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Comment: Strawman arguments over infection (Score 1) 179

Any day of the week, I'll take an H1N1 injection over an Ebola injection because, Ebola is vastly more capable of causing death.

That my friend is a strawman argument. Of course you would rather take your chances with influenza over ebola if you were certain to be infected with one or the other but that scenario is absurd. You aren't certain to be infected with either one and the odds of infection are VASTLY different between the two. Unless you actually live in West Africa you should be FAR more concerned about the disease with a small mortality rate that infects huge populations than the disease with a 50%+ mortality rate that infects virtually no one. The current Ebola outbreak has affected approximately 0.0001% of the world's population.

Comment: Worrying about the wrong things (Score 1) 179

1) The fact that other H1N1 strains have killed millions of people has little bearing on how lethal the particular, modern-day H1N1 strain they were referring to happens to be

H1N1 family viruses are constantly mutating and there is more than one. The notion that I should be more worried about ebola than H1N1 is frankly absurd because the odds of me contracting ebola is almost nil.

you realize that the particular H1N1 strain they're talking about in this thread (the 2009 strain) wasn't actually that lethal in comparison to Ebola.

Perhaps I'm not being clear. I don't really care much about a disease with 50%-80% mortality rates when the chance of infection is almost zero. I care a lot of about a disease with 1% mortality rates when the chance of infection is quite substantial.

2) You're clearly confused about what "lethal" means.

I'm not confused at all. I'm merely point out that people are panicking over the scary but very very unlikely disease when they really should worry about the less scary but far more likely one. If you happen to be in West Africa then by all means exercise appropriate caution. Otherwise it's absurd to get very worked up about it.

Pointing out that the Spanish Flu was indiscriminate in whom it killed in no way takes away from his claim that the 2009 H1N1 strain's deaths were primarily those who "were already ill or had other issues."

He cherry picked a bit of data to support his conclusion. The situation is more complicated than "50%+ mortality rates = OMG".

Comment: Don't be scared of what won't (probably) happen (Score 1) 179

Tens of millions of people get the flu (of many variants) each year, and many thousands die from it - but in general it is mostly the very young or elderly who don't have the immune systems to fight it off

That depends on what strain of H1N1 you are talking about. It's not a single virus and at times it has mutated into strains that are much more lethal. The pandemic in 1918 was notable in part because it tended to affect young healthy people. Epidemiologist don't worry about ebola too much. They worry a lot about pandemic influenza or Vancomycin resistant staph-aureus or any number of other diseases that are much tougher to contain.

The flu kills a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of those who contract it...

But it infects FAR more people. 1% of a very big number is a bigger deal than 50% of a very small number. The chances of you or I contracting ebola is a good approximation of zero. The chances of your or I contracting some strain of influenza is actually quite high. Worrying about ebola is kind of like worrying about a shark attack. Scary but absurdly unlikely to actually occur.

Comment: Risk = Consequences X Likelihood X Prob of Detect (Score 1) 179

Saying that something is more lethal doesn't mean the same as saying it kills more people.

It's pretty clueless to worry only about lethality without considering the likelihood of transmission. Of course ebola is scary if you contract it or have a significant risk of contracting it. But frankly being worried about ebola is kind of like being worried about a shark attack. Scary as hell and you'll probably die if it happens but not something you should worry about much because the odds are so absurdly low.

between April 2009 and April 2010 there were 61M cases of H1N1 resulting in 12.5K deaths. WHO says that, so far, there are 7192 cases of EBOV in the West African outbreak, and 3286 deaths.

Unless you were actually in West Africa your chances of contracting ebola were and remain close to nil whereas your chances of contracting H1N1 were and are FAR higher no matter where you live. Risk = Consequences X Likelihood X Detectibility . Ebola has high consequences, very low likelihood (hard to transmit) and fairly high detectibility. H1N1 is more variable on the consequences though generally lower mortality rates but has much higher likelihood because it is more easily communicable and H1N1 has worse detectibility prior to infection. Occasionally strains of H1N1 mutate into something very deadly that can kill millions of people. There are strains of H1N1 that have infected virtually the entire global population and it does not always just kill the old and the infirm.

Comment: Do some research first please? (Score 1, Informative) 179

Maybe blown out of proportion but Ebola is far more lethal virus than H1N1.

Variants of H1N1 have killed tens of millions of people. You should probably spend 30 seconds researching the issue before spouting off nonsense publicly.

Also, deaths were mostly people who were ill already or had other issues.

Again, demonstrably not true in previous H1N1 pandemics.

Comment: Influenza is a serious risk (Score 1) 179

Amazing how the government freaked out over H1N1 years ago and simply nothing happened. Yet, a real virus is on the move and "everything is a-ok" is the word from everyone.

H1N1 is a "real virus" which has variants that have killed millions of people. Influenza has killed and has the potential to kill FAR more people than ebola is ever likely to. Read up on influenza pandemics of the past.

The current ebola outbreak is a serious issue but it isn't what keeps epidemiologists awake at night.

Comment: Re:Give it a few weeks (Score 1) 863

by sjbe (#48046439) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

So what's with all these people estimating weeks to learn such things?

Because for many people that's what it takes. If you've got 60 years in one measurement system, it's probably going to take you a little longer to adjust.

when I took my first trip to the UK, and people talked about the weeks it'd take to learn to drive on the left side of the road. I found that, by the time I'd got a few blocks from the airport, maybe 5 minutes, I'd already stopped consciously thinking about it, and just drove like the others around me.

Well good for you. However as others have pointed out previously, the plural of anecdote is not data. Some people take a little longer. Cut them some slack.

The only real difficulty I've found with such things is learning the words in a different language.

And some people pick that up quite easily. (I'm not one of them) We're all a little different. If you pick things up faster than others then good for you but be patient with others who take a little longer.

Comment: "Responsible" use of heroin? (Score 1) 255

by sjbe (#48046403) Attached to: Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

And because you don't see it (possibly because the responsible users have been driven underground alike with the irresponsible ones, but the irresponsible ones are the ones who act out, and thus are seen) it doesn't exist!

Are you done with the empty rhetorical arguments yet? You know damn well what I meant by "I see no reason" or if you don't you need to go figure that out first. If you want to make an argument backed up by something then by all means enlighten us with your brilliance since you seem to think you have this problem solved.

I'm puzzled what you think "responsible" use of heroin might look like. Bizarre notion you have there. That said, responsible or irresponsible, underground or not, you haven't given me a single reason why we as a society should condone the use of dangerous drugs like heroin or legalize their use.

And it should be drawn before alcohol, by gum! It's the devil's spirit!

Boy that's a convincing argument. I guess you aren't done with the content free rhetorical arguments.

I don't have a problem with adults drinking or smoking (tobacco or pot) provided they do so without endangering others or causing problems for society. I think that any costs of the health problems caused by those products should be borne entirely by the person who used them. If that means you get shitty health care because you chose to smoke tobacco then that is your problem because it is 100% in your control. Got a bad liver because you drank too much? Tough shit on getting a transplant. If you want to use drugs recreationally then the costs of that are on you. If you decide to use a particularly dangerous drug like heroin then there should be consequences for that. I think throwing drug users in jail is stupid but there are plenty of other societal consequences we can utilize.

Comment: Not just relabeling (Score 1) 863

by sjbe (#48045503) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

If you have a screw with a 1 inch head you use a 1 inch tool to manage it.
No one is going to ask you to call that screw a 26.xx mm screw, now will the tool be renamed.

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about simply relabeling drawings to be metric. It would be pointless to simply label things differently. I'm talking about actually designing the products using existing metric standards going forward. Instead of using a 1/4" screw you use a 6mm (M6) screw when you design the product. Lengths are specified in drawings in metric. Wire gauges are mm^2 instead of AWG. Etc. The goal is to get to one set of measurements, one set of tools. Not one set of measurements with two sets of tools.

Comment: Key parts of supply chain (Score 1) 863

by sjbe (#48045413) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Probably the best way to make it happen is for the government to provide some tax benefits to companies willing to do the conversion, and allow the transition to occur a bit more naturally over time.

I think the best way for it to happen is for certain key parts of industry to demand the conversion. Let's say hypothetically that Ford, GM, Chrysler, Boeing and Caterpillar all demanded that their supply chains convert to metric. Doesn't have to be all at once but over the course of some years. All drawings, fasteners, etc has to meet a global standard. Heck, make it a part of ISO9000 or TS16949. That would force wide swaths of industry to convert whether they like it or not.

The government is already doing this to a significant degree. Suppliers to the military and government can and should require metric. However they should take it to the next level. Require all packaging of food products to be in metric units. Start by requiring the metric unit to be prominent and then slowly phase out the US Customary units over time.

The tough one will be the construction industry. They are soooo ingrained to non-metric measurements that getting them to switch is going to be a bear because there is no single company or group aside from the government that can mandate the change.

Comment: Re:Drug charges (Score 1) 255

by sjbe (#48039895) Attached to: Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

All the evidence shows that this is nonsense, that you always cause more problems than you solve because you drive addiction underground and people wind up taking drugs of varying quality because of their illegal nature.

