feonixrift: (Default)
This is a major realignment of my net presence. Probably an uncomfortable one.

How often you want to hear from me People subset Where to look
  All Most Some Few Very Few  
Upon request YES YES YES YES YES Email
Major life events only YES YES YES YES YES LinkedIn
When I write publically YES YES YES YES YES Wordpress
Significant coolness, major events   YES YES YES YES Facebook
Experimental, highly variable     YES YES YES Diaspora Google Plus
Moderately frequent rambles       YES YES Livejournal Dreamwidth
Intermittently inceasant nattering       YES YES IM, various
Mainlining my brain         YES Twitter

feonixrift: (Default)
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Normally I don't do these, but this hit my "someone is wrong on the internet" button.

First, it depends on whether we're talking about science as the conceptual structure for knowledge acquisition, science as it's actually practiced, science as it's claimed that it ought to be practiced or what's commonly thought of as science.

Then, it depends on whether the question is actually about explanations or proofs. Since this is related to science, we ought at least try to be precise.

Read more... )

No, we do not explain. We do not prove. We conjecture, explore and draw maps. The map is not the territory, but it just might get you there.
feonixrift: (Default)
I should have something to say. This is the sort of occasion when I really should, and I've thought of things to say all day, thought of them for so long that they'll largely remain unsaid.

40 years ago, we briefly touched the Moon. Today, we're on Mars. The robots that my software said had a significant chance of not making it a full 90 days, are still running. But we haven't touched Mars. There is no human who can tell us how it feels to stand on Mars and watch the dust swirl at sunset, or let its pebbles sift through their gloved hands. We've left tracks there, but no footprints.

But we've not only touched space, we've stayed. A space station exists, a manned one. It may not be everything that we dreamed of, but it's a start. The truth of the expedition to space is a dirty and detailed one, filled with emergency evacuations in the face of meteor pebble threats and puddles of slime mold in the walls. So what if it doesn't exactly match the fiction, the narrative spun to get us there, it's an amazing achievement.

That very difference is one of the core purposes of the narrative of exploration. It provides the clarity at a distance which is otherwise easily lost in the million details required to actually get there. Hopes and dreams of the stars, rather than the nauseating realization that any number of mistakes could have left the astronauts on Apollo 11 dead, or stranded and then dead. We could have left corpses on the moon. Fortunately, we didn't.

Unfortunately, narrative can also do the opposite. It can fuel the fears, remind us that space is cold, dark and silent. Give a sense that perhaps it would be best if humans just stayed on Earth. Explore a little maybe, with robots, but mainly stay home. Where it's safe. You could die crossing the street tomorrow, or die in a seal malfunction halfway to Mars. Or live, either way.

I don't think fueling astrophobic views of safety helps anything. Especially on the societal level. There are plenty of people who would take a risk to get into space, who would love to be the first to shake hands with a real honest alien on a real honest alien world, even if it meant a chance of catching real honest alien smallpox. Bold, courageous, curious people. The sort we should honor, not cage for their own safety. Even if that cage is the entire Earth.
feonixrift: (Default)
I am grateful to Nate, Swine Flu, and an anonymous poster on Slashdot, for pointing me at this:

http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/emily-center/child-health-topics/handouts/CPT-55b.pdf

It's a fascinating technique. The jist of it is drumming on the lungs to shake loose any nasty clumps of mucus. One curiosity-experiment round of that and I got out a ton of stuff, including the persistent infection in my lower left lung, and regained an impressive amount of lung capacity. Best lung fixer I've ever come across. I heard from [livejournal.com profile] wetdryvac that this is also used by some runners.

From a ninja perspective, this is a wonderful application for Happa Ken, which is a strike we hardly ever get to practice, since its primary damaging applications are things like bursting eardrums. I find the idea of striking as a medical technique fascinating, and am delighted to have an interesting way of practicing this strike.

It's possible for me, with my silly flexibility, to reach all the striking points so long as I use a different strike on the lower-rear one, but it's more difficult to relax into it when doing the technique on myself, and tensing up prevents the percussion. I'm looking forward to seeing what level of long-term improvement occasional use of this can produce for me, and curious whether it helps anyone else who feels like trying it.

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feonixrift

February 2012

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