Militant Moderate

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  • in reply to: Dermatologist? #824644

    I’ve had good luck with Dr. Wilske at Westside Dermatology. She seems to know her stuff and my biopsy last month didn’t hurt at all. The doc also isn’t easily grossed out, which is probably a valuable trait for a dermatologist to have and why I’d be the world’s worst dermatologist.

    in reply to: RANT: Lookie-Loos on my quiet dead-end street['' #813393

    Upon further review, my physical fitness is a limiting factor for jogging to a decent amount of dead-end streets.

    BUT I’ve got a better idea, an idea that might appeal to the entrepreneurially-minded folks here:

    “The Dead-end Streets of Seattle: The Guided Tour”

    So I’m looking for some … ummmm … “angel” investors to help with this worthy enterprise.

    Also, does anyone know where we can buy one of those duck tour boats?

    in reply to: RANT: Lookie-Loos on my quiet dead-end street['' #813381

    I’m thinking about changing my jogging route.

    Anyone know where I can find the highest concentration of dead-end streets?

    in reply to: RANT: Lookie-Loos on my quiet dead-end street['' #813376

    This original post won’t help our “Seattle Freeze” or specifically, West Seattle’s NIMBY reputations.

    These two parts:

    “…driving down to the end, turning around in my driveway, walking their dogs “just looking around”…”

    “Aren’t homes like mine actually assessed at higher value because of the “privacy” – C’mon people have some respect!!”


    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809074

    Aren’t True Facts really the *best* facts?

    This thread is chock full of all sorts of awesomeness, from both sides.

    I’m on the pro-spider side, but the first time I found one of those legendary giant house spiders up here, I freaked out with the best ’em! Four in the morning, turn on the kitchen light, six-to-eight-inch leg span, hearing the pitter-patter of eight little feet across the linoleum … napalming the entire zip code briefly seemed completely rational!

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809061


    600?!? Wow! That’s serious! And awesome! Seriously awesome!

    Eventually, I want to get an A. versicolor and a C.cyaneopubescens. But before that, I want to set up the terrariums and practice temperature and humidity control. But before that, I have to make sure my wife is comfortable with the idea, and seeing them and watching someone interact with a T in real life might be more effective than pics and YouTube videos.

    Any recommendations for exotic pet stores, dealers, or clubs?

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809059


    I apologize for my previous statement. I had never seen the Whidbey Island info posted previously and it hadn’t come up on my searches.

    Still, these spiders are nothing to fret over. Obviously, someone can have a horrible reaction to a bite, and that could be very bad news for them. The same could be said for folks with peanut, shellfish, and other food allergies. But the vast majority of us, we’ll be fine.

    As I said previously, my experience was that wasp and bee stings hurt more. And horseflies. I HATE those guys! Latrodectus ain’t the boogeymen (boogeywomen?) that they’re made out to be.

    Widow spiders and recluses will not typically go on the offensive unless that’s their only option. When I got bit, it was a reflexive reaction to being swatted and crushed.

    And they hate that, as you can imagine.

    Online, you can find people who keep them, and YouTube has several videos of folks handling widows (and recluses) and letting them crawl over their hands and arms.

    (Not my idea of a fun-filled Friday night, but these videos do give you a sense of how docile these things really are.)

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809053

    anonyme – Jumping spiders are my spirit animal! ;)

    You might appreciate this …

    …I enjoyed the little guy in the bottom video chasing the laser pointer.

    Thanks for the heads up about the widows of Whidbey. I don’t know for certain, but as climate change continues, it seems likely that critters like these and recluses would also expand their territories up this way.

    kayo: That would freak me out also. There have been several press accounts of finding black widows in produce, so I’m wondering exactly how common this … ummmmm … SURPRISE is.

    I’m not scared of spiders, but I am scared of surprises. Widows and recluses try to avoid us; the problem is that they’re lousy guessers as to where a human might go. And, if they don’t think running is an option, that’s when a bite might occur. Not a big deal … unless a person has a sensitivity.

    Currently trying to talk the missus into letting me get a couple of tarantulas again. I used to have a Rosie years ago and daily visits to /r/Tarantulas has gotten me hooked again.

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809051


    Re: Yellow Sac spiders

    “A review of the international literature on 39 verified Cheiracanthium bites found only one case of mild necrosis in the European species C. punctorium.”

