Later On

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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

A headline that made me laugh: “Monsanto Agrees to Use Gene-Editing Tool CRISPR Responsibly”

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Here’s the article.

From the article:

. . . CRISPR/Cas9 has been taking the world by storm since it was first developed in 2013by researchers at the Broad Institute. The gene-editing technology works by taking advantage of a property of DNA called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or small repetitions of DNA base sequences. These sequences produce an enzyme called Cas9, which essentially functions as a pair of genetic scissors which can cut the DNA sequences at certain points to add or remove small DNA segments.

Yet the ease with which researchers and companies like Monsanto could use gene-editing technology to irreversibly fuck with living things like people and plants has also raised concern that the technology might become widely deployed without understanding the consequences. This is why the “responsible use” of CRISPR/Cas9 cited by Rozen is a key stipulation in Monsanto’s latest move to corner the GMO industry (as the most recent acquisition of the chemical company Bayer, Monsanto and its affiliates now control a full 25 percent of the world’s seeds and pesticides).

Monsanto has never been a company that has been particularly lauded for doingresponsible things, and its forays into genetically modified plants have had a number of unintended consequences, such as encouraging pesticide resistant “super bugs” and weeds. In order to ensure more responsible use of this powerful gene-editing tool, the agreement prohibits Monsanto from using CRISPR/Cas9 to promote gene drives (where a genetically modified trait, such as pesticide resistance, is intentionally spread through an entire plant population), the production of sterile “terminator” seeds, or the production of tobacco to be used for smoking.

Gene drives were recently cited as a concern in a National Academy of Sciences reporton the topic since genetically modified plant traits could ravage ecosystems in ways that aren’t yet fully understood. . .

This will not end well.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 September 2016 at 1:54 pm

Big Players, Little Stocks, and Naked Shorts: Part 2 of Where Did the Money Go?

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Here is part 1. Part 2, by David Dayen in The Intercept. Their blurb:

A self-appointed stock sleuth finds financial giants trading extensively in little penny stocks like the one he owned that tanked. And he learns something amazing: Some brokers can sell shares that don’t actually exist.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 September 2016 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Business, Law, Technology

Kevin Drum and I totally agree—and also Facebook totally misled its advertisers for two years

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Video ads are not so popular as Facebook presented. Kevin Drum comments here, but I want to poiont out particularly this comment he made:

I should disclose that I’m a sworn enemy of video. It’s handy sometimes, but the information-to-time-spent ratio is usually so abysmal I can’t stand watching it. A few seconds for a cute animal video is one thing. Ten or fifteen minutes for an interview or a podcast or an explainer with maybe one or two small snippets of useful information is unbearable.

I agree 100%.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Business, Technology

Update on my using Paprika Recipe Manager

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Paprika Recipe Manager is offered on a variety of platforms, including smartphones, and can use the cloud to keep the database in synch across your devices. But I’m an old fuddy-duddy and just use a Macbook, so I paid $20 to get it.

The problem, as TYD pointed out, is that I have scores if not hundreds of Recipes in Word documents, including a couple of documents that are recipe collections, though many of them are single-recipe documents: a page that I print when I want to make it.

So how to do the conversion? Paprika does have an import capability, but I didn’t even look at that. I’m sure it has specific format requirements, etc. So here’s how I’m doing it: When I discover a new recipe, I capture it into Paprika Recipe Manager. I no longer keep a Word document (though I still have those old ones), so the Paprika recipe is it. I immediately edit it to assign a category and make any changes I want. Then, when I want to cook it, I use the very nice print function on Paprika to print it.

So all new recipes go into Paprika directly. And then each time I make an old recipe, I first enter it into Paprika (and with copy-paste it’s a cinch) and then print it from there. So old recipes are gradually brought over, and in a logical order: popularity.

Sometimes I take a food photo, since Paprika can show a photo with recipe title. I did that when I brought over Shari’s Chicken Marinade (which I’ve blogged).

I’m very happy with the program. It’s by far the best recipe database I’ve used. They finally got it right: memetic evolution in action.

UPDATE: You create the categories to which a recipe can be assigned, and the categories are check boxes, not radio buttons, so you check all the categories to which a recipe might belong. A single recipe thus might be in the categories “Snack,” “Lunch,” “Halloween,” “Uncle Ted,” and “Low-carb.” When you click “All recipes” you see it once; if you click any  category, you see all recipes in that category.

