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Kee Hinckley
Works at Fascinated by the boundaries of technology and social behavior.
Attended Bates College
Lives in Somerville, MA
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Kee Hinckley

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A letter to my patient, whose terminal cancer is the least of her worries

".....You see, most of my friends, even the professional ones, have never met a refugee – they form their views from tabloids and the increasingly shrill sound bites of politicians. But the thing is, when I look at you, I don’t see a queue-jumping, illegal, unauthorised, undocumented alien or for that matter, any of the other names used to strip you of your dignity. I only see a thoughtful woman, a loving mother and a vulnerable patient, with no husband and two young children, cursed first by geography and then illness."
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Dahala Khagrabari was a part of India, surrounded by a Bangladeshi enclave, which was surrounded by an Indian enclave, which was surrounded by Bangladesh.
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It took an eighth grader to counter the growing belief that "no Irish need apply" was a myth.
The Internet has been buzzing about how discrimination against the Irish was a myth. All it took was a high schooler to prove them wrong.
Claudia W. Scholz's profile photoBenoit Flippen's profile photopeter k's profile photoRobyn Miller's profile photo
Jesus. I misread that. I thought you were trying to claim that "No Irish Need Apply" was a myth.  Was a thoroughly uncomfortable moment.
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This is an amazing story with some startling photos.  I only wish it had been possible for some Egyptian and Iraqi museums to follow suit during the recent turmoil there.  War and revolution have changed, though, and sometimes you don't have six months to prepare.

I'm glad they had that six months in Athens.  Looking at those photos, I feel as if the workers were rescuing my personal friends.

h/t +John Hopper
The war was raging in Europe— Italy had invaded Greece and rumblings from the north were being heard in faraway in Athens. Curators and archaeologists at t
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I'm not really into the hoopla about the movie.  I'm sharing for this particular quote:

 In a 2013 interview with NPR, Geena Davis discussed how the under-representation of women both onscreen and off leads men to have a skewed sense of what gender parity looks like.
Davis cited a recent study that examined the ratio of men and women in groups, explaining that researchers “found that if there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”

The reboot won't ruin your childhood—but it might help you see the world differently.
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It sort of makes sense.  We're not running a census when we interact within a group.  We're working with perceptions of what we think is going on within the group.  And within those perceptions is a process that tends to put much more weight towards statistical anomalies than they probably deserve.

Consider mass shooting events (at the risk of derailing the conversation with observations on another lightning-rod topic - and in no way implying that women speaking is akin to people being shot).  When such an event happens, people perceive that it is a major and imminent threat in their daily lives.  In actuality, mundane and common threats like traffic accidents are by far the higher statistic threat to their daily well-being.  Yet that uncommon occurrence seizes our perception causes us to consider it a far more common event than it really is.

So if we're used to being in a male dominated group with male dominated conversations, the statistical anomaly of a female presence stands out.  If we don't pay close attention, we're going to instinctively weight the anomaly as being much more prominent that it really is.
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More Lies On IFLScience

You won’t believe what they’ve done this time.

If you’ve read this far, I want to be clear that the headline was linkbait. This post isn’t about some new transgression from IFLScience, but rather about why hype in science reporting is so harmful. For my regular readers I promise never to pull this kind of thing again. For those who have come because of the outrageous headline, hear me out.

A few days ago I wrote a post callout out IFLScience for misrepresenting research on solar cycles. It created a bit of a firestorm, with lots of people defending the site’s use of linkbait headlines:

"Who cares if they grab some attention with their headlines. They’re pulling people away from main stream media which is a good thing."

"These science websites have to bring in the non-science-degreed people."

"I don’t blame IFLscience for having the odd attention grabbing article/headline, anything that gets more people into science and away from celebrity obsession is a good thing."

"Hypothetically, the word “sun spots,” “ice age,” and “science,” were used in a conversation between two adults whose lives probably very rarely revolve around this. They’ve gotten people into the discussion. I don’t care how."

There was also a great deal of accusation that I was being elitist by calling out IFLScience:

"IFLScience isn’t a technical journal, and it’s not pretending to be. It’s trying to make science news accessible to the masses."

"IFLS is not a scientific journal, and as a social media page it should not be held to the standards of a scientific journal, or even a scientific news source such as Scientific American."

"The fact is IFLS isn’t a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It’s a science and entertainment site."

What I find most disheartening about these kinds of comments is how deeply they underestimate people’s intelligence. It reinforces a common misconception that science is only for “smart” people, and it isn’t relevant to most people’s lives. Neither of these are true. People don’t need to be coddled or lied to in order to interest them in science, they need to be engaged in a clear and honest way. Science isn’t perfect, but it is a deeply powerful method for gaining knowledge. The more knowledge we have about the universe, the more readily we can face the challenges ahead. Hyping results and misrepresenting research only serves to strengthen the argument that scientists don’t really know what they’re talking about. That’s why it’s anti-science, and that’s why I called IFLScience out. They can be a voice for good, but when they willfully mislead it is deeply harmful. The same is true for any site that misrepresents scientific research.

The main argument of those defending hyped and misleading headlines is that it starts a conversation. To them I would say use this to start a conversation. Feel free to share this post with your friends, but better yet write your own. We deserve better than hyped headlines to spark a discussion.

Note: The image for this post? It was created by Andy Brunning as seen on (you guessed it) IFLScience.
You won't believe what they've done this time.
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Kee Hinckley

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After DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz failed to answer a question on the difference between a Democrat and a socialist, we asked a political scientist.
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We don't often think about the infrastructure of getting away with murder. It's one thing for one person to kill with impunity, but if you want to do it regularly and on a large scale, you'll need to build a system to assist you. And there are few groups that need this more often than America's larger police departments, who are on track to kill nearly 1,200 people this year alone. (Beating last year's high of 1,106) 

Contrary to rumors of complete impunity, police officers who kill people – especially in more overt "bad shoots," such as when someone unarmed was running away from them, or when their victim was a small child – frequently do end up facing a day in court, seeing civil charges if not criminal, even despite the legal structures (such as LEOBOR) designed to prevent that. And as with any good infrastructure practice, the solution is defense in depth. That second layer of protection is provided by people like Dr. William J. Lewinski, who provides expert testimony that virtually any shooting was justified. 

Wait, you say that having an infrastructure to guarantee murder with impunity isn't a major social need? Huh. I guess neither he, nor any of the departments who routinely pay him quite well for his testimony, got the message.

But it just goes to show how far you can go in the world if you are unencumbered by things like professionalism or morals. In this case, he is a man who provides "expert" scientific testimony on things like the time it takes someone to fire, the psychology of human perception and memory, and anything else which may prove relevant to the case, despite being roundly castigated by everyone from professional organizations of psychologists to the Justice Department as an outright fraud.

If you ever wondered what someone looks like who has literally made a career out of operating the infrastructure of institutional racism and ethnic violence, take a look.
When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, William J. Lewinski often appears as an expert witness who says they had no choice but to fire.
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The Greening of Greenhouse Gas

It's a Gas: Driving through the Western Ghat mountains along the continental edge of the Deccan Plateau, I was charmed by this vista of sculpted terraces with verdant blades of rice emerging from submerged paddy fields. Little did I know then that paddy fields generate 50-100 million tonnes of methane each year, a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat trapping potential of carbon dioxide. Although the flooded fields keep weeds at bay, microbes harbored under the warm, waterlogged soil feed on organic matter exuded by roots, releasing methane and accounting for about 20% of human-related production. In China, farmers have begun draining fields mid-season to interrupt methanogenic bacteria. But India is still responsible for nearly a third of the methane emissions. 

It's Barley There: Now, thanks to genetic engineering, a new strain of rice yields more grain and produces less methane. Researchers spliced a gene from barley, encoding a master regulator (transcription factor) into rice. The gene, dubbed SUSIBA2 (acronym for "sugar signaling in barley 2") increases the output of sugar and starch in the seeds, leaves and shoots of the rice plant, leaving less biomass in the root. This strongly decreased the methanogenic bacteria in the rhizosphere, or region around the root. In a 3-year field trial, methane emissions fell by 90%.

Rice, Rice, Baby: The making of starch is under the direction of a set of genes which carry in front of them stretches of DNA sequences (promoters) known as sugar responsive elements or SURE. Aren't you loving the acronyms? When a little bit of sugar is made, SUSIBA2 is activated and it turns on genes that make even more sugar, to create a snowballing effect. The sugar is converted to starch, diverting carbon to the grains and away from the root, starving the methane producing bacteria of food. Now that's a sweet way to cool down our planet!

This work was a collaboration between scientists at Universities and non-profit research Institutes in Sweden, China and the US. The authors have no competing financial interests. 

