6,758 reputation
22856
bio website knowing.net
location Kailua Kona, HI
age 50
visits member for 2 years, 11 months
seen 1 hour ago

Contributing Editor and Columnist, SD Times. Editor of now-defunct magazines including Software Development, Computer Language, and AI Expert. Founding Editor of Game Developer, which still totally rocks.

On Twitter at @lobrien

Sr. Software Engineer at Gemini Observatories.

Not a bad coder.


Oct
25
answered Did the Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer select the only nearby theater where guns were prohibited?
Oct
13
asked Did Columbus order atrocities against the Lucayan people?
Oct
12
answered Is comet ISON going to kill us?
Oct
12
comment Is comet ISON going to kill us?
Out of curiosity, can you tell where you "heard [this] on the news"?
Oct
4
accepted Is the placebo effect dependent on the amount of belief in it?
Sep
25
comment If 1 in 10 is convinced, will the rest follow?
Hendy: Yes, I think so. Not being a cable-TV talking head, I don't feel compelled to take a stand on every fringe statement: "Bill Gates should be President of the US," say. I don't feel committed one way or the other to that belief. But if it were to become a common topic, I'd scrutinize it and ultimately commit one way or the other. And I think people often give more credence to the "pros" of fringe beliefs for various reasons. So it seems to me that as a fringe became mainstream, resistance would increase.
Sep
23
comment If 1 in 10 is convinced, will the rest follow?
It seems to me that a more realistic simulation would need to model "rising skepticism." One might not take a firm stand on the existence of plesiosaurs in Scottish lochs as long as it's a fringe belief, but if it started to become a large minority belief, I would go from "willing to discuss" to "firmly disbelieving."
Sep
12
awarded  Notable Question
Sep
11
comment Could Shanti Devi remember a past life?
I would think that if your claim includes memories of past lives, those might be verifiable. Hasn't happened, but it strikes me as more testable than a lot of mysticism.
Sep
11
comment Are 42% of human deaths worldwide from abortion?
There's something deeply troubling about "Is X true, assuming Y is X?" Perhaps the issue, within the rules of this site, is that "assume abortion is death" is a claim that needs citation.
Sep
9
answered Are our minds quantum entangled with people we are (emotionally) close to?
Sep
8
comment Does it take 20000 L of water to produce 1 kg of cotton and 130 L to produce 1 cup of coffee?
Just for reference, here are the steps in producing coffee at the totally personal level: knowing.net/index.php/2009/06/09/coffee
Sep
7
comment Does it take 20000 L of water to produce 1 kg of cotton and 130 L to produce 1 cup of coffee?
I can't cite my own experience, so I'll just comment: I grow and process my own coffee. There's no inherent need for anything like that much water: water is used in the demucilaging bath, but that's low volume. So presumably they mean irrigation, but that varies by location (I use none, but nearby commercial farms have drip systems). Even if one does include irrigation, what's the definition of "taking" water? It's not removed from the water cycle. Many farms, at least here in Kona, Hawaii, are organic and don't use/minimize pesticides and runoff.
Sep
7
comment Probabilistic approach to the validity of evolution
The study of "Genetic Algorithms and Evolutionary Computation" is a Computer Science niche that has, among other things, developed some mathematical insights that are extremely clarifying (I wish they were incorporated into High School teaching on evolution). John Holland's "Hidden Order" and his slightly-more formal "Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems" are slim and very accessible.
Sep
4
comment Is a lack of breakfast the #1 brain damaging habit?
Googling "blood sugar brain degeneration" brings up some links that show high blood sugar associated with degeneration. Huh.
Sep
1
comment Does MTX treat Psoriatic arthritis?
I have psoriatic arthritis and have used MTX. I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor about the "biologics" class of treatments. I am not a doctor, but I've dealt with the disease for 25 years. The TNF-alpha blockers introduced in the past decade have transformed the treatment of the disease.
Aug
30
comment Do new pictures from amateur photographer prove Loch Ness Monster exists?
Voted to reopen. The Loch Ness Monster is so well known that it seems silly to pretend that this will not be claimed as evidence. What's a skeptics site for, if not cryptozoology, UFOs, and the occasional ghost?
Aug
28
revised Do sharks die if they stop swimming?
phrasing s/collaborated/corroborated/
Aug
25
awarded  Good Question
Aug
23
comment Have there been 28 years of “above average temperatures”?
Isn't this begging the question? The question cites the same reference given in the answer.