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Ray Cromwell
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Attended University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Lives in Santa Clara, CA
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Ray Cromwell

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The views of most people on popular scientific issues are political, not scientific.  To see this, you only need to look at major scientific issues, the level of consensus, and what entities would be supportive of the results.

Let's say there's a major scientific finding. All of the world's major respected scientific organizations, academies, and universities support it. A survey of 50,000 scientific papers shows 49,950 support the consensus and only 50 are anti-consensus. A survey of scientists in the field in question, show the vast majority are aligned.

We would say that political support that supports the consensus is on the right side, and that people on the other side, the longer the consensus holds and strengthens, are in a bubble of ignorance, as Bill Maher might say, unable to let facts penetrate due to biases.

Now, depending on what entity would gain power or benefit from this consensus, the positions of liberals or conservatives will be different, but both sides will think they are on the side of scientific right.

So for example, in the case of Global Warming, liberals will cite these organizations and studies, and say the conservatives are crazy to oppose the science, but conservatives are skeptical of increasing government power, and so their inclination, despite massive consensus, is to oppose.

In the case of vaccines and GMOs, conservatives will cite the same authoritative organizations and studies, and say that the liberals who oppose are just granola nutbags. Liberals are skeptical of increasing the involving of large corporate organizations, and their involvement in changing food or health scares them, and so despite massive consensus on safety, they still oppose. Bill Maher is in this camp, a man that hurl's insults at global warming denialists and berates conservatives who cite a few skeptical scientists, but then has kooky anti-vax and anti-GMO minority scientist viewpoints on his show.

You can't cite scientific authorities and consensus viewpoints to buttress your claims for political action, but then dismiss those who cite scientific authorities and consensus viewpoints on the other side.

If you really fancy yourself a person who supports rationally informed public policy, than you have to accept the conclusions of the best available evidence and experts, even if you don't like the conclusions. That's what you're asking everyone else to do.

Perhaps you're for gun-control, but research shows it may not help gun violence. Or perhaps such studies would show the opposite (in which case, you should not oppose the CDC doing them). Perhaps you're against climate change, even so, you should not call for more research, and then deny funding for such research, and you should be prepared to accept the conclusions of such research even if they contradict your deeply held beliefs.

Let our respected scientific institutions do their work. They can be wrong, but they are the best we have for now.
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+Jordan Schnaidt Yeah. It isn't the "safety" of GMO's that I think is an issue. The business practices around them, and honestly the whole "we haven't really thought this all the way through" nature of gene patents generally are a big issue. But those are squarely political, not science per se.
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Ray Cromwell

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I'm trying to decide what looks cheesier, this or the trailer for SuperGirl.
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+Ray Cromwell It's not saying that the supergirl trailer was extremely cheesey, or this one, it was just how the marketing department presented it. The station has a marketing department dedicated to producing enticing trailers and promotions that the producers of the shows themselves have nothing to do with. They are just handed a fist full of clips, and decide what to do with it. In all honesty, I would withhold judgement until the pilots air. Imagine the supergirl trailer presented with less drama, more action, and an orchestra film score instead of the pop music they did. I think the marketing department was under the impression that Kara was going to be a girls show, I guess Berlanti and other people at CBS didn't clarify what kind of show they were broadcasting. Remember CBS owns half of CW but WB owns most of the DC characters. Given this partnership with this particular station, crossovers don't look impossible but maybe CBS will decide to share her some time, DC needs a female lead role series and we are long overdue since the last one they had was wonder woman in the 70s, I'm not discounting birds of prey, it just didn't last very long for me to take it under consideration.
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Ray Cromwell

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Completely superfluous given HTML5 ServiceWorkers on the Mobile Web.
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+Shawn Drape ServiceWorkers can pre-fetch before first load. 
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Current Republican President Contenders, Master Panderers to Racists, Homophobes, and Xenophobes. Just once, I'd like to see one of them, like McCain had the balls to do, to stand up and get booed by the audience by doing what's right. I don't actually think they believe most of this stuff, but their base does. 

Some choice quotes:

“People are coming in this country across the borders like rats and roaches in the woodpile,” she fumed. The audience applauded.

Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, opened the conference by insisting that there’s nothing bigoted about criticizing foreigners who come to America, as long as you target illegal rather than legal immigration. But he was soon followed to the podium by former Sen. Rick Santorum, who targeted legal immigration.

Santorum proposed a crackdown on legal immigration of unskilled workers. His proposal, like his diagnosis, earned hearty applause. The next speaker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, spent much of his speech calling for a border fence. Then came Donald Trump with a cruder pitch: “Mexico? The worst. What they’re doing to us on the border is incredible. It’s incredible. People coming over like a sieve, and they’re taking our jobs.” The audience cheered as Trump promised to slap a 35 percent tax on cars made in Mexico: “We’re not gonna let you come across with the illegals, the cars. We got everything coming across: We got illegals, we got free cars ...” He concluded: “I would build the greatest wall you have ever seen. The greatest. You know who’s gonna pay for the wall? Mexico.” The crowd roared.

 “If these folks want to bring back a seventh-century version of Islam, then my recommendation is, let’s load our bombers up and bomb them back to the seventh century.” That line earned a standing ovation.
This weekend, a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls showed up at the South Carolina Freedom Summit. They were there to court primary voters who will winnow the presidential field next February. Judging from the speeches, it’s going to be an ugly race. What the candidates are selling, and primary voters are...
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Uggh, calling people cockroaches, it reminds me of the rhetoric of the Rwandan Genocide.  

"After President Habyarimana's plane was shot down, the radio called for a "final war" to "exterminate the cockroaches.""
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The real Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark is actually a woman. When our culture imagines super-heroes who master science, physical conditioning, metaphysics, they imagine men, but here's an a example of the kind of diligence needed to execute on a life long plan to make oneself into a hero dreamed as a child, and it comes in the kind of package  that seems something out of a hollywood fantasy, like a character in the Expendables,, but turns out to be real.

"Zora took the dreams seriously. So seriously that at the age of 12, she sat down and composed a list of some 30 skills she needed to learn if she wanted to become as close to a superhero as any mortal could be. She even gave herself a deadline – to master these skills by the time she was 23.

Zora pulls out the old spiral notebook that was her diary at the age of 13 and turns to the inside back cover. There's the list.

OK. The list included martial arts, electronics, chemistry, metaphysics, hang gliding, helicopter and airplane flying, parachuting, mountain climbing, survival....

Throughout her teens and 20s, each time she started a new diary, she would update the list and write it in the back of the book, each one with the same format, each one titled "The List."

Zora: Weaponry, rafting, scuba diving, herbology – yes, I, studied that -- CPR, first aid and mountain emergency kind of medicine....

The list also includes bodybuilding, archery, demolitions, and explosives. She wanted to learn how to hunt animals and track men.

Zora: Major physical conditioning....

And the most incredible thing about all of this is that Zora accomplished nearly every item on the list.

Zora: Throwing stars and compound bows and throwing knives and -- yes, it was a very interesting pastime.

To keep up with the goals set by the list, she sped through school. Starting in the seventh grade, she began completing entire school years during the summer term and finished high school by the time she was 15. She got her BA at 18, a master's at 20, and completed the coursework for a PhD in Geopolitics by the time she was 21. She wanted to live like Indiana Jones, spending half her time in the classroom and half her time saving the world in the jungles of Peru."
 
Making yourself into a superhero

I enjoyed this true story by Kelly McEvers:

We met in a bar in Flagstaff, Arizona. I'd just moved back from Cambodia and I was going out for one of my first beers back in the States. Not long into the first one, I notice this Amazon of a woman with huge blond and red-streaked hair and frosty lips, wearing a short red tank dress and at least 50 bracelets. She's six feet tall and showing a lot of leg. People at the bar swivel their heads to watch her every move.

She stands next to me to order a drink, and in this throaty voice says, "What are those?" pointing to my cigarettes. I tell her they're Cambodian. Her eyes light up and she shoots out a long, tan arm, and points at a table in the corner. She orders me there. Before I can say no, I'm following her to my seat.

She tells me she's an international private investigator, a bounty hunter, and a bail bonds enforcer, and that her name is Zora. I sit there for hours listening to her. Within a week, she takes me to Las Vegas. We drive there in her red Mustang. As always, there's a Colt .380 under the driver's seat and a .45 Megastar in the trunk.

In Vegas, we skip the casinos and head straight for the male strip clubs, where Zora drops at least $200 on lap dances from buff guys with names like Roman. Her getup is the same as before – teeth, hair, jewelry, and the ubiquitous tank dress, which, I realize, is the best way to show off her tattoos.

One is this big circle with blue and white swirls in it, kind of like a bowling ball, on her left shoulder. Every guy she meets asks her about it, and when they hear her answer, they sometimes propose marriage. Turns out the tattoo is a magic globe she holds in her dreams. And in these dreams, it gives her superpowers.

Zora: Ever since I remember, I've had the dreams. And they're very vivid. But it varies. It usually involves fighting, sometimes with guns, sometimes with superhero powers. Lightning from my fists and all that. And I usually have super strength, and I can fly, and I have all those things.

And it's my most common set of dreams. And it varies. Sometimes it's medieval, sometimes it's futuristic, sometimes it's present day, sometimes it's like a guerrilla war in Latin America.

Kelly: Can you describe that Zora to me, the Zora in dreams?

Zora: Very powerful athletically, but beyond the rules of nature that this world allows.  Six foot five and long, like almost impossibly long silver hair. This sort of otherworldly quality to her, where her voice did not sound normal. It sounded, like, almost musical.

And it became something that I aspired to be. I aspired to be this sort of superhero, this sort of person who would fight for a cause. That was my motivation in life. Ever since I was 10 or 11, I decided that that was my goal.

Zora took the dreams seriously. So seriously that at the age of 12, she sat down and composed a list of some 30 skills she needed to learn if she wanted to become as close to a superhero as any mortal could be. She even gave herself a deadline – to master these skills by the time she was 23.

Zora: I don't know what's in these.

Zora pulls out the old spiral notebook that was her diary at the age of 13 and turns to the inside back cover.

