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Topics - Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Perhaps a few of you remember a couple of years ago, when I posted about an unwitting motorist getting stuck in the bike lane on Williams while trying to turn right, and getting screamed at by a bicyclist who refused to move when the light turned green, based on some principle of which apparently only he (and MMIX, who proceeded to inform me that I was wrong about the whole incident based entirely on looking at the street on Google Earth) were aware?

Well, in the ongoing saga of bike lane development here in Portland, the city has resolved that issue by simply moving the bike lane to the LEFT side of the street, and making it a combined bike/turn lane.

Which of course, is perfectly safe and makes all the sense in the world [/sarcasm].

It has certainly gone some way toward cutting down on bike traffic on Williams and Vancouver, by virtue of making those former bicycle thoroughfares absolutely fucking terrifying.

Techmology and Scientism / The rich club phenomenon in the classroom
« on: April 25, 2015, 04:33:35 am »
So, the rich club is this network theory phenomenon in which the most highly-connected nodes tend to be connected with other highly-connected nodes. It's a big deal in connective neural networks, and the discovery of rich club networking in the brain appears to be taking network scientists by storm for some reason.

Anyway, while I was looking up a rich club neural network article for class, I came upon this, and thought it was really interesting for a variety of reasons.

Here's the abstract:

We analyse the evolution of the online interactions held by college students and report on novel relationships between social structure and performance. Our results indicate that more frequent and intense social interactions generally imply better score for students engaging in them. We find that these interactions are hosted within a “rich-club”, mediated by persistent interactions among high performing students, which is created during the first weeks of the course. Low performing students try to engage in the club after it has been initially formed, and fail to produce reciprocity in their interactions, displaying more transient interactions and higher social diversity. Furthermore, high performance students exchange information by means of complex information cascades, from which low performing students are selectively excluded. Failure to engage in the rich club eventually decreases these students' communication activity towards the end of the course.

Interested in hearing other people's thoughts about this, even if you just read the abstract and not the whole article. I'll chime in with my own as well, but I don't want to taint the thread with my ideas about it before the discussion gets rolling.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / HEY HOWL
« on: April 03, 2015, 05:03:07 am »

I'm starting this thread for a couple of reasons. One is, I would love to have a repository for my ramblings about preparation. Another, because I will be mostly off the grid for a couple of weeks, but I might be able to get online here and there and it would be cool to have a place to check in with you terrible people. Lastly, if I don't make a hole to put it in there is a possibility that I will get random ramblings all over the place, and nobody wants that.

Today I finished my travel shopping, which meant a ton of hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and Pepto Bismol. I could tell the checkout guy was a little uncomfortable.

I was researching power-trippers today, and stumbled upon this article:

If you can't open that link, Google the author's name and you should find her website, it's available to read free there.

This research seems interesting and important; it seems directly relevant to discussions we have had about bad leadership, and the desire to impose an ideology over others even when it comes at a net social expense.

I'd write more but I'm sitting in a doctors office right now so it will have to wait... I just wanted to post that link before I forgot.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / So this is a thing
« on: February 15, 2015, 04:41:02 pm »
Apparently the good folks at Croteam came up with a fictional philosopher, Straton of Strageira, for their game:

They've done a touch of astroturfing to make him more convincing:

I particularly like this made-up quote:

It behooves us to be cautious when particularly taken with any philosopher’s claims, and to consider whether our reaction is due to the logic of his claim or due to the poetry of his words. A beautifully-phrased sentence is an accomplishment in oratory, not philosophy, and the pleasure we take from it should not be mistaken for truth.
The philosopher must be like the architect: to write well is important, but not more important than building an edifice that will not collapse. Some philosophers construct dwellings that seem pleasant to the eye, but are traps for the unwary.

He sounds like a cranky old fuck, and I want badly to believe that somehow his character is based on me. Unfortunately, it's far more likely that it's based on Strato of Lampascus, who was also a crotchety materialist.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / TWID TWID TWID TWID
« on: February 12, 2015, 12:55:27 am »


He is just stringing words together in a way that sounds like they make sense, but they don't.

