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Thursday, July 21st, 2022

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Now on Ubuntu

I've written before here about my woes getting linux to run on my personal laptop. There was an issue with the network driver for the laptop that wasn't allowing it to be used. And obviously, not having wifi and bluetooth on the machine, proved a problem for me to make regular use of it.

I had found that there was a patch for the kernel which should have allowed the hardware to work, but that it had not been adopted by the core of the OS yet. I am not hardcore enough to try and delve into applying my own patch ahead, so I just left it be and stuck with Windows 11.

Well, yesterday, I decided to give Ubuntu a try and to my utter shock - it worked! We'll see if I stick with it or not. I had been hoping to try OpenSUSE, just as something new, but it just wouldn't work with the hardware. But, here I am. Happily on Linux once again.

7/21/2022 4:16 am | |
Tags: linux, hardware, ubuntu

Yesterday's House of Representative Vote to Codify Gay Marriage (abcnews.go.com)

Found on reddit's /r/dataisbeautiful. The vote was 267-157. Here's the look of how every congressional district's representative voted.

"Congress should provide additional reassurance that marriage equality is a matter of settled law. All married people building their lives together must know that the government must respect and recognize their marriage for all-time," Nadler continued.

[...]

After being passed by the House, the bill moves to a split Senate where Republican support is possible, too, if fragmented. It's unclear if and when the upper chamber will take it up, given other business and a looming recess.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised "to look at everything that we can do to deal with these issues," but he has not committed to taking up this bill before the Senate leaves for August.

7/21/2022 6:24 am | |
Tags: gay rights, marriage equality

"Food expiration dates don't have much science behind them – a food safety researcher explains another way to know what's too old to eat" (theconversation.com)

It’s logical to believe that date labels are there for safety reasons, since the federal government enforces rules for including nutrition and ingredient information on food labels. Passed in 1938 and continuously modified since, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act requires food labels to inform consumers of nutrition and ingredients in packaged foods, including the amount of salt, sugar and fat it contains.

The dates on those food packages, however, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Rather, they come from food producers. And they may not be based on food safety science.

For example, a food producer may survey consumers in a focus group to pick a “use by” date that is six months after the product was produced because 60% of the focus group no longer liked the taste. Smaller manufacturers of a similar food might play copycat and put the same date on their product.

The article also links to FoodSafety.gov as a website to get actual information on the storage guidelines for some foods.

7/21/2022 6:33 am | |
Tags: food, fda, capitalism

"Want change at the Supreme Court? Congress should offer justices buyouts for early retirement" (thehill.com)

I cannot imagine this going over well. The Republicans would lose their mind at tax dollars being spent to pay to rebuild the Supreme Court. And any Justice who does take it would be harangued endlessly for selling out.

7/21/2022 6:35 am | |
Tags: us politics, supreme court

"Beloved monarch butterflies now listed as endangered" (seattletimes.com 🗝️)

The monarch butterfly fluttered a step closer to extinction Thursday, as scientists put the iconic orange-and-black insect on the endangered list because of its fast dwindling numbers.

“It’s just a devastating decline,” said Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University who was not involved in the new listing. “This is one of the most recognizable butterflies in the world.”

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature added the migrating monarch butterfly for the first time to its “red list” of threatened species and categorized it as “endangered” — two steps from extinct.

The Monarch Butterfly holds a very important place in my heart as I will always connect them to my mother, who loved flowers and butterflies. On my wedding day I gave the wedding party and my family pins that had butterflies on them in memory of mother, since she had passed before the big day.

7/21/2022 6:37 am | |
Tags: conservation, insects, butterflies

"Schumer's legal weed bill is finally here" (politico.com)

Interesting, the article notes that part of the obstacle in getting votes comes from an area I hadn't consciously considered:

But the votes aren’t yet there to pass Schumer’s bill on Capitol Hill.

That’s in part because many lawmakers from states with legal markets don’t yet support substantial changes to federal law. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, for example, represents a state where weed is legal — Montana — and says he does not support federal decriminalization. A handful of other Democrats told POLITICO that they are against legalization or are undecided, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Schumer would need all Democrats, plus ten Republicans, to get the bill over the finish line.

7/21/2022 8:50 am | |
Tags: marijuana, war on drugs, us politics

The 10th Man Rule (themindcollection.com)

I was introduced to this framing of the concept in a Tik Tok, but a Google search turned up this write up that I thought was informative - and with the bonus of World War Z framing.

