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## Topics - uncool

**1**

2

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/

Long exposé at Politico claiming that the Obama administration effectively sacrificed a huge investigation which could have done a lot to stop Hezbollah for the Iran deal. Still working through it.

Quote

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

...

Lebanese arms dealer Ali Fayad, a suspected top Hezbollah operative whom agents believed reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a key supplier of weapons to Syria and Iraq, was arrested in Prague in the spring of 2014. But for the nearly two years Fayad was in custody, top Obama administration officials declined to apply serious pressure on the Czech government to extradite him to the United States, even as Putin was lobbying aggressively against it.

Fayad ... was ultimately sent to Beirut. He is now believed by U.S. officials to be back in business, and helping to arm militants in Syria and elsewhere with Russian heavy weapons.

...

And when Project Cassandra agents and other investigators sought repeatedly to investigate and prosecute Abdallah Safieddine, Hezbollah's longtime envoy to Iran, whom they considered the linchpin of Hezbollah's criminal network, the Justice Department refused, according to four former officials with direct knowledge of the cases.

Long exposé at Politico claiming that the Obama administration effectively sacrificed a huge investigation which could have done a lot to stop Hezbollah for the Iran deal. Still working through it.

3

Anyone have a clue what's going on? I'm seeing a lot of speculation about a purge of the "old guard" related to the late king, including the recent arrests, but not much more concrete.

4

TR was down about 10 minutes ago, for at least 2 minutes.

6

Can't seem to see it; I thought it had been phased out after the transition. Is it moderator-only or something?

7

Any way to look at messages you've sent? All I could find was messages to me. I could start including myself as a recipient, but that would be rather annoying to remember.

8

Decision: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-cod-1_13-cv-02406/pdf/USCOURTS-cod-1_13-cv-02406-9.pdf

News site with annoying autoplay video: http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/08/31/sex-offender-registry-constitution/

News site with annoying autoplay video: http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/08/31/sex-offender-registry-constitution/

9

On my computer, I'm receiving a dns_probe_finished_nxdomain error for talkrational.org. Isup.me said TR was up several times, but once said it was down. I flushed the DNS cache, and it still doesn't work. TR is still working on my phone, though.

10

http://www.tampabay.com/projects/2017/investigations/tampa-electric/big-bend-hellfire-from-above/

Quote

That was in 1997. After, Tampa Electric wrote special guidelines so another accident like it would never happen again.

Then two decades later, almost to the day, five workers were killed, burned to death performing a near-identical job at the utility's Big Bend Power Station in June.

If Tampa Electric had followed the guidelines, the men would still be alive.

11

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/17/trump-reverses-obama-operation-chokepoint-241767

Quote

The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers.

...

Under President Barack Obama, the department said the effort was intended to root out fraud by banks and payment processors and to cut off the banking system from wrongdoing by merchants.

...

But Republicans in Congress have argued that the program hindered banks from serving legitimate businesses and tried to get officials to back off by using legislation and investigative powers.

12

Martin Shkreli convicted on 3 of 8 counts.

nytimes.com/2017/08/04/business/dealbook/martin-shkreli-guilty.html

nytimes.com/2017/08/04/business/dealbook/martin-shkreli-guilty.html

13

https://www.apnews.com/fa6ea0b57c2f41a4b3036cddee453834/Michigan-health-chief-charged-in-Flint-water-probe

Quote

The head of the Michigan health department was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter, the highest-ranking member of Gov. Rick Snyder's administration to be snagged in a criminal investigation of Flint's lead-contaminated water.

Nick Lyon is accused of failing to alert the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area, which has been linked by some experts to poor water quality in 2014-15. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Lyon also is charged with misconduct in office for allegedly obstructing university researchers who are studying if the surge in cases is linked to the Flint River.

14

http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/conceptual-penis-social-contruct-sokal-style-hoax-on-gender-studies/

On the other hand (as seems criminally undermentioned, though mentioned in the original article), it was rejected from the initial journal, which recommended this pay-to-publish journal under the same imprimatur (Taylor & Francis). So this is, at most, an indictment of pay-for-publish and of Taylor & Francis, not of the entire subject (as many people sharing it seem to think).

Quote

"The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct" should not have been published on its merits because it was actively written to avoid having any merits whatsoever. The paper is academically worthless nonsense. The question that now needs to be answered is, "How can we restore the reliability of the peer-review process?"

On the other hand (as seems criminally undermentioned, though mentioned in the original article), it was rejected from the initial journal, which recommended this pay-to-publish journal under the same imprimatur (Taylor & Francis). So this is, at most, an indictment of pay-for-publish and of Taylor & Francis, not of the entire subject (as many people sharing it seem to think).

15

running for French Parliament.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/macron-party-struggling-to-fill-candidate-list-for-elections-next-month

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/macron-party-struggling-to-fill-candidate-list-for-elections-next-month

Quote

Cédric Villani, 43, who in 2010 won the Fields medal, the equivalent of the Nobel prize in mathematics, will stand for Macron in a suburban Paris district. The mathematician is known for his dandy-ish looks, long hair and collection of floppy bow ties.

16

https://www.wsj.com/articles/northern-new-englands-good-jobless-numbers-theyre-bad-1492786479?mod=e2tw

Oh no, wages are going up.

Quote

Northern New England's Good Jobless Numbers? They're Bad

Quote

When that happens, companies can struggle to find qualified workers, potentially boosting wages and inflation.

Average hourly wages for private sector workers have risen in all three states over the last two years, reaching $23 to $26 an hour in February, according to the BLS.

Whelen Engineering Co., which employs 1,000 at an emergency-warning equipment plant in Charleston, N.H., has been raising wages over the past few years ago to keep jobs filled. It now pays incoming assembly workers about $15 an hour, a $3.50 hike from the typical wage a few years ago.

Oh no, wages are going up.

19

Wikileaks released a bunch of DNC emails.

This includes a bunch of confirmation emails for donations, which include passport numbers.

Also in other emails, some SSN numbers.

Also, this:

https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/14295

This includes a bunch of confirmation emails for donations, which include passport numbers.

Also in other emails, some SSN numbers.

Also, this:

https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/14295

20

Well, we're starting up again. Not sure whether to count this as take 2, 3, or 4, so I took the average. Starting with the same post as last time.

So the last thread, I accidentally turned what was supposed to be a "school" on linear algebra into an exploration of linear algebra through the lens of category theory. Which was useful to me, but probably less useful to the people who were watching the thread. This thread is for those people.

So! Linear algebra.

What is linear algebra? Linear algebra is the study of what you can do when you are restricted to two basic operations - adding things together, and multiplying everything by a number.

Seems restrictive, right? Well, that's a lot of how math works - by restricting what you think you can do, you can make more situations similar - and so you can study things much more deeply.

The thing is, we actually haven't restricted ourselves all too much. Or rather, we've restricted ourselves to a pair of very useful things we can do. Don't believe me?

Every day, Alice buys two apples and one banana for breakfast. Every day, Bob buys one apple and two bananas for breakfast. Last month, Alice paid $5, while Bob paid $4. This month, Alice paid $5, while Bob paid $7.

How did the prices change?

Let the price of an apple be a dollars, and the price of a banana be b dollars. We then get the equations for last month:

2a + b = 5

a + 2b = 4

So let's solve. Double the second equation - multiply all the numbers in it by 2. That still gives us a valid equation. The cost of 2 apples and 4 bananas would be 8 dollars.

2a + b = 5

2a + 4b = 8

Now, if it cost 5 dollars to get 2 apples and a banana, and 8 dollars to get 2 apples and 4 bananas, it stands to reason (assuming no discounts) that the difference in cost comes from the difference in goods. So we can subtract the first equation from the second, to get:

2a + b = 5

3b = 3

Again assuming no discounts, if 3 bananas cost $3, then one banana would cost $1.

2a + b = 5

b = 1

Finally, we can remove bananas from the equation and divide by 2 to find that an apple cost $2 last month.

2a = 4

b = 1

a = 2

b = 1

Notice that the only things we did were listed above - we multiplied (or divided) by numbers, and then we added (or subtracted) two things.

OK. Now let's do the calculation for this month.

2a + b = 5

a + 2b = 7

2a + b = 5

2a + 4b = 14

2a + b = 5

3b = 9

2a + b = 5

b = 3

2a = 2

b = 3

a = 1

b = 3

We have found that the new prices are $1 for an apple, and $3 for a banana. But one thing to notice - we in fact did the exact same calculations as we did before, just with different numbers on the right. This will be important later.

Hopefully I have already convinced you that we already use linear equations commonly. Next up, the process of solving generally, and some notation.

So the last thread, I accidentally turned what was supposed to be a "school" on linear algebra into an exploration of linear algebra through the lens of category theory. Which was useful to me, but probably less useful to the people who were watching the thread. This thread is for those people.

So! Linear algebra.

What is linear algebra? Linear algebra is the study of what you can do when you are restricted to two basic operations - adding things together, and multiplying everything by a number.

Seems restrictive, right? Well, that's a lot of how math works - by restricting what you think you can do, you can make more situations similar - and so you can study things much more deeply.

The thing is, we actually haven't restricted ourselves all too much. Or rather, we've restricted ourselves to a pair of very useful things we can do. Don't believe me?

Every day, Alice buys two apples and one banana for breakfast. Every day, Bob buys one apple and two bananas for breakfast. Last month, Alice paid $5, while Bob paid $4. This month, Alice paid $5, while Bob paid $7.

How did the prices change?

Let the price of an apple be a dollars, and the price of a banana be b dollars. We then get the equations for last month:

2a + b = 5

a + 2b = 4

So let's solve. Double the second equation - multiply all the numbers in it by 2. That still gives us a valid equation. The cost of 2 apples and 4 bananas would be 8 dollars.

2a + b = 5

2a + 4b = 8

Now, if it cost 5 dollars to get 2 apples and a banana, and 8 dollars to get 2 apples and 4 bananas, it stands to reason (assuming no discounts) that the difference in cost comes from the difference in goods. So we can subtract the first equation from the second, to get:

2a + b = 5

3b = 3

Again assuming no discounts, if 3 bananas cost $3, then one banana would cost $1.

2a + b = 5

b = 1

Finally, we can remove bananas from the equation and divide by 2 to find that an apple cost $2 last month.

2a = 4

b = 1

a = 2

b = 1

Notice that the only things we did were listed above - we multiplied (or divided) by numbers, and then we added (or subtracted) two things.

OK. Now let's do the calculation for this month.

2a + b = 5

a + 2b = 7

2a + b = 5

2a + 4b = 14

2a + b = 5

3b = 9

2a + b = 5

b = 3

2a = 2

b = 3

a = 1

b = 3

We have found that the new prices are $1 for an apple, and $3 for a banana. But one thing to notice - we in fact did the exact same calculations as we did before, just with different numbers on the right. This will be important later.

Hopefully I have already convinced you that we already use linear equations commonly. Next up, the process of solving generally, and some notation.

**1**