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Comment: Re:So? Fix it. (Score 2) 88

by nbauman (#46819619) Attached to: Parents' Privacy Concerns Kill 'Personalized Learning' Initiative

'It is a shame that the progress of this important innovation has been stalled because of generalized public concerns about data misuse,'

Actually, the biggest problem with InBloom is that collecting all this data didn't have any benefit that teachers or parents could recognize. If they like data so much, why didn't they get data to show that students actually benefit from big data before they rolled it out? Here's the best comment at the NYT:

Kate Delaware

I'm sure there are other examples of how inBloom intended their service to be used, and maybe some of them were kind of cool, but the one pictured in the article is absurd. As a teacher, I don't need lots of data about whether students show enthusiasm before I make my seating charts. The kids are right there in the room with me. I can tell. Also, what do those numbers even mean? How can someone be 67% enthusiastic? Furthermore, I don't necessarily want to know before I start teaching a student whether he was a "bad kid" or a "good kid" in previous classes, because having a new teacher is (and should be) a fresh start. Finally, where does the pictured information come from? Is it one more data-entry job for the teacher? At what frequency? Are teachers supposed to sit down weekly and enter character scores into the computer?

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 1) 285

by nbauman (#46808141) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

The truly poor still have access to Medicaid in Idaho. The program didn't go away. It just didn't expand it to people above the poverty line.

Truly poor? Do you think someone who makes $2,800 a year isn't poor?

In my understanding, single non-disabled people aren't eligible for Medicaid in Idaho at all.

What do you do with these people? Do you leave them to die, like they do in Texas?

And then the Federal Government orders the State to massively expand Medicaid. My State just doesn't have the resources to do it. It isn't because people don't care, we just don't have the income. 90% of the Students in my School District are on free or reduced lunch. Median Family income in my town is $31,000 per year.

The federal government offered to pay for your expansion of Medicaid. Most of that money would come from the federal government, and it would continue for at least the next several years. That's because people in other (mostly Northern, Democratic) states, like my own New York, are willing to help other parts of the country get essential needs like health care. If the federal government dropped support for Medicaid in the future, you could have changed the program then.

How can you not afford health care? If your child has a life-threatening illness, do you say, "I can't afford it, I'll just have to let her die"?

You can't do without health care. Your choice is to pay for private insurance, or to pay for it through taxes. Paying through taxes is cheaper. When you cross the border into Canada, they don't have any problem paying for health care.

Idaho can afford to put people in jail for 10 years on a marijuana charge. How come you have enough money for prisons for non-violent crimes but you don't have enough money for health care for the poor?

Idaho has enough money. They're just spending it on the wrong things. Do you want to spend it on schools and health care, or do you want to pay for drug-sniffing dogs and prisons?

Comment: Re:Sick Society (Score 3, Informative) 250

by nbauman (#46804073) Attached to: L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

Give up. This is not about science, it is about tje progressive anti-gun stance.

In your haste to construct an anti-liberal, pro-gun narrative, you missed the real reason for his suspension, which somebody mentioned above.

Schiller, 43, also was the teachers union representative on the campus and had been dealing with disagreements with administrators over updating the employment agreement under which the faculty works. His suspension, with pay, removed him from those discussions.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 3, Interesting) 285

by nbauman (#46803991) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Obamacare exists because the poor can't be bothered to pay $90 for a doctors visit. Instead they rack up a $900 bill at the local hospital (because hospitals are required to see you, doctors aren't) and they never pay it.

this makes no sense. so, does the doctor's visit cost $90 or $900?

One of the most common problems is:

1. Patient has asthma.

2. Asthma gets worse.

3. Doctor prescribes drugs to control the asthma (~$60/month).

4. Patient can't afford $60/month for the controller medication, so he doesn't get it.

5. Patient gets an asthma attack, can't breathe.

6. Family calls an ambulance, patient goes to hospital, spends a night in the hospital breathing oxygen and maybe gets a steroid shot. Total cost: $3,000

Medicare saves: $720/year in asthma controller medication.

Medicare loses: $3,000 in one hospital visit.

I saw a printout of the admissions at Montifiore Hospital in the Bronx, and the most common one was an asthma attack. This is what happens to real people, in typical situations. No Ronald Reagan stories.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 1) 285

by nbauman (#46803951) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

What they charge you depends on what they treated you for. You don't say what the problem was that led your inlaws to go to the doctor.

If you go to the doctor with a cough or cold, there really wasn't much reason for you to go to the doctor in the first place. You don't need x-rays or antibiotics in the first place.

I can't imagine how a county health department would treat non-residents for free. They're excluded from Medicaid, and hospitals that treat non-residents who can't afford to pay are taking a real beating.

