Monday, March 26, 2012

90% Face Recognition Study was Never Published in Scientific Journal

If you had a skill or ability that worked 90% of the time and someone offered you to $1Million to merely demonstrate it - allowing YOU to set the test parameters and write the testing protocol yourself wouldn't you do it?  Naomi Tickle won't because she doesn't want to "tear apart" her body of work.  I wouldn't either if I had "written the book" on unproven science of determining personality by reading faces.

 I had a follow up email from Naomi Tickle and was trying to figure out if the best way to present her counterpoints.  This blog won't make much sense without reading the first 2 blogs.  So here is the links to my first blog my letter and her response.   She recently indicated she thought it was unethical of me to publish her emails that were private communications.  After thinking about it, I've agreed to summarize her thoughts and quote her only selectively.  My skepticism of her technique remains.  She continues to send me quotes from happy customers whose life has been changed and who agree with her insights.  I continue to point out that the Forer demonstration in 1948 explains why.

Darren: You are mentioned prominently in the article. 
Naomi replied and indicated that the comments are by someone who has no knowledge of her work and hasn't attended her workshops

Darren:  Well I have attended a workshop, and I find his comments dead on.  But in fairness I didn't get an assessment of my face either.  I don't need to jump off a cliff to know I can't fly.

Naomi indicated her charts do show she is able to distinguish personality from facial traits. She says her own blind studies and feedback from clients confirm she can read personality from looking at faces 

Darren: I’m not sure what charts you are referring to here (from your book?)  I don’t doubt your sincerity or that you are a very genuine person.  In my opinion you are just not aware how to go about scientifically verifying your theories. 
There is a difference between blind and double blind.  It involves a 3rd party to verify the results.  I've wondered and searched for scientific validation for Myers Briggs and DISC testing before, without much success.  Naomi is comparing her face reading to possibly other unproven personality testing techniques.  There was an experiment done back in 1948 called the Forer demonstration that pretty clearly demonstrates why Naomi's results seem so encouraging.  I highly recommend this quick read of the effect on Wikipedia.  An even more skeptical analysis is provided here.  The same Forer explanation goes a long way towards dismantling Myers Briggs and DISC assessments as well.  I'm not sure why she thinks her husband having a PhD leads to more rigorous analysis on her part.  I've seen educated people who believe in woo woo.

As I said, I think you’re merely deluding yourself and others.  I have seen demonstrations where the same horoscope is handed out to a group of 30 people and they are asked if they feel the horoscope is accurate.  85% of them raise their hands only to discover they’ve all been handed the exact same horoscope.  

"Naomi: I am not deluding myself and I am not a believer in horoscopes, tarot cards, hand writing or palmistry or intuition."

Darren: I wouldn’t even begin to know how to test the observations for myself.  Googling the study you reference lead me to an entry in the skeptics dictionary in which they indicate they have been unable to find any such publication in any scientific journal.  Note to Reader: During Naomi's talk in Reno she claimed studies have shown greater than 90% accuracy for face reading.  In her last e-mail she lowered that to 88%.  Now we find out that the "studies" were never published in a peer reviewed journal!  By the way the guy who started all this nonsense was Whiteside, who was a journalist, not a scientist.  Read the reviews of his work on Amazon
Naomi: she confirmed the studies were never published.  Suggested testing one trait at a time

Darren:  That seems reasonable – Again if the trait were something scientifically undeniable and testable such as a persons career or whether they got A’s in math versus C’s in math (say by looking at pictures of high-school students). 

Naomi: indicated her technique wouldn't be able to determine whether people got A's or C's in a particular subject. talked about her many happy customers who agreed with her readings.

After Naomi's talk I asked if her personality reading would enable her to, with 90% accuracy differentiate between an analytical personality such as an engineer or accountant versus say an artist or musician.   She said absolutely.  I mentioned students because I figured "analytical personality" types, which she says exist - would tend to have higher math grades than artistic types.  Now look at her back pedaling.  Her point that there are multi-talented people was (say an engineer who is also a world class musician) was why I called "B.S." on her in the first place. But there is no reason we couldn't find people like accountants who didn't have any musical or artistic skills to do the test with.

Maybe the whole $1Million thing was too much.  Maybe a simple $100 bet with Naomi that she can tell 10 math teachers from 10 art teachers with statistical level of significance?  Or whatever opposite end of the spectrum personalities we can think of that are definitive.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

ALL Power is Really Nuclear Power

Well Almost anyway.  We are getting closer to fusion nuclear power (current nuclear plants use fission).  Fusion has been the holy grail of nuclear scientists for many years because it may turn out to be much safer.  On March 15th scientists at Lawrence Livermore fired the world's most powerful laser, a key milestone on the way to fusion. thanks to the new achievement, a prototype nuclear fusion power plant could be operating within a decade, speculated study leader Siegfried Glenzer.  Unfortunately the fuel pellets they currently use are very expensive, but there is room for hope.

