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Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49191881) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Scenario: Scientific study of infant mortality and birth defect rates in a specific neighbourhood (e.g. Love Canal) is used to justify an EPA order shutting down a major manufacturing facility until such time as it ceases to pollute. The data correlates proximity to pollution sources with health data. Using the now-publicly-available data,

Property records are an already public data source of people who were in proximity to Love Canal or any other specific manufacturing facility.

Scenario: Scientific study of environmental effects of Chemical A are troubling, but inconclusive.

In other words, "we're scared of chemical A but can't prove any danger." Red flag words are "troubling" (emotion, not science) and "inconclusive." You can't prove "absolute safety", so "inconclusive" can only mean "we can't prove danger".

The EPA issues a ruling applying the Precautionary Principle, stopping use of Chemical A until further studies have been completed.

Then they have to ensure that the data from the studies they base this ruling on are online for others to see. Why is this a problem?

Industry lobbyists challenge the ruling, stating that the science is neither well-established nor reproducible.

Do we know what one concept of science is supposed to be? I think it's "reproducibility." You don't think the industry being singled out for unsupported regulation will file a lawsuit no matter what? Really? Since the law doesn't require that the EPA prove reproducibility of the data it uses to create special rules, why would reproducibility become a new issue?

Further study determines the fears were justified, but it's too late -- hundreds or thousands of people are already suffering adverse effects.

In other words, anything that anyone fears should be banned not on the science proving a danger, but because science cannot prove a lack of danger. It might turn out to actually be dangerous so it is better to ban it even when science cannot show any danger -- just in case.

"Think of the Children."

Would all the people who are opposing this law because it would open the science to independent analysis please raise your hands if you also think that science should be the prime basis for climate-based regulations? I find it odd that someone might claim that science should trump political or social concerns in one area but science is not important in environmental regulation.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49191681) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Nope. I've actually participated in a medical study. My SSN and DOB were collected, and considered "data" for the purposes of the study.

Your SSN has nothing to do with your medical condition or status, does it? Then how could it be data that is required to analyze the results?

That HIPAA and EPA rules would contradict each other is a great thing for the polluters.

HIPAA and EPA rules don't contradict each other, nor does this proposed federal regulation create a contradiction. Even were you to somehow convince anyone that your SSN and DOB are data that are required to make independent analysis possible, the LAW ITSELF deals with any potential HIPAA conflict. When you get around to reading it, in full, you'll find:

(2) Nothing in the subsection will be construed as --

(BP) superseding any nondiscretionary statutory requirement.

If other laws say the information cannot be disseminated, then this law doesn't require it, either. But it didn't require it anyway because SSN and DOB are not required to analyze or reproduce the results.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49191583) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

If your SSN, DOB, or anything else is collected, it's required to be publicly accessible online.

That is not true. The only requirement is that the data online be "sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of the results". You are arguing here that the SSN and DOB of a participant in a study is somehow required to be able to analyze the data, even though you admit at the start "They don't really have a bearing on the study." They are not relevant to the study, so they aren't required to be online. It's just nuts to think that there will be some relevance to the SSN or DOB. What, do you think medical studies actually would have a result that "everyone whose SSN ends in 4 is more likely to die from cancer"? That's the ONLY kind of result that would require SSN data to be included, and if the EPA is going to base regulations on such patently absurd results I then I think this law is a godsend. It will allow people to identify the charlatans who would come up with such a result and brand them for what they are.

And if someone who is trying to analyze the results claims they need the SSN and DOB of every participant, they should be ignored.

But since it is unlikely that any such result would ever be relied upon to support a regulation, so the issue is moot.

... but it leaves open a ton of questions that need to be resolved through litigation if it is passed.

Like the EPA has never been sued before. And if they create regulations based on specific people's SSN or DOB, then they deserve, nay BEG, to be sued until they stop.

As for "specifically identified", that does not say that participants must be "specifically identified", it says the scientific studies must be identified. Who did them, not who was used as guinea pigs.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49191453) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Because if they don't anonymize it, they could track down every person in the study to verify the integrity of the data. Wasn't that the point?

No, that's not the point. The law says nothing about "integrity of data". It says nothing about EPA proving "integrity of data". It says "independent analysis and substantial reproduction of results".

That means "what are the data used to reach the results?" "How was it collected?" It means means being able to take the data as it was collected and look at it for potential process errors or measurement bias. Were outliers excluded for correct reasons? Do those same numbers support a different conclusion if you include other possible mechanisms of action?

It does NOT mean doing an identical study using the same identical people for a medical study. It does NOT mean that someone has to come ask AK Marc the same questions and do the same blood tests or whatever abysmal thing you were subjected to in order to detect false data.

It means that someone else WHO WANTS TO can do the study again with a different set of participants using the same techniques to see if the results are substantially the same. (Not identical, just substantially the same.) For example: the EPA proposes a regulation about second hand smoke based on a study that shows an effect in mice. The data for that study has to be online somewhere and have sufficient content so that I can look at it and say "you didn't account for this potential cause", or I can duplicate the study if I want to go that far. The law doesn't require the SSN and DOB of each and every mouse involved so I can go get the same mice and use them in the study. I just have to be able to do the same things done in the sturdy to the same kinds of mice to see if the numbers support the conclusions. That's what is meant by "reproduce the results".

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49191317) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

EPA will have to prove reproducibility, not actually reproduce it. Read again, slower this time, and without the rabid frothing at the mouth.

I am not frothing at anything, so stop projecting. I read it again. I read it many times. It simply does not fall upon the EPA to have to prove reproducibility. I suggest you read the law, if you don't believe that my verbatim quote from it was correct.

The law requires it be reproducible.

Stop lying. The law requires that the data be AVAILABLE so that someone who wants to TRY to reproduce the results can do so. It does not mandate that the EPA do such an analysis, nor does it mandate that the EPA actually host the data. Here, I'll quote it again. Maybe you'll read it now:

(b)(1) The Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is ...

(C) publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.

(2) Nothing in the subsection shall be construed as --

(A) requiring the Administrator to disseminate scientific or technical information ...

Here's the one mandate upon EPA: all data must be online for any data used in support of regulation. It must be in a form that is "sufficient to" allow independent analysis. There is no requirement for the EPA to prove anything about that data. "Independent analysis" means something, it's not just words put in to make the law longer.

If someone claims it isn't.

Stop lying. There is nothing in that law that says the EPA has to do anything with the data just because someone says the results aren't reproducible.

How do you think that would be settled in a lawsuit? I think the only way would be for the EPA to prove reproducibility of it.

No. The original study authors would be involved. The EPA HAS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT TO PROVE ANYTHING. Read the fucking law. Show me where it says they do.

I think the only way would be for the EPA to prove reproducibility of it. If you think that requires actually reproducing it, then that's your opinion, not mine, even if I were to agree with it, I hadn't said it.

The ONLY way the EPA could prove the results are reproducible is to actually reproduce them. So when you say they have to prove they are, you are saying they have to do it. That's a lie They don't. And since you did say it, calling me a liar for saying you did is .. a lie.

It doesn't matter, you are lying either way. Nothing in that law requires the EPA to prove anything about the data. It has to make sure it is ONLINE so someone ELSE can study it -- independent analysis -- if they want to. The law doesn't even say that the EPA as to provide the data. In fact, (2)(A) is EXPLICIT in saying the EPA does NOT have to disseminate the information.

The law does what it says. The EPA is prevented from using secret or hidden or cloaked or whatever data when creating regulations that impinge on the lives of large numbers of US citizens. They've got enough power creating regulations without legislative approval based on published science, they don't need to be able to do it on unpublished private stuff.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49190637) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

First you claim that the EPA will have to reproduce the data or it will be illegal, and now this.


by AK Marc (707885) Alter Relationship on Wednesday March 04, 2015 @04:33PM (#49184957)

The obvious target is to tie up all EPA regulations until courts have confirmed the reproducibility of the data used to base the decision on. It will fall to the EPA to prove their data is reproducible by someone who wishes to not reproduce it. Everything else would be illegal.

Emphasis mine, words are a direct quote from you. The actual law says nothing like what you claim.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 1) 424

by Obfuscant (#49185325) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Statisticians and computer scientists have repeatedly shown that it is possible to link individuals to publicly available sources, even with PII removed.

Sometimes possible, when a study is small enough that the bulk statistics of the population are not sufficient to hide the participants. Yes, when "people who live in Small Town, Alabama who are 43 years old and have the extremely rare disease 'fortunabulosis'" is data in the study, then yeah, you can probably identify the person. But "10000 smokers from the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia ranging in ages from 30 to 50", no, you are not going to identify the people in the study.

If the EPA is making regulations based on such small sets of data, they need to stop. The problem is not as significant as it is being made out to be.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 2, Insightful) 424

by Obfuscant (#49185261) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

To meet the strict letter of the law, the EPA must publish my SSN, DOB, and medical history, or they can't use the study.

First you claim that the EPA will have to reproduce the data or it will be illegal, and now this. No, the law doesn't say they have to publish your SSN, and at worst only those parts of your history that are relevant to the study might need to be online. If you think your SSN is somehow relevant to a medical study, you're wrong. And if you think your specific DOB is necessary and not just an approximate age, then you must believe in astrology. I know of no medical issues that depend on a specific age down to a specific day in history. (Were you a Hiroshima survivor?)

It also requires the data be "reproducible".

No, it does not. It says that the data used to make a decision (not all data ever provided to EPA) must be "publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results." All the EPA has to do is make sure the data is publicly available so that someone who DOES want to try reproducing it can. It doesn't even require the EPA to be the data warehouse.

All you have to do with a study with 95% confidence is to it 20 times, and then take the 1 failure to court and show the 1 success to be wrong and unreproducible.

And now you ignore the word "substantial". If the EPA is basing regulatory decisions on one study with one result and this law stops it, that's a good thing. One study does not science make, and one unpublished study with secret data makes for even less valid science.

The obvious point of the law is to add hurdles,

Yeah, an impossible hurdle of letting the public know the science that is being used to create regulations they have to obey or have the weight of the federal government crash down on them. If the science cannot survive the scrutiny, then it's isn't valid science and shouldn't be used to make regulations.

Comment: Re:Science vs Belief. (Score 3, Insightful) 424

by Obfuscant (#49184985) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Its funny to see climate-change denying conservatives and anti-vaccine liberals make the same arguments to support their stance against overwhelming scientific evidence,

If the EPA is making decisions based on "overwhelming scientific evidence", what exactly is the problem with requiring that that evidence be available to the public, and that people who advise the EPA not base those decisions on unpublished personal research? That's what these bills require.

The only argument I can see that is valid deals with studies including personally identifiable medical information. Those kind of studies should already be required to remove PII prior to use by the government, and the limited number of such datasets shows that this is another case of the perfect being the enemy of the reasonable. Legislation that covers every possible eventuality is going to be overly complex and still have loopholes based on interpretations.

Comment: Re:The bigger issue... (Score 1) 59

by Obfuscant (#49184329) Attached to: US Air Traffic Control System Is Riddled With Vulnerabilities

Even if the systems were patched and secure, they could still let another 9/11 happen if they choose to.

This is insightful? The FAA has no ability to stop another 9/11. They can't reach out from their radar facilities and stop a nut in a plane from flying into a building. They can issue instructions, but have no way of forcing them to be followed. The controllers who had the flights of 9/11 on radar didn't "let" it happen, they watched it unfold without a way of stopping it.

What DOES happen now is that anything that is deviating in a significant way from ATC instructions is handed to the Air Force for an intercept mission. The Air Force has the authority to shoot down threats, and they practice this mission on a regular basis. But actually doing that means shooting down a planeload of mostly innocent civilians -- an act that cannot be taken lightly.

Comment: Re:Classic Case (Score 1) 144

by Obfuscant (#49182675) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

You missed my point. The fact that rape victims have been speaking out has made it better for everyone, including those who still can't speak out about it.

And YOU missed the point that those who are speaking ot are doing so voluntarily, not as the result of a "loser edit" of their lives, and those who do find themselves in the limelight because of such edits are rarely happier or living better lives.

Arguing something I never said (wrt banksters) is poor form.

