Treat your arthritic knees with …

Weight lifting.

On a cellular level, what stimulates your chondrocytes, the stem cells that grow new cartilage, is cyclical loading. It’s a pattern of force that’s associated with things like running, jumping or weight lifting. These cells aren’t stimulated in the same way by lower-impact activities like using an elliptical machine or cycling.

For cartilage to remain healthy and regenerate in the way that it does for someone who is in their teens or 20s, the preponderance of evidence suggests that cyclical loading in the form of running or weight lifting is a really effective way to do that.

To a physician of my age this is like treating asthma with smoking.

It does match my experience though. When my familial arthritis kicked in I thought my CrossFit days were done. Instead my knees feel better when I’m doing my wall balls and back squats…

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NAVIGON.app is dead.

I don’t think I should expect a refund.

I liked it for offline use, especially when traveling in areas with poor cell reception or where I had no data plan.

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This is how bad my Facebook ads are now …

This is how bad my Facebook ads are now … If I see an ad that’s close to my interests I click on it. Excluding those that I know, from past experience, go to unreadable sites.

That’s unusual. Mostly I get featured articles from sites a friend supposedly likes. If I click on them I get a flurry of ads. Basically, garbage.

We buy a lot of stuff. I have the credit card statements. My interests are easy to find, Facebook knows my Groups and Page Likes. AI need not apply, this is stone simple stuff.

And yet … crap ads.

Is anyone shorting Facebook yet?

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Facebook’s other ad problem: they aren’t any good

For some time I’ve been hiding or blocking irrelevant, uninteresting, misplaced or repulsive Facebook ads. All done with Facebook’s tools. I’ve even directly modified my ad interests.

The result?

My ads are getting less relevant and less interesting.

This is nuts. My family does a lot of stuff. Our Amazon spend is scary. There should be useful ads. Something is broken.

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Pigouvian taxation of the ad-click – it’s just me

As of April 2018 Google has no hits on the concept of Pigouvian taxation of ad-clicks as a core mitigation of the Facebook-Google problem.

My posts don’t show either of course; once Google would have found them. So there may be others like me, but nobody with an audience.

I’m disappointed Krugman or DeLong haven’t brought this up.

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Apple and me

I’ve lived through several OS transitions. Microsoft did them best. Their transitions had the lowest expenses and the least data loss. Apple did the biggest transition. OS/2 and GEOS died.

We all expect another transition from Apple; some mixture of macOS and CPU transition. This follows on years of Apple macOS disappointments — for me, above all, the way Apple ended Aperture.

I expect this transition to go badly for me. So my Apple relationship is officially cold. Not divorce yet, but the lawyer is in Contacts.

I’m not buying anything from Apple unless there is very clear immediate value and a clear exit strategy. I’ve ended our family Apple Music subscription. I’ll look for an alternative to iTunes movies. No earPods, no Apple Watch.

I’m staying on Sierra and Aperture through 2019.

Divorce will be painful, but Apple is likely past redemption. Its path lies elsewhere.

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The world is hard for the ungifted – bugs.

Google Maps wouldn’t let me switch from bike to drive directions. App state was confused, the left most icon inaccessible.

So I switched from bike to walk. That reset the app state and made drive accessible.

A routine bug workaround. In the iOS 11 era we run into this sort of thing a few times a day. Barely notice them any more.

There are so many bugs. Apple has the most now, but they are everywhere. The bike share I used this morning has a 15 sec delay in releasing a bike, if you don’t know that then you think the transaction failed. A bug equivalent.

If you are a global genius you may not notice these. If you merely have a knack, and are not yet too old, they are a minor annoyance. If you are an Old, as I am, they are ticks of the reapers clock, they take a bit longer to solve from year to year.

Ahh, but if you don’t have a knack … you didn’t get the academic gene, didn’t go to college, didn’t get the orthogonal geek gene … then this might be Hell. A regular reminder that you are not Elite. That the world has moved on and left you behind. That what you have, what you can do, what you have done … it doesn’t count any more.

Imagine what that feels like. Who do you vote for?

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Siri did something weird and disturbing

I said “Hey Siri, remind me to fix Kateva”. (Shorthand for fix Kateva.org/sh).

Siri created a reminder “Fix Kateva thunder desensitization”.

That isn’t a random error. I believe I had that as a task name in ToDo.app – years ago. Spotlight can’t find it on my iPhone now though. ToDo can’t find it either.

So where did Siri get that from?

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Ad-click business models are a civilizational threat. Tax the click.

Olds like me wonder “what happened?”

The current theory goes like this

1. In the 90s the Internet, especially Google, became ad-click funded. (The click is important. Not funded by dollars sold, funded by click.)

2. Slowly Google and others discovered that emotionally extreme material generated more clicks. Again, clicks, not necessarily sales. (We don’t know if this is because the material selects for ad-clickers or encourages ad-clicks. I’ve probably clicked 4 ads in my life.)

