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Messages - Vurbal [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process
« on: February 13, 2015, 08:13 AM »
What you've actually demonstrated is what I said in my initial post. It's more complicated than you think, and you don't understand the process, at least not the terminology used to describe the process.

Specifically, you're misconstruing the meaning of infection. Infection merely means the virus has entered a host body. As long as the host has been immunized, the virus will be neutralized, although not necessarily eliminated, as with varicella. At worst, the infection is harmless. At best it acts like a booster shot.

Even though I was never that interested in Flight Simulator, the game controller technology it spawned was ground breaking, and opened my thinking up about computer interfaces significantly.

Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately
« on: February 12, 2015, 02:36 PM »
I'd never seen a "One Step Beyond" episode before this evening.

The first episode? Pretty darn cool.

I really liked OSB and sprung to get it on DVD along with a multi-disk Hitchcock TV collection.

The short story format was definitely experiencing a Golden Age between the late 40s and early 60s. Especially in the scifi, mystery, and horror genres. Some of the finest writing those genres ever produced got penned during that era. All the biggies (Asimov, Ray Bradbury (who was probably the best), Bob Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, Sam Delaney, "Doc" Smith, Ellory Queen, Rex Stout, et al were all busy cranking out these fantastic short stories. So it was only natural that TV shows like OSB, Thriller, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, (and the much later Night Gallery) would benefit from their existence. These were stories written by actual writers rather than just some backroom network hack screenwriter - with the utterly brilliant Rod Serling being the notable exception.

I think that's why The Twilight Zone holds up better for me than any of the other anthology shows. He wasn't necessarily a great wordsmith, but he had the soul of a storyteller and knew great writing when he read it. If nothing else, he deserves credit for bringing Richard Matheson's work into the mainstream and helping launch Richard Donner's career.

I didn't even realize how much a fan I was of Matheson's work until about 15 years ago. Besides all the Twilight Zone episodes, like Terror at 20,000 Feet and Little Girl Lost, he wrote The Night Strangler (the second TV movie preceding Kolchak: The Night Stalker), Duel, the Star Trek episode The Enemy Within, where he invented the alternate universe goatee, and Trilogy of Terror. Second to my father, who introduced me to all that at a young age, Matheson deserves the most credit/blame for how I turned out. That's without even getting into all his movies, the ones based on his stories, or the numerous authors he inspired.

Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process
« on: February 12, 2015, 11:19 AM »
I didn't argue with any of your manufacturer data, only the endless stream of logical fallacies you added to string them together into an anti-vaccination argument. In fact, I specifically named almost all of those fallacies. One exception was the false dilemma fallacy behind your criticism of the varicella virus contagion. Even then, I corrected it.

Since most of those fallacies are appeals to emotion and consequences, straw men, and ad hominem attacks, I expect others to see through them already. Otherwise, there isn't much anyone can do to help. However, they're also the least problematic. The problem is a number of false premises, resulting in false dilemmas, without which, your arguments crumble to dust.

1. Live virus immunizations put immunized children at risk.

People do not spread diseases. They spread bacteria and viruses, which may, or may not, result in a disease. The varicella virus, spread after immunization, will enter immunized and non-immunized bodies equally. If you are not immunized, it results in chickenpox and a disease is spread. If you have been immunized, your body neutralizes it, and no disease is spread.

This is not speculation or even a hypothesis. It's accepted scientific theory, based on decades of experience using live viruses to immunize against measles, mumps, and rubella. Your hypothesis is directly contradicted by time tested theory, and you provide no evidence to either support it or disprove the theory. It is, therefore, a false premise.

Once again, here in Iowa, we already have mandatory vaccination as a prerequisite for entering school. Since we follow the CDC guidelines, every child has received at least 1 shot for every live virus vaccine they will ever be required to get until they graduate. Future required immunizations consist purely of boosters to those vaccinations. Children who get vaccinated immediately before beginning school may transmit the virus to others in their schools. They will not, however, spread the resulting disease because everyone else has also been immunized.

2. People want to immunize boys against cervical cancer.

This is simply false on its face. There is no cervical cancer vaccination. There is, however, a HPV vaccination. In fact there are 2 of them. One is formulated for both males and females, and the other only for females. Human papilloma virus is responsible for an estimated 70% of cervical cancer. However, it is also notably responsible for both anal and penile cancer. I think we can all agree boys have both anuses and penises. Yet again, a false premise, creating a false dilemma.

3. Live virus vaccines put pregnant women (and others) at increased risk.

This essentially boils down to a discussion of rubella and varicella. I'll start with varicella because it's the more complicated of the 2.

Severity aside, varicella in the wild works essentially the same as the varicella live virus vaccine. If you have not had chickenpox, and are exposed to someone who either has it, or has the varicella virus incubating in their system prior to chickenpox, he will transmit the virus to you, and you will eventually get chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, he will still transmit the virus to you, but you will not get chickenpox.

Except we now know it's more complicated than that. In reality, chickenpox immunity after exposure isn't permanent, and since the virus becomes dormant in your nervous system after chickenpox, rather than being eliminated entirely, exposure to varicella every few years (I can't be bothered to look up the number), extends your immunity to a second case of chickenpox. It is also important for avoiding shingles from reactivation of the virus, which is why adults who may never be exposed to vaccinated children should get vaccinated.

At first glance, the risks of vaccine virus appear different than for the virus in the wild. That's not true. The vaccine was created after research showed reduced immunity to varicella over time. This discovery was primarily the result of women increasingly having children later in life, thereby increasing the odds their immunity to varicella was compromised. Younger women, the vast majority of whom had chickenpox as children, were generally not at risk. Once they had a child, he would typically contract chickenpox within the first few years of life, passing varicella on to the mother, recharging her resistance for future pregnancies. That increased resistance, which works against both the wild and vaccine viruses, can also be acquired through vaccination prior to pregnancy.

Here's where the manufacturer's warnings are actually superior to the CDC's. The CDC identifies 37 days as the maximum time between exposure to varicella and the end of chickenpox. They identify 42 days (6 weeks) after vaccination as the bright line, beyond which a new rash caused by varicella is assumed to be from a second exposure. However, they only recommend a 28 day minimum wait between receiving the vaccine and attempting to become pregnant. Granted, getting pregnant isn't usually something that happens on the first try, but it can. The difference here is that the manufacturer risks monetary liability, and therefore errs on the side of caution.

Once again, this matches our experience with other vaccines. As you have pointed out, the other major concern for pregnant women is rubella. Once again, though, a woman whose MMR boosters are current into adulthood is significantly less likely to be affected by exposure to the vaccine virus transmitted by a recently vaccinated individual. Likewise, this is impacted, statistically, by the age women choose to have children relative to when they were last vaccinated.

Yes, there is an elevated risk for vaccinated women who are pregnant, compared to those who aren't, but it's significantly lower than for women who haven't been vaccinated. It's identical to their risk from exposure to the disease, except for one thing. Wholesale vaccination reduces her risk of being exposed to someone with the disease. It doesn't show up in the records because it has been virtually eliminated from her environment.

The same applies to individuals with compromised immune systems. Finding a single person who died after exposure to varicella virus introduced by vaccination proves exactly nothing. The question isn't whether varicella still kills people in that segment of the population. It's how the number killed because of the vaccine compares to those killed without it. According to the CDC, that number has plummeted. Once again, you're arguing against not just the accepted theory, but also the statistical data which proves it. Another false premise busted.

As much as I'd be happy to talk about a cost/benefit analysis, by handwaving away the science, you're applying your own magical pixie dust to dismiss most of the benefits. It would be an exercise in futility. If you'd like to address the science, and not just individual facts taken out of context, I'm in. Otherwise, I don't know what else there is to say.

Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process
« on: February 11, 2015, 04:52 PM »
Honestly, Ren, it seems like you're either confused about several aspects of the whole virus, disease, vaccination process or just throwing out answers off the top of your head to play devil's advocate. Since I know how long I'd end up spending if I decided to respond to even the majority of it, I'll attempt to control myself and focus on just a couple posts.

This may be off topic, but I wouldn't mind some of your input here.
Recently, a lot of people around me have been getting worked about about the anti-vaccination issues.  I've been listening to the arguments, and I must say that I'm legitimately confused.  Politics or beliefs aside, the question I want to answer is, "Should I vaccinate?  How do I make this decision wisely?"

If you consult with a doctor that isn't blindly religious on the issue, most likely your doctor will recommend vaccination, but not necessarily for everything. Not all people need all vaccines. There actually is room for thought on the topic, though the current dialectic pretty much excludes any rational debate.

For example, do you need to be vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis? It's a horrible, crippling disease that utterly destroys people. Chances are that you don't as it is only found in certain places.

Are you at risk for cervical cancer? If you're male, then no. And here is where the insanity begins, because there are quite a few people that want forced vaccinations for boys.

Talk to 1 or more doctors. Read up on the issues.

I like the cut of your strawman's jib! Good thing he's no true Scotsman or else your your ad hominem left hook might not have landed.

The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is specifically recommended only for people traveling to certain areas in Asia, and, even then, only if they are going to be staying for a long period of time. The word for a doctor who recommended it as part of the standard course of vaccination isn't religious. It's quack.

The closest I've been able to come to an answer is along these lines:
Let's say there's a disease where I have 5% chance of dying.  The vaccine is available, and with it there is the 1% risk of dying.  So in that case, the gamble is mathematically worth the risk.

That's correct given that you will get the disease. If there's a 1% chance of contracting the disease, then 5% * 1% vs. 1% doesn't justify the vaccine, mathematically that is. But that doesn't take into account other possible problems from the disease, e.g. 50% chance of blindness, etc.

Numbers derived from a false premise don't lie. In fact, they don't tell us anything at all. Used skillfully, though, they can lay the foundation for an effective appeal to consequences.

All too often people talk about mortality rates, but blindness, deafness, and many other horrible effects also come with some diseases.

Then there are diseases like rubella that aren't serious (or as serious as others). Rubella is mostly relevant for pregnant women.

But it's just not that simple.  Do we know these percentages?  What if the vaccine is for a non-lethal disease, like a cold or mild flu?  Are these risk quantification reliable?  I don't know the answer at all, to be honest.  And it's a sensitive issue in my circles as there actually are cases of life-altering mental problems that have been attributed to vaccination.  I never ask, but I want to ask how do we know it was the vaccines? 

How do we know? Good question. When you look at some of the crippling effects in some cases, and the timelines, then it's pretty obvious, but that's not scientific proof, though it is sometimes enough to get settlements from the secret vaccine courts.

Nobody is more sceptical than me about pharmaceutical industry research. I'm familiar with the sort of nonsense they use to prop up their patent-based business model. Mike Masnick has written about them at Techdirt quite a bit over the years, and I wouldn't want to use the language that comes to mind when I think about it.

If only we had someone else who aggregated data from more reliable sources, perhaps even directly from medical professionals, and provided that data to the public. We could call it the Centers for Disease Control. CDC has a nice ring to it, don't you think? They could even put up a website dedicated to it.

Alternatively, we could just assume that the parents from those lawsuits, everyone they've told about it, everyone on their legal team, including medical professional, and anyone else with knowledge of, or access to, the data is somehow magically silenced by the same companies who can't manage to keep their own fraudulent studies from seeing the light of day.

Honestly, your appeals to emotion aren't really strong enough to warrant that level of mental gymnastics. The Russian judge gives this one a 2.

When a friend of mine gets a flu shot, he's pretty much guaranteed to get the flu -- and he no longer gets any flu shots. But, that's annecdotal.

I think it really depends on the person - not all people are the same.

Ironically, your anecdotal evidence matches the actual science. It comes down to the nature of influenza, which has a genetic defect which causes a mutation every time it replicates. That's why each of the 3 major variants, Influenza A, B, and C, are separated not just by species, but also genus. It's also the reason the flu vaccine is constantly being reformulated.

Since Influenza C is rarely responsible for outbreaks, it isn't included in the vaccine at all. Antigens for 2-3 specific Influenza A strains are used, because it's the one that spreads globally. Influenza B is responsible for most localized outbreaks, so only a single strain is included.

Of course, that localization also makes it a near certainty some (perhaps most) people who get vaccinated will be in areas with resistant Influenza B strains. If the models, based on nowhere near complete information, prove wrong, a the strains used for a given vaccine may be irrelevant before the vaccine hits the street. Even if they're right, the virus can mutate into a resistant strain in your body before your antibodies manage to finish their work.

That's without considering the most dangerous outbreaks, which originate in other species. The most common of these come from pigs. Fortunately they're similar enough to humans, biologically speaking, that they generally don't result in pandemics. Those typically come from birds, which is why they're incredibly rare because birds don't cough. Even if they knew for a fact one of those strains would spread to humans, immunization would likely be futile since they would almost immediately combine with an existing human strain to create a very different hybrid.

It's impossible to create a definitive and complete flue vaccine for any given point in time, let alone months or years in the future. However, vaccination does also provide is with a mechanism for steering natural selection away from the most dangerous strains.

Flu shots don't make sense for everyone. For some segments of the population it would be insane not to get every new flu vaccine as soon as possible. It definitely saves lives among the elderly, children, and in medical environments. I will absolutely continue to take advantage of it for at least as long as my kids are living with us and my wife works for the public school system.

Oh, I just remembered a bit more insanity... This is fun~! ;D

That's because it's so easy. You're cherry picking facts, avoiding any semblance of context, proclaiming your own facts without even the pretense of evidence, and stringing it all together with a framework of logical fallacies. That's why they call it pseudo science.

Of course, if your real intention is demonstrating the necessity for peer review using only blatant, real world examples, well done!  :Thmbsup:

A common argument that I read all the time is about "the children" and how people want to exclude unvaccinated kids from schools.

Ok. For the sake of argument... Let's run with that. ;)

Some vaccines turn the recipient into a carrier for anywhere from 2 weeks to 90 days.

So, for those vaccines, shouldn't vaccinated children be excluded from schools until they are no longer contagious? Not all kids can get the same vaccine at the same time (if that even mattered).

In the first bit above, we have no evidence that any unvaccinated child has any disease, but in the second instance, we have clear evidence that the child is contagious. What to do? :P

Fun fun fun~! ;D

Here's what I would recommend doing. Check to see if your hypothetical has any basis in reality, especially if you're going to complain about mis/disinformation. In fact, since we have those requirements here, I can get you right to the relevant information for our local schools.

There are only 2 types of exemption to Iowa law, medical and religious, and I disagree with the second one. That's what you get with one of the original corporate sponsored governors running things. Regardless, if it's a religious thing, that's the parent's issue to address. If it's medical, the school nurse is more than capable of dealing with it on an individual basis. And I say that as someone living in the biggest district in the state.

@Ren - IIUC you can't (except in that rare situation with the old oral polio vaccine - which is no longer administered) come down with the illness that an attenuated-live vaccine is designed to provide immunization for unless the batch that was administered was defective. And my understanding is that cases of defective vaccine batches making it into actual circulation are extremely rare occurrences.

Sorry, but no. There are some vaccines that make the patient contagious for a period of time. You only need to check the insert to verify.

You can find it in some inserts under some section  like in the below, 5.8 "Risk of Vaccine Virus Transmission". Here's a bit for the VARIVAX vaccine:
 (see attachment in previous post)
There are more. That's just one. The recommendation is for 6 weeks.

Your facts here are accurate, and also confirmed by the CDC. Once again, though, context matters. You haven't bothered to compare exposure through the vaccine to exposure in the wild.

Varicella has an incubation period of up to 16 days before Chickenpox symptoms appear, which can last as long as 21 days. That's a total of up to 37 days as a baseline, with the same recommendations for contagion. It also includes the small percentage of the population killed by Chickenpox, which has been almost eliminated by vaccination. Some percentage of those deaths were in the high risk groups that don't get vaccinated. I haven't looked for the specific numbers, but I know it was less than 100%.

If it took an extra 5 days for the virus to become dormant in just 1 person who would have died, we're already at 42 days. That's assuming they didn't just add 5 days as a margin of error. In either case, a difference of 5 days is negligible. The reduction in deaths, even among people who can't get the vaccine, is not.

Here's a bit from another insert:
 (see attachment in previous post)
That lists 28 weeks, or 7 months.

Read it again. It still says 6 weeks.

It also says newborn premature babies born before 28 weeks have weakened immune systems. That's completely different, and certainly shouldn't be news to anyone.

Again... just what part of this is hard to understand for people? Everyone wants to believe that vaccines are some sort of magical pixie dust.



Your comments seem to suggest it is that hard to understand. In fact understanding it is hard, like any complicated science. It's just not as complicated as you're making it. It's not even as complicated as understanding the science if you follow IainB's advice and look at the statistics.

Vaccines are, however, damn good insurance. With vaccines it's all about risk minimization and mitigation. Because at this stage of our medical knowledge and technology, that's about as good as we can make it.

Yes. Exactly.

But the pro-vaccine crowd almost ALWAYS touts all the positive benefits and completely ignores any of the possible adverse issues or other "inconvenient" facts. Again... this is about approaching the topic sanely and measuring benefits vs. costs.

Do you really not see the contradiction in those statements? You're following an ad hominem attack by complaining that the people you're attacking aren't making rational arguments. That's without even applying the same test to your own comments.

Regardless, I will absolutely concede that most people who are pro-vaccine don't analyze it that way. I will even go further and say the majority are almost completely ignorant of both the medical basis or statistical evidence. That's consistent with the average person's understanding of just about every complicated issue, and also something they have in common with the anti-vaccine side. It tells us a lot about people, in general, and not a thing about this, or any other, issue.

While it's easy to see why most people would get that impression. People who are capable of understand the issues involved without a remedial class are a small minority. Those who take the time to educate themselves are a much smaller subset of that. Reduce that to those of us with the requisite skills to communicate the information effectively and you're down to almost nothing.

The other problem, and this isn't necessarily directed at you, because I suspect you already see it, is relying on the government to make a rational case. This is a societal problem in need of a societal solution. Government is only 1 of the tools in our toolbox, and, frankly, it's the wrong one for most jobs.

Government is a blunt instrument - a hammer. As the old saying goes, if that's all you have, everything looks like a nail. Just like an actual hammer, government is the right tool for a few things, an adequate substitute for others, but a disaster waiting to happen for everything else. It's about as far from magical pixie dust as you can get. It's certainly the right tool to coerce people who cause public health hazards through willful ignorance. If intelligent discourse is what you need, good luck with that.