One point I like to make when people wax philosophical about "green energy" is that all power we generate now is highly inefficient in terms of real estate used and energy released compared to nuclear.  In fact most of our energy production is really just releasing trapped nuclear power (with only 2 possible exceptions I can think of).  If you think about it, most types of  energy production today is a sort of  "nuclear battery" - releasing energy previously generated by a nuclear reaction.  For example, when you burn a log on a campfire you are releasing trapped nuclear power from the sun (which is a fusion reaction) that grew the tree in the first place. The same is true for solar, oil, bio fuels, coal, wind, natural gas and pretty much everything else.  So when you start thinking about it, almost all energy is just a form trapped nuclear that originally (or currently) came from the sun.

Why not stop messing around with low energy high CO2 techniques and go straight to the source?  The objections have to do with safety and waste products.  Even with conventional reactors these issues are capable of being dealt with.  For example, if we invested in a few breeder reactors we could greatly reduce the amount of nuclear waste by cross feeding the two reactor types (water cooled and sodium cooled).  But now we're getting closer to a  fusion reaction .  Nuclear fusion doesn't produce long-lasting nuclear waste, and fusion could potentially be used to chemically neutralize radioactive pollutants and has been proposed as a cure to our nuclear waste problem

Oh... the two exceptions I mentioned above that may not be a trapped form of nuclear power?  Geothermal and tidal.  And... even geothermal (heat from the core of the earth) arguably has a radioactive component to it.

The Odds in a Coin Flip are not 50/50

To me the idea of "triplethought" (the name of my blog) is exemplified by this study.  It just goes to show you have to really challenge what you think you know as fact.  Do you think the odds of a flipped coin coming up either heads or tails is 50/50? Think again. A Standford study shows the odds in a coin toss odds aren’t 50/50 as almost everyone believes.... but more like 51% versus 49% in favor of the side that starts up when it is initially flipped. It has nothing to do with the weight or imbalance in the coin.  There is a bias towards the side that starts up.  They used a machine to perform a large number of coin tosses and found the following:

  1. If the coin is tossed and caught, it has about a 51% chance of landing on the same face it was launched. (If it starts out as heads, there's a 51% chance it will end as heads).
  2. If the coin is spun, rather than tossed, it can have a much-larger-than-50% chance of ending with the heavier side down. Spun coins can exhibit "huge bias" (some spun coins will fall tails-up 80% of the time).
  3. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor, this probably adds randomness.
  4. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor where it spins, as will sometimes happen, the above spinning bias probably comes into play.
  5. A coin will land on its edge around 1 in 6000 throws, creating a flipistic singularity.
  6. The same initial coin-flipping conditions produce the same coin flip result. That is, there's a certain amount of determinism to the coin flip.
  7. A more robust coin toss (more revolutions) decreases the bias.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Naomi Tickle Refuses Scientific Testing

March 22, 2012 - Naomi Tickle "Wrote the book" on Personology - accessing personality based on looking at someones face.  Read my previous blog for my offer to help her to win $1Million JREF challenge by demonstrating her ability in double blind conditions.  Predictably, Naomi ducks and weaves her way out of being tested.  My comments are  below, Naomi's are summarized to protect her private email content. It turns out the "scientific study" she references from 1963 has been looked for and not found in any scientific journal.  See the link here in the Skeptics dictionary.   I had no idea I was talking to someone so who made that illustrious tome.  Further comments inline below.   The only reason I'm summarizing Naomi is at her request.

From Naomi Tickle
To: Darren McBride
Subject: Re: Re Offer

Naomi:  "After taking a look at the JREF website and looking through what you outlined below, I have decided against applying for the challenge of proving the Face Pattern Recognition system.  You may well think I have come to this decision because I don't think my system works.  Well, I know it does. "

Yes, most people really like this kind of thing.  And you’re so personable and confident and friendly no one wants to challenge you.  Even the guy who misread your book (chapter 5) and said it was racist has taken a lot of heat behind the scenes.  It is unfortunate he jumped on you like that.

Naomi talked about the validity of her charts and face reading technique.
I’m not sure what charts you are referring to here (from your book?)  I don’t doubt your sincerity or that you are a very genuine person.  In my opinion you are just not aware how to go about scientifically verifying your theories.

Naomi stated that the major reason for not participating in the challenge is that she doesn't want her work to be torn apart and believes people jump to conclusions without fair evaluation and hoped I wouldn't be offended that I was one of these people. She didn't want me to put my own spin on things.
No offense taken.  I have, in fact, “jumped to the conclusion” that your face reading probably doesn’t work.  I have done so without having my own face analyzed by you. But even if I had an assessment and you nailed my personality perfectly, I would consider the evidence completely anecdotal which is why I didn’t avail myself of the opportunity when you came to town.  Plus, I had already shown you some of my personality by asking you a question after your presentation.  Whether I (or anyone else) feels your assessment of them is correct is not validation of the science behind your method.  Only double blind testing can validate your technique – and you are afraid of doing that apparently.   I think accessing someone’s “personality” is a very slippery thing. I even think formal “personality tests” don’t have definitive science behind them, which is why I suggested doing these tests by determining who is in what very different career.
As for “putting their own spin on things” – that is the reason YOU design the JREF challenge.  If you document what you can do in writing in advance, the people testing you can’t easily spin it if they accept the challenge and you succeed.  What you’re really saying is you don’t believe the $1Million prize is real or you don’t think it will be given if you succeed because it’s hard for me to believe you’re worried about “tearing the work apart” if you’re really confident it works.

Naomi stated she has client testimonials but I would believe she made them up.
Please understand I do not think you “made it all up”.  I don’t think you are deliberately lying. As I said, I think you’re merely deluding yourself and others.  I have seen demonstrations where the same horoscope is handed out to a group of 30 people and they are asked if they feel the horoscope is accurate.  85% of them raise their hands only to discover they’ve all been handed the exact same horoscope.  You see, if you say things like “You sometimes drive your spouse crazy by over analyzing things” lots of people will resonate with that vague assessment.

Naomi indicated people in the USA are more close minded then elsewhere and refuse to dig deeper.  She also said she's tested her theory to her satisfaction.
Oh Bullshit Naomi.  People are people the world over. Plenty of Americans are as susceptible to woo woo as are the Chinese or the whoever. Americans are generally better educated so maybe that’s the reason
I’m trying to dig digger into the subject – but you don’t want to subject your beliefs to double blind science.  You are happy and confident in your deluded state. Except you didn’t test out the theory correctly.  You used vague personality suggestions and let people nod like lemmings.

Naomi suggested I test out face reading for myself using her book.  Restated that Robert Whiteside conducted a study of 1008 people in 1963 that showed it was 88% accurate.
I wouldn’t even begin to know how to test the observations for myself as I don't believe I have your magical observation skills.  Googling the study you reference lead me to this entry in the skeptics dictionary in which they indicate they have been unable to find any such publication in any scientific journal. 

Naomi indicated what mattered most was helping people and that takes importance of tearing work apart by people who haven't taken time to research it. She thanked me for outlining the JREF challenge and suggested if they were open to researching one trait at a time she'd consider that.
If you’re OK with this being the placebo effect so be it.  The work would only be torn apart if it deserves to be torn apart – because it’s bunk.  If it holds up you have nothing to worry about.  Testing one trait at a time seems reasonable – Again if the trait were something scientifically undeniable and testable such as a persons career or whether they got A’s in math versus C’s in math (say by looking at pictures of high-school students).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Barack isn't liberal enough

Sometimes you put so damn much effort into arguing with liberals on Face book you want to memorialize the thing in a blog.  Cami is a talented singer and old acquaintance from High School.  Based on this exchange I'd say further left politically than Obama.  I tend to be further right - toward Libertarian but with small reservations about Ron Paul's views on sticking our head in the sand overseas.  What's funny is that Cami and I agree on many points but she is too pissed off to notice.  I've lived in Arab countries so I'm sympathetic to the koombaya message but I guess I start asking questions when some one's views are so black and white they can't see the other side. I tend to piss people off for some reason. So here is the long exchange that is complete mental masturbation as neither side is listening to the other.  I write and type fast and didn't think anyone would beat me on sheer volume but Cami managed.  Either she is a very fast typist or has lots of time or both.  The last volley was so overwhelming and so full of wrong thinking and easy targets to that I'd spend all day picking it apart.

President Barack Obama,
Across the political spectrum, Americans want the U.S. military out of Afghanistan now. This is an election year. It might be wise to start listening. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY to fix our huge deficit - get out of the Middle East. You didn't start this mess - but you can BE THE MAN who ends it. Wouldn't that be how you would like to be remembered?... as The President who stopped World War 3? These civilians are not terrorists - they are terrorized - by US, the "good guys"! HA! What the hell happened? Can corporate profit really be more important than the sanctity of all life?? And at what a cost to your country? Is Cheney's Halliburton/KBR worth this? ( You need to wash your hands of this despicable war-mongering mentality.  Come on, Mr. Obama, what would YOUR MOM want you to do? And your father? Please Sir, have the audacity to HOPE for an end to this insanity. Be the man you convinced us you are!
Your supporter and fellow activist - but skeptic...
Cami Thompson

Darren McBride We're spending that much in the middle east that we could balance the budget if we just got out? Huh. that doesn't sound intuitively correct.

Billy Slais
The $$ is part of it...but, excuse me for being graphic, a staff sergeant walked a mile from his base and murdered 16 innocent human beings in cold blood, 9 of which were children who he put a bullet through their forehead. What freekin' message do we need to end this insanity? If our war policy in Afghanistan can move a soldier to this brutal act, what does that say about the war itself? Our primary mission there was to gain the favor of the non-Taliban populace. Mission failed. Get out and bring our troops home...period.

Darren McBride So that one guy & one event represents everything we stand for, everything we're there for... and proves our entire cause is misguided? Plus... we could balance the budget by just leaving? Wow makes sense. Let's get out then.

Cami Thompson Darren - check this out... The cost of this war to the US is over half a TRILLION dollars in Afghanistan alone, over $800 Billion in Iraq, and we're not really done there either. You don't think that MIGHT have a pretty friggin' HUGE impact on the US economy if that money was invested here???? Or better yet, paying down our foreign debt?

Billy Slais There are other incidents that have occurred recently that suggest it's a huge debacle; urinating on dead Afghanis, the Koran burning that resulted in American deaths, the casualty rate of Americans is more from friendlies than the goes on...and it's time to bring the troops home.

  Cami Thompson
Checking the dollar meter on the ACTUAL cost of this war - troops pay, officers pay, housing, food, medical, hospitals, training, local training, armaments, weapons, ammunition, protection, security, gas, oil, diesel, planes, ships, trucks, various transportation, computers, spies, intelligence gathering, payola, and everything I don't know about - it's running at a little over $4,000 dollars a SECOND! Want me to do your math for you, too? That's about $250,000 a MINUTE, 15 MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR, 360 MILLION DOLLARS A DAY, 2.5 BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK, OVER 10 BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH!
Cami Thompson In the 8 MINUTES it took me to write you this little note, the citizens of USA just LOST ... 2 MILLION DOLARS!
$509,524,089,118 as of now!
Cami Thompson Military costs account for 56.94% of US Government spending. What woud your household budget look like if you had to pay that percentage yourself, Darren?

Cami Thompson AND one more thing - that one guy killing 16 innocent people is not an isolated event. Let me give you s little recap just in case... Have you forgotten the wedding massacre? The Water-boarding? I guess you have forgetten Guantanamo

Billy Slais As I say good night...I also say.....I so agree with you Ms Thompson.

Cami Thompson
And how about these... 1. Mahmudiyah killings involving the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl and the murder of her family by U.S. troops. 2. On September 16, 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. 3. Beginning in 2004, accounts of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention. These acts were committed by military police personnel of the United States Army together with additional US governmental agencies.

Cami Thompson It's just too bad that "everything we stand for" - as you say - doesn't have room to show up in WAR.

Billy Slais One more thought...all that's being done in Afghanistan, is being done in each of our names....I want my name off that list.

Billy Slais And don't go the right wing militaristic route on me, I'm a Vietnam vet and I know what lousy war is all about.

Cami Thompson Sleep well, Billy - I bet you served your country and your fellows to the best of your ability.

Cami Thompson Oh, and Darren - more than 110 Million Dollars SPENT on Afghanistan WAR since you posted here over 7 hours ago. It adds up, huh?

Cami Thompson ‎$509,533,479,107 now - about 9.4Million since last posted

Billy Slais Disappointed in the prez....says he won't go for a sooner withdrawal...I'm betting he'll change his mind before the election because the right sees an issue there and just might come out for an early withdrawal....that would be news.

Darren McBride
Cami the only intent of my question was to wonder whether such a complex issue could be so black and white. As I intended, you checked the cost of the war. Is the statement "only one way to fix our huge deficit" literally true? Obama's deficit is 1.5 Trillion per year. Your figure of 1.3Trillion for the wars divided by 10 years is .13 Trillion per year. Before you go non-linear on me I agree with you - if I were in charge I'd probably get out of the middle east. Although I would also be strongly considering bombing the shit out of Iran's nuclear facilities right now.

Darren McBride I DO pay the military out of my household budget. I'm part of the 53% of Americans that pay taxes. In fact, I pay a radically disproportionate share of taxes comparatively.

Billy Slais I'm tired of "bombing the shit" out of Mid-East countries....we've destroyed our economy with that type of action. If we had a similar problem with Mexico (nuke capability), would you expect Israel to come over and take care of our problem. Israel has a capable military..and if they can't get the job done, then we consider "bombing the shit" of of someone.

Darren McBride either way we'll end up in another war and paying for it. I hate to spend any more money on the middle east too but crazy religious people with Nukes is a lot more serious than Osama using planes to kill a mere 3000 people. My understanding is that Israel may *not* have sufficient capabilities to take out the 12 plus bunkered sites.

Billy Slais
That's possible Darren re capabilities...but I doubt it. In the past, Israel has taken unilateral action including the covert actions (assassinations) against the nuke scientists (guessing it was them)..before they complete the bunkers, you can be sure Israel will take action if those bunkers would prevent effective bombing. Pretty sure we would assist them with stealth/drone technology if they need it...but overt bombing would be a huge mistake..probably resulting in a ground troops war and our eventually putting "boots on the ground".

Darren McBride Yep we will if we can't negotiate them out of it. Worse is to let them have a nuke when they've demonstrated such blind religious zealotry.

Billy Slais
There is one positive...I annihilation is assured if they were ever to use a nuke...they're dumb, but they're not stupid. FYI: the "Death To America" rallies have started today as well as burning the president in effigy...that's in Afghanistan of course...I hope we can get out of there before any more needless American blood is's gonna get worse before it gets better...good talkin' to ya...

Darren McBride Actually muslims have a religious equivalent to christian "rapture" that envisions end of world and they may be willing to begin it. You're expecting logic of MAD from people who invented suicide bombing.

Billy Slais True...I do think they'd have to consider the timing of such..

Cami Thompson
Couple things Darren - "Obama's deficit"??? WTF? uhhh - sorry, but suicide bombing goes back a bit farther than radical Muslims. And PLEASE try to remember that you are talking about a MINORITY of radicals in the Muslim faith. Probably as proportionate as the radical "Christians" (Inquisitors, conquistadors, missionaries, etc.) who tortured and annihilated countless civilians and civilizations in the name of their "god" during the last 1200 years, including so-called witches, priests and priestesses, herbalists, pagans, Moors, Islamics, South Americans, Central Americans, native North Americans, Filipinos,

Darren McBride
Maybe I should have said muslims invented suicide bombing of innocent civilians.  Hate it when I'm wrong.

Cami Thompson
oops - I cut off my first sentence... "Obama's deficit" - REALLY? Who got us into this illegal war in this first place? In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the Bush administration spent trillions of dollars in new tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, while two wars and an expensive seniors prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card. As a result, the recorded deficit was $1.1 trillion the year Obama took office. But that was only what was on record. A HUGE MASS of military contract spending was NEVER accounted for on the books by the Bush-Cheney Crime Family. Halliburton and KBR costs were somehow paid without Legislative approval or record. The actual debt, according to the US Treasury Department, was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office, almost 10 times higher. The majority of our deficit now - an additional $4Trillion - has been generated by the economic crisis and the Obama administration's efforts to keep the US out of a major depression and default, with stimulus packages and unemployment extensions. It might be a good idea to listen to several media sources and do some homework before you blame this administration for our $14 Trillion deficit. The ball was put in motion for the Elite of our world to "harvest" America's wealth way before Obama took office.

Cami Thompson And as far as bombing - grow up. There is NO us and them when it comes to nuclear devastation. WE ARE ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS. When the US military stops acting like an enemy to the Middle East, the radicals will stop reacting. WE started this fight by assuming anywhere there is oil, we have a right to it.

Darren McBride
I agree with most of your points about the previous administration starting us on the path to both war and record deficits. They are as guilty and criminal as you say...almost equally bad as Obama but in different ways. I referred to them as Obama's deficits because he is responsible for accelerating them DRAMATICALLY. While I have no doubt there were some skunk works military spending I have never heard we had untold massive trillions of hidden debt, unless you're counting unfunded retirement, VA, and social security deficits, in which case once again I agree but that lie was hardly invented by Bush. I'd be interested of documentation of 10 trillion of hidden deficits. I believe you may be mixing the debt and deficit. I agree that Christians are as guilty of murder and radicalization and continue to be a pimple on the ass of progress to this day, although much of the murder and mayhem is centuries past, whereas Muslims are still stuck in dark age mentality NOW (rights for women etc.). As far as whether the problem is chicken or egg we could pursue that argument quite far. Are muslims pissed because we unfairly allowed Israel to take Palestine after World war II? Or was a reasonable reaction because they aligned themselves with Hitler during the war? Did they align with Hitler because they hate Jews? Or because of western imperialism? 

Curious what path you would take if you were president that would win the arab world to our side, make everyone sing kumbaya? Obama extended some pretty serious olive branches (kissed arab ass) when he took office, and radical arabs still hate christians, the u.s., jews, women, and life in general. Suicide bombers still kill way more innocents than the few U.S. military guys who go bonkers every now and then. Some of what I would do is build crap loads of safety rated nuclear plants, stop pissing away tax subsides on solar and wind, encourage conversion to electric and natural gas cars, drill baby drill for oil in the U.S., allow the gas pipeline, safely develop fracking for natural gas, and LET THE ARABS and Africans and South americans KEEP their F'ing oil and their problems. Wanna bet they'd still pose a nuclear threat? even more so.

Darren McBride I didn't suggest bombing Iran's nuke facilities lightly when I used the term "bomb the shit" I wasn't some adolescent suggesting "kill them all". Obama your hero is seriously considering it. As is the entire rational western world, europe, even China and Russia because Iran is run by crazy fuckers

Cami Thompson
Ok whoa - The previous administration is "almost equally as bad as Obama?" I think a few MILLION of us would disagree with you there, Darren. 
Darren.  Yes, but only the ones who are wrong.  Grin
Worldwide I think Bush and Cheney are two of the most hated men since Hitler because of their crimes against humanity. Obama seems to be hated mostly for the color of his skin,
Darren.  I've been trying not to be rude - but BULLSHIT.  Don't pull the race card. He isn't hated for his race (well maybe by a minority).  He's hated because he is a liberal who is spending money we don't have, trying to make unequal people equal (insisting that apples and oranges are equal is a fools errand), thinking that the way to achieve fairness in the universe is to take from people who work hard and achieve and give to people who don't.  He's not evil, he's just philosophically wrong.  Just as Bush wasn't evil.
 and whatever bad choices he is making by listening to his damned Clinton advisors!
Darren.  One of Obama's only redeeming features is he listens to intelligent, educated people when explain to him when that his liberal idealism will result in total catastrophy.  When faced with sobering intelligence on what radical left thinking will do, intelligent people make correct choices.
 But our economy did NOT collapse, and things are not as bad as they were in 2010, so some progress toward stabilization has occurred.
Darren.  In my opinion that is an illusion.  More bad times and inflation coming soon