3. Ads on kitten videos and white-nationalism and “viral content” got more clicks.

4. The algorithms encoded this knowledge and began tailoring content based on interest “hints”.

Lately researchers have been quantifying this. They found emotionally engaging content drives more clicks, and it is easier to invent that content than it is to find it. So the mass web became a tool for disseminating false content.

The effect is so powerful non-researchers see it in simple YouTube tests, aided in this case by a disaffected Google engineer:

Basically the dark side of humanity is amplified by Pay-per-click advertising business models.

The good news is there are obvious fixes. The same fixes used for other addictive social harms like tobacco. Regulation and taxes. For example, tax click-based ad revenue heavily.

To know the enemy is to understand the fix.

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Did CSS kill tables on the web?

Once upon a time there were fabulous tools for creating HTML tables.

Twenty years later the dominant web authoring tool, WordPress, has no native table support.

I have never gotten a good explanation for the death of tables.

So I’ll venture a guess.

I think it was CSS. I wonder if it’s just too hard to put HTML’s table model together with CSS.

If this is true then my CSS dislike will double …

Update 2/19/2018: @clarkgoble creates his tables in Numbers then posts into MarsEdit (choose paste and preserve formatting!). I tried it and it works! I also installed the popular tables plugin for WordPress but it’s a poor substitute for native support. I wish MarsEdit did tables, but they didn’t make the recent big update.

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Old iPhone weirdness: Phone.app Favorites include Message and FaceTime references

This is an old weirdness.

Phone.app shows a “Favorites” list. The list includes phone number references of course, but it can also hold FaceTime audio (UI for adding FaceTime audio is obscure), FaceTime video, and Message references. Favorites only show in Phone.app, not in Messages.app or FaceTime.app.

Favorites should logically be its own app or a part of Contacts.app, not a part of Phone.app.

(There’s probably a name for people who find this noteworthy.)

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My periodic test of Google Translate

Inspired by The Shallowness of Google Translate – The Atlantic I repeated an old test using Hostadter’s concluding paragraph. I did a round-trip translation from English to Chinese and back.

Original:

When, one day, a translation engine crafts an artistic novel in verse in English, using precise rhyming iambic tetrameter rich in wit, pathos, and sonic verve, then I’ll know it’s time for me to tip my hat and bow out.

Result:

One day, a translation engine used English poetry to create an artistic novel, with exquisite rhythms, rich wit, sadness, and sound, so I knew it was time to give me a little hat.

This is a real improvement over the last time I tried this. The “little hat” is goofy, but the result evokes a similar meaning.

It is a better result than I expected.

If I were writing for a Chinese audience, I could try this round-trip technique and tweak the English until it worked. Then have a native read the Chinese.

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Why do healthy young people sometimes die of influenza?

Our best guess is “bad luck”. Maybe they had another infection that interacted with influenza. Maybe their immune system was transiently disordered. Maybe they had an obscure genetic trait that set things down a bad path.

I’ve seen some long tortured explanations, but in this epidemic it seems bad luck. Sometimes lightning hits us.

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How much did the cost of software maintenance increase between 2000 and 2017?

I’m guessing severalfold cost increase due to security issues. Much higher patch frequency driven by security findings and OS changes.

IT budgets, especially in government, have not kept pace. Internally developed software is no longer cost effective.

Lots of implications we don’t understand yet. Some workflows will need to be simplified or change to fit generic tools … or even revert to pre-software modes.

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Returning from a Nordic ski resort in genteel decline …

This resort was in Northern Minnesota, along the Gunflint Trail. Could be anywhere though; every one we’ve visited in the past 15 years has had better days.

Lovely times when there is snow, but always with some melancholy. The world has moved on. There’s not enough consistent snow cover to sustain Nordic skiing in North America.

It was a beautiful sport – especially on narrower classic trails through woods. Our snowless winters feel longer for its passing.

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Off the grid: More iOS bugs

Off the grid I discover new iOS bugs. Choosing an alarm I’m given a list of tunes, but turns out many are not on device. Had to choose from playlist.

Apple assumes unlimited high speed data in its designs now.

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Refurb goods and shortened warranties

When my son’s XBOX ONE died age 18m I was happy to have my AMEX extended warranty at hand.

Except, they correctly pointed out, it was a refurb and had a limited 90 day warranty.

Oddly enough I’d never run into this before; I assumed a normal warranty. Why buy something the seller predicts will fail prematurely? That would require a hell of a discount.

If I ever buy refurb again the product will have to have a full warranty period.

Penance paid, lesson learned, shared, etc.

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Unsurprising news from physician payment experiments.

This week we learned:

  • If you pay physicians based on how patients do they avoid caring for high risk patients. Who then do worse.
  • Conversely physicians who care for wealthy healthy patients get more rewards, so health card dollars are flowing to wealthy patient care.

