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Comment: Re:Ebola vs HIV (Score 1) 381

by Znork (#48160733) Attached to: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

With HIV you basically need to inject infected blood. Single exposures through other pathways are very unlikely to infect you and outside of risk groups it simply doesn't transmit that fast:

Over the contagious lifespan of Ebola it's far more likely to spread, it isn't dependent on highly intimate contact and infection risk cannot be mitigated or made negligible without significant protective equipment. Most humans can go through the day without having sex with even one casual stranger, but it's a bit harder to ensure you're not touched by anyone or touch anything they've touched.

HIV kills more people than Ebola... for the moment. But if, at any time, as many humans have Ebola as have HIV today and we don't have an effective treatment then we would be months away from the death of at least half of all humans alive from Ebola alone and probably another couple of billions from socio economic disasters. Not as smart as HIV because that would probably be the end of Ebola for many centuries, but that's not very comforting.

Comment: Re: It only takes one ... (Score 1) 381

by Znork (#48160521) Attached to: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Even allowing anyone who has been in any type of unprotected contact with an infectious Ebola patient to leave quarantine at all before incubation time has run out is a complete screw up. Unless they have a camera and a thermometer stuck to them, the phase when they go from maybe infected to contagious risks exposing hundreds of potential contacts that you can't trace.

Taking chances, not erring on the side of caution, is what leads to burning up the perfectly good airplane. Letting the exposed potential infectees move about freely is what risks having to burn everything they touch some time in the future. With this, the costs of mistakes are huge, and better take things seriously when we're talking about inconveniencing a few people for a months, blockading a few countries and having government flights for aid personnel while we search for useful treatments, rather than having to discuss whether we're serious enough when it's about enforcing martial law and quarantining and burning down city blocks later. Because that will cost a whole lot more.

Comment: Re:That works fine if you manage to nip it in the (Score 4, Insightful) 381

by Znork (#48160305) Attached to: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

This is the strange thing. It isn't like no one knew of the ebola threat, unless you didn't watch television, listen to the news, or use the internet.

It isn't that strange. Because if you did listen to the news or watch television, then no, you didn't know about the 'threat', because what has been repeated time after time is 'there is no threat, relax, we can deal with this, we're prepared'. Nigeria probably had a quite different message running through both media and government knowing that they have one single chance to stop this and that's at the source. Screw up a single thing and the preview of what happens was available next door.

Some like to think our health care standards make a difference, that the West is more civilized and it can't happen here. But the thing is, after a few ICU places and a few quarantine beds, modern medicine is left with aspirin and electrolytes as far as 'treatment' goes which doesn't give us much edge on African medicine. This needs to be taken as seriously in the developed world as it does in Nigeria, and we need to get useful treatments available _now_.

Comment: Re:US,Nigeria (Score 1) 381

by Znork (#48160003) Attached to: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Frankly, the main difference is probably that Nigeria took it seriously because they thought there was a massive risk that this was going to turn into an unmitigated disaster for the country. They were thoroughly terrified that any slip at any point would result in anything from a massive death toll to the end of the country.

In most western countries the message is 'yeah, don't worry, we can deal with it'. That attitude will permeate not only the public but the organizations whose job it is to deal with the problem. And the result of that is what we see in Dallas. Organisations that do not take it seriously, potential infected people getting told 'yeah, go sit on a plane, your symptoms probably aren't that serious anyway, a couple of hundred more to trace and spread over the continent isn't an issue if it does turn out to be serious', etc.

Comment: Re:Robots? (Score 2) 419

by Znork (#48124005) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Ebola is vastly more infectious than HIV. With HIV you basically need to get blood with a viral load injected to have any certainty of getting it. Transmission rates with vaginal intercourse are in the rates of far below 1% per act. More than half the pregnancies don't even transmit the virus to the baby.

Compare that with Ebola where the virus is in basically present in infectious levels in every bodily fluid spread around to the extent that hospital personnel don't even know how they got it.

HIV, lick it, you'll still be fine. Ebola, touch anything they've touched and all bets are off.

Comment: Re:Ebola threat (Score 1) 478

by Znork (#48122911) Attached to: The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

Having enough food for a week or two so you don't have to go out and infect other people even with the flu is merely common sense and decency towards your fellow citizens. Or are you one of those people who go around sneezing on the fresh produce, right before going 'ooooh, look, sale on bush meat and people looking at the stand aren't bleeding out of their ears so I'll throw a neighbourhood jungle-themed party!'?

There's a difference between stocking up on half a decade of preserves and ammo and making reasonably sure you're not going to be part of the problem in a possible contagious situation, until government can catch up to dealing with possible misjudged situations. I'll do my part to keep from infecting others and not becoming a sudden logistics issue, and I hope most others do as well, particularly when such precautions are part of what one should normally do even without any possible serious contagion.

Comment: Re:Ebola threat (Score 1) 478

by Znork (#48118921) Attached to: The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

Yes there are, and those people at the CDC know exactly what I just said. And now they're pretty much doing exactly that in Sierra Leone and yes, sending people home with a Tylenol and a bottle of electrolytes and telling them not to touch their family is _exactly_ the plan in the west if we get significant spread here. The cold logic of a disease who's symptoms are so similar to so many others in the contagious phase and for which basically nothing can be done leads to the impossible situation where concentrating the sick will increase spread rather than decrease it.

