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Comment Re:Not acupuncture (Score 3, Informative) 159 159

Passing electrical currents through living tissue has real biological effects. Sticking needles in people at random locations around the body does not (aside from the possibility of infection and other complications).

Real therapies that use electricity are Electroconvulsive Therapy and Electric Muscle Stimulation. There's no need to puncture the skin. These quacks are just adding some risk of infection to what would otherwise be an almost perfectly safe therapy.

Comment Re:Absolutely (Score 1) 351 351

One idea would be to have a tax on ISP services that is paid out to websites in proportion to how much people use them. Presumably hours of engagement would be a decent metric.

But then, how can you be sure you're measuring what you think you're measuring? If I open up 10 tabs on my browser, do I get recorded as being active on all ten websites despite only paying attention to one of them? This would be a very difficult problem to solve. You could simply go by the number of packets transmitted, as that is much easier to measure, but then that would weight even more heavily towards video (YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu would take up most of the Internet's money), and then what would you do about peer-to-peer services?

Comment Re:Absolutely (Score 1) 351 351

Advertising is only important because of the way we've structured our economy. Yes, we need advertising for things like most of the Internet to exist. But that's only because we don't have an alternative model to pay for services designed for public consumption.

Also, advertising really doesn't have as strong a check as you imagine here. If a company advertises a product and makes it really really cool, despite the fact that it's pretty crappy, then many people may still buy it because they buy into the hype. Some of the worst examples here are medical advertisements: medicine is notoriously difficult for the person taking it to know how it effects them. Lots and lots of drugs on the market really don't have all that much benefit (industry studies tend to overestimate benefits), or no more benefit than much cheaper drugs. But if people are convinced by an ad that the drug is that much better, then they may be able to get their doctor to pay for it (note: in this case the even worse travesty is the fact that pharmaceutical companies essentially bribe doctors to prescribe their medications).

Comment Good! Those laws just misinform consumers anyway. (Score 4, Insightful) 446 446

Labeling laws like this convey no real information to the consumer. They just add a word to the food item that many people interpret as frightening, a word that has literally zero impact on the safety or sustainability of the food item. This is definitely a win for people everywhere in the US.

Comment Sometimes (Score 1) 654 654

I do have free access to public transportation (my employer covers the cost). I sometimes use this because parking at work is horrendous at the moment. But it takes something like twice as long to get to work, so I often feel it isn't worth it. To really make public transportation worth it, it has to be much more convenient. The subways in NYC are like that (at least in Manhattan). I really wish we had more investment in public transportation around the US, so that we had more public transportation systems that were convenient to use.

Comment Re:The Struggle (Score 2) 410 410

This is because the refusal to bake the cake was of minimal consequence to the size of the judgment. The size of the judgment was primarily about the harassment that the Kleins subjected the couple to after they lodged a discrimination complaint (the refusal to serve a couple because of their sexual orientation is illegal in Oregon).

See more here.

The article includes the following quote from the ruling:

The Agency's theory of liability is that since Respondents brought the case to the media's attention and kept it there by repeatedly appearing in public to make statements deriding Complainants, it was foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact Complainants, making Respondents liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by Complainants. The Agency also argues that Respondents are liable for negative third party social media directed at Complainants because it was a foreseeable consequence of media attention.

Comment Re:useless idea person... (Score 1) 217 217

If you're going to be in any supervisory position related to technology, learning to code is pretty darned important. If you don't understand what is or isn't doable with regard to the work you are supervising, then you'll be completely incapable of making good decisions. Sure, everybody doesn't need to learn to code. There's no reason for most writers to learn, or a manager in a supermarket chain, or a lawyer, or one of many other positions. But if you can't be an effective "idea person" with regards to software if you don't understand software.

Comment Re:Very finance specific (Score 1) 217 217

One big contributing factor is the conflation of wealth with virtue. Pervasive in US culture is the idea that the poor are poor because of some moral failing, and the rich are rich because they are "hard working". If you take as axiomatic that income is correlated with virtue, then any action at all to increase income becomes justified.

If you doubt this, listen to the rhetoric that people use to justify cutting aid to the poor, justifications for not helping homeless people, or the whole "job creator" line you hear from the Republicans.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson