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February 3rd, 2018
10:37 am


Don't hassle people for doing what you want



I mean, it seems pretty obvious when you put it like that.

But how many families, when an introvert sibling or child makes an effort to socialize, snarklily say, so you've decided to join us"?

Or when someone does something they've had trouble doing, say "Why can't you do that all the time"? (Happened to me, all too often.)

Or any sentence containing the word "finally".

If someone makes a step, a small step, in a direction you want to encourage, encourage it. Don't complain about how it's not enough. Don't bring up previous stuff. Encourage it.

Because I swear to fucking God there is nothing more soul-killing, more motivation-crushing, than struggling to succeed and finding that success and failure are both punished.


Here's my comment: So, why do people do this?

Two theories: One is that they're still angry about the past lack of accomplishment. The other theory is that they just want to claw at the person.

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January 22nd, 2018
09:17 am


Favorite shoes, and source for unusual sizes
I've been wearing Grasshopper Janey shoes-- they're a nice comfortable simple sneaker. The thing is, they've solved their durability problem-- the shoes' canvas used to wear out on the sides near the heel-- this doesn't seem unreasonable for $50 shoes, but my current pair is holding up nicely.


It didn't seem reasonable to reward them by buying shoes I didn't need, and I was thinking about how I could reward them some other way. A little publicity seems reasonable.

Also, the company I found them at is Auditions Shoes. After going to a number of stores to not find comfortable shoes (I'm an 8W, not a very extreme size), I hope to shop online for shoes for the rest of my life. Auditions' return policy isn't especially generous-- they don't cover postage to or from you-- but their prices are good.
navy blue sneaker

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December 16th, 2017
04:53 am


Apple thing (recipe)
Medium-large apple, sliced
2 eggs
about an egg-sized volume of chevre (soft goat cheese)
about a cup of cooked brown rice
cinnamon and all-spice

Mixed together (I used a potato masher to mix the eggs and cheese), and baked at 350 for about 40 minutes.

This worked out pretty well. The apple was hot rather than cooked soft as it would be for a pie, but I'm actually not crazy about the texture of fruit pie.

The result tasted like a dessert, but was as satiating as a normal dinner.

The apple was a variety I'm not familiar with-- green with some small pinkish areas, round, sweet, no seeds and very little core.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1096589.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.


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December 4th, 2017
10:54 pm


Tinnitus-- a thing that works well for me + a generalized ramble
I have some tinnitus in my right ear, and I also have a way of shutting it down, generally for months at a time.

The method is to run my attention down a muscle on the side of my neck. I think it's the sternocleidomastoid-- it starts at the back of my ear and runs diagonally down the front of my neck. It sticks out if I turn my head towards the center.

Minor evidence of involvement of neck muscles-- I've felt that turning my head included a sensation of pulling on my eardrum a couple of time.

I'm not sure how long I need to keep running my attention down the muscle, but I think it's in the range of a few minutes.

I've tried stroking the muscle instead, but that doesn't seem to work-- I may not have kept it going long enough.

I've tried paying attention to the tinnitus while I do this-- I wanted to see if I could catch the moment when tinnitus went away-- and that definitely doesn't work.

The idea for doing this just came into my head, apparently from nowhere. It seemed like it was worth trying and I was surprised at how well it worked.

There's a technique at the bottom which helps some people and makes things worse for others. While I think my technique is so gentle it's likely to be harmless, I also believe that anything which is strong enough to do good is strong enough to do harm, so it's a gamble.

And that's the specifics about my technique, the rest is a ramble about various things from the net about tinnitus.

I had the impression that doctors said there was nothing to be done for tinnitus, but apparently they do have some methods. Informal survey-- what have you heard about treatment for tinnitus?

There are different sorts of tinnitus. Mine has some correlation with worrying. It isn't the result of exposure to loud noise. I avoid loud noise because I find it painful-- no rock concerts for me. I've had the good fortune to not be exposed to loud noise involuntarily.

I get a wooshing noise in my right ear-- it ranges from just barely there to moderately annoying.

I haven't seen any evidence people are looking into the possibility that loud noise might cause muscle tension which would lead to tinnitus. However, some drugs cause tinnitus, so presumably it isn't all about muscle tension.


This article has what seems to be a thorough overview of tinnitus, including methods for managing it.


This article offers an intriguing idea of neurological treatment for (some types of?) tinnitus, but is much weaker about existing treatments.

Tinnitus and trigger points:

"Tinnitus is a multifaceted symptom that may have many causes (otologic, neurological, metabolic, pharmacological, vascular, musculoskeletal and psychological) several of which often occur in the same patient. Tinnitus can often be modulated by different kinds of stimuli. In this chapter we describe the results of a study of modulation of tinnitus from stimulation of myofascial trigger points (MTPs). MTPs are small hypersensitive areas in palpable taut bands of skeletal muscles found in patients with the myofascial pain syndrome where stimulation of MTPs causes local and referred pain. We found a strong correlation between tinnitus and the presence of MTPs in head, neck and shoulder girdle (p<0.001). In 56% of patients with tinnitus and MTPs, the tinnitus could be modulated by applying digital compression of such points, mainly those of the masseter muscle. The worst tinnitus was referred to the side that had the most MTPs (p<0.001); Compression of the trigger point on the same side as the tinnitus was significantly more effective than the opposite side in six out of nine of the studied muscles. Compression of MTPs was most effective in patients who have had chronic pain earlier in the examined areas."


20 minutes of pressing on muscles to see which ones might be involved in a person's tinnitus. This is something you can do for yourself. I've never followed the video when I have tinnitus, but I can testify that it's a pretty good head, neck, and shoulder massage.

I like that anatomical charts are superimposed on the man demonstrating the trigger point exploration, but if you don't like that sort of thing, you've been warned.


