Category: Web Site

How old do I LOOK?

| January 9, 2016 | Reply

Here is a free website developed by Microsoft engineers as a side project that attempts to determine how old one LOOKS based on an uploaded photo. It seems rather accurate per my eye.

Here’s the story of the site: http://www.today.com/money/how-old-do-i-look-microsoft-makes-wild-guess-t18696

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Change.org – a way to get traction for your favorite cause

| May 14, 2012 | Reply
Change.org – a way to get traction for your favorite cause

Change.org is a way to get your favorite cause off the ground. Here is the mission of Change.org:

Every day, across the world, people like you start campaigns on Change.org to fight for issues they care about — and the Change.org team works to mobilize people to help them win.

We believe that building momentum for social change globally means empowering citizen activists locally. That’s why anyone, anywhere — from Chicago to Cape Town – can start their own grassroots campaign for change using our organizing platform.

Your campaign can be about anything. From supporting curbside recycling programs to fighting wrongful deportation to protecting against anti-gay bullying, Change.org members start campaigns around thousands of different issues. To start your own campaign, just click here.

Our mission is to build an international network of people empowered to fight for what’s right locally, nationally, and globally. We hope you’ll join us.

Change.org is not all talk. The website lists a long strong of successful causes that germinated at the site.

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End the use of long-term solitary confinement in Illinois!

| February 22, 2012 | 3 Replies
End the use of long-term solitary confinement in Illinois!

Hey all. I haven’t been posting since last summer, mostly because I’ve been drowning in graduate school duties. One of these duties has been interning at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. There, I sit in on group therapy sessions for inmates with drug-related offenses. I’ve been consistently touched by the philosophical and psychological depth of these men, their gentleness and the span of their regrets. These are men who will sit down and opine for hours on topics you wouldn’t expect low-SES drug dealers and addicts to have much knowledge of: gender identity is a big topic, for example (these guys live firsthand the consequences of masculinity). And when it comes to living with shame or regret, these guys are almost the best resource you can find.

The only place where you can find more affecting people, I think, is at prisons. I’ve been volunteering for a Chicago-based group called Tamms Year Ten, which advocates for prisoners housed in long-term solitary confinement. I write and read inmates’ letters, respond to their requests for photos and magazines, and read their countless reports of abuse– from medical staff, from Corrections Officers, from mail room staff, and from the state itself.

Let’s be clear on what “long-term” solitary confinement means. These men at Tamms are housed alone for 23-hours a day, with zero human contact, for decades. Some have been locked up alone for 23-28 years.

[More . . . ]

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Walmart Censors the Bible

| November 26, 2011 | 5 Replies
Walmart Censors the Bible

Granted that the one they chose to censor isn’t a typical, dull, dry Bible that you actually have to read to get to the good parts. This one is gaily illustrated with photographs of Lego™ dioramas for every juicy story. Years of work went into developing the Brick Testament as an online presence.

Then a paper publisher got interested, and more work went into producing several volumes (Available on Amazon).

But Walmart refused to distribute the books as is, full of literal illustrations of the stories in the Holy book, including the sexual parts. So the publisher persuaded the author to pull the most explicit scenes. And they produced a new volume specifically for Walmart and its clientele.

But after an initial small order, Walmart felt that even this censored version of the Bible was still too graphic, and refused to carry the volume. The other Bibles they sell, all of which include even the stories and scenes excised from the Brick Testament, are still for sale.

Want more details? Here’s a CNet report.
Here’s a “Patriot Update” report (I find that a Tea Party source can be an interesting perspective).

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Two new DI site enhancements

| November 23, 2011 | Reply

I’ve recently installed two new plugins that DI readers might find useful. I certainly do.

A) DI now has an enhanced search function. It looks exactly like the previous search box (see arrow immediately below), but it will now search for more than the text of posts. It will also search for comment text, comment authors, categories and tags. The plug-in that allows this expanded search is called “Search Everything.”

B) If you’d like to receive email notifications when future comments are approved regarding a particular post, you can do that by checking a little box beneath the field where you leave your own comment (though there is also an option to follow comments even if you don’t wish to leave a comment). The WordPress plugin that allows this magic is called Subscribe to Comments Reloaded.

These are two examples of why I really appreciate the WordPress blogging platform.   There is a huge community of people who develop plugins. This site runs with the help of 31 active plugins, and it has become a rather simple process to add or customize most of these plugins.

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What scientific concept would improve everyone’s cognitive toolkit?

| January 17, 2011 | Reply
What scientific concept would improve everyone’s cognitive toolkit?

This question from The Edge and the dozens of thoughtful answers make for some good reading. Basically, each author picks a single idea they feel is necessary for everyone to “get” in order to understand the world we live in; to have a successful technological civilization.

I found this via Pharyngula, who suggested that the Mediocrity Principle may be The One. That is, the basic understanding that we are not the special reason for the existence of the universe. His argument is that basic math skills would help. We’re talking about skills that even average college students seem to lack, but are nominally taught to most people who graduate secondary schools.

Adjacent to PZ, Sue Blackmore argues for the primacy of understanding that CINAC (Correlation Is Not A Cause). Apparently this lesson is hard to drum into even college students who are nominally studying science.

Most of the answers are direct explanations of ideas necessary to scientific understanding. But a few are more of the “what would be nice to discover” variety. But go see for yourself. There are many insightful replies to this question by 160 authors.

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DI traffic

| January 3, 2011 | Reply
DI traffic

I founded Dangerous Intersection back in March, 2006.  That was 4,500 posts and 21,000 comments ago.  Now that we’ve reached the end of another year, I decided to check DI’s traffic.  We’re not a huge site but we’re not small either.  I thought readers might find it interesting to see the same stats that I periodically check. Here they are (this is a clickable image):

As you can see, we receive almost 6,000 daily visitors these days, which is gratifying and a great honor to each of us who write at this site.  [Note: We changed servers in mid-August, so you will not see the full year’s stats in this image].

Thanks to all of you have visited DI or commented at DI over the past year.  Our plan is to keep improving and keep growing.  For those who have not commented before, please do consider leaving a comment, especially if you disagree with us.

And happy new year to everyone.

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Dangerous Intersection is under construction, always

| August 10, 2010 | 2 Replies
Dangerous Intersection is under construction, always

Recently, it occurred to me that we should have a mobile version of Dangerous Intersection, but I learned that the plugins allowing mobile versions required upgrading my WordPress Platform version. My past two attempts to upgrade to 2.9x hadn’t gone well (I twice tried and twice reverted to version 2.7 over the past few months). This week’s upgrade to 3.0 worked without any snags, however. I truly love the WordPress system and the fact that it’s open-source software.

To take full advantage of the 3.0 features, I also decided to upgrade the design of this website, making use of Solostream’s newest WordPress design theme, called “Prosper.” BTW, I’m extremely happy with Solostream’s products, forums and customer service. In case you’re wondering, this single use version of “Prosper” cost $79, which I consider a great price, given the loads of feature options, most of which require no knowledge of html. There’s no way I could have afforded a custom design this sophisticated.

Coming soon, I hope, will be a mobile version of Dangerous Intersection. Until I started using an iPhone (my workplace offered them to employees this year), it didn’t occur to me that I would actually spend significant amounts of time reading from a mobile device, especially while waiting in lines or riding mass transit. Well, that’s how the world is moving, it seems.

I hope you enjoy the new design of DI, which I worked to make more “open” than my previous designs. You’ll notice that it is a two-column site now (more or less). I also took the liberty of reworking the title artwork and moving in some new navigation features. For instance, if you search categories or key words, the results will now show up in three columns, making it easier to scan your results. I’m still making quite a few tweaks, and some of the previously existing features are not yet back in. Thus, you are looking at a design-work-in-progress to go along with the contemplative-work-in-progress. If this website continues to be successful, that is how it should be—one of our main goals should always be to avoid ossification. That is essentially what philosopher Bertrand Russell once told someone who had accused him of having changed his mind on a topic. Russell pointed out that the option to changing is stagnating.

Update: We now seem to have the mobile version of Dangerous Intersection working. I’ve been testing it on an iPhone, while Josh Timmons, who aptly hosts the site and provides technical consultations, indicates that DI also looks good on Android.

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A Graphical History of the Vaccine Brouhaha

| May 20, 2010 | Reply
A Graphical History of the Vaccine Brouhaha

I got this Stumble from our own Hank over on FaceBook. A concise and accurate look at the origins of the currently imagined link between autism and vaccines. The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield

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