    And the only way someone’s going to find a black widow in the Seattle area is if it’s hitchhiking in produce or moving boxes from outside the region.

    What we do have here is members of the genus Steatoda, aka “False widows”, which can look a lot like the true widow spiders of genus Latrodectus. False widows do not have the distinctive ventral hour glass design, and … hold onto your hat … False widows will prey on true widows! As will cellar spiders (daddy long-legs).

    True fact: Some spiders are accomplished musicians …

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809043

    “Most house spiders are harmless and generally beneficial.”

    There’s no “most” or “generally” to it. In the Seattle area, ALL house spiders are harmless and are ALWAYS beneficial.

    And while putting a house spider outside might more than likely kill them (if it’s indeed one of the gazillion species of house spiders, not one of gazillion other non-house spiders that wander in accidentally (Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places…), and we’re still talking about this time of the year where high temps are in the 70s and lows in the 50s), killing them will certainly result the spider’s death.

    There’s a lot of paranoia about spiders overall. About 15 years ago when I lived down South, I was bitten by an adolescent black widow. We’ve all heard how horrible black widows are, right? Well, it was nothing compared to a wasp or bee sting.

    And on top of that, it was kinda my own fault. I was washing the car one afternoon without a shirt, felt something crawling on my chest, immediately thought ‘gnat’ or ‘mosquito’, swatted it against my chest without looking, and she reflexively bit me.

    My point is that even the most badass of American spiders (which aren’t in Seattle) aren’t all that badass.

    in reply to: How to keep spiders away #809038

    Might I suggest an alternative?

    Do nothing.

    Relocate them outside, if absolutely necessary. But avoid traps and sprays which kill them.

    We don’t have any species of spiders here which are remotely dangerous. Even recent research regarding the hobo spider seems to indicate that it is relatively harmless.

    Spiders eat a lot of the pests that come out during the warmer months. Think of them as your anti-insect bodyguards; your very own Secret Service protecting you from mosquitoes which could potentially the carry West Nile virus!

    in reply to: . #808401

    Oh yeah? Well …


    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807797


    1) Judging by both of our posts, I think someone can say that we probably watch too much television drama! ;)

    2) Regarding … “If you answer simply no “reasonable” doubt as opposed to zero doubt, you’re introducing a purely a philosophical argument into a situation that has a perfectly logical definitive solution and requires no argument whatsoever.”

    I still gotta go with reasonable here.

    Bear with me here (I had to look that up … “Bare with me” would mean something else entirely … I did not know …) …

    In thinking about this (and similar things have probably been said somewhere… I’m not smart enough to either come up with this on my own, or remember where I had heard it), maybe the best way visualize the Big “T” Truth (in your scenario) is as a mathematical Limit. The best that we can do is to asymptotically approach that Limit, but we can never quite get there.

    As we travel down the x-axis in the direction of increasing the number of eyewitnesses or pieces of evidence, obviously there exists a point *close enough* to Truth, a margin of error Epsilon, that suffices for any imaginable situation.

    But if we accept too great a margin of error, then the probability of mistakes (false convictions, going back to the legal discussion topic) occurring increases.

    And I think that in your scenario, Quentin Tarantino has the victim, who wasn’t really dead, wake up and avenge their attempted-murderer. ;)

    Also, philosophy is the study of existence, knowledge, reality, and a gazillion different related offshoots. So I think that philosophy discussions are worth having, and not merely academic exercises, devoid of importance in everyday life. Even other threads here have as their foundations epistemological and metaphysical assumptions.

    I kinda like Socrates on this … “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

    And I know even less!

    in reply to: Help!! I need to find a pinata! #808002
    in reply to: Scumbag??? #808008

    But what are the traffic faux pas/offenses that are being depicted in your pic and the previous? To me, it looks like someone is just randomly photoshopping hats above cars.

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807791

    HMC Rich …

    #2 on the list of lousy Internet discussions, after abortion, is climate change. Again, I know that there’s nothing that I can say that can type here to change your mind.

    All I offer is this …

    I used to believe the same as you. But over the years, I’ve sincerely and earnestly tried to understand anthropogenic climate change. I’ve read many, many scientific papers (all findable via your favorite search engine), tried to learn the science underneath it (lots of highlighting, right-click, search for “X”), taken classes, learned how compounds such as CO2 and water vapor work, met with folks who work in AND teach various fields of climatological sciences, etc.