The important point is that you can't compare medical treatments. One patient goes to the doctor because he's a hypochondriac and has a cold, another patient goes to the doctor because he has symptoms of heart failure. If he actually does have heart failure, that's a big bill.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 2, Insightful) 285

by nbauman (#46803921) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

...forcing people to get insurance, so that they pay ahead of time, seems like the next best thing.

So tell me, now, how you're going to force people who are living on what they can dig out of the dumpsters behind markets because they don't have any money to buy food to buy health insurance?

Well, you're half right. People who are digging food out of dumpsters will usually be eligible for Medicaid, and making up to about 100% of the poverty level, will not have to pay anything. People who make up to 250% of the poverty level will get significant subsidies to buy Obamacare.

The problem is the people between poverty level and lower middle class. Obamacare pays to expand Medicaid to cover people making between 100% and 250% of the poverty level.

However -- because of the Supreme Court decision in the Obamacare case, the Medicaid expansion is voluntary for the states, and half the states (mostly Republican) refused to expand it. So in those states, poor people really are stuck. They do get kicked out of hospitals and get left to die of treatable conditions.

So you're half right. In Democratic states, people get Medicaid, and in Republican states, they do without.

Obamacare is a terrible health plan. Most people who understand the health care system wanted a single payer plan. They predicted that Obamacare would be expensive, lousy insurance. To pay for it, they squeeze most of the money from the lower class and middle class.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 4, Insightful) 285

by nbauman (#46803845) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

In the Bronx it was not uncommon for people to call an ambulance when they had a cold and wanted to see a doctor to get some cough medicine prescribed

Could you define "not uncommon" please? Daily? Monthly? She saw this herself, or 'heard about it'? And the ambulance crews just waved them onboard, like wide-eyed innocents who could be duped that way? Yeah, ok. Did your wife enquire further, or just write it off as the feckless poor?

I am also skeptical of this story, which is at best second hand and at worst an urban legend.

Even assuming it is true, it would point to a transportation problem in the Bronx. I became more aware of this (in Manhattan) when I developed arthritis in my knees and once was unable to walk for a week. In order to get to the doctor, I had to take a cab, which cost me about $40 round trip. What if I didn't have $40? Sometimes there's no public transportation to the hospital even if you can walk. (BTW, according to Michael Moore's movie Sicko, the British hospitals reimburse patients for cab fare.)

Is the City paying thousands of dollars in ambulance fees that they could have avoided by paying $40 in taxi fares? Or $20 for car service?

Another reason I'm skeptical about this story is that I heard a talk by Lewis Goldfrank, director of the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department, who said that because of budget cuts, they were forced to stop giving out a lot of drugs from the hospital pharmacy, including over-the-counter drugs. So are hospitals in the Bronx giving out OTC cough medicines that Bellevue is no longer giving out? Would the City save thousands of dollars in ambulance fees by giving people on Medicaid money to buy OTC drugs in their local drug store?

In San Jose, she sees tons of drunks and drug users... after a while the doctors have to prescribe something just to get the person out of the way so that patients with real needs can be seen.

In San Jose, they need to have their alcohol and drug addiction services massively improved. Addicts should know that they will be referred to specialists. Why isn't your wife tackling this, rather than just handing out the pills?

That's right. For a doctor to complain about drunks and drug users in the ED is like a sailor complaining about the ocean. Did she know when she went into medicine that a lot of people are sick because of drug and alcohol problems? Did they ever teach her how to deal with patients with drug and alcohol problems?

Goldfrank once asked one of his residents what cases were left, and the resident said, "Just some human garbage." Goldfrank told him, "Anybody who refers to patients as human garbage doesn't belong in this hospital."

It doesn't sound like your wife should be caring for this patient population. Perhaps she should go into a specialty with patients in her own social class, like cosmetic surgery. You can make more money running a hair transplant clinic than you can make by saving a diabetic woman's leg from amputation.

Also virtually nobody in the USA chooses between a $90 doctor's visit and feeding their family.

I'm guessing your circle of family and friends includes a wide number > 21 yrs old on minimum wage? Thanks for the perspective on what someone in the top 1% thinks of the bottom 10%.

I've talked to doctors who were fucking idiots. One doctor said that poor people could afford health insurance if they just spent the cost of a latte every day on health instead. When you're so out of touch with the realities of your patients' lives, it's malpractice. A lot of prescriptions don't get filled because the patient can't afford it.

A doctor wrote an essay in he New England Journal of Medicine about how her hospital was reprimanding doctors for violating the rules against giving patients their own personal money. She said one mother didn't have money for food for herself and her two children, so she gave the mother $20 (and told her it came from a "special fund" so the mother wouldn't be embarrassed).

