Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

Linkblogging For 22/04/12

Posted in linkblogging by Andrew Hickey on April 22, 2012

Just a few links for now — hope to have another Kinks post up today. If not it’ll be chapter 3 of the Peculiar Branch story.

Expo, a band featuring some of my friends, have released a benefit single for the Trayvon Martin justice campaign. It’s on the honour system — it’s a free download, and if you like it, then you donate what you can afford. Expo are good musicians and good people (Tilt, who did the cover design, is a regular commenter here and my songwriting partner in the National Pep, and Christian who co-wrote the song helped proofread my Beach Boys book.), and it’s a very good cause.

The Newlyn Research Group (a research group into medical cybernetics I’ve done some work with) have announced the Cargo-Cult Prize for Medical Informatics — one hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollars to anyone who can show that the criteria for the so-called ‘gold standard’ Cochrane reviews make any sense at all.

In much the same way, the Health At Every Size blog pulls apart a piece of ‘research’ into the effectiveness of a commercial weight-loss package that was published in JAMA. If you ever want to see just how bad the state of medical ‘science’ actually is, just look at the average paper in JAMA or Cochrane…

The great DVD company GoFasterStripe , who do budget-priced DVDs of good comedians whose stuff isn’t considered commercial enough for the big companies, have started offering some of their older older titles as even-more-budget-priced, DRM-free, downloads, which you can download multiple times, starting with some of Stewart Lee and Richard Herring’s stuff from the middle of last decade. Herring’s Someone Likes Yoghurt is one of the most astonishing displays of technical virtuosity as a stand-up I’ve ever seen.

The Marx Brothers Research Council on why he doesn’t like A Day At The Races. Personally, I have much the same mixed feelings about the post-Paramount Marx Brothers as I do about the post-1977 Beach Boys — it’s a horrible shame to see such talent wasted on such rubbish, but what I wouldn’t give to have that much talent to waste…

And Rudy Rucker explains how he’s going about creating ebooks to self-publish. Unlike me, he appears to be using the horrible Microsoft monstrosities most people use, so this might be more use than my posts to those who have limited computer experience.

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11 Responses

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  1. asbolton said, on April 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    In the interests of balance and free speech etc., Trayvon Martin’s Justice Campaign seems to have more funding behind it than the IMF could provide, and really doesn’t need any more. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to apply to Zimmerman, who MAY have been acting entirely within the law, and MAY have been entirely justified in his actions, in the society in which he lives. It wasn’t Zimmerman who made the initial call not to press charges against himself.
    Whilst the campaign to bring a case before the courts against Zimmerman (to establish what exactly happened) is entirely logical and right, any funding should be available to both sides once it comes to court, otherwise you’re just accepting mob rule. Zimmerman is presumably living in fear for his life at present. Anyone who thinks that is right must believe in the presumption of innocence only for those in their chosen groups, and would deny it to others. I would suggest that nearly everyone falling into that category would also be automatically labelled as “others,” should they one day find themselves in Zimmerman’s position, and might then be less keen to support the mob beating on their door, financially or otherwise.
    Here’s to Freedom of Speech and reasoned argument!

    • Andrew Hickey said, on April 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      “Trayvon Martin’s Justice Campaign seems to have more funding behind it than the IMF could provide, and really doesn’t need any more.”
      Or $25,778, which is only a sixth of the bail money Zimmerman was able to provide.

      “Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to apply to Zimmerman, who MAY have been acting entirely within the law, and MAY have been entirely justified in his actions, in the society in which he lives.”
      Innocent until proven guilty applies, of course, but that is a rule for courts, not for individuals. If Zimmerman was acting within the law, then the law needs to be changed. I can conceive of no possible situation in which following a child who is unarmed and has just visited the shop to buy some skittles, and shooting that child dead, could possibly be considered ‘entirely justified’.

      “Whilst the campaign to bring a case before the courts against Zimmerman (to establish what exactly happened) is entirely logical and right,”
      Which is what this campaign *is*. As I said, the campaign says they’ve raised only $25,778.70 , and now they’ve managed to get Zimmerman arrested, any money raised will go to “support awareness of civil rights, social justice and the quality of life for young black men”. They’ve also been preparing for a civil action against Zimmerman, as is *definitely* their legal right (as opposed to Zimmerman’s merely alleged legal right to shoot black children in the chest).

      “Zimmerman is presumably living in fear for his life at present. Anyone who thinks that is right must believe in the presumption of innocence only for those in their chosen groups, and would deny it to others.”
      I don’t think it’s right that Zimmerman should be in fear for his life — in fact I regularly give money to Amnesty International, whose campaigns, if successful, would ensure that Zimmerman wouldn’t face the death penalty.
      However, Zimmerman by his own actions ensured that my preferred option — nobody in fear of their life — isn’t open. Given the choice he has left us, between “children going to the sweet-shop being in fear of their lives” or “people who kill children who’ve just been to the sweet-shop being in fear of their lives”, I’ll choose the latter if that’s the only choice open, though I would much rather choose the “nobody at all getting killed” option.

      “would suggest that nearly everyone falling into that category would also be automatically labelled as “others,” should they one day find themselves in Zimmerman’s position”
      One way to avoid finding yourself in Zimmerman’s position is to not shoot children in the chest for the crime of walking down the street.

