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Comment Re:I'm glad somebody is on the case (Score 4, Interesting) 191

My Apple chargers cost a hell of a lot of money. OTOH, they were fed generator power from Kenyan safari parks and behaved no differently from how they would in the lounge at Schiphol. It doesn't have to cost as much as the Apple stuff, but there's a lot more going on there than just the appearance, and the Apple gear is completely modular.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 183

I like my Apple touchpad, but there are some things that a mouse is just better for - it's a lot easier to drag on a mouse, e.g. But for most things you might use a mouse for, an even better choice is a thumb-operated trackball. I used a couple of Logitech trackballs for ages. Marvelous precision, and you don't have to worry about holding your hand perfectly still when clicking.

Comment Re:This doesn't prove what they were hoping to pro (Score 1) 192

I understand the POV you're espousing here - but the reality is that although nurses and doctors work in what seems like the same field to the layman, the reality is that the training regimens and skill sets are completely different. I've lost track of how many times I've had to explain things to very good, very experienced nurses that I would absolutely crucify a third-year medical student for not knowing.

In theory, you're totally right. In practice, the nurses don't know what questions to ask, or how to ask them, or how to evaluate their validity. If you had a computer that was as good at interrogation as a doctor, we wouldn't have TSA agents.

Comment Re:This doesn't prove what they were hoping to pro (Score 2) 192

A very specific diagnosis is, after all, just another name for a list of the symptoms; you're just complaining that the list isn't precise enough. How much are you willing to spend to try to figure out precisely what's causing it? It's not so much "yeah, dunno" as "yeah, not worth trying to figure it out".

I mean, there are lots of genetic mutations with "variable penetrance". Why do some people get just a touch, and others get slapped down hard? Could be auxiliary genes, could be genetic mosaicism, could be something else. Likewise with common diseases: there are many things that could cause symptoms XYZ, but once you've ruled out the ones that are going to kill you right soon, there's not much point in going on a long hunt for the exact causative agent, because the tests cost a lot and have false positives and negatives. Treat symptomatically. If it doesn't get better, look deeper. But most of the time, it does.

Comment Re:This doesn't prove what they were hoping to pro (Score 5, Interesting) 192

I'm a doctor, though not a diagnostician. Diagnosis is rarely hard - there are some hard cases, but they really mostly aren't. Do you have a persistently elevated blood glucose level? You have diabetes. Do you have consistently high blood pressure? You have hypertension. Etc. It's hardly surprising that computers are just as good as humans at diagnosing diseases that are mostly defined by strict, objective criteria.

What is harder is management - finding the right collection of drugs that will effectively treat a patient's diseases without introducing too many side effects. And what's even harder is anything procedural - we have no computers that can actually do procedures at all. Those aren't what most people think of as "going to the doctor", but it's what most doctors do - either manage disease, or do procedures, both of which are either mostly or severely beyond the ken of computers. Show me a computer that can do something as simple as put in an IV, and I'll be greatly impressed. So many subtleties boil down to "well, I saw something once that looked just like this, and the solution was X..." that it's worth trying X before going on to Y and Z.

My wife is a diagnostician - a neurologist. She sees stuff on a daily basis that would flummox any non-neurologist (really, I barely know what she's talking about half the time, and my peers would be much, much worse at that), let alone a computer. As the old joke goes, it's like being a car mechanic - who has to work on the car while it's doing 70 miles per hour down the highway, with zero downtime acceptable.

Comment Re: I wouldn't have (Score 5, Insightful) 125

96 bytes was a lot of data in the mid-80s. On a 1200 bps connection, that's almost an entire second per packet. When I was a college student in the early 90s, we had 2400 bps modems in the dialup pool, and the entire university (~3000 students) lived on a 56k leased line. Nowadays, that's trivial. In 1984, not so much.

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