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Comment: Re:Recalls aren't that complicated... (Score 1) 99

by merlinokos (#41726687) Attached to: States Face Huge Task In Tracking Meningitis-Tainted Drugs

I like that you guys seem to have a sound plan for dealing with this, though I wonder why they use a hierarchy for disseminating information to smaller and small scale pharmacies. Wouldn't it make more sense that all pharmacies should be notified by one central body both for expediency and for reducing the margin of error that one of the links in the chain might goof?

I suspect the reason is actually fairly simple. In the case of a major recall, speed of confirmed communication is paramount. Hierarchy means that one organization isn't simply trying to contact everybody for personal handoff, but is instead multiplying its capacity by creating a cascade effect. If every pharmacy in the country was centrally registered with emergency contact details, this procedure could probably be done away with, but protocols take a long time to change, even when they're no longer valuable.

Another possibility is that due to devolution of powers, including medicine, the hospital pharmacies and PCTs are the authorities which are responsible for maintaining a list of practicing pharmacies in their area. If that's the case, it's a no-brainer to have them send out the notification, since they're the final arbiters of truth regarding registered pharmacies.

Either option seems plausible to me.

Comment: Alternate Viewpoint (Score 5, Insightful) 73

by merlinokos (#41637373) Attached to: Rejected Papers Get More Citations When Eventually Published
"So there is apparently some reason to be patient with your paper's critics — they will do you good in the end."

I have a different possible viewpoint. The papers that are most likely to be rejected are the ones that are controversial because they challenge the status quo. But once they're accepted, they're game changers. And since they're game changers, and the first publications with the new viewpoint, they're cited disproportionately frequently by follow up work.

(formatted correctly this time)

Comment: Alternate viewpoint (Score 1, Insightful) 73

by merlinokos (#41637347) Attached to: Rejected Papers Get More Citations When Eventually Published
"So there is apparently some reason to be patient with your paper's critics — they will do you good in the end." I have a different possible viewpoint. The papers that are most likely to be rejected are the ones that are controversial because they challenge the status quo. But once they're accepted, they're game changers. And since they're game changers, and the first publications with the new viewpoint, they're cited disproportionately frequently by follow up work.

Comment: Whenever we're ready (Score 1) 182

by merlinokos (#41624001) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Often Do You Push To Production?
Developers are responsible for supporting production, which means they can release whenever they want, as long as they're willing to deal with the consequences. This has lead to a release frequency which ranges from 1-20 times per day, depending on how critical the application is, what is being added, and how complex the change is.

The most important thing to us is that people who are treated like adults act like adults. Trust your developers to release responsibly, and (with a little teaching/learning) they will.

Comment: Re:It really isn't sugar, that is just one avenue (Score 5, Interesting) 655

by merlinokos (#40015039) Attached to: The Mathematics of Obesity

I am not declaring that working only forty hours or less is bad; but lets be honest those we know who do more tend to get further;

Science and reality both say you, and those whose viewpoints you represent are deluded.
Labor, experiments, and industry all agree that a 40-hour work week is better for everybody - individuals and companies. Productivity by people who regularly work more than 40 hours per week is lower than those who work 40 hours.
The only reason people get ahead for working longer hours is because a generation of managers appears to have been taught to think that bums in seats = productivity. So longer hours = increased likelihood of promotion. It's a vicious cycle that's fuelled by people like yourself who speak with no understanding of how the human mind and body work. As a matter of fact, /. posted an article on this very subject 2 months ago today.

Comment: Re:Better phrasing (Score 1) 146

by merlinokos (#39608737) Attached to: Should Failure Be Rewarded To Spur Innovation?

Mod parent up.

Carrot and Stick is a shitty way to manage people. You're much better off helping them tap their intrinsic motivation, rather than trying to extrinsically motivate them.
You get better work, more engaged employees, more intelligent decisions, and you don't have to be there all the time to ensure they're doing things correctly.

Carrot and Stick? Seriously? We have 50+ years of research showing that Command & Control is inferior to enabling and engagement. How come businesses can't make it work?

Comment: Re:Medical expenses? What's that? (Score 1) 651

by merlinokos (#39058383) Attached to: Last year, I spent the most on ...

Enslaving doctors and forcing them to work day and night giving away healthcare for free is civilized?

-Rand Paul

I can't believe nobody has pointed out the obvious flaws in this argument.
1. It's logically unrelated to state provided health care
2. It equates government payment with free
3. Doctors in countries that provide socialized medicine work the same (and frequently fewer) hours as their American counterparts
4. America is the only Western country in the world that hasn't implemented some form of universal health care
5. The UK's cost per capita is much, much lower than the US.
6. And healthcare is better, by numerous measures
7. People choose to train as doctors in the UK. Nobody is forced
8. Doctors in the UK are some of the best paid professionals in the country
9. There is no price gouging. The NHS provides the doctors, the equipment, the treatment, the medicine, and the bills. There is no incentive to overcharge patients, since the NHS will ultimately foot the bill.


My counter example is simple:
I live in the UK.
I pay taxes. (Less, by the way, than I paid in the US)
My taxes go to pay for health care for everybody.
I'm never turned away from a hospital, GP, dentist, etc. for any reason
I'm in the top 3% of earners in the UK, so I pay more taxes than I get benefits (this is purely for the "that's ok for the poor" crowd)
My children's health does not depend on my own ability to secure a job

I just don't understand how anybody, anywhere, can take this argument seriously.

Comment: Re:Taxes (Score 1) 413

by merlinokos (#38661696) Attached to: Amazon To Collect Indiana Sales Tax In 2014

The power to tax is the power to destroy. The 14th Amendment specifically prevents laws from applying to different people in different ways. It was passed to prevent Jim Crow laws. This is just a 100% attack against a targeted business that is unconstitutional and bordering on the laws that prevented blacks from voting and serving on juries after the Civil War.

Amazon isn't protected by the 14th Amendment.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Amazon is not a citizen, or a person (despite Citizen's United).

Comment: Re:Those that don't do well should be embarassed (Score 1) 406

by merlinokos (#37668626) Attached to: High School Kills Color-Coded ID Program

Yeah! Stand them in the corner with a pointy hat with the word "Dunce" on it! That'll teach them! Rewarding is far, far better.

It's not. It's just as bad, but more subtle. Read Drive by Daniel Pink, Punished By Rewards by Alfie Kohn, Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci for more (easily understood and digested) information. Or, just start reading here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candle_problem

In my daughter's school they offer reward cards; they're a bit like loyalty cards. Instead of the old gold stars, they are now given points that can be exchanged for material goods. A point for handing in homework, an extra point for handing it in early, points for winning competitions, be they sports or academic.

Looks like they're being taught to love bribes and extrinsic motivation, not learning. An easy mistake to make, for people who don't know how to teach, but as parents, teachers, and (ostensibly) people who can think, we owe our children better.
You are doing your daughter no favors in the long run by backing this system. In fact, you are likely to do long term damage to her love of learning for its own sake, and her intrinsic motivation. By rewarding students for doing their homework, the school is creating a system where students work hard to get the rewards, not the thing the rewards are supposed to encourage.
It's breeding short-term memory, and gamification of the system. Congratulations, you're creating an 1800s style factory employee out of a child who taught herself to walk without any sort of reward, who taught herself to talk without any bribes, and who taught herself to roll-over before you even knew she was paying attention to you.

Comment: Cult of DevOps? (Score 4, Insightful) 114

by merlinokos (#37576182) Attached to: The Cult of DevOps
I'm not sure I can take anybody who calls an attempt to make IT and Development more aware of each other a cult, seriously.
The traditional way of doing things didn't work for 30 years. Why is it that when people are trying to make (and apparently making) a difference to how companies work, they're regularly denigrated by a large subset of the very people whose working lives they're trying to improve.
Haters gonna hate, I guess.

Comment: Re:Nothing to surprising (Score 1) 1271

by merlinokos (#37337012) Attached to: Marx May Have Had a Point

In the same way that capitalism has been tried and failed because you can't remove greed from the human condition.

No, that's totally wrong. Capitalism (free markets in their most-free form) actually recognizes and utilizes greed to promote the system. It's greed and profit motive that drives and motivates the producers in the system. The winners are the ones that can satisfy the needs of consumers expending the least resources to do so.

You leave one thing out. Capitalism, in its most free form, is an absolute disaster. You have competitive behavior at the beginning, but once someone establishes a dominant position, they slowly crush their competition, erect false barriers to entry, and use their monopoly in one industry to allow them to unfairly compete in others. My starting assumptions are no different than yours -- greed and profit motive drive the producers in the system. There's no reason to think that these two motives will stop being factors once a company is successful. History and evidence teach us that once a company is successful in one area, they continually try to branch out into others, preferrably into areas with strong potential and weak competition.

Capitalism very quickly fails to do what it is meant to do -- promote competition where the best product has the most customers.
In a way, you're right. In a free Capitalist society, greed does drive the market... into the ground. Capitalism must be strictly regulated in order to function over the long term.

Comment: ... am I the only one? (Score 2, Interesting) 402

by merlinokos (#33370610) Attached to: Should Developers Have Access To Production?

I work in an environment where the devs fix bugs before adding features, so the code is stable almost all the time. I have less than 1 callout a week that's caused by something a dev has done to the code.
We hire the best devs, and work in an environment where fixing bugs is more important than adding features. The result is that our devs get full access to production, and even offer to provide support in order to ensure that they're the ones that are woken up if something they've broken falls over OOH.
I've been at my current company long enough that I'd forgotten there were places where devs and ops didn't trust each other.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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