    I’m not just casually saying that I’ve tried to learn this stuff … I really have tried!

    Long story short: I had to change my mind. The evidence, the information … the typical right-side-of-the-political-spectrum opinions regarding anthropogenic climate change were no longer rational or believable.

    My previous experience in these debates: I’ll post a bunch of links which will never be clicked; you’ll copy-pasta from; I’ll criticize Anthony Watts’ expertise and post specific criticisms from PhDs and credible sources; you’ll post stuff from a pro-tobacco company witness Dr. Richard Lindzen (MIT!); I’ll respond with links to studies that contradicted his account of atmospheric feedback loops and other claims and those links will go unread; I’ll post links to several studies that state that the scientific consensus on the validity to anthropogenic climate change is >90%; you will claim that pro-environment money is influencing these studies and therefore, climatological science is corrupt; you (or someone else) will disparage all of academia as part of the Amurikah-hatin’ liberal-socialist agenda, hellbent on destroying property rights; decorum would dictate that I should ignore that, but I’ll snarkily reply, “Alex Jones, is that you???”; I’ll bring up corporations who are funding far larger mis-information campaigns (Heritage), as well as the vast campaign contributions of energy interests with a vested interest in public skepticism …

    Doesn’t that sound like fun? </sarcasm>

    At the end of the day, your mind won’t be changed; and my mind won’t be changed by someone whom I am not convinced has done an equal or greater amount of homework.

    And we both will wish there was a beer thread here instead.

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807790

    WF …

    (Sorry for the late reply)

    “Or maybe this is a better way to frame my thought: For your assumption to be true, NOTHING can be certain. For my assumption to be true, SOMETHING, ANYTHING can be certain.”

    You’ve found the fatal flaw that I mentioned earlier. In a philosophy class, it’s sometimes expressed as this:

    Suppose that you’re in charge of building a bridge and you have two bridge diagrams in front of you:

    Bridge 1 was designed by a firm employing lots of engineering and math geeks and this company has designed many great bridges previously.

    Bridge 2 was drawn by a five-year old in a rather nice Cornflower Blue crayon.

    So which design are you choosing? If you choose Bridge 1 … Induction! Uh-oh!

    But clearly, that would seem to be the right answer (us bridge-travelers hope you’d choose the first one!).

    And I don’t know how this dilemma is solved. Maybe there’s a big-“T” Truth that is the domain of *absolute* certainty, and a little-“t” truth that is good enough for most of us … most of the time? </shrug>

    So …

    “And that is, those elements of change are not on point. What we’re attempting to determine is whether it is possible to determine if a crime was committed by a specific individual.”

    You initially used the phrase “ZERO doubt,” which I take to mean “ABSOLUTE certainty.” My position (and the catalyst for my ramblings) is that such a thing as “ZERO doubt” is impossible. Trying to limbo underneath “REASONABLE doubt” is about the best that we humans can do (especially if we want any sort of legal system), and anything more than “REASONABLE doubt” enters into the realm of the supernatural (Tarot cards, palm-reading, religion, horoscopes, John Edward, etc.).

    And regarding those other questions … # 3 was a trick question! The correct answer was *Jim Zorn* … ahhhh … you were so close! ;)

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807787

    WF: I would like to again waste your time and degrade your eyesight on another long, meandering post; this time, an alternative view of science.

    “I believe that it’s possible to determine THINGS scientifically provable beyond ANY doubt whatsoever. Not just functional certitude (reasonable doubt), but indeed certainty.”

    If we were having this discussion pre-Copernicus, the prevailing model of the universe of the day was geocentrism, and Ptolemaic Model was generally the most accepted. Wikipedia has a whole page on this (in case you’re not familiar with it … you probably are …), but if you’ve previously seen a representation, you’ll remember that the known planets were depicted orbiting the Earth, along with these crazy loop-de-loops.

    As bizarre as this model seems now, it was the product of the best minds of the day, and it had *predictive* power … the Ptolemaic Model could tell you where to find Mars in our night sky, several years out. I mean, Ptolemy was no dummy!

    Eventually, observations ceased supporting the geocentric model; Galileo peering through his telescope at the moons of Jupiter helped lead science into an acceptance of heliocentrism.

    Another example … early models of the atom, from J.J. Thompson’s “Plum Pudding” to the Rutherford–Bohr model depicting electron orbits, have given way to today’s probability clouds of quantum mechanics. Even right now, the atomic model is being tweaked as science learns more about known sub-atomic particles, and discovers new ones.

    And there are countless other historical examples: Aristotelian physics >>> Newtonian physics >>> Einstein’s relativity; genetics; germ theory; etc.

    The point: If science is capable of PROVING things beyond a shadow of a doubt, then how do we explain what appears to be science getting things wrong?

    I alluded to this yesterday, but one possible answer is to give up on the idea that anything can completely, utterly, with zero doubt whatsoever be proven … confirmed … by anything, including science.

    Rather, science is the only tool that humanity truly has for obtaining information about how the universe works. It gives us the best possible picture, but that picture might be flawed or incomplete, and it is *always* subject to change.

    And we accept that.

    Scientific theories, models and laws continue to be accepted … up to the point that models and laws cease being predictive, the observations warrant changes, etc. A new model is put forth, the evidence *corroborates* (not confirm … that’s the vile language of induction!) … rinse … repeat … wipe hands on pants.

    (Sidenote: “Theory” is the strongest word in science for describing an idea, and I cringe whenever folks misuse the word. “That’s just a theory …” ugh …)

    And this adherence for going exclusively where the evidence leads is the most the awesome thing (besides the toys) differentiating science from other human constructs such as politics, religion, etc.

    Science has a built-in mechanism for changing its mind! (Try doing THAT in politics, or in front of a congregation!) Sometimes the mind-changing occurs slowly, often messily; but given enough time, it gets it as right as it can.

    This idea (philosophy) of science is the one put forth by Carl Popper (VERY interesting guy), but there have been many others over the years. In watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ (and in numerous other sources), I get the impression that he subscribes to another view of science. He seems to freely use that “language of induction.”

    And who am I to argue with a man that awesome???

    So why is splitting philosophical hairs like this a big deal? In my opinion, it sets up false expectations of science, or makes science easier to slander and discredit. There are people out there who’ve developed a mistrust of science, and they fall on all sides of the political spectrum (anti-vaxxers, adherents of homeopathy and alternative medicine are a few examples).

    Another example: People who don’t believe that anthropogenic climate change is occurring frequently cite previous supposed-scientific proclamations as rationale for discounting climatological research. These people will bring up a time a couple of decades ago in which the danger was allegedly “global cooling,” or that models thus far have been wrong.

    Therefore, since science was (allegedly) wrong then, it’ll be wrong again. Ignore those “alarmists” who hate America. Drill baby drill!

    (insert cryingeagle.jpg)

    Anyhoo … If you’ve (anyone) made it this far and you’re still awake, thanks for your time. Quite clearly, I love talking about this stuff. And there’s a huge issue with Popper’s idea of science that could be considered a fatal flaw; so who the heck knows!

    in reply to: Why is the market doing so well? #807827

    My best guess: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s “uncoupling.”

    in reply to: Clippers Owner Must Go Tip of Iceburg #807690

    Bigotry, racism, wealth, power, infidelity, yada yada yada.

    Let’s get to the important stuff.

    Does this mean we get the Sonics back?

    Hey … who threw that shoe at me???

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807783

    So now that we’ve solved the abortion debate, how about a little Israel v. Palestine? Keynes v. Friedman? Krieg v. Moon v. Wilson? Ford v. Chevy? ;)

    And Dobro … The CORRECT answer is that life begins at 40.

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807774

    “And yes, MM, as you suggest, I’m more of a Cartesian Rationalist by nature as opposed to a Humeian Skepticist. :-) “

    Where’s the Reddit-style downvote button?

    / I keed, I keed.

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807771

    WF …

    1) Regarding the Problem of Induction (and if I say something which you already know here, I apologize. Eventually, I’ll connect it to my point) …

    Suppose you’re a swan researcher. Every swan that you’ve seen is white. Can you conclude (induce) that ALL swans are white?

    Hume would say no, because you cannot check every place in the universe where swans may live.

    Suppose that you at the scene of robbery at a convenience store in which the the assailant shoots and kills the clerk, a few feet away. Since you were there and close by, the set of possible explanations (other than what it was … murder) is very small. Maybe you unknowingly walked onto movie production set? (I gots nuttin’ besides that.)

    But to others, like in a court room setting, they don’t have the same experience that you have. The set of all possible explanations expands, perhaps infinitely. All they have is evidence.

