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Comment: Re:And this is somehow supposed to be a surprise? (Score 1) 1010

by chooks (#45830487) Attached to: New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

I'm with the sib post here. I really enjoyed o-chem. It actually made me sad that I didn't take P-chem when I had the chance.

One thing that made the difference was that I prepared before the class even started -- I looked at the list of suggested readings in the course syllabus and went through one of the suggested resources ("Pushing Electrons"). An awesome little work book that made everything I learned in class very understandable.

And yeah - I took Ochem as a pre-req for med school and guess what? I still use information I learned in that pre-req as an MD. So much for the "you'll never use it!" argument!

Comment: Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (Score 1) 381

by chooks (#45211939) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

I have the same printer - CLP550N, that I bought in 2005. Still on the original color cartridges (which are starting to go, but I put my defaults settings to print B&W). I love the duplex printing and it has been a solid printer for 7 years with some years of heavy printing. I need a new black toner cartridge every couple of years or so (I am on my 4th) but it is not horribly expensive (less than $100 from 3rd parties).

The biggest design problem with the printer is with the waste toner cartridge, which didn't make a good seal and so used toner would muck up the optical sensor that triggers a "waste toner full" error. I easily fixed this though by taking the LED and taping it to the sensor. Problem solved.

Comment: Re:Think again. . . ."zombies" aren't what you thi (Score 3, Informative) 337

by chooks (#44864109) Attached to: DoD Declassifies Flu Pandemic Plan Containing Sobering Assumptions

with a very short incubation period.

You actually want a long incubation period so that the infected stay symptomless (but infective) for as long as possible. If the symptoms are severe and the incubation time short (e.g. flaviviridae like marburg or ebola) they kill the host before they have time to infect enough people. In essence, the virus is *too* virulent that it goes through the available susceptible people too quickly.

More deadly would be a virus that has is lethal but does not show symptoms for a period that exceeds its infective period. A good example is the early years of the HIV era -- lethal virus, long time before symptoms start, and infectious much earlier than any symptoms start to show up.

Comment: Re:15 minutes triggers the BS detector (Score 1) 336

by chooks (#44424181) Attached to: How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

My point is that putting in that number needlessly detracts from what they are trying to say. You could easily counter their example with the fact that some colonscopies can take hours (e.g. complications occur, perforations, etc...) and thus doctors are getting UNDERPAID. Without any context, it comes across as sensationalist. The point they are making (medical reimbursement is non-transparent and is not aligned with primary care of populations) but this is not helped by their hook.

Comment: 15 minutes triggers the BS detector (Score 3, Informative) 336

by chooks (#44421983) Attached to: How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

15 minutes for a colonscopy? Where do they get this number? Getting informed consent can take 15 minutes just by itself (and is something the doc has to do). 15 minutes sounds like the best-case scenario (e.g. a screening colonscopy on a healthy 50 year old with no findings) and a number to sensationalize the article. What is the distribution of times that the procedure takes? Maybe 75 minutes is actually a reasonable time to expect the procedure to take on average?

That the health care system in this country is screwed up is not at issue. The article wants to point out the ludicrousness of the reimbursement mechanisms in place. Putting in a context-free and unexplained statistic only weakens its argument.

Comment: Re:We Already Tried This. (Score 1) 618

MS made it a requirement that netbooks had to have weak CPU's and RAM limited as not to eat the notebook market share

I thought the CPU choice was more of a battery life thing -- the Atom processors (N500/N550) had much better power consumption profile (at the expense of processing) than a normal x86/AMD processor. The battery life on my ASUS netbook was around 8 to 10 hours, which was great. Having used a netbook for a couple of years it seems like the real hardware compromise was the video, which really slowed things down.

Still, the portability of the netbook was great and worked well for lightweight development (e.g. VIM as opposed to eclipse/VS) at a price a student could afford.

Comment: Re:How it works (Score 1) 164

by chooks (#43489453) Attached to: LinkedIn Invites Gone Wild: How To Keep Close With Exes and Strangers

That happened to me with my ex-girlfriend. All of a sudden she popped up on my "You may know..." list. Needless to say, it was duly ignored. Her step-dad also showed up one day as well...Not sure if he looked me up or if she used his computer.

Either way, my wife and I had a good laugh about it. My main point to her was that it was kind of cool knowing how these things work (an underlying machine learning algorithm to group things, I would guess). She is glad she married a nerd.

Comment: Re:Even worse (Score 1) 248

by chooks (#43399039) Attached to: Fake Academic Journals Are a Very Real Problem

I remember reading a few years ago that one of the top medical journals (New England, IIRC) started letting doctors publish review articles for drugs without mentioning that they were paid by the company that sells them.

That may have been true a decade ago, but now journals (e.g. JAMA, NEJM, Lancet) are fairly serious about clamping down on conflicts of interest, ghost writing, and other shady practices. For example here is one example of the required disclosure (for JAMA). Of course, someone could still lie/dissemble/etc... But this would be considered as the aberrant flow.

In a sense though the damage is done. If you search for ghost-writing and rofecoxib you can see articles regarding the extent of the problem in the late 90's with respect to Vioxx. It's a long road to getting back credibility/trust.

Comment: Re:Worried (Score 1) 87

by chooks (#43399005) Attached to: Mendeley Acquired By Elsevier

Dammit. We just can't have anything nice around here. I agree with you that this is probably the beginning of the end. The combination of behemoth sized international publishing company and small software company does not appear to favor the small software company.

I'm pissed as I just started using Mendeley last week and really like it. (*sigh*) I've used zotero before but it just wasn't that great/intuitive, but maybe I will have to give it a second shot.

Comment: Re:Before commenting, please remember... (Score 1) 389

by chooks (#43004765) Attached to: Islamists In Bangladesh Demand Murder of More Bloggers

The Americans I am most personally worried about are those who lack the critical thinking skills or desire to realize that we are dealing with complex situations with multiple competing forces at work. Lacking the skills or desire to have some kind of larger insight, they reflexively place issues into the categories of "Left" or "Right", "Conservative" or "Liberal", etc.. which lumps things into a preconceived morass of assumptions, assertions, and logical fallacies. Unable to appreciate the complexities of situations, they demonize people whose thought patterns do not fit nicely with their own.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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