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Comment Re:Yay for women's rights, too (Score 1) 184

The artificial womb will free women from the expectation of motherhood in order to perpetuate the species. markdavis's remark about women being able to build up their professional life without worrying about missing out on motherhood will be just the first symptom of this liberating technology.

That is only the case if your definition of motherhood begins at conception and ends at delivery. Your life as a parent is just starting at that moment. If you asked my wife, she will definitely say she is more comfortable now, but in terms of time, energy, and resources, our kids definitely consume more of all three outside the womb than in it.

You could envision some far future society where sperm and egg are decanted from banks, brought to term in artificial wombs, and raised in creches to adulthood by a professional child rearing class, all without ever meeting or knowing their biological parents. I think we are a long way off from something like that though, both because of how our society is structured and because of biological drives that won't be satisfied by donating gametes.

Comment Re:This is why we can't have nice things (Score 1) 169

You don't understand crowd funding. Every single crowd funding site that doesn't want to get smacked down by the SEC will explicitly tell you, in no uncertain terms, that contributing to a crowd funded project is not an investment. You are making a non-tax-deductible donation to a private corporation in the form of the crowd funding administrator. This company will transfer most of your gift (minus their vig) to the project you donated to. The project may, at their discretion, offer thank you gifts at various donation levels. Think donating to your local PBS affiliate minus the ability to write it off.

Investors have rights, gift givers get a non-obligatory pat on the back.

Comment Re:Gen X was the same (Score 1) 214

I think we even pioneered it. Late 90's up to around 2001 and then starting in 2003 people were spending 6 months to a year at a job and then looking for something else

I am tail end of gen X (born '78). I don't know if it's me or just the Boston job market, but I don't see that much rapid job hopping around here among my peers. Personally, I worked for a single company from '97 to 2012, although there was an acquisition thrown in there. I do know that as a hiring manager, if I see a resume with 5 positions in the last 4 years, it is going to the bottom of my pile. When you are working on a large deployed system with plenty of legacy code, it takes at least a few months to get a new person completely up to speed to the point where you can trust their commits. If I spend all that effort training the person, I don't want someone who is going to ditch 6 months later.

Comment Re:The fashion of micro-babies. (Score 1) 146

"...Trump's policy of bringing back coal may mean that micro-babies are back in fashion."

Politics aside for a moment, this kind of wording makes me wonder how the fuck humans ever succeeded in procreating before nuclear power was invented, as if incubators were some kind of fashion trend.

Yes, perhaps we should get back to the "healthy" standard of macro babies, especially with c-sections being all the rage in the spring lineup for 2017...

While the c-section rate ha ballooned beyond what is necessary (particularly in the US), what happened before was that a non-trivial number of mothers and babies died in child birth. We evolved to walk upright and a big brain more or less concurrently. It's a tough ask of our hips to allows us to walk upright and allow a baby with such a big head to pass through.

Comment Re:No offense but (Score 1) 239

Interesting, I attended Northeastern undergrad from 97-01 and my CS courses were 90% white dudes. Maybe there is a shift at the graduate level or it is highly dependent on the location of the school. It would be interesting if there was such a dramatic shift in demographics in just 5-7 years.

Comment Re: At least the program was a success (Score 2) 239

I've also bumped into the US school-maths (it's an insult to call it maths) syllabus, when I did some tutoring for a friend's kid.

It wasn't just demoralizing. It nearly made me lose the will to live. It is that bad.

Can you elaborate a little? I have a 5 year old daughter, live in the US, and I confess to being ignorant to how mathematics are taught abroad. If there are things I could be doing to make the learning process less painful in the future, I'd love to know about it. We are currently working with basic set theory, shapes, counting, and simple addition/subtraction and everything seems to be going well so far.

Comment Re:We've seen this coming... (Score 2) 155

If no one is tuning in though, those big revenue numbers are going to go away as advertisers become less willing to pay a premium to appear on Monday night Football. That means the NFL is going to have to get used to less broadcast licensing revenue or cut out the middle man and start streaming directly.

Comment Re:Swift Justice!!!! (Score 1) 325

This is addressed a bit in other comments below but to be clear: ISPs are not covered entities under HIPAA and have no explicit obligations with regards to your medical records. The three major types of organizations covered by HIPAA are: healthcare service providers (doctors, hospitals, group practices, etc), medical insurance providers, and clearinghouses (they help the first two types of entities communicate with each other).

Assuming any web-facing EMR you interact with is itself HIPAA compliant, your ISP won't be able to see any health records you access because the data will be encrypted in transit over the internet (a HIPAA requirement). The fact that you accessed your doctor's, hospital's, or insurance company website and how often you accessed it could be seen by the ISP, but it would be hard to construe this information as PHI, and even if you could somehow, see above: ISPs are not covered entities.

It's illegal to publish any medical information that can be linked back to an individual, even indirectly.

I want to call this out specifically because it is not true as stated and a lot of people believe something to this effect and think they are more protected than they actually are. It is illegal for a HIPAA covered entity to disclose your protected health information (PHI) to a third party without your consent. If you authorize a covered entity to disclose your information to a non-covered entity, and that third party then misuses the information, no law has been broken.

For example if you authorize the hospital to disclose a condition to your parents who then post the information to Facebook against your wishes, neither the hospital (who obtained your consent), your parents (not a covered entity), nor Facebook (not a covered entity) are liable under HIPAA.

Source: I was a software engineer at a HIPAA covered entity (medical claims clearinghouse) for ~10 years.

Comment Re:Thanks, but no thanks. (Score 2) 120

You wouldn't get your brain hacked, that's silly. It would just be a better version of the currently existing human interface (keyboard input, VGA output).

There is evidence that the right kind of sensory input can damage, or at least rewire, your brain. Look up the McCollough Effect. I imagine that once we understood the visual cortex well enough to be injecting images directly into our optic nerve, we might be able to figure out more nefarious memetic hazards.

Comment Re:Crap report (Score 1) 286

If someone starts off inside a plane, passes through a hole and ends up on the outside of the plane screaming as they plunge to their doom, does it really matter whether they're blown or sucked?

The point is, why should we care? If the bomb only kills a couple of people but fails to bring down the plane, then it is no worse than the mayhem a lone gunman could cause on the ground. In fact he could probably cause more death and economic chaos by blowing himself up in an airport choke point.

The reality is that well-funded, competent terrorists who are knowledgeable enough to plan a mission like this and suicidal enough to carry it out are really, really rare. Rare enough that I would be happy if we reverted to 1999 level passenger screening as my chances of sitting next to a laptop/shoe/underwear bomber would still be less than the probability of getting stung to death by bees on the way to the airport.

Comment Re:So backwards... (Score 1) 227

The problem with acetaminophen is that the toxic dose is surprisingly close to the therapeutic dose -- much closer than other over the counter analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen. This property is in fact leveraged in some prescription painkillers to discourage abuse - the opioid will be doped with a stupid amount of acetaminophen, way more than is necessary for pain relief, so that it will poison you before it gets you high. The problem is that someone doesn't know that and is taking a Vicodin for back pain may then take some NyQuil for an unrelated cold and wind up in the hospital with liver failure.

Comment Re:Water use... (Score 2) 331

The whole water thing is a dumb argument environmentalists dreamed up to make us feel bad about being alive. It's not like water from a stream in Minnesota is being diverted to livestock instead of irrigating poor farmers in the Sahara.

For the most part the water isn't coming out of a stream in Minnesota either. It's being pumped out of an aquifer in Kansas to irrigate the alfalfa and corn that we are feeding to the livestock. Those aquifers were built up over millions of years and are being drained over the course of decades. Just like we need to get off of fossilized fuels for our energy supply, we need to stop or reduce our reliance on fossil water for our agriculture. We can do this either by eating lower on the food chain, or finding ways to produce animal protein more efficiently.

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