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Mike Reeves-McMillan
Novelist, short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, nonfiction author
Novelist, short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, nonfiction author

Mike's posts

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More brain interface advancement.

This is a "when, not if" technology. 

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Community-driven, open-sourced network deployed to the whole city in six weeks. 

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The Cities of the Future Are Smart, Green, Connected Innovation Hubs

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I enjoyed the first volume of this. Proceeds to the Society of Women Engineers. 
BRAVE NEW GIRLS Cover Reveal and Story Line-Up!!
Today, I’m revealing the cover and story line-up for
This YA sci-fi anthology (edited by sci-fi authors Paige Daniels and Mary Fan) features
stories about girls in STEM (Science, ...

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Dangling modifiers always lose writers points with me when I'm reviewing, because they imply that the writers are not thinking through their sentences.

I hit one the other day along these lines: "As the only young lady on board, the captain had been very solicitous of her comfort."
When they are funny, they really ARE funny:

Oozing slowly across the dish, Kevin watched the egg yolk.
[don't you want yolk to be a verb? ha ha]

Gasping for his last breath, the professor killed the cockroach.

Grooming each other, my professor and I saw the kittens.

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It's really nice to be able to share good news for once. A new study in JAMA Pediatrics studied the effect of same-sex marriage laws on teen suicide rates. They looked at 32 different US states which changed their laws at different times, as a way of disentangling this effect from other effects.

The net result? Legalizing same-sex marriage leads to a 7% overall drop in teen suicide attempts, and a 14% drop among LGBT teens.

It turns out that being publicly told that you're an accepted member of society and not a pariah does make a difference in people's lives, especially teenagers. Who woulda thunk?

But the upshot of this is: All of you who worked on this, in one way or another? You just saved some lives. Well done.

The article itself is available online:

(NB: For clarity, that's a 7% drop in the rate, not a seven percentage point drop drop. We should be so lucky as to have any one thing eliminate seven percentage points. As a baseline, a weighted 8.6% of all high school students, and 28.5% of LGBT high school students, attempted suicide in the year before same-sex marriage legalization. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among people aged 15-24 in the US.

For those who want technical notes: The paper seems to have done a very careful job on statistics, testing a wide variety of alternate hypotheses and ruling them out from the data. One test worth calling out: the two-year leading indicator (suicide rates two years prior to law changes) was not correlated to suicide rates, indicating that this was not triggered by general changes in the state which were also leading to this; the two-year trailing indicator (two years after), however, was correlated, with the same correlation as the immediate future, indicating a lasting effect rather than a one-off.)

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Another good piece from +standoutbooks on giving your writing more depth, weight, and significance. 

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Via +Ronda Reed. A good set of self-reflective exercises and cognitive techniques to fight bias. 
"Education does little to prevent polarised thinking..." Same for facts.

People think vigorous "resistance" is effective. Not true. It only tends to further polarize and entrench. All creatures defend themselves when attacked. The more violent the attack, the more vigorous the defense, which means vigorous "resistance" will actually have the opposite effect of what it intends.

(But then, people don't do it because it's right. They do it because it feels good.)

Rather than shaking our fists at faraway things, or agitating to change the whole kaboodle, we should be motivating for change in our own spheres of influence -- starting with ourselves.

This article is hardly an exhaustive resource -- in fact, it's very brief, which is why I think it's handy. No one wants tl;dr. And the value isn't so much the summary as the links under each section, which can lead you (or whoever you share it with) to reflect more. The last, in particular, on practical tips for overcoming confirmation bias, is worth considering.

But it's not enough to share. We need to engage others and to listen, which means starting from the standpoint that we could be wrong. I used this approach in a discussion with my folks yesterday, where I focused more on myself than them, and in so doing discovered an incongruity in my thinking.

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This One-Cent Lab-on-a-Chip Can Diagnose Cancer and Infections
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