A few of us figure things out, a larger number comprehend and adopt those ideas, and it gradually trickles down to the masses over time if it works. That last group doesn't understand why, any more than they understand why they need to study history in school. For them, acceptance doesn't require understanding. A small group will cling to their small minds, neither understanding nor accepting. We've always got the hammer for them.

I'm sorry, but nobody gets to choose what parts of reality apply to them. Unfortunately, 100% of reality applies to everyone... vaccine advocates included.

This only goes to show, yet once again, how the mainstream views are so grossly distorted and perverse.

What really pisses me off is all these self-righteous zealots who preach "science" and then want to ignore anything that doesn't fit their personally acceptable narrative. This is a recurring theme in many fields, not just in "vaccines".

Gravity applies to Wile E. Coyote just as it does to everyone else. Nobody escapes nature. Not even psychotic zealots. :P

On either side.

Now, chickenpox (for the Varivax vaccine above) isn't very serious. But it's just one example. Not all vaccines are equal, and the zealots trying to portray them as all being unicorn farting rainbows do nothing to help the situation.

This would carry a lot more weight if you could name just one person who fits your description. I'd prefer someone who isn't a wingnut, except those 2 requirements are mutually exclusive. It won't make your broad brush characterizations any more accurate, but at least I'll have some reference for who you consider a spokesman for "my" side.

I think I'll stop here. Since it's you, I'd be concerned if you didn't get an angry rant in somewhere. If we're really lucky, or everyone else isn't, perhaps we even avoid the basement.

Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process
« on: February 10, 2015, 02:23 PM »
I would suggest that what is relevant is the observational data and results of experiments/trials and the falsifiability of those experiments/trials - be it wind speeds, global temps, numbers of infections/vaccinations, the incidence of caries in certain age groups, or something else.

This times infinity.

I hadn't been paying attention to this discussion for a while, and I'm going to wait to add my specific thoughts on a couple of the specific topics until I have time to write. And yes, that means walls of text, so I apologize in advance.

I did, however, want to highlight what IainB posted because he managed to summarize the entire issue in as succinct a manner as possible. For a much wordier treatise along the same lines, I highly recommend the transcript of a lecture Michael Crichton gave at Cal Tech shortly before his death.

Aliens Cause Global Warming

Once again, those proposed regulations are completely unrelated to how utilities are regulated. All they would do is prevent providers from using their monopoly power in anti-competitive ways. In theory that's SOP for regulating all industries.

Utility regulations pretty much fall into 2 categories, quality of service and rate schedule approval. If they were being treated as utilities, ISPs would be required to adhere to a minimum QOS level. If your individual Internet connection wasn't working, they would be required to fix it within hours, a day or 2 at most, just like traditional PSTN providers. Even a VOIP service sold by a cable provider doesn't get that level of regulation - at least not between the ISP and customer.

For example, Mediacom, the local cable company here, resells Sprint PSTN connections for their VOIP offering. If you call with a connection, or even quality problem and it's due to a problem between their CO and where the PSTN wires terminate, they fix it within 24 hours. If the problem is somewhere between the cable headend and your phone, you're at the mercy of Mediacom's schedulers.

They will get one of their VOIP specialists out as soon as possible, but if they happen to be unusually busy, and especially if you can't be there for a midday appointment, you may not see a tech for several days - even a week or more. If it were PSTN to the home, that would result in enough FCC fines to eat up all their profits and then some.

The television signal OTOH is regulated as a utility. If that goes out, they'll have someone there within 48 hours. If you call Internet support and your TV service is also affected, your service call gets scheduled from a completely different job queue. If there isn't an appointment available within 48 hours, the rep calls dispatch and it gets dumped on somebody's schedule anyway. If a tech ends up short on time, TV calls get priority and Internet calls get rescheduled.

Their ability to set arbitrary rates and impose arbitrary data caps would be similarly unaffected. The phone company's rates for PSTN service are capped at just slightly above maintenance cost for phone service. After the massive deregulation in the 90s, or unbundling as it was called in the industry, they can charge extra for everything beyond the phone number and basic service, but they are required to offer the barebones service by itself. Not that people are going to get service without "extras" like caller ID, but they have to offer it.

There are rural telcos who game the system by providing PSTN termination for out of area VOIP services. However, that's still only because they have government permission to charge extra for connections through their switches. And, once again, the utility regulations stop once the VOIP data is transmitted. One of those telcos tried to sell the company I worked for that service, and my boss turned them down for exactly that reason.

My point is this. When the lobbyists claim this plan amounts to utility regulations, it's purely to back up their claim that they won't have money to invest in the network. All it would really do is prevent them from erecting artificial barriers that interfere with the normal functioning of the Internet.

Living Room / Re: wierd mouse click problem
« on: February 08, 2015, 08:46 PM »
I don't use the software either, but I've got 3 kids who use my computer on a regular basis. That's bound to at least cut any device's lifespan in half.

