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Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 1) 73

If the patient has a fatal illness, it doesn't matter - they're going to die. That's what fatal illness means. And then we have people screaming not to give those same patients heroin because they might get addicted.

Also, since this is a test, you don't know if the placebo is less dangerous than the treatment being tested - or you wouldn't need to run the test. Your arguments are not based in law, nor are they in agreement with the physician's code of ethics, which works by informed consent in such cases.

Comment Zuckerberg, really? (Score 4, Interesting) 106

I don't despise Mark Zuckerberg like many do, but I hardly think he qualifies as a tech leader. Facebook succeeded through luck, timing, hard work and good engineering. That's all laudable, but there wasn't much leadership or vision involved. Bezos' initial idea, an online bookstore, was hardly visionary or leading but subsequent decisions, especially the decision to standardize internal system interfaces that led to the idea, and ability, to create AWS absolutely was visionary. Google should have done that, but didn't have the vision. There's no debating the vision of Elon "Mars or bust in my solar-powered electric car" Musk. Musk has so much vision we'd call him a crackpot, except that he has a tendency to succeed. Steve Jobs was clearly a leader and a visionary with a focus on making technology simple and beautiful.

And there are other leaders around who I'd say are much worthier than Zuckerberg. Larry Page, for example, whose goal for his new startup was to "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", an insanely ambitious mission which arguably is no longer ambitious enough to describe what Alphabet/Google is doing. Mark Shuttleworth, not so much for Thawte as for Canonical, where his vision hasn't really succeeded in displacing Windows but has gone much further than most of us considered possible. Though a bunch of CEOs probably wouldn't pick him, I'd put Richard Stallman high on the list, too. His vision of the importance of software freedom has been incredibly influential.

I could go on, but the point is... Zuckerberg? Really? For what? I suppose it was visionary to believe that you could build a billion-user interactive system with PHP.

Comment Re:Dumbass (Score 1) 311

If Wheat was the problem, the US would be dropping food bags on the populace instead of TONS OF WEAPONS. GUNS DO NOT GROW OR WATER CROPS YOU FUCKING MORON!

Let me get this straight. Your argument is that the crisis must not be driven by a non-political cause because if it were the US would have solved it? Or, to put it another way, your're arguing that the US government is so perfectly effective at always addressing the root causes of problems in a timely manner, that the government's failure to address this one means it's not the root cause?

Dude, you must know a different US government than I do. The one I know occasionally does the right thing at the right time, but it's mostly by accident.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 4, Interesting) 441

Right, because none of those things could flip a burger as well as a human could. However, now we have machines that can do things better then any human can.

Because no-one has ever in history designed a machine that could...
* operate switchboards better than a human could
* compute ballistic trajectories better than a human could
* transcribe documents better than a human could
* assemble electronics better than a human could
* sort mail better than a human could

This stuff has been going on for a couple centuries now displacing lower-middle class workers. The only difference now is that it is beginning to affect upper-middle class workers who thought they were safe because they had eeked out college degree, but ended up in a field of work that didn't actually need a college degree, but they worked their way up a corporate ladder because they had some penchant for managing lower-middle class workers and they had some pedigree attached to their "college-attendance". Without these lower-level workers to manage (because it is all automated), what career prospects do they really have?

The solution to this problem is free education and a basic income. We should start with a grant for 60 credit hours of community college and a basic income at 60% the federal poverty level.

The community college thing isn't gonna really help anyone in this new labor-less economy. There isn't a corporate career path in management anymore (even, low-level foreman/supervisory roles). The economy can't really support enough jobs in the "overhead" rolls either. Think of what happens when we get a "boom" cycle of startup companies, there are still only a few winning companies and lots of losing companies. Which companies do you think many of these newly minted freely over-educated citizens will end up?

Sadly the future is likely that the whole idea of a "career" which is kick-started by formal higher education as way to make a path through life is probably reaching a turning point. Historically the whole idea of a "career" launched by formal higher education was really an artifact of the rise of governments and large corporations that needed to hire warm bodies en-mass and were looking for easier ways to sort potential employees.

If corporations eventually get smaller (because they don't need to hire as many people to scale), we are trending back to the artisan era (where people are often evaluated more by their portfolio of work, not their formal education and where apprenticeships are often more valued than training).

Of course an alternate path that is shown by history, is that corporation can also get large and subsume the role of government altogether such that employment in these mega-corps will become simply a new form a citizenship. In this alternate reality there is no need for free-education and basic income, these mega-corps will (as they have historically done) provide it to all their citizens (aka employees) and even provide them jobs in new startup ventures that they want to expand their reach into. I don't know if this is the ideal path preferred by all the basic-income promoting folks, but suspect not. In many ways these mega-corps are almost like a typical military organization.

Either way, a "free" education provided by the government doesn't seem to be worth the cost/benefit in a post-labor economy...

Comment Re:It's already happened a few times already... (Score 4, Funny) 441

Counterpoint: Sales and Services are the most common job in the US today, along with maybe some form of Educator:
It'll still be a while before those social jobs are automated away.

That's cute, you think that the on-line sales/help agent you are chatting with isn't already a chatbot... Be sure to send her programmer a +1...

Comment Re:Not a proper study, get this astroturf out of h (Score 1) 73

Seeing as 90% of all medical research is flawed, (and no, this is not some crank - it's pretty much accepted in research because of the evidence, as well as researchers personal knowledge/experience of bad studies we need to test against placebos, because some of the supposedly beneficial treatments are later found to be harmful.

Remember thalidomide? Or more recently, the panic over hormone replacement therapy because the biggest, best trial of HRT ever was started prematurely because it purported to show harmful effects of estrogen? 10s of millions of women world-wide were suddenly put on antidepressants to help deal with menopause side-effects. Turns out that the study was bogus, but more than a decade later, many doctors still haven't got the memo.

The flaw in the study was in using only estrogen from pregnant mare urine (Premarin and Prempro). Equine estrogen is not bio-identical to human estrogen (estradiol estrogen is), but it also contains equine enzymes that the human body has never seen in nature and can't handle - which cause, among other things, liver failure. Having horse enzymes in your blood, your organs, your brain ... that's going to cause problems. Also, progestins were included in HRT even though not needed, further increasing the risk. So this "definitive" study was harmful to people.

Heart attack is the #1 killer of women (no, not breast cancer). Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases. So people on a placebo would have been healthier, with less chance of sudden death.

Studies also show it's a potent anti-depressive, and delays the onset of Alzheimers and other dementias. Those are sentences of a slow death. It also reduces or stops suicidal ideation.

It also slows down bone demineralization by enabling the digestive system to take up more calcium (which is why calcium supplementation by itself doesn't work - if your body can't absorb it, you'll just eliminate it). 28% of women and 37% of men who fracture their hip die within one year. Considering that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will get at least 1 hip fracture, that's a significant amount of women who are now at higher risk because of this "greatest study ever."

So even the best studies need to be re-done, because if this study had included a placebo as well as Premarin, and also included other sources of estrogen such as estradiol, Premarin would have been singled out as the biggest contribution to health risk from HRT.

So placebos have a place - they would have saved millions of women from premature death, not endangered them further. That's why we do studies, and why we include placebos. Plus, placebos also work even when the patient is told that it's just a sugar pill. That's why you compare the benefits of a course of treatment with a placebo as well as no treatment. Why prescribe a drug with bad side effects when a placebo performs either as well or better? Not including placebos places people depending on the results of the study to make informed decisions at risk of making bad decisions. Some of those are fatal.

Comment Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 403

There is no evidence that viewing child porn causes the consumer to commit more child abuse, and some evidence that it is preventative.

I'll invite you to name your sources. In 2006 a documentary aired on the Dutch national television that made the case that viewers of childporn have a tendency to view worse and worse forms of it as well as try to create their own as well

I don't know one way or the other about the question of how viewing child porn affects pedophiles, but a documentary is not evidence. A documentary may be based on evidence, but the documentary itself is not, and I see nothing in the description that makes me think there was some solid data underlying the documentary's claims.

Comment Re:The electoral college is not needed (Score 1) 474

The farmers won't starve - they're the ones with the food. They only need a small portion of it to feed themselves. 98% of the population depends on them. Do you really think that 98% of the population is going to go out, raid the farms, and then plant the next round of crops? Without that next round, they starve in less than a year. But the farmers will survive.

Same with cattle. Same with chickens. Are they going to take over the chicken farms raising broilers in bulk? Get the eggs every day? Make sure the animals are fed, sheltered, etc? You'd run out of eggs in 2 months. Same with milk. You going to run the slaughterhouses? So forget your bacon as well. Unless the cities are willing to become farmers themselves, leaving their other jobs, ain't gonna happen. And even if they did, they don't have the expertise.

It's not like the National Guard can ensure that farmers don't purposefully screw everything up right under their eyes because mostly they aren't farmers. It owuld be the same if you asked them to watch over programmers to make sure they don't purposefully add bugs.

Comment Re: Here's a real hint (Score 1) 474

Hillary's stand not hypocritical? Really? Green Party donors aren't funding the recount - Clinton supporters are. They've already donated more for the recount than the Greens spent trying to elect Stein.

She went from "you must accept the results - anything less is undemocratic" to supporting a recount that will change nothing (and that has already been admitted to by the Stein camp - this is just a way for Stein to stay relevant a bit longer).

United States

US Economy Added 178,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.6 Percent (washingtonpost.com) 504

The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent the previous month, according to new government data released (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source) Friday morning. From a report on the Washington Post: Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected U.S. employers to create 180,000 new jobs last month -- roughly in line with the average number added in the first 11 months of the year. The first release after a contentious election in which the candidates disputed the health and direction of the economy, the data showed a job market that is continuing to steadily strengthen from the recession. The unemployment rate fell to levels not seen since August 2007, before a bubble in the U.S. housing market began to burst. The fall was driven partly by the creation of new jobs, and partly by people retiring and otherwise leaving the labor force. The labor force participation rate ticked down to 62.7 percent. Average hourly earnings declined by 3 cents to $25.89. The decrease pared back large gains seen in October, but over the year average hourly earnings are still up 2.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

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