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Comment Re:You Can't Fight the Internet (Score 1) 544

1) Spouse doesn't work (or well, he doesn't make income.) He largely takes care of his elderly parents.
2) We do live in a place with very high real estate prices (on par with Princeton, though on the plus side we haven't had a bubble).
3) I work 2 days a week as a volunteer physician at a clinic that serves uninsured and underinsured patients. This costs me all totaled about $1000/month to do so. (Its in SF, so I share an apartment with a friend pretty much in the T-Loin, etc.)
4) I travel to teach medical students about LGBT health care and often pay for part or all of that travel.
5) As I said I donate pretty heavily too.

So its not sucking at money management, its more that we have a different perspective on what's important in life. The most expensive article of clothing I own may be worth less than $100, I bring my lunch to work, and I drive a car with 200k miles on it, but I also am practicing the kind of medicine I went to school to do and I am keeping my husband's parents out of a SNF. Though if we're talking money management skills, I certainly have you beat on the frugality front. I did my entire education in state at one of the cheapest schools in the US. When I started undergrad it was $381/semester and when I finished med school it was $2K/year (in 1998). I was not going to pay a lot for that muffler.

Comment Re:You Can't Fight the Internet (Score 1) 544

Freedom of speech is not freedom from the repercussions of speech.

Absolutely, but the repercussions by definition should be limited. If you say gay marriage is an abomination. I can call you a homophobic twat. I can even make an awesome video showing precisely how much of a homophobic twat people who believe that are. I can also boycott your business (taking a page from the fundie handbook.) But I can't sue you for a million dollars because I am butthurt about your statement.

If what is said causes harm, then it is entirely valid and correct to punish the offender. That's why we have fraud, libel, harassment and other similar laws.

Fraud, libel, and harassment laws are inappropriate here. For fraud or libel to be operative, the speech must be untrue. If I say Ted Haggard had sex with a drug dealing gay prostitute, that's libel. If I say you did, it is (unless you have.)

Similarly for harassment to be operative, there has to be intended harm to the individual claiming harassment. If you take the report at face value, the idiots who released this were not harassing the family. Others may have taken those pictures and harassed them, but the original leakers and the vast majority of people who posted them have no intent to specifically harass the family.

You are right that there are limits on free speech. However the limits this family would like are not allowable ones.

Comment Re:You Can't Fight the Internet (Score 5, Interesting) 544

Just because they're well off does not mean their motivations are any different to yours: happiness, family, safety, achievements, fulfilment, etc.

Its not that they are well off that irks people. Its what they choose to do with that wealth.

I'm a physician and make about $250-300k a year. With this I pay off the debt I accrued in medical school (I put myself through undergrad and med school because I am from a very poor background. Poor as in welfare, foodstamps, and housing projects.) I also pay the mortgage on two adjacent (although modest) homes for myself and my partner's elderly parents. My partner and I share a 6 year old civic (hybrid) although he has 2 used motorcycles as well. We donate about 10% of our income, and I volunteer 2 days a week at a free clinic.

If I had ten times the money I wouldn't buy a porche. I also wouldn't spend my money on a quixotic quest for retribution through the legal system.

That said, the parents of this girl have every right to do so. And we have every right to say that their quest, while understandable, is dangerous in that it threatens the freedoms of speech rights of an entire country. And that statement is not from a place of class rivalry, but from an understanding of free speech and the necessity of defending even repulsive free speech.

You can't just say that censorship is OK when applied to douchebags. Arguably the people who post these pictures and link to them are supreme douchebags. However, I also think that Bobby Jindal, Karl Rove, and the entire membership of the KKK are also arguably supreme douchebags. However others would disagree with me. So we can't use douchebaggery as a bar for censorship. In fact its the very speech that repulses us most that we must defend because that's where freedom of speech is most easily chipped away. See Virginia v. Black et al.

In order for speech to be free, even the most repulsive speech must also be protected.

Comment Re:You Can't Fight the Internet (Score 1) 544

It's not "censorship". To call it this is silly. The parents arguably have a case about their consitutional right to privacy being violated.

So any time someone injures themselves in public, their right to privacy means no one can take and share pictures of it? Well FailBlog will be decimated then. And for that matter, written description of similar incidents should also be censored to ensure people's privacy. Why stop at just a picture? So the Darwin Awards has go to go by your reasoning.

And by the way, its spelled 'constitutional'. But you made my day by arguing a constitutional basis for unconstitutional censorship while misspelling the name of the document you are misrepresenting. Call me a moran, and you will complete the trifecta.

Comment Re:You Can't Fight the Internet (Score 1) 544

Judging by the action taken by the CHP (suspending the two officers involved) they didn't have the right to release the images in the manner that they did.

How do you figure that? Just because something is distasteful or stupid that doesn't mean its not within your rights. See: Westboro Baptist Church.

Similarly, as an ER physician if I call a drunk douchebag who takes a swing at me... well... a drunk douchebag I may suffer disciplinary repercussions even though it was within my rights. So just because they were disciplined by CHP that doesn't imply they broke a law or did something they did not have a right to do.

That said, IANAL. So it may well be illegal, but that isn't demonstrated by CHP's internal disciplinary decisions.

Comment Re:You have been unfairly modded (Score 1) 420

The point is that whilst we can't help our *feelings*, it's a different thing when you direct that comment about people - it's not just an honest description of what you can't help, it's reasonably read as a statement that the person intentionally posted. Moreover, if it's fair for him to express his feeling, why was it trolling for the other poster to respond? He was only stating how he felt.

OK, given your position how about this? I feel uncomfortable around black people. I will qualify the statement by saying that I don't mind black people, there is just some feeling of revulsion that I get when I am around one. And according to you I can't help my feelings. Its something about the hair and some bad associations I have. But I would never think that anyone should abuse them or subject them to discrimination. I just don't want one to sit next to me on the bus or marry my sister, you know.

Now I will also tell you I am an ER physician. If you were black, would you feel safe and comfortable coming to see me in the ER as a patient? Would you feel that you would get the same care that a white person would? Would you worry that you would get substandard care because of subconcious (or concious) biases that I posess?

If you don't you'd be a Pollyanna to the extreme. (And you'd be contradicted by good research that in the US at least black people get objectively substandard care on a regular basis in medicine.)

So yes there would be a problem with me feeling that way. However I agree with you that such feelings should be expressed, but to bring them out in the open and work on changing them. Irrational fear of another group (whether its blacks, gays, muslims, or whoever) simply for membership in that group (and presumptive status as a danger or worse a predator) is wrong. And we all have it. Its part of being human. Those of us who work hard enough can mitigate its effects. However you can't accomplish that by saying such irrational beliefs are acceptable because they are feelings which can't be changed.

And in the sense of full dislclosure, I will say that when I was 20 those statements that I made were probably pretty descriptive of what I felt. (I used to have a confederate flag and a pink triangle on my pick-up.... talk about being an ignorant hick. Wait - I deserve civil rights.... but... um, they don't. Or something.) Fortunately I had the life experiences necessary for me to see those biases for what they are and to try to change them. In some sort of cosmic irony my husband is mixed race (like Obama actually, African dad, white American mom) and his parents now live with us.

Of course I'm still sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ageist, classist, and all the rest. Though I've made a concerted effort to minimize those feelings in myself and more importantly to minimize the effect that they have on my interactions with others. So while I think the OP should have expressed his feelings (since that's the first step to change) your defense of leaving these biases unchallenged because they are 'feelings' is what is truly dangerous in society. He doesn't need to be attacked. But he does need to be called out on his unconcious biases. Excusing such biases as 'only feelings' is simply being an apologist for homophobia.

Comment Re:Cue the following: (Score 3, Informative) 1306

No he has a nuanced understanding of the term fact and theory. Stephen Jay Gould wrote an amazing piece on this in Discover in the early 90s. To quickly summarize: Creationist idiots use the vernacular meaning of theory (untested hypothesis or imperfect fact). However science has a different definition of theory which means a hypothesis that has been tested to a sufficient extent and proven to be an excellent model such that it should be called a Theory (big T) on par with Relativity for example.

So SJG suggested we use the term scientific fact to keep the creotards from using a semantics argument to suggest that even scientists don't believe that evolution by natural selection occurs or explains life on our world. He proposed a definition of a scientific fact as: "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."

And in that regard Evolution is a fact (and a Theory with a big T.)

Comment Re:Evidence-based medicine (Score 1) 1064

The doctor examined her and explained when and why they might want to do a CT scan, but suggested that she should be fine without one. It sounded like many parents didn't want to hear no from him. Anyhow, we didn't get a CT scan because the benefits didn't outweigh the risks and the next day she was fine.

You are absolutely right. It always amazes me how many parents are completely unrealistic about risk with their kids. I can explain till I am blue in the face that given their child doesn't have symptoms/signs X, Y, and Z the chance of a clinically significant injury is minuscule, while a CT head in a kid under 15 will result in 1 extra cancer case in 1500 kids, so the benefits clearly don't outweigh the risks. 80% of parents will react like you do but there is a strong minority who will demand an unnecessary study. These are often the same folks who don't vaccinate their kids because they read on the internet that Jenny McCarthy thinks that vaccines cause autism. Because you know, a C-list actress is way more authoritative on these issues than your kids pediatrician and the large body of evidence in the medical literature that shows no link between autism and vaccines.

I would laugh and say this is proof natural selection is still operative in our society, but its just really sad that kids have to suffer because of the ignorance of their parents.

Comment Re:Evidence-based medicine (Score 4, Interesting) 1064

US emergency medicine guidelines, for example, are extremely aggressive and notorious for over investigating. The priority is protecting practitioners from litigation rather than appropriately treating the patient.

Actually one of the big reasons that EM diagnostic evaluation is more aggressive than usual is that (shock) patients actually do have a hint of what is important. That is, if you take a random person who goes to his family doc with chest pain versus one who goes to the ER the former is less likely to have significant coronary artery disease. So its not surprising that if you compare ER with primary care, it is good medicine to be more aggressive with diagnostic evaluations in the ER.

That said, hell yeah as an ER doctor I sometimes practice defensive medicine. If you place me in an environment where people can effectively sue me for what I might make full time in 20 years for a bad outcome that happens despite me practicing medicine that meets the standard of care in my practice environment I sure as hell am going to practice defensive medicine. The fact that I don't always do aggressive diagnostics in every patient is either me being a Pollyanna or perhaps taking my patient's best interests at heart. I'm willing to put my neck on the line somewhat to avoid a CT in a toddler who just has overprotective parents, but your fat, diabetic, smoking, sedentary, litigious ass is just not cute enough to get the my sympathy.

Comment Re:Old news is old (Score 2, Insightful) 485

For several reasons:

1. Money spent on cyber-crap takes away from irl-crap purchased in NY state. Who would pay $107 for your books at a brick and mortar bookstore when you can get them for $100 for them (with free shipping) on
2. Poor people don't have the wherewithal to purchase things on the internet. So taxing goods purchased irl while not taxing cyperspace transactions becomes a very regressive tax.

Comment Re:Variation (Score 1) 534

Correct me if I'm wrong


Some forms of hormonal contraception can cause amenorrhea (no bleeding) in many women. In particular if birth control pills are taken continually (i.e. skipping the placebo) this also causes amenorrhea. Women and gynecologists have known this for a while and used it to ensure no bleeding on vacation or to treat heavy or painful menstruation by skipping the placebos and starting the next pack. Currently there are a couple of oral contraceptives (Seasonale and Seasonique) that take advantage of this and only give the placebo pills that cause menstruation every 3 months.

The recommendation is that you have menstruation 4 times annually (or more if you like), but this would give female astronauts ample time to plan their menses at a time when they are not in low gravity environments.

Comment Re:Ethics and cloning (Score 1) 229

For what reason do we not allow experimenting on humans while we allow it on other animals?

We do allow human experimentation. Both human and animal experimentation are regulated based on certain ethical principles. However the rules are different with regard to what one may do in each type of research. The fundamental difference though is the concept of consent. Humans (or their surrogates) must give consent to being subject to experimentation while animals do not. I think the biggest question would be whether H. neanderthalensis would be intelligent enough to consent to such experimentation. Given what we know about then I think the answer would likely be yes and thus experimentation on H. neanderthalensis would be governed by the same legal and ethical principles as biomedical research on H. sapiens

Given that I also believe the same ethical principles that prevent us from cloning H. sapiens should keep us from cloning H. neanderthalensis.

Comment Re:Ethics and cloning (Score 1) 229

What would you do? Keep them in a lab? How would you justify that?

Public safety.

Because humans never kill, maim, or torture other humans. We'd um.... you know.... legitimately worry that H. neanderthalensis would... um, definitely be, um, more dangerous than H. sapiens.


No. Really. I'm serious.

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