Living Room / Re: The banality of the darknet developer
« on: February 06, 2015, 12:03 PM »
Whether it's online scammers or just garden variety Congress critters, it usually just comes down to Dunbar's number. It's the difference between  hurting real people or the idea of people.

In what way, exactly, is this treating internet providers as a utility?

Are mobile phone providers regulated like utilities? Because this is weaker than their Title II rules.

It looks more like a platypus to me.  :D

Doesn't Chrome use its own, built-in version of Flash instead of the one installed in Windows?

Living Room / Re: wierd mouse click problem
« on: February 05, 2015, 03:09 PM »
I'd be willing to bet it's more of a problem with ergonomic mice than any other kind. In fact, I'm not sure I've had the problem with anything else. While that narrows it down to Logitech mice for me, I've never seen it with any of the plain OEM Logitech units I've used - some for long periods of time.

After performing autopsies on a number of mice, mostly after fatal button problems, here's my hypothesis about why that is. The moving parts in a high end ergonomic mouse are not significantly higher quality than the ones on basic mice. In fact, in the case of the electronic moving parts like buttons, I'd say they're generally identical. However, the physics involved as significantly more stressful because of the distances and angles involved. That would explain why these physical problems primarily affect the main buttons, as well as more advanced features like tilting scroll wheels.

Living Room / Re: wierd mouse click problem
« on: February 05, 2015, 10:25 AM »
Sounds like a common problem I've experienced with Logitech mice. Eventually the clicker wears out and starts double-clicking occasionally when you only click once.

That was my first thought too, but I don't think it's just Logitech that is susceptible to this behavior. I've had several different brands of mice (granted mostly MS, but there were others), and all of them died the exact same - ^this - way. While I don't click that hard, or that fast...I can't help but think - given the history - that it just might be something that I'm doing.

That's been my experience as well, and not just with Logitech mice. I suspect it has something to do with the fact I tend to lay my fingers across the button, even when I'm clicking, which is kind of the point of having an ergonomic mouse for me. It seems to put odd stress on both the plastic parts that make up the button on the outside and the mechanical part of the actual button inside.

It also may just be that I have a heavy finger.

Living Room / Re: Memory lane for motorists
« on: February 02, 2015, 06:15 PM »
(not a fan of the Beetle or Mini remakes FWIW)

My wife had a fully restored 1972 Super Beatle a 'few' years back. That was a seriously fun car to drive Surprisingly quick, and everybody loved it.

I learned to drive a stick in a '72 Super Beetle Sun Bug. The great thing about that is it forces you to get a good feel for clutching and shifting from day 1. I've driven several manual transmission vehicles since then where the owner told me it was touchy or tricky and never had a problem.

The most fun part was driving it on snow and ice. Since I was working an evening shift, the roads were basically empty when I drove home. The (lack of) weight, and weight distribution lets you get away with some stupid driving in it.

The sunroof was an odd bonus. I once hauled some cheap assembly-required furniture home by sticking the box through the top. It stuck out almost 2 feet. Now I wish someone had taken a picture of me standing on the roof pulling it back out.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: February 01, 2015, 02:04 PM »
Here's another tidbit for what to listen to when you're learning an instrument. For harmonica, I'd start with horn players, primarily trumpet and saxophone. That's an integral part of Magic Dick's sound with the J Geils Band.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: February 01, 2015, 01:26 PM »
The key to the ease of building this particular power supply is an unusual transformer sold by a company called Weber Magnetics. It takes 120VAC-in and provides eight separate isolated 11VAC @ 300ma pairs - plus one with 9VAC @2A.

That's pure awesome. Currently my only pedal is a tuner, but I've been running it off a battery until I could find an acceptable quality power supply. The only universal PS I own currently was designed for laptops, so the lowest output is 14V. It's certainly nowhere close to the quality of that design.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: January 30, 2015, 07:54 PM »
stoic  Yeah, that is a thing.  It's true about the listening thing, maybe that's why it seems the bassists are better at explaining stuff to the other members, because they listen better?  I also struggle with any kind of extra ornaments when I play because it's hard enough for me to listen to everything and process it all.  Maybe when I'm more of a pro I can let that go and do more intentionally interactive things.

See that's why I tell people that the first time you play with other people, you learn more than everything you've learned up to that point. A close second is the first time you do it on stage in front of an audience.

You shouldn't be too hard on yourself though. Here's a secret most guitarists and bassists don't even admit to themselves. Our instruments are designed to do a lot of the thinking for us. I don't just mean all the obvious advantages it gives us, like the ability to transpose between keys by shifting a hand up or down the neck. The guitar can even teach you how to write a song.