If nine of us who get the same information arrived at the same conclusion, it’s the duty of the tenth man to disagree. No matter how improbable it may seem. The tenth man has to start thinking about the assumption that the other nine are wrong. - Mossad Chief Jurgen Warmbrunn, World War Z

The Tik Tok I saw framed it as "a moral imperative" for the tenth man to be the opponent and search for weaknesses. They were coming at it from military experience and so when building battle plans it's obviously very important.

7/21/2022 8:58 am | |
Tags: philosophy, decision making, teamwork

"The Bizarre Bird That’s Breaking the Tree of Life" (newyorker.com)

I'd never heard of a hoatzin until I came across this article. Then, while the article sit in my virtual "to read" pile, I saw a Twitter thread of discussion about it which only reaffirmed that I needed to read both it and then the thread.

When Stiller joined the project, her colleagues were combing through museums and laboratories to sample three hundred and sixty-three bird species, chosen carefully to represent the diversity of living birds. With help from four supercomputers in three different countries, they began to compare each bird’s DNA to figure out how they were related. “I think there was always this idea that, once we sequence full genomes, we will be able to solve it,” Stiller told me. But, early in the process, she encountered an evolutionary enigma called Opisthocomus hoazin. “I was completely amazed by this bird,” she said.

I thought this quote in the article was really interesting:

The hoatzin may be more than a missing piece of the evolutionary puzzle. It may be a sphinx with a riddle that many biologists are reluctant to consider: What if the pattern of evolution is not actually a tree?

As mentioned (and linked) above, here's the Twitter thread which should be read after the article that supports the author's premise:

In that thread, I particularly like this point, noting that many scientists aren't being beholden to 'Darwin's monument' (tree thinking):

To me, "Tree thinking" as the article and the Twitter thread discuss, is actually "Forest thinking" to accept that there might be multiple trees and that some trees might connect on various branches. But, I'm not a biologist, and given that this is hugely complex overall - even that might be problematically simplifying it.

7/21/2022 9:54 am | |
Tags: zoology, ornithology, science, biology, dna, genome

"Teens are rewriting what is possible in the world of competitive Tetris" (polygon.com)

I've been following competitive Tetris for a while (yes, really) so I knew a lot of what this article covered, but still an interesting read about the game's latest generation.

7/21/2022 12:34 pm | |
Tags: tetris, esports, video games

"DC police officer corroborates story that Trump got in ‘heated argument’ in vehicle on Jan. 6" (thehill.com)

While the corroboration doesn't talk at all about lunging for the wheel, it confirms that the President was adamant about going to the Capitol and angry when it was not done.

7/21/2022 7:15 pm | |
Tags: us politics, january 6th

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (youtube.com)


Disclaimer: I work for Wizards of the Coast, maker of Dungeons & Dragons.

That said - I am so excited for this movie.

7/21/2022 7:18 pm | |
Tags: movie, dungeons and dragons

"Sony’s racing AI destroyed its human competitors by being nice (and fast)" (technologyreview.com 🗝️)

But Sony soon learned that speed alone wasn’t enough to make GT Sophy a winner. The program outpaced all human drivers on an empty track, setting superhuman lap times on three different virtual courses. Yet when Sony tested GT Sophy in a race against multiple human drivers, where intelligence as well as speed is needed, GT Sophy lost. The program was at times too aggressive, racking up penalties for reckless driving, and at other times too timid, giving way when it didn’t need to.

Sony regrouped, retrained its AI, and set up a rematch in October. This time GT Sophy won with ease. What made the difference? It’s true that Sony came back with a larger neural network, giving its program more capabilities to draw from on the fly. But ultimately, the difference came down to giving GT Sophy something that Peter Wurman, head of Sony AI America, calls “etiquette”: the ability to balance its aggression and timidity, picking the most appropriate behavior for the situation at hand.

7/21/2022 8:25 pm | |
Tags: artificial intelligence, video games, machine learning

Congrats to Noah Lyles (twitter.com)


7/21/2022 8:37 pm | |
Tags: sports, track and field

"Polio case in New York is the first in the U.S. since 2013" (npr.org)

This is not good. But it's a good thing we're coming off of a society level event which has proven to everyone the importance of vaccinations. Right? ... RIGHT!?

7/21/2022 8:46 pm | |
Tags: polio, vaccinations, public health

Creation Commons is breaks down attribution best practices (wiki.creativecommons.org)

OANN has just been dropped by the last cable carrier carrying them (thedailybeast.com)

7/21/2022 9:18 pm | |
Tags: us politics, fake news, far right

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