This surprised nobody with a brain.

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Pinboard increasingly unreliable.

I pin a lot as part of my microblog posting. More and more authentication challenges. Maybe result of some bot attack/password reset?

I think I’m going to have to switch my flow around. Make it WordPress centric.

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How many calories does menstruation use?

I couldn’t find a scholarly article on this. Which is weird. Maybe research is old.

Women’s magazines estimate around 200-300 calories, they typically source a physician known to the journalist.

At the high end that is 3,600 calories a year, roughly a 1lb yearly weight gain if not menstruating and nothing else changes.

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Neural networks 2018

The speed of neural network development feels faster than anything in my lifetime. Maybe early web was similar.

This is bigger potential impact though.

2018 is going to be too interesting.

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Consequences of bundling Photos.app with macOS.

The only sensible way to use macOS is to wait 8 months for bugs to be fixed and OS ecosystem to be updated.

That means waiting 8 months for bug fixes.

On the other hand, one gets a mature Photos.app update yearly with 3 months of tweaks.

Not all bad, but 8 months is a long time to wait for big bug to be fixed.

I’m still on Aperture, so still but abstract. Aperture looks better all the time.

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Apple metadatacide: iPhoto, Aperture, Photos

iPhoto allowed notes on albums and rolls. Aperture discarded the album notes but allowed notes on Projects. Photos discards the notes on Projects, it does not support them when translating to Albums.

Why I would like to see Apple broken up into five smaller companies.

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The science of bias and a roadmap for progress

A NYT piece on how bias works at law firms summarizes evidence-based research.

It is consistent with the hypothesis that the more a new employee resembles their superiors the more effective they will be.

I read this from the same NYT RSS stream that included an article about frustrated women staring more independent businesses.

That startup effort runs into obstacles to all business startups. We know startups have been in decline for over a decade. The suspects are burdensome regulations, lack of affordable health care outside of large corporations, effective use of financial and political weapons by large corporations, and increasing monopoly and monopsony powers of megacorps without antitrust responses.

There ought to be room for political compromise to support small business startups for all and particularly non-white-males. ObamaCare or single payor for health coverage. Regulatory rationalization. Startup support including packaged plans. Aggressive antitrust. Tax reform. Political and campaign contribution reform.

Of course all of these are far more likely to come from Dem than GOP — although the western GOP ( Utah, etc) would support some. I read several of these in Clinton’s policy proposals, though they didn’t get any media attention.

If America survives the Trump era, and a new party replaces the GOP, there is at least a roadmap. Now all we need is a miracle.

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Gaming of FDA adverse event database by anti-vaxxers

There is something especially horrible about this. From Politico health newsletter:

“In recent decades, lawyers alleging that their clients became autistic as a result of childhood vaccines were known to post reports in the related Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Anti-vaccine activists then cited the reports as evidence that the vaccines were harmful.”

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Objectivism and eugenics

Recent events remind us the mass of humanity make sheep and frogs look pretty smart. (Frogs jump out of boiling water, humans seem to cook.)

Libertarian “market” solutions to things like Equifax require an informed and intelligent actor. Obviously humans don’t qualify.

So then how is this supposed to work? Only the elites survive?

I suppose that is how it worked out in Rand’s books.

So libertarianism is effectively a kind of eugenics program…

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Local: “Black man” with “afro” shoots unarmed security guard at local college

Helicopters, airplanes, K9 dogs, cordons. Not a good time to be a black man going for an evening run.

Security guard late admitted he shot himself with a gun he wasn’t supposed to have. Made up the black assailant in slightly misguided attempt to save his job.

Local Facebook commentary during the search had less overt racism than I’d expected. Maybe it was moderated? I didn’t hear of any black men running into scary trouble. St Paul police have a good reputation, that might have helped.

Apparently nobody hurt, so salutary lesson.

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Statins and global warming

Two years ago I was studying for my family medicine board exams. This was around the time the avant garde were ready to put statins in the water supply.

Fast forward 2017. Everyone hates on statins for primary prevention. Myalgias. Diabetes. Brain fog. Whatever. Now patients need to have a pretty good risk of 10y CVD death to take ’em.

This is kind of routine in medicine. Big swings usually amped by big money.

The swings have consequences beyond personal health and billions of dollars. They cost confidence. They are one reason it was so easy for big money to turn the GOP into an anti-science machine.

Statins have given us Scott Pruitt.

Thanks pharma.

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iOS is becoming less accessible for the cognitively disabled.

The original Mac was very easy to use. It became much less cognitively accessible after MultiFinder was introduced. Apple then added “SimpleFinder”, but that never truly made the transition to OS X (the name was preserved without the CamelCase, bit it is much less useful).

iOS is following a similar path, but without SimpleFinder. This impacts not only the legally disabled but also everyone who is less gifted – and the elderly.

iOS needs cognitive accessibility controls and considerations.

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