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Comment: Re:Meh.... Here's the thing ..... (Score 1) 136

by Rich0 (#48270697) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

And I imagine they want planes filled both ways to maximize efficiency, revenue, profit, etc.

This is my problem with this whole issue. We're trying to save a buck when it comes down to it. Nobody wants to pay to properly quarantine and support people who have been exposed. Nobody wants there to be a drop in airline revenue, or trade.

It really seems like the #1 thing governments are afraid of is that people will stop going to the mall. That is not really the worst possible outcome here.

Everybody wants to save a few millions dollars by not treating problems like this at the source by applying "overwhelming force." However, if things spiral out of control then we'll all end up spending 10s to 100s of billions of dollars dealing with the resulting mess. This is the US healthcare system in a nutshell - we'll spend $50k on a hospital trying to deal with some acute medical problem suffered by a homeless person, but we won't give him a $1k/yr place to live where he wouldn't develop the problem in the first place because that would just be rewarding laziness or something.

Comment: Re:This is related (Score 1) 136

by Rich0 (#48269223) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

I don't debate that if she is asymptomatic then she probably isn't actively spreading the disease. The problem is that we don't have a lot of data around just what the risks are in the time between somebody starts actively spreading the disease and the time symptoms are first DETECTED (you can't take action prior to detection unless you quarantine pre-emptively). Note that I do not intend to imply an ordering of those two events, and as far as I'm aware there is no hard scientific data supporting that either happens exclusively before the other.

IF there is always no risk of infection prior to the first detection of symptoms then that would make a good case for not doing pre-emptive quarantines. However, we're talking about a very serious problem and it seems rather risky to just try being less careful and see how it goes.

Comment: Re:This is related (Score 2) 136

by Rich0 (#48269155) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

If you can't even quarantine a single person, how's that going to work when you get hundreds, thousands and millions of people infected?

We're better off staying inside our basements.

That is exactly what people are going to do if this gets out of hand. Right now it isn't widespread enough for people to worry about actually getting it. However, if you get to the point where you start having dozens or hundreds of infections in many cities, you'll see everybody go into all-out zombie apocalypse mode.

I just don't get why we're being so lackadaisical about this. We have very few people at risk for spreading Ebola right now. Just pull out all the stops to contain things, and then we don't have to deal with doomsday scenarios. Just quarantine anybody travelling from West Africa, and bill the costs to the airline to be passed along to the ticket-holders. Governments certify that food shipments are BSE-free all the time - they could just as easily certify that travellers are West-Africa free, and if they don't then their air travel will resemble their meat exports.

Comment: Re:Summary doesn't support headline (Score 1) 293

by dgatwood (#48267491) Attached to: We Are All Confident Idiots

But thinking you can "take the time to learn" about areas in which we do not have the confidence/knowledge is a delusion. The totality of knowledge is vast*. I know nothing about music, and as a teen I decided it could stay that way (having seen how music can eat up some people's lives). You will never see me express an opinion about music.

By contrast, I spent a significant chunk of my life in musical ensembles, and now routinely make snarky comments on Facebook about judging musical works based on the average number of measures per serious error made by the composer (or for sacred choral music, vice-versa, horrifyingly), interspersed with comments about XML parsers, obscure bits of the EPUB specification, and USB device quirks. But I digress.

I think we're actually pretty much in agreement here. I'm not saying that I think I could feasibly have enough knowledge to have an answer for everything, but rather that if I feel the need to have an opinion on something, I'll learn enough to not come out looking like a complete idiot. And I'll be reasonably confident that I'm right because I learned enough to form an opinion based on actual facts, with references to back those opinions up. I might still be proven wrong if I overlooked some subtlety, but I'll be right way more often than not. Much like you, if I don't know enough to state something with... let's say 90% confidence or better, I generally won't say anything at all, or at best, will express it in a way that makes it clear that I'm not confident about it, and that I'd like folks to discuss it openly.

Of course, this occasionally leads me down a rabbit hole, where I'm curious enough to form an opinion about something, and end up burning hours doing research, digging into statistics, etc., only to conclude that it really wasn't as interesting as it initially seemed, but that's the price of critical thinking, I suppose.

