'building a coalition.' Note the implicit reification.) A feminist collective blog. Allyship (what happened to "alliances"?) Keeping it real. Show up for. I shared that. Interrogate his shit. (TOF would worry if the shit broke down under torture and confessed.)
So there I sat on a panel with a white woman and a Black man. As a Black feminist, I never quite know how political discussions will go down with either of these groups. Still I’m a fierce lover of Black people and a fierce defender of women.
The brother shared his thoughts about the need to “liberate all Black people.” It sounded good. But since we were there to talk about allyship, I needed to know more about his gender analysis, even as I kept it real about how I’ve been feeling lately about how much brothers don’t show up for Black women, without us asking, and prodding, and vigilantly managing the entire process.
In a word, I was tired.
I shared that. Because surely, a conversation about how to be better allies to each other, is a safe space.
This brother was not having it. He did not plan to be challenged, did not plan to have to go deep, to interrogate his own shit. Freedom-talk should’ve been enough for me.
What is sad is how the complainant seems to perceive herself as merely an intersection of categories rather than as a person. Sadder still is the male panelist's actions. But what can one expect once chivalry has been expunged as incorrect but a rise in unchivalrous behavior?
3. A Novel Proposition
put forward by J. Scott Armstrong and friends is called Evidence-based Forecasting for Climate Change Policies. There is something enticing about that "evidence-based" thingie, but TOF doubts it will ever catch on. One is reminded of the turn of the past century when a Representative began a speech by saying, "I've been thinking, Mr. Speaker, I've been thinking..." And Speaker Thomas B. Reed (R-ME) spoke up and asked that no one interrupt the man in his novel effort. One of the interesting aspects is the use of a system audit to audit the system. Armstrong comments elsewhere:
The IPCC modelers were apparently unaware of the many decades of research on forecasting methods. I along with Dr. Kesten Green conducted an audit of the procedures used to create the IPCC scenarios. We found that they violated 72 of 89 relevant scientific forecasting principles. (The principles are freely available on the Internet.) Would you go ahead with your flight if you overheard two of the ground crew discussing how the pilot had violated 80 percent of the pre-flight safety checklist?Perhaps TOF will consider commenting on sources of error in predictive models or some other YOSian sort of topic.
4. The New Phrenology
|Thoughts of a deceased salmon. 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's|
shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined
the bleedin' choir invisibile!! This is an EX-SALMON!
In 2005, epidemiologist John Ioannidis published a bombshell of a paper called "Why most published research findings are false". In it he catalogued a litany of failures that undermine the reliability of science in general. His analysis concluded that at least half, and possibly a large majority, of published research is wrong.Elsewhere, we read:
A few years ago, scientists at the Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology.So we can conclude that Ioannidis was a starry-eyed optimist. Nor were Amgen's results unique.
The idea was to make sure that research on which Amgen was spending millions of development dollars still held up. They figured that a few of the studies would fail the test — that the original results couldn't be reproduced because the findings were especially novel or described fresh therapeutic approaches.
But what they found was startling: Of the 53 landmark papers, only six could be proved valid.
[T]he more important flaw in the publication model is that the drive to land a paper in a top journal — Nature and Science lead the list — encourages researchers to hype their results, especially in the life sciences. Peer review, in which a paper is checked out by eminent scientists before publication, isn't a safeguard. Eisen says the unpaid reviewers seldom have the time or inclination to examine a study enough to unearth errors or flaws.5. Government of the zombies, by the zombies, for the zombies
Additional comment seems superfluous. Pollsters and their respondents sometimes like to have fun.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults believe the federal government would do a better job than zombies running the country today. But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most Americans don’t share that view, with just as many (37%) who feel zombies would do a better job running the country and another 26% who can’t decide between the two. -- Rasmussen Reports
1. Eat their brains
2. Get their votes
in that order.
6. Ancient critters you never heard of
Presented for your enlightenment.
7. Diversity in Your Fiction
Juliette Wade takes a census of her fictional characters to learn if she has unconscious biases. Such self-consciousness may lead to overcoming certain blindnesses in one's own fiction, but it may also lead to artificial tokenism. TOF sez: realism must be the guiding principle. There are very few milieux in which everyone is the same. For example, the Krenken in Eifelheim are noted as being of several races and ethnic groups. Louis L'Amour in Sackett's Land, a "Western" set in colonial North Carolina features not only Catawba Indians (who would be hard to omit!) but an African sailor on Sackett's ship. There were not a few such men in those days who took passage as sailors.
|Do you believe in other worlds?|
Does the Pope wear a funny...
Oh, wait. He doesn't.
8. The Pope Reads Science Fiction
Namely, this one.
Okay, so it's a 1907 SF book.