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Comment: Move along; nothing to see here (Score 1) 223

by sirwired (#49343713) Attached to: Russian Official Proposes Road That Could Connect London To NYC

And occasionally somebody proposes a space elevator too (which, based on current technologies, is only slightly more infeasible.)

The economic benefits of such a road would be minimal. Seriously, somehow transporting goods from Russia to the US via truck, (but only during the parts of the year when the road isn't blocked due to snow) is supposed to make sense, when we have perfectly good trains and container ships that can do the job just as quickly for far less money?

This makes the fanciful "Hyperloop" project look like a cost-effective means of transportation in comparison. That takes talent.

Comment: Why is "the community" upset? (Score 1) 78

I don't see why "the community" would be upset about IBM developing a Blockchain-based system of their own to sell to governments. Did they really think the idea would never be used by anybody but crypto-anarchists?

And I thought that under the crypto-anarchist ethos, people were free to seek profit in any means they saw fit. Does that somehow not apply to large companies?

Comment: Then you don't understand what a placebo is (Score 1) 447

by sirwired (#49251101) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

A placebo is, by definition, a "sham" treatment, whether it be a drug, surgery, meditation technique, whatever.

Using the currently-accepted treatment is not, by definition, a placebo. I don't know how you can say it "isn't substantially different".

Control-groups MAY use a placebo, but there are many other ways of creating a control group. (Using the currently accepted treatment, drawing on statistics from a sample population, etc.)

And it would STILL be unethical to use homeopathy in ANY study in which there is a current accepted treatment, and total non-treatment could be medically harmful to the patient.

Comment: I wasn't referring to the side-effects of diabetes (Score 1) 447

by sirwired (#49248111) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

I was explicitly referring to the diabetes itself, not it's side-effects. But you, AC, obviously just want to be pedantic.

And I ALSO obviously wasn't talking about animal studies. Obviously the rules there are much different, because you don't care if your control group is going to die.

Comment: Were you stoned when you wrote this,or just stupid (Score 3, Insightful) 447

by sirwired (#49245859) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

1) If homeopathic remedies could lower histamines, this could be easily "measured with science".
2) Intoxication is a condition that easily lends itself to psychosomatic "cures". We could easily measure the actual effectiveness with science by giving patients water vs. Homeopathic "remedies" and comparing the two groups (reaction tests, blood draws, mood surveys, whatever.) It would not be a difficult study to design at all.
3) The very idea of "Liver Detox" is a crock. There are lots of different poisons, and the idea that a single remedy could the effects from alcohol AND caffeine (which aren't even remotely chemically related) is ridiculous. (Though no more ridiculous than Homeopathy itself, which to actually work would require completely throwing out a whole pile of rather well-settled parts of chemistry, physics, and biology.)
4) Insomnia is another heavily psychosomatic condition. (Indeed, therapy works better for insomnia than any other remedy.)

The idea of a Double-Blind Clinical trial is not hard to grasp. When a homeopath tells you that somehow their remedies "can't be measured" with such a trial, they are simply moving the goalposts. If they are actually "cures" for anything, then that will show up in a trial. Period. End of story. To think otherwise is nothing more than irrational "magical thinking".

Comment: Placebos are NOT the "gold standard" (Score 5, Insightful) 447

by sirwired (#49245789) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Double-blind randomized clinical trials are the "gold standard" for medical research, not necessarily placebos.

Sometimes the control in such a study is indeed a placebo. This is the case for which there is no treatment of overwhelming effectiveness and/or ones amenable to psychosomatic healing, like psychiatric illnesses or some forms of pain.

But for many other conditions, you could bring up a research up on criminal charges for using a placebo instead of the current standard treatment. We'd never do such a thing in, say, a study for curable cancers, diabetes, blood pressure, serious infections, heart attacks, or even a birth control pill.

In a study for a drug to treat, say, Type I diabetes, we'd NEVER use a placebo. The control group in such a study would be Insulin, since no treatment at all would be swiftly fatal.

Comment: It's not a "complex moral argument" at all (Score 5, Insightful) 447

by sirwired (#49245731) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

If Homeopathy confined itself to conditions that are not curable with medicine, are medically harmless, or amenable to the placebo effect, you might have a point of simply letting people indulge themselves.

But Homeopaths allege they can "treat" all sorts of harmful (and sometimes deadly) diseases for which we DO have rather effective medical interventions. (Cancer, diabetes, malaria (that was one of the first homeopathic "remedies" when even at the time we had an effective drug to treat it), influenza, manic-depression, hypertension, etc.)

If somebody eschews an effective remedy because they believe that homeopathy "cured" them of some inconsequential thing, then it does real harm to that patient.

It's not a "complex moral argument" at all here.

Comment: Enough with the "well, it's an effective placebo" (Score 1) 447

by sirwired (#49245693) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Selling a "convincing" placebo to people might be a good idea if homeopathy confined itself to "treating" harmless conditions. But Homeopaths think they can treat real diseases for which we have medical treatments of known effectiveness.

