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Posts posted by CharonY

  1. 16 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Perhaps a better, more situationally relevant question is: Have we given police too much authority to serve without either check or balance as judge, jury, and executioner? Have we abandoned our constitutional right to due process under the law in favor of quick conclusion at the receiving end of a standard issue field pistol in the hands of an underpaid, undertrained representative of the state?

    That is a salient question. Too often it is pointed out that someone did something that prompted to police to a presumably justified shooting. However, especially as someone who grew up with a different type police, I have to wonder what are the steps leading up to the fatal interaction, and why does it not happen that often in most European countries?

    Why is an interaction with a drunk and belligerent more likely to end in death in the US (or Canada, for that matter). One part could be police training, but is it really all? I found it befuddling when talking to my US colleagues and friends that they think that if you do not immediately follow police orders or if you startle them somehow, you risk being shot. And again, for someone growing up elsewhere this is just mind boggling.

  2. I am not entirely sure if it is really helpful, as most biological materials stored in a solvent will basically just look like the solvent (with a number of exceptions, I am sure, especially if they can be dyed). However, most are not stable for very long at room temperature and especially if some follow-up is intended they generally need to be froze. Some are amenable to freeze drying, but phospholipids tend to degrade during that process. But then it is not that you would be able to tell by looking at the sample.

  3. It think the basic issue for the lengthy argument that leads nowhere is that the assumption being made (more police interactions automatically lead to more negative interactions) fails to address the second dimension of the quality of interactions. If you reduce the likelihood of a negative outcome per interaction, you can obviously increase the number of interactions without also increasing the number of negative interactions.

    A simple example is looking at other countries where police shootings are extraordinary rare events. They reduce their issues not by having a smaller police force (in fact in many cases they are on average larger than the US) but by having a different system of policing. I suspect if that is not being acknowledged, we will go another round of identical arguments for a couple more pages.

  4. 36 minutes ago, MigL said:

    When there were enough cops to 'walk the beat', they actually got to know people in their neighborhoods ( no, I'm not old enough to remember that ).

    This is not exclusively matter of number of police, but type of policing. What you describe is typically known community policing. Unfortunately especially large police forces tend to forego it in favour of hard responses (certain narcotics and anti-gang groups are notorious for that). 

    That being said, it is true that effective community policing often requires more manpower. But again, the important bit is to change the approach. In fact, studies have shown that increase in police force has to be balanced with policies. In areas where e.g. things like stop and frisk events increased due to increased police presence, there was no benefit in terms of crime reduction, but there was an increase in complaints and violent incidents. So having more force on the beat and building community connections is indeed a good way to reduce crime as well as complaints, but it has to be part of a larger package. In other words, it would make sense to defund the areas dedicated to the most aggressive measures (say, military equipment, heavily armed plainsclothes units and so on) in favour of hiring folks that get to know the folks that they are policing.


  5. 5 hours ago, iNow said:

    History doesn't always repeat, but it often rhymes. 

    One of the rhymes I see is what is nowadays sometimes called "Identity politics". It builds a view of a us versus them and it is astonishingly successful in pushing otherwise unsavory folks to power. What has changed are the tactics and delivery methods (especially with the internet). But we still see very similar slogans used by those autocrats. 

    It is always simple answers to big questions and almost quick to find someone to blame. In the Weimar Republic it was the communists and globalists (i.e. Jews) that threatened somehow the better days of Germany (which did not really existed for that long in the first place).

    Goebbels drew a picture of a country in peril from the inside and the outside and emphasized autarky and disconnection with the rest of the world. "Certainly we want to build a wall, a protective wall", he said. Within these walls there then will be a distinction between those that are loyal and thus worthy and the others. By making folks fighting them, they galvanize their base against a common enemy and obfuscate their own actions. At some point, it will become "the will of the people", which includes erosion of rights and descent into authoritarianism.

    It worked then, it works now. 

  6. That is silly. Everyone knows that once the drawer is full, something inside will just jam it shut forever. I had to move twice to regain drawer space.

    With regard to OP, am not a medical doctor, but you might want to search the literature for congenital thumb anomalies and check if something fits the bill (or bring it up with your medical provider).

  7. On 8/2/2020 at 2:26 PM, Ravenclau said:

    Hello everyone,,

    I'm a college sophomore in an applied math BS program with a statistics concentration at a state university. I originally came from a computer science background, but I decided to pursue this after really enjoying my AP Stats class my senior year of high school. I'm currently taking my first mathematical statistics class and in an R job with a professor.

    Even though I still enjoy the subject in the classroom, I'm not 100% informed on what's out there as for career options (leaning towards data science right now).

    While still in college, how should one prepare for the best chance at a statistics job? Is going on to graduate school recommended in the field?

    Thanks for your time!!

    There are a range of jobs that are often posted under titles such as data analyst, data scientist, data engineer and so on. They tend to represent different stages of the analysis process or different types of data and may require different levels of qualifications. Currently, data scientist is the top flavour in the realm of big data. Learning demonstrable skills such as R and python as well as some machine or deep learning methodologies can be a big advantage. In many cases the private sector wants to see a graduate level education but it depends on the level of the job. They often are fine with either statistics or computer science backgrounds, as long as you can demonstrate e.g. experience in the models they are interested in. 

    With regard to job search, a big asset is demonstrating experience outside the class-room. So summer internship could be useful, but assisting in a research project (under a prof) using such skills would also work. The latter has the advantage that it might also help in finding a graduate position, if that is the desired path.

  8. 29 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Their reporting system is less relevant to me than their lifestyle. Close communal living and lack of education or hygiene are frustratingly common across the subcontinent. 

    The reporting system is to me a stronger indicator of organized central responses are going to be. There are countries with similar challenges (though being way smaller) which have been more successful than others. In most cases a strong coordinated response was the reason.

    Case in point, we got a rich, well-educated country high standard of living and much fewer issues with sanitation. But the response was half-hearted, to say the least.

  9. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    As bad as US has been, India seems likely to surpass given their sheer size 

    Most likely. In a country of that size implementing effective containment is difficult. However, surprisingly China had a decent success to keep it contained,  (even if they do underreport). But I do not understand the Indian system well enough to comment. The little what I heard is that their reporting system is mostly inadequate, which does not bode well.

  10. Here is an interesting paper examining responses to COVId-19. It focuses on Europe but it highlights how important coordinated efforts are:


    As rates of new COVID-19 cases decline across Europe due to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing policies and lockdown measures, countries require guidance on how to ease restrictions while minimizing the risk of resurgent outbreaks. Here, we use mobility and case data to quantify how coordinated exit strategies could delay continental resurgence and limit community transmission of COVID-19. We find that a resurgent continental epidemic could occur as many as 5 weeks earlier when well-connected countries with stringent existing interventions end their interventions prematurely. Further, we found that appropriate coordination can greatly improve the likelihood of eliminating community transmission throughout Europe. In particular, synchronizing intermittent lockdowns across Europe meant half as many lockdown periods were required to end community transmission continent-wide.


  11. 2 hours ago, Polykephalous said:

    I do hope no one was offended by my using skin colour as an example, it wasn't meant as a superior or inferior reference to any race.

    That's fine, the issue is that one has to be very careful with extrapolating things, especially if the basic assumption is flawed. Such as that evolution only happens under certain challenges.

    The reason for being careful is of course that there are certain folks that weaponize such misunderstandings or flawed premises to create narratives that imply inferiority of certain groups.

  12. 4 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

    I can see that being an advantage for Provinces. Is it also somehow an advantage for Canada vs (say) California?

    Do you mean in direct competition or overall efficiencies when comparing to a large state? What Canada has also done is trying to create a better supply chain for PPEs but also chemicals for required for testing. While Canada tried to help provincial labs and other test labs to get needed stocks (including asking research labs for unused chemicals at the beginning of the pandemic) in the US each state needed to secure their own supply and outbid each other, as well as the feds, which also outbid several states in the process. 

    So even with California's buying power it meant that prices went up and on top, the fact that it is harder to secure a supply chain, it also meant that they needed to stockpile more, and thereby creating more scarcity. 

  13. According to an article (in Vanity Fair of all places), the bumbling response in the US was not only sheer incompetence on the top, but also strategic:


    Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.

    Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

    That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

    So far COVID-19 has killed over 155,000 people. In comparison, flu killed an estimated 24-62k throughout the 19/20 season (in addition, of course). And the deaths are trending upwards.


    Edit: and on top the WH decided not to have the CDC collect and publish COVID-19 data but rather now want to do it themselves. Certainly nothing shady going on here.

  14. 1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

    That's certainly one of the attractions of Yang for some, including myself.

    Actually, the issue is that he says that he wants to solve the problem.. but he is not qualified to do so. What I prefer is a politician who a) surrounds her/himself with competence and b) has the political acumen to implement the suggestion they receive.

    Trump currently does neither. And Yang is not selling me on that part, either. If he learns how to navigate politics and at least organizes his ideas so that it becomes clear what he intends to do politically. That being said, it is of course difficult to convey that in a typical primary- there sky high promises are being made and with no track record it is difficult to assess what happens. 

  15. 2 hours ago, paulsutton said:

    I hardly know anything about fire arms, but there are now safety features so they don't accidentally fire,  if you are an adult parent with children, should guns not be locked or in a secure place out of reach.. 

    Well, the issue is that the anti gun control lobby has opposed safety regulations that would require guns stored safely. Accordingly, accidental gun deaths relative to population size in the USA are about 5 times as high as in countries such as Canada.

    There is also the weird mindset (mostly in the USA) that you need your gun locked and loaded as quite a few folks think that they need to defend themselves in a moment's notice. This, of course, increase accident risks.

  16. On 5/18/2020 at 11:23 PM, gib65 said:

    Desensitization refers to neurons getting tired of firing. It happens over the course of minutes. They just need to rest for a few minutes and they are ready to fire again.

    Tolerance, on the other hand, is the process by which neurons attempt to adjust to over- or under-stimulation by increasing or decreasing the number of receptors being stimulated. This happens over the course of several days or weeks, and takes about a week to recover from.

    Here's a link: https://www.pharmacologyeducation.org/pharmacology/desensitisation-and-tachyphylaxis

    Dopamine receptor levels can decline during exposure to prolonged stress, IIRC, which has been found to be associated with changes in cognitive function and motivation. 

    However, while dopamine is involved in the pleasure pathways, it acts more as a motivator by seemingly linking pleasurable feelings (such as elicited by endorphins) with the motivation to feel them again (I imagine it as a pathway reinforcer, but am not sure how accurate that would be).

  17. Evolution is never a need. It is just something that happens if the genetic composition of a group starts changing. This can be due to random events, but also due to selective pressures (i.e. there is different reproductive success). 

    With regard to human origins, DNA evidence strongly support divergence from a central group originating in Africa. From there we have multiple waves of migration. Also note that skin colour as  a whole is only a tiny part of our genetic history, it is mostly historical baggage that emphasizes it so much.

  18. 22 minutes ago, Polykephalous said:

    So does that mean that any Africans who move to Ireland and don't take vitamins will have a high probability of being afflicted with rickets?  

    No, it their vitamin D levels are, on average, lower. While this increases risk somewhat, only a small subset actually develop a disease.

  19. On 7/16/2020 at 6:16 PM, iNow said:

    “I’m much less interested in being a professional politician than I a. in helping improve the important things.” 

    I think that is a very "tech" way of thinking and perhaps paradoxically what I did not like him as a candidate. Many folks like him think that that all problems are just like a difficult equation and thinking very hard about it will solve them. Moreover, they think that they are qualified to do so, even if it is way outside of their expertise. A professional politician on the other hand is not an expert except in the political arena (which includes governing and/or lawmaking), which are the important skills (and ideally backed up by experts to figure the right policies out). 

    The issue is that many problems we have is because things are stuck in politics, not because we do not know the solutions. The war on drugs, for example is a massive failure on almost all metrics. Yet there is political unwillingness to move from there. Likewise, the health system and so on.

  20. My gut says Rice with absolutely nothing to back it up. I have zero insights into what the Biden campaign is gunning for or what their strategy is (other than let Trump do the talking). Most likely because I am buried in COVID-19 literature, ugh.

  21. 2 hours ago, Polykephalous said:

    So my understanding of evolution is that if you pick up ten thousand Africans and drop them in Ireland  where no other humans of any colour exist, then you return 100,000 later the general population would have evolved to Blue eyed blonds because as soon as they hit ground zero they would have realised that the climate was really cold and they should only choose lighter skin mates, and the cold would prevent the darker skin men from reproducing because of the cold and being of a darker complexion they couldn't resource food as well as the lighter skin men who had all the girls and could sneak up to a vegetable without scaring it away. Have I got it right?

    Nope that is not how it would work. For the most part organisms do not know what adaptations are going to work (and even with extensive research it can be difficult to tell). Rather what happens is that the conditions the organisms live in create so-called selective pressures. What it basically means is that certain genetic traits are more likely to reproduce than others. But different pressures can have different strengths. So let's say lack of sunlight is a strong pressure. Also assume that folks with more melanin (i.e. who are darker) produce less vitamin D are are prone to vitamin D deficiency. What fist needs to happen is that there are either already folks with lighter skin in the population or that at some point mutants arise with lighter skin.  Let's further assume that this make folks less likely to reproduce so mutants with less melanin may be more successful in reproduction and over many generations the pool will be dominated by them. However, unless the selection is super strong, there is likely always going to be a mix. 

    If a population is relatively homogeneous, more often than not another aspect is important, the so-called bottleneck effect. This is when there is a small starting population where drift can play a large effect, resulting in small population with low genetic diversity. This is one of the reasons why in Africa we have a large genetic variability compared to Europeans. 

    On top of it there are other random effects which have nothing to do with geography. For example if a in a population no mutations for blue eyes occur (which is basically traced to a mutation in a single gene), there will never be blue-eyed folks. 

  22. On 5/6/2020 at 12:50 PM, J.C.MacSwell said:

    Generally speaking for any species a mutation would most likely be less successful. I just don't know if the same would apply to a virus.

    Actually the most likely scenario are neutral mutations. In most species there is a large space where mutations happen, but nothing changes on the physiological level. In viruses and other condensed genomes mutations are more likely to have an effect. But due to the high production rates many deleterious mutations are not observed as they do not get transmitted or even out of host cells in the first place (e.g. if the particle is not fully formed). Those that have been monitored so far are, again, mostly neutral, though the latest research indicate a potential new mutation that could be more effective in transmission (though not validated yet).

    2 hours ago, Drakes said:

    I thought that the current covid mutations were producing less violent strains that allow the virus to continue to spread without killing the host?

    While this often happens, it is over a longer time. What basically happens is that if a less harmful strain emerges in parallel with a deadlier one, over time there is a certain likelihood that the deadlier version spreads slower (as its host keeps dying). After a certain while, the less harmful one may become dominant. However, especially in this case it may take much longer, as the death rate is not terribly high and especially among folks that are very good at spreading (i.e. younger folks) the symptoms are relatively mild. There is evidence that there are long-term damages to the lung, even among those that recover, but that is unlikely to be detrimental to its spread.

    27 minutes ago, Sensei said:

    Massive amount of people losing consciousness, counted in tens and hundred people per day terrified ordinary people and Chinese government to the level not remembered for hundred years or so..

    Wait what? First time I have seen that. Is there an article about that that you could share?


    Edit: Looks like one of those viral social media thingies. I.e. more rumors than anything https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/people-collapsing-coronavirus/

    Those things add confusion to the current situation which is not really ideal.

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