Here’s my current main page in Paprika. You’ll note the recipes are in alphabetic order. BTW, when the menu mentions a time (“simmer 10 minutes,” for example), Paprika highlights the time (“10 minutes”) and if you click it, a countdown timer (set at 10 minutes in this example) pops up. Not so useful on my computer, but nice if you’re using an iPad or smartphone.

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 7:52 pm

Police believe public has no right to see videos that might reveal police misconduct

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I can understand why the police would not want the public to view videos that reveal misconduct and fight to keep such evidence secret, I don’t see why the police should be allowed to get away with that.

German Lopez has an interesting article at Vox.com:

There were two high-profile police shootings in the past week — and police’s responses to them could not have been more different.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a police officer shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old black man. Shortly after the shooting, police released all available video that they had — promising to get to the bottom of what happened in an investigation.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man police claim was armed and brandishing a gun. There is video — police have said that the officer who fired the fatal shot didn’t have a body camera, but other officers on the scene did, and there may be dashboard camera footage. But police said they won’t release the video, as it’s currently under review and part of an ongoing investigation.

It’s a startling difference in transparency and accountability: Police in Tulsa quickly released all the video they had, while police in Charlotte may not ever (willingly) put out video.

One reason for the difference: North Carolina law. Earlier in July, Republican Gov. Pat McCrorysigned a controversial measure that prevents law enforcement agencies from releasing video footage without a court order. The law doesn’t take effect until October, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney cited the law in his defense for not releasing the video.

The law, McCrory previously argued, is needed to preserve public safety and the integrity of investigations. One major concern for law enforcement is that released video footage could let witnesses verify and change their testimonies to match what’s on video, making it more difficult to discern who’s a trustworthy eyewitness and who isn’t.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel put this argument best after the police shooting of Sylville Smith in Milwaukee: Releasing video prior to an investigation’s completion “would compromise the integrity of the investigation,” he said. “It is sometimes necessary to confront witnesses with information they didn’t know or they didn’t know we know. I cannot have witness statements colored or tainted by what they are seeing from other sources.”

But the North Carolina law also shows the limits of body cameras for holding police accountable: As promising as the devices may seem, how much of an impact they have largely depends on who controls the footage. . .

Continue reading. Video at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 6:12 pm

Cuban inventos: Hacks and ingenuity to keep things working.

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Very interesting article in Craftsmanship magazine by Rob Waters. Worth the click.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Quitting social media make you happier, at least among the young

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Sarah Marsh reports in The Guardian:

r love of social media seems to have grown and grown in the past decade, but recent studies show the tide may be turning for some platforms, with young people in particular ditching Facebook. One study claims that more than 11 million teenagers left Facebook between 2011 and 2014. It’s been argued that they are swapping public platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for more private messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.

We asked the Guardian’s younger readers whether they have quit social media and why, as well as what apps they are ditching. Almost all reported a greater sense of happiness after going offline. Here, we share some of their experiences.

Daisy, 23, Manchester: ‘I feel less anxious and less like a failure’

After a romance ended with a guy I really liked, I kept trying to avoid Facebook so I wouldn’t have to see him. It was after this that I gradually switched off from it, but before that I’d been wanting to quit for a while.

Facebook made me feel anxious, depressed and like a failure. When I went online it seemed like everyone was in Australia or Thailand, and if they weren’t travelling they were getting engaged or landing great jobs. I felt like everyone was living the dream and I was still at home with my parents, with debt from my student loan hanging over me.

I also felt that if I wasn’t tagging myself at restaurants or uploading photos from nights out, people would assume I wasn’t living. I remember a friend from uni said to me once, “Yeah, but you’re still going out having fun, I’ve seen on Facebook.” I tried to present myself as always having a great time. If my status didn’t get more than five likes, I’d delete it.

My life has changed for the better since deleting social media. I now enjoy catching up with my friends, and when they tell me new plans my response isn’t just, “Yeah, I saw on Facebook.” It makes you realise who your real friends are and how social media takes the joy out of sharing news with people. I also feel less anxious and less of a failure.

I’m planning to visit a friend in Australia next month, and she and my mum and a couple of other friends want me to go back on Facebook to share my pictures. I’d really prefer not to, though. I’m on Instagram, but I mostly follow sarcastic quote pages. I’ve never had a Twitter account.

George Lincoln, 17, Hampshire: ‘A lot of young people aren’t interested in Facebook any more’ . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 September 2016 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

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