Aneristic Illusions / Jezebel magazine and Mean-Girl Feminism
« on: February 08, 2015, 06:34:02 pm »
Relevant to Tumblr SJW Culture, fart-huffing, and the ongoing theme of Being Better at The Cause Than you, I encountered this post today:

It's really worth reading the whole thing, but the synopsis is that a lesbian planned a fairly large outing to a strip club for her birthday, and after getting some texts that made her concerned that things might no go smoothly, wrote a humorously tongue-in-cheek email to her friends with advice on making the night a win for everyone, including the staff at the club. Someone thought it was funny and forwarded it to a writer at Jezebel, who, with the help of an alleged stripper friend, proceeded to rip the email to shreds because apparently, in her estimation, the 25-year-old lesbian birthday girl just wasn't doing it right enough.

If anyone isn't familiar with Jezebel, it's a "feminist" online magazine that seemed to get off to a decent start, but then rapidly degenerated to something that is essentially a faux-feminist bully clearinghouse version of Cosmopolitan that spends more time ripping on women for not being perfect than it does analyzing or challenging the patriarchy, rape culture, or other feminist issues.

This seems to me to be very relevant to, and illustrative of, much of the conversation we've had over the last couple of years about movements and causes, particularly online, and how they so often start cannibalizing themselves by preying upon any of their own members they view as weak, vulnerable, or imperfect, because elevating oneself within the structure of a small group by climbing over one's comrades is easier by far, and more immediately gratifying, than tackling the larger societal structures that are causing harm to everyone. In this way organizations such as Jezebel actually perpetuate that which on their face they claim to oppose, fundamentally doing the patriarchy's work for them.

Literate Chaotic / Study abroad essay
« on: January 31, 2015, 05:56:52 am »
Any of you writing spags what writes want to look this over and give me feedback on whether any of it is terrible, doesn't make sense, or sounds like I'm just throwing words together to sound like I'm saying something when I'm really not? I feel like it might be a little too jargony.


As an aspiring neuroscientist with environmentalist values and a strong interest in epigenetics, I am working toward a personal understanding of how I can integrate my values and diverse interests into my future research work. I believe that the principles of sustainability are not only essential for our long-term survival as a species, but is also critical in order to create human systems and environments that foster the intellectual and physical health of their inhabitants.

I also believe that it will be necessary to change the hierarchical, single-discipline structure of most biomedical research studies, and reach toward something that is far more interdisciplinary and community-oriented, in order to find the origins of some of the complex neurobiological diagnoses which have emerged or grown dramatically in the last few decades. I hope that participation in this project will give me insight into how my ideals can inform research that will help to drive our culture toward healthy, sustainable communities.

As a matter of personal enrichment, I have been fascinated with the people and cultures of Peru since I first learned that, as the birthplace of the cultivated potato, they have a potato museum with over 5000 recorded varietals. That amazes me; what a contrast with the monoculture of American agribusiness! As a person of Native American descent, the ruins left by multiple ancient cultures there speak to my curiosity about and emotional connection with indigenous civilizations in the Americas, as does the rich living culture there.

It is my hope that my participation will contribute to the goals of the program by bringing to it my energy, enthusiasm, and unique perspectives from my life experience as a nontraditional student.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / ATTN: PEEDEE
« on: January 25, 2015, 04:56:08 am »
If you are not currently high, get real high and watch this:

I am not high on the marijuanas, but I am eating enchiladas and that is basically the same thing.


The vajankle – as its name suggests – is the unholy union of a vagina and an ankle… and it’s as disturbing as it sounds.

Unless you have a serious foot fetish that is, in which case, we’d imagine, it’s serious good times.

Sin boutique – the website selling them – explains: ‘These quirky feet have a vagina built right in at the ankle!’

They go on: ‘The vajankle is in the left foot only. You can order the vajankle independently, or as a pair with the standard right foot.’

This actually makes the admins of that anarchist cat group look like geniuses. Watch this, and despair for the future of humanity, for all is lost.

...and why is the "Discordan ads" thread closed?

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