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January 22, 2014

How a mathematician hacked OKCupid to find love

This is a great story. This guy should sell this service to every other OKCupider out there. In short: he wrote up a system that created fake profiles and scanned every woman on OKCupid in his age range then he analyzed them, figured out what they wanted to talk about online, and answered their questions truthfully. Nothing he did is creepy or even cynical. It was just efficient. Though it still took him 88 dates before he found someone he really had a chemical connection with. How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love - Wired Science
With that, he created two profiles, one with a photo of him rock climbing and the other of him playing guitar at a music gig. “Regardless of future plans, what’s more interesting to you right now? Sex or love?” went one question. Answer: Love, obviously. But for the younger A cluster, he followed his computer’s direction and rated the question “very important.” For the B cluster, it was “mandatory.” When the last question was answered and ranked, he ran a search on OkCupid for women in Los Angeles sorted by match percentage. At the top: a page of women matched at 99 percent. He scrolled down … and down … and down. Ten thousand women scrolled by, from all over Los Angeles, and he was still in the 90s. He needed one more step to get noticed. OkCupid members are notified when some�one views their pages, so he wrote a new program to visit the pages of his top-rated matches, cycling by age: a thousand 41-year-old women on Monday, another thousand 40-year-old women on Tuesday, looping back through when he reached 27-year-olds two weeks later. Women reciprocated by visiting his profiles, some 400 a day. And messages began to roll in. “I haven’t until now come across anyone with such winning numbers, AND I find your profile intriguing,” one woman wrote. “Also, something about a rugged man who’s really good with numbers … Thought I’d say hi.” “Hey there—your profile really struck me and I wanted to say hi,” another wrote. “I think we have quite a lot in common, maybe not the math but certainly a lot of other good stuff!” “Can you really translate Chinese?” yet another asked. “I took a class briefly but it didn’t go well.” The math portion of McKinlay’s search was done. Only one thing remained. He’d have to leave his cubicle and take his research into the field. He’d have to go on dates.

January 17, 2014

Smoking still kills 400,000 every year is also linked to diabetes and a dozen other serious illnesses

Smoking is basically just you slowly committing suicide while also giving everyone else around you cancer. Nice job, asshole. List of Smoking-Related Illnesses Grows Significantly in U.S. Report - NYTimes.com
Smoking is the largest cause of premature death in the country, killing more than 400,000 people a year. The report notes that far more Americans have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than in all the wars ever fought by the United States. The report concluded that the evidence was insufficient to say that smoking caused prostate cancer. The evidence was suggestive, but not definite, that smoking causes breast cancer. The document also celebrates the public health success of smoking’s decline since Dr. Luther Terry, the surgeon general in 1964, released his landmark finding. Smoking was deeply embedded in American culture at the time. Half of adult men were smokers, and a third of women. Even doctors smoked. That report was so controversial that it was released on a Saturday when Congress was on recess to minimize the political repercussions, said Dr. Richard D. Hurt, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Judith Fradkin, a diabetes scientist at the National Institutes of Health, who was not involved in the report, said the evidence that smoking increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes had been gathering for about 20 years. While smoking causes most cases of lung cancer, it causes only a small fraction of liver and colorectal cancers. A current smoker is 25 times as likely to develop lung cancer as someone who has never smoked, but only about 1.5 times as likely to develop liver cancer. “It’s a fairly modest association, but because so many people smoke, it’s still an important cause of these cancers,” said Neal Freedman, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.