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Comment: Re:Robot factories (Score 1) 331

by dala1 (#48286117) Attached to: Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

You don't get below market wages in pure capitalism, but that's not what the system is. When you add things like government subsidies, it distorts the market. People who work minimum wage jobs can 'afford' to do so because they are subsidized by things like food stamps and housing assistance. Take those things away, and workers would have to either demand higher wages or starve/live on the streets.

Comment: why? (Score 1) 208

by dala1 (#47277753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

This honestly seems over complicated. Why should anyone have this information before you die, especially financial information? The simple thing to do is put a hard copy (sealed, of course) of the information in a safety deposit box with a copy of your will. As long as your executor knows about the box, they can access it after you die and distribute the information per your instructions.

Comment: Re:So there's 100 or so unimmunized? (Score 1) 387

by dala1 (#47243453) Attached to: California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

According to the WHO, there were 2.6 million measles deaths every year before there were vaccinations. Per the CDC, 'about one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. About one out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die.' Not the highest mortality rate, but still a significant number when you consider just how common it was.

Comment: Re:War of government against people? (Score 2) 875

by dala1 (#47199981) Attached to: America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Let's try a simpler example.

Students in a chemistry class study an average of 6 hours for a test and get a C for their class average. The next week, the same student study an average of 1 hour for their Interpretive Dance class and average an A..

Despite the negative correlation, this doesn't disprove the idea that studying improves grades. Most likely, grades are positively correlated to studying but negatively correlated to class difficulty.

Comment: Re:War of government against people? (Score 5, Insightful) 875

by dala1 (#47199489) Attached to: America 'Has Become a War Zone'

A negative correlation does not disprove causation any more than a positive one proves it. To see why, consider a simpler example: Town A has 5 police per thousand people, and 3 crimes reported per thousand people every day. The next year, they increase the number of police to 7 per thousand people, but crime rates go up to 5 crimes reported per day.

Despite the negative correlation, this doesn't disprove the idea that having a greater police presence reduces crime. It could be that poverty rates went up due to recession, resulting in more crime and prompting politicians to increase police funding. It could be that the police are corrupt or inept, or that legislation changed such that committing crime is more profitable or less risky. There could be any number of explanations for that data that don't require causation.

Comment: this again... (Score 5, Insightful) 292

by dala1 (#46720471) Attached to: Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

How many times has this been said before, and proven wrong?

"The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals."
- Albert Michelson,1894

Comment: Re:He's winning b/c he gets the right answers (Score 1) 412

by dala1 (#46159715) Attached to: Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

Actually, in a prisoner's dilemma the dominant strategy is to be a rat. It goes like this:

If A and B both betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison
If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

So, you serve either 1 or 3 years in jail if you don't talk, and 0 or 2 years in jail if you do. No matter what the other guy does, you're better off ratting.

Comment: Re:False positives (Score 4, Insightful) 70

by dala1 (#46107275) Attached to: Predicting the Risk of Suicide By Analyzing the Text of Clinical Notes

Seven million extra doctors' visits are hardly inconsequential, especially considering that only about 1 in 175 would actually be suicidal. Consider the time and money spent, the extra doctors who have to be trained and hired (I'm assuming psychiatrists since a GP is hardly qualified to assess a potentially suicidal patient), and the days missed from work for false alarms. That's all before the psychological trauma and loss of trust from your doctor telling you out of the blue that they think you might be mentally ill when you're not.

Besides, that's not how it would work, because once the tool is out there and used to profile everyone, someone who is suicidal will commit suicide before that 'extra session.' After that, it will be be considered negligent not to 'do something' immediately once someone is flagged, and that something would likely be intrusive and expensive.

Also, their accuracy rate is 67%, not 99%. I used that number to demonstrate a best-case scenario. As it stands, they would flag around 83 million people while only correctly flagging around 200,000. Good luck with 99.75% false positives.

Comment: False positives (Score 4, Insightful) 70

by dala1 (#46106465) Attached to: Predicting the Risk of Suicide By Analyzing the Text of Clinical Notes

According to the study this is 67% effective. But, once this is applied to the general population you have an issue, because the vast majority of people are not suicidal. In the US, about 122 in 100,000 people attempt suicide a year, and about one in ten are successful. Even with a test that is 99% accurate, you are going to end up with somewhere around seven million false positives every year if you screen everyone.

Comment: Re:This is what libertarians think (Score 2) 405

by dala1 (#46032989) Attached to: Network Solutions Opts Customer Into $1,850 Security Service

In a true free market people will choose not to do business with a company that engages in fraudulent behavior, of course. They will fastidiously research the companies they enter relationships with to ensure that they are behaving in a moral manner. Just like how they will research their grocery store to ensure they store meat at a safe temperature, or the farm where the store gets said meat at to ensure the animals aren't being fed cancer-causing growth hormones.

Comment: Re:Article has no numbers (Score 1) 325

Of course they do. Let's say you have a ten-sided die that is weighted on one side in such a way that nine comes up half the time while every other number has an equal opportunity. The probability of a nine coming up on a given roll is the same whether you know the die is weighted or not. Likewise, the odds of a volcano erupting have not changed at all with the introduction of new information.

You're already carrying the sphere!