Microsoft Tech Summit – San Francisco

Rapid low code app development with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow – Monday

Embed Power BI visual analytics into your application – Tuesday

Deep Dive into Microsoft 365 Teamwork – Tuesday 




Grip Rings


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For those who have some misgivings about training with chi gu stones (no longer available as far as I can tell)


or with  Nigiri Game


there are the challenges of what happens to the floor, nearby feet or the object itself if the object is dropped.

An alternative is round grip rings – below are ones from IronCrush (

HandGrippers For those with less flex maybe the oval-shaped ones from HomeGym-4U


Categories, Syndromes and Genes


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GenesSummary02There’s nothing we can do about the number of genes – even though we expect it to rise as DNA surveys are done in Asia, Africa and South America. Second, the categories have some overlap and one can, with a poor roll of the dice, suffer from more than one. Third, it seems like the syndromes could be clarified or clustered and the tally (perhaps) reduced. A fourth problem is that individual genes can have mutation, deletions, translocations and repeats that cause dramatically different effects. It is not uncommon to see a repeat, a mutation and a deletion of the same gene be defined as three syndromes. A fifth problem is that there are many long metabolic pathways where multiple genes interact. It is currently not usually possible to get a map of where a gene has influence.    GenesSummary01

Sleep disorders


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I was e-chatting with three genetics researchers in Scotland, Belarus and Slovakia about some changes being made to the HERON application. HERON tracks personal food and drink consumption, sleep and reactions in just about molecular detail. I had imposed some structure on the diary entries: in particular, I had segregated sleep text. I was asked  if HERON was intending to help people determine if they have a genetic challenge in the area of sleep. One thing led to another (as they often do) so now the databases used by the SAITO and HERON applications are richer by 6 syndromes and 27 genes. Note that these genes are infamous primarily for disrupting sleep – there are plenty of syndromes and genes, especially in the autism and epilepsy-aphasia spectra that include sleep problems among their symptoms. Here’s the list so far

1,p36.23,PER3,Advanced sleep phase syndrome familial 3 (FASPS3)
2,p14,MEIS1,Restless legs syndrome
2,q11.2,NPAS2,seasonal affective disorder
2,q37.3,PER2,seasonal affective disorder
4,q12,CLOCK,seasonal affective disorder
6,p21.2,BTBD9,Restless legs syndrome
9,p24.1,PTPRD,Restless legs syndrome
10,q23.2,OPN4,seasonal affective disorder
11,p11.2,CRY2,seasonal affective disorder
11,p15.3,ARNTL,seasonal affective disorder
12,p12.1,BHLHE41,seasonal affective disorder
12,q23.3,CRY1,Sleep-wake schedule disorder – delayed phase type
13,q14.2,HTR2A,seasonal affective disorder
15,q23,MAP2K5,Restless legs syndrome
15,q23,SKOR1,Restless legs syndrome
16,q12.1,TOX3,Restless legs syndrome
17,p11.2,RAI1,Circadian rhythm disruption
17,q25.1,AANAT,Sleep-wake schedule disorder – delayed phase type



Persistence and Courage


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One of the virtues extolled in martial arts is persistence. This is exemplified in sayings such as “a black belt is just a white who never quit” and “steel is iron passed through fire: the saber forges the student” and “After one thousand repetitions the student will realize that the sword cuts through illusion to reveal justice and fairness, dignity and honor”. One object of practice is simply the mental discipline to do something many times so that it becomes as natural as breathing. At a visible physical level the object is to do the movement correctly. In a good martial art what should accrue as the result of persistent practice is a confidence that one can perform the movements, and that the movements will be tactically successful. In a superior martial art what must be instilled is courage, which can be defined as discerning the challenge or the problem in a situation and acting appropriately.  We do teach many weapons, but not pistols, rifles or shotguns, so it is not possible for us to comment on how proficient the various law enforcement personnel present at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida were. So far, no evidence that there was courage displayed by the professionals. Perhaps there was not enough practice by social services end education professionals to deal with Nikolas Cruz. Or no one had the courage to tackle that problem.