Comment: This is why (Score 2) 354

by SuperKendall (#48267443) Attached to: Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

Crop yields are expected to decline because plants need more water as the temperature goes up:

We already know from historical records agriculture was better with the climate a few degrees warmer overall - also a warmer climate increases ocean evaporation, leading (as it has) to more rain in many areas.

If you are thinking regionally instead of globally, like say California, that is simply reverting to historical norms after a decade or two of above average precipitation - plus of course really badly managed water rights that hate agriculture.

As for your link, good luck with the magical thinking.

Comment: Why not the Golden Age? (Score 4, Interesting) 354

by SuperKendall (#48266829) Attached to: Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

What gets me is the mild warming we are obviously going to be experiencing (since large CO2 increase have not shown not to correlate to rapid temperature increases as previously thought) is going to bring an overall boon to the planet, just as it did in ages past - a wider range of arable land.

Sure some land will change for the worse, but overall as a species we will be better off - and the rate the climate is changing allows for plenty of time for people, plants and animals to adapt.

Comment: Re:People are the problem (Score 2) 76

by Rich0 (#48266439) Attached to: "Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland

Yeah, they REALLY need to improve the liability laws around things like this. AEDs are designed to be applicable by untrained users, and tests have shown that people generally are able to use them correctly by following only the verbal prompts.

I checked an in the state where I live you're only protected from liability if you hold a current certificate stating that you're trained in the specific procedure you performed (typically CPR+AED). These certificates often cost $40 and last only a year, so most people aren't going to have them. That is just ridiculous - you should not be liable if you make any good faith effort to save a life.

CPR guidelines generally recognize that even improperly-administered CPR is far preferable to not administering CPR. If the person is unresponsive then CPR should be administered. Modern AHA guidelines instruct non-professionals to not even check for a pulse now - you are only supposed to look for signs of breathing. Even medical professionals are only supposed to check briefly for a pulse before assuming one is not present, since pulses are easy for even professionals to miss. The rationale is that far more people are harmed by a delay in starting CPR than from performing it unnecessarily. Certificates should be even less necessary for an AED - they're designed to diagnose the condition and they will not issue a shock unless an abnormal heart rhythm that is treatable is detected. In theory you can attach one to a healthy person at any time and it won't do anything.

Comment: Re:People are the problem (Score 4, Informative) 76

by Rich0 (#48266367) Attached to: "Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland

Mythybusters proved that is only a problem in unusual and unlikely circumstances so any man that does that deserves to be labeled a sex offender. Their kind just goes around looking for reasons to take off our clothes. The AED excuse is not a valid one.

The AED instructions (written in the manual and spoken by the machine upon activation) almost always state to remove clothing. Non-professions would almost certainly be covered by a good samaritan law (heck, you're covered if you accidentally kill them, let alone expose them in public). Professionals who disregard the instructions given by the device might even be liable for malpractice. The instructions given by the device are approved by the FDA, and the device is only certified to be effective if used in accordance with instructions.

Sure, the bra might not cause sparks, but you're supposed to do things by the book. The AED is not programmed to argue with an operator - the instructions are streamlined for emergency use and if there is some reason the model might be less effective with a bra on the instructions will not say so - they're just written as if they will be followed.

It has been a long time since I saw that Mythbusters episode and I was not very familiar with AED operation at the time, but something that occurred to me subsequently is that they probably didn't test the diagnostics capability of the AED. If the presence of a wire near the sensors interferes with the diagnostics in the device it may make an incorrect treatment decision, either failing to shock somebody who should be shocked, or delivering a shock to somebody who should not receive one. Either is potentially a life-threatening error. It would not really be possible to test this without proper equipment/etc, since you need to simulate the heart/chest/skin/etc electrically to do it.

In any case, anybody reputable who would testify in court is going to say that the primary consideration should be to take any measure that will maximize the likelihood of saving the patient's life, and that is going to include removing clothing. Why take a chance over something as silly as modesty? If you show up in a hospital trauma OR the first thing they're going to do is chop every stitch of clothing off of you, and for good reason.

Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.