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Comment I feel you're not a programmer, are you? (Score 1) 138

One of the basic rules of all engineering, but especially software, is that most bugs are as a result of genuine oversight not incompetence. In the case of Windows, which is a massively complex concoction, it is not a surprise when something weird is found. The test in these circumstances is how much effort the organisation who made the mistake puts into resolving it, not how bad the mistake it.

Comment Yes and no (Score 1) 214

If I am deceived into being liable for a bill, then I have the right to get the person who deceived me into being liable to pay the bill. This is what Khan is proposing. Personally I think VW should be required to pay 3 times what was stolen from the taxpayers of London - the three times multiple being the standard figure in the Hebrew Bible for a thief to repay.

Comment Re:The fundamentalists don't like it (Score 1) 297

Humbug. The fact that drugs trials have to be double blind is enable the drug to be tested against the placebo effect in achieving real change. Placebos can, randomly, achieve ridiculous cures. The problem is that it is a random effect, so is inappropriate where there is a better, measurable, alternative. But for chronic diseases where there is no known cure, they are far better than nothing.

Comment Re:Placebos are cuddly (Score 1) 297

'What the fuck is a "science fundamantalist"?'

This blog will give you a taste.


The fascinating thing about homeopathy is that it is available in the UK free on the NHS. This really upsets our science fundamentalists, who insist that medicine should be 'evidence based' - but then reject the idea that homeopathy as a means of triggering the placebo effect IS evidence based.

'You literally contradicted yourself there. So what do you mean?'

Er - no. The real scandals out there are lies put out by big Pharma to sell their drugs, and such things as the freedom to advertise prescription drugs to the general public. Then we have the issues of big Pharma's ability to get patents to remain effective by buying off generic manufacturers, and generally harassing the release of generics. Those are FAR bigger issues than a few people being confused by amateur homeopaths - as opposed to the proper, regular ones e.g.

Comment Placebos are cuddly (Score 1) 297

Placebo effect works even if patients know they're getting a sham drug

So even if homeopathy is only a way of achieving a placebo effect, it is making a positive contribution to the health of the nation. The fact that it is mumbo-jumbo winds up scientific fundamentalists, who HATE the fact that placebos work. Let's stop buggering about targeting this sort of issue, and address the real scandals out there. (That said, homeopathic treatment for serious diseases where there is a mainstream cure ARE a public danger.)

Comment Nothing except network effects. (Score 1) 196

The reality is that other companies are trying to match Uber in the UK. The problem of course is that Uber has got the momentum, so others are struggling to catch up; although the network advantage isn't as extreme as that which protects Facebook - 'everyone' is on it so you have to be to be in the game - it is still significant.

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