  2. asbolton said, on April 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    No, shooting children is unacceptable. Still, I’d probably find it hard to tell a tall 18yr old from a similar 17yr old. Whether this one did indeed have a history of robbery, drug offences and vandalism is presently under investigation. Maybe it’s a smear campaign and he didn’t. Zimmerman was put in the position of having to make a choice in line with his duties. He didn’t have time to go home and google stuff, and maybe he was threatened. Again, we don’t know, hence the advantage of a court case. Maybe he was unsuited to the position, but then the sort of person capable of totally rational and controlled thought under pressure probably wouldn’t work for the wages Zimmerman was getting. Pay peanuts, etc. By “fearing for his life,” I meant from angry mobs, not from a death penalty handed down by the courts. Remember the paediatrician nearly getting lynched not so long ago? These are the same people, just in a different country. Maybe Zimmerman was an idiot. These days, that’s considered desirable by those in power. Takes the pressure off them!

    • Andrew Hickey said, on April 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      “No, shooting children is unacceptable. Still, I’d probably find it hard to tell a tall 18yr old from a similar 17yr old”
      Shooting 18-year-olds is also unacceptable. Or 30, 50, or 75-year-olds. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that shooting *anyone* for walking down the street is unacceptable, even if they *are* a bit suspicious-looking.

      “Whether this one did indeed have a history of robbery, drug offences and vandalism is presently under investigation”
      And has nothing to do with anything. Having a criminal history is not a reason to shoot people.

      “Zimmerman was put in the position of having to make a choice in line with his duties. He didn’t have time to go home and google stuff, and maybe he was threatened.”
      He had no duties, other than to contact the police. He was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, and they have no greater or lesser legal rights or responsibilities than anyone else, and they’re specifically told to call the police and not involve themselves.
      He’d already called the police, and the police had told him *not* to follow. If he *was* threatened — which is a hypothetical you’ve just made up out of your head — then it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that this was because he decided to start following someone for no good reason. Even if that *hadn’t* been the case, none of that excuses shooting someone.

      “Again, we don’t know, hence the advantage of a court case.”
      WHICH IS WHAT THE FUCKING CAMPAIGN IS FOR!!! THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CAMPAIGN WAS TO GET ZIMMERMAN ARRESTED!

      “the sort of person capable of totally rational and controlled thought under pressure probably wouldn’t work for the wages Zimmerman was getting. Pay peanuts, etc”
      He wasn’t acting in any paid capacity at all.

      “Remember the paediatrician nearly getting lynched not so long ago? These are the same people, just in a different country. ”
      Except firstly that that didn’t happen (someone’s house got spray-painted with graffiti alleging her to be a ‘paedo’, but she certainly wasn’t ‘nearly lynched’), no-one has (as far as I’m aware) threatened Zimmerman, the charity for which that single is raising funds and the people who made the single *definitely* haven’t threatened Zimmerman, and the doctor in question was someone who helped make sick children better, while Zimmerman made a perfectly healthy child dead, by shooting him.
      Apart from that, yeah, it’s precisely the same.

      “Maybe Zimmerman was an idiot. ”
      Being an idiot is not an excuse for murder.

      Meanwhile, you are busily slandering a dead child, implying that a charity which is trying to raise awareness of civil rights in memory of a murder victim is morally equivalent to lynch mobs, and defending the right to shoot people in the chest for looking a bit funny.

      I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you made those rather unpleasant comments about ‘mass immigration’ the other week, but frankly I don’t want you commenting here any more if you’re going to behave like that.

    • lucidfrenzy said, on April 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      “No, shooting children is unacceptable. Still, I’d probably find it hard to tell a tall 18yr old from a similar 17yr old.”

      I’d be grateful for some advice here. I’m currently considering following a black youth out of a shop and shooting him in the chest. Just, you know, in case he’s been mixed up in any crimes or anything. But what if the day I choose turns out to be his eighteenth birthday? Do you think he’s fair game anytime that day, or should I be careful and wait until the actual hour of his birth has come and gone?

      Because obviously I wouldn’t want to do anything wrong.

      • lucidfrenzy said, on April 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm

        I’m following you, aren’t I? If it’s wrong to shoot children then better make damn sure it’s an adult.

        (incidentally I live in the UK. We don’t have guns but we do have sarcasm.)

        • Andrew Hickey said, on April 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm

          I’ve marked the comment to which this was a reply as spam. I’ve already made very clear to Mr Bolton that he’s not welcome around these parts. Not, as he claimed in another deleted comment, because I only want comments from those who agree with me, but because I dislike trolls at the best of times, and am having difficulty enough keeping my blood pressure under control as it is without having to deal with people who are trying to defend the indefensible.

          • lucidfrenzy said, on April 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

            Hi Andrew,

            Sorry if my replying to his comments were adding to your blood pressure. It’s always a thin line between not letting objectionable comments pass and feeding trolls. The argument seemed to be “we don’t know the full facts of this case, I myself don’t know any of them so here is some stuff I just made up.” A rational reply didn’t seem warranted, so my intention was to mark the ridiculousness of his comments by ridicule.

            But, yeah, a troll-fee zone sounds good.

            • Andrew Hickey said, on April 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

              No, your responses are exactly what is called for. Unpleasant people saying unpleasant things make me stressed, but sensible people mocking them never do.

  3. asbolton said, on April 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Andrew, on quite a different tack, how about a short story centred on an ageing super-hero who’s been framed? His name escapes me, but I’m sure there’s a clue somewhere above!

  4. TAD said, on April 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I’m doing my best to keep an open mind on the Trayvon Martin case. It’s a tragedy that he was killed, but we don’t yet know the full circumstances involved. I have faith that the truth will out, either way.


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