Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Links

  • The dangling implication of this report is that it remains entirely possible that an older, asymptomatic patient may never require dilated fundus examination during the course of his or her life. Long-term prospective, population-based study is required to follow up on this intriguing hypothesis and to provide medical evidence to substantiate an old clinical practice. In the final analysis, patient symptomatology continues to be the single most important factor in discovering highly significant peripheral retinal findings. To answer the question posed by the title of this article then, clinicians must recognize that it is quite possibly "never." [NLM]
  • One of the most notable yet subtle costs of reuse is that the rocket manufacturer must now keep two separate supply lines open: one to service refurbishing of previously used rockets, and one to build new rockets and rocket components. Keeping both open is expensive, and running either one at reduced capacity (such as if few rockets are produced because many are reused) is a substantial expense. This leads to one of the most important rules in rocket reusability: it can only work at a consistent high flight rate (usually in the 30-40 launches per year range) because that is what is needed so that the fixed costs of running two supply lines does not dominate your expenses. Otherwise, more efficient production without reuse makes far more financial sense. [Reddit]
  • The people, members of a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Pirahã, responded to the sight of Everett—a solidly built man of fifty-five with a red beard and the booming voice of a former evangelical minister—with a greeting that sounded like a profusion of exotic songbirds, a melodic chattering scarcely discernible, to the uninitiated, as human speech. Unrelated to any other extant tongue, and based on just eight consonants and three vowels, Pirahã has one of the simplest sound systems known. Yet it possesses such a complex array of tones, stresses, and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonants altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations. [New Yorker]
  • You can't have nationalism without race (minzu zhuyi). That's what we want to do: promote Han racial nationalism (Han minzu zhuyi). The multiracial nationalism we have now in China, with 56 races as part of a larger "Chinese race" (Zhongua minzu) is a big scam. It was imposed upon us by the Manchus, forcing us Han, the core of China from the beginning of time, into submission. All that this nationalism has done is to weaken China. You can't just destroy the distinction between civilization and barbarism (Hua yi zhi bian), incorporate a bunch of barbarians into our nation and then expect a strong nation. All this talk of "wealth and power" (fuqiang) is empty and meaningless without Han nationalism. [Asia Sentinel]
  • The "Substantive Consolidation Settlement" is another major change in the amended plan. Under this settlement "all Assets of the Debtors shall be consolidated and treated as Liquidating Trust Assets irrespective of which Debtors own such Assets". The problem was that some claim holders had a claim only against a specific Sears entity. If that entity had significant assets, the claim holders were asserting in objections that they should get a higher recovery. Now all entities are all consolidated together and assumed to be just one entity. In addition, all intercompany claims and intercompany interests (equity holdings between entities) are going to be cancelled. This settlement still has to be approved by the court. If it is not approved, there could be huge administrative problems because each Sears entity would need to have a "a separate chapter 11 plan of liquidation", which could "reduce recovery for other creditors". It would also drag the case on for a very long time. [Seeking Alpha]
  • In the US from the 1950s to the early '70s, if you wanted a truly small, economical car that was a bit on the rorty side and genuinely fun to drive, you probably bought a Fiat. The make sold very well in the US for a long time. However, Fiat lost its luster as the '70s wore on and people got tired of the rust and problems. That's where Honda stepped in. They offered the same basic qualities of the Fiats but with a difference of reliability and build quality. By 1982, Fiat was all but gone in the US and Honda took their place and then some. [TTAC]
  • Toxic signaling molecules. Increasing the energetic demands of signaling is not the only way to impose costs on parasites. An even more direct strategy would be to employ toxic molecules as chemical signals. In principle, this countermeasure achieves two goals at once: it turns the brain into an inhospitable environment for manipulative parasites, and forces them to synthesize dangerous substances that may hinder their survival and reproduction. If the fitness costs are sufficiently large, toxic signals can work as deterrents against direct hijacking. Among classic neurotransmitters, dopamine is the most likely candidate as a toxic signal. Dopamine molecules are unstable and tend to oxidate spontaneously, yielding highly reactive quinones that can damage proteins, DNA, and other macromolecules. In sum, synthesizing and storing dopamine is hazardous, but even breaking it down involves a potential risk of damage. Indeed, some species of green algae exploit the toxicity of dopamine to repel marine herbivores and avoid being eaten by them. [Research Gate]
  • If one asks, to take a trivial and theoretically uninteresting example, whether we might expect to find social class differences in a color-naming test, there immediately spring to mind numerous influences, ranging from (a) verbal intelligence leading to better verbal discriminations and retention of color names to (b) class differences in maternal teaching behavior (which one can readily observe by watching mothers explain things to their children at a zoo) to (c) more subtle—but still nonzero—influences, such as upper-class children being more likely Anglicans than Baptists, hence exposed to the changes in liturgical colors during the church year! Examples of such multiple possible influences are so easy to generate, I shall resist the temptation to go on. If somebody asks a psychologist or sociologist whether she might expect a nonzero correlation between dental caries and IQ, the best guess would be yes, small but statistically significant. A small negative correlation was in fact found during the 1920s, misleading some hygienists to hold that IQ was lowered by toxins from decayed teeth. (The received explanation today is that dental caries and IQ are both correlates of social class.) More than 75 years ago, Edward Lee Thorndike enunciated the famous dictum, "All good things tend to go together, as do all bad ones." [Meehl]
  • The ignition switch died, so to start the car, I had to pop the hood and jump the starter relay with a wire, every single time. It got to the point where I'd just keep the Jeep idling in the grocery store parking lot while I went shopping so I could avoid starting it back up. I did this for six months, and nobody ever tried to steal this green meachine. That's how sad this Jeep had become. [Jalopnik]

1 comment:

eahilf said...

asymptomatic patient may never require dilated fundus examination during the course of his or her old clinical practice

Interesting -- for me, and for most people I imagine (?), a dilated fundus examination (the term is new to me) is a normal part of every trip to the ophthalmologist.

if you wanted a truly small, economical car that was a bit on the rorty side and genuinely fun to drive, you probably bought a Fiat

My father bought a '75 Fiat 128 wagon -- it was the first stick shift and the first front wheel drive car I drove -- while very whiny, with zero oomph, it handled well enough that you could have some fun driving it -- it had an interesting peculiarity that led to some "LOL" moments: a thermostatic fan that ran for a while after switching the engine off (to help cool the motor I guess) -- after parking and locking and leaving, I was approached a number of times by parking lot good samaritans telling me I'd left the motor on -- my father used it mostly to commute, which was approx 15 miles per day -- so it lasted a few years until my brother rolled it by slipping off the side of a winding road in the hills, only stopping when the roof banged up against a tree (everyone was wearing belts, so no one was injured) -- he later confessed he was trying to eat something at the time.