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Trump's divisive post-election speeches, December 2016

I went through one of Trump's recent post-election speeches to find the most divisive statements he made.

Keep in mind that Trump is quite mild in these speeches, compared to his pre-election speeches. Now that he's already won, this is him at his most gentle and presidential. If you went back and did this same parsing of his pre-election speeches, you would find a greater quantity of divisive statements. 

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Examining public anger and certainty in the Brock Turner case and sentencing

This article is about the public reaction to and perception of the Brock Turner sexual assault case and sentencing.

I will say upfront that this piece is not meant to be a defense of Brock Turner. I believe it’s probable that Turner did several immoral and criminal things on the night in question. My point with this article is to merely question the certainty and the anger that many people had about the case and sentencing. Because this piece is about perceptions and opinions, and not the case itself, I believe that these points will hold up well regardless of details that come out about the case later (for instance, when the court transcript is made public).

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My mysterious muscle pain and weakness

This is a post about some recent health issues I’ve been having. I currently am quite confident I have CIDP: chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy. I am not certain of this, but I am confident. [update: I have been told I don't have CIDP by a neurologist] It fits all my symptoms (including some unusual ones, like pain caused by pressure on the body). And it is also known for being hard to diagnose; this fits all the common medical tests I’ve had thus far being normal. And it’s known for being rare and fairly unknown: this helps explains why no doctors have brought it up as a possibility to me. I am seeing a neurologist next week, so hopefully I’ll get some more answers soon. 

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Thoughts on Elon Musk's confidence that we're living in a computer simulation

I heard Elon Musk confidently proclaim the odds were “billions to one” that we are not living in a computer simulation.

I’ve heard the simulation idea a lot of times and it makes sense. Basically boils down to the idea that, assuming future civilizations create simulations of worlds, then there are, in the long run, many more simulations than there are actual worlds. It does make sense mathematically if you assume simulations are equivalent to worlds in every way. But I don’t think that necessarily follows and I don’t see any reason to have such confidence in the odds being that astronomically in favor of us being in a simulation.

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How much does being “out-of-stock” on Amazon affect book sales?

I’ve been using LightningSource since I self-published my first book in early 2012. In the first year, my book sold well and it was consistently listed as ‘available’ on Amazon. Because it was print-on-demand and drop-shipped directly from Ingram/LightningSource when Amazon customers ordered it, it makes sense that it would be listed continuously as Available. Sometimes it would say ‘2 left’ or something, but this seemed like a sales tactic on Amazon’s part because as soon as that number went down to 0 it would say it was Available again.

That changed at some point about 2 years ago. I (and other small publishers) noticed that books were being regularly shown as ‘temporarily out-of-stock’. It’s assumed that this is a tactic by Amazon to essentially “punish” small print-on-demand publishers who are not using Amazon’s CreateSpace. Because being out-of-stock hurts sales, it’s assumed this is a way to strong-arm small publishers to use CreateSpace.

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