    Video footage? Technology permits very realistic, fake video. And photography has been manipulated pretty much since the invention of film, including some very famous photos that many people don’t know are composites.

    Eyewitness accounts? Perhaps they aren’t credible. Maybe being paid off. They weren’t wearing their glasses right then.

    Fingerprints? Could be planted.

    Maybe the detectives were crooked.

    So all of that to answer, ‘No’ to your initial question, ‘Is it possible to have ZERO doubt about who perpetrated some crime?’ And as humans, the best that we can hope to attain is a level of knowing that is beyond REASONABLE doubt.

    And all of this dovetails into Philosophy of Science, confirmation vs. corroboration, etc. But that’s another subject.

    2) “As for how many women I would risk, the answer can still be zero. As clearly there are women who choose to end pregnancies without medical cause and those are not distinct in the law’s eyes from those that are.”

    I don’t believe it is possible to concoct a system in which the only abortions performed are those in which the woman’s life is in danger.

    Despite centuries of practice, our legal system, already overwhelmed, as it stands now, and it still screws up. Such a system might take too long and women end up dying, waiting for a verdict. This system would also necessitate attorneys fees which need to be paid. And what about privacy issues? As a dude, I’d hate to have to see a judge in order to get a prescription for my erectile dysfunction; my neighbors and coworkers might laugh at me should those legal records be made public. For women and abortion … embarrassment and giggling could turn into outright hostility and death threats.

    And so we outlaw abortion because it’s murder. Is a woman who smokes during pregnancy guilty of child endangerment or attempted murder? What if she forgot to put on her seat belt? Went boating? Skipped taking her prenatal vitamins? Opts for hamburger instead of green leafy vegetables? And how does the State coerce a woman into caring for an infant that she didn’t want in the first place? Threaten her with jail time? Is the foster care system capable of handling millions of additional children?

    (And again, will the GOP allow such an expansion of the “Welfare State?”)

    There exists certain aspects of human life in which laws can create additional problems and unintended consequences. The “War on Drugs” is often cited as the premier example. I’d argue that the Republican “War on Women” and the contained battle over abortion is another, more relevant, example.

    Any answer, other than leaving it up to a woman and her doctor, is the wrong answer, in my opinion.

    And I apologize for my snark also. But I will say this … My experience: Nothing good ever comes from Internet abortion discussions. I’ve been in more than a few, and regretted it each and every time! On the bright side, I’m savvy-enough to also know that I will not change yours or anyone else’s mind. The best that I can hope for is to convince any (unfortunate) reader that I’ve given the issue a lot of consideration.


    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807763

    “MM, I just took away your critical thinking card.”

    Well darn. I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.

    You should re-read what I posted, closely this time (stop skimming and assuming you already know what I wrote), and then research David Hume and the Problem of Induction.

    “And to your points about abortion: Are you suggesting that ALL abortions are because of health risk to the mother?? Clearly that’s not the case and likely those are in the minority of cases as opposed to the majority.”

    No. But then, how many pregnant women dying in order to preserve what MIGHT be life is acceptable to you? I say zero; you seem to suggest a larger number.

    That’s what I get for walking into a troll thread.

    in reply to: Death Penalty redux #807748

    I would say that it MIGHT be possible for someone who was present on the scene of a murder to have ZERO doubt (how completely do you trust your senses?), but I believe that it is absolutely impossible for those removed from an event, a judge and a jury for instance, to have ZERO doubt.

    Therefore, the lesser-standard REASONABLE doubt is used.

    Also, analogizing a criminal/defendant with a fetus/infant is problematic because these are very different relationships. For instance, a defendant cannot destroy the legal system, but a fetus can kill the woman.

    As far as the abortion debate goes, as long as pregnancies incur some degree of medical risk (people are sometimes unaware that thousands of women die every year from complications due to pregnancy), I believe that government should not come between a woman and her doctor. IF the fetus is a life, then the woman is CERTAINLY a life, therefore I believe erring on the side of the doctor and patient is the best option.

    If science advances to the point that a fetus can be raised to term outside of a human body, then I believe the abortion debate changes significantly. But then other questions come up, e.g., are we as taxpayers willing to fully fund a system to care for these children?

    And judging by the political fights that we have regarding educating the children that we have now, lunch programs, health care, etc., the answer seems to be HELL NO.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 39 total)