Zora: There's the list.

Kelly: Wow. Why don't you go ahead and read it.

Zora: OK. The list included martial arts, electronics, chemistry, metaphysics, hang gliding, helicopter and airplane flying, parachuting, mountain climbing, survival....

Throughout her teens and 20s, each time she started a new diary, she would update the list and write it in the back of the book, each one with the same format, each one titled "The List."

Zora: Weaponry, rafting, scuba diving, herbology – yes, I, studied that -- CPR, first aid and mountain emergency kind of medicine....

The list also includes bodybuilding, archery, demolitions, and explosives. She wanted to learn how to hunt animals and track men.

Zora: Major physical conditioning....

And the most incredible thing about all of this is that Zora accomplished nearly every item on the list.

Zora: Throwing stars and compound bows and throwing knives and -- yes, it was a very interesting pastime.

To keep up with the goals set by the list, she sped through school. Starting in the seventh grade, she began completing entire school years during the summer term and finished high school by the time she was 15. She got her BA at 18, a master's at 20, and completed the coursework for a PhD in Geopolitics by the time she was 21. She wanted to live like Indiana Jones, spending half her time in the classroom and half her time saving the world in the jungles of Peru.

Zora: Item number four – camel, elephant riding. Evasive driving and stunts....

When you're a kid, you have these romantic visions of what you'll be when you grow up. But how many people are so diligent they commit their dreams to paper and make it their life's work to achieve them? How many keep a list, amending it, adding to it, ticking things off as they go along, well into their adult lives?

After finishing the course work for her PhD, Zora decided to quit school, disappointed at the lack of cliff-hanging adventure in her doctoral program. And since superheroes who live in the real world need jobs, she decided to seek employment at the only place that would allow her to put all the skills from the list to use. Zora wanted to become an agent in the CIA.

But then the story takes some interesting twists!  Listen to it here:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/508/superpowers-2013?act=2#play

The picture here is, of course, not Zora.  It's Charlize Theron playing  'Aeon Flux' - a kind of superhero invented by a high school friend of mine, the animator Peter Chung.
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All she needs now is a gold mine, and a band of followers. I hear the 86th floor of the Freedom Tower is available to rent.
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They don't make em like they used to.
Along with serving two terms as the President of the United States between 1901 and 1909, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt also had a laundry list of supremely manly escapades throughout his life, such as the time he was shot in the chest in an assassination attempt, but went ahead and gave a lengthy speech he’d planned anyway before seeking medical attention. [...]
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Ray Cromwell

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LOL, the Michael Bay "Bayhem" camera work entrance at the end makes it.
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Awesome, that was life-changing.
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If the Michael Bay produced J.E.M. and the Holograms, this is what it would look like, another ridiculous crapping over the source material. The only thing this trailer has in common with JEM is the face paint and hair color. Jon Chu/Ryan Landeis are probably too young to have seen this show, having been 6 years old when it first aired. Now, I wasn't exactly a devotee of the show, it aired right before Thundercats and so I often caught part of it, but really, why did this even have to be called JEM and the Holograms? Does it feature an AI  computer/synthesizer controlled from her earrings that projects augmented reality holograms over her band? 

Next up, Michael Bay's Ducktales, that feature neither Ducks, a Scrooge, or a Money Bin.

Want to do a JEM and the Holograms film? Make it a cheesy 80s retrospective and comedy.
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+Ray Cromwell Well in all fairness, if Michael Bay produced this there'd at least be holograms because that man loves shiny, luminous things almost as much as he loves explosions. It would probably be at least a little closer to the original story than this.
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Trying to think of something clever and pithy to say about Japanese game shows, but my brain is still reacting. Technically, it's a cicada not a cockroach, but either way, I can't help but think this could have gone down the wrong pipe.
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BTW, the show is called AKBingo! which is a game show starring the group AKB48, you can see the lead up to the cicada game here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLhIo7W3mMQ) They're fully cooked, but that doesn't really change anything for me. :) (I know that lots of people eat insects as part of their diet, but I'm not one of them)
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Jade Helm would make an awesome Stealth + real time strategy game like Star Craft, where you invade Texas, have to stealth build Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMB) under Walmarts without being discovered by the shoppers,  and then launch units that grab as many guns as possible, while carting off people to FEMA camps.
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LOL
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My coworkers are going to hate me even more tomorrow morning.
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It's a good thing we're increasing NASA's budget....oh wait.
A couple years ago, NASA and DHS unveiled a portable radar unit based on technology used to detect alien life on distant exoplanets. This radar unit, though, would be used closer to home—to find people burried under rubble. In the first real-world demonstration of its use, the device helped save 4 men trapped under earthquake rubble in Nepal.
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You shot any credibility you had by needlessly rolling out the N-word.
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Work
Occupation
Chief Javascript Shrinker, Google Web Toolkit
Employment
  • Google
    GWT Hacker, 2010 - present
  • Timefire
    Founder, 2009 - 2010
  • Oracle
    Engineer, 2001 - 2006
  • IBM
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Santa Clara, CA
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Baltimore, MD - New York
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I invented the XOR cursor, what have you done Derek?!
Education
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
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