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Comment: Re:writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythin (Score 1) 455

While I agree with your general concept (I think), this example doesn't demonstrate it because you don't have enough context.

Why would the child giggle when dad eats a bite of chocolate? Simply put - the child wouldn't, assuming this is his first observation of the pattern of behavior. The child would have no reason to giggle, because nothing is inherently funny about it. Dad (and Mom, for that matter) go into the refrigerator to get food all the time. Mom (who most likely does the grocery shopping) puts food in the refrigerator all the time.

The child would giggle if he had observed a pattern of behavior where:
1. Mom puts a "special food item" (like a chocolate bar) in the fridge
2. Dad sneaks a bite of this special item without Mom's awareness
3. Mom later discovers a missing bite of her food.
4. Mom (or Dad) respond with some behavior which the little boy decides is funny

So on subsequent repetitions of this pattern, the boy sees steps 1 & 2, and mentally projects step 4, causing him to giggle.

Alternatively, Dad cues little boy during the initial iteration of step 2 that this is a funny action (perhaps doing it by acting in a silly manner, smiling & laughing more than normal, etc), in which case his laughter has nothing to do with a mental simulation, but is merely reflecting Dad's attitude.

The bottom line is -- humans are REALLY GOOD at pattern recognition, and computers less so (currently). What you call "simulations" I see as simply extrapolations of observed behavior patterns -- and if computers got good at autonomously recognizing human behavior, they'd get good at "simulations" too.

Comment: Re:Seems good to me. (Score 4, Insightful) 146

by Draknor (#47780155) Attached to: The American Workday, By Profession

And unions are bad again... why?

(making a generalization - I don't know if tompaulco has ever said anything about unions or not.) Many posters comment on this extreme power dynamic differential that they are at the short end of, but then no one seems to be in favor of unions. Not saying unions aren't without their problems, but the simple fact is the only thing that can effectively fight organized bureaucracy & greed (like management) is ... more organized bureaucracy & greed (in the form of unions).

My $0.02, anyway...

Comment: Re:The Real Story Should Be... (Score 1) 286

by Draknor (#47167661) Attached to: How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

I got a parking ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant, despite the fact that the curb in that location was NOT painted yellow. A block away the curb around the hydrant WAS painted yellow.

I took photos & my ticket to the judge. I was told the curb markings are for convenience only; doesn't matter if it wasn't painted. He did knock a few bucks of my ticket, but he didn't dismiss it.

Comment: Re:Free market (Score 1) 353

by Draknor (#46625721) Attached to: If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

While I agree with your general sentiment, you are missing two key points:
1. While "me driving to work" and "me driving someone else to work for compensation" are the same physical actions, they have very different intents and motives, so they are NOT the same. As another posted wrote (and I have friends who confirm) - as a private pilot you CANNOT take passengers on flights for compensation, even if you are flying the same aircraft you normally fly alone (or with non-paying passengers).

2. The risks to a passenger vs another driver are very different. If I'm a passenger in an ill-maintained vehicle, I have no control over my situation. If the axle breaks then I have to suffer whatever consequences happen. But if I'm a different driver on the road - I have options in terms of what I can do with my vehicle, when the other vehicle's axle breaks - I can slam on the brakes, swerve around, etc. As a driver, I might be able to avoid the dangerous situation, or I might make the dangerous situations worse -- but being in control of a vehicle I have options that the passenger does not.

So yes, I think it is legitimate for cab / taxi services to be held to a higher standard than regular drivers.

That said, I agree we have too many terrible drivers on American roads (I'm assuming you are American), and I would not be opposed to elevating the standards for everyone! But that is orthogonal to if cabs / taxis should be held to a higher standard than regular drivers - I would support both.

Comment: Re:It doesn't cost any more to serve more data (Score 1) 479

by Draknor (#46011233) Attached to: An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Simple technical solution, maybe -- but I imagine your billing & support costs would go through the roof, with everyone calling in not understanding why the internet was fast yesterday but slow today, or they got charged more this month then last month.

I don't know about Teksavvy, but given it's name I'm guessing it's users probably understand a bit more about what they are doing. A small rural telco coop in Iowa -- not as likely to grok this. Esp if most of them are using 5 GB / month -- I downloaded more than that in a 24 hour period just patching video games.

Comment: Re:Why morons are so prevalent in scientific circl (Score 1) 366

by Draknor (#45875841) Attached to: Why a Cure For Cancer Is So Elusive

If your immune system can kill off cells that have mutated -- a sort of integrity check -- then you can't get cancer.

True - except that it's reasonable to assume that even in a perfectly healthy system, immune function decreases and cell mutations increase with age. So at some point more cells will be mutating than the immune system is able to keep up with. Keep boosting the immune system and reducing causes for mutations and you kick that can down the road, but you can't eliminate that intersection.

I guess you could possibly kick it past some other biological deadline (eg running out of telomeres, perhaps?), effectively "preventing cancer"? Until we figure out how to lengthen telomeres.

Comment: Re:Why morons are so prevalent in scientific circl (Score 1) 366

by Draknor (#45875809) Attached to: Why a Cure For Cancer Is So Elusive

The point still stands that longevity beyond reproductive/rearing age is rarely an evolutionary advantage.

This is plausible in the case of an individual, but I put forth the theory that it is NOT true at a macro level -- that 'tribes' (communities, if you prefer) with long-lived members (well beyond reproductive age) would benefit from greater care, knowledge, & experience and would thrive better than tribes that died shortly after reproduction stopped being viable. In this way evolution would not select specific genes for longevity, but rather select populations that carried genes that promoted long healthy lives.

IANA[whoever studies this kind of stuff] so I have no idea if anyone has researched such a theory, but it seems imminently plausible to me that a tribe with members ranging from 0-120 years of age could be more successful than a tribe with members only aging until 30 before dying. More members to hunt, gather, share "eat this not that" type of knowledge, know/remember important environmental events and geographic locations, etc.

Comment: Re:Maybe this corn can be used for food again? (Score 1) 314

by Draknor (#45720127) Attached to: Lawmakers Out To Kill the Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate

Some things don't need regular repeal - some laws are just that good. Like laws against murder.

Right, and copyright -- because everyone agrees that these laws are important, right?

I like the idea of all laws having automatic sunsets - maybe with max of 10 or 20 years out. It's an automatic opportunity to review the legislation again when it comes for renewal. Does it mean that all laws will be re-analyzed in depth? No, of course not - most of the core legal framework would just be renewed without debate in giant, omnibus-like bills.

But it could trigger discussions about topics that might have changed in the last couple of decades - things like copyright, patents, healthcare, taxation, immigration, gun laws -- topics that have had material change and should be re-evaluated.

And it helps prevent old, dumb laws from sitting on the books, like these (most of these happen to be state laws, but the point stands):
Dominoes may not be played on Sunday
Shotguns are required to be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.
A man may not seduce a woman by lying, and claiming he will marry her.


Comment: Re:Accuracy of Theranos Tests (Score 1) 282

by Draknor (#45469413) Attached to: Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

I think you responded to the wrong post, but I'll bite anyway -- sure, it's easy to self-diagnose incorrectly. I'm guilty of it myself. But the ability to get labwork done (on my own dime) is super valuable to me, because (anecdotally) doctors follow their traditional protocols, which are generalized for the population and (often, it seems to me) rely on prescribing a magic pill.

I was diagnosed by my doctor with hypothryoidism based on a high (but not astronomical) TSH. My doctor would have NEVER ordered a lab for free triiodothyronine - she just rx'ed synthroid and was done with me. I did more research on my own, decided I really wanted to track FT3 & FT4 because I suspected my symptoms strongly correlated with those levels rather than TSH. And I discovered low/normal FT3/FT4 is NOT good for me - despite it being within the reference range.

For patients that are willing to take charge of their health, having more access to tests is a good thing. Doesn't mean patients shouldn't have conversations with their doctors - I'm meeting with mine in 3 weeks - but those can now be much more fruitful conversations.

Comment: Re:How to interpret results (Score 1) 282

by Draknor (#45469359) Attached to: Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Exactly. You need a baseline to "compare" results.

Which I don't get with today's system.

I've been feeling really fatigued lately so I had an iron test done. I have low iron-binding capacity, and yet high serum iron. Is that normal for me? I have no idea - I'm 33 years old and I've NEVER had my iron checked before, because my doctor(s) have never ordered it. At least today, I can go online to order tests (paid out of pocket, drawn at local service centers for LabCorp or Quest) that I think might be useful, irregardless of if my doctor would order it or not, and start to look at some of those things pro-actively.

Comment: Re:hemoglobin test (Score 1) 282

by Draknor (#45469295) Attached to: Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Exactly where I'm at right now - diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 2-3 years ago, given the standard synthetic thyroid hormone and sent on my way. Many dosage changes & roller-coasters of symptoms, now I'm ordering all my own tests online at sites like & & (not affiliated, just a satisfied customer) -- they just requisition orders for labwork to be done at LabCorps or Quest.

I order online, go to a local LabCorbs or Quest patient service center, have the blood drawn, and 3-5 business days later get emailed the results. I get exactly the labs I want, when I want them -- not on my primary doc's schedule or whim. And yeah, I'm paying for these labs out of pocket, but like the GGP posted - I care a lot more about my health & specific condition than my dr does, and if I'm willing to put in the extra time & effort for additional testing, why shouldn't I be able to?

I do still need my doc's guidance (or probably a specialist, given some of my recent confusing results), to help figure out what the results mean in combination with each other, and what additional tests may be useful to run to shed more light on what's going on, but it makes my occasional 15 minute office visit more valuable by discussing lab results, not just deciding we need to run some basic labs.

Comment: Re:what? (Score 3, Insightful) 258

by Draknor (#45393535) Attached to: US Postal Service To Make Sunday Deliveries For Amazon

I think the question of whether or not something should be government-run (or at least involved) vs free market is: Are we, as a society, okay if some people don't get this service?

If the answer to that is 'yes', then free market is probably the way to go.
But if the answer to that is 'no', then free market won't work -- free market requires the voluntary participation of buyers AND sellers.

Don't care if some people don't have health care or education because they can't afford it? Free market is the way to go.

Think health care & education are important for a civilized, well-functioning society? Probably need to have government involvement then -- which is not to say our current systems are perfect (far from it!) but "free market" is not the solitary answer.

Comment: Re:Here is a thought.. (Score 3, Insightful) 400

by Draknor (#45316199) Attached to: What Went Wrong?

Some people object to the concept of the government being the final arbitrator of life and death. If an insurance company refuses to cover something, I can attempt to get funding elsewhere. When the government does so, I have little to no options left- even if it is to have the hospital perform the procedure and take the charges off as part of the charity work needed to keep their tax exempt status which does happen all the time.

Wait, what? So when an insurance company denies you a service, you can "attempt to get funding elsewhere"? Like where, pray-tell? You basically have 4 options:
1. Appeal the denial & hope you can get them to cover it anyway
2. Pay the cost of the procedure in full and figure out how to cover it (debt, fundraiser, etc)
3. Negotiate with the hospital for a self-pay discount or charity care
4. Don't get the procedure.

Those are the same 4 options you have if your plan is provided by the government, and that gov't plan doesn't cover the procedure.

The simple fact of health care is, we can't afford to do all the procedures, for all the people, all the time. We have finite resources - so they HAVE to be allocated. And someone HAS to decide HOW they are allocated, which means someone has to say "we will pay for this" and "we won't pay for that". That's the reality - no getting around it. What "this" and "that" are -- plenty of room for reasonable debate there, with parameters for profitability, ethics & morality, etc.

Personally, the biggest problem that I see with our current system (which is starting to change), is we don't have "health care", we have "disease care". Your doctor is paid to do services for you, not for keeping you healthy. And the impression I get is that many patients are not "partners" in their own health -- they have a problem, they want to go to a doctor and have that problem fixed, and not have to change themselves. "I don't want to change my diet & lifestyle - just give me a pill to pop to make it all better." I think if doctors were reimbursed for keeping you healthy, and patients had a shared stake in that (besides the obvious benefit of living longer, healthier lives), we would have a very different healthcare system (and probably much, much more effective & economical).

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.