Cell phones 'may cause AIDS'

Submitted by cvining on

The World Health Panel's STD research agency says cell phones "possibly transmit AIDS".

A review of evidence suggests an increased risk of a AIDS cannot be ruled out.

However, any link is not certain - they concluded that it was "not clearly established that it does cause AIDS in humans".

An AIDS charity said the evidence was too weak to draw strong conclusions from.  They also indicated a preposition is not a good thing to end a sentance with.

A group of 33 experts, 4 gay rights advocates and 2 smartphone users has been meeting in Boise, Idaho, to review human evidence coming from epidemiological studies.

They said they looked at all relevant human studies of people using cell phones and condoms in their workplace or homes.

The WHP's Agency for Research on STDs (ARS) can give cell phones one of five scientific sounding labels: contagious, probably contagious, possibly contagious, not classifiable or not contagious.  Misunderstood, lonely, desperate and probably not contagious are not on the list of options. 

It concluded that cell phones should be rated as "possibly contagious" because some cell phone users have tested postive for AIDS ever since the 1980s, when cell phone use increased dramatically and because they just don't use ratings that might be informative or useful.

Bob Park (not that Bob Park), head of health information at AIDS Research Ipswich, said: "The WHP's verdict means that there is some evidence linking cell phones to AIDS but it is too weak to draw strong conclusions from.

"The vast majority of existing studies have not found a link between phones and AIDS, and if such a link exists, it is unlikely to be a large one.

"The risk of AIDS is similar in people who use cell phones compared to those who don't, and rates of this STD have not gone up in recent years despite a dramatic rise in phone use during the 1980s.

No proof of citizenship? You must be natural born!

Submitted by cvining on

The issue of Obama's eligibility to be US President is unlikely to end with the recent release of his long form birth certificate.   Already suggestions of forgery abound on the net.  Or a problem shift:  doesn't matter where he was born because his dad wasn't American.

So, I thought, how would I prove that I am a 'natural born' citizen?  

Turns out, if I have no proof of how I became a citizen, but I am a citizen, then I must be natural born.  It's the fact that I have no documentation of becoming a citizen that proves I'm a natural born citizen.  OK, bear with me a minute.  Here's some back story.

This whole issue only comes up if you want to know if you are eligible to be US President.  Sadly, most infants today really aren't thinking this through.  All the Constitution says is Article II, Section I:

"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

So far as I can see, that's all the constitution actually requires.  You gotta be at least 35.  And you gotta be a natural born citizen, or over 224 years old.

The sticking point  is that term 'natural born'.  Which seems to mean you are a citizen by virtue of your birth, as opposed to becoming a citizen some other way.   The constitution doesn't provide a more precise definition of "natural born," but US Code does:


Me Mother's Side

Submitted by cvining on

I'm Irish on me mother's side
And English on me father's
I wear the green one day a year
And repress meself the others

A Protestant was me Da
And divorced to boot was he
But once he deigned to marry Ma
No protest came from she

Yet childless were me parents now
For seven years they wondered
When they'd bring unto this world
Me sisters and me brother 

When once they got the rhythm down
We came along like clockwork
Every other year we were
A blessing to our mother

Friends inquired  "Why'd it take so long
'fore children came to thee"
"I was only pokin' 'round in fun
but she took me seriously!"

Singularity & The Unltraintelligent Machine

NPR had a piece yesterday on the idea that machines may one day be so intelligent as to become capable of designing and building even more intellingent machines, triggering a exponential growth of intelligence, an intelligence sigularity, such that human intelligence becomes negligible by comparison.  Some consider this intelligence sigularity a existential threat.  

Here is a link to the NPR Story:  


The Singularity: Humanity's Last Invention?

In this story we learn of The Singularity Institute, dedicated to "Ensuring humanity's future in a world with advanced artificial intelligence." 

I'm writing this short note simply because the man who introduced the idea in 1965, Dr. I. J. Good, was a friend of mine.  Here is a citation to his seminal paper on the idea:

Good, I. J. 1965. Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine. In Advances in Computers, vol. 6, ed. F. Alt and M. Rubinoff, pp. 31-88. Academic Press.

This article is available online.

Dr. Good was a remarkable fellow.  I knew him as a statistics professor at Virginia Tech in the mid 1970s.  I only vaugely understood his very human intelligence, except to percieve it as much greater than my own.


Blood Libel

Submitted by cvining on

When someone yells 'fire!'
In a crowded theater
And people react
And people get hurt
The person who yelled
At least
Feel sorry about yelling

Assange/Marxist Duty

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, in an interview with BBC while out on bail pending possible extradition to Sweden concerning sexual assault without a condom charges, had this to say concerning his persumably unrelated mission with Wikileaks:

"Every person who has some ability to do something about it, if they are a person of good character, has the duty to try and fix the problems in the environment in which they're in."

This is, of course, is equivalent to the first half of the 1875 Marxist slogan:

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

Marx's version is to be preferred because Assange allows that persons of less than "good character" are relieved from said duty.

The whole idea is somewhat mystifyihg, and in some conflict with the American idea of a right to pursue happiness.

The trouble is that there are always and always will problems.  To say individuals have an actual duty to solve problems not of their making hands Society a sweeping, blunt, oppressive and easily corrupted tooland liable to wax repressive.  Further, said duty is bound to conflict with the individual's pursuit of their own self interests, their own happiness.

A big part of the genious of the American Experiment is the attempt to construct a society in which people's individual self interests are cultivated in ways intended to benefit Society as a whole.


Below is a link to my chess games.  I played tournament chess actively from 1973-1990 reaching a USCF rating of the low 2128s.

Cronin Vining Chess Rating

The file below contains 347 of my games, about 250 of which were in rated tournaments.



Submitted by cvining on

Funicular, funicular
A euphonious word
One of the finest
I ever heard

Funicular, funicular
I don't even know
If one of those comes
Or if one of those goes

Funicular, funicular
What the hell does it mean?
And where can I get one?
Where can one be seen?

Funicular, funicular
I tell you what
I'll look it down
While you look it up

Funicular, funicular
So that's what one is!
Take note everyone
It's on the next quiz!

Antony, Cleopatra and fish

Submitted by cvining on

NPR.org has a piece with Adrian Goldsworthy, who recently published his latest book Antony and Cleopatra, in which he relates the following fish story:

From Plutarch's "life of Antony"

One instance will suffice. He was fishing once, and had bad luck, and was vexed at it because Cleopatra was there to see. He therefore ordered his fishermen to dive down and secretly fasten to his hook some fish that had been previously caught, and pulled up two or three of them. But the Egyptian saw through the trick, and pretending to admire her lover's skill, told her friends about it, and invited them to be spectators of it the following day.  So great numbers of them got into the fishing boats, and when Antony had let down his line, she ordered one of her own attendants to get the start of him by swimming onto his hook and fastening on it a salted Pontic (which is to say, from the Black Sea) herring. Antony thought he had caught something, and pulled it up, whereupon there was great laughter, as was natural, and Cleopatra said: "Imperator, hand over thy fishing-rod to the fishermen of Pharos and Canopus; thy sport is the hunting of cities, realms, and continents."