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Comment: Re:Well then (Score 1) 294

by lazlo (#46356473) Attached to: Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

This doesn't make any sense to me either. Current pills containing hydrocodone are a mixture with other drugs, mostly other drugs that have a higher toxicity, and part of the reason for that is to keep people from taking too many of them. If you OD on Vicodin, it's not the 5mg of hydrocodone that kills you, it's the 500mg of acetaminophen. For a 50kg person, you can get to a reasonably toxic quantity of acetaminophen (200 mg/kg) with 20 vicodin, which gives you a dose of 100mg of hydrocodone, or 2 mg/kg. Quick googling found this: that gives animal toxicity studies showing an LD50 for hydrocodone in the range of 86 mg/kg (mice) to 375 mg/kg (rats). Granted, you certainly don't want to take anything *near* to the LD50 of any drug, but the highest dosage for a Zohydro pill is 50 mg. For a 50kg person to get a dose of 1/4 the mouse LD50 would be over 20 pills. As noted, if those 20 pills were vicodin, then they would also be toxic, but only because of the acetaminophen. And really, if you're downing 20 of *any* prescription painkiller, you almost certainly have a different goal in mind than temporary pain relief. I just really don't see this as causing much harm, and potentially helping a fairly specific set of people who need it.

Comment: Nuclear waste (Score 1) 532

by lazlo (#44968949) Attached to: I'd prefer my money be made of ...

Nuclear waste. Sure there may be some downsides, but there are certainly some advantages (It's been a while since I read "The Roentgen Standard", but the argument I liked the best was that a strong economy relies on money moving around quickly, and if you make it radioactive, people will be literally dying to get rid of it as fast as they can.)

Comment: Re:Movies (Score 1) 322

by lazlo (#44790373) Attached to: What's your favorite medium for Sci-Fi?

I think there's a subtle difference in how you interpret this question that makes a big difference here... It asks what your favorite medium for sci-fi is, but the answer could be different if you look at it in terms of in which medium your favorite sci-fi exists. If a medium has 99.9% crap, but a small sliver of shining excellence, then my favorite sci-fi might come from that medium, but I wouldn't call it my favorite medium because the average quality is horrible and I'm not expecting the next thing I see there to be any good. That's kind of how I see movies and TV: a few examples are really good, and I think that superlative things *could* be done in the medium, but on average it's generally meh.

There's also a question of volume. There are a lot more sci-fi books than there are sci-fi TV shows, and more TV shows than there are movies. I could concievably watch every single sci-fi movie made in a year. Probably the same with TV shows. I don't think I'd have any chance at reading all the sci-fi published in a year. So if I whittle down what I watch and read by whatever recommendation methods I can bring to bear, and those methods are effective, then maybe I watch the top 10% of movies and TV, and read the top 0.1% of books, so the average quality of what I watch is in the ballpark of the 95th percentile of quality, while every book I read is in the 99th percentile of quality. Thus my perception will be that books are of a higher quality, even if the reality is that there's just a lot more crap that I haven't read.

But the real difference to me is something that I realized not too long ago, and it's something inherent to the medium itself. With books most of all (and to a lesser extent games), I am in control of the rate at which I'm pushing information into my brain. The rate at which I can absorb the important aspects of a story isn't just different from person to person, it's different for me from day to day. If I'm reading, I can keep going at whatever pace my brain can keep up with, and if I hit a spot where I say to myself "woah, wait, what just happened?", I can skip back and re-read (which is also possible in movies and TV watched at home, not so much in theaters.) So this means that for a movie or TV show, if its information density rate isn't just exactly right for me on the day I'm watching it, then it'll either be going too fast and I'll feel lost, or too slow and I'll feel bored. The way those media counteract that is to make sure the information rate is slow enough that most people don't get lost, and then fill the gaps with content that is reasonably interesting, but relatively information-free. That can make for some shows that are fun and entertaining, but end up feeling a little empty. Of course, the counter to that is when you use content as a framework for your playground, and then create your own information density with the help of friends, acquaintances, and eventually strangers with common interests. Thus emerges fandom.

Comment: Re:You would think they'd have this down by now (Score 1) 286

by lazlo (#44750711) Attached to: Angry Customer Buys Promoted Tweets To Bash British Airways

Either that, or customers should wise up and overnight their luggage to their destination via FedEx. You know, I started writing that sentence aiming for "funny", but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. As the airlines charge more and more for checked bags, the differential cost to have your luggage reliably arrive, and in a probably-less-molested state, will eventually be well worth it.

Comment: Well of course (Score 1) 584

by lazlo (#43972609) Attached to: Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism

Of course the Pew poll showed a majority in favor. I mean, how do you think they conducted this poll? Over the PHONE! (cue dramatic music)

So basically this means that 56% of the people surveyed either believe that this is OK, or believe that their answers to the pollster are being monitored and may be used to target them.

Comment: Re:moving to a rent a car system may not work that (Score 1) 50

by lazlo (#43918289) Attached to: Author Peter Wayner Talks About Autonomous Cars (Video)

The problem I see is that if you're in a rental car or cab, there is some incentive to not abuse it. For the rental car, that's the guy inspecting it when you turn it in, for the cab it's the cabbie who at some point will kick you out for screwing up his cab. Remove those people and those checks, and the inside of a shared car will get pretty nasty pretty quick, and people will not want to sit in that shared car. For a car shared within a carpool group, there's the social pressure exerted because everyone knows all the people in the group and doesn't want to be the one who left the big stain on the seat when they spilled their soda. The problem there is that the smaller your carpool size, the higher the probability that there will be a scheduling collision where Alice needs to be on one side of town at noon, but Bob needs to be on the other side of town. The question is, what's the lowest you can get the number of cars/people before scheduling collisions become overwhelmingly problematic, and what's the highest number of people you can have before people start thinking "Do I really want to get in that car? Why is this seat kind of sticky?" If you can't make those two numbers overlap, you're going to have problems.

You probably can make it work, but it would take some logistics, and people would need to have some trust in those logistics. So maybe have 2-3 cars that are closely bound to maybe 10 people, then maybe 5 groups of 10 people that have a sharing agreement where a car can be borrowed when there's a scheduling collision, then 3 groups of 50 that share some roaming spares. That way you know all the people who share "your" car, and you won't be in a car outside "your" group of 150.

The downfall there is that while it's efficient, efficiency is actually detrimental to overspending on transportation as a status symbol. Though shared ownership does work for some things, I know there are working shared ownership setups for private planes and helicopters, boats, country clubs, etc. So maybe shared ownership would work if it meant that you could own a third of a car that's thrice what you could afford.

Comment: Re:You're rudely forgotten my demographic! (Score 1) 461

by lazlo (#43447551) Attached to: How much I care about GMO food labeling:

But this isn't a poll about being for or against GMO foods, it's about being concerned about forced labeling of GMO foods. While I'm generally in favor of GMO foods, I also like them to be labeled so that, if for no other reason, if it's properly labeled, I can preferentially buy it. But even given that, it's not even a poll about wanting forced labeling, it's a poll about how much you're concerned, whichever way that concern falls. So there's at least two layers of abstraction between the poll and one's actual opinion of GMO food.

Comment: Missing option: My boss (Score 1) 239

by lazlo (#41098827) Attached to: I found my current job through ...

In the last 20 years, I've worked for about 12 different companies. Throughout that time, I've had a total of 4 bosses. I've worked for my current boss for about 12 of those years, and 5 of those companies.

I'm very loyal to people, not organizations. As much as a bad boss is worth leaving a company for, a good boss is worth following.

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.