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Topics - bachfiend

Skepticism / Science Talk / Vegetarianism genetic?
October 04, 2023, 06:49:04 PM
A recent paper:

So I'm vegetarian because of genetic reasons, not a lifestyle choice, for ethical and environmental reasons?

Seems to me to be nonsense.

The authors hypothesise that vegetarians have differences in the genes for lipid metabolism and taste receptors, but of course 'further studies are needed.'
Skepticism / Science Talk / Dark matter solved?
September 30, 2023, 12:25:08 AM
A recent paper:

Dark matter is dark photons.

Apparently the mathematics stacks up, and the results of certain experiments can only be explained if an (undetected) dark photon exists.

I won't say I understand it.  I lost it completely with the first equation.
Skepticism / Science Talk / The 2023 IgNobel Prizes.
September 20, 2023, 07:03:41 PM

As with the Nobel Prizes, awards are often given for research done many, many, many, many years earlier, such as the award given to Milgram et al in the psychology section, examining how many passers by look upwards when they see someone looking up.

The last time I saw someone looking upwards at something in a tree, I didn't look upwards too - because I was passing by on a bike and I decided it wouldn't be safe.
How to lose body weight and reduce your waist circumference?

Exercise in the morning:

I exercise at midday, which according to the study is the worst time to exercise.

The authors have proposed a number of hypotheses to explain their data, such as morning exercisers are more motivated and exercise at a higher level, they have a healthier eating pattern or they're exercising after the night of fasting on an empty stomach, so they're burning fat stores instead of carbohydrates just eaten.

So further studies are needed..
Skepticism / Science Talk / A new use of sniffer dogs.
September 06, 2023, 07:39:39 PM
A fascinating article in this morning's Melbourne Age:

A new way of helping preventing the extinction of one of Australia's iconic (and rarely seen) mammals, the platypus. 
Skepticism / Science Talk / Europe the cradle of humanity?
September 03, 2023, 07:58:06 PM
A new paper in 'Nature:'

The Telegraph is reporting it as casting doubt the established science that Africa is the cradle of humanity...

Can't really see it.
When the meaning of 'literally' is extended to include its use metaphorically:

as in 'I literally jumped out of my skin.'

Personally, I can't even imagine what jumping out of one's skin metaphorically means either.  What physiological process would lead to a person jumping out of their skin even metaphorically?
Skepticism / Science Talk / New SGU book.
September 16, 2022, 04:19:30 PM
There's a new SGU book coming out, available now for pre-order:

I can't say that I'll preordering it.  The blurb seems to indicate that the book is going to consist of the parts of the show that I didn't like.  Predictions of the future that didn't happen.

I think I'll wait until it's released, and I'll decide whether to buy after reading a sample.
I came across this online life expectancy calculator this morning:

I was wondering what chance I have of reaching my ambition of seeing Comet Halley a second time.  Mark Twain was born in 1835 (when the comet was visible), and had predicted that he'd die in the year in which it was next visible.  He was right.  I don't know if he even saw it once.

The calculator is for Canada, but I think it should give similar results for Australia.

According to it my life expectancy is 91.  And I have 0% chance of seeing Comet Halley again.
Quote from: Rai on January 10, 2022, 05:44:17 PM
Quote from: bachfiend on January 10, 2022, 04:13:38 PM
Quote from: Rai on January 10, 2022, 12:03:02 PM
Yeah, there is a definite difference between dropping someone like JK Rowling who continues to profit on her books and use her fame to spread hatred (even if some bigots among us deny the fact) and some long-dead artist whose horrible views are completely harmless by now. It's not like, for example, George Orwell is going to snitch on any more leftists, civil rights activist, gays and Jewish people to the British authorities, and his reputation has been forever tarnished by his behaviour in the eyes of the knowing public.

Sure, go ahead, get a copy of 1984, but you are really doing harm by buying anything from Rowling (unless it is second hand, in which case, go ahead if you want some mediocre fiction)

If I want to read mediocre fiction, I'd read anything you write.

JK Rowling isn't a bigot.  Her being called one by transgender activists doesn't make her one.  Transgender people obviously have rights, but their rights does not involve having other people's rights being infringed.  Women have the right to have their safety protected in change rooms and toilets.  Women have the right to be safe if they're incarcerated in women's prisons (male rapists have been given the 'right' to be incarcerated in a women's prison by just declaring that they're transgender females).

Darling, I'll let it go for now, but let this be a learning experience.

You insinuate that trans women are not women one more time and you'll get a nice, juicy warning. Hopefully a ban if you keep it up.


Men who declare themselves women aren't trans women, unless there's some other objective criterion for considering them to be trans women.  A male rapist can't declare himself to be a trans woman in order to be transferred to the easier confinement of a women's prison.

I don't doubt that transgender people exist, and that they have rights.  But their rights don't remove the rights of other people, such as cis-women.
About 15 years ago, I returned from a run, and noticed a rash under the chest heart rate monitor strap, and immediately thought - an allergic reaction.  And then I thought - odd that it's only on one side, and confined to the left T4 dermatome distribution, and then thought - shingles (herpes zoster), a recurrence of chickenpox infection contracted as a child.

The diagnosis was confirmed by a virologist, and for around 2 years I was very popular with the Red Cross as they harvested my plasma for the herpes zoster antibododies until they'd declined so much it was no longer worthwhile.

Last Thursday morning I was woken with left chest and back pain, and then I noticed the rash again roughly in the left T4 distribution around 10 am.  I saw my GP urgently without an appointment, and he confirmed my diagnosis (the swab was also positive for the virus).

Has anyone else had two episodes of shingles?  The virologist said it was possible, only because it would indicate I've lived to a very advanced age, but I'm 66, and I don't consider myself to be especially old.  Should I have the herpes zoster vaccine sometime down the track despite having had two episodes of shingles?
An interesting concept:

Instead of converting excess renewable energy into hydrogen ((which is difficult to store and transport), convert it into ammonia, which is carbon free, so the emissions would be CO2 free.

When ammonia is burned completely, it just results in nitrogen and water:
A possible sign of extraterrestrial intelligence from the vicinity of Proxima Centauri:

Probably not.

But if it is, perhaps will should try METI instead of SETI?  Perhaps we should send a message, instead of just listening for one?
General Discussion / Funny corporate names.
November 05, 2020, 03:38:40 PM
Adani, which is trying to develop a huge coal mine in Queensland, has apparently changed its name to 'Bravus,' thinking it means something else in Latin:

Curse spellcheck.
General Discussion / Footage of the Doolittle raid
September 10, 2020, 06:59:41 PM
I'm currently reading 'Pacific Crucible:  War at Sea in the Pacific,' and I've just reached the part about the Doolittle raid.  The author mentions that the director John Ford filmed the takeoff of the B25s from the Hornet.

Here it is:

It's pretty amazing.
I ask because there's a common but incorrect general assumption that memories from certain 'flashbulb' events are 100% reliable, whereas they're actually unreliable and prone to reworking and re-editing over the years as they're retrieved and re-examined.

I'll start regarding my memories.  I'd boarded a train, and settled into my sleeper compartment, and then I went for a walk down the corridor of the train carriage.  As I passed a neighbouring compartment, one of the 3 or 4 passengers there called to me, and asked me if I'd heard of the terrorist attack in New York.  For some reason I immediately thought of the truck bomb attack, and said - do you mean the World Trade Centre?  To be told, that's right - two planes had been flown into them.

I was shocked and felt very ill.