Paper (paywalled): 


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The incremental greenhouse-effect contributed by agriculture is still dwarfed by that added to the atmosphere via extraction and combustion/exhaust of fossil hydrocarbon fuels, isn't it?
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43 years ago and we never went back. :(
Apollo 17 at Shorty Crater
Image Credit: Apollo 17 Crew, +NASA

On the Moon, it is easy to remember where you parked. In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp image was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Now forty three years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.
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There is no mystery to Income Inequality
Every day I read at least one article by someone wondering about the mystery of income inequality. "Why has the income of the top 1% risen so much while that of the 99% has stagnated?"

I see no mystery here. I am puzzled only by the fact that otherwise seemingly intelligent commentators don't consider the simplest explanation. The more you earn in the US, the more your income relies on government programs yet the less you pay in taxes.

When Warren Buffet can pay a lower tax rate then his secretary, when taxes on the wealthiest have dropped from the 90% or higher that they once were to the less than 10% effective rate paid by many of the wealthiest, one need not wonder long about why income flows to those at the top.

From those who receive the most, we should expect the most. But, in our country, we tax least those who benefit the most from the spending of tax dollars.

You don't need a government or the support of society to help you be poor. You can and will be poor without any government at all. That government which governs least ensures poverty for the majority of men... But, you do need government and society to enable you to be rich. A poor man may claim to be "self-made," but the wealthiest among us, while they may be competent and have many qualities, rely more on government programs and hand-outs then the most vilified welfare queen or slacker. 

The radical Republicans, the Confederates of our day, argue that wealth trickles down from the rich to the poor, like food dropped from the table to the dogs that wait below... They are wrong. Wealth bubbles up. Wealth for the few depends on an ability to accumulate "surplus" from the labor of the many without wealth. It is government, through road building, infrastructure development, court systems, the military, etc. that enables such accumulation.  We also know, without much debate, that those with great wealth simply don't spend most of their income. They save and invest it. Rather than letting bits of food drop to the dogs, they save what they don't spend and see it grow to more wealth.

Certainly, relative wealth is not a bad thing in itself and if in moderation. If nothing else, we know that it is necessary to allow the dream of relative wealth to motivate some in our society. But, great wealth is not a good thing. No man is worth $1 billion and no man needs $1 billion to be sufficiently motivated to work hard. 

There is no mystery to me in the question of income equality. We have forgotten the important rule that "From those who receive the most, the most is expected."

My personal feeling is that the fix we need is to make a truly progressive tax system that attempts to match tax obligation to the value received. To me, this means that incomes over about $200,000/year, from any source, should be taxed at a progressively higher rate until we reach, in fact, the fair rate of 90% or higher for marginal income. The way to do this is to add dozens of new tax brackets on who earns $50 million should pay more than he who earns $10 million. etc.

No, I am not a socialist and I'm not a communist. I am both a lover of democracy and a fervent capitalist. I believe that Capitalism is the economic face of political Democracy. But, I also believe in fairness. I believe that those who receive the most from government should be expected to pay the most in taxes.
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Middle-out economics: if the common man has no money, the rich man has no market for his wares. This should be common capitalistic sense, but sheer greed and arrogance has denied it.
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Krisco Kisses
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+Rich Gillin nah, Greece's austerity plan still gives better social benefits than people in Detroit get. They're only getting this free can of lube from a concerned citizen with resources. ;-)
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  • Bates College
    Anthropology, 1978 - 1982
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25+ yrs startups. BA Anthro. Apollo/Wildfire/USWeb/TiVo…D's at Mass Art (game design) and USC (film editing).
Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission

There's no way on Google+ for me to create a page of my favorite posts, so FWIW:
Who is hurt by the "real names" policy? A summary.

I'm a middle aged, American, white guy; why is name privacy so important to me?

On Pseudonymity, Privacy and Responsibility on Google+. This covers every argument against pseudonyms that I have heard, and gives lots of examples of real people whom Google doesn't believe are worth allowing here.

Read two bloggers talking about what it's like to get a dozen or so threats of physical violence every week…from people who have found out where you live.
and what it's like when your business gets destroyed by someone spreading lies and creating fake web sites.

On privilege, a word I always used to hate.

How Google needs to fix "common name" enforcement.

It's Google's service, why do I feel I have a right to ask them to change?

How has the internet changed what it means to be "public"? (At the end of an example of the importance of anonymity in influencing scientific change.)

Why is Google hiding their "real name" requirement from new users?

