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Lionel Mandrake

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: The Left Coast
Home country: USA
Current location: electrical wires
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2007, 06:47 PM
Number of posts: 3,687

About Me

I study, play the piano, play chess and go, and enjoy the company of my wife, children, grandchildren, other relatives, and friends. I am a perennial student at a local university, where they let me take classes and use the library for free (because I'm old). My serious reading includes math, science, history, and biography. I enjoy science fiction and mysteries, which my wife and I refer to as "mind rot". And now on to politics. I hated Nixon and Reagan. I think W is a war criminal and was easily the worst president in US history. Thank Darwin he's gone. I will support any candidate who is a "dove". I support "plan B" without prescription for girls of all ages. I support free abortion on demand, without delay, and without the requirement to notify anyone, for all women and girls who want it. I think it's time to repeal the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the very rich. I think other damage done by conservative Supreme Court Justices rivals that done by the monster they put in the White House.

Journal Archives

American neo-Nazis support Donald Trump (big surprise).

An article in today's LA Times mentions that "the Daily Stormer, a website that has called for anti-immigrant violence, endorsed Trump for president."
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-immigration-politics-20150826-story.html

When I read that, I was reminded of the German tabloid Der Stürmer, which was first published in 1923 and which endorsed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Sturmer

And, sure enough, it turns out that the Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi rag:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Stormer

I wonder if Trump welcomes this support.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 27, 2015, 08:33 PM (4 replies)

American neo-Nazis support Donald Trump (big surprise).

An article in today's LA Times mentions that "the Daily Stormer, a website that has called for anti-immigrant violence, endorsed Trump for president."
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-immigration-politics-20150826-story.html

When I read that, I was reminded of the German tabloid Der Stürmer, which was first published in 1923 and which endorsed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Sturmer

And, sure enough, it turns out that the Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi rag:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Stormer

I wonder if Trump welcomes this support.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 27, 2015, 11:56 AM (3 replies)

This is feel-good music!



Joe Pass was a musician's musician who played with some of the greats, e.g., Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, and Niels-Henning Ĝrsted Pedersen
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Mon Aug 17, 2015, 04:38 PM (6 replies)

Dumbing down the history of science.

The man who brought history of science to America, George Sarton, spent many years studying science before turning to its history. The best historians of science have always been people with deep knowledge of the science whose history they write about, such as Thomas Kuhn and Owen Gingerich.

Stanford computer scientist Donald Knuth once gave a lecture titled "Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science". What he meant by that was that computer scientists should follow the example set by mathematicians, who have taken charge of the history of their own subject, rather than leaving it in the hands of historians who not only lack significant knowledge of mathematics, but have no interest in acquiring such knowledge. The sort of histories of science written the scientifically illiterate are so bad that they have brought tears to Knuth's eyes.

Unfortunately, the history of science in general is now dominated by scientific know-nothings. Typically employed in history departments, not departments of history of science, they cater to and are judged by other academic historians with little knowledge of and little interest in the technical content of science. And what's worse, they celebrate their "externalist" views of science. Like Bart Simpson, these underachievers are "proud of it, man".
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Wed Aug 12, 2015, 08:17 PM (9 replies)

This message was self-deluded by its author.

Did you read that carefully?

Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Aug 11, 2015, 04:47 PM (3 replies)

Here's the music that should have accompanied the Republican debates.

Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Fri Aug 7, 2015, 02:51 PM (20 replies)

Yosemite sleep deprivation

Sleep has always been flaky under Windows, but it has always been solid under Mac OS X until I "upgraded" to Yosemite. For the first time ever, I am having trouble putting a Mac to sleep. Sometimes it goes to sleep and stays asleep. Other times it wakes up almost immediately. Then I have to shut it down instead.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 12:49 AM (8 replies)

Color vision and X-inactivation.

Normal color vision in humans is said to be trichromatic, since there are normally three types of cones in our retinas. The most common types of color deficiencies result from abnormal or missing genes on our X chromosomes. Most of the readers in the Science Group have probably heard that many men, but few women, are "red-green colorblind". This trait is said to be sex-linked and recessive, like baldness and many other abnormalities that affect more men than women.

Roughly speaking, if a man has such a trait and a woman is not a carrier for that trait, their children will not have the trait, but half of their daughters will be carriers. If a woman is a carrier and a man does not have the trait, half of their sons will have the trait, and half of their daughters will be carriers. If a woman is a carrier and a man has the trait, then half of their children of either sex will have the trait, and the daughters who don't have the trait will be carriers. These statements follow from the facts that every female cell has two X chromosomes and every male cell has only one X chromosome.

But the real situation is more complicated. In very precise color-matching experiments, women who are normally considered to be carriers have been shown to have a slight deficit compared to women who are not carriers. In other words, the genes for color deficiencies are not completely recessive. This has to do with the fact that one of the X chromosomes in each cell of a woman's body is inactivated, i.e., most of its genes are not expressed. The reason for X inactivation is to prevent a mismatch between males and females in the amounts of messenger RNA (and hence the amounts of protein) that are produced. In animals (but not plants) if the level of gene expression is off by a factor of two, the results are usually deleterious and often fatal. Even if the level is only off by 50%, as in trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), there are serious consequences.

A female "carrier" of a sex-linked trait will have clumps of cells in which the X chromosome inherited from her father is inactivated, and other clumps in which the X chromosome inherited from her mother is inactivated. The patches of fur in a calico cat are similarly explained. The retina in each eye will have abnormal patches and normal patches. It's not surprising that such an eye does not perform quite as well as a completely normal eye.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Sat Jul 4, 2015, 06:38 PM (13 replies)

Oscar Peterson Trio plays "Down here on the ground"

Oscar Peterson - Piano
Sam Jones - Bass
Bobby Durham - Drums

Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Mon Jun 22, 2015, 05:10 PM (5 replies)

Our broken jury servitude system

Our jury servitude system provides an almost unlimited labor force which is forced to work for almost nothing. The court system wastes jurors' time in many ways: keeping jurors idle for hours in jury assembly rooms, sending hordes of them to courtrooms where they sit idly once again, waiting for the interminable voir dire process to exclude most of them, etc. The court system does all this because it has little incentive to use jurors' time efficiently.

An integral part of this economic distortion is excessive use of what are called peremptory challenges (defined below). We Americans pay little attention to how similar problems have been solved elsewhere in the world. Once when my time was being wasted in a jury assembly room and a judge came by to give the usual pep talk, I asked him what he thought about peremptory challenges. He said that of course he had his opinions but declined to say what they were. I mentioned that peremptory challenges had been abolished in England. The judge said that was interesting - he hadn't been aware of that. (!)

Today's LA Times has an editorial about peremptory challenges:

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-peremptory-challenges-in-misdemeanor-trials-ab87-20150621-story.html
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Sun Jun 21, 2015, 08:39 PM (38 replies)
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