"Cause more problems than you solve"? I don't think so - not for the more serious drugs like morphine, cocaine and the like. If we freely permitted use of some of the more problematic drugs then things would not be better than they are. Heroin is not the same thing as alcohol and should not be treated the same way. Same with many other drugs. There are some things we just cannot condone as a society even if doing so is costly. Are you seriously arguing that we should be ok with people addicted to illegal narcotics? I think it is a waste of resources to incarcerate adults for drug use unless they cause some other problem in the process. But that doesn't mean they should be legal to possess or that we should allow companies to sell addiction as a recreational product. It's bad enough with the cigarette companies - I can only imagine the problems that would arise if we allowed corporate interests to sell heroin for recreational use.

If prohibition prevented use, you would have a point.

Prohibition does prevent a lot of use. Nobody's arguing that the prohibitions cannot be circumvented. To use an analogy, security against shoplifters doesn't eliminate shoplifting but it does help keep it from getting out of control. It keeps honest people honest so to speak. If someone really wants to use heroin then they will probably find a way but that doesn't mean we should make it easy or condone its recreational use. And we certainly should not have private companies selling morphine for recreational use.

Don't get me wrong, I have NO problem with responsible recreational use by adults of alcohol or other mild chemical substances like marijuana. If someone wants to get a little tipsy now and then and they do it in such a way that it doesn't hurt anyone then that is fine. (I also have no problem with companies refusing to hire people who use these chemicals for recreation.) But I see no way to allow certain substances to be used for recreational purposes. We can argue about exactly where that line should be drawn but there is and should be a line.

Comment: Drug charges (Score 1) 255

by sjbe (#48038545) Attached to: Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

Because all drug charges are BS, except perhaps for driving under the influence.

This is way off topic but...

Tell that to the people whose lives they affect. Would you like a doctor who operates on you while high? Perhaps you think someone showing up to work while high is not a serious matter? Some drug charges are BS (like most relating to marijuana) but many are quite serious matters.

We restrict access to certain drugs for (mostly) very good reasons. If someone wants to live away from society where their actions cannot affect anyone else then by all means they can use whatever drugs make them happy and none of us will care much. But when actions start to have negative consequences for others then we have a problem and it's hard for certain drugs to not negatively affect others. If you can explain to me the upside to society of someone having a cocaine or heroin addiction then I'll concede the point.

Comment: Vipers can turn just fine (Score 1) 255

by sjbe (#48038075) Attached to: Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

Vipers are straight line cars. They utterly suck in corners. so on public roads you cant go fast unless it's the desert or open Freeway.

I'm guessing you've never driven one. I have one sitting 30 feet from me as I type this. One of the partners in my company has one he bought this January and I've driven it. They can turn just fine. Are there cars that are better in the corners? Sure. But the Viper is quite capable I assure you - well beyond most people's driving ability including my own. What the Viper is not is refined. The Viper is a sledgehammer - not a precision instrument. They don't carve the corners like a Lotus. But they are NOT just straight line muscle cars. Anyone who tells you they are hasn't been behind the wheel of one.

Comment: The WRX is not expensive (Score 1) 255

by sjbe (#48038011) Attached to: Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

The WRX is not an inexpensive car...

On a price/performance basis it is incredibly cheap among new cars. You can have a new 2015 WRX for MRSP $26,295 and you'll probably pay less than that. And unlike the US muscle cars in the same price range it can actually turn and be driven in sloppy conditions. It's not the prettiest car out there but value/speed for money it is hard to beat.

Comment: You must be an engineer (Score 1) 863

by sjbe (#48037813) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

In general, trying to follow a US recipe that needs some level of accuracy is basically impossible.

That is so not true that I think you are trolling. If not you must be an engineer because you are worrying about levels of precision that simply rarely matter. It's not even remotely difficult to follow a US recipe unless you are wildly incompetent. Few recipes require highly precise measurement and the recipes that do need a high level of accuracy are written to reflect that fact. Professional bakers and competent cooks/chefs know when to use weight versus volume and they know when it doesn't actually matter. Experienced cooks often don't even need to measure. My grandmother can whip up all sorts of fantastic baked goods without measuring a thing because she has decades of experience and knows what the dough is supposed to look like. Professional chefs like Bobby Flay rarely measure anything. Watch a few episodes of Iron Chef and tell me how many measuring cups you see. It won't be many I assure you.

If you're trying to bake bread, you'd better have a metric recipe, or you're screwed.

Is that so? Then explain mister smarty pants how we somehow manage to bake huge amounts of very yummy bread despite the lack of this supposedly vital metric system.

Hell I'm even a huge proponent of switching to metric and I think your argument is complete nonsense. There are a few places in cooking were high precision is necessary (baking mostly) and NONE of them require metric measurements. US Customary units work just fine. You can argue against using Imperial/US Customary and I'll be right there with you. But your claim that it is impossible to follow a US recipe tells us about your competence as a cook but nothing about the relative merits of metric vs imperial measurements.

What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.