Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Mind blown (Score 4, Insightful) 81

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#48393937) Attached to: Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life
There are times when I do things that I think are pretty smart, and then I see something like this and am humbled. It staggers the imagination to envisage how this Albert fellow was able to design this incredible machine. It's marvellous to watch, and beautiful in its operation. This is how Fourier analysis should be taught! Nothing has brought it more alive for me than watching this documentary. I desperately want one; I don't think I've ever seen a machine more beautiful.

Comment: Re:Australia can get it right (Score 1) 145

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#48046733) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

the US comparison is bogus

The US comparison is a bit of a sidetrack, and really only used to suggest how broken the UK's public health care system is. They main thrust here was to compare with the Australian system that is a mix between public and private. Private is incentivised by increased tax on higher income unless you have private health cover. Medicare (public health cover) will cover a portion of all private sessions even if you have no insurance, which further incentivises people to go private as it is more affordable. There are no silly rules about which doctor you can see. And doctors have no incentive (and more explicitly are not prevented) from referring you to specialists. In addition, as there is this good mix of public and private, the public system is not so separated as it is in the UK. This means that public GPs know what services might be available if you go private and even suggest it.

So in Australia you get: Cheap affordable health care, particularly if something serious has gone wrong (it will be free). You get competition. I can't stress enough what a difference this makes. Yes the train system here in the UK is completely busted, but that's because they privatised a monopoly. That doesn't work. Allowing GP's to charge a little more for better service makes an enormous difference. I always paid a bit for each GP visit in Aus, but the value was completely worth it. And I only had to pay the gap between the base rate (covered by medicare) and the private provider. Here in the UK I have to pay the whole lot. In addition, as medical is at a state level, you actually get competition between the states that drives better outcomes by states learning from each other. You also get the ability to fairly easily go private when you need to. And it will be covered to some extent even without insurance. I never realised how effective this system was until I learning the "joy" of an underfunded universal health system.

The NHS is really broken, people in the UK are just generally unfamiliar with alternatives (as was I before living here). Care can be good when you get it, but the beast is a big inefficient bureaucratic monster.

Comment: Re:Australia can get it right (Score 1) 145

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#48045787) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure
See there would be logic to this if things like Autism killed you. They could encourage a high fat diet for example, or anything else that would take you out young and quickly (free base jumping lessons for the unemployed?). But Autism is often (look at the stats) a drain on the public purse for the lifetime of the Autistic. Common sense alone would suggest invest a little now to reduce the overall burden (no need to consider ethical issues for the moment). But there is no common sense here. The NHS has demonstrated to me the absolute categorical failure of large centralised planning (the same thing that undoes communism). The US may have a messed up health system; but it looks like if you have insurance you actually get timely effective treatment! Give me your broken capitalist model over this broken socialist model any day of the week.

Comment: Re:Australia can get it right (Score 1) 145

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#48045653) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure
Just to add to the "moronically inefficient" bit. Now that my son has finally been recognised as Autistic (by going privately) we gain access to various services, one of which is a special nursery school. The staff of which are complaining they don't have enough students and spend most afternoons with no students at all! The absolute insanity of this makes me unbelievably angry. Between the ages of 2-5 is the only time you have to intervene in an Autistics life to really improve outcomes and here they are rarely diagnosed before school, while the intervention services sit by idle.

Comment: Re:Australia can get it right (Score 2) 145

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#48045617) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

I just receive the care that I need.

Rubbish. Living here now in the UK (from Australia) for the past couple of years, I can categorically attest that the NHS is both tragically underfunded and conversely, moronically inefficient. Yes I can see a GP for free, but quotas and waiting lists are ridiculous and it simply means that you don't get referred and you don't get treated unless bits are literally dropping off you. Turns out my son has Autism; pity the UK hasn't grasped the concept of "early intervention". The Australian system of a good mix of public and private and actually looking at preventative healthcare (skin cancer checks, early intervention for Autism), is light years ahead of the hopelessly outdated and underperforming NHS.

Comment: Re:Poor rats (Score 1) 85

They severed the spinal cord of a rat?

Why do you make this assumption? They may well be finding poor injured rats and repairing their spines to try and provide them with a better life. Would you prefer they simply leave these rats to undoubtedly die from their disability? And if it was some other "evil" scientist who did this to the rat, is it not good that this scientist came along to try and help the rat? Would you tar all scientists with the same brush? Clearly the scientist repairing the rats spine is a saint, and not the devil you make out! And if it was in fact the same scientist in both cases, should the scientist not try and help the rat that he (perhaps unwittingly) injured? Have you never done something that later you regret; lashed out and hurt someone you cared about? Would you judge this repentant man for attempting to right a previous wrong? Where you there? Did you feel his utter anguish at the wrong he committed? His exultant joy as the rat took it's first step from his painstaking work? No! You eat your vegetables and consider yourself superior! This man looked into the darkness of his soul and turned and made a difference! And yet you judge him! Where were you when the rats cried out for justice? Where were you when they laid out the baits?! Hypocrite! For shame I say, for shame!

Comment: Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (Score 1) 182

What nonsense. I claimed that VR had the potential to correct for the limitations in current technology around "broadband" human interaction. Obviously more needs to be done in terms of capturing each persons 3d "image" to project into the VR space and so on. Why you find this offensive is beyond me. (And yes I didn't read the article, this is slashdot after all).

Comment: Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (Score 1) 182

I'm not sure why I'm supposed to prove anything, I thought we were discussing ideas? Where I see the short term use case is in school of the air type environments. It's a long way off, but that doesn't mean it's not a good idea. But as I alluded to, I think the commercial environment is where you might see this hit earlier. Games will drive the tech, but economies of scale could see some new and interesting applications.

Comment: Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (Score 1) 182

The point of this, the entire point, is that VR provides the potential to create an immersive experience that will finally allow true broadband human interaction. Having worked in corporate space for many years trying to get cross site teams to function well, I can assure you that chat rooms, phones, even webcams and the like, do not cut it for human interaction. So much is lost in the subtle body language, the eyes, the stance, the arms folded. VR could change all that. If I can finally see you properly, look you in the eye, share a virtual whiteboard, then it will truly no longer matter if we are in the same office. Or classroom.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy