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Comment: Re:Won't be funny under single-payer (Score 1) 345

by Artifakt (#47409411) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

And the same people who ruled they couldn't outlaw Big Gulps will also be running health care too, or are the courts somehow not part of the government? Your agument seems to be different people in government have different opinions, but in this case, the right people had the ultimate say - that proves everyone in government thinks alike and will doubtless do the wrong thing. Like Dumbledore said to Pippin in Star Wars, "Illogical".

Comment: Re:Please learn to communicate (Score 1) 345

by Artifakt (#47409353) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

How can "panopticon" possibly be a cliche, when it's a word that probably less than 5% of the general public has any idea what it even means? Just imagine a Letterman style 'Man in the Street' interview - Q: "Sir or mam, do you think America is becoming a Panopticon State?" A: "Um, WTF is that optical thingy you said?" If this has become a cliche, then your use of a phrase such as "think for yourself rather than just parroting something someone else said" has become so cliche that we should definitely ignore anything else you say, forever. I'd rather not do that, but maybe you feel differently. Overbroadening the word cliche enough will mean nobody is worth reading, and thus all comunication is wasted.
        You may well disagree with whether the comparison being drawn by jbmartin6 is apt in this case, but distorting the meaning of the idea 'cliche' to make that point is not a solution. You're basically making the modest proposal that Slashdot itself should be shut down for lack of originality. (Aahh, a Swiftian proposal - that's certainly a cliche if panopticon is, now you can stop reading further, or if you really did imply that, I can double down on ignoring you instead and you'll get what you want even if you don't really want it.)
        Or is this about reassuring the hoi-polloi that you move in such elite intillectual circles that you do, in fact, hear such referrences near daily? I'm not sure whether to envy or pity you if that's true.

Comment: Re:Let them drink! (Score 2) 532

by Artifakt (#47330693) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

And the government uses other excuses, such as the War on Drugs, to control everything and anything which could even conceivably be illegal drug connected, or child porn to control everything and anything which could be internet connected, or the War on Terror, to control everything and anything that could be travel or free speech connected...
The courts have done a much better job of reigning in activities based on 'the environment', or 'health effects' or other "liberal' concerns than they have on reigning in anything using one of these excuses.

Comment: Re:Let them drink! (Score 1) 532

by Artifakt (#47330673) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

1. The Affordable Care Act is supposed to take the burden off of emergency rooms - you're arguing for it, whether you mean to or not. In the USA, the situation you're describing is mostly past tense, except in states that have refused the expansion.
2. Treating the consequences of excess sugar consumption is not a huge burden fiscally. Diabetic care, even with insulin and multiple blood sugar tests per day. is fairly cheap (around $100 per month for the average patient - typically cheaper than non-generic antidepressants, and much cheaper than the average course of antipsychotics. The cost of treating marginal diabetic symptoms is usually 1 or 2 four dollar a month generic drugs and around 18 to 25 dollars in testing supplies, and probably $200 in lab tests and office visits a year. (That describes me, and the costs I might personally be passing on to the society if I was poorer). Those lab tests will usually also test for such things as prostate hormone levels and hypertension related cholestoral levels which may be at least vaguely connected to type 2 diabetes, but are not all that corollated. Doctors would still advise those tests for every male in my age range, and they have other tests they recommend for women in the same range, so all poor people above about age 40 would be passing a good share of such costs on regardless of their lifestyle choices.
3. Many diabetics do manage on these for over 20 years without further costs, and roughly 30% of diagnosed individuals manage to control their disease entirely through diet and exercise. (However, Type 2 often develops in elderly persons of normal weight - I assume we aren't counting them in the bad eating habits group). You probably are count ing me there - I first developed symptoms in my early 40's. Right now, I'm 57, stand 6' 1", weight 195 lbs, and hit the gym at least 3 times a week, usually 5. I can run a half marathon, bench 255 lbs. and leg press over 600, My resting heart rate is about 68 bpm, my blood pressure 110 over 72, and yet I still have to use Metformin and test 1x/day.But when I was first diagnosed, yes I had a bit of a gut, and yes I drank too many sodas. Sometimes what you're calling bad eating habits is one soda a week, and 15 lbs of excess fat. I'm making the choice to stay in better shape than 90% of the people my age, and that doesn't 'fix' my condition, only makes it much cheaper to treat and hopefully holds off any of the more severe consequences such as peripheral neuropathy.
          So yes,their choices do have an effect on the people around them. So does just about everything. Do we require people to eat more cruciferous vegetables and less red meat? Treating colon cancer can be much more of a burden to society than diabetes. Or what about the social costs of a Down's syndrome child? These vary a lot, but particularly for single mothers and poorer class persons,can be devastating. If we just forcibly sterilized the at risk classes of mothers at about age 38, we could save a bundle. And the costs for a single violent schizophrenic can be in the 10's of millions when the disease leads to a school shootout. Talk about effect on the people around them! We can stop this by just putting all schizophrenics in institutions, and never mind that ones prone to major violence are very uncommon and we see the same type of violence from 'norma'l people.
4. I don't know who you are, but I guarantee you have some habit or practice that is your choice, and could, in the past, result in a tremendous cost to treat you. In the USA, unless you were making at least half a million a year, there were diseases that you couldn't possibly afford, and your insuror would stop covering when you hit your lifetime cap, often within the first year of a lifetime illness. This would still be true except for the Affordable Care Act's having stopped lifetime caps. You're protected there whether you like it or not, and so are the diabetics, choices or not.

Comment: Re:More Republican garbage (Score 2) 133

by Artifakt (#47294679) Attached to: The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

The early memos where the national socialists discussed putting the word socialist into the party name so they could lure workers away from German left wing parties are on open record. The NAZIs knew from the start they fell on the right and had a natural aliance with the ownership classes, and were very cynical about getting enough votes to gain power. In Hitler's own words, his National Socialism had nothing to do with Marx, Communism, or conventional Socialism, and was totally opposed to all of those things, but workers had to be weaned away from flirting with those philosophies.

To verify what I just claimed, look for George Sylvester Viereck's interview with Hitler (1923), or for more on this idea, read
R. Hamilton, Who Voted for Hitler? (1982) There's citations, and not just internet wiki ones, if that last matters.

The real question is, when Hitler claimed to be pro something or other, why does anyone living now say, in effect, "And you can trust that because it's straight from Hitler's own public speeches?" Don't people have to start out pro-Hitler to take anything he claimed that uncritically? And why does the American Right keep complaining about people playing the Race Card, and then quoting Hitler like they uncritically believe him?

Comment: Re:So I guess (Score 1) 127

by Artifakt (#47293753) Attached to: Big Bang Breakthrough Team Back-Pedals On Major Result

Saying just a theory is sort of like saying "that legal opinion is just a judge's". In some cases, it's like saying "just the supreme court's opinion.". Sure, it might still be wrong, so let's get an auto mechanic's opinion on what the law is - let's stop having juries and just ask a random plumber to decide who's guilty of what - maybe we could flip a Bible and if it lands face up the accused is innocent... .

Comment: Re:A minority view? (Score 1) 649

by Artifakt (#47268877) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

God, as a hypothesis, is not falsifiable, for largely the reasons you point out. Some people pretty well versed in the history of science hold both that Science is, by definition, committed to natural explanations, and can't include supernatural ones, and that God MUST be a supernatural entity. That, though, is a slightly different argument from the one you're presenting. The thing is, we can imagine purely natural aliens, with nothing at all supernatural involved, but they could be impossible in practice to use as a scientific hypothesis to explain anything else.
        They could, for example, be individually much smarter than humans. In a simplistic sense, what could we really conclude about what aliens with say, 10 times or 50 times the neurons, or equivalent structures, in their brains (or equivalent structures, again). If they wanted us to believe something was a fact, the overwhelming probability would be they could manipulate us into believing it whether it was true or not. Maybe we could trip up some types of aliens that were somewhat smarter than us in a contradiction, but postulate ones that are smarter by enough, and that chance becomes vanishingly small. There's not any sharp line between unfalsifiable in practice and unfalsifiable in theory, and no real need for infinite knowledge (omnescience) to even be possible, just intelligence somewhat better than human levels. .
    Alternately, wouldn't the same apply about aliens that were not all that much, if any, smarter than us, but had millions of years of civilised history, and had been through first contact situations with hundreds of other species before meeting us? Just their having been inventing space travel when we were still working on fire might mean they had enough of an advantage we could never detect what they didn't want us to detect. Or what about aliens who were no smarter than us, and had not been through many first contact situations, but had discovered some new principle that somehow worked better than any form of logic we know. Science can't prove that there is nothing possibly better than the scientific method itself (or it it somehow does, we still can't trust the proof is right). This problem starts kicking in at very low levels of knowing, not just as we consider something omniscent, or nearly so (whatever that last means - isn't any finite amount of knowledge infinitely less than infinite knowledge?). If we encounter aliens that appear to be not much more advanced than we are, or even if we get to them first and they appear backwards, how could we really prove they were? Those simple peasants that aren't resisting being rounded up and executed could conceivably be Organians, after all. How do we prove they aren't?
            You've presented a respectable argument for God not being part of the scientific method. I just want to point out that, since it applies to a lot of things we wouldn't call 'God' by any normal standard as well, it's an argument about the limitations of the scientific method itself, not just about whether that 'God' exists.

Comment: Re:Just imagine "if" (Score 1) 347

by Artifakt (#47252723) Attached to: Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

The very way the request is phrased assumes the guilt of the persons being investigated. When a trial starts with guilty until proven innocent, that IS what 'witch hunt' means. If the Republicans were asking for all relevant evidence, to see IF the IRS violated the first amendment, that would be different. In America, we don't ask for the Trtuth, that part of the Truth that proves what we want it to, and nothing but the part we like.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard