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Comment: Re: Routing around (Score 1) 192 192

Maybe losing a wheel. I'm sure you've seen videos (seems like they're always Russian) of some car driving down the road with one wheel missing. You can route around that kind of damage by balancing cargo to unload the missing wheel. Once you've lost 2 wheels on a 4 wheel car, no amount of routing is going to get you running again.

Comment: Re:plastic is for junk (Score 2) 266 266

and they are researching into making 3d printing CHEAPER than injection molding, and they are already getting pretty darn close!

That will never happen for any kind of quantity because of the time required to melt and freeze (or UV activate or whatever other technology) the printed part. It's easy to get an injection molder to produce 1000 parts/hour. This is the point: 3D printing is great if you need a small run of a unique shape, or if you can't adopt a commodity shape. Or if the shape you want is no longer being manufactured. That mostly means toys, art, and legacy repairs. If you're doing anything "real," meaning 1,000 or 100,000 pieces, you'll use a manufacturing process with higher start-up time and lower piece time.

Comment: Re:Demographics (Score 2) 256 256

I take the existence of this story to mean that Zuckerberg's campaign contributions aren't meeting Her Majesty's expectations.

Who is "her"? Hillary Clinton? She's not a current government official, has no actual power, is not even her party's nominee for an election that's still 16 months away, and you've already crowned her Queen? WTF is wrong with you?

The story author is Rupert Neate, a (male) British journalist covering US business and politics. Liberal, but without any obvious ties to any particular candidate.

The /. submission by theodp, a user almost as visible as BennetHaselton, though with less tendency to ramble, generally doing diversity-in-tech kinds of submissions. I don't know the gender, or whether it's "The ODP," like office depot, or "Theo DP," which would suggest a male.

So, I don't know who's the "her majesty" you're referring to, and you are almost certainly being too cynical

Comment: Re: what is interesting is not that it won (Score 1) 591 591

The intent of it however is clear, do you think the people who voted it in or the president who signed it thought that the subsidies were only suppose to be for the state exchanges, not the federal ones?

Honestly, I can see where the subsidies, which amount to the transfer of hundreds of millions of federal dollars into the state economies, could be seen as an enormous enticement for the states to set up their own exchanges. What rational state government, offered $300M+ per year, just for setting up an exchange, would refuse to do so?

Any state with a republican governor.

Comment: Re:"find a way to leverage existing faculty" (Score 1) 89 89

CMU is a research university. So every dollar they save is another than can be spent on research.

Research universities don't generally spend their own money on research. They recruit faculty who then find other agencies to pay for research.

Every hour that a professor saves by not regurgitating the exact same material that he taught last year, is another hour dedicated to research.

Likewise, every hour that Elton John spends rehashing the same songs he's been playing for thirty years is an hour he could dedicate to producing new music. I don't see anyone begging him to stop performing, though.

If you consider students to be faceless vessels waiting to be filled with information, then yes, teaching can be automated. Filling willing vessels with new facts and techniques can be accomplished by film strips with an enthusiastic narrator. In my experience, good teachers do much more than present information. They do more than synthesize the information in a digestible form. In my experience, good teachers form a two-directional rapport with students that is different with every student. I can't tell you the number of stories I've heard along the lines of "I always thought I hated [chemistry], until [Dr. Smith's] class: after that, I just got the bug and I expect to defend my PhD thesis next month." Good teachers are social workers as much as founts of information.

Video classes (which have been around for at least 40 years, by the way) are fine for self-motivated students. Those people probably need university only to provide focus or direction for their intrinsic search for knowledge. But 40 years of failed video classes, and 100 years of failed correspondence classes seem like pretty good evidence that you can't substitute direct human contact for knowledge transmission.

Comment: Re:High fat? (Score 2) 244 244

so in other words it's okay to put poisons in food as long as you pretend to list them on the label

Why do you care how I kill myself, as long as I'm making an informed decision?

The lifetime cost of diabetes is around $85,000, so I suppose you might argue that my poor diet raises your health insurance premiums. The lifetime cost of a single knee replacement is around $130,000, so I would counter that it is 3x more expensive to be an avid runner who wears out both his knees than to be a diabetic.

Comment: Re:Unhealthy food is tasty. Healthy food is boring (Score 1) 244 244

There's a well-known study on the effect of voluntary exercise on life expectancy. Just drop a running wheel in a rat cage, and see if they live longer. Turns out that young rats will run, literally, miles every day. They eventually get bored, or old, and stop running, but if you reduce their food intake by just 8%, they get back on the wheel and run.

To be a little hungry seems to stimulate activity and raise the mental state a bit. It may not be good for tasks that require sustained, focused attention, but that fidgety feeling you get before lunch can actually be directed.