I'm pretty certain my memories are accurate regarding what I can remember.  The train was the overnight express from Helsinki to Petersburg.  On September 11, I read in the Financial Times in my hotel near the train station at breakfast an article announcing the bankruptcy of the Australian airline Ansett.  Later I went to an art museum for a few hours.  And I boarded the train around 2 pm, so I would have heard about the attack around 2:30 pm.  When I got into Petersburg, and checked into the Hotel Neva (a one star hotel, which was a rather generous rating), I spent several hours watching the black and white television reporting of the attacks (just for the vision, it was all in Russian, a language I have no knowledge of at all).

I think my memories are reliable because they're attached to an unusual event, a train trip from Helsinki to Petersburg.  And I think my memories of my trip are reliable, because they're also attached to an unusual event, the terror attacks.
A far-right Norwegian politician has nominated Donald Trump for this years Peace Prize.  [Political satire isn't dead]

Who do you think will be awarded it?

My prediction is WHO for COVID-19.  Or perhaps Bill Gates, for his warning of the danger of a pandemic.
I was initially sceptical about this study:

But then I found this:

It seems that this might explain paracetamol's analgesic.  It has cannabinoid effects.
Camelid nanobodies are a class of antibodies I'd previously hadn't heard of (they also apparently occur in sharks, but sharks aren't easy to work with in the lab).

Immunise alpacas against SARS-CoV-2, purify the nanobodies, then you have something that could be given during acute infections, while waiting for a vaccine.

As an aside, I wonder why camelid nanobodies didn't stop MERS from jumping to humans?
General Discussion / Gorgeous spiders
July 12, 2020, 07:11:18 PM
If you have a pathological phobia of spiders, this group of spiders might cure it:

Peacock spiders are tiny, less than a few millimetres in size, but the male spiders are gorgeous.

An image of one species I've chosen as the wallpaper for my devices.  When I open any of my devices, it immediately improves my spirits.
Which airline will go bankrupt first as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

I'm not certain as to the financial health of airlines in general, but I'd assume that Qantas is fairly safe, after it shelved a fairly large share buyback in order to keep the funds.  Of Australasian airlines I'd tip Virgin.

Of international airlines, I'd go for Icelandair, on the basis that the economy of Iceland is so poor it can't even support a MacDonalds.
The Australian government is addicted to cigarettes.  Or rather the revenue from the excise on cigarettes.

The Australian government uses its predicted wafer thin budget surplus in the current financial year (the first since the GFC) as a measure of its economic competency.  The predicted budget surplus is already under pressure from the bushfires and the coronavirus infection.  And the revenue from automatic increases in tobacco excise are under pressure from criminal activity:

Perhaps drugs of addiction should be be prescription only says I as I sip my own drug of prescription, coffee, which I consume in quantities excessive to my health.  And we all know how well making oxycodone prescription only did.
It's been a matter of considerable perplexity, that although I learned in medical school back in the '70s that the normal oral temperature is 36.6 to 37.2 degrees Celsius (with normal daily variation during the day - lower in the morning - and during the menstrual cycle in women - higher around ovulation), my oral temperature rarely reaches 36.6 degrees Celsius (unless I'm ill), and usually is below 36 degrees, of the order of 35.7 or so.

There is a recent study suggesting that normal body temperatures have been dropping for 150 years, due to the elimination of chronic infections and lower metabolic rates:

[It's an interesting study, because the link also lists the peer reviewers, their comments, and the authors' responses.  Peer review is often regarded as being 'sacred,' despite usually being completely opaque.]

Normal body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

I wonder if this might be one reason (a very minor one) for the increasing incidence of obesity?  Lower metabolic rate, lower requirements for food, but recommendations for required calorie intake staying the same?  There are obviously more important reasons.

I thought that if anyone finds it interesting enough to comment, they might also report their early morning oral temperature and their age (obviously there won't be enough to test the hypothesis that body temperatures are dropping, but it might be enough to indicate a trend).
A thread has been started on whether religion influences the level of global heating denialism in believers.  I thought a poll would be interesting.
There's a recent review article in the New England Journal of Medicine on the health benefits of the various forms of intermittent fasting:

Maybe.  Most of the research is preclinical, on rats, mice or monkeys.

