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Comment Fear of Amazon, not CA (Score 1) 235

These guys aren't fleeing to Seattle because they fear the big-bad regulations of the People's Republic of California. They're fleeing out of fear of Amazon. Amazon's response to the sales tax proposal was to threaten to disown all of its affiliates in California, since the physical presence of affiliates was one of the justifications for asking them to collect sales tax. Amazon would rather stick a knife in the back of all of its partners, putting who knows how many people out of business, than collect a nickel of sales tax from its customers. They can't pull the same thing in Washington because it's hard to deny that giant former hospital on top of a hill with an Amazon logo already constitutes a physical presence.

They left San Francisco because the Bezos bear was gonna swat them out of spite, so they went to cuddle up next to it.

And this "startup" is two guys. Fine, maybe they'll make it big one day, sounds like they got plenty of capital. But it's still two guys. Why does the decision of a two-guy business rate a headline?

Comment Re:Too good credit rating anyway (Score 1) 1040

We never did pay off WWII debt, and we never will. Modest inflation and a growing economy make perpetual deficits and debt trivial, if they are reasonable. Yet our national economic policy is to minimize inflation at all costs, regardless of unemployment or a flat economy. So we now have near-deflation with near-zero long term nterest rates, yet horrific unemployment and an economy about to enter recession again. What's the problem with our debt again?

Comment Re:Mod parent up (Score 1) 198

We need to return to Clinton administration levels of spending, adjusted for inflation of course. We can't keep the Obushma empire going.

With you 100%, but it should be noted we're not that far off from Clinton levels of spending and will more or less reach it once we wind down our two land wars in Asia. We've cratered revenues, however. If we returned taxes to Clinton levels, we would have a small enough deficit that Republicans would be back to calling for tax cuts to prevent a surplus, instead of tax cuts for whatever reason they give now.

Comment Re:Easy enough (Score 1) 722

If we had more local control over our lives, your argument would carry much more weight. You could say, "If you hate government so much, move to Mississippi. Seriously." and you would know that the person you are talking to could truly move to Mississippi. Of course, if they are already in MS, you could tell them to keep their noses out of your state's business.

And that works not at all for the three things our federal government spends >75% of its budget on: defense, health care, and social security. Is Mississippi going disown protection from the US Army? Does it make the slightest bit of sense to have a "young whuppersnapper" state with no social security and an "old fart" state that everyone moves to when they're 65? This would make it impossible to have such programs at all (including an Army), or at best would make people a prisoner of whatever state they were lucky enough to be born in. Forget about the problem of Mississippi's toxic waste and air pollution flowing into the next state over.

Do you guys think these things through at all?

Comment Re:about time for the mini to get a REAL VIDEO CAR (Score 1) 453

and only 2GB in the $600 system? and $100.00 more to get 4 GB? better off paying $200 more to get a 4GB ram faster CPU and video card with it's own ram.

$150 to go from 500GB to 750GB? You can get a 3TB HDD for $150.

Ha! And so your innocent slip of the tongue exposes you for what you are, agent of K'breel and the Council of Elders! No human born on Earth could even feign surprise at Apple's exorbitant charges for spec upgrades.

You're here to intercept Curiousity, aren't you? Your mission will now be in vain!

Comment Re:Completely? (Score 1) 550

The only thing wrong with health care in the US is greedy doctors and hospitals that take advantage of the ignorance of the general public, and keep them that way by refusing to disclose information until forced to. Fixing those issues would truly lower costs of health care for everyone.

The technical term for "greedy doctors and hospitals" is fee for service system. The underlying problem is that doctors get paid for doing more, without respect to what's medically needed.

The solution is a system where all doctors are paid on salary and hospitals in lump sums, so they don't make any more or any less based on how much they do. The only motive is to provide good care, not to find ways to game the system and make more money. This is usually called socialized medicine and the VA is the best US example of it, providing better care (by objective measures) than any fee-for-service or for-profit company in the US for vastly lower costs.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all, not just veterans, had access to a socialized medicine system, where we can all get the care we need, no more and no less?

Comment Re:Switch to Sonic.net (Score 1) 537

I just switched to Sonic from AT&T DSL when we moved last week. I've fallen in love with Sonic and their Fusion service. This is where they use their own equipment at central offices and offer as much speed as you can get, up to 20Mbps, for a flat $40/mo. Highly recommended.

I didn't particularly have a problem with AT&T before, but when we decided to move less than a mile across the city I was told:
1. I couldn't keep my phone number
2. I had to buy a new DSL modem, even though mine was AT&T recommended and less than 6 months old
3. I had to switch to U-Verse, which meant paying more for less download speed

I understand the technical rationale behind some of this (we'd be served by a different central office that was exclusively U-Verse, which uses a different flavor of DSL, etc.) but it was a lot of shit to swallow in one gulp. And then I heard about the upcoming caps, too. We watch a lot of Netflix and would probably hit it regularly.

Sonic told me:
1. Sure, I can keep my old phone number
2. I can use my current modem
3. I'll get speeds at least as good as before for the same money
4. No speed limits (you get whatever your line can handle), no bandwidth caps
5. Free POTS phone service, just tossed in there

And it's been a pure pleasure to deal with them. Local human beings on tech support, who know what they're talking about, 7 days a week, never more than a minute on hold.

I love it. I wish the local infrastructure were better, so I could get better than 3.5/1 in the middle of San Francisco, but I love everything about Sonic so far. This is what telecom service is supposed to be like.

Comment Re:It's not the user's fault (Score 1) 248

A lot of doctor's offices are printing out pre-signed perscriptions on 8x11 instead of hand writing/signing on perscription pads whose paper has security features.

But for controlled substances, US pharmacies still require, and all doctors use, secure prescriptions with real signatures and a valid DEA identifier. When filled, the prescription is recorded in a national database referring to the patient, the doctor, and the pharmacy. Those printed 8.5x11 rx's are for stuff like blood pressure meds that no one really cares about, and can't be used for more interesting stuff. If you really want to forge a metoprolol script and sell the extra on a street corner, go ahead.

I am modestly surprised that there isn't a bigger black market for the more expensive (but non-controlled) prescription drugs, but I guess it's easier to get them from Canada than risk a dealer.

Comment Re:It could be that... (Score 1) 506

They did that. From the press release:

Approximately half of the participants were non/low caffeine consumers and the other half were medium/high caffeine consumers. All were asked to rate their personal levels of anxiety, alertness and headache before and after being given either the caffeine or the placebo. They were also asked to carry out a series of computer tasks to test for their levels of memory, attentiveness and vigilance.

They did, but they didn't report it in this paper. Here, they only reported the self-reported scale of alertness, and as the GP poster described it's entirely possible that caffeine drinkers have a higher expected alertness level. We'll have to wait for the sister paper to see what the objective tests show.

Common thing in science, collect all your data at once but report different "stories" in different papers. This story was actually about how certain SNPs in a particular gene might affect how caffeine induced anxiety. Maybe the other paper is going have a story that focuses on how that gene affects the cognitive aspects of caffeine use.

Comment Re:Security through obscurity? (Score 1) 1015

3) We rarely spot fairly large mile-plus asteroids before they actually pass us. What makes you think we could spot even MASSIVE spacecraft with any warning?

If they're planning to stop, instead of just pass through/into us, then they would need to decelerate as much as they accelerated to begin with. The exhaust will be pointed at us, and we should be able to see it either a long way off (if they're going slowly) or a REALLY long way off (if they're going fast). So long as their drives obey the laws of thermodynamics as we understand them, we should be able to see them coming.

Comment Re:Pro / cons (Score 1) 2424

What alternate freaking universe are you from? Sounds like a nice place.

The Republican conservatives believe that no taxpayer money should be funding abortions.

Ah, the one thing our universes have in common. Women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, appropriately inferior and subservient. My head would explode if any universe contained Republicans who felt otherwise.

They also think that the principle reason that healthcare doesn't work in this country is because the cost of health care is too high.

Liberal fascists want to cut Medicare! Death panels! Rationing!

They believe this is due to too many people trying to get a "free pass" by not having insurance.

Liberal fascists want to unconstitutionally force people to pay for insurance! Mandate! Fascism! Or Communism! One or the other. Did any Republican in your universe really demand a mandate?

It's also due, they think, to a serious problem with "impulse" lawsuits which force doctors to buy an incredibly high amount of malpractice insurance.

OK, one more thing in common, Republicans in your universe have a similarly inane and objectively insane view of how much lawsuits add to the cost of health care.