Homeopaths think they can treat cancer, diabetes, hypertension, arrhythmia, allergies, viral illnesses of all sorts (from the common cold, to influenza and ebola), gout, parasites, etc.

If people believe that their homeopathic remedy "cured" them of insomnia, they might turn to it for a condition for which not doing something that actually works might be crippling or fatal. One of the first homeopathic "remedies" was for malaria, which can be quite fatal if you don't take ACTUAL drugs to treat it. (It's ironic because the a$$clown came up with this at the time when we actually HAD an effective treatment for malaria, so he killed some of his first patients with this "medicine". OTOH, he did, undoubtedly, "save" others, since many of the drugs he was replacing had things like arsenic and mercury in them.)

Comment: In the real world, it's not a hurdle (Score 3, Informative) 292

by sirwired (#49216607) Attached to: Do Tech Companies Ask For Way Too Much From Job Candidates?

If you think you are going to find a job by replying to specific job postings on a jobs board (an internal company board, a site like Monster or Dice, whatever), you are probably wrong.

A very large chunk of tech jobs are filled through referrals (a.k.a. "Networking") most of the rest are filled by companies trolling career sites, (and LinkedIn is huge here.) A vanishingly small number are filled by looking through resumes submitted to public postings.

I know that I was referred to the job I have now (from one division of my company to another.) The only person that could have possibly fit the qualifications the official posting called for was somebody that had already been doing the job for about five years. I was explicitly instructed to simply check all the "skills" boxes saying I was able to do all those things, and then submit an accurate resume with my real experience. Even though I didn't actually have any experience in this specific position, I not only got the job, I got a promotion into the top salary band for the position (it had a range of my current band and the next one up.)

Is this a good system? It depends... decent referrals will certainly be a better source of adequate candidates. I guess the public postings are structured to get only somebody highly likely to work out to submit (okay, that and pathetic liars.)

Comment: The Tax ID was still illegal (Score 1) 734

by sirwired (#49200239) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

It's quite true that you didn't need an SSN to be a claimed kid until the mid-80's. (I didn't have an SSN until I was eight.) But the GP said that his boss's parents DID get a "Tax ID" for the boss, which has never been available to citizens.

Interestingly, you don't have to have an SSN to get a Passport (the application form explicitly states this). I have no idea if the State Dept. relays lists of citizens that don't have an SSN to the IRS so they can be on the watch for foreign income.

Comment: You apparently have a short memory (Score 1) 300

by sirwired (#49198639) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

Think waaaaayyyyy back...

IE6 was a badly-written, compatibility-breaking, resource-hogging, security-bug written pile of fetid garbage that MS had pretty much stopped developing entirely. Firefox became popular to fight against that scourge. While subsequent versions of IE (when they finally came out) were not entirely great, they represented a significant step forward that realized what made Firefox so popular.

If IE 7 had been out at the time Firefox was released, I doubt Firefox ever would have become particularly popular. And the version of IE in the works discards MS's sordid standards-breaking legacy entirely, and will be no more broken, standards-wise than the other major browsers.

All I have to say about the memory leaks is that Chrome has never "locked" my hard drive light on for several minutes upon closing it to clean up the multiple GB of memory it decided to consume. The one-process-per-tab architecture of Chrome has real advantages, the biggest being when a tab leaks like a sieve (and this doesn't happen very often), you don't have to close every browser instance to clean it up.

Comment: Is this such a bad thing? March of progress... (Score 2) 300

by sirwired (#49196065) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

Firefox rose to prominence when the market desperately needed an alternative to the execrable Internet Explorer. Well, it worked. Firefox broke IE's stranglehold on the browser market, and now Chrome and Safari have kept it beat down. (And IE is now a pretty decent browser that is no longer a festering nest of standards-breaking crapola.)

Keeping a browser up to date and holding pace with the feature race is difficult and expensive. It's not surprising that Firefox has fallen behind while the commercial efforts keep steaming forward.

(Speaking for myself, I was a die-hard Firefox user for years, but switched to Chrome when Firefox's memory leaks kept getting worse and worse... with Chrome, I can "kill" a resource-hogging tab without killing my whole browser. I know what Google "charges" for Chrome (privacy) and it's a price I'm willing to pay.)

I'm grateful for what Firefox accomplished, but that doesn't mean we need it any more. (And there's no reason to think that should an open browser be needed again, one can't appear.)

Comment: No-SSN is not "get out of taxes free" (Score 1) 734

by sirwired (#49192569) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Not ever obtaining an SSN does not magically exempt you from taxation. The laws regarding citizens leaving abroad universally refer to citizens, not "citizens with an SSN".

The ITIN is only supposed to be obtained by resident or non-resident aliens who cannot obtain an SSN; citizens are never eligible for one, so his parents would have had to lie on that paperwork.

Comment: There are a bunch of consequences for not doing it (Score 4, Informative) 734

by sirwired (#49192493) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

If you fail to register for the draft, you are ineligible for any sort of educational federal financial aid (should you choose to take advantage of it), and you will have great difficulty ever obtaining federal employment in many different agencies (if that's something you'd like to do.)

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.