Don't believe me? Here's a Rolling Stones song my bass taught me when I was 17. Not the words obviously, but within a note of the exact riff and rhythm. Keep in mind, when I "wrote" it, I had been playing for about a month, had never taken a lesson, and never heard the song before.

Sit down with a guitar or bass and try it yourself. Pick any position on the fretboard and keep your hand there. In fact you don't even need to use your pinky. Just for fun, try the same thing with Jumping Jack Flash. You have to use your pinky, but only 2 strings instead of 3. For Satisfaction it's even down to just 1 string.

Nothing against Keith. He's a phenomenal rhythm guitarist, something almost as underrated as a good bassist. But a great songwriter? Hardly.

Back in the 90s I saw one of the best pieces of advice for guitar solos - from an 80s speed metal shredder no less. He said if you want to learn how to solo, don't listen to other guitarists. Listen to keyboard players because their solos are composed melodically instead of by finger patterns.

There's just a lot more thinking involved on piano than guitar, and that's without getting past the basics of 3 chord blues progressions. On bass I can even lose 3 strings and still be fine. I've never lost 3 at once, but I have lost my A string in mid-song, which is arguably the hardest one to do without. All I had to do was play chord roots - 1 4 5 - through the rest of the song (and set) and nobody besides the band even noticed.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: January 30, 2015, 04:27 PM »
Jeff doesn't need anything to bolster his (somewhat unjustified IMO) fame or place in the history books of rock & roll.

Yeah, he's definitely way overrated. My problem with his playing is he's exclusively a lead guitarist. It reminds me of something I remember Lindsey Buckingham saying about Van Halen, which I completely agree with. He said his problem with their music is that Eddie's solos are like a completely different song.

Beck is arguably worse that way since, even on most of his studio recordings, he leaves the actual song for the rest of the band and just noodles over top of it from beginning to end. Going Down is a perfect example:

Beck is the only guy on that track whose playing needs the rest of arrangement to sound like anything but noise. Somehow he manages to step on every other part with almost every note.

Compare that to Randy Bachman on Taking Care Of Business. Once the solo starts, Bachman's lead only stops for the drum/vocal break, but always within the song and arrangement instead of on top of it. In fact, it fits so well most people don't even notice it.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: January 30, 2015, 12:47 PM »
She also has the best bass face in the business.

LOL! Is that what they call that grimace so many bass players do? ;D ;D ;D

Learn something new every day! :Thmbsup:

It was a new one on me too. From the references I've found, it seems like something that became a meme after she appeared on SNL.

For the record: I'm more the Joe-Gore-vacant-deadpan type myself. Or at least when I'm not glaring at a fellow band member who is screwing up the beat - or is doing the: "Wow! I'm really blowing everybody away with THIS extended solo!!!..." thing. You can almost see the thought balloon go up when they decide to pull that nonsense. And just before they start, they invariably look over at their bass player with 'that look' that screams - "Gimmee a lot of BASS!!!"
Nice to know we bassists are considered 'just the thing' when it comes time to cover up a guitarist's sins. ;)

And people wonder why I'm so clumsy on a crowded stage that I accidentally bop bandmates on the side of their skulls (with the head of my bass - oops!) as often as I do?

Yeah...I definitely need to be more careful.  :-\

I'm just the opposite. I pull all kinds of bizarre faces when I'm playing, except when I'm too focused on covering up for a wanking guitarist or, worse yet, a drummer who can't lock into the proper beat. I do have clumsy down pat though.

I also have a theory about why there are so many stoic bassists. There are only so many things the human brain can focus on (or switch between technically) and you have to do a lot more listening to play bass well. As torturous as that can make it when you're covering for sloppy musicianship, it's also an essential part of what makes the bass interesting to me. A guitarist usually plays the same part every time, no matter who he's working with. I get to change it up to fill in whatever the song needs.

@V - re: the Haim ladies. Agree 100%. Anything done in an attempt to improve Mustang Sally can hardly be a bad thing in my book. I personally can't stand that song. (Same thing goes for Sweet Jane.)  I swear next time I get asked to play either of those two I'm gonna plug into a looper and record about a minute's worth, hit repeat, and then go get a fresh draft over at the bar... Cheers guys! Carry on.  :Thmbsup: :P

11 out of 10 bassists agree with this sentiment. If you want to clear out a room full of musicians in a minute or less, Mustang Sally will generally do the trick. If there's anybody left at the end of the song, you can follow it up with Johnny B Goode. If they're not gone when that's done, it's time to call an ambulance.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: January 30, 2015, 07:57 AM »
I'm always looking for female musicians because I think it's good for my daughters who play bass. Tal Wilkenfeld is definitely one of the best. I'm also a big fan of the Haim sisters, particularly Este Haim. It's not just because she's a bassist either. Anybody who can make Mustang Sally sound fresh and interesting is a top notch player in my book. Their parents are no slouches either.