For more good information on the debate about controlling who knows your wallet name, see the web page "Who is Harmed by a Real Name's Policy" and the site For more on the ethical issues surrounding requiring legal names, the Oxford University blog, "Practical Ethics", expands on the idea here:
Please consider everything I write on Google+ as licensable under the Creative Commons Attribution License

I founded or cofounded seven of the ten startups I’ve been involved in. I have dealt with everything from financing (VC pitches, finding private investors, cutting deals with corporate investors, and by-the-bootstraps) to marketing and sales, public presentations, tutorials, panels and standards committees. On the technical side I have ranged from pure development, to managing development and IT groups, to providing architecture and technology solutions for developers. I believe in flat hierarchies, well-defined processes, and building fun corporate cultures.

Bragging rights
Living in online social networks since 1978.
I create things using code, words, and ideas.
  • Fascinated by the boundaries of technology and social behavior.
  • TiVo, Inc.
    Architect, 2012 - present
    It's all about the metadata.
    Lead Architect & Developer, 2010 - 2012
  • Somewhere.Com, LLC
    Consulting CTO, 1998 - 2011
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Somerville, MA
Readfield, ME - Montclair, NJ - Vienna, ME
Kee Hinckley's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
A Renegade Trawler, Hunted for 10,000 Miles by Vigilantes - The New York...

For 110 days and across two seas and three oceans, crews stalked a fugitive fishing ship considered the world’s most notorious poacher.

10 Ways to Fix America’s Ailing State Department

It's time for the State Department to reclaim its rightful place in the policymaking process. Here's how.

A group of artists found the perfect way to protest anti-homeless spikes

As homelessness has increased in London, so have the spikes.


Explore this one of a kind opera adventure - The Land of the Magic Flute - A Motion Graphic Novel - Mozart reimagined

New vulnerability lets attackers hijack Chrysler vehicles over the web

A new vulnerability in the Uconnect system gives attackers frightening remote powers over Chrysler vehicles, revealed in a Wired exclusive r

Murder at Sea: Captured on Video, but Killers Go Free - The New York Times

A video shows at least four unarmed men being gunned down in the water. Despite dozens of witnesses, the killings went unreported and remain

Ban says world on way to 'generation free of AIDS' | Health | Thanh Nien...

"The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic. Now we must commit to ending the AIDS epidemic."

Stowaways and Crimes Aboard a Scofflaw Ship - The New York Times

Few places on earth are as free from legal oversight as the high seas. One ship has been among the most persistent offenders.

Plan Would Let Transgender People Serve Openly in Military - The New Yor...

The plan, which could go into effect early next year, would end what is seen as one of the last discriminatory rules about who can enlist or

Why don't magnets stick to plutonium? Scientists find out. -

Contrary to expectations, plutonium won't stick to a magnet. Now, researchers have discovered why.

Trial puts Thailand people-smuggling record under fresh scrutiny -

Thailand’s much-criticised record on people-smuggling is set to come under a fresh spotlight as two Phuket-based journalists face jail for a

Psychologists Shielded U.S. Torture Program, Report Finds - The New York...

The scathing report, commissioned by the American Psychological Association, says the C.I.A. used prominent outside psychologist to quell in

The Most Devastating Parts of Esquire’s Story About Climate Scientists’ ...

There’s been a rush of dystopic news on climate change in the past week or so. An off-the-charts burst of west winds in the Pacific Ocean is

Slidenjoy - Double or triple your screens by Slidenjoy — Kickstarter

Slidenjoy is raising funds for Slidenjoy - Double or triple your screens on Kickstarter! Ultra-thin, light, portable and free-standing. User

Lauren Weinstein's Blog: UI Fail: How Our User interfaces Help to Ruin L...

A couple of months ago, in Seeking Anecdotes Regarding "Older" Persons' Use of Web Services, I asked for stories and comments regarding expe

Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments statue isn’t going anywhere, governor says

"If you refuse to comply with a valid and lawful order of the court, there's a word for that: it's contempt," the Oklahoma ACLU said.

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Sings Its Stories Through The Middle East | ARTery

Has music played a significant role in the LGBT community's civil rights movement? The ARTery's Kilian Melloy, a member of the Boston Gay Me

Myanmar women object to proposed restrictions on interfaith marriage - R...

YANGON, Myanmar (RNS) A draft marriage bill would govern unions between Buddhist women and men of other faiths. After a series of requiremen

Myanmar Scraps Real Estate Projects Under Pressure From Monks - WSJ

Myanmar’s government on Tuesday scrapped five planned real-estate projects in its largest city, Yangon, including a high-profile US$300 mill

Scheduled an appointment within two hours of when I called and was prompt when I arrived. (Hint, don't use the parking lot side door, go in the front.)
Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
Small rooms, but cute and a lovely lobby. And two USB power outlets by the bed!
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
2 reviews