It's a strategy I've used for around 20 years.  Currently, I'm on 23:1 intermittent fasting (I eat one meal a day during which I eat whatever I want, and I don't feel hungry at other times of the day).

Whenever I go off it, because I'm travelling and the hotel accommodation includes a 'free' breakfast, I feel terrible and hungry all day, and as a result easily give in to temptation.
I didn't start this nonsensical thread, so I'm deleting my comments from it.  'Thanks' Moderator.
Since this is the only social media I use, I thought I might ask this question here.  Particularly since the Rogues advertised to listeners a while back.

I have the latest IOS on my iPod and iPad, and they're very new models too.  Immediately after downloading the latest Audible App, the App immediately crashes after opening.  Every time.

Technical 'support' has offered a number of 'solutions,' including deleting the App, and reinstalling it.  It 'works,' the App doesn't crash.  Until I register my account to reload an audiobook, at which point it crashes.  Every time.

This has been going on for over a week.  I suspect the slogan of Audible technical support is 'share and enjoy.'
General Discussion / Barbecue issues.
September 04, 2019, 10:31:16 PM
For your amusement:

I'm a vegetarian.  Occasionally, when I'm walking home with my dog (who isn't a vegetarian) from the local dog park I pass a neighbour who is having a barbecue.  I don't find the smell pleasant, actually a little nauseating, but I don't think it's worth complaining about, let alone taking the neighbour to court.

Protesting and counter-protesting seem to me to be pointless and a waste of time.
General Discussion / Hitler’s normal voice
August 19, 2019, 10:07:40 PM
For your amusement, here's a recording of that monster's normal voice, recorded at a meeting with Mannerheim in Finland in 1942:

I discovered it rereading Ian Kershaw's Hitler biography.
I saw the following article in this morning's Melbourne Age:

I once saw a very big and very expensive Mercedes with the personalised number plate 'John 3 16' in Perth, Australia.  About 10 years later i saw the same personalised number plate on a very downmarket Holden, so eternal life doesn't seem to go along with the increased prosperity promised by Jeremiah 29:11.

I thought this would be a way of making a quick profit by buying the personalised number plate with 'JER 29 11,' but it's not available, though 'JER 29 10' and JER 29 12' are.

Anyway, Jeremiah 29:11 in the King James Version reads 'For I know the thoughts I think towards you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you an expected end.'  Nothing about prosperity, just an end, and I know what my end is going to be.

Anyway.  I was wondering what will be the next big thing in Biblical quotes, so I can jump in early and buy the corresponding personalised number to make a quick profit?  I can't be bothered doing the research myself.

I'm amused that there's actually a 'Research Centre for Digital Theology' at the Durham University.  'Digital theology?'
It's often written that the plural of 'anecdote'  isn't 'data.'  And that anecdotes are useless as evidence.  And that clinical trials of diets are the only way of determining which diets work, and which ones don't, and which ones are 'best.'

Anecdotes actually are very useful.  They indicate which diets and strategies actually worked for at least one person. 

The best diet for a person is the one a person can keep to for years and decades.  Clinical studies of diet suffer from the drawback that they're short term, limited to 6 or 12 months usually.  Clinical studies also aren't in the 'real world.'  The participants usually are receiving more counselling than usual, and the participants are often more ready to comply with the diet in order to please the investigators.

Colby Vorland on has written an interesting article.

I argue that if you collect enough anecdotes, then you potentially have a long term observational study.  That the plural of anecdotes is data, and very useful data.
There was an interesting article in this morning's 'the Sunday Age.'  The Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) zoo has been forced to remove fruit from the diet of many of their animals, because they're becoming too obese.  Owing to thousands of years of selective breeding, fruit has become too sweet and sugary.

There's no returning to the diet eaten by humans before the agricultural revolution, if there was a single diet (which there wasn't).  Everything we eat has been genetically modified.