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John R. Ellis
Worked at Retired
Attended Rice University
Lives in Amarillo TX
15,403 followers|3,095,010 views


John R. Ellis

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Zac Pérez's profile photoJohn Prevette's profile photoKim K's profile photoJill Voll's profile photo
I think I prefer the genetic tree one from march
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John R. Ellis

Videos or .gifs  - 
A rerun from way back, but he is such a Darwin, and we've been getting a lot of gully washer rains where I live lately:

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+Colin Fish he drove himself right INTO the "pool" haha!
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John R. Ellis

Discussion  - 
A Refresher

What’s the Difference Between Scotch, Whiskey, Whisky, Rye, and Bourbon?  If you want to get a hangover-type headache, read the comments on the blog.

#IrrSkep   #Whiskey  
This might be common knowledge for some, but not for many, including my wife (who got into Harvard, btw ;-), so I thought it was worth a refresher. Let's start with a burning question we answered back in 2008: what makes a whiskey bourbon? The law. While knocking back a dram of bourbon is a decidedly carefree exercise, making it is exceedingly technical and requires that the whiskey meet a rigid set of criteria. The Federal Standards of Identi...
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Whiskey?  Scotch?  Someone called?  Only about 20 days until I head to Scotland for a 15 day distillery tour.  Okay, Okay, maybe some other stuff that I won't remember.
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John R. Ellis

Dead - for reals :'-(  - 
Kingsmen singer Jack Ely, best known for the 1960s hit "Louie Louie," has died -- find out more
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Discussion  - 
Changing minds with Contact

[ Edit - 05/21/15:  Original study has been retracted ]

The second half of this YANSS podcast features a discussion with +David Fleischer +David Fleischer on his pioneering study of how the Contact Hypothesis could work in a practical application.  Dave was my Incoming Freshman Adviser at Rice University, so we got to know each other pretty well there.  I didn't know he was gay until many years later - not sure he knew in College.  When I read about his study in Science,  I suggested that +David McRaney might be interested in it.  Guess he was!

Coincidentally, Dave Fleischer and his mind changing team are also presented in Act I of this week's This American Life podcast.  While the YANSS version is optimistic in view that it is actually possible to change minds with personal contact, the TAL view is a bit more pessimistic in how impractical it is to try to change one mind at a time, 22 minutes each, for the many millions of voters needed to change an election outcome:

#IrrSkep   #contacthypothesis     #YANSS   #TAL  
The Topic: Contact The Episode: Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Soundcloud This episode is sponsored by Wealthfront, the automated investment service that makes it easy to invest your money th...
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Dave Fleischer responded on Facebook as follows:

"Wanted to be sure everyone has heard that Don Green has retracted the paper that was published in Science. Both he and I learned just a couple of days ago that his co-author, Mike LaCour, apparently fabricated data instead of actually measuring the work of the Leadership LAB, which includes me and our organizing team and all our volunteers.
It's obviously a terrible surprise because we had worked hard, hoping to get—and thinking we had gotten—independent, honest evaluation of whether or not we are effective.
The only fortunate part of this is that we are about to begin another measurement period where different researchers will in fact be measuring us, David Broockman and Josh Kalla. They are the ones who uncovered what LaCour had done. As they were trying to replicate parts of LaCour's experimental design, they were finding at least part one impossible to accomplish as he had described it. So David Broockman called up the vendor LaCour had used to empanel and survey voters for the study. Turns out the firm had never heard of LaCour and had not collected the data allowing our work to be measured.
I have a lot of good reason to believe that the LAB's approach to voter persuasion and prejudice reduction is on the right track and that we have learned a great deal about what works and what does not in getting more voters on our side. We have six years of encouraging qualitative data, including extensive video of our conversations with voters, and our own quantitative self-assessments; we tried hard to measure whether we were succeeding every step of the way.
But self-measurement isn't a substitute for independent evaluation. So we're glad that we will later this year have independent, honest quantitative data on our work on our current work for transgender equality and our efforts to reduce prejudice against transgender people.
Many of you have written me saying very kind things about the work I’ve done over a long, long time, and I am immensely grateful. If you know me well, it’s probably no surprise I prefer to share both good and bad news—aka reality—rather than just the good news. Hence this note. Because I believe in learning, self-improvement, and seeking the truth about what works and what doesn’t. That’s what I aspire to in my work, because the possibility that we can gain insight into reducing prejudice matters so much.
I am open to answering questions about what's transpired."
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John R. Ellis

Dead - for reals :'-(  - 
An American was killed in the avalanche on Mount Everest that resulted from the massive Nepal earthquake on Saturday, a tour company said.Dan Fredinburg, a G...
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John R. Ellis

Discussion  - 
Pocket Bible

Viana de  León's profile photoRandy LaMonda's profile photoShannon J's profile photoRandom Mutation's profile photo
Given that the "important" deities are typically male, "Don't be a Prick"! might be in order. ;-) 
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Discussion  - 
As if Australia was not creepy and deadly enough, now it rains spiders there.  Just say No to Oz.

Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents whose properties were suddenly covered with not only the creepy critters, but also mounds of their silky threads. But that's not where the frightful news ends: Experts say that such arachnid rains aren't as uncommon as you might think.
Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents whose properties were covered with the creepy critters and mounds of their silky threads.
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I've just heard a most fascinating podcast on a random beetle that blows boiling foul smelling stuff out it's butt, it burns the skin, and can kill.
Of course it's Aussie.
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John R. Ellis

» ­Bulletin Board  - 
Circle Sharing has been Officially discontinued

[Will keep pinned until ~Tuesday so the weekend and weekday Plussers have a chance to see this new information]

If you look at your Circles, you will see that the Share icon is now missing - just Edit and Delete remain.  As of yesterday, G+ discontinued this feature - no reason given so far.  Probably won't have a major impact on Communities or Moderation, but it will be harder for Owner/Mods to share circles with each other to invite those circles to similar or cross-promoted Communities, or to give members an easy way to Follow curated circles of people.

May affect a few Communities (and Pages) whose entire premise was sharing circles, too.  There is a LONG discussion of the pluses and minuses of this change going on here:

James Shewmaker's profile photoAndrew Hatchett's profile photoAnn G's profile photoDave E's profile photo
+John R. Ellis Yeah, I can see that working for you more popular posters.

Cries uncontrollably....
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John R. Ellis

Corina Marinescu originally shared to BIODIVERSITY:
The Gorgonorhynchus
So the strange white thing that seems to “erupt” from the worm is its proboscis. This is a tubular sucking organ that some worms use to feed.
During eversion, which takes place almost explosively, the short main trunk first appears, then this divides and the finer and filter branches appear, but since each one of these is the result of an evagination the effect is almost indescribable. It is as if a large number of lively, wriggling, minute worms had been shot out.


  #gorgonorhynchus   #worms   #proboscis   #coolcreatures  
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Yet another astonishing creature. Salacious little beast, reminds me of the strain. 
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John R. Ellis

Pics/.gifs/videos  - 
Oliver on Oz

John Oliver gets in his free speech opinion of Dr Oz.  About 4 minutes.

BIGDUB JAYONE's profile photoPaul O'Malley's profile photobrad tittle's profile photoMichael Baldwin's profile photo
Love Mr. Oliver. 

Has anyone checked the Columbia books? How much money is flowing into their coffers? 

It would not surprise me if Columbias financials were positive related to Dr. Oz. I am very confident that the irrational is easier to grasp than the rational. I am even more confident that these awesome takedowns have made Dr. OZ even more beloved and trusted. 

too much cynicism..
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John R. Ellis

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Presbycusis test

Here is a 100 second video that lets you see/hear how high your hearing goes.  When I was a kid, I could hear 23Khz quite well.  Now, I can't hear anything above 13Khz.  So it goes....  Guess there is no need for me to invest in a Pono Player!  ;-)

Note, this is about dynamic range, not threshold.  Obviously one's speaker/headphone characteristics play a role, but most are going to be reasonably flat from ~100Hz to 20KHz, and I assume the sound level is constant in the video.  For the most part, sounds over about 8KHz are not too important to our lives, but when you start losing ability to hear sounds below 8KHz unless greatly amplified, people will notice.  Here is a graph of typical db loss with age by frequency:

How High can you still hear?

#presbycusis   #hearingloss  
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Ha. Found headphone.
Shame I was looking for johnny Depp.
But at 50years old with lots of raves and live bands under my belt. 300-11000.
But do agree that hurts in the middle. 
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Have him in circles
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Internet Curmudgeon and Skeptic
Triangulator, Rumorist, Information Curator
  • Retired
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Amarillo TX
Amarillo - Houston
Contact Information
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
Not to mention apophasis - my favorite paralipsis. And you can't Reason with Delusion.

Communities radically changed how G+ works.  I post almost exclusively to Public and Private Communities.  That's why I (usually) leave my Community posts visible on my Post's page.  If you know me in real life - please notify me when you circle me!

Which Circle?  If I were putting me into my Circles, I'd choose my Favorites circle, my Skeptics (Consumer Protection Advocates who use Science and Reason to debunk harmful frauds and scams) Circle, and/or my Atheists (people who have not found any credible evidence of any gods, angels, devils, ghosts, or souls) Circle.  I doubt there will be a major theme to my occasional original posts or re-shares - just what strikes me as interesting at the time - but that is more likely to be related to Neuroscience or Technology.  Here is a list of the Podcasts I subscribe to, which indicates what I'm most interested in:

As a general rule, I don't believe in banning, blocking, censorship, or flagging. "John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is "a peculiar evil." If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the "opportunity of exchanging error for truth"; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in its "collision with error." If we know only our own side of the argument, we hardly know even that: it becomes stale, soon learned by rote, untested, a pallid and lifeless truth." - Carl Sagan  It is most unlikely that you will offend me with posts or comments, unless you post moronic idiocy, of course, or try to convince me that Your God really exists, and Your Religion actually knows her, or you post only Spam or Spam my posts.  If you circle me and want to be Notified of my rather infrequent posts, put me in a Circle where you have Notifications set to On. 

