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DanQ




"Scatman" Dan Q. Based in Oxford, UK.


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> We can't really count an animal not ever born as a 'saved' animal.

That depends upon your goals. If your goal is to reduce the number of animals that are slaughtered, then that might be a standpoint for ethical vegetarianism. If your goal is to have more animals living at any given time, then that isn't a good reason (because it can be reasonably assumed that economic pressure by vegetarianism results in a lower breeding rate).

In short: ethical-vegetarianism is complicated.

Thanks for sharing that video: I hadn't seen it before.

We may not be able to find a perfect control group (men who have never seen porn), but we could probably find imperfect groups based on society's norms. For example: we could compare people who watch one-standard-deviation or fewer minutes of porn to people who watch one-standard-deviation or more minutes of porn. Like all psychological research, it's challenging to isolate the biases (lots of people lie about their porn habits; if it's true that addiction takes place - as I suspect that it is - then many of them probably don't even know they're lying!), but it's still a starting point.

I'm an occasional porn user. I certainly wouldn't say that I was an addict. But I'm older than the average person on Hubski, and I'm aware that this probably makes a significant difference to how much pornography I had access to, and how early. When I was in my mid-to-late teens, Internet pornography involved slow downloads of mediocre images over dial-up modems, and video? That involved squinting just right at encrypted cable channels! Despite being a "geek", I didn't see Internet video porn until my late teens - and even then, we're talking about tiny snippets of low-quality video that would fit into tiny animated GIFs of today.

Again; thanks for sharing - great video.

I'm not sure that it's as simple as that your first pornographic experiences shape your sexual interests thereafter, as you imply, but I'll agree that there's a correlation. I just think that human memory is a fascinating and complex thing.

I can't remember the first "porn" I saw. But imagination is a wonderful thing; and I can remember "near-porn" things that I saw in my early teens that could be considered to be influences on my later sexual interests. I remember seeing some film, at about the age of 11 or 12 (with my parents, no less), in which a woman (riding cowgirl) tells her male partner that he's not to get off until she does, and thinking it was incredibly hot. In hindsight, it's easy to argue that this may have had an impact on my sexual interests.

But on the other hand, perhaps I remember that particular scene of that particular movie (whose name I've never been able to recall) specifically because it appeals to me now, as an adult. Memory is far more malleable than we are capable of understanding - or comfortable comprehending! There is no science in asking people what porn they first saw (i.e. first remember seeing) and how it affected them, because they're an enormous cognitive bias. Who's to say that we don't simply best-remember the sexual experiences that most-concisely fit with out current mental model. It's certainly the case with other areas, studies on memory show.

But whatever the case, I have a great attachment to giving my partners satisfaction as a priority. Contrary to the clip I remember, and in support of my memory hypothesis, this applies regardless of the gender of my partner. This is especially relevant as, at age 11 to 12, I was not remotely convinced of the possibility that I might be attracted to men as well as women.

In short; I'm not sure it's as simple as you'd like to think. Memory is a tricky beast, as my story shows.

Some of these are easier to read than actual CAPTCHAs I've come up against.

DanQ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Evolution of Suicide

It saddens me that research into suicide and its causes remains hampered by the significant social taboo of the subject. It's still "not okay" in many Western societies - and in much of the world in general - to talk about suicidal acts, suicidal ideation, or suicidal feelings. As a result, the potential base of subjects for suicide research remains low, even where suicide rates are high.

DanQ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Mozilla Launches Open Badges Project

I'm actually really impressed with it as an idea. I work on a project that facilitates volunteer management, and we're currently looking at ways in which volunteer achievement can be acknowledged. We were planning to implement our own internal "badges" (achievements, awards, whatever) system, but it seems logical that we should consider supporting the Open Badges standard so that volunteers can show off their "volunteering portfolio" on other sites. "Hey look, this guy's done over 100 hours of community centre work!"

Thanks for sharing.

What a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, it'll doubtless be easy - and fun - for programmers to circumvent, and then it's just the same kind of false-promise reassurance as, for example, Outlook being able to "recall" emails (actually, just sending another email that tells the receiving email software, if it's Outlook, to delete the original email).

DanQ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What is your best programmer joke?

I've always been a huge fan of:

    Q: Why do programmers always mix up Halloween and Christmas? A: Because Oct 31 == Dec 25!

That, and the classic:

    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those that understand binary, and those that do not.
DanQ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Wanted: People willing to die on Mars

Another way to sell it would be as a gamble:

"We'll send you life support while you're there, to the best of our ability, but fundamentally you'll be on your own. And if we can develop a rocket to bring you back, and deliver it to you, then you can come home. But we might never manage to do that: you might be stuck there already."

It's not a new idea, of course. During the colonial era of many of the Western empires of yesteryear, this kind of "one-way ticket" was commonplace. When Britain sent prospectors to North America or convicts to Australia, none of them ever expected to come back again. It was a dangerous, one-way trip.

The only difference is that the colonists on Earth rightly believed that the territory at the other end was capable of sustaining life, indefinitely. They took a big risk, but the reward was worth it - the chance at a new life, their own land, and a new home. The humans who go on a one-way trip to Mars will be completely dependent on Earth to support them: there's no way that they can live up there independently. At least: not yet.

DanQ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Google Graveyard

    Full-time graveyard staff robots clear out withered flowers regularly; only the last 3,000 are shown.

Given that 50% of the graves have more that 3,000 flowers, I don't think that this statement is true.

It's simply not true. Tests have shown that SimCity will run for up to 19 minutes 'offline', including sending garbage to and from neighbouring cities and virtually all of the other features, so it's clearly technically-capable of being played offline, and a Maxis insider claims that the server dependency could easily be ditched.

No matter what EA claim, it's clearly all about the DRM.

The word "octane" has different meanings in different parts of the world. To understand how, you must first understand one of the physical properties of motor fuel.

One of the checmicals found in your fuel is isooctane, and what it does is helps the fuel to resist self-combusting when it's compressed. As you probably know, your engine works by compressing the fuel, igniting it, and then using the resulting "explosion" to push the piston back again and drive the crankshaft (in turn, in most engines that we're concerned with, this drives a piston to compress fuel in a different piston or pistons). Now gasoline's reasonably volatile, and if you compress it hard enough, it ignites all by itself: but isooctane helps to prevent that, allowing it to be compressed further without igniting.

There are a variety of different ways to measure how much isooctane is in a fuel, but they all boil down to basically the same thing: you put the fuel into a test engine that can vary the amount of compression it applies, and start burning it, gradually increasing the compression until the engine starts "knocking" (also known as "pinging"). This is what happens when fuel ignites prematurely, as a result of being compressed (i.e. before the spark plug fires), and it's not good for the engine nor for fuel efficiency. By measuring the pressure at which this happens, you can calculate the Research Octane Number (RON). Higher RON = more resistance to compression. If you drive anywhere in Europe or Australia, the number you're seeing (e.g. 95, 97) is the RON of the fuel.

Another way to measure the octane of a fuel is the Motor Octane Number (MON). This uses a different kind of test engine that proponents claim gives a better representation of the way that the fuel behaves under real-world conditions: at a higher temperature, faster engine speed, etc. The MON is always lower than the RON, usually by about 8-10 points (but exactly how much varies). In many countries with ratings for fuel, a fuel must meet a minimum rating of both RON and MON in order to be classified as "premium", but legislation varies.

When you drive in the US, though, what you're seeing is the Anti-Knock Index (AKI) (or Pump Octane Number). This is simply the mean average of the MON and the RON of the fuel. So broadly-speaking, a European 95 is about the same as a US 89, and a European 97 is pretty close to a US 93.

You should always use the fuel that your car manufacturer recommends. And here's why: if your car recommends regular fuel, but you put in premium fuel, it will have no appreciable effect whatsoever: the fuel gets compressed just the same, and is ignited by the spark plug just the same, and then provides the same amount of "push". In other words: premium fuel in a regular car is a waste of money.

The other way around is even worse: a premium-fuel car is tuned to compress the fuel more than a regular-fuel car. But when you put regular fuel in a premium car, there's a risk that the fuel will auto-ignite in the piston prematurely (i.e. before the right point in the stroke). This means that the "explosion" pushes backwards against the movement of the crankshaft - known as "pinging" for the noise that it makes. Using regular fuel in a premium-fuel car lowers fuel-efficiency and increases wear on the engine. Many modern premium-fuel cars with engine management computers can compensate for using the "wrong" fuel by adjusting the ignition time, but it'd still be better if you just put the right fuel in it to begin with.

That's a little bit of a simplification, but it's broadly what you need to know.

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