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Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 1) 71

Nothing you just wrote about would be resolved if we were to let patients die from lack of treatment. Hell, none of what you wrote about is even comparable, for exactly the reasons I've already explained.

I really don't understand why you're having this difficulty: If giving no treatment carries a known high risk of harm to the patient, then no treatment is not an ethical option.

I'm not dismissing the efficacy and usefulness of placebo-controlled trials. I'm saying it's unethical to not treat patients with fatal illnesses if a proven treatment exists.
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Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 1) 71

Yes it does, that's why it's called ethics.

As in, it's unethical to take a course of action that you know will result in permanent harm to the patient.

Not treating IBS can potentially result in non-life-threatening discomfort. With patient consent that's an ethically acceptable risk.

Not treating brain cancer can potentially result in mental disability and death. It is not ethically acceptable to provide no treatment when you KNOW that no treatment will result in an unacceptable outcome. So you provide the standard treatment and compare the experimental treatment to that.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...

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Comment Re:"Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 1) 297

How about we throw rocks AT the candidates instead?

Also, it's not absurd; How do you verify the code of a secure system, but in such a way that it's not possible to also alter the system in the course of verifying it? Think of a rootkit. Verifying OS files and BIOS data relies on the OS and BIOS at least to some extent, so a carefully modified system can fake its own authenticity.

You, the average voter or poll volunteer, have no way of verifying the code operating on a voting machine without also having the ability to change the code on the voting machine, and if anyone has the ability to change the code, then the code is not secure is it?

Voting machines need to be black boxes, but the content of that box is too critical to simply be trusted... so electronic voting is a non-starter.
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Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 1) 71

If you're informed that you're getting placebo then it's not placebo anymore. It is literally impossible to have informed consent in a placebo controlled trial.

And even if you phrase it like, "you MIGHT get a placebo" that still doesn't cover you.

It must come as quite a shock that there are rather strict ethical guidelines when it comes to experimenting on humans, born mostly out of a very ugly history of malpractice.

http://www.pcrm.org/research/h...

Using humans as lab rats is simply not an option.
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Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 3, Insightful) 71

There are serious ethical concerns with giving a placebo where giving no treatment is substantially worse. You'd basically be condemning them to a death if you did that. That's why, in these kinds of circumstances, the experimental treatment is compared to the current accepted standard of treatment.

This kind of treatment has been in the experimental phases since at least 2011, and has undergone clinical trials;

http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10...

http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10...

And I believe this link, from 2011, is a press release announcing the approval of the trial discussed in this particular story. I'm not 100% sure, but the names and terminology match up...

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/...

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Comment Re:"Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 1) 297

The ballot itself is not connected with an individual, it's mailed in an envelope that has to be signed off on by the voter.

Then it's connected to the individual. It can be verified that a particular person voted a particular way; All it takes is the person opening the envelopes to take note (mentally or otherwise) of how target individuals voted.
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Comment Re:"Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 2) 297

The problem with ALL of your suggestions is it ruins one of the most critical features of a fair ballot: Anonymity. If it's possible to connect a vote to a person, then it's possible to pay and/or coerce that person to vote a certain way.

Mailing in ballots? How to you prove that the ballot was filled in by the person who's supposedly casting it? Or that nobody was watching over their shoulder to make sure they voted a certain way? This problem exists with absentee ballots already, but they are a small enough proportion of total votes that there's little or no incentive to risk trying to influence an election like that... but if a significant proportion of ballots are mail-in that would likely change the incentive-risk balance.

Ditto with phone-cast ballots, but with the extra complication that the digital data stream itself cannot be trusted.

And serializing the ballots is fucking insane. You might as well have people staple a photocopy of their social security card/driver's license/passport to it.

So congratulations on failing to solve the first problem while introducing another, much worse problem.
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Comment Re:"Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 1) 297

And how do you verify the integrity of the machine that's used to verify the integrity of the voting machine? (Not that this secondary system can guarantee the integrity of the first system in the first place...)

Yes, yes I do.

The same election officials who have been implicated in various negligence and election tampering incidents? Taking data cartridges home, turning in unsealed bags of paper ballots, throwing out certified ballot rolls, etc?
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Comment Re:There sure is! (Score 1) 297

And yet, after all that, there is no way for anyone to reliably confirm, on election day, that the software and data on the machine are exactly as they are supposed to be. Any verification mechanism would necessarily rely on the system in some way, which could be rigged to fake its own authenticity.

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Comment Re:"Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 1) 297

Wait, no way? Seriously? You cannot imagine a way? You can't picture, say, election officers using compilers themselves built from verified sources installing the software into the election machines on election day?

You honestly think that these "election officials" would be tech savvy enough to know what a verified source is, and be able to use a compiler? They can't even calibrate a touchscreen properly.

More importantly, you honestly think that they would CARE?
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Comment "Open source" voting machines are stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 297

There is no way to verify the integrity of the machines on voting day, nor to safeguard the integrity of the polling data between the voting machine and the final tally. Open source means nothing here.

Electronic voting as a whole is a gigantic boondoggle. There are only three reasons for it to exist: People who are too impatient to wait for manual counting, people who are looking to make a tidy profit selling a broken solution to a problem that doesn't need solving, and people who are interested in a way to fuck with the polls without getting caught.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a slip of paper and a pen. Or have people dip their finger in ink like we've all seen done...
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Comment Re:And the hits keep on coming ... (Score 4, Informative) 1066

The Community Reinvestment Act has never FORCED a bank to loan anyone money. Ever. It merely required that the banks stop discriminating by having different loan terms based on neighborhood.

That doesn't mean they were required to loan anyone money, only that they had to treat everyone the same.

And there was nothing in the law - any law - that required the banks to over-leverage, or lie about the ratings of their investment instruments, or to hide the poisonous mortgages in bundled-tiered-re-bundled packages.

> Conservative economists were warning about the bubble but were ignored.

Cite one.
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Comment Re:Stupid. (Score 1) 248

Why even risk it?

Seriously, why is it so much to ask that people not make personally identifiable ballots?

If you don't allow ballot selfies, then you don't have to worry about people buying/coercing votes, people trying to fake who they voted for, dealing with spoiled ballots/revotes, or any accusations or legal complications that might arise.

Just don't fucking allow it. Problem avoided!
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Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 128

Presumably the fix would be to have the car always run in "cheat" mode, rather than removing the cheat. The cars are clearly capable of generating fewer emissions or the cheat wouldn't have worked in the first place.

The result will be lower performance, of course, but the vehicles will have emissions ratings in line with what everyone was led to believe.
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