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Comment: Re:Meh.... Here's the thing ..... (Score 1) 131

by Rich0 (#48270697) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

And I imagine they want planes filled both ways to maximize efficiency, revenue, profit, etc.

This is my problem with this whole issue. We're trying to save a buck when it comes down to it. Nobody wants to pay to properly quarantine and support people who have been exposed. Nobody wants there to be a drop in airline revenue, or trade.

It really seems like the #1 thing governments are afraid of is that people will stop going to the mall. That is not really the worst possible outcome here.

Everybody wants to save a few millions dollars by not treating problems like this at the source by applying "overwhelming force." However, if things spiral out of control then we'll all end up spending 10s to 100s of billions of dollars dealing with the resulting mess. This is the US healthcare system in a nutshell - we'll spend $50k on a hospital trying to deal with some acute medical problem suffered by a homeless person, but we won't give him a $1k/yr place to live where he wouldn't develop the problem in the first place because that would just be rewarding laziness or something.

Comment: Re:This is related (Score 1) 131

by Rich0 (#48269223) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

I don't debate that if she is asymptomatic then she probably isn't actively spreading the disease. The problem is that we don't have a lot of data around just what the risks are in the time between somebody starts actively spreading the disease and the time symptoms are first DETECTED (you can't take action prior to detection unless you quarantine pre-emptively). Note that I do not intend to imply an ordering of those two events, and as far as I'm aware there is no hard scientific data supporting that either happens exclusively before the other.

IF there is always no risk of infection prior to the first detection of symptoms then that would make a good case for not doing pre-emptive quarantines. However, we're talking about a very serious problem and it seems rather risky to just try being less careful and see how it goes.

Comment: Re:This is related (Score 2) 131

by Rich0 (#48269155) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

If you can't even quarantine a single person, how's that going to work when you get hundreds, thousands and millions of people infected?

We're better off staying inside our basements.

That is exactly what people are going to do if this gets out of hand. Right now it isn't widespread enough for people to worry about actually getting it. However, if you get to the point where you start having dozens or hundreds of infections in many cities, you'll see everybody go into all-out zombie apocalypse mode.

I just don't get why we're being so lackadaisical about this. We have very few people at risk for spreading Ebola right now. Just pull out all the stops to contain things, and then we don't have to deal with doomsday scenarios. Just quarantine anybody travelling from West Africa, and bill the costs to the airline to be passed along to the ticket-holders. Governments certify that food shipments are BSE-free all the time - they could just as easily certify that travellers are West-Africa free, and if they don't then their air travel will resemble their meat exports.

Comment: Re:only for nerds (Score 1) 58

I did this for my NAS, but it was more expensive than an HP microserver with a similar form factor. The only reason that I did it was that I wanted to be able to use the machine for XBMC so I wanted a slightly better GPU. The only bit that I'm likely to upgrade is the disks, and even then I had to make some compromises (the case has 4 removable disk bays and a slimline optical drive bay, but I couldn't find a motherboard that had everything I wanted and more than 4 SATA slots, so I can't use one of the disk bays).

Comment: Re: Use the technology on a chromebook (Score 1) 58

I used to think desktop computers were upgradable, but it's not really true. Sure, you can bump the RAM and the disk easily, but by the time a new CPU is worth the bother, the socket and chipset have changed, so you need to buy a new motherboard. The new motherboard takes a different kind of RAM. The hard disk might still work if you're lucky (although you may find that the interface type has changed) but it's probably going to be the bottleneck in the new system so you probably want to upgrade it too.

The last time I upgraded a desktop, I kept the case and optical drive (which I replaced a bit later). I kept the hard disk, but added a second one and eventually stopped using the smaller one. After the next upgrade, I had enough parts to build a completely new desktop. If two upgrade cycles means that you've replaced every single part, then it's simpler and easier to just lengthen the upgrade cycles a bit and by a completely new system.

Comment: Re:On the shoulders of giants (Score 5, Interesting) 62

by NoNeeeed (#48267813) Attached to: The Most Highly Cited Scientific Papers of All Time

I second this. A lot of attention gets paid (understandably) to those researchers who discover some new particle, material, species etc, but science is utterly dependent on the brilliant people who are prepared to work in the background on less "sexy" topics.

X-Ray crystallography is a brilliant example, without all the work being done by brilliant experimentors like Elspeh Garmen who have worked so hard to make other people's discoveries and inventions possible.

As the biologist Steve Jones once put it, "Science is the last refuge of the mediocre". People focus on the geniuses but it's really a massive collaborative effort by a lot of actually pretty ordinary people who just like to investigate the unknown.

The BBC Radio 4 programme The Life Scientific had a great interview with Garmen who was very humble about a career that has had a massive impact on so many areas of research -

It's a really fantastic series if you want to get an idea of what real scientists actually do, and how they got to where they are in their careers.

Comment: Re:Fear Mongering, does it ever go out of style? (Score 4, Insightful) 353

by TheRaven64 (#48267783) Attached to: Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

That the water would be so polluted by 2000 that we wouldn't have anything to drink.

I guess you missed the huge amount of regulation that has come in regarding pollution in waterways in the last 50 or so years then? Or do you think that this prediction would still have been wrong if factories had been allowed to keep dumping waste into rivers? In fact, maybe you should just try visiting some of the parts of India and China where they've managed to build an industrial base without such regulation and see how the water tastes. The entire point of making such predictions is so that we can avoid them happening.

Comment: Re: Climate p()rn (Score 1) 353

by TheRaven64 (#48267699) Attached to: Imagining the Future History of Climate Change
Arguing the facts doesn't appear to work. Read the posts above yours. A number of them are full of assertions with no citations backing them, followed by responses citing data showing that they're wrong. In a world full of rational people wanting to have an informed debate, that would be the end. Now go back to the last story about climate change on Slashdot. You'll see the same assertions being made, by the same people, and being contradicted then too. At some point, you have to just accept that either these people have some vested interest in denying the evidence and so can't be convinced by more evidence.

Comment: Re:Ideas come cheap. (Score 1) 65

by TheRaven64 (#48267655) Attached to: Check Out the Source Code For the Xerox Alto
Moore's law applies. The reason the Mac was so much cheaper than the Alto was that it was a decade later. The Alto was also heavily designed for experimentation. Programs were compiled to a bytecode with the bytecode interpreter implemented in CPU microcode. This made it very easy to change the instruction set and find one that was well suited to the requirements of the software, but for a commercial product you'd have wanted to sink a lot of that logic into the hardware.

Comment: Re:People are the problem (Score 2) 74

by Rich0 (#48266439) Attached to: "Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland

Yeah, they REALLY need to improve the liability laws around things like this. AEDs are designed to be applicable by untrained users, and tests have shown that people generally are able to use them correctly by following only the verbal prompts.

I checked an in the state where I live you're only protected from liability if you hold a current certificate stating that you're trained in the specific procedure you performed (typically CPR+AED). These certificates often cost $40 and last only a year, so most people aren't going to have them. That is just ridiculous - you should not be liable if you make any good faith effort to save a life.

CPR guidelines generally recognize that even improperly-administered CPR is far preferable to not administering CPR. If the person is unresponsive then CPR should be administered. Modern AHA guidelines instruct non-professionals to not even check for a pulse now - you are only supposed to look for signs of breathing. Even medical professionals are only supposed to check briefly for a pulse before assuming one is not present, since pulses are easy for even professionals to miss. The rationale is that far more people are harmed by a delay in starting CPR than from performing it unnecessarily. Certificates should be even less necessary for an AED - they're designed to diagnose the condition and they will not issue a shock unless an abnormal heart rhythm that is treatable is detected. In theory you can attach one to a healthy person at any time and it won't do anything.

Comment: Re:People are the problem (Score 4, Informative) 74

by Rich0 (#48266367) Attached to: "Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland

Mythybusters proved that is only a problem in unusual and unlikely circumstances so any man that does that deserves to be labeled a sex offender. Their kind just goes around looking for reasons to take off our clothes. The AED excuse is not a valid one.

The AED instructions (written in the manual and spoken by the machine upon activation) almost always state to remove clothing. Non-professions would almost certainly be covered by a good samaritan law (heck, you're covered if you accidentally kill them, let alone expose them in public). Professionals who disregard the instructions given by the device might even be liable for malpractice. The instructions given by the device are approved by the FDA, and the device is only certified to be effective if used in accordance with instructions.

Sure, the bra might not cause sparks, but you're supposed to do things by the book. The AED is not programmed to argue with an operator - the instructions are streamlined for emergency use and if there is some reason the model might be less effective with a bra on the instructions will not say so - they're just written as if they will be followed.

It has been a long time since I saw that Mythbusters episode and I was not very familiar with AED operation at the time, but something that occurred to me subsequently is that they probably didn't test the diagnostics capability of the AED. If the presence of a wire near the sensors interferes with the diagnostics in the device it may make an incorrect treatment decision, either failing to shock somebody who should be shocked, or delivering a shock to somebody who should not receive one. Either is potentially a life-threatening error. It would not really be possible to test this without proper equipment/etc, since you need to simulate the heart/chest/skin/etc electrically to do it.

In any case, anybody reputable who would testify in court is going to say that the primary consideration should be to take any measure that will maximize the likelihood of saving the patient's life, and that is going to include removing clothing. Why take a chance over something as silly as modesty? If you show up in a hospital trauma OR the first thing they're going to do is chop every stitch of clothing off of you, and for good reason.

If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up.