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Shaun Osborne
Lived in Boulder, CO
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Shaun Osborne

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Never thought that patents would kill us, but this certainly makes it seem possible
 
Why did WHO DG Chan yesterday pronounce the MERS coronavirus outbreak "greatest threat to global health" and how is outbreak affected by a patent fight?
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In 2011, researchers from the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that daily meditation-like thought could shift frontal brain activity toward a pattern that is associated with what cognitive scientists call positive, approach-oriented emotional states — states that make us more likely to engage the world rather than to withdraw from it.
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People are crazy and for that I am thankful
 
People Are Awesome

I hope you get to do whatever you want today...  (video 5:08)
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COLBERT: I suppose fear is like a drug. A little bit isn’t that bad, but you can get addicted to the consumption and distribution of it. What’s evil is the purposeful distribution of fear. As Paul said when he was faced with the gom jabbar, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”
PLAYBOY: Did you just make a Dune reference?
COLBERT: I did! [laughs] If you’re injecting fear into other people, then you’re trying to kill their minds. You’re trying to get them to stop thinking.
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Have him in circles
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Mystery solved!
 
About 14 years ago, I got a bad cold, and my voice became hoarse.  At the time I didn’t think much about it.  But my voice never fully recovered.  So I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis.  This is a nerve problem that causes your left vocal cord to not move properly.  Despite extensive examination, the doctors never identified a cause — though there was speculation of virus-based damage from my cold.  It is quite common in cases like these that a definitive cause is not found.

While this condition never really affected me — other than having a slightly weaker voice than normal which some people think sounded a little funny — it naturally raised questions in my mind about my second vocal cord.  But I was told that sequential paralysis of one vocal cord following another is extremely rare.  

Fast forward to last summer, when the same pattern repeated itself — a cold followed by a hoarse voice. Once again things didn’t fully improve, so I went in for a check-up and was told that my second vocal cord now had limited movement as well. Again, after a thorough examination, the doctors weren’t able to identify a cause.  

Thankfully, after some initial recovery I’m fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before. And giving long monologues is more tedious for me and probably the audience.  But overall over the last year there has been some improvement with people telling me they think I sound better.  Vocal cord nerve issues can also affect your breathing, so my ability to exercise at peak aerobic capacity is somewhat reduced.  That said, my friends still think I have way more stamina than them when we go kitesurfing!  And Sergey says I’m probably a better CEO because I choose my words more carefully.  So surprisingly, overall I am feeling very lucky.

Interestingly, while the nerves for your vocal cords take quite different routes through your body, they both pass your thyroid.  So in searching for a cause for both nerves that was an obvious place to look. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in 2003.  This is a fairly common benign inflammatory condition of the thyroid which causes me no problems.  It is unclear if this is a factor in the vocal cord condition, or whether both conditions were triggered by a virus.

In this journey I have learned a lot more about voice issues.  Though my condition seems to be very rare, there are a significant number of people who develop issues with one vocal nerve.  In seeing different specialists, I met one doctor — Dr. Steven Zeitels from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center — who is really excited about the potential to improve vocal cord nerve function.  So I’ve arranged to fund a significant research program through the Voice Health Institute, which he will lead.  Thanks a bunch to my amazing wife Lucy, for her companionship through this journey and for helping oversee this project and get it off the ground.  Also, thanks to the many people who have helped with advice and information many of whom I have not had a chance to thank yet.

Finally, we’ve put together a patient survey to gather information about other people with similar conditions.  As it’s fairly rare, there’s little data available today — and the team hopes that with more information they can make faster progress.  If you have similar symptoms you can fill it out here: voicehealth.org/ip
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So many books to read and so little time
 
Nice news right before the holidays: Old Man's War is #1 in Locus Online's poll of the top science fiction novels of the 21st century (so far). See the entire list, plus the votes for the top fantasy novels of the 21st century and the best SF and F novels of the 20th century, at the link:

http://www.locusmag.com/2012/AllCenturyPollsResults.html

Also for my personal thoughts, go here:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/12/22/old-mans-war-tops-locus-onlines-21st-century-sf-novel-poll
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How can Cracked.com, of all places, come up with such a brilliant, insightful article? I guess it's not where it comes from if it's full of truth.
 
"Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that part? Yeah, whatever you try to build or create -- be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship -- you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they'll do it. Your drunk friends do not want you to get sober. Your fat friends do not want you to start a fitness regimen. Your jobless friends do not want to see you embark on a career.
Just remember, they're only expressing their own fear, since trashing other people's work is another excuse to do nothing. "Why should I create anything when the things other people create suck? I would totally have written a novel by now, but I'm going to wait for something good, I don't want to write the next Twilight!" As long as they never produce anything, it will forever be perfect and beyond reproach. Or if they do produce something, they'll make sure they do it with detached irony. They'll make it intentionally bad to make it clear to everyone else that this isn't their real effort. Their real effort would have been amazing. Not like the shit you made."
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Not so evil are you now Google (and Twitter)
 
A little less than two years ago, when Internet access was cut off in Egypt, we worked with Twitter to launch Speak2Tweet, giving the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection. 

In the last day, Internet access has been completely cut off in Syria. Unfortunately we are hearing reports that mobile phones and landlines aren’t working properly either. But those who might be lucky enough to have a voice connection can still use Speak2Tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196), and the service will tweet the message. No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

#SyriaBlackout  
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Anonymous is Not

The major impact of the Petraeus affair has nothing to do with the military, sex, or celebrity -- it is that there is no such thing as anonymous, and that the US government is able to access internet and credit card records without warrants, just because they ask to. Your digital life is not private from the government, ever; therefore, your life is not private. Read the details in this important reporting by +Andrew Leonard 

"[This] debacle confirms something that some privacy experts have been warning about for years: Government surveillance of ordinary citizens is now cheaper and easier than ever before. Without  needing to go before a judge, the government can gather vast amounts of information about us with minimal expenditure of manpower. We used to be able to count on a certain amount of privacy protection simply because invading our privacy was hard work. That is no longer the case. Our always-on, Internet-connected, cellphone-enabled lives are an open door to Big Brother."

I have nothing to hide; I am just saying anonymous is not anonymous.

http://www.salon.com/2012/11/16/paula_broadwells_big_mistake/

This article below, linked in the above article, is likewise worthwhile.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/11/15/collatoral-damage-of-our-surveillance-state/
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Great article showing the hugely contrasting approach by the Obama campaign to Romney's Orca fail. 
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Have him in circles
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Taking improv classes, working it
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Just started taking improv classes.  Yeah, that's about it.
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Have a wife. Take that wifeless people.
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Boulder, CO - Concord, NC - Raleigh, NC
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