 I gathered some (oh god so boring!) economic facts from these websites... This one will mess you up... careful not to stare too long! And this one was the most informative.. So BushCo. left 10 trillion in DEBT in his wake. I appreciate that you recognize the horrific illegal wars and financial crisis "path" that the Bush-Cheney Regime set us on, but if you had taken over this quagmire, would you really be able to just drop bombs on people who disagree with you?
darren. Only if they've stated their goal is to wipe out infidels and I can see them preparing to do so.
 Hell yeah, I'd rather sing us to Peace! But since the Neocons keep removing school arts funding, who's gonna know how?? No ass-kissing or olive branches are gonna work until we ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR OIL and all fossil fuels, and the evil violent practices to acquire them. 
Darren. I said that.  As your sister supports, Nuclear is the answer
IT IS MURDER, DARREN - pure and simple. And your idea to frack this planet to hell is ludicrous; it will take YEARS to acquire anything actually usable, and at an enormous cost both economically and environmentally. 
Darren. Fracking is an intermediate solution until Nuclear can come online.
But I guess you have your way of seeing the world as an asset, and I see it as a beautiful living thing I am here to honor, nurture, respect and protect. WE will never agree on that issue.-ow here is something that really gets me riled up... you said "much of the [Christians'] murder and mayhem is centuries past, whereas Muslims are still stuck in dark age mentality NOW (rights for women etc.)." ---- WHAT??? What do you call Christian Conservatives revoking women's health rights by trying to remove women's contraception (but not their sacred Erectile Disfunction meds) from health insurance? and Planned Parenthood? What do you call Limbaugh's verbal assault of Sandra Fluke? What do you call the continuous Christian Right effort to recall Roe v. Wade? Or hey, how about the gang-raping of female US SOLDIERS in combat zones by THEIR FELLOW MALE SOLDIERS??? oh. and men too.
Darren. At Least christians let you drive.
 Go Soldiers. yay US Military. let me wave my flag. Oh yeah, that's a modern way of behaving like a Christian. But I guess that is just a psycho-socio-phobic reaction by men who are insane due to the traumatic distress of serving in the illegal acts of WAR! WE are a nation led by Christians. Our commandment is THOU SHALT NOT KILL!! 
Darren -  Christians like to point out the original language was Thou shalt not murder.  Makes em feel better for killing in self defense or war.
What do you call the INSANITY of bombing INNOCENT CIVILIANS in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, non-military locations? And what do you call the illegal, unsanctioned attacks and bombings on other countries? 
Darren -  Bullies do exist in the world.  You gotta kick their ass sometimes.  War kills innocents and it has always been thus.  Our choice in Japan would have been to continue to slog through a war with more of our people being killed.  There are no easy answers.  At least Hiroshima ended the war, reinforced the horrors and have prevented another Nuke for the last 50 years.  No telling what the world would have been without it.  The butterfly effect was too massive to know.
Like killing hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children throughout villages in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Panama, El Salvador, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosavo -- all under the command of so-called CHRISTIAN Presidents? 
Darren - You'll get no argument from me that religions are the cause of many deaths and magical thinking is not a good thing.  Obama is christian too.  You could try to elect me if you hate Christians - I'm an atheist.
The US has not legally (Constitutionally) declared WAR on any country since 1945. And yet on we go, as if we have some divine right to police the world... just because we want the power, and the glory, and the MONNNNEEEYYY - Forever, Ahhhh - men!! And so - what about our little attacks on Muslims? Afghanistan and Libya (both times) are still "undeclared operations" -- not wars! What do you call the torture, rape and murder of Islamic women and children, and the non-defended prisoners accused without evidence? What the hell do YOU call the bombing of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of innocent women and children in unprotected villages throughout the Middle East - leaving them dead or just maimed, crippled, homeless - and so much angrier? Do you call that civilized? Do you call that Christian behavior? 

What do you consider "justifiable collateral", Darren - only Muslim lives? How "Christian is that ideal? And -- How about our troops? American Military Casualties in Iraq 
Darren - You can't  keep using the christian behavior argument with me.  I'm an atheist.  Muslims kill each other and innocents more than we do.  At least we TRY not to kill innocents in pursuit of the goal of protecting our interests.

 (Total: # /// In Combat: #)
Since war began (3/19/03): 4486 /// 3532
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4347 /// 3424
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3627 /// 2899
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 257 /// 128
Since Operation New Dawn: 68 /// 39
American Wounded: Official Estimated
Total Wounded: 33,184 Over 120,000
And that might not include the thousands who will return home with PTSD and hope to find affordable medical care.  And are you still under the delusion that the 9/11 attacks were carried off by a bunch of radical Muslims? 
Darren.  Yes
or even better - Iraqis? Or maybe all of the Muslims who hate the US planned it? No, it was believed to be just 19 men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, who were all believed to be members of Al Qaeda.... BECAUSE "THE (Military-Industrial-Government-Complex-controlled-and-subsidized) MEDIA" TOLD US SO!!! Can you even grasp how much intelligence would be required to pull off an attack like that?
Darren.  More than is in this thread. grin.
 Can you or I possibly consider all of the "agreements" and "arrangements" that had to be PUT in place for this to happen? For this to be ALLOWED to happen? Do you have any idea how much evidence has disappeared - photos and videos - of the actual explosion at the Pentagon since the attack? Do you know how many hundreds of investigators and technicians and medical personnel and family members disagree with the findings by the 9/11 Commission?
Wow.  You sound like a neocon.  Was Kennedy assasinated by someone on the grassy Knoll too?
 After the 4 years of research I did, it seems to me that the Military Industrial Complex had quite a nifty little plan put together to nudge the US into another long-term war for profit.... just as Project for the New American Century outlined in their 1998 Conference = because they needed another Pearl Harbor. Om exhausted. I have to stop going on like this. But when I read comments like yours that show such ignorance and disdain for the rest of the people and all of the precious living things that share our planet, I just go crazy.
There are 7 billion people on the planet.  We are an infestation on the planet.  (Notice we're running out of text so it becomes necessary to say something to piss you off).
 Maybe its because I have been so lucky as to travel the world a bit -- over 26 countries -- and seen the smiles on faces of children living in abject poverty, because they are happy. They don't need oil, or electricity, or computers, or cell phones, or nice clothes. They just need shelter, food, water and love. And education would be nice.
Yep, unfortunately the Afghans won't get educated because we'll be minding our own business over here instead of trying to teach the ignorant fucks how to read.
 Darren, go travel for a few months, Get the hell outta the US and see the world as it really is....... We are not here to rule. We are here to serve.
Or Learn.  OR be happy.  depending on your philosophy.  Personally I'm here to learn and be happy.  .

US Federal Debt by Year - Charts Tables
Charts and analysis of the US Federal Debt, including current debt, 20th century...See More

Cami Thompson Sure Darren, post this to your blog. I'm sure I can stand to lose another dozen NeoCon extremist friends or so! What the heck!

Cami Thompson Peace, Love and Light, and Kumbaya to you and yours!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New LEDs same Lumens per Watt as flourescent tubes

A follow up to the previous discussion. I wondered whether the new LED bulbs could pay for themself in electricity savings in an office environment that already uses flourescent tubes that are known to be highly effficient.

From a wikipedia article the lumens per watt of a T8 bulb ( used in commercial office fixtures called Troughers) is 80-100 lm/watt. But Compact Flourescent is lower at 46-75 lm/watt.  So apparently Compact Flourescents  aren’t as efficient as T8 bulbs - probably because there is a relatively small amount of gas in them relative to the long skinny T8 bulbs used in business fixtures.

The phillips 60 watt bulb that won the prize is right in at 93.4 lm/watt.   So, I’d say they’re at parity except for the ridiculous price.  For many businesses there appears to be no reason to upgrade unless the LEDs reach price parity OR if the quality of the light is better (or the mercury problem).  Eliminating the ballast ought to increase reliablity though. Replacing incandescents certainly makes sense over 3-5 year span if the light quality is acceptable.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ready for $50 light bulbs?

So the government wants to get rid of incandescent light bulbs because they're too inefficient.  They want us to buy Compact Florescent or, now more likely LED bulbs. My friend Christian Nobis pointed out to me that the government just gave Phillips $10 million for creating a $50 LED 60 watt light bulb.  It was an affordability prize.

How in the world does a bulb that cost $50 more win affordability?  Power savings I guess.  There are 8760 hours in a year.  If we left the bulb on 24x7 8760 x 60 watts= 525.6 KWH. So a 60 watt bulb left on for an entire year would cost about $63 using .12 per KWH.  If the new bulbs really put out the same amount & quality of light (which I doubt- my wife noticed immediately when I replaced some of our bulbs with LED) at 1/6th the power it would only cost $10.50 in electricity, so on the surface the government probably says you could make up the $50 cost in about a year.

But if we assume the average bulb is only on 3 hours per day…. then it costs $7.85 per year to run versus $1.30 for the new LED bulb, meaning it would take more than 7.5 years to pay for itself assuming it doesn’t break.    Another friend, Rod Coleman pointed out to me that what the government (and almost everyone) also misses is that In cold climates (arguably in Reno for 6-8 months of the year), the incandescent bulb adds heat to the home while it is on, reducing the amount of gas or oil required (because the thermostat kicks off earlier).  In fact, you could say in cold climates that the incandescent bulb is  plenty efficient because it converts almost all the electricity to light and heat.  Admittedly heating with gas is less costly than electricity and heat is a side effect in many applications, but if people calculated the heat factor they would discover that in cold climates the savings (and greenhouse gas decrease) quoted by the government is significantly overstated.   

In Arizona, where you don’t need or want extra heat (you only want light) and the bulb is on 24x7 (in a closet or windowless room??) and IF it puts out the same Lumens the LED might actually pay for itself in a year.  The Chinese make 60 watt LED lights for $20 (I bought some at Costco and they’re on Amazon for $16) so now things get interesting because pay back might be only couple years.

So far the claims of Compact fluorescents lasting longer have been complete B.S.  My fluorescent bulbs seem to fail as much or more than the old incandescent did (crappy Chinese ballasts?). Plus I wasted my damn money on all these CFMs and now the LEDs are like almost 2 times more efficient.  Let’s hope the LEDs last longer than CFMs. 

My wife asked for lots of the old incandescent before they stop being sold this year but.  I guess the government has extended the deadline so you can still   buy them for a while.  California is phasing them out by 2018 and lots of other governments are too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Face Reading Challenge

Recently (February 2012) the Entrepreneurs Organization in Reno had Naomi Tickle as a guest speaker.  A pleasant woman with an English accent, Naomi proceeded to tell the 100 or so business owners gathered that she could determine personality characteristics by looking at people's faces.  This ability was independent of race and she has written an entire book about it.  She stated that she can read personalities from looking at photos with greater than 90% accuracy. She regaled the audience with photos of people who had various characteristics (analytic, artistic, etc). Well, color me skeptical. During the Q&A session I politely thanked her for her presentation and asked if I heard her clearly say that she could differentiate engineers or accountants from musicians by looking at their pictures.  She confirmed this is the case.  I then said that I felt that the James Randi Education Foundation ( would be willing to offer $1 Million if she could and stated I would make the introductions.  She clearly sensed I was skeptical but was intrigued and took my business card.
I expected this would be the end of the matter.  Much to my surprise, yesterday I received a follow up email from Naomi.   Her email is summarized and my response are as follows:

Naomi,The $1Million challenge I referred to is actually for the paranormal, but I believe your claim of being able to determine someone’s career simply by looking at pictures of them could be turned into an acceptable challenge to the JREF.  From your website it seems you’ve already had publicity on your face reading, which is one of the earlier qualifiers for the claim.  Please understand  I don’t represent the JREF so we’d have to run it by them.The way that the challenge works is that YOU actually design the double blind test yourself.  You start by writing what your claim is.  Then the JREF creates a testing methodology that is double blind and mutually acceptable.  My recommendation would be to make it as easy on yourself as possible by making claims less than what you think you can do.  In the presentation you said something about being able to differentiate personality types with over 90% accuracy.  My suggestion was that since personality is a bit nebulous (which is why you think you can do what you do and I think you cannot),  that we make the test based on specific careers people are already working in that field and are easily verifiable, very different from one another, and not subject to interpretation.  Design the claim carefully because you must be able to do it in double blind conditions and excuses after the fact aren’t going to help you.  So in other words after you fail the testers don’t want to hear things like “ the photos weren’t of sufficient resolution, or “the lights in the testing room threw off my abilities” or “the people in the pictures had glasses on and I can’t determine with glasses on”, or “ there was so much negative energy in the room” or “it was too noisy” or “I wasn’t given enough time”.   If ANY of those things matter – specify them IN WRITING – IN ADVANCE.  Test yourself by having a friend give you photos and see if you can really do what you think you can.  Then modify the claim to fit.  I urge you to think it through so you won’t need  to make excuses and you insure yourself maximum chance of winning the one million dollars.   Rather than your 90% accuracy  claim if I were you I might claim something less like 75% for example.    An example claim you might make: By looking at the photographs of people I’ve never met I can determine with 75% accuracy whether they are engineers or artists by the characteristics of their face.  I can do this at any time of day, with any lighting, with any race of people. I do not need any equipment except a ruler or measuring device. The pictures must by 3x5 or larger.  I don’t need to know if there are an equal number of engineers or artists.Obviously the above is just my idea – tailor the claim to what you think you can do.  You mention psychiatrists (my wife happens to be one) have unique characteristics.  Or maybe Musicians versus accountants?  Doctors versus actors?  Whatever makes it easy for you should work fine. Make the 2 groups very different personalities as you desire.   With the claim above what jref might do take 100 or 500 pictures (enough to preclude random chance), then an objective 3rd party (who has no idea who the people are) presents the photos to you and you just sort them into two piles.  If you can achieve your claim reliably (statistically significant) under double-blind conditions (where neither you or person administering the test knows which career the person in the pictures are in) my guess is this would win the prize.  There would probably be two phases – a preliminary test and, if you pass, a final one.  You must be specific like- how exactly many photos you will get right to be considered a success (obviously it must be significantly above random chance).  It may be that either you or JREF would suggest additional controls prior to the test such as specifying the resolution of the photos, the age of the people, etc.   Few such claims make it past the written documentation phase because people are unable or unwilling to articulate what they think they can do. 
I am willing to help as I offered – I have no authority with JREF but would be happy to help interface or give ideas or even conduct informal preliminary tests.  Work out details about what city and location is convenient for the testing.  JREF is in Florida but I travel a bit on business and might be able to help with something. I can also talk to my friends at JREF to see whether, since your ability isn’t “paranormal” they would be willing to extend the challenge – I believe I can convince them but it would help to get a specific written application to begin the discussion.Learn more about the challenge here: history and Frequently asked Questions are here: here: ball is your court Naomi!  I don’t think you can do what you claim.  I notice you are already backpedaling from what you claimed in front of 100 people in Reno …. i.e. “of course it’s a little more accurate in person”.  I’m sure it is ….especially when you can read body language and use “cold reading” techniques as I observed you do.  So I ask you….can you do it from pictures or not?  I believe you *think* you can but I think you are deceiving yourself and others.  There is too much inaccurate knowledge in the world and we should all attempt to validate our beliefs so we don’t spread misinformation….don’t you agree?  Are you willing to validate your entire book and career and win a cool million in the process???My cell is xxxxDarren McBride
Naomi Wrote back to thank me and indicate she could do assessments from photographs but they are more accurate in person.  She indicated architects have similar shaped eyebrows to perfectionist. Teaches have close set eyes.  Accountants have close set yes and roman noses.  Etc. etc  See the follow up blogs for more of her response and my counterpoints.