Comment: Re:Just one more reason (Score 5, Informative) 256

by nbauman (#46785775) Attached to: Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

Sure. But it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

Come on, I refuse to believe that these entities are actively working to put more people in prison for no good reason.

That's bullshit, police unions represents police officers, usually union policies are made by vote.

I refuse to believe that most police officers want to lock up people for no good reason

I believe it. In New York City, we had the stop and frisk laws. Officers got caught on tape telling the cops under their command to fill a quota of arrests -- and to arrest black people. Most of the arrests were pot busts after illegal searches. (Possessing marijuana was a violation, not a crime. The cops forced people to commit a misdemeanor by emptying their pockets and displaying marijuana, which was a crime.) That was the subject of a lawsuit, which was also reported on Slashdot. It all came out in court, and Judge Schendlin wrote it up in her written decision.

The new police commissioner was complaining that cops arrest people towards the end of their shift so that they can get overtime pay. Think about that for a second. They're arresting people so that they can make more money.

As I recall, one of the strongest opponents of liberalizing drug laws in California was the prison guards' union. It was pretty clear that they wanted to keep the prisons full to protect their jobs.

That said, they may very well have insights into why weed is bad. They may have experience traffic accidents, etc.

Oh, yeah. Who has more insight into why weed is bad -- cops? Or doctors, psychiatrists and scientists?

Comment: Re:Bush Vetoed this, apparently (Score 2) 631

by nbauman (#46754115) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

All the provision does is lift the statute of limitations on collecting an unpaid debt. I really don't see the problem with that. The actual problem seems to be that they're going after the wrong people to get their money -- and that seems to be based on a policy that allows the government to go after children who may have benefited from overpayments.

The problem is that we have statutes of limitations for a reason. (There's also a related principle called laches

The reason is that it's not fair to bring a legal action against someone after an unreasonable amount of time has passed. The person can't defend himself. He may not remember what happened. Records may have been lost, destroyed or missing. People, including witnesses, who could have given information may be unavailable or dead.

Comment: Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (Score 1) 431

by nbauman (#46750849) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

$27,000 is spent every year, per child, in Camden, NJ.

Only three students-- 3-- in the entire city of Camden achieved college-ready scores on the SAT.

These families have lived in the northeast USA for several generations.

Something is wrong, and while we can all agree it's not skin color, it's obviously not Jim Crow laws (that didn't exist in NJ) decades before these kids were born either.

Maybe it's decades of exploitation from single-party rulers in the great majority of our cities.

Most of the northern black population came as immigrants from the South in the 1950s and 1960s. There were welfare departments in Southern states that would give welfare applicants or recipients bus tickets to go north.

There was quite a bit of racial discrimination in the New Jersey school system. At one time towns were splitting up -- the more affluent white parts of town would establish itself as an independent town, leaving the less affluent black parts of the town behind, with a poorer tax base to pay for schools. The reason they're paying $27,000 a year in Camden is that the courts struck down the previous school financing system as segregated.

There was discrimination against black people in housing, which prevented them from living in the better school districts. Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel

The parent who started this thread said that there is a subculture of black people who do worse than whites or Hispanics in educational accomplishment. I said that to the extent there is such a subculture, it's the result of 100 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow (which didn't allow blacks to vote, or go to white schools, in the South up to at least 1968). Do you disagree with that?

Comment: Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (Score 1) 431

by nbauman (#46743927) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

The parent said:

To be blunt: black people, and to a lesser extent, first generation Hispanics. The difference is that Hispanics tend to approach the mean for their socioeconomic status by the second generation. Blacks have made progress, but just enough to keep the gap from widening even more.

That's a broad statement. I suspect the reason the parent made it is that he doesn't know anything about black people, and hasn't run into many educated black people in his life.

There are people who have lived in segregated communities all their lives.

Comment: Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (Score 1) 431

by nbauman (#46743735) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

In fact, did either of you know that, after compensating for socioeconomic status, the racial gap disappears?

No, I didn't know that. Citation needed. Peer-reviewed sources, please.

Of course, neither of you know this and God knows it doesn't fit in with either of your world views, so it doesn't register in either of your discourses, both of which are based on emotion and specious arguments. If you want to really acknowledge the issue, it's socioeconomic status - class, in short.

Socioeconomic status and class are part of it, but they don't explain everything. Slashdot had an article last year about the New York City stop-and-frisk lawsuit. If you read the judge's opinion, which summarized the data, you'd see that the police were openly stopping black people. Black (but not white) middle-class people and professionals got swept into it. It didn't matter what their socioeconomic status was. They had black college teachers testify that the cops stopped and frisked them with no legal justification, repeatedly, while they were on their way to school. Black professionals testified that they were standing in front of their homes minding their own business when the cops illegally stopped and frisked them and beat them up.

