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Comment Re:Still A Good Idea (Score 1) 245 245

Another modification to the grading system: in addition to counting patients who die after surgery, also count patients the surgeon refuses to operate on as a fractional failure. That way a doctor who takes thoughtful risks and loses a few can compete against a doctor who passes up all but the safest patients.

Comment Re:High Risk + Low Success = High Cost (Score 1) 245 245

It's easy to say "treatment at all costs is stupid", but it's a lot harder to do when your own mom is dying of cancer. I'm impressed at your realistic perspective. My own mother's doctors were quite frank about her chances given further treatment, but her problem was much more acute than cancer.

Comment Not a failure? (Score 1) 245 245

I'm gonna play devil's advocate here and say that maybe this isn't a problem. Doctors are getting downgraded for choosing to perform risky surgeries, but maybe that's a poor decision on their part: perhaps they should be seeking safer solutions, or suggesting that patients might want to make the best of the time they have rather than dying on the operating table. And that's not even to mention the cost of risky failed surgery.

Hopefully there's an exemption for truly experimental procedures, or medical progress will slow to a crawl, but one could argue that all things considered, medicine could use a little more caution in choosing surgery.

Comment Technocratic solution (Score 1) 368 368

The FAA can take jurisdiction on this and work with the FCC to set some pretty reasonable rules that would solve this problem. Pretty much all modern R/C hobby aircraft operate on the same 2.4 Ghz spread-spectrum protocol. These aren't just passive AM/FM systems, they have microprocessors in them. The gubmint could designate an emergency 2.4 Ghz radio transmission, and require commercially-made drones sold in the US to respond to it by beginning a controlled descent. General-purpose R/C systems used for build-your-own aircraft would respond by lowering the throttle servo to near-idle.

So the fire department pushes a button, and all the drones slowly descend to the ground. If yours lands in a lake, well, serves you right for operating a drone in an emergency area. Of course, the emergency transmission can't be secret, so you pass a little law making unauthorized sale or operation of an emergency drone-crash beacon a crime.

It's basically the same idea as the traffic signal pre-emption devices that let fire trucks get a green light whenever they need it. There's even a law covering unauthorized sale of them.

Comment US does this too, but badly (Score 1) 337 337

The US has a similar plan, the EB-5 visa program, but you only need to invest $1 million to get your green card.

I say, if we're going to let people bribe their way to the front of the immigration line, we should get top dollar for it. $15 million sounds about right, plus $2 million paid directly to the government, and used to hire more immigration workers to clear the ludicrous immigration backlog for everyone else.

*Especially* since a good chunk of those buying green cards are Chinese businessmen and government officials fleeing corruption charges in China: if we're going to be complicit in fraud, I want a bigger piece of the action.

Oh, and by the way, ever notice that Americans who're furious about people "skipping the line" in the immigration process never complain about this program? Seriously the only mention I can find over on Fox News is concern that Mexicans are doing it, despite the fact that for every Mexican EB-5 visa applicant, there are 200 Chinese.

Comment Okay, okay ... aaand, you lost me. (Score 4, Insightful) 273 273

I teach physics at a liberal arts college, I am totally on board with exposing students to cross-disciplinary ideas that go against accepted norms. So as I'm reading through the syllabus, I'm fine with things like this:

Alternative medicine ... has gained unprecedented popularity among patients ... The focus of the course is not on the shortcomings or limitations of conventional medicine, but on the ways in which various alternative ... modalities reflect a paradigm of health, disease, and healing that stand in contrast to the scientific, biomedicalized paradigm, the standard understanding in the West.

Sure, no problem, let's do a compare-and-contrast, it's popular enough that we need to be familiar with it whether we think it's baloney or not, and considerations of how states of mind affect states of health are real and useful. But then we hit page 2:

We will delve into a quantum physics’ understanding of disease and alternative medicine to provide a scientific hypothesis of how these modalities may work. Quantum physics is a branch of physics that understands the interrelationship between matter and energy. This science offers clear explanations as to why homeopathic remedies with seemingly no chemical trace of the original substance are able to resolve chronic diseases, why acupuncture can offer patients enough pain relief to undergo surgery without anesthesia, why meditation alone can, in some instances, reduce the size of cancerous tumors.

No. The author has no idea what quantum physics is, and is using it as a magic wand made of pure bullshit. Uttering the phrase "quantum physics" is, of course, a pretty common and cliched way to sound impressive without knowing anything, but it demonstrates that the "honest intellectual inquiry" thing is just a disguise, and the professor is here to sell snake oil.

Get the hell out of my ivory tower.

Comment Not your job. (Score 1) 267 267

some users will just keep logging in and doing what we are trying to block them from doing, and they will also be able to access infected websites as well

Setting workplace rules is your boss's job. If he/she wants to cut your coworkers some slack, it's not your call. Keeping your work computers free of malware *is* your job, but if you're depending on a firewall for that, you're doing it wrong.

Comment Too bad they couldn't test the escape system (Score 1) 316 316

Did this Dragon have SpaceX's new SuperDraco thrusters to allow emergency escape? It's disappointing that the rocket blew up, but it's really too bad they couldn't use this to demonstrate that their escape system works. That could have turned this from a big setback to a minor step forward in approving this thing to carry people.

Comment Re:Voicemail considered harmful (Score 1) 395 395

I agree that it's faster for you to send a voicemail than an email. On the other hand, you don't dispute my point that voicemail is slower and more of a pain in the ass for the recipient.

So yes, voicemail is ideal for people who think that their time is more valuable than the people they're reaching out to contact. Which is to say, voicemail is the tool of choice for selfish jerks. Not that you intend to be one, but that's how it comes across to me.

Comment Re:Voicemail considered harmful (Score 1) 395 395

Don't get me wrong, real-time voice is great for back-and-forth. But you can't do that by voicemail. All you can do is send a "we need to talk about X" ping. You say you're doing that with a followup email and text, which means the voicemail is redundant: all it's doing is forcing me to listen to you stutter for several minutes, verbally repeating a message I got with a quick glance at my phone an hour ago.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 5, Interesting) 395 395

There's this amazing etiquette change going on in America today, the idea that you need to contact someone first before you can have a real-time interaction with them. You can't just show up at someone's door, you have to call first. You can't just call, you need to text first. Someday soon, it'll be rude to text without first checking someone's Weibo status or some damn thing. Our great-grandparents would be baffled.

Comment Voicemail considered harmful (Score 1) 395 395

Recorded speech is slow, impossible to organize, and nearly unsearchable. If you're providing information to me verbally, you're wasting both my time and yours: just send me a copy of the data source you're reading from. If you're providing creative ideas, you should write those suckers down in an email or other document so they don't get forgotten or mis-attributed. If you're not calling to provide either information or creative ideas, you're not saying anything useful and I don't want to listen to your businessbabble.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde