34 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2020
    1. Furries are in the perilous position of having their interests form an integral part of their identity while simultaneously experiencing stigmatization from the world around them. For many, the fandom is their only source of social interaction and social support.

      For an activity, and a fandom, that is such a large part of the practitioner's identity (see Gerbasi et. al 2008 and associated responses), it's no surprise that the stigmatization that comes with being a furry is an isolating experience. I believe that this is a large a part of the reason why acceptance is such a large tenant of the furry fandom. Exclusion elsewhere leads to increased inclusion in other areas and groups.

      Non-judgementality should be the ultimate goal for health care workers in this position, but we have to recognize that it is a difficult, if not unrideable horse to handle.

    2. A small subset of furries, called “therians,” go beyond the interest in developing a fursona and believe they are spiritually connected to animals, are less than 100 per-cent human, are an animal trapped in a human body, or were an animal in a former life (Gerbasi et al., 2008).

      There's also the dissenting opinion that therians are a separate group from furries, an opinion perpetuated both by therians and "normal" furries, but it's generally the minority opinion, so for all intents and purposes, this is accurate.

    1. She states that furry participants might identify as less than 100% human for reasons that she felt included, “not the least having a hangover from furry drinks the night before.” While it may be an attempt at humor, we find this comment to be egregiously offensive, derogatory, and insulting to the furry fandom and our participants. Ironically, this remark illustrates her subscription to the very stereotypes we were empirically testing and con-firms the necessity of our research.

      This comment, framed as "egregiously offensive, derogatory, and insulting to the furry fandom and our participants", undermines the prevailing sense of identity in the furry fandom. I understand the transformative powers of alcohol, but in my uneducated opinion, it's a stretch that the furry identity for many people is activated by alcohol, and is not something that exists in all states of being (e.g.: sobriety).

    2. Her focus on gender identity disorder misses the main point of the study, which was that it was the first empirical study to collect data scientifically and report find-ings on the furry fandom, an often misrepresented subculture.

      One must admit that Flora Probyn-Rapsey's comparisons of gender identity disorder and the proposed "species identity disorder" were not without their merits, no? Heck, Gerbasi et. al were the ones to first make the comparison. It is true that it maybe took up too much of a focus in Probyn-Rapsey's criticism of the original paper. After all, the original paper only made use of the comparisons between the two disorders a few times to illustrate a larger point about disorder & confusion about furry identity, in themselves and in their place in the world at large.

    1. Here the diagnosis slips from requiring both being “less than 100% human” and “being 0% human” to only requiring the first criterion—being “less than 100% human.” The implications of this rhetorical slip are a vast shift in proportion, since it triples the number of furries who are potentially diagnosable as having species identity disorder (from 31 to 99 [or 46%] of the 214 furries who answered).

      I would argue that this is too loose of a definition. It does not simply refer to a physical body, which has pretty clear criteria for being considered 100% human. To be "less than 100% human" psychologically, while being a good basis for a disorder, does not adequately consider groups with a spiritual connection to animals, such as the Native American tradition of "spirit animals". This vague definition and exclusion of established cultural practices could prove harmful to the legitimacy of "species identity disorder".

    2. The data on personality disorders showed that furries were less likely to judge other furries as disordered, while the control group (the psychology students) judged other college students “significantly more often” along the lines of personality trait disorders. That the control group was made up of psychology students is perhaps an important factor here; this group may display an increased sensi-tivity to normative behaviors and “disorder.”

      When you ask a group of intermediate psychology students to judge whether furries are disordered, it's very likely that they will diagnose furries with personality trait disorder. They are psychology students, it seems pretty darn obvious that they would be more likely to diagnose psychological disorders, and there's the prevailing possibility of overdiagnosing, diagnosing a personality trait disorder where there may not be one. I am not in a position to say this is what is happening here, but considering the evidence, it's a reasonable possibility.

    3. Species identity disorder is modeled on gender identity disorder, itself a highly controversial diagnosis that has been criticized for pathol-ogizing homosexuality and transgendered people.

      This was also a major problem with the diagnosis "gender identity disorder", which was defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) IV as "A strong and persistent cross-gender identification (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex)."

      In the DSM V, the diagnostic name "gender identity disorder" was replaced with "gender dysphoria", and other important clarifications, including the need for a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria to go ahead with gender transition surgery.

    1. I began by asking the room full of furries why they chose the animal they did for their species, and I received a lot of answers that fit in well with my experience of the fandom. Notable among the explanations were the oft-used words 'identity', 'connection', 'personality', and 'characteristics'. And this, of course makes sense. Many introductions to furry, whether they're websites (the first introductory website I found was Captain Packrat's explanation of FurCodes) or friends, explain that although furry is about being a fan of anthropomorphism in general, it often (but not always) specifically involves a personal connection with an animal that leads to the creation of a personal character: an avatar often used in interaction with other furries.

      While furries are fans of anthropomorphism in general, they connect more with certain animals. There are subcamps of furries, including scalies (with an interest in reptilian animals such as dragons, turtles, and lizards (e.g.: kobolds)) and avians (interest in birds, mainly), and some of the more popular animals in the furry fandom include foxes, wolves, and big cats. This is, in part, due to popular media representation, with movies such as The Fox and the Hound, Balto, Bolt, Alpha and Omega, and Aristocats. Ever since the "funny animal" cartoons of the early 1900s, there has been a persistent animal superiority in anthropomorphic representations.

  2. Mar 2020
    1. Parishes that distribute Holy Communion only under the species of bread

      i.e. Catholics need a refresher on why it's considered legitimate to divide bread (body) from wine (blood) as opposed to Jesus directions

  3. Oct 2019
  4. Feb 2019
    1. docs the calf regard the bleating of the shee

      Well Mr. Sheridan, what would you say about a big crazy dogbear thing that screams like a woman?

      Seriously, Annihilation (the movie more than the book, but the book, too) is interested in the blending of species and how the human responds when the nice, neat categories of existence are muddied.

    2. The organs of hearing in each species, are tuned only to the sounds of their own

      This is a very interesting idea that we can only hear the sounds of our own speech

  5. Sep 2018
    1. overcome fundamental human limitations, and the related study of the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies

      The author expresses a broad definition of what transhumanism is. Author does not include what transhumanism focuses on specifically as in "human limitations" This is an intent to show transhumanism can incorporate sciences and professions from across the board, being inclusive to new ideas in the process from interested individuals. Therefore, from the Transhumanist FAQ, we can conclude the broad definition was meant to draw in more ideas focused on the betterment of humanity from a diverse group of readers, available for critique and decisions.

  6. Aug 2017
    1. Thus, predicting species responses to novel climates is problematic, because we often lack sufficient observational data to fully determine in which climates a species can or cannot grow (Figure 3). Fortunately, the no-analog problem only affects niche modeling when (1) the envelope of observed climates truncates a fundamental niche and (2) the direction of environmental change causes currently unobserved portions of a species' fundamental niche to open up (Figure 5). Species-level uncertainties accumulate at the community level owing to ecological interactions, so the composition and structure of communities in novel climate regimes will be difficult to predict. Increases in atmospheric CO2 should increase the temperature optimum for photosynthesis and reduce sensitivity to moisture stress (Sage and Coleman 2001), weakening the foundation for applying present empirical plant–climate relationships to predict species' responses to future climates. At worst, we may only be able to predict that many novel communities will emerge and surprises will occur. Mechanistic ecological models, such as dynamic global vegetation models (Cramer et al. 2001), are in principle better suited for predicting responses to novel climates. However, in practice, most such models include only a limited number of plant functional types (and so are not designed for modeling species-level responses), or they are partially parameterized using modern ecological observations (and thus may have limited predictive power in no-analog settings).

      Very nice summary of some of the challenges to using models of contemporary species distributions for forecasting changes in distribution.

    2. In eastern North America, the high pollen abundances of temperate tree taxa (Fraxinus, Ostrya/Carpinus, Ulmus) in these highly seasonal climates may be explained by their position at the edge of the current North American climate envelope (Williams et al. 2006; Figure 3). This pattern suggests that the fundamental niches for these taxa extend beyond the set of climates observed at present (Figure 3), so that these taxa may be able to sustain more seasonal regimes than exist anywhere today (eg Figure 1), as long as winter temperatures do not fall below the −40°C mean daily freezing limit for temperate trees (Sakai and Weiser 1973).

      Recognizing where species are relative to the observed climate range will be important for understanding their potential response to changes in climate. This information should be included when using distribution models to predict changes in species distributions. Ideally this information could be used in making point estimates, but at a minimum understanding its impact on uncertainty would be a step forward.

  7. Mar 2017
  8. Feb 2017
    1. Draft Biological Opinion for the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge AsianTapeworm Eradication

      Would that it was ever undertaken...alas, it was not.

  9. Jan 2017
    1. To simulate equilibrium sagebrush cover under projected future climate, we applied average projected changes in precipitation and temperature to the observed climate time series. For each GCM and RCP scenario combination, we calculated average precipitation and temperature over the 1950–2000 time period and the 2050–2098 time period. We then calculated the absolute change in temperature between the two time periods (ΔT) and the proportional change in precipitation between the two time periods (ΔP) for each GCM and RCP scenario combination. Lastly, we applied ΔT and ΔP to the observed 28-year climate time series to generate a future climate time series for each GCM and RCP scenario combination. These generated climate time series were used to simulate equilibrium sagebrush cover.

      This is an interesting approach to forecasting future climate values with variation.

      1. Use GCMs to predict long-term change in climate condition
      2. Add this change to the observed time-series
      3. Simulate off of this adjusted time-series

      Given short-term variability may be important, that it is not the focus of the long-term GCM models, and that the goal here is modeling equilibrum (not transitional) dynamics, this seems like a nice compromise approach to capture both long-term and short-term variation in climate.

    2. Our process model (in Eq. (2)) includes a log transformation of the observations (log(yt − 1)). Thus, our model does not accommodate zeros. Fortunately, we had very few instances where pixels had 0% cover at time t − 1 (n = 47, which is 0.01% of the data set). Thus, we excluded those pixels from the model fitting process. However, when simulating the process, we needed to include possible transitions from zero to nonzero percent cover. We fit an intercept-only logistic model to estimate the probability of a pixel going from zero to nonzero cover: yi∼Bernoulli(μi)(8)logit(μi)=b0(9)where y is a vector of 0s and 1s corresponding to whether a pixel was colonized (>0% cover) or not (remains at 0% cover) and μi is the expected probability of colonization as a function of the mean probability of colonization (b0). We fit this simple model using the “glm” command in R (R Core Team 2014). For data sets in which zeros are more common and the colonization process more important, the same spatial statistical approach we used for our cover change model could be applied and covariates such as cover of neighboring cells could be included.

      This seems like a perfectly reasonable approach in this context. As models like this are scaled up to larger spatial extents the proportion of locations with zero abundance will increase and so generalizing the use of this approach will require a different approach to handling zeros.

    3. Our approach models interannual changes in plant cover as a function of seasonal climate variables. We used daily historic weather data for the center of our study site from the NASA Daymet data set (available online: http://daymet.ornl.gov/). The Daymet weather data are interpolated between coarse observation units and capture some spatial variation. We relied on weather data for the centroid of our study area.

      This seems to imply that only a single environmental time-series was used across all of the spatial locations. This is reasonable given the spatial extent of the data, but it will be necessary to allow location specific environmental time-series to allow this to be generalized to large spatial extents.

    4. Because SDMs typically rely on occurrence data, their projections of habitat suitability or probability of occurrence provide little information on the future states of populations in the core of their range—areas where a species exists now and is expected to persist in the future (Ehrlén and Morris 2015).

      The fact that most species distribution models treat locations within a species range as being of equivalent quality for the species regardless of whether there are 2 or 2000 individuals of that species is a core weakness of the occupancy based approach to modeling these problems. Approaches, like those in this paper, that attempt to address this weakness are really valuable.

  10. Nov 2016
    1. My thoughts on Climatic Associations of British Species Distributions Show Good Transferability in Time but Low Predictive Accuracy for Range Change by Rapacciuolo et al. (2012).

    2. Whilst the consensus method we used provided the best predictions under AUC assessment – seemingly confirming its potential for reducing model-based uncertainty in SDM predictions [58], [59] – its accuracy to predict changes in occupancy was lower than most single models. As a result, we advocate great care when selecting the ensemble of models from which to derive consensus predictions; as previously discussed by Araújo et al. [21], models should be chosen based on aspects of their individual performance pertinent to the research question being addressed, and not on the assumption that more models are better.

      It's interesting that the ensembles perform best overall but more poorly for predicting changes in occupancy. It seems possible that ensembling multiple methods is basically resulting in a more static prediction, i.e., something closer to a naive baseline.

    3. Finally, by assuming the non-detection of a species to indicate absence from a given grid cell, we introduced an extra level of error into our models. This error depends on the probability of false absence given imperfect detection (i.e., the probability that a species was present but remained undetected in a given grid cell [73]): the higher this probability, the higher the risk of incorrectly quantifying species-climate relationships [73].

      This will be an ongoing challenge for species distribution modeling, because most of the data appropriate for these purposes is not collected in such a way as to allow the straightforward application of standard detection probability/occupancy models. This could potentially be addressed by developing models for detection probability based on species and habitat type. These models could be built on smaller/different datasets that include the required data for estimating detectability.

    4. an average 87% of grid squares maintaining the same occupancy status; similarly, all climatic variables were also highly correlated between time periods (ρ>0.85, p<0.001 for all variables). As a result, models providing a good fit to early distribution records can be expected to return a reasonable fit to more recent records (and vice versa), regardless of whether relevant predictors of range shift have actually been captured. Previous studies have warned against taking strong model performance on calibration data to indicate high predictive accuracy to a different time period [20], [24]–[26]; our results indicate that strong model performance in a different time period, as measured by widespread metrics, may not indicate high predictive accuracy either.

      This highlights the importance of comparing forecasts to baseline predictions to determine the skill of the forecast vs. the basic stability of the pattern.

    5. Most variation in the prediction accuracy of SDMs – as measured by AUC, sensitivity, CCRstable, CCRchanged – was among species within a higher taxon, whilst the choice of modelling framework was as important a factor in explaining variation in specificity (Table 4 and Table S4). The effect of major taxonomic group on the accuracy of forecasts was relatively small.

      This suggests that it will be difficult to know if a forecast for a particular species will be good or not, unless a model is developed that can predict which species will have what forecast qualities.

    6. The correct classification rate of grid squares that remained occupied or remained unoccupied (CCRstable) was fairly high (mean±s.d.  = 0.75±0.15), and did not covary with species’ observed proportional change in range size (Figure 3B). In contrast, the CCR of grid squares whose occupancy status changed between time periods (CCRchanged) was very low overall (0.51±0.14; guessing randomly would be expected to produce a mean of 0.5), with range expansions being slightly better predicted than range contractions (0.55±0.15 and 0.48±0.12, respectively; Figure 3C).

      This is a really important result and my favorite figure in this ms. For cells that changed occupancy status (e.g., a cell that has occupied at t_1 and was unoccupied at t_2) most models had about a 50% chance of getting the change right (i.e., a coin flip).

    7. The consensus method Mn(PA) produced the highest validation AUC values (Figure 1), generating good to excellent forecasts (AUC ≥0.80) for 60% of the 1823 species modelled.

      Simple unweighted ensembles performed best in this comparison of forecasts from SDMs for 1823 species.

    8. Quantifying the temporal transferability of SDMs by comparing the agreement between model predictions and observations for the predicted period using common metrics is not a sufficient test of whether models have actually captured relevant predictors of change. A single range-wide measure of prediction accuracy conflates accurately predicting species expansions and contractions to new areas with accurately predicting large parts of the distribution that have remained unchanged in time. Thus, to assess how well SDMs capture drivers of change in species distributions, we measured the agreement between observations and model predictions of each species’ (a) geographic range size in period t2, (b) overall change in geographic range size between time periods, and (c) grid square-level changes in occupancy status between time periods.

      This is arguably the single most important point in this paper. It is equivalent to comparing forecasts to simple baseline forecasts as is typically done in weather forecasting. In weather forecasting it is typical to talk about the "skill" of the forecast, which is how much better it does than a simple baseline. In this case the the baseline is a species range that doesn't move at all. This would be equivalent to a "naive" forecast in traditional time-series analysis since we only have a single previous point in time and the baseline is simply the prediction based on this value not changing.

    9. Although it is common knowledge that some of the modelling techniques we used (e.g., CTA, SRE) generally perform less well than others [32], [33], we believe that their transferability in time is not as well-established; therefore, we decided to include them in our analysis to test the hypothesis that simpler statistical models may have higher transferability in time than more complex ones.

      The point that providing better/worse fits on held out spatial training data is not the same was providing better forecasts is important especially given the argument about simpler models having better transferability.

    10. We also considered including additional environmental predictors of ecological relevance to our models. First, although changes in land use have been identified as fundamental drivers of change for many British species [48]–[52], we were unable to account for them in our models – like most other published accounts of temporal transferability of SDMs [20], [21], [24], [25] – due to the lack of data documenting habitat use in the earlier t1 period; detailed digitised maps of land use for the whole of Britain are not available until the UK Land Cover Map in 1990 [53].

      The lack of dynamic land cover data is a challenge for most SDM and certainly for SDM validation using historical data. If would be interesting to know, in general, how much better modern SDMs become based on held out data when land cover is included.

    11. Great Britain is an island with its own separate history of environmental change; environmental drivers of distribution size and change in British populations are thus likely to differ somewhat from those of continental populations of the same species. For this reason, we only used records at the British extent to predict distribution change across Great Britain.

      This restriction to Great Britain for the model building is a meaningful limitation since Great Britain will typically represent a small fraction of the total species range for many of the species involved. However this is a common issue for SDMs and so I think it's a perfectly reasonable choice to make here given the data availability. It would be nice to see this analysis repeated using alternative data sources that cover spatial extents closer to that of the species range. This would help determine how well these results generalize to models built at larger scales.

  11. Feb 2016
    1. Everyday interactions replay the Turing Test over and over. Is there a person behind this machine, and if so, how much? In time, the answer will matter less, and the postulation of human (or even carbon-based life) as the threshold measure of intelligence and as the qualifying gauge of a political ethics may seem like tasteless vestigial racism, replaced by less anthropocentric frames of reference.

      That's beautiful. I only hope the transition isn't jarring and the rate of expansion for compassion matches or exceeds that of cognition.