We just passed the 75th anniversary of the end of the Guadalcanal campaign in World War II. I would think it fair to say there and at the earlier battles at the Coral Sea and at Midway the US military was fighting equipped with inferior technology, at numerically disadvantageous odds and with poor political and military leadership. Nevertheless, ordinary soldiers, sailors and Marines, often at horrific cost, did extraordinary things. It would be remiss to imply that Australians struggling on the Kokoda trail or that Japanese in either campaign did not have more than their own share of courage. But the real question is what are we, here and now, going to do?








There are a great many incidents at schools that leave one or two people and a like number wounded. There have been some very odd incidents at high schools: /1/ Binghamton NY 06/10/10 – 20 injured in a brawl that started as a food fight /2/ Arroyo Puerto Rico 9/16/11/ 37 students stabbed by one student with a hypodermic needle /3/ Murrysville Pennsylvania 25 students stabbed by one student with a knife /4/ Benton Kentucky 1/23/18 2 deaths; 18 injured by one student with a gun /5/ and now Parkland Florida.

For primary schools /1/ Newton Connecticut 12/14/12 (more commonly known as Sandy Hook) – 27 killed and 2 injured and /2/ Rancho Tehama California – 6 killed; 12 injured

For post secondary /1/ Youngstown Ohio 2/6/11 – 1 killed 11 wounded when two men opened fire inside a fraternity house /2/ Cypress Texas 4/9/13 14 wounded during a stabbing attack /3/ Santa Monica California 6 killed (including the shooter) and 4 injured /4/ Isla Vista California 5/23/14 7 killed 13 wounded /5/  Roseburg Oregon 10/1/15 10 killed 9 wounded and /6/ Columbus Ohio 11/28/16 1 killed 13 injured  /7/ Oakland California 10/31/12 7 killed and 13 injured









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There is some [statistical] dispute about whether I should have separated the totals by type of school, and whether I should use aggregated killed and wounded. I have generally replied that

  1. we are talking about human beings, not fruit flies or dice
  2. when multiple bullets are launched in a small classroom it hardly matters whether the velocity at the muzzle is less than or more than 3,000 feet per second.
  3. likewise, the force (at the muzzle) of  let’s say 3,600 foot-pounds will not have much time or distance to dissipate.
  4. It is always harder to inject more detail back into data than it is to take the detail out. It is trivial to assert school type is not a factor and analyze the entire data set. It would be very tedious for a future researcher to comb through many text files trying to determine what kind of school was involved.
  5. In that spirit several readers have asked if one can conclude that charter schools are safer than public schools. As charter schools are fairly recent I would suggest that perhaps 10 years of massacres would be a large enough sample to draw a conclusion with let us say 95% confidence. There are some implicit assumptions there that the frequency of massacres will be uniform and that the intensity of the massacres (number of killed and wounded)  will be uniform as well.
  6. Generally, I dislike descriptive and discrete variables as they force one to partition the data. Then is an unfortunate tendency to claim that the presence of a X chromosome with massive deletions [otherwise known as a Y chromosome which often distinguishes males from females in many species] or various mutations of the MCR1 (16q24.3), OCA2 (15q12-q13.1), TYR (11q14.3), LRMDA (10q22.2-q22.3), SLC24A5 (15q21.1), SLC45A2 (5p13.2) and TYRP1 (9p23) genes [involved in melanin production and metabolism. Melanin strongly influences hair, eye and skin color]. I fail to see that the life of a Hispanic-identified woman somehow has a different value that the life of a Pacific Islander male.
  7. In a similar manner bullets only say “To Whom It May Concern” so I currently fail to see what use it would be to tally students versus aides, teachers, security guards, administrators, first responders, random strangers … Regardless of what one was before a disaster, after the catastrophe there are only dead, wounded and more or less unwounded living.
  8. That all said, there may well be merit in formalizing a scale for massacres. In geology we have Richter and Volcanic Explosivity Index scales which are logarithmic, so, for example, a Richter 7 is ten times more powerful than a Richter 6.

The Numbers

At the beginning of the 19th century the world’s largest brewery was Guinness in Dublin. The company hired William S. Gosset in 1899 and assigned him the problem of how much of ingredients like barley needed to be sampled in order to feel confident that the resulting beer would be of uniform high quality. In order to conceal Guinness’ direction from competitors Gosset was obliged to publish using a pseudonym. Both Karl Pearson and Ronald Aylmer Fisher, the two most famous statistical thinkers of the 20th Century, hated each other, but found common ground in their admiration for Gosset. Somewhat ironically, the discovery Gosset is justly famous for has the name of his pseudonym: the Student t distribution. Today, Gosset’s work is used to answer questions like how many measures of something should be sampled before there is confidence in the quality of the whole production.

I regret to report that the 75th anniversary of the end of the Guadalcanal campaign in World War II passed with very little notice. I would think that, by any standard, the fighting from August 7 1942 to February 9 1943 was the turning point in the Pacific Theater. As far as I can tell, the last known Japanese soldier to surrender on Guadalcanal did so on October 27, 1947. Allied losses were over 7,000 dead; 8,000 wounded; 29 ships and 615 planes. Japanese losses were almost 20,000 dead; 4,000 wounded; 38 ships and probably more than 800 planes. For both sides, leadership and logistics were generally poor: once the guns begin to shoot, the price for those failings is paid in blood. What is very disappointing, and even disturbing, is that, as far as I am aware, zero politicians and zero senior military officers from the 1930s and even early 1940s have ever said, “I was wrong, and thousands died because of me.”


Currently, the US numbers starting 1/1/2010 I have are primary school 40 killed and 20 injured; high school 70 killed and 258 injured; and college 54 killed and 116 injured. So the questions are

  1. How any more deaths and injuries will it take to conclude at an acceptable level of confidence that the hypothesis that current gun policies are optimal is grossly false
  2. Will anyone have enough integrity to say publicly “Some of the the pain of those 558 families is my fault”.

Do NOT Swallow Pennies


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Copper is one of many metals that humans require. But there is a narrow range, sometimes a bit ironically referred to as the Goldilocks limits, where too little copper is harmful and too much copper is also harmful.  In the tangled web of human biochemistry there is more in play than simply consuming foods like beef liver, sunflower seeds, lentils, almonds, dried apricots, dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, asparagus, mushrooms and turnip greens that have trace elements of copper. There is considerable disagreement about how much copper is required:  as one might expect there are variations for age (infancy, young child, senior), and condition (pregnancy, lactating, recovering from malnutrition), but from 1 to 2 milligrams per day seems to be adequate to avoid anemias due to hemoglobin defects, leaky gut, liver damage and developmental difficulties.

Time for readers to cringe: so far eight genes have been designated as involved in copper metabolism – either allowing processing of ingested copper, transportation of copper to where it is needed or excretion of excess copper. If anyone knows of additional genes, I’d appreciate hearing about it. Here’s the list so far (gene name comma chromosome space location on the chromosome comma associated disease or syndrome

STEAP3,2 q14.2,hypochromic microcytic anemia with iron overload 2 (AHMIO2)

AFP,4 q13.3,Alpha-fetoprotein hereditary persistence (HPAFP)

WASHC5,8 q24.13,Spastic paraplegia type 8

ATP7B,13 q14.3,Wilson Disease – copper

PRNP,20 p13,Wilson Disease – copper – this acts as a modifier of ATP7B

SOD1,21 q22.1,amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

note: we use 23 to designate the X(Y) chromosomes
CCDC22,23 p11.23,Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome 2 (RTSC2)

ATP7A,23 q21.1,Menkes syndrome
occipital horn syndrome and X-linked cutis laxa are considered mild forms of Menkes syndrome