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Comment Re:Um.... (Score 1) 120

I strongly suggest you read more. There were other ways of innoculating against smallpox

Indeed. Direct inoculation with pus or scabs from smallpox pustules was used long before vaccines were discovered. These inoculations had about a 2% mortality rate, compared with ~30% for those contracting the airborne virus. Knowledge of inoculation spread from China, through the Muslim world, into Africa. African slaves taught the technique to Americans. From there it spread to Europe. Vaccinations (based on cowpox) came centuries later.

Comment Re:And I thought (Score 5, Informative) 120

It didn't exterminate entire civilizations

Actually, some ethnic groups are believed to have been completely exterminated by smallpox. For instance, the Beothuk tribe of Newfoundland, had only one survivor of a smallpox epidemic, and she later died with no offspring. Smallpox first spread through the Americas in the early 1500s, when most tribes were pre-literate, so there are probably some other exterminated tribes that are lost to history.

Comment Re:It's Microsoft's fault (Score 5, Interesting) 113

If the operating system is secure, criminals exploit the users instead.

Nonsense. There is not a fixed quota of crime in the world. Criminals exploit profitable opportunities, and more opportunities mean more crime, while fewer opportunities mean less crime. A secure operating system does not "push" people into phishing. Writing a virus and social engineering don't even use the same skill sets.

Comment Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 5, Insightful) 415

now I guess python will be forced fed to people who don't want it

That seems like a silly objection. It is not practical for a teacher to let each kid choose their own language, nor are the kids knowledgeable enough to choose. I don't see any big organizations pushing Python the way that Sun was hyping Java back in the late 1990s.

At my kids' school, they start teaching programming in 4th grade, using Scratch, and move to Python in 6th grade. It seems to work well.

Comment Re:It's getting scary (Score 3, Insightful) 150

You have for-profit doctors. They sure ain't workin' for free.

In Canada, most doctors are paid by FFS (fee for service), which gives them some incentive to run up costs. But many other countries, and even some medical companies in America (such as Kaiser), put doctors on a fixed salary. This removes incentives to upcode, and encourages preventative care. For instance, dentists on fixed salaries are FOUR TIMES as likely to use dental sealants, because they no longer have a financial stake in future cavities.

Comment Re:Good news though (Score 2) 74

if they need a record of the physician's business, why not use the Federal Tax ID?

Unless the doctor is incorporated, the SSN is the tax id.

Why in the world would anyone give out a SS number in this day in age for anything besides something that is directly related to SS transactions (taxes, payments, etc)?

They didn't. The gave out their SSN because this is directly related to SS transactions. The doctors receive payments from the insurance company, and those payments must be reported to the IRS on a 1099 form, and that must include the tax id, which is the SSN.

Anyway, I see leaks like this as a good thing. The sooner everyone's SSN is public, the sooner we move away from the idiotic notion that the same number should be used for both identification and authentication, and thus must be simultaneously both widely known and secret.

Comment Re:I'll enjoy this.... (Score 1) 530

Even if you have roommates, they don't count as part of your household unless you also share food costs.

I see. So if four people live together and buy their own food, they are poor. But if they take turns shopping, and share the food, then they are middle class. So encouraging people to pool their shopping seems like a really easy way to eliminate poverty. Too bad it won't make any actual difference in their lives.

Comment Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 5, Informative) 285

For others that are too busy to click through the slideshow, here is the list:

Jon Skeet : Legendary Stack Overflow contributor
Gennady Korotkevich : Competitive programming prodigy
Linus Torvalds : Creator of Linux
Jeff Dean : The brains behind Google search indexing
John Carmack : Creator of Doom
Richard Stallman : Creator of Emacs, GCC
Petr Mitrechev : One of the top competitive programmers of all time
Fabrice Bellard : Creator of QEMU
Doug Cutting : Creator of Lucene
Donald Knuth : Author of The Art of Computer Programming
Anders Hejlsberg : Creator of Turbo Pascal
Ken Thompson : Creator of Unix
Adam D'Angelo : Co-founder of Quora
Sanjay Ghemawat : Key Google architect

Comment Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 530

I would like to see a world where companies are not expected to be their employees' mommy.


Aside from the philosophical reason that people should be free individuals, responsible for their own lives, there are also practical reasons: requirements that companies take on various mommyish responsibilities, cause companies to hire fewer people in the first place. Countries that put a lot of mommy requirements on companies (such as France, Italy, Greece), tend to have higher unemployment and lower economic growth. In the long run, this hurts the very people that the mommy policies are designed to help. Many real mommies also figure out that being overprotective can have negative consequences.

Comment Re: If everyone loses their jobs... (Score 0) 530

As more and more people slip into poverty ...

Right, because automation causes poverty. That is why countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Somalia, that wisely avoided the "productivity catastrophe", are doing well, while countries adopting automation, like America, Europe, and Japan, are starving. Maybe the masses of unemployed can spend their time reading about economic fallacies.

Comment Re:If everyone loses their jobs... (Score 1) 530

If everyone loses their jobs

Not everyone is losing their jobs. Technological innovation usually leads to increased employment, as lower manufacturing costs lead to increased production, and expansion of non-automated jobs. As the cost of manufactured goods fall, people will consume more of them, but also spend less on them, and spend more on services, which are much harder to automate. Currently, China has a much smaller service sector than more advanced economies. That is changing fast.

Because of the one-child policy, China's labor force is already shrinking, and a looming shortage of workers is a far more realistic scenario than "everyone loses their jobs".

who will be able to buy the products?

I doubt if Foxconn's assembly line workers were buying many iPhones. Apple and Foxconn shareholders will have more money to spend. As profit margins go up, the incentive to design additional profitable products will increase, causing higher demand for engineers and programmers. Chinese workers will move up the value chain, just like in every other country that has industrialized.

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There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923