This one offers hope that magnesium might help tinnitus, but leaves out any connection to muscle tension.


Meditation on the tinnitus sound was very good for this man.


Tapping on the back of the head works well for some people with tinnitus, causes temporary relief (sometimes a good bit better than nothing) for others, has no effect for some, and makes tinnitus worse for others. I don't have a feeling for the proportions.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1096237.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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December 1st, 2017
09:22 am


Archiving your writing
It turns out that if you're a journalist, you can't count on your publications to store your writing reliably. Even if they don't go under, they might change format and lose your stuff. Or, I suppose, just lose it because computers are like that. Here are some methods for archiving. This isn't just for journalists, of course.


Saving things in the Wayback Machine

For readers: Keep track of changes in news stories

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November 21st, 2017
11:28 pm


Looking for ride to Chessiecon, will make and deliver buttons
I'm looking for a ride to Chessiecon-- it would just be me and a couple of pieces of luggage. I'm not bringing the business.

I'm in south Philadelphia, but I'll meet you anywhere that Philly mass transit goes.

If you'd like buttons, pre-order them and I'll bring them. Info at NancyButtons or just email or PM. I'm at nancyL (at) panix (dot) com.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have before the convention-- orders by Wednesday night will definitely get done. I'll do my best with later orders, or I can mail them.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1095777.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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November 18th, 2017
10:47 am


Biology, always more complicated
Genetics of passenger pigeons

The hypothesis is that they were strongly selected for living in huge flocks, which is why they all died off instead of surviving in small groups.

I’m not sure that the strong immune systems which make sense for large flocks would make it hard to survive in small groups, but there might be something else.

This caught my eye:

“When a beneficial mutation spreads through a population, it carries along with it adjacent stretches of DNA, so subsequent generations carry not only the good mutation but entire sections of identical DNA. These regions of low diversity can be broken up by recombination, the process in which paired chromosomes exchange sections of DNA during the formation of eggs and sperm (which explains why parents don’t pass on exact copies of their chromosomes to their offspring).

“Recombination tends to happen less frequently in the middle of chromosomes than at the ends, a tendency that is especially pronounced in birds. In the passenger pigeon genome, the researchers found that areas of low genetic diversity were in the middle of chromosomes, while higher diversity regions were at the ends.”

I’d assumed that genes are selected for individually, but apparently not.

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November 9th, 2017
12:00 pm


Torture is a bad idea if you want information

In fact, you shouldn't even yell at prisoners. You should be a person they want to talk to.

This is very hard work.

The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world’s first empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics.

The Alisons’ findings are changing the way law enforcement and security agencies approach the delicate and vital task of gathering human intelligence. “I get very little, if any, pushback from practitioners when I present the Alisons’ work,” said Kleinman, who now teaches interrogation tactics to military and police officers. “Even those who don’t have a clue about the scientific method, it just resonates with them.” The Alisons have done more than strengthen the hand of advocates of non-coercive interviewing: they have provided an unprecedentedly authoritative account of what works and what does not, rooted in a profound understanding of human relations. That they have been able to do so is testament to a joint preoccupation with police interviews that stretches back more than 20 years.

Pausing the Diola video, Emily Alison grimaced. “I call this one ‘the Hannibal Lecter interview’,” she said. “He wants a piece of the interviewer. When I watched this tape the first time I had to switch it off and walk away. I was so outraged, my heart was pounding in my chest. Of course, if you’re in the room, it’s 1,000 times worse.” Laurence Alison nodded. “As the interviewer, you’re bound to have an emotional response,” he said. “What you want to say is, ‘You’re the one in the fucking seat, not me. He’s trying to control you, so you try and control him. But then it escalates.”

The moment that an interrogation turns into an argument, it fails. “You need to remember what your purpose in that room is,” said Emily. “You’re seeking information. You’re not there to speak on behalf of the victims or the police. You might feel better for getting angry, but down that road is retribution. You become the inquisitioner. That’s not why you’re there. If you find yourself having a go at someone, ask yourself: ‘What am I achieving by this?’ Because they will stop talking to you.”

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1095389.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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11:55 am


Is the Knowledge Factory Broken?
And the answer is, "Not completely, but in more ways than you could possibly imagine."

Is the Knowledge Factory Broken?

23 minute podcast

I've heard a lot of about the replication crisis, but this it the first I've heard that Ambigen researchers couldn't replicate their own experiments in their own lab. i give them points for honesty, but this means science is even harder than I thought.

There's the general problem of scientists getting career advancement for flashy new discoveries... but no one is allotted enough time or money to check anything for truth. I've been thinking for a while institutionally, we've been trying to do science on the cheap, using easy measurements like number of citations.

This brings me back to the useful concept of the conservation of thought (from the first issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction)-- just that people generally don't want to think more than they have to.

There's a section about the social sciences not communicating with each other (of course they don't have a shared vocabulary), with a suggestion that if they worked on real world problems, success or failure would supply a test.

There's a man working on making scientific journals more available, but he doesn't look at the problem of not enough people to read them and think about them.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1095035.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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October 31st, 2017
10:17 am


Keeping your knees safe during tai chi
These are all good advice, and mostly not overlapping.

Release you perineum, let your weight drop through your knees into your feet, don't let your knees go past your feet (maybe not much past your ankles), have your knees pointing in the same direction as your feet, take your weight off your foot when you're turning it, respect your capacities.

Speaking from experience, you can't necessarily trust that you have an accurate idea of what you're doing with your knees. A mirror, a camera, a teacher, and/or humble efforts to increase awareness are good ideas.

The kwa is the fold at the hip.





I would rather have had the videos visible in my post, but neither embed media nor rich text were working-- and the only way I could preserve my line breaks was to disable auto-formatting.

This entry was posted at https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1094821.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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