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Comment: Maybe, maybe not (Score 1) 528 528

There is a real problem with studies related to things like this. A few people claim to have some problem - electrosensitivity in this case - which they may or may not have. Then a whole load of other people hear about it, and all claim to have it as well, most simply because they have had some minor random problem, and latch onto it as a reason. In effect the whole thing snowballs. Now, there may actually be a very few people who do genuinely have the problem, but when you come to do the studies, you sample a large number of people. You do the statistics. You do not conclude that there is no link - studies like these cannot show that there is *no* link. You conclude - correctly - that there is no statistically significant link. But there still might (or might not) be a real problem for a very few people.

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 1) 730 730

FWIW, I'm British and I support the monarchy for two special reasons (whether in practice they'd be any use can of course be debated): First, pretty well all the Bristish armed forces swear allegiance to the monarch (, so in theory if the government tried to use them against the population then the monarch could order them back to barracks, and the generals and whatnot would have a cast iron reason to tell the government where to go. Second, the monarch can dissolve parliament which triggers a general election. I'd guess this means that, in the event of a knife edge like the one that got Bush in as president, so none of the parties can form a government, rather then wrangling in court, the monarch can effectively force another vote.

Comment: Death Rates (Score 1) 106 106

"Back in 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS killed about 10 per cent of the 8,000 people it infected in southern China and Hong Kong" I asked the following question about H5N1, it seems to be just as relevent to SARS: When H5N1 was doing the rounds in the UK, I, and my wife, and a lot of other people I knew, had long running and/or recurrent chest infections over a couple of months or so. None of us was ill enough to bother to go to the doctor, and there were enough people about with the same symptoms that we were still working, so we didn't need a medical report to miss work. So, we never got on any statistics for having something. My feeling (and my wife's, who is a biologist) is that its quite likely that a lot of people got H5N1 but were never diagnosed nor counted. This makes the claimed "H5N1 killed n% of people it infected" (whatever n% was) totally specious. And I'd bet that the same is true of SARS. Unless there is random testing then nobody knows what the death rate is, and all these death rates are scare mongering by governments and the drugs industry,

Comment: Re:Write your own! (Score 1) 227 227

There can be a lot going for this. I work on a quite large web application written in Python, used by medium-to-large companies. It uses a custom MVC framework which I started 4-5 years ago. Like AC, we understand it, there are no hidden corners, and when we need to modify it to do something we need, we do so. Downsides are documentation (you can't rely on others to do it), and maybe recruitment.

Comment: Re:sockatume has problems understanding (Score 1) 668 668

No, they are not. The WSJ figures are quoted for the whole of the outbreak (by July it was essentially over); likely there were cases elsewhere in Wales, but there was no significant other outbreak so (unless we think there will be another outbreak) we can assume that the 1219 figure is broadly correct. They are not figures for the early stages (do you mean disease or outbreak?). Now, I don't have the over-diagnosis figures to hand for last year, but unless you can show me that they were around 50%, then you order-of-magnitude increase claim is pure speculation. If you check out (NHS site for Wales) you can find "Reported notifications of measles usually far exceed the actual numbers of confirmed cases. Other rashes are often mistaken for measles". Unfortunately, they don't say by how much, which is a shame because there are some claims of 3000% overdiagnosis, which seems pretty wacky.

Comment: Re:sockatume has problems understanding (Score 1) 668 668

Because I strongly suspect there is a tendency to increasing over-diagnosis as outbreak size grows. Most doctors will have seen few if any cases of measles, so if someone presents with a measles-like rash during an outbreak, then it is more likely to be diagnosed as measles than when there is no outbreak. I also know of one case where a child with a rash was taken to the doctor, who said, no, definitely not measles ... then noticed on the records that the child had not been noticed, and instantly changed the diagnosis (and declined to take a sample to test). As it turned out, it was not measles. I'd not argue with over-reporting being uncontroversial in general, but I question whether it is independent of outbreak size.

Comment: Re:sockatume has problems understanding (Score 1) 668 668

Indeed, it is the change that matters, in which case, why quote a figure which is known to be incorrect, rather than the best known figure (laboratory confirmations). However, since this year laboratory tests were suspended because the public health labs. could not keep up (nor were the untested samples kept for later analysis), we don't actually know what the change is.

Comment: Re:WSJ gets the figures wrong. (Score 1) 668 668

The WSJ quotes the outbreak as 1219 to end July, this is similar to the figures in the UK press. To the beginning of May 850 had been tested, so even if *all* the remaining cases were positive, that would only give 370 + (1219-850) which is 739, which is *still* only 65%. In fact, around May the UK suspended mandatory testing since the public health laboratories were overloaded, so unless you have some additional information, I stand by a factor of 2 over diagnosis.

Comment: Re:sockatume has problems understanding (Score 1) 668 668

Because the figure is inflated. If measles outbreaks are a problem then they are a problem without inflating the figure (which was generally reported similarly in the UK press). Inflating the figures is not so different from the anti-vaccine people making unjustified claims.

Comment: Re:WSJ gets the figures wrong. (Score 1) 668 668

In the UK vaccines are not government mandated, that's why some children are not vaccinated. And the shit didn't exactly hit the fan. One guy died, he had atypical measles, the doctor didn't diagnose and sent him home to go to bed and take some Paracetamol. So far as I'm aware nobody else had any long term problems. BTW, I'm intrigued, why "snob"? Because I use my brain?

Comment: Re:sockatume has problems understanding (Score 1) 668 668

No, I'm comparing the number of laboratory tests to the number of laboratory confirmations. Up to the start of May (by which time the outbreak had mostly run its course) there where 1170 notifications, of which 850 were tested .... of which only 370 confirmed measles. So the actual number of cases was more like 530 (1219 * 370/850).

Comment: WSJ gets the figures wrong. (Score 1) 668 668

From TFA and quoted by the poster: "A measles outbreak infected 1,219 people in southwest Wales between November 2012 and early July, compared with 105 cases in all of Wales in 2011." Wrong, see: (May 2nd) "The headline total for measles across Wales is now at 1,170 cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases in the outbreak stands at 370 out of a total of 850 samples tested." So the outbreak is exagerated by more than a factor of two.

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