It's not that they need more chances to 'solve the problem', it's that within the boundaries of currently available options, the problem has no solution.

The only game changer would be a cure or good treatment option. Outside that it's shutting down any indication of spread with an iron fist at once, before the sequence of immutable logic catches hold, because after that it's dice and electrolytes.

But no, I'm not particularly worried about Ebola as there really isn't any point. The major issue that makes Ebola different from many other diseases is the demoralizing aspect it will have on healthcare workers due to its deadliness and lack of treatments and they'll have hard choices to make, but even if worst comes to worst there wasn't much they could do and even that will pass as recovering infectees will be able to pick things up. It's not going to wipe out civilization and life goes on.

So either we'll get a cure in time or we won't, but if we don't, do stock up on food so you have enough to lock yourself in a room for a week or two if you feel symptoms. You probably wont have it, but don't spread it to anyone else if you do.

And for exactly that reason, the CDC experts won't be telling you what I just told you, because there isn't much point in doing that until it's necessary.

Comment: Re:Ebola threat (Score 3, Insightful) 478

by Znork (#48114589) Attached to: The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

Easy to contain?

Say you have a breakout and spread among the US population. The emergency room starts getting people with fever and stomach ache. What do you do? Put them in quarantine? Fine.

Ok, now we've exhausted the 10 beds at the hospital that are usable for quarantine. We've still got 150 patients with symptoms in the emergency room. Put them all in the same room? Maybe only one or two have ebola. Can't put them in one room, then they'll all get ebola if a few had it. No rooms for individual isolation. Send them home? Violations of curfews will be common, police won't be itching to babysit every emergency room visitor. That won't contain it once we're reaching that number of cases.

Now we know there's 150 patients with potential ebola. That will get us another 5000 patients with the symptoms in the emergency room. Quarantine them? No place. Send them home? And we go another round.

There is no way western medicine has any chance at all to contain any sustained outbreak. It isn't a matter of knowing how to prevent spread, it's a matter of sheer numbers making those measures ineffective and the fact that potential patients will know that most hospitals can't do anything for more than a few patients with sepsis at a time which means that you're better off hydrating at home, hoping you don't actually have ebola and not risking getting exposed to other possible ebola infectees in an emergency room.

To have a serious chance at containment after any significant breakout removes travel history as a useful major red-flag there will have to be really good treatment or a cure or the rational choice for any individual having the fairly common symptoms simply won't be to go to the hospital.

Comment: 1st hand experience (Score 2) 110

I switch from century link to comcast, but when my 6-month trial price expired and I tried to switch back, century link said they couldn't offer me broadband service because their lines in my neighborhood were at capacity (i'm supposedly on a waiting list). Meanwhile comcast more than doubled their introductory price on me.

Xcel just replaced all the gas pipelines throughout the entire neighborhood last summer and the city just repaved most of the streets, so I was SURE there would be some opportunity for century link to put in new infrastructure relatively cheaply at the same time. But no, they STILL can't offer me service.

Up until now, I figured century link was just too cheap to build infrastructure in my neighborhood. Now I wonder if it isn't really their fault. I love to hate century link, but I'm even more eager to hate comcast.

And for the record, I'm white and middle class (as is most of my neighborhood, though I am notoriously cheap and unwilling to pay for stupid bundle I don't need). Not that racism or poorism doesn't contribute to their decisions, but don't blame on malice and -isms what greed or stupidity can explain.

Comment: Re:keep calm everyone.... (Score 1) 183

by Znork (#47636351) Attached to: WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency

From reading a few articles on the conditions there it seems that it's because they're one or two doctors or nurses in a ward with several dozen patients puking, shitting, pissing, bleeding and falling out of beds and spreading contamination _everywhere_.

Fair enough. I can see why no hazmat gear and protective procedures in the world will protect you over a longer period under those conditions.

Comment: Re:Commercial Services (Score 1) 228

by Znork (#47362951) Attached to: The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

For-profit ecosystems spring up around many charities; everything from environmentalism to religions spawn such commercial activities around them.

The issue that should be at the heart of the matter is whether some person or company specifically and exclusively stands to profit from the charities work. As long as anyone who wants to can engage in commercial activities related to the work, such as commercial sales of religious texts and figures, sell eco friendly products, use charity relations in branding and marketing, use the open source software etc, I don't think the reasoning is valid.

Comment: Re:So....far more than guns (Score 1) 454

by Znork (#47336271) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

It's not particularly hard anyway, it's just that the other high efficiency methods like trains, jumps and correctly done automotive suicide tend to cause more collateral damage. Guns are simply the considerate and responsible way to expedite a rescheduled exit. Hardly something to complain about.

Comment: Re:Tuning it out? (Score 1) 254

by Znork (#47303591) Attached to: The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

Yes, there are of course a few appropriate ways to use it. Anything you could do the equivalent of unobtrusively positioning at that bar table, such as brand display would work as well as anywhere else. A few other things that are also appropriate would have some success rate; social calendar style things like events related to preferences, etc.

It's not completely pointless, it's just much more limited and less efficient for most marketing than many already available methods. And I really despise the attempts to sell person profiling as a magic marketing bullet when it's inherently worse than content profiling.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright