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Comment BF Skinner (Score 1) 46

This is a pretty vacuous vox pop study that doesn't really tell me anything I didn't know.

The problem with this approach goes back to BF Skinner and his teaching machines in the 1950s. Essentially it is that all the interaction has to be scripted, and if you think about even the large free roaming games like GTA, all the key interactions are pre-determined.
The problem with humans is that they do not act in linear predictable ways, and that is what makes them so interesting, and challenging. A VR environment can not yet portray the level of detail necessary for complex human-human interaction to be realistic.

The problem with medical students is that progressive generations of well meaning medical education 'innovation' mean that they spend less and less time interacting with patients. Only this, structured and supervised properly, is good training for what you want them to be able to do at the end - to interact with patients.

I do see a time in the future when some good learning will be possible in a true virtual environment, but for now, like other simulation based training, it is limited to the relatively few situations when the situation portrayed is adequately realistic and the stuff being taught is simple e.g. Pavlov's dog stimulus-response stuff - things like resuscitation. It is not appropriate for teaching, even less for testing, complex human-human interaction.

[CoI IAAD, have masters in MedEd, and teach in (allegedly) the top medical school in the UK]

Comment Re:Hypochondria? (Score 3, Informative) 368

IAAD, but an emergency physician so people generally don't have time to look stuff up. Or if they do, by definition, it's not an emergency. And the waiting room is in a Faraday cage, so their iphones don't work either, a very satisfactory arrangement.

When I talk to my GP (family physician) colleagues about this, they say you have to work with it, and this phenomenon always occurred to a certain extent, it's just that in the old days the nutters had to go to the medical libraries, and so were easier to identify. Nowadays, quite rational people look up their symptoms and get things right, and this is good.

There are real medical problems with the internet and increased accessibility of information, but far more than increasing anxiety, I would say worse problems are:
  • Astroturfing by pharmaceutical companies - pressure groups, patient groups with suspiciously slick websites
  • quack cures
  • aggressive libel laws stifling scientific debate which in the old days would have been shielded from lawyers.
  • looneys can find each other and associate more easily, and act aggressively to those who do not share their very strange view of the world - e.g. 'Myalgic Encephalitis sufferers' (an alleged condition that is neither myalgic or encephalitis and it is everyone else who does the suffering).

    Patients usually give you a clue that they are a looney though, which is very helpful. Favoured tell-tale signs are wearing tinted glasses, a soft neck collar or making notes in purple ink or with RANDOM capitalised words, or using one of those obesity scooter things. But if they seem relatively normal, I listen carefully and explain, because quite often they are right.

    BTW, I presume you were referring to this? Although some other conditions can do this as well.

Comment Cheapest and Sheepest (Score -1, Troll) 490

the problem is that we then end up with a monoculture, whereby the only IT people hired are Microtards, because they are the cheapest and sheepest.

Now we have a hospital that is riddled with malware because the Microtards don't know what they are doing.
i.e. we spend loads of cash encrypting everybody's hard disk, and then install conficker etc. on all the workstations.

And this is not a small hospital - it is a world famous name that this is happening in.

I think the OP is in NZ as they have district health boards there.

Comment Re:pardon my ignorance (Score 5, Insightful) 263

the reason to harvest cord blood rather than anything else is because it is free, easy to collect, and has more than average stem cells.

if in the future one of these people needs a bone marrow transplant, they have a perfect match. Research causes are also in there, but I very much doubt the legal/forensic side of things was considered in all this, and usually medical databases are quite thoroughly tied down in this respect.

Comment Re:Google make me nervous (Score 2, Interesting) 346

When Google released Buzz, it was a reminder that if they wanted to break gmail pretty badly, they'd be able to, and we'd have no recourse. With software on your own computer, you can at least refrain from running the upgrade.

It's worth mentioning, however, that Google unfucked the situation in less than 48 hours. Complete with deployment to everyone's Gmail account.

When Microsoft fucks you, you stay fucked until it's more profitable to pull out.

Comment Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (Score 3, Insightful) 587

It's just another study by people with an agenda.

Yes, but this time they have CONCLUSIONS! Which is more newsworthy than an unbiased study by honest researchers who caution people not to overreact to their results. It is always this way, which is why even after that study linking vaccines to autism has been completely demolished, a depressing amount of people still run around thinking that autism is caused by vaccines. That study was poorly done, and the results were announced to the world as final proof rather than something that would merit at most one or two repeats of the experiments before it was taken seriously.

If you want to get a lot of attention and don't care that all of the serious professionals in your field will immediately see that you are a quack and will eventually prove you wrong, then make a quick study and shout your results as the word of God for all the public to hear.

""We can now say with utmost confidence that regardless of research method -- that is experimental, correlational, or longitudinal -- and regardless of the cultures tested in this study [East and West], you get the same effects,"

Yes, you can say that, Mr. Anderson. You should also point out IN THAT SAME FUCKING BREATH that regardless of research method, YOU COULD STILL EASILY BE WRONG. As you're promoting this as infallible truth, based on research you didn't even do, I'd say that increases the chances that you're wrong, because you're a complete moron.

I'm actually a bit surprised he actually says policy needs to be changed, rather than "Elect me to be supreme overlord and I'll have this whole violence thing sorted out in a month." I mean, if you're going to boldly overstate your results, then by God, overstate your results, don't pansy out at the end and suggest someone else be empowered to deal with it.

Comment Re:Electric Shock (Score 1) 951

I think the respondent's point is that many error messages are nonsensical and thus hard to remember. Often, I read an error message only to forget it 5 seconds after I've clicked Ok. Sure, a puppy dog or a baby would help with this (personally I like the colour and number system). What would also help is if the error was informative (and not written in binary).

Submission + - Astroturfing FUD = Astrofudding ?

Sad Loser writes: This story in The Independent smells very strongly of FUD.
Without putting on my tinfoil hat, are there any more examples of mainstream media being hijacked quite as blatantly?
Is this part of a high-level astrofud campaign?

Comment Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (Score 5, Interesting) 987

I have recently written a textbook, and I have written it for a series that I know will get widely pirated, because the pages are A4 sized and photocopy really well and it will appear as a torrent quite quickly.

I will not make a lot of money from the book - probably $5k per edition, but writing it will enable me to share my vision with a lot of people, and I regard that as a privilege. The more it is pirated, the more it will help my career.

Comment Re:They were already 100% evil in my book anyway (Score 1) 369

Agree completely.
Leopards and spots- I make a real effort to avoid any Belkin products.

OTOH I spoke to my publisher the other day about my book and she said that I should get people to review it (i.e. favourably) on Amazon.
I think that is probably legitimate as they will have read it and they do not work for me, and I would have no control over what they wrote, but would be interested to know if I am selling out.

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