She also has the best bass face in the business.

That's understandable. Had I used the level of detail required to give anything resembling a "complete" answer, I'd still be typing.

Although they're often used interchangeably, switch and parameter don't really mean the same thing. Or perhaps more accurately, the common usage of switch has rendered its definition nebulous at best, and meaningless at worst.

The tricky part, or at least the first one, is understanding the context of parsing arguments. All switches are arguments, but not all arguments are switches. Instead of focusing on batch files, it may be easier to get a handle on the concepts by looking at basic built in Windows commands. Let's say you type in the following:

dir /x /q

Windows (specifically cmd.exe) parses it, based on whitespace characters (including some special characters like commas and colons) to find parameters. Each group of consecutive whitespace characters is considered equal to a single space character for this purpose. The string of characters after the first space and before the second are assigned to %1. The string after the second space and before the third are assigned to %2. These are parameters. In this case we obviously have 2 parameters - /x and /q.

The dir command then parses each one individually to see what they mean. In this case, each parameter is interpreted as a switch that specifies what information and formatting to display the directory listing.

But you could type it like this instead:

dir /x/q

Using the same sequence as before, cmd.exe parses it, but since there are no whitespace characters between /x and /q, there is only 1 parameter. The dir command, on the other hand, recognizes that the single parameter contains the / character and separates it into 2 different switches.

Going back to my point about how the word switch is used, consider using the copy command:


Based on how the command line is parsed, there are definitely 2 parameters. However, depending on who you ask there are either 0 or 2 switches. Personally I prefer the strict technical definition which says there are none. A switch does exactly what the name suggests. Essentially, a switch turns a predefined operation or feature on or off.

I believe, technically speaking, the batch file (or command) name is also considered a parameter (it's certainly treated like one) and it's not an argument at all. It certainly isn't a switch.

Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC?
« on: January 27, 2015, 03:19 PM »
Speaking of which, have you seen the prices of Tokai and Samick instruments lately?  Some folks got wind of the fact that some big name manufacturers have at some points in time secretly been using those guys to build their "limited-edition" and even some fill-in production runs, so now there's bidding wars on what used to be seen as cheap asian knockoffs. 
So it goes...  :-\

My understanding is that the price hike is actually coming almost entirely from Japan. Some time in the last couple decades a major collector's market developed and speculators started buying them as investments. It probably did start with the pre-Fender lawsuit Tokais, which were somewhat collectible already in the US.

If I'm not mistaken, when Tokai began building Fender instruments for the Japanese markets, they dropped their copies altogether. That would likely have driven prices for their pre-Fender instruments through the roof and sent people who couldn't get their hands on one looking for other "classic" Japanese brands.

Living Room / Re: wireless networking and wifi printer help
« on: January 23, 2015, 04:47 PM »
IIRC that was the conclusion I reached after some research, but it never got high enough on my list to try it out. Knowing how things worked there, they would have kept demanding a new printer anyway. Wasting money was sort of a culture, at least among the privileged few who were favorites of the president.

The president was also behind the fraud. Big surprise.

That does remind me of another reason I love HP's enterprise products so much. When you have a problem, you can usually find the solution online in a few minutes.

Living Room / Re: wireless networking and wifi printer help
« on: January 23, 2015, 09:25 AM »
I've currently got an HP LaserJet 4050dn here in IT, and a standing threat to shoot anybody that tries to wander off with it.

That is my main workhorse too. Got it used from a client with 65K pages worth of use on it for $50. It's still going strong. The 4xxx series was one of the best HP ever produced IMO. I also had a LaserjetIII (with Postscript cartridge!) that I bought new when it first came out. That "boat anchor" performed yeoman’s service right up until the day a client's 3-year old kid (an out of control little brat if there ever was one!) yanked the PS cartridge out and then rapidly plugged it back in three or four times in a row while the unit was running. After that, it would only print two pages at a time before a print job timed out. It got replaced by a Laserjet 4 the following week.

When I ran (or rather was) the IT department for a rural water utility, I spent more than a few hours arguing with the people who used our 4050 because they wanted a new printer. It started life as the billing printer and got handed off to their department after being replaced by a 9150. They eventually  managed to get their way just because they needed to be able to run 2 print jobs at a time. IIRC I got them a pair of 4250s for that.

Since I couldn't stand to let it go to waste, I shuffled it over to the woman responsible for the members' monthly newsletter. In reality, the only reason everybody hated it was the noise. I guess hated the noise too, but it was the one coming out of their mouths.

Personally, I would have traded the lot of them for another 4050. It was more productive than all of them combined. It also never helped defraud the FDA out of $45 million dollars.

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