That was one of the complaints of the civil rights movement -- that even when they made it into the middle class, or professional class, they still couldn't get the jobs that white people got, or move into the same neighborhoods, or get the same education. Civil rights organizations used to send out testers to prove it.

One of my teachers told me that she was riding on a train in Pennsylvania and she heard an announcement that all the black passengers had to move to the back of the train at the next stop. That's what her college education and professional class got her.

I once talked to a black doctor, who had served on expert panels, and he said, "I'm a teaching professor at M.D. Anderson, and I worry when a police car drives behind me."

Liberals (even when they pay lip service to this notion) are too chickenshit to actually do anything about it; Conservatives won't even acknowledge it. Both are useless. Just like arguments on Slashdot.

I know some liberals (and some people who were a bit left of liberal) who went down South in the 1960s during the sit-ins. Some of them were killed, and others were crippled for life. So I don't think they were too chickenshit to do anything about it. When have you ever stood up like that for a principle?

Comment: Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (Score 1) 431

by nbauman (#46743613) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

After the Southern schools were required to pay for black education, the math and reading "gap" started to disappear.

There was a narrowing of the achievement gap in the 1960s and 1970s. Then the narrowing stopped. Since then, blacks have done better, but whites have done better too, resulting in the gap staying about the same. You can see a graph of the gap here. It reached a minimum in 1988, and has actually been growing again since then. If the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow was the only cause of the gap, one would expect the gap to continue to narrow, and also to see a smaller gap in northern or western states that never had slavery or Jim Crow. Neither of those things is true. There is an ongoing debate about the causes, but it is doubtful that there is any one simplistic answer.

I don't know. I've seen the same charts and it looked to me as if the black achievement was increasing, especially in the chart headed Long-term Trends"

In order to figure out what those data mean, I'd defer to a statistician. I notice that the yearly achievements don't have 95%-confidence error bars, so I can't tell whether they really did reach a minimum in 1988, or which way they're going.

(I must say that I don't think that a Wikipedia article that links to the National Review Online and pop books doesn't meet the highest standards of scholarly quality.)

I don't think you can use those data to exclude the effect of slavery, and I think it's obvious that slavery and Jim Crow had a significant effect on the educational accomplishment of the black population. Slavery must also have had a significant effect on the other factors listed in that article, like the black family structure, the motivation gap, etc. So maybe slavery is the prior cause of all those other factors. I'm sure your ancestors in 1850 were married. Black slaves in 1850 weren't allowed to marry. You can say, as the Wall Street Journal editorial page does, "Oh, that should have corrected itself in 150 years." I don't think so. Patterns like marriage are persistent over many generations. Patterns like occupation are persistent over many generations. I know doctors who come from a family of doctors that they can trace back 4 or 5 generations.

Diane Ravitch understands educational achievement data better than anybody else I know, and she says that the main factor that affects educational achievement is family income. That's more important than race. Let's do an experiment. Let's raise black income to the same level as white income for a couple of generations and see if they're still behind. http://www.threeriversonline.c...

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1, Troll) 431

by nbauman (#46742537) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

People who are encouraged as kids to be sloppy about their writing tend to emerge from adolescence sloppy about their thinking too.

Can you cite this from a peer-reviewed publication, please? If this is really such a problem, surely you can back it up with scholarship.

No, he was encouraged during his adolescence to be sloppy about his thinking.

Comment: Re:They've got a lot of catching up to do... (Score 2, Interesting) 431

by nbauman (#46742515) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Can you name some of these subcultures?

To be blunt: black people, and to a lesser extent, first generation Hispanics. The difference is that Hispanics tend to approach the mean for their socioeconomic status by the second generation. Blacks have made progress, but just enough to keep the gap from widening even more.

Did you ever meet a black person with a college degree?

I did. When I went to elementary school and high school, lots of my teachers were black. One of my best teachers was the biology teacher who taught me how to grow bacteria and fruit flies. I think of her every day. My work today involves a lot of molecular biology and genetics.

One of my college housemates was a black guy who graduated in chemical engineering. Did you ever study chemical engineering? Could you pass physical chem? (BTW I met a lot of black chemical engineers. It's one of those disciplines where you can get ahead just by being smart and working hard.)

Did you ever meet a black lawyer? I have. Did you ever meet a black doctor? I have. They were at the top of their field. They didn't get there by affirmative action.

The reason black people did so badly in the U.S. is 100 years of slavery followed by 100 years of Jim Crow under which black people couldn't vote or go to school in the former Confederate states. Did you ever meet anybody who later got killed for trying to organize black people to vote in the South? I did. Black people couldn't exercise their right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and even then the racists used all kinds of tricks to stop them from voting. They're still doing it today.

After the Southern schools were required to pay for black education, the math and reading "gap" started to disappear. You can see the data at the NAEP web site.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234