The statement you replied to referred to people who had committed fraud and cost others lots of money, and YOU chose to claim that had they thought they'd been able to maintain anonymity you doubted they would have done that. They didn't have anonymity to start with, so your statement is patent nonsense. They knew they didn't have anonymity and they did it anyway. And they weren't all "banksters".

Look, I get it. However, I've been there, and ultimately out is better.

What arrogance. Better for you, perhaps, but not always better for those who are outed against their will. It's not your right to decide for anyone but yourself, and that makes defending the outing through "loser edits" using that argument pure arrogance.

Comment: Re:Classic Case == Crappy Argument (Score 3, Insightful) 144

by Obfuscant (#49182519) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

If you don't have the courage of openly standing behind your opinions, then maybe they aren't worth listening to.

You've just demonstrated ad hominem. You're paying attention to who says something, not what has been said. Most people consider that a vice, not a virtue. More people, I dare say, value the ideas over the identity, and the more the better

Does the name "Thomas Paine" ring a bell? Obviously someone whose ideas are not worth listening to, because:

He published Common Sense anonymously because of its treasonable content. ... Paine wanted to remain anonymous for as long as possible and felt that even such a general phrase as Bell's addition would take attention away from the ideas in his pamphlet.

Obviously those ideas were the fiction of a madman, irrelevant to anyone and unworthy of publication. And yet:

As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.

Perhaps others are more aware that staying alive to write another day is more valuable in the long run than becoming an immediate, little known and unheard martyr for a cause? Like those who would stand up against an, e.g., Islamic government and say "you really ought not treat women that way." Perhaps you think that "Deep Throat" had nothing of value to say, either.

I've been the target of a fair amount of hate and discrimination, but you don't see me backing down. Or hiding behind a nym.

Yeah, thank God that /. vets the identities of people who post under other than "Anonymous Coward" names, so we know that you are the one, true Barbara Hudson (I'm sorry, BarbaraHudson) on the planet and that is your true, real meatspace name.

My phone number's also out there. There's nothing for adults to be afraid of.

There's nothing YOU fear, maybe, but it's arrogance to project that lack of concern over your own safety onto others and tell them how they should behave. Or to defend things like "loser edits" because you have no fear and forcing other people into the open will only prove you are right.

Comment: Re:Classic Case (Score 4, Insightful) 144

by Obfuscant (#49182163) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

Would they be doing this if they couldn't remain anonymous? Doubt it very much.

Exactly what steps did Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Dean Buntrock, Bernie Ebbers, Dennis Kozlowski, Mark Swartz, Richard Scrushy, David Glenn, Leland Brendsel, Vaughn Clarke, Robert Dean, Nazir Dossani, Hank Greenberg, Bernie Madoff, David Friehling, Frank DePascalli, and Ramalinga Raju take to remain anonymous? They were named officers of corporations that committed financial fraud and cost many people billions of dollars, and there was no way any of them thought they'd have anonymity as a shield.

It's a shame that most people want the benefits of the fight waged by their predecessors, but are unwilling to pay it forward.

It's a shame that there are people on this planet who think they know better than the people who have something they want to hide for social reasons.

Living in fear every day of losing your job because someone outs you is not a life,

It isn't your responsibility to make that decision for them, nor should you be using this as an excuse to defend those who do "loser edits" of people who want to keep their private lives somewhat private. Your example of people who speak out about their rape experiences living happier lives than those who don't missed one critical factor: they are speaking out VOLUNTARILY, not as the result of some arrogant know-it-all who decided they'd be happier if their lives were made public.

Comment: Re:The admission is a no-brainer` (Score 1) 194

by Obfuscant (#49168997) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications
A "rubber duck" is not a 5/8 wave antenna. It is, sometimes, a helical antenna, sometimes not. I use some ducks that are basically nothing more than stiff wire. "Rubber duck" implies nothing about the construction OR length of the antenna other than it has a rubber (usually) coating and is shorter than optimal.

If you think that 6" or 8" is 5/8 wave on 2m, then I'm sorry. And apparently you have way too much invested in this topic to discuss it in civil manner. Good day.

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.