CharonY

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CharonY last won the day on February 21

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1674 Glorious Leader

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About CharonY

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
    PhD
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.

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55665 profile views
  1. Gun control, which side wins?

    I think only part of it does. But at the same time they overlook that the idea of having militias is also connected to the fact that many of the founding fathers were suspicious of a standing army. Madison famously said : I am no constitutional scholar, but I kind of doubt that the 2nd amendment was created with also having the largest military power in mind. Rather, militias could have risen in response and/or to prevent the creation of a large military force that could be used to suppress the populace. But that ship has clearly sailed (or taken out by a laser guided missile).
  2. Arming Teachers

    There are a lot of issues with the good guy with a gun narrative (one of the many articles about it here). But also, since school shootings are rare in any given school, having a lot of firearms around is likely to increase the overall injury/death rate. I do think that it will difficult if our relationship with guns is framed exclusively in the framework of mass shootings. They are the most horrible manifestation of an issue. But they are actually only a tiny aspect, even if we only focus on kids. In the US ca. 1300 children die from gunshot wounds. Among high income countries 91% of all firearm deaths of children under 14 are in the USA. In all metrices related to firearm related deaths and in pretty much all groups the US is leading. And that is clearly an issue. Other countries, even those with high firearm prevalence do not put armed guards into schools, afaik many do not even have drills or specific warning mechanisms for school shooters. And yet they do not have that issue. Suggesting to arm teachers (i.e. have more folks with guns around) is, aside from the obvious lobbying from the NRA, shows a mentality devoid of ideas and stuck in an alternative movie-reality where violence is the only solution.
  3. Arming Teachers

    Not really. They would just make sure that they are stuck in there until term. Complications are not necessarily covered.
  4. Arming Teachers

    Not to mention the enormous stress on the teacher. Also, there would likely be an attitude change. I mean teachers are supposed to take care of kids and educate them for ffs and not look out for potential dangers (among the same kids no less). Yeah, more guns is not going to be a solution and luckily it is not going to fly despite some endorsements.
  5. Evolution

    Not sure what that means. What do you consider an aberration in the tree of life? Branches? If so, why are microorganisms exempt?
  6. Well, obvious areas would be evolution and population genetics. There are text books around with which one could start.
  7. Evolution

    Indeed. The above distinction does not make a lot of sense.
  8. Mixed race children - smarter and taller?

    Nope. There are many definitions used in biological or sociological and common use terms, which have very different aspects. Such a generic definition as provided here would e.g. mean that smaller people form a race vs taller ones. Especially in humans the biological concept is problematic due to large gene flows between human populations. In common use it is an extremely mixed concepts that diverges vastly from how other subspecies are described. So no, it is not trivial at all.
  9. Internet Trolls

