Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut

“The take home is we don’t have the data”

Important line in the article.

More data are needed.  Specifically what needs to happen is studies comparing different vape liquids and different devices, with different settings.  This hasn’t happened much that I’ve seen, and it’s important.

While the studies I’ve seen come up so far do seem fairly unanimous in saying that e-cigs aren’t as harmless as e-cig companies want you to think, I haven’t seen anything that really says more dangerous than regular cigarettes- especially not when looking at overall risk.

And the risks will vary- different liquids have different chemical makeups, different devices have different stuff that might leech into the liquid, different temperatures can affect the chemical reactions and thus what the user inhales.

We need good studies comparing different devices and liquids to figure all this out.  With that, sensible regulation might be possible that mitigates the risks with minimal intrusion on the freedom of e-cig users and makers.  Maybe a bit of intrusion, but if we have to go on the fairly limited studies that exist now it would be much worse if we want any useful amount of mitigation.

And this headline really isn’t justified IMO.  Yes, it’s possible that under some circumstances they could be, but that’s not established and the headline implies that this is fundamental to the concept of e-cigs, not an implementation specific detail like the actual information in the article suggests.  This is kind of a big deal sort of distinction.


via Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut.

Education plans

I need to get my CompSci degree.  At least an AS degree in it.

Now, my math grades from my AS in General Studies were bad.  It’s not that I didn’t understand the math- my procedural skills were at or near the top of the class pretty much every time.  My attention to detail, though, hurt my grades badly.  I’d write down x^2 when it was supposed to be x^3, not because I miscalculated, but just a copying error.  It would be x^3 on the first line, and just end up x^2 on the next.  I need to fix that.

So, my short term plan is use some online resources to brush up on my math skills through Calculus 1.  Going through Algebra and Pre Calculus on Khan Academy.  I’m signed up for a Geometry course on edX, and a self paced Calculus 1 on Coursera.

Once all that is done, it will be time to start at OTC.  I will probably just have to take CompSci courses and a few math courses, with all the general ed stuff taken care of with my General Studies degree.  So a year or so.  Maybe less if I take advantage of winter and maybe summer terms.

Then I might look at a job in the field, or doing my own business with the knowledge, or perhaps moving on to a 4 year degree. I’ll see how that goes.

Apartment woes

I hate the heater in this apartment. Oh, it works fine, well enough that I trust when the season changes it should switch over to cooling mode fine.

But the thing is LOUD. I’ll have something on my TV or computer at a nice comfortable volume, then have to throw the volume up when it kicks in, then it’s too loud when the heater goes off.

I suppose the only thing they likely considered beyond “how cheap are these climate control units” was “how long until we have to buy a new one”. Noise level was probably very low on their list of concerns, if it made the list at all.  You generally get what you pay for, and this apartment is cheap for the area, and the are is cheap to begin with.

OS X Yosemite install stupid

So, the OS X Yosemite installer checks your hard drive before installing.  Makes sense, right?  You don’t want something wrong with the drive leaving you with a broken installation.  Now, you’d think this would be the first thing the installer does- while most problems can’t be fixed while the drive is mounted, they can be checked for and the installer would refuse to proceed until the errors are fixed.

Except… the Yosemite installer does not do this check until after the point of no return.  If your drive fails the check, as mine did, the installation will fail and your original OS will be inaccessible.  I had no opportunity to even try to repair the disk to allow the upgrade to proceed.

Now, thankfully, at the point in the installation where this check is done, the Yosemite installer is booting into a minimal OS X environment.  Terminal and Disk Utility were both there, and the downloaded installer for the upgrade was still present.  This did allow me to create a bootable USB installer to attempt to repair the disk.  Unfortunately, the problems with the disk were too severe to be repaired.  It reformatted fine, so it appears to have just been some data corruption rather than a failing hard drive, still, it would have been nice to find this at a stage where I could shove all my important data out over the network as I didn’t have the money at the time to run out and get blank DVDs, as I’ve just moved and moving is expensive as fuck(at least when it’s your first apartment you are moving to).

Yosemite isn’t bad now that I’ve got it installed.  I’m not sure how much is due to improvements in Yosemite over Snow Leopard, or the elimination of accumulated cruft from SL or the Leopard install that was installed over, but this thing feels a good bit snappier.  I just wish Apple had made the sensible decision to run the disk verification *first*, leaving me with a full OS X install to bring to bear on the problem, or at least a functioning system I could use and only run the upgrade again once I had the media or network connectivity to easily back up some data.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer controversy

Racist jackasses going apeshit over a black stormtrooper.

While the EU was jettisoned for the purposes of the new movies storyline, it’s not like they can’t take a few elements from it that work, and expanding the recruiting pool of stormtroopers to normal humans is certainly one I’d see them taking.

The Battle of Endor was a crushing defeat. Thousands, at least, of the Empires most elite troops *gone*, with relatively minimal losses to the Rebellion. The scale of the victory would have given many more worlds hope, and pushed them to join the Rebel Alliance. The surviving Moffs would have had a serious problem- it’s unlikely they’d have ordered enough extra clones to serve as a hedge against a disaster on this scale. A little more than expected replacement as a “just in case” reserve, but this many more? Not likely, especially while devoting the resources to build a new Death Star that is much larger than the old one.

The Empire would need tens of thousands of new troops RIGHT NOW to replace their losses and deal with an expanded rebellion. There’s just no way that waiting for clones to mature would ever work- they’d have to take normal humans. It’s the only chance they possibly have to win the war, and likely the only chance they’d have of preserving enough strength to negotiate a peace that lets them still exist.  Hell, just managing internal issues on worlds that don’t defect would require many more troops in the wake of the death of Emperor Palpatine and the redemption/death of Darth Vader.

Given this… why wouldn’t they grab a black guy? The Empire was speciesist, but racist within humanity, there isn’t much evidence. Even if they are racist within humanity, they need bodies and grabbing a black guy to throw into the front lines as cannon fodder sounds like the exact thing racist assholes would do when they need bodies for the army.

Also- we don’t actually know that this guy is a stormtrooper.  He’s wearing the armor, but so did Han and Luke.  This could be a controversy over something that actually isn’t true.  Part of me wants the racists angry by this being an actual stormtrooper, part of me wants them to feel stupid when it isn’t.  Not sure which I want more.

John A Lejeune’s Birthday Message to the United States Marine Corps

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 167 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres, and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

John Lejeune
Lieutenant General
U.S. Marine Corps

The Five Defends Chris Rock’s 9/11 Jokes: We’re Not the ‘Comedy Police’ | Mediaite

The Five Defends Chris Rock’s 9/11 Jokes: We’re Not the ‘Comedy Police’ | Mediaite.

I’m OK with the way Chris Rock handled this.  His jokes expressed some empathy with the victims, laid bare his own fears, and criticized the trend of commercializing holidays.  I don’t think any topic should be automatically off limits to comedy no matter the context, though some, like terrorist attacks, certainly need to be handled carefully or you’re going to be ridiculously offensive.  I think he handled it well.

I can’t blame people who take a more negative view, though.

The Fox people I think were a bit too lenient, as if comedic intent automatically voids offensiveness.  It doesn’t.  I’ll give a comic a little more leeway- comedy, to be at its best, often has to push against boundaries.  But that doesn’t absolve a comic, it just gives them a little more of a chance to clarify/apologize/otherwise make things right when they step over the line than, say, a journalist might get.

The ISIS comments, though, do point to them maybe having a more nuanced view.  They didn’t get into it much, and i haven’t seen that segment, so I don’t have much thoughts on that.


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