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Comment Re:Galaxy S i9000 Got Two Full OS updates (Score 1) 333

Where did I hear that before?

Roslin: It tells people things like where the restroom is, and-

Adama: It's an integrated computer network, and I will not have it aboard this ship.

Roslin: I heard you're one of those people. You're actually afraid of computers.

Adama: No, there are many computers on this ship. But they're not networked.

Roslin: A computerized network would simply make it faster and easier for the teachers to be able to teach-

Adama: Let me explain something to you. Many good men and women lost their lives aboard this ship because someone wanted a faster computer to make life easier. I'm sorry that I'm inconveniencing you or the teachers, but I will not allow a networked computerized system to be placed on this ship while I'm in command. Is that clear?

Comment Re:indolent (Score 2) 253

But what's the alternative? Just wait until someone's sick enough to warrant a cancer screening?

Absolutely! If the statistics show that we're better off without early screening in terms of health outcomes, by all means! We should be doing something else with our time and money than to spend them on ineffective screening.

Comment Re:Seen this article everywhere now. (Score 4, Informative) 253

No, this is not the case. The problem is that we're still far away from evidence based medicine.

When evaluating what works and what doesn't, you have to tread very carefully. Sure, most people^Wgeeks know about double blind studies, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The second edition of Testing Treatments came out recently (available as a free pdf on the website, although I bought it to support the authors) that explains the problems in an understandable language while not dumbing down the issues. The book comes with the recommendation of well known epidemiologists like Ben Goldacre, of Bad Science.net fame.

To talk about the specifics of screening, check out Chapter 4. To recap the main points there, for screening to be worthwhile you have to look at several factors:
  • The condition to be screened for has to be important - either because of it's deadliness and/or because it affects a lot of people
  • There has to be a detectable early stage of the condition which to screen against
  • There exists an effective and acceptable treatment for the condition
  • There is a reliable screening test to detect the condition with

The problem with lots of screening is that on the level of the population it can lead to more harm than good overall for a lot of different diseases, because of false positives, because of our psychological makeup that we'd prefer surgery for even harmless varieties of lumps in our bodies, etc. (see detailed examples in the book). In a lot of cases it happened that screening was introduced before the effectiveness of screening was established in a trial, then later trials showed that the screening was ineffective in reducing deaths or harm.

The bottom line is that well designed trials should be conducted and based on the systemic review of those trials it should be decided whether to conduct screening or not, based on whether it's improving health outcomes or not. A lot of trials don't improve outcomes.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 2) 400

Before the decision to shut down nuclear power in Germany, they were a major exporter of electricity with about 90 gigawats of domestic usage and producing 130 gigawatts. Taking away the 25 gigawatts from nuclear and they can just about meet their internal demand, if all goes to plan.

This winter, Amprion predicts its grid will have 84,000 megawatts of electricity at its disposal, to provide 81,000 megawatts needed for consumption - an uncomfortably slim margin of safety, Mr. Vanzetta said. In prior years, electricity was readily available for purchase on the European grid if the price was right. But exported German power is what helped keep France glowing in winter.

Comment German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (Score 2, Interesting) 400

If instead of trying to increase renewable capacity desperately - I'm doubtful about the execution of a very large ramp-up in renewable energy generation capacity in itself - the German government would try to decrease fossil fuel use, they'd save at least 25k lives per year as compared to shutting down nuclear plants and letting fossil fuel based ones operate.

Based on deaths per TWh(which includes Chernobyl for nuclear), it takes about 160 lives to generate one TWh by coal and 0.04 lives per TWh by nuclear fission. Germany in 2008 generated 291TWh of electricity from coal, that's about 47'000 lives lost in one year.

Keeping all the nuclear capacity and spending the ramp-up in renewables to shut down coal plants would save tens of thousands of lives. Shutting down nuclear plants forces Germany to open about 20 new fossil fuel based plants, because even with a substantial increase in renewable capacity they cannot meet demand.

This is nothing short of mass murder through ignorance.

Comment Re:Dumbing Down is hidden agenda? (Score 1) 478

It's all a bit condescending isn't it? There is a reason why drug commercials shouldn't be permitted to be broadcast to the general public, but that doesn't mean people in general are dumbasses.

Doctors while an entirely different ballgame with regards to drug related propaganda, they still fail on average pretty hard in trying to understand basic study design and statistics. Read Ben Goldacre's excellent book, Bad Science, especially the 10th chapter. If what's in there is not news to you, then maybe you're one of the more qualified doctors, however you can't say with a straight face that the average doctor doesn't fail pretty hard at reading an industry-sponsored study with a good understanding of the underhand tactics and subtle details.

(I'm not a doctor, however I do understand fairly advanced statistics and I read methodology sections and study designs in various areas for fun.)

Comment Re:It's not really ONLY about those profits... (Score 1) 315

Now, it should be pretty obvious as to why a company the size of CCP would be worried about "unclaimed" pre-paid subscriptions worth anything between 1 and 5 million dollars floating around inside their own game.

Well, I might be missing the point here, but it doesn't seem obvious to me. Could you spell it out please?

I'd think that having lots of unclaimed PLEX in game would be the best use of PLEX from CCP's point of view, since they got paid for the PLEX, but didn't have to provide a service for it (yet) and any in-game trading just moves resources around between players. The unclaimed PLEXes are probably highly decentralized and a large fraction will never be used to buy service for it.

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