Getting started in G+.  Add this entire circle linked below to gets lots of interesting posts and interactions in your Home Stream:

And here is a circle of Pages that Share circles - you can visit them to see what sorts of circles they post that might interest you and add them, or have them add you to the circles some of them maintain on certain topics.

Next - go to Communities and enter in some topics that interest you into the Search bar to find Communities built around those topics.  Join a few of them that show active Owners and Mods, a good number of Members, and lots of recent posts.  Read the rules, and then start commenting on those posts or posting your own contributions to the topic.  Before long, you'll want to throttle down the firehose of information coming your way!

This Community will tell you most all you need to know about how G+ works:

What is G+?  (Explanation for the newly invited). The usual uninformed answer is that it is Google's version of Facebook or Myspace.  But it's not like that at all - it is more comparable to Twitter microblogging, but instead of mostly vapid < 140 character tweets, you get a Stream of thoughtful content, links, videos, and articles from people you choose to follow because they share things that interest you.  Which makes it addictive and time-consuming, because if you follow enough People and Pages and Communities, you get a nearly continuous Stream of things you want to know about.  Plus some occasional other stuff you might not even know you are interested in until you've been exposed to it.  And by using Circles and hashtag searches appropriately, you can check out other people or things Topic by Topic.  In summary, Facebook is about people, Twitter is about trends, and G+ is about Content and Information.  While most people use G+ to microblog, it is well suited to full blogging too - you just won't get paid for your work here, but also are not paying for the blog hosting.  Your blog here is more likely to get a lot more eyeballs and comments.  Or you can use G+ to microblog a link to your professional blog, but most people will be too lazy to do that extra click.

G+ is designed to be Addictive!  Almost like playing a Slot Machine - maybe the NEXT Post in your Stream will make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, ask a question you know the answer to, or reveal the Secret of Life.  All while your red Notifications box keeps dinging that someone has thought of you.  Be sure to blink every hour, and get up from your chair at least daily.

How Do Circles and Sharing Work on G+?  Explained here:

Sharing is not Sending! I went ahead and made a post of how G+ Sharing and Circling works, based on what I slowly learned on my own through trial and error:

How Sharing/Posting and Circles work on G+

Well if Circles are used to block people from seeing posts, then what does blocking do?

What the Hell is Atheism Minus?

As founder and Spiritual Leader of Atheism Minus - this should answer the FAQs I get:

Copyrights:  Feel free to use any post or statement or idea of mine in an open source, creative commons way.  Credit me if you like - or not.  BTW: that long "rights" thing you see on a lot of About Pages here and on Facebook is legally meaningless.

Disclaimers:  My posts or G+ comments are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Or Legal advice.  Or Stock Market advice.  Or Dietary advice.  Or Political advice.

If you have a concern about any posting or comment being factually incorrect, please contact me. Please provide details of who you are, how I can contact you, what your interest is, and what your concern is. If something has been written that is factually incorrect (and was not sarcasm), it will be addressed. Anonymous complaints will be ignored.

GloMar Response:  We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of the information requested or records or data on the subject matter responsive to your request - but hypothetically, if such records or data did exist, such subject matter would be classified and could not be disclosed or released to you... 
Bragging rights
Survived Erythroblastosis fetalis. Also backpacked across the Arctic, then ran the Mount Marathon race in Seward, AK. Survived that too. A little worse for wear from all of those. More recently, I was blocked on G+ by SGU's RW, for being an intelligent man with an opinion differing from her clique, which she won't tolerate. Well excuuuuse me... Also, I am Founder and Spiritual Head of the largest Atheist Movement of all time - Atheism Minus (A-). It is comprised of all New Atheists, Old Atheists, and Agnostics who are not members of A+. NTTIAWWT, of course. Supreme Skunk Dick Mims H. Carter has publicly called me a Skunk Dick Squared. I score very high on online Asperger tests, which the NTs might not think is something to brag about, but we know better, as usual. I am Owner of the Advocates - For All the Things! private Community, and of the Irreverent Skeptics ( #IrrSkep ) public Community for fans and Hosts of Skeptical and/or Atheist Podcasts, and Own or Mod many more Communities. Find them in Community Search or links below.
  • Rice University
    Psychology, Electrical Engineering, 1974 - 1978
  • Rice University
    Master of EE, 1978 - 1979
  • Baylor College of Medicine
    MD, 1979 - 1982
  • Baylor College of Medicine
    Neurology, 1982 - 1986
  • Universal Life Church
    Ordained Minister, 2000
  • Irreligiosophy
    PhIrrD, 2010
  • Thunderwood
    Numerous, 2011
Basic Information
March 8, 1957
Other names
Jelly Belly
Contributor to
John R. Ellis's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Arganolie også kaldet "Det Marokkanske Guld", er utrolig populært til pleje af hud og hår.

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