Comment: Re:Local and small (Score 1) 268 268

What percentage of income do other people spend on directing support to charity?

10% is enshrined in the Christian Old Testament. Some Jews read this as a donation to a class of priest no longer in existence, but also acknowledge a 2.5% terumah or a general "as much as you are able." Some also seem to interpret these as necessarily paid in food and only by farmers. Islamic zakat is 2.5%.

In the US, private charitable giving (as declared on tax returns) averages $1200 per household, or about 1.7% (keeping in mind that mean is a terrible way to measure US economic data). These guys have much more complete data that suggests something like 2-4% being 'normal.' This is still a terrible measure, because bible-belt Southerners average close to 7%, while New Englanders average under 3% (source).

Comment: Re:Placebos (Score 1) 666 666

First of all a "No placebos do not work" statement is made, promptly followed by admitting the placebo effect is real. Make up your mind, if the placebo effect is real then by definition placebos do work.

The issue here is what does it mean for a treatment to "work?"

If you take twelve people with flu and give them no treatment for a week, twelve of them will get better: reduced fever, reduced pain measures, improved nasal airflow. Does this mean "No Treatment" works? If you just tell them every day that they look much better and air out their room, many of them will report higher scores on comprehensive well-being surveys and lower perceived discomfort within days. We should be careful about our language, and I think that means to distinguish between "have an effect" and "work."

Many interventions have effects - positive of negative - that are reproducible and quantifiable. Placebos, aroma therapy, life coaching... That doesn't mean the work.

An intervention "works" if it produces the effect in claims by the mechanism it claims. Western medicine mechanisms involve interactions among molecules. For example, insulin lowers blood sugar because it stimulates glucose uptake by muscle. You can measure each of those molecules; you can measure their interactions; they induce phenomena consistent with the health outcome.

Homeopathic treatments claimed mechanism is "like cures like," and that water memory of exposure to a toxin allows it to displace the miasm causing the actual distress. Miasms aren't directly measurable and don't produce consistent effects. "Memory" in water or alcohol of past exposure to dilute toxins has no measurable effect on the chemical or quantum states of the molecule. There is no way to determine whether a homeopathic treatment has the effect it claims by the mechanism it claims. There is no objective way to prove that it "works," but its claims are inconsistent with otherwise proven science and chemistry.

So far as I know, no one has a mechanism for placebos. It's a reproducible phenomenon in an incredibly complex system, and science has generally bees satisfied to describe it as "the placebo effect." Placebos don't "work," but they do have an effect.

Comment: Re:Bill Hadley is going to be disappointed (Score 5, Interesting) 233 233

Let me introduce you to Dale Akiki. Patently false accusations, including that he had sacrificed a giraffe in a church classroom during Sunday services, landed him in an extended court trial. He was eventually exonerated, but for a long stretch of the 1990s, everyone in San Diego knew he was a satanic pedophile.

Comment: Re: Whats wrong with US society (Score 1) 609 609

What mass shootings are you talking about the few that hit national news and are talked about over and over for decades, that one at the high school in Colorado happened 16 years ago?

You can't possibly think that Columbine is the only 'mass shooting' in the last two decades. Here's a helpful list of last year's multiple-victim shootings. There's 283 entries. Now, most of those are not "quiet white boy flips his lid and goes on shooting spree," but to just pretend that the number of shooting victims is inconseqential, or that there's nothing to be done about ubiquitous shootings is callous and mean.

According to the CDC influenza and pneumonia are a bigger killer than guns and nearly half of gun deaths are suicide.

Maybe you've seen the annual drive to get people to have flu shots in order to reduce the deaths by flu and pneumonia. What are we doing to reduce involuntary gun deaths? Police? They only show up after the fact.

Comment: Re: Whats wrong with US society (Score 1) 609 609

It's also why our poorest state is wealthier than the UK on a per capita basis.

Yet, strangely, our wealthiest states have shorter life expectancy and higher infant mortality than the UK. Canada, Norway and Australia rank higher for quality of life. US culture has decided that money is everything and has, accordingly, sacrificed everything on behalf of the dollar.

Comment: Re:London's fantastic... (Score 3, Funny) 410 410

By comparison, from my land in 25 minutes I drive past my neighbor's waterfall on the other side of my canyon, past the fjord, down between the mountains and the ocean and into town. You share a ride with little personal space with strangers in an underground tunnel.

Some of those strangers are interesting people. You can talk to a dozen different people, each with a unique perspective on the world, some of them quite insightful or funny, during lunch. And a completely different dozen on the way home from work.

I can understand why you'd enjoy some beautiful scenery and being 25 minutes from the next living soul, but it seems to me a little like the difference between reading "The Road to Character" and reading Slashdot.

"If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, _The Forbidden Tower_