The Republicans also think that there are way too many procedures, both surgical (angioplasty vs. TPA for heart problems) and diagnostic (too often a large, extremely expensive test is conducted for no good reason).

Rationing! Death panels! Liberal fascists want to kill grandma and Sarah Palin's kid! Look at how England kills anyone who's not 6 feet tall and strappingly healthy! Fascist Communists coming between you and your doctor!

Finally, the Republicans think there is no such thing as a single bill that will fix this. What is required is a gradual, step-by-step series of bills, to be written and implemented over a series of years, to ease us into a new era of health care.

Ah, in your universe Republicans will build upon the series of stepwise sensible reform bills they enacted during the years when they had control of all three branches of government. Like when they offered a Medicare prescription drug plan that would lower overall costs by providing national negotiation with drug companies, while reducing the deficit by paying for the program with other spending cuts and new taxes. Sure. Nice place, that universe. Or they offered their series of sensible stepwise reform bills as a proposal during the year-and-a-fucking-half the entire Congress was masturbating over health care reform. Right. Heard a lot about that in this universe.

In our universe the national Republican party is batshit crazy, and has wed itself to the ideal of allowing absolutely nothing to happen, ever, by calling anything that anyone suggests a Fascist Communist plot, even if it was their idea to begin with (as most of the HCR bill was. Romneycare, anyone?). That's gonna work out real well for them, forget about how it works out for the American people. If you seriously think "BOTH sides make VERY good points" you are also batshit insane. Too bad your health insurance company probably doesn't cover Psychiatric care.

Comment Re:Thanks for the TRUTH (Score 1) 2044

The USPS is in debt up to its eyeballs because electronic documents are causing a drop in volume. FedEx and USPS have adjusted their rates , fleets and staffing to accommodate this drop. The USPS is less nimble because it faces restrictions imposed by the government (what kind of business it can do, what rates it can charge, etc.). If we ran healthcare like this, you can bet it would have the exact same problem.

I really like the USPS vs FedEx analogy. It illustrates the fundamental difference between private industry and the government, and applies perfectly to heath care.

The USPS is required by law to provide a service to the people of the US. FedEx is required by its stockholders to make the largest possible profit. USPS has to provide affordable rates for tiny packages picked up at any address anywhere in the US (or overseas for APO addresses) and deliver it to any other address anywhere else in the US. FedEx does no such thing, or at least can charge whatever it actually costs to do so. Try to have FedEx pick up a one-page letter from your house and deliver it somewhere 2000 miles away. How much does that cost? A hell of a lot more than 44 cents. FedEx is better at delivering a package as fast as humanly possible, as certain as humanly possible. But which service to most people need most often?

USPS is single-payer healthcare (imagine affordable primary care instead of letter delivery) while FedEx is a private insurance company (lots of elective cardiac caths and hip replacements). One will provide better services to most people, the other will do certain profitable things well and make a lot of money doing it. Maybe we need both to give everyone the best possible health care. But right now unless you're over 65 or a veteran we live in a country without a postal service, where FedEx charges us $50 to send a birthday card to Grandma, and where they cancel delivery service altogether if you subscribe to too many magazines.

Comment Re:Dear FSF (Score 1) 1634

To my surprise, one of the most important functions I wanted in a book reader was not there -- I could not import my own documents.

There are a few apps for that. I like MobileStudio. It lets you upload arbitrary files to the iPhone/Pod via FTP, and can view PDFs, Word and iWork docs (among others). I use it for viewing PDFs of scientific papers on the go, works awesome.

Comment Re:Free sppech? (Score 3, Interesting) 1070

You cannot tax a corporation. Increased tax burdens just trickle down to reduced wages for low level employees and increased prices. I'm not sure why that is so hard for people to get.

You cannot tax me. Increased tax burdens just trickle down to less disposable income to spend on cars and cable tv and smaller tips for low level employees like delivery boys and waitstaff. I'm not sure why that is so hard for corporations to get.

Comment Re:The extrapolation for lung cancer is badly flaw (Score 1) 235

That's a pack a day for 47 years, which is admittedly within the bounds of possibility, but still an awful lot of smoking.

Never worked in a VA hospital, eh? :) You measure smoking history in "pack-years" (actually packs/day * years). 47 is pretty unremarkable. It's not until you hit triple digits that it seems extraordinary.

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