Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:thanks (Score 1) 211

by laird (#49099097) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Keep in perspective that the "too low" Medicare and Medicaid payment schedule that the hospitals and doctors claim they can't survive on is still much higher than is paid by any healthcare system in any other country on the planet. So why is it that doctors and hospitals in the US charge more than in Japan, Germany, France, the UK, etc., while at the same time delivering inferior medical outcomes? Are they stupider or more wasteful? Or do they just have a higher profit margin? As a patient, I want to pay for healthcare, not profit margins.

Comment: Re:News (Score 0) 211

by laird (#49099009) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

And, on the flip side, 10m people are insured that weren't before. And lots of people's coverage is a lot better than it was before. And, on average, insurance rates only went up 2-5%, when it went up 6-10% annually pre-ACA. So from what I can see, insurance coverage is better, and costs are going up more slowly than ever in my lifetime. Not a bad deal.

Comment: Re:The big picture (Score 1) 211

by laird (#49099003) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Interesting anecdote.

On average, healthcare costs were going up 6-10% a year every year for decades, and 3-5% a year since ACA. So as a public policy it's working.

So why is your insurance deal so much worse than what everyone else is getting? What's so different about your personal situation to drive your prices dramatically up with millions of people are seeing the opposite?

Comment: Re:The big picture (Score 1) 211

by laird (#49098983) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Healthcare costs have always gone up every year. The reality is that healthcare costs have gone up under ACA at half the rate of the pre-ACA increases (3-4% under ACA, vs. the 6-10% annual increases every year for decades!). That's better.

As for worse insurance, that's unlikely. For example, the insurance companies aren't allowed to waste more than 15% of what they are paid, when previously there was no limit. And they were allowed to take insurance away from people that had been paying for it, if they became sick and required expensive coverage. And they were allowed to refuse to insure people with "pre-existing conditions" so people could lose coverage if they switched jobs. And they could sell insurance that turned out to be worthless. And the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US was medical bills to PEOPLE WITH INSURANCE who were driven into bankruptcy by their insurance companies. All those practices are illegal, making everyone's insurance (and lives) better.

And hospitals don't have to lose a fortune on providing services to uninsured people, which they covered by inflating the charges on the insured patients. So because the uninsured rate at hospitals has dropped dramatically, hospitals can stop having to cover the loss. Which is one of the many reasons that healthcare costs have stopped skyrocketing.

And 10m people have insurance that didn't, and will therefore lead healthier lives, which is an ethical improvement. If you care about people.

Comment: Re:News (Score 1) 211

by laird (#49098963) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Of course, all of the "nullification" laws get thrown out by the courts, but it gives the state legislatures a chance to grandstand for their dumber voters.

Note also that in reality the state and local governments are less competent and more corrupt (on average) than the federal government. Because there's _way_ less oversight the more local the government is.

Comment: Re:News (Score 0) 211

by laird (#49098953) Attached to: 800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

In reality, of course, the reason that the web site had problems is that it's an absurdly complex integration of hundreds of back-end systems driven by the perverse insistence that we avoid the simple, efficient solution (let everyone buy into Medicare, a one sentence change to the law requiring no new technology) in order to create more opportunity for state-level corruption and political sabotage.

Comment: Re:Probably just to prevent accessory competitors (Score 1) 55

by laird (#49096375) Attached to: Apple Patents Head-Mounted iPhone

First to file doesn't mean that you can ignore prior art. It means that if two different inventors patent the same invention, the first filing "wins". But if someone else invented the same thing, and publicly disclosed it but didn't file a patent, before either of those patents, then it would be prior art.

Comment: Re:Time to start over (Score 1) 36

by laird (#49037251) Attached to: Airport Using Google Glass For Security and Passenger Information

Exactly! Pretty much no startup succeeded with their initial plan intact. The trick is to be agile yet decisive, which is a hard balance. You have to listen to the market and find an opportunity that "clicks", but at the same time you can't redirect every week.

I'd say that Google realizing that consumers don't want Glass, but enterprise customers do, is a pretty reasonable redirect. For another example, look at Apple - they change their minds about things based on market demand. They thought larger phones were a terrible idea, but a few years later the marketplace made clear that larger phones were a significant chunk of the market that they couldn't ignore. Heck, iPhone started with no apps and Apple saying that everything should be web-based, and the redirect to add the App Store turned into a huge success. You can't let yourself be locked into an initial vision and pass up real opportunities in favor of imaginary ones!

Comment: Re:A proper use for the technology... (Score 1) 36

by laird (#49037227) Attached to: Airport Using Google Glass For Security and Passenger Information

Google does all the heavy lifting on servers, for Glass and pretty much everything else that they do. The Glass just collects data and displays the results. It has barely any compute or storage, just enough to be a client to the web services, really. That's how they got it small, light, and relatively cheap (compared to previous similar devices).

Retinal scanning is great, but the goal is to ID people from a distance, so that the observer is just wearing Glass and watching a stream of people. If they're doing a retinal scan, they can also stop people and check IDs. Besides which, of course, normal people don't have a reference retinal scan to check against.

I agree that trying to do general population facial recognition would generate too many false positives, wasting everyone's time.

But there's also some room for optimization to improve the odds, and to find a use case that doesn't require perfection. For example, the system can narrow matches down to people with tickets for flights in the next few hours departing from that airport, and flag anyone who doesn't match for an ID check. To be useful it wouldn't have have to be 100% accurate, or match everyone in the universe, so it's an easier computation - it's value would be in letting security filter out 80% of the people that are known OK travellers, and interview the people that are out of that profile.

Comment: Re:The GNU project needs money! (Score 2) 51

by laird (#49000975) Attached to: GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding

That's due to US non-profit rules. That is, by US law (and the IRS) non-profits can have educational missions, but can't produce anything that's of direct benefit to for-profit companies. Since FOSS software can be used by for-profits and not just by non-profits, creating FOSS software can't be the primary mission of a non-profit. That's why the Apache Foundation, GNOME Foundation, etc., are non-profits set up to educate and promote, but can't directly fund development of the FOSS software. Yeah, seems a little silly, but the IRS is quite consistent on this point for decades now.

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.

Working...