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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. Similar programs have been implemented in various sizes throughout Europe and NA. While it was not always a perfect success, especially in the short term, it does seem to be one of the most successful intervention strategy.
  2. I think Markus explained very well why the proposal just would not solve the issue and others have chimed in on the legal ramifications. Now if we want to move into the realm of realistic solutions, there are studies on it that we can turn to, rather than trying tried and failed brute force methods. One of the key elements that Markus described is instilling motivation for change. We do know that force does not work. In fact, it may be very well what created a situation that benefits addiction in the first place. In Europe and Canada, there have been "housing first" initiatives, which aims to provide housing, not shelters and use that as a leverage to address e.g. substance abuse or mental illness. It is likely not a perfect solution, but it was found to be at least competitive in cost compared to other initiatives (especially when medical costs are considered) and compared to other measures shows at least trends in the right direction in terms of most indices (i.e. homelessness, health outcomes etc.). It does not work equally well for everyone, but it does move the needle in the right direction. On the other hand, even using historic knowledge using force on people for their own good on that scale and without individual consultations and deliberations has mostly resulted in trauma and even atrocities. I also note that OP has not shown any evidence how that has helped in the past, while others have mentioned negative outcomes. And this is fundamentally an issue if we deal with vulnerable or powerless populations using very simplified reasoning. This line of thought does not really take their perspective and trajectory into account, but it is strictly top-down level of thinking. If we remove them and do something magically it will all better, though what really changes is that one does not need to deal with them anymore. This magical thinking is of course only harmful to the people affected which unfortunately makes it very popular. We see similar reasoning for dealing with asylum seekers, folks tried to "help" folks by kidnapping kids into residential schools and/or forced adoptions, folks still try to coerce folks into unneeded medical procedures. The issue is that even if intentions were good (which at times is clearly disputable), it uses a very limited perspective of us vs them, assuming that our perspective and experience is the norm and if we forced everyone into that line, they would improve. Clearly this is not the case and betrays as rather limited perspective on the complexity of the matter.
  3. If you want to argue from the medical side, there is a thing called consent. This supersedes quite a few of the other considerations. Using your argument, it seems you would be also in favor of forcible vaccinations and mandatory diets?
  4. If we ignore ethical issues, that is. I mean it is not that we haven't used that argument in the past and off-hand I cannot think of a good example which we would celebrate as a success story.
  5. The treasury has regular statements breaking the numbers down. Quite a bit is in mutual funds, but also state and local governments, but also foreign investors. The data should be in here somewhere, if you are interested: https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/reports-statements/treasury-bulletin/current.html
  6. Considering how folks have trouble to convince folks to wear masks or keep their vaccinations up to date, in order to prevent a deadly disease, I am fairly sure that this will go over just swell.
  7. It is actually lower now: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/23/1119126863/chinas-slice-of-the-us-debt-pie https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/bonds/us-debt-china-top-holder-1-trillion-japan-treasury-fed-2022-7?op=1
  8. The easiest way is to look at papers and emulate their study design for similar questions. You will build up an arsenal of methodologies for certain questions.
  9. Have you some links to share for your assertion for: Because if that is not factual, there would be no reason to look for an data to refute it. Also for context, it seems that about 20% of the US debt is held by the US government, 4% by Japan and about 3.2 % by China.
  10. And I would like to point out again, that here we do an asymmetric conflation. Remember OP started with asking a step ahead, and asking about potential benefits of homophobia. And I think we have pointed out sufficiently that we cannot put all likes/dislikes into the same bin. Sexual orientation has a deep rooted developmental part (but likely not that innate as some might think, just basically immutable at some point). However, feeling uncomfortable to any sexual behaviour is much learned, as we know that there are plenty of folks uncomfortable around public displays of affection (that is why there are or were morality laws in place). So we are basically already talking about very different sets of behaviour, despite the fact that we kind of go in circles every few posts. And this goes to what I mentioned earlier that behaviour is almost always developed in conjunction with environment. That can actually be internal development. The brain and humoral system and whatever is involved does not develop in a fixed program, a lot of things during development influence how it is executed and therefore how things end up. In this case if you basically magically change the brain, you are likely to change the outcome. Which is why the innate discussion never made much sense. The point however, is that barring magical brain changes, there is a very common way to change the brain and that is exposure and learning. As cultural norms change, and e.g. showing affection becomes acceptable, magically more folks are less bothered by it.
  11. You would need to understand the system a bit. I.e. if you hypothesize that the mine releases heavy metals, what is the expected zone of leeching and is there flow through the system? If so, you could select sampling points that targets water before it reaches that expected zone as well as downstream elements (where they should carry contaminants). So this is a bit of a semantic issue and it depends on context. If you talk about the study design, you could for example distinguish monitoring projects (where you observe a system) and one where you manipulate it experimentally and then measure the outcome. But you can also use the the term to determine whether something is wet lab (i.e. doing some sort of analyses) vs data crunching. Studies do not have to be quantitative, but even them the papers outline some sort of question. For example, the authors in the paper you linked outline that there is a knowledge gap regarding the crustaceans in urbanized areas;- the areas in question are interesting since there is data from the 50s but there has been increasing urbanization and pollution since then; and they also compared spatial distribution in between more and less-disturbed areas. So again, a key point is the research question. The methodology follows from there (and generally not the other way round).
  12. This to me does seem observational, rather than experimental. This falls under monitoring or surveillance studies. However, you do need to start of with a question. In this case, you have implicitly stated that you suspect an impact of a (former) copper mine. What you then need to figure out what your control would be. For example, are there aquifers that you can trace up and down stream of the mine? Measuring biodiversity is like measuring any other variable, it is not experimental as such (but can be made subject to manipulation). A very common way of quantifying biodiversity is using Simpson's Diversity Index. But again, this is not a study in itself, just monitoring. A good research study would try to figure out the impact of something on biodiversity. And you would need to set up up your sampling method accordingly.
  13. Well, we can use distaste or aversion, if you prefer. I was just using disgust as these mechanisms are better characterized in behavioural sciences and there is a foundation of an innate response there. However, as I mentioned, I was not criticizing your reaction, but I was discussing your argument (and that of OP) that those reactions are necessarily or likely innate. A lot of folks (including myself) have an aversion on public display of affection. However, I do realize that those (at least in my case) are based on upbringing, and that plenty of folks are OK with it. This helps me to adjust my reaction, for example. In other words, just because a behavior is learned vs innate, it does not mean that there is a moral dimension to it (nor are innate behvariours inherently moral). And again, sexual orientation does not fall under this category, nor the perceived asymmetry in hetero vs homosexual acceptance, which really seems very constructed.
  14. I think you are missing the point of not conflating sexual preference with disgust reactions. Sexual attraction, either to same or opposite sex is likely established early on (with both, genetic and environmental components). Learning to be disgusted by sexual acts (which can include those that align with sexual orientation) on the other hand is highly flexible and variable. Highly malleable behavior usually points towards learned behaviour. I.e. you can learn to find something disgusting or not disgusting, but it is almost impossible to change your sexual orientation. And again, your argument only makes sense if you conflate these elements. Also, as I mentioned, I have not seen good data on disgust behaviour of homosexual folks, so we do not even know if there is symmetry. One could speculate for example that most homesexual individuals are more habituated to heterosexual behaviour (simply because it is more common) and therefore have a way more attenuated disgust reaction than heterosexuals who are not or infrequently exposed to homosexual individuals. I think much of it stems from the tendency to assume that whatever unconscious behavior we have is innately "natural" as we are kind of forced to see ourselves as a guiding post of sorts. However, we really should look at it from a population level. And even there cultural influences are inevitable making it very hard to really define anything that is "natural". We used to be in the habit of defining an almost arbitrary threshold for "normal" but I think folks (especially older ones) are now struggling with the shifts in these threshold not only by cultural changes (which also can be whimsical) but also increasingly by science, as now we start to look into things that we never thought of before. And the reason why we did not look into it, is because of our erroneous assumption of what is "normal" and thus biasing our approach to studies.
  15. If you heat the medium in which the bacterial are (e.g. yoghurt) sufficiently high, they will die. The intestine is physiologically outside of our bodies (our whole food intake and digestion tract is basically like a kind of hose that goes goes through our bodies. Interaction with the immune system only happens fairly close to the intestinal walls (with some exceptions).
  16. Chylomicrons are lipoproteins and they are produced in enterocyte. So in terms of distribution of lipids, they are basically at the source of dietary lipids, which get mobilized to adipose and muscle tissue. Cholesterol seems to be directed to the liver. I assume that was a typo (as the next sentence says the opposite), but reducing SFA content increases expression of LDL receptors. The assumption here is that LDL receptors are involved in LDL-cholesterol clearance from blood. I.e. reducing SFA increases LDL-receptors, which in turn reduce circulating LDL-cholesterol.
  17. Thread is closed pending review.
  18. I think I mentioned it earlier, but sexual preference is likely not hard wired, but rather developed early on, which is similar but not exactly the same. The second thing is that having a sexual preference does not automatically result in disgust (or lack of disgust) of certain sexual acts or preferences. That simply does not follow. As others have mentioned, there are plenty of heterosexual acts that folks might be disgusted about, and conversely, there are identical acts and for some, only the knowledge whether the actors are of same sex would make it distasteful (or not). The flexibility in perception shows to me that the behaviour is and can easily be modulated by context and experience. And if we look at the reaction itself, the feeling of disgust is usually unconscious (or close to it), and there is little immediate conscious control over it. However, it is also well known that disgust of specific things has a learned component. I.e. it is heavily modulated by learning/experience. There is some deep-seated basis, not doubt but how we learn how something is disgusting or not, is highly flexible and as by far not as much ingrained as sexual preference. I.e. conflating these elements simply does not make a lot of sense to me. I will also add that studies also suggest that heterosexual men, on average, have a (much) more positive attitude towards lesbianism and, as also mentioned a couple of times, these negative attitudes kind of dissipate with direct experience. One think I am actually now curious about is how homosexuals perceive heterosexual advances or intimate situations between heterosexuals. If it is really ingrained, and if it was really tie to sexual preference, it should be a fairly equivalent situation. Not sure whether there are studies about that, as most studies have focused on heterosexuals and their attitudes (talking about research bias here). Also, I wanted to add a few related points here. The discussion of nurture vs nature has very deep roots, but research has shown that it mostly makes little sense in the vast majority of behaviours. The concept of instincts is not that much in use anymore, for example. The more we understand how neural correlates for certain types of behavior are formed, the clearer it becomes that these are developments that happen to complex interactions between the genetic material, developmental environment and associated factors. In the area of neuroethology the idea is therefore much more to figure out how these mechanisms create behaviour. The hope to uncover genetic basis of behavior often now hinge on either very simple systems (say fruit flies) or by trying to isolate rather inflexible behavioral patterns and even this tens to be rather complicated. As I mentioned before, even sexual preference might not be a perfect example of it. We still do not know everything that goes into it, except that there seems to be a genetic bias, but clearly it is not exclusively controlled by genes. So for the most part the nature or nurture discussion is really not useful at all. However, that makes OP a bit tricky, as it is placed in the ethics section. There is a kind of assumption that "natural" behavior are somehow ethical as one it is presumably something we cannot do anything about. But rather obviously that is not a good argument to make.
  19. That would be my assumption, but obviously the science is not conclusive in that regard.
  20. There was a bit with Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart where they made fun of Super PACs how insane the 2010 Supreme Court decision was. But basically a Super Pac can spend whatever they want, with the only restriction (from what I understand) that they are not allowed to coordinate with the candidate directly. Colbert and Stewart specifically highlighted that by mock non-coordinating while having a Super PAC. I am not sure whether that is the only or even the most important difference, but it seemed to me the most ridiculous one.
  21. The way I tend to think about food and health is that a) one should have limit of regular calorie intake. We do have too easy access to food and overeating clearly is associated with a wide range. From there b) the food should cover all the necessary nutrients (hence the common recommendation to have somewhat broad diet) within that rough calorie limit. So in this context the question would be whether you would just cut off excess olive oil and not replace it with anything else (i.e. reducing total calorie intake) which likely would have some net benefit. Conversely, if you would eat something else that contains e.g. saturated fats or instead increased carbohydrate intake, chances are that it would be more likely to be detrimental. In other words, I am skeptical of claims that adding something to the diet (on top) has benefits, I think it is more about the composition while eating a healthy amount.
  22. I think it is actually fragmenting again. What for a while was considered bioinformatics have in part been reclaimed by biostatisticians, a part has peeled off to computational biology and yet another part falls under the broader umbrella of data sciences. And I think especially the latter is bound to specialize again (it seems to come and go in waves).
  23. This is probably not quite what OP was thinking about, but in fast-moving sciences, often new terms are coined and changed in a relative fast manner. For example, the term "genomics" was coined in the 1980s and was used to describe the complete set of genes (genome) and later for the other biomolecules in a cell (e.g. proteome for proteins, transcriptome for RNA and so on). Then at some point folks like the term so much, that it started to be used in somewhat different contexts. For example, rather than using "proteome" to refer to a complete analysis of all proteins, it was eventually also used if one simply looked at more than one or two proteins. Another fancy term that has been circulating since the mid 2000s is "synthetic biology", which in many areas is now replacing the older term of molecular cloning (or molecular genetic) techniques. An interesting aspect of it, is that this rapid divergence of terminology actually seems to create a divide in literature. I found that many students only use the newer terms and thereby overlook older papers.
  24. I thin it should be added that there is (AFAIK) no gold standard with regard to these tests. While NMR does work at least as well as the other methods, it is not clear which one is the best. And best is defined here as yielding a measurement that is clinically predictive. It is also important to note that there is more work looking into LDL subclasses as the category is rather overly broad and fluent. And there is at least some suggestion that certain smaller types of LDL might be more diagnostic, but the measurements are even trickier, as higher specificity is needed. That is actually also rather complicated. Early on, there were already suggestions that the link between saturated fat and LDL cholesterol (or specifically LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio) is not straightforward. Some studies for example suggest that reducing saturated fat in the diet hat less effect than exchanging saturated with unsaturated fat, especially cis-PUFA. There is certainly a connection somewhere but as metabolism goes, it is likely again indirect. Some data suggests that the issue with saturated fat is perhaps not really only in the realm of LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, but perhaps by increasing the very small LDL cholesterol particles, which might be more likely to cause cardiovascular events. Edit: I have not read the paper referenced above, but the graph shows a slight increase in LDL-cholesterol but a shift of the most problematic (small) species from 45.2 nmol/dL to 39.6. It is unclear to me whether those changes are actually clinically relevant, but I suppose that would require a study on its own.
  25. Nutritional guidelines are necessarily simplified and there will be a lot of individual variance. Generally speaking, once on is a healthy place, it is often helpful to check from deviations a given homeostatic situation, but even that is an imperfect approach. Sometimes recommendations are actually correct, but for incorrect reasons.
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