    I think you are missing the point. The issue is not only that it is biased, but rather that they straight up make up stories. And that there are concerted efforts by Russia, and I imagine other state actors that use it for propaganda purposes. Just a few examples: Check out social media coverage of the Syrian volunteer organization White Helmets. Check out the youtube videos and the comments beneath it (really youtube comments are cesspool in general). Have you formed in your mind what they are and have and idea regarding the controversy? Now check this out. For more blatant examples, take a look at videos regarding Muslims in Europe. What we see there is not bias, but vile conspiracy theories ranging from "no-go zones" to "white genocide". If that was in mainstream media there would be some kind backlash. Here, we get likes. The recent indictments have shown the influence of Russia on US elections via social media. You want to confirm your (insert group you belong to)-related fears? There is a channel for that. Do you want to get told that mainstream is bad, just listen to us because we validate you? Just click on subscribe. Make no mistake, it is not isolated individuals, if you check out the networks that have formed to create bubbles based on their own identity and worldview. It is a haven for those feeling underrepresented in society (justified or not) and is a breeding ground for radicalization. Terror organizations but also e.g. Russia have seized on that and have used it to radicalize, sow dissent and influence politics. The difference to mainstream is that the platforms are now individualized. You can pick and create your own bubble entirely independent from the person next to you. This makes you much more vulnerable to specific influence as you reinforce the misinformation by yourself. If you go through several newspapers, you are exposed to different views. Go to social media, they conveniently filter out everything that may upset you. Control of the userbase does not work either. As it has been shown, the groups consolidate around reaffirming ideologies. It is possible that we will get a handle on things. But I increasingly believe that unchecked it will become a bigger issue. I further believe that there are several, if somewhat related issues. Among my students I found that youtube fake news and trolling was rather quickly spotted and ignored (with exceptions). What is more attractive to them, however, are social media personalities that reflect their respective viewpoints. What they offer are not insights, but soundbites. But for reasons that I do not understand, they seem to be incredibly popular. Associated with that there seems to be a breakdown in communication between students with even slightly different viewpoints. They get so used to their own respective bubble that it is harder for them to accept or discuss even moderately diverging views. What I have also found is that if there is a discussion folks start throwing eerily similar soundbites at each other, which I assume are taken directly from these personalities (they all have in common that they sound clever, but are in fact incredibly stupid). While it does not happen that often, I do see an increase which makes creating discussion rounds, especially on the undergrad level, increasingly difficult. So far, the majority still form original thoughts which help me lead the discussion. But I definitely have seen a shift in the last decade or so. Originally I was big fan of possibilities of borderless communication. And I still do see the vast possibilities. However, I now also see increasingly issues with it. The good news is that increasingly it is seen by society and there have been calls to teach kids critical media consumption (though I do think that it should also be extended to the older generations).
  10. MCAT curving scores

    Well, how about basically all the other exams...?
  11. Actually the average vaccination rate is slightly below the regional average. But there are fewer people around and I assume that in the urban center it is on the higher end (considering that the whole country is less populated than many cities elsewhere).
  12. Internet Trolls

    There is also the issue that folks are consuming more youtube videos or blogs rather than vetted media outlets. And indeed, there are political powers who actively try to minimize the influence of mainstream media ("fake news", and in Germany even bringing back the loaded term "Luegenpresse"). This can only accelerate the process of dissemination misinformation. I fear we are seeing a rise of youtube-personality cults that may be the basis of the worldview of many young people. In fact, I do start to see it in undergrad students where arguments made by these types of personalities (i.e. folks without actual credentials in the areas they talk about) are taken as gospel without second thought. To be fair, it is not an entirely new phenomenon. Dawkins could be seen as one of such personalities which arose during legitimate concern about creationism influence in biology classes. While the initial core where well-educated on the subject, at a certain size there were folks who started to take his words, even outside of his expertise as gospel and it got a cultish hue with got increasingly toxic. That being said, it was relatively mild compared to what I see with some political commentators that are around now. Young folks, such as students are still trying to find their way in the world (not yet realizing that it is going to be a long search with no real answers) and these folks give them a very simplistic world that they can grasp immediately. These shortcuts have always been the selling point of snake oil salesmen, but now they the largest platform imaginable.
  13. Internet Trolls

    Unless of course they get amplified via social media, politicized and publicized by the certain media outlets and shows. I mean, can you imagine that some actors could weaponize social media and put out coordinated fake stories out there to disrupt and destabilize societies? Too ridiculous to entertain that thought right? It would never work in highly educated societies, right? Haha ha... ha.
  14. I think before we enter conspiracy theories we can consider some other aspects (although one could of course consider that the tragedy has been spun for most negative effect). From what I understand the US sanctions have left them with no abilities to buy new planes. I may be reading it wrong, but it seems also include provision to sanction third parties that sell aviation parts to Iran. Once the sanctions had been lessened Iran ordered planes from Boeing as well as Airbus and ATR, though due to potential issues with the Boeing deal they are actually considering Russian planes.
  15. Evolution

    Don't forget how well they performed as stock brokers.