May 24 2012

Linkfest

What does it mean to say that something causes 16% of cancers? Not as much as journalists and especially, headline writers, might think.

Smelling like a man. Could be a good thing. Or not. I wouldn’t mind a candle with the fragrance of freshly cut wood, but one of the reasons for using a candle or room deodorizer is to lessen odors like fish, beer, booze, or tobacco.

Just watched the finals of the National Geographic Bee. I feel so inadequate now. While I couldn’t recall the name of the city on the final question, it was at least something that I “sorta knew” unlike most of the other questions where I had NO idea. Yeah… I said to my husband, “It starts with R, I just can’t think of the name.” What brilliant children! Of course they’ve studied long and hard for this. Congratulations to Rahul Nagvekar of Sugar Land, TX.

Have you eaten venison? (via Bad Data, Bad which you should be reading if you aren’t already)

In general, 65 percent of people have eaten venison. But among those who have mistakenly used the public restroom of the opposite sex, 80 percent have eaten venison.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Unless you read it here.

Crisis Cleaning For Last-Minute Guests. From a new site called Housewife How To’s by an old internet friend of mine. Even if you’re like me and not likely to do any housecleaning, you’ll still enjoy her writing:

The best way to deal with unexpected guests is prevention: train them to give a week’s notice before coming over. Unfortunately, some folks won’t listen.

I’m off to contemplate not cleaning my house. Later!


Apr 21 2012

Breasts, Testicles, Prostates, Men, Women, Pain, Politics

OK, I didn’t have a good title for this post. That one got copied right into the tags field. Trolling for traffic? You betcha.

One of the bad things following the passage of Obamacare and Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels” is that now it’s considered necessary by some (certainly not all) conservatives and libertarians to automatically assume that any research finding that might also reduce costs is automatically some variant of “rationing” or on the slippery slope to a “death panel”.

To wit – this one by Althouse, linked last week by Instapundit following a link to Dr. Helen’s rather innocuous post on rates of prostate screenings.

No matter how I look at it, I can’t see the relationship between the rates of prostate screening, pain research, pap smears, expense, fairness, and the Buffett-rule that Glenn Reynolds apparently finds obvious. So now I’m wondering about him falling for or into mere drama where anything can be taken to be “rationing”. Or a precursor of a “death panel”.

Is stretching an idea, meme, partisan point, etc., to the breaking point the same as jumping the shark? If not, it should be!


Jul 29 2010

Links That Spur Questions And Thought

When theory and fact fail to intersect – Bookworm Room. Political lessons from buildings.

Who Goes Nazi? – The Anchoress, via Assistant Village Idiot. Suggested further reading: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

Masterminds or Muddlers? - the glittering eye.

The prototype for a mastermind would be Napoleon, someone who with a combination of brilliance, insight, savvy, guile, and the urge to power was able to bring complicated plans with many moving parts to fruition.

Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life? — The New Yorker, by Atul Gawande. And… as I see it, a complete misunderstanding of that article by Megan McArdle and most of her commentariat. That misunderstanding is further displayed in this McArdle post:  Does Medicaid Kill? Though not easy to identify, there are multiple points where medicine becomes harmful rather than helpful. Part of this has to do with the way we evaluate drugs — by choosing an endpoint (ie, blood pressure reduction) without evaluating whether that leads to longer life, much less the quality of that life.

That’s enough deep thought for a while. I will now return to my regularly scheduled whining, ranting, silliness, and non-blogging.


Jan 13 2009

ThinkHost: Pretends To Provide Webhosting, Pretends To Be Green

My LittleSister can’t get to her website dependably. Neither can I. Bet you can’t either. Nobody could yesterday. The really huge problem for LittleSister is that she can’t even get into backend to point the domain name somewhere else and just move the site.

Thing is, the tech support at ThinkHost is just horrible. Back in October, she opened a support ticket about a specific issue. It was something she’d always been able to do with other hosting providers with a few clicks – additional FTP functionality. That’s so easy on the three providers I’ve used that even I can do it.

Like a good customer, she went to their Knowledge Base for information. She found they suggest using a virtualFTP thingie (whatever that is) and that ThinkHost would set it up for a fee and it would then triple her monthly hosting fee.

The funny part is that they finally answered her original question after 15 days of telling her they couldn’t. This was after a message from tech support telling her how to cancel her account if she wasn’t happy with their service.

Now, I’ve got to let you know that I would never have signed up with this hosting service in the first place. And yeah, LittleSister knows that. She’s OK with me bursting into laughter within seconds of viewing the homepage.

What made me laugh? The logo tag: powered by wind and sun. Of course that explained LittleSister’s problem! She lives in Scotland and probably hasn’t seen the sun in several days. Yes, this is nonsense, but it’s just the way my mind works. Then again, ThinkHost is based in Portland OR and I’m wondering how much sun they’ve had recently too.

The site says “we provide world class hosting powered by renewable energy. let’s change the world together — join us today.” That is misleading because it is, of course, impossible. What they are doing (and is discussed on their site, so they’re not trying to hide it) is buying renewable energy tags, which sound a lot like carbon credits which have always struck me as similar to complex financial instruments, ie., useless and worthless paper.

Not that there’s not money to be made on carbon credits — my father owns timberland and has been approached with offers to buy his carbon credits. His scam-o-meter alerted him to the fact they don’t really make sense and he didn’t sell because he didn’t want to be involved with scammers on any side of the scam.

To LittleSister, this green thing sounded good. She is a good-hearted person and wants to do things in a way that is best for the ecology. And she’s a progressive and we agree on very little politically. But durnit, she’s my sister and she was scammed and that really irritates me.

I have little doubt that the collective at ThinkHost thinks they are doing good and no doubt at all they are trying. If they want to succeed, they are first going to have to refine that little thing about “world class” hosting. It doesn’t mean leaving your customers in the dark to save electricity.

What I do not believe for one minute is that the “green” and “progressive” angles are not marketing tools. When someone signs up for hosting with ThinkHost, they are buying conscience relief; psychological carbon credits. They are paying higher (in my opinion, at least) prices for the hosting because the company is in political agreement with them, plants a tree for each customer and gives progressive non-profits discounted hosting.

OK, that’s a bit snarky, but geez… I can’t help it! (sorry LittleSister). But you agree that non-profits are not helped by poor service and technical support. I know you do.

It occurs to me that these greenies may be simply capitalists/opportunists with a niche product designed to empty the pockets of greenies and progressives. Except they picked on my sister. Nobody should pick on my sister, ya know?

I’m through. For now. If you are in the market for web hosting, please overlook ThinkHost. How green can a site be if their service increases one’s desire to throw things which will then have to be replaced?


Nov 16 2008

What I’m Reading Tonight

Assistant Village Idiot has over the past several months intrigued me with references to this author and I finally ordered one of his books.

A not-so-random quote from p. 19:

Almost no one can conceal his emotions. Behavioral scientists believe that one of the main reasons why people become leaders is not from what skills they seem to possess, but rather from what extremely superficial impression they make on other through hardly perceptible physical signals — what we call today “charisma,” for example. The biology of the phenomenon is now well-studied under the subject heading “social emotions.”

Meanwhile some historian will “explain” the success in terms of, perhaps, tactical skills, the right education, or some other theoretical reason seen in hindsight. In addition, there seem to be curious evidence of a link between leadership and a form of psychopathology (the sociopath) that encourages the non-blinking, self-confident, insensitive person to rally followers.

(paragraph break added for online readability)

Back to the book now… I’m sure I’ll find more to share with you later.


Oct 01 2008

Experts And Idiots

Tag: 2008,economics,politics,Statistics & LiesDonna B. @ 10:56 pm

I’ve been asking in comments on various blogs why the raters of MBS (mortgage backed securities) were not more on the hook than they seemed to be.

If you have an expert, a supposedly unbiased expert telling you that this is a good investment, should you question their motives?

Apparently so.

Read An Expert-Induced Bubble.

I still think that while the creation of Fannie Mae was a good idea 70 years ago, it should have been phased out instead of encouraged to grow. In every instance where its growth has been phenominal, it’s been a Democrat controlled Congress that has spurred it on. Note that I am not blaming Democrat or Republican presidents, but Congress.

Note also, that neither party is capable of always getting its way even if it is in the majority. Everything is ultimately bipartisan to some extent.

Finally, this entire fiasco is a good time to review whether government programs can improve the financial well-being of poor people, regardless their color. It is also a time to examine the playing of the “race card” every time regulation, oversight, or cutbacks are called for.


Sep 12 2008

Not Buying This

Tag: guns,Statistics & LiesDonna B. @ 5:15 am

By ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA – The United States leads the world in economic loss from deaths caused by armed crime, according to a global survey released Friday.

I this possibly because someone in the U.S. is capable of producing more economic gain than in some other countries?

The U.S. registered an estimated loss of up to $45.1 billion in terms of economic productivity because of violent crimes, said the report by the U.N. Development Program and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

Continue reading “Not Buying This”