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Comment: What if it will kill 100,000 people instead? (Score 2, Interesting) 186

by dorpus (#47333937) Attached to: Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

I work as a statistician for a hospital chain. We already do data mining and have interventions for our sickest patients. Our experience, consistent with the medical literature, has shown that badgering patients with whatever "preventative" interventions increase hospitalizations and other costs. These programs persist because of a statistical illusion of regression to the mean -- people tend to be enrolled in such programs when their health is at a nadir, then they stabilize therafter. It makes it appear as if the intervention reduced utilization. In fact, a proper comparison shows that it actually increases utilization. Does Google think that spamming millions of people with robo-calls about eating apples will improve anything?

Comment: Does it do any good? (Score 1, Interesting) 263

by dorpus (#45589733) Attached to: New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates

While Asian countries are often accused of taking jobs from the West, the President of South Korea's Hyundai Motors visited factories in Russia and the Czech Republic. He said he was impressed by the quality of workers who were far superior to South Korean workers -- they never staged strikes and had far lower wages. While a South Korean factory takes 30 hours to make a car, the Czech factory takes 16. The visiting Korean managers could not keep up with the pace of production, so they received help from local secretaries in their 20's to fill their checklists. South Korean industry has been crippled by constant labor strikes demanding ever more wages and shorter working hours.

Do students who score high on achievement tests demand higher wages, cushy jobs, and become less internationally competitive?

Comment: Re:Phases of Evolution (Score 2) 343

by dorpus (#45475979) Attached to: Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

Comparing PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, to other companies in comparable fields: do we see financial firms moving en masse to "low-tax cheap-labor cess pools"? Do aerospace companies do this? Last I heard, there are not a lot of financial or aerospace jobs in low-tax cheap-labor cess pools.

It could be that the likes of Boeing, VISA, BofA, etc. are run by plenty of MBAs and they do a fine job.

Comment: Re:Phases of Evolution (Score 1) 343

by dorpus (#45475929) Attached to: Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

So he founded PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. How would he have PayPal taken seriously by the global financial industry with no expertise in the financial industry? Until then, it will just remain a bit player in online transactions. If Tesla Motors and SpaceX are to become mass-market commodities, are physicists the best people to put in charge of marketing, litigation, customer service, and financing, to name a few departments?

Comment: Phases of Evolution (Score 0) 343

by dorpus (#45475197) Attached to: Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

Many startup bosses have said the same things before. When their businesses grow, they will quietly hire MBAs for needed expertise on complex accounting, legal issues, and human resources. Physicists like to think they are smarter than everyone else, but they often make big fools of themselves on non-physics topics that require social intelligence.

Comment: What I've said all along (Score 5, Insightful) 164

by dorpus (#44760817) Attached to: Genetic Convergent Evolution: Stunning Gene Similarities Among Diverse Animals

I got my PhD in statistical genetics. Why should we equate genetic homology to evolutionary homology? All these studies that speak of a hypothetical Adam or Eve assume that the same mutations could not have arisen independently in different parts of the world.

Comment: Why do we need more engineers? (Score 1) 128

by dorpus (#44041773) Attached to: UnGrounded: British Airways Attempts to Bottle Some Startup Spirit

Nobody hires thousands of engineers. A typical employer will hire at most a handful of engineers, if they are needed at all.

I am a statistician for a major hospital chain. I do important work and I am a celebrity within the organization, but there has been no need for more statisticians. There is only so much work that requires formal analysis.

Comment: Funny (Score 1) 115

by dorpus (#43992449) Attached to: Genomics Impact On US Economy Approaches $1 Trillion

Yes, I've followed the boom of "bioinformatics" majors and their spectacular inability to get jobs. I've been to academic conferences that talked big about the promise of genomics, never mind all the unemployed PhDs scurrying around looking for jobs. I have read academic journals that talked big about the job prospects of such students, quoting an exceptional graduate that managed to get an assistant professorship somewhere. When I asked the writer about other graduates, they acknowledged that they had only interviewed that one student, and have no idea about how other graduates did. Why yes, "genomic medicine" has produced its laughable failures such as Bi-dil, along with other new age "biotech" companies that make up whatever random DNA and sell the "genome data" to customers, telling them that they are at risk for whatever random diseases. If you test a sugar pill on enough "ethnic groups", it will appear successful in at least one of them. And so it goes for billions of random DNA letters -- one can use the data to prove anything they like. Accordingly, real academics do not take genetics seriously.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone