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Comment Not going to matter (Score 1) 405

I don't disagree that, in the short term, we should at least have the conversation about ways to keep people from getting distracted by technology while driving. However, I think that within 10 years we will have significant self-driving vehicle advancements that start to make this issue moot. It won't be overnight, but I think this problem may solve itself.

Comment Re:three words, one hyphen: (Score 1) 549

One of my students' father was trained as an M.D. in China. The family emigrated to the U.S. and the father had to go through medical school all over just to prove he knew what he was doing. The only thing that improved in med school was his English. Were he, and hundreds of thousands other fully capable practitioners, able to come here and just hang out their shingle, you'd see health care costs plummet.

As a US physician who has spent a month in China studying their medical system and seeing firsthand their medical training I can say from experience that this statement is not accurate. There are certainly plenty of capable medical practitioners in China, but the vast majority did not go through the rigors required to obtain an M.D. in the United States. Even in the major cities (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) most students receive the training equivalent to a Masters degree. In more rural areas it is closer to a B.S. There are certainly many flaws in our healthcare system, but the standardization of training is a major strength. Of course, also keep in mind that medical tests/procedures account for a much greater percentage of healthcare costs than physician's salaries (especially primary care physicians that can just "hang out their shingle"). For example, one MRI costs as much as 10 office visits.

Healthcare would be a hell of a lot cheaper if the government stayed the hell out of it.

If the government stayed "the hell out" of healthcare, then only the richest of the rich seniors would be able to afford care for the inevitable problems that come with aging. What insurance company would accept someone who is likely to have a $30k+ hospital stay in the next 20 years EVEN IF they are completely healthy otherwise?

Comment Re:What? (Score 2, Informative) 486

So, let's get this right... If you contract me to do some work on your roof and it leaks -- it's your own damn fault for choosing to live in an area where it rains?

I think this is a good point but the analogy needs to be extended. You contract me to do work on your roof but only give me 50% of the money I say the repairs will cost. At the end, I tell you that your new roof will be fine for normal rain showers but that it WILL leak during a downpour. Then, when my prediction comes true, you blame me. This is where personal responsibility comes into play.

Comment Re:By this logic... (Score 2, Insightful) 451

Although I may agree with the concept, the analogy is only possible due to the HIPAA law. Their privacy is not a guaranteed constitutional right. Medical records are treated separately under the law and therefore cannot be used to justify treating other information in the same way. Could we pass a law that explicitly states that electronic communication is personal regardless of the route? Sure, but we don't have one. One could also make a similar analogy to cell phones and voicemail. I assume (IANAL) that they also have laws explicitly protecting privacy of communications sent via them.

Comment Re:Legalization (Score 1) 647

You points may be valid in theory...but who decides the drivers that are above average, average, and below average? If we all got to make that choice then we'd be in the mathematically impossible situation of everyone being better than the average.

Bad driving by itself is not always the problem. Driving 65 down a residential street may result in an accident (other cars backing out of driveways, kids playing near the road, potholes, etc.) that have nothing to do with the driver's ability. BAC may be arbitrary because alcohol affects each of us differently. Speed limits are more consistent. Nobody, no matter how good their driving skills, can stop a 2-ton piece of metal moving 65 mph in 20 feet.

Comment Re:This is only the beginning (Score 1) 111

This isn't a new concept. The public pays for scientific research at an institution of higher learning also funded by tax dollars, yet sometimes the only way you could get a copy of the results is pay for an expensive subscription to a scientific journal, which claims copyright on the published data.

This is a good that has been recently addressed by the NIH public access policy, much to the chagrin of the "expensive scientific journals." As the Internet makes data mining more accessible (and therefore more common), I think we'll see more of these types of arrangements for government-funded projects.

Comment Re:What's "general purpose" vs. "particular" machi (Score 1) 181

I agree that it is difficult to write a general rule to determine if a method patent should be granted, but in today's technological world there is a big difference between the concept of performing an action and implementing that action. Myriad's patent of the BRCA genes is a perfect example. It is fine to grant them a patent on a METHOD for detecting a mutation in the target gene but ridiculous to say that they should hold the rights to all methods that could possibly perform the same function (even if that method has yet to be invented). To me that is like someone discovering the internal combustion engine and being granted a patent for any process that turns fossil fuels into energy.

Comment Re:Bad plan, darlings. (Score 1) 260

What does a digital age have to do with anything?

I think the parent actually answered this:

...public mentality is that even an accusation means you did something wrong.

We've had plenty of discussions here on /. about the consequences of being able to "google" people. How would you like have an anonymous comment link you to possession of child porn, only to have that comment as the top result when someone googles your name? Even if it is completely unsubstantiated, it is a hit containing your name and the words "child pornography." Furthermore, what if the person posting it didn't like you so they started writing it in many comments on many sites (enough that it became difficult for you to get them all removed)? This is a situation where I think anonymity should be trumped the rights of the individual.

Comment Re:Politics of health care (Score 1) 1064

2. Khm, doctor said: "try it", so let's buy 15 instead of 30 (for half the price) and come for more only if it actually helps.

This option illustrates an increasing problem in health care: The doctor knows better (and should) unless I do. Why did the doctor say "try it?" Probably because, especially for conditions like acid-reflux, everybody responds differently and there are no guarenteed solutions.

It is one thing for a group of medical researchers to release guidelines on standard practice for certain conditions. It is completely different when a non-medical professional types something into Google and now claims to be an expert.

What about the buying 15 to "see" if they work? Plenty of drugs, including proton-pump inhibitors, which you most likely were perscribed, take time before any effects can be seen. This type of thinking is why we have more and more antibiotic-resistant infections - people stop taking medication as soon as they feel better (or think it isn't working). Doctors can be (and are) wrong on occasion, but there are plenty of things they do that have a reason (30 days vs. 15 days may not be random, MRIs and X-rays DO NOT show the same thing) even if it isn't immediately apparent.

It is one thing for a group of medical researchers to release treatment guidelines for a certain disease. It is another when a non-medical professional types the name of a condition into Google and then claims to be an expert.

Comment Re:Long answer (Score 1) 564

Where the point is does vary between people - but the law can't.

Actually, this is one of the problems I have with how US law treats minors and their interactions with adults. If a minor lies about their age to an adult, it is the adult's fault/responsibility (statutory rape applies even if the minor lied about their age). However, if the same minor lies about their age to a police officer, it is the minor's fault/responsibility.

Also consider how many times you have read about an 18 year-old declared immature (not mentally disabled, just with a maturity level closer to that of a 15 year-old) and tried as a minor after committing a crime. Now consider how many times you've heard of a 15 year-old tried as an adult.

Inconsistencies in the application of the law allow people in the know (or with the right connections) to take advantage of everyone else.

Comment Re:Got a better way to do things? (Score 2, Interesting) 266

But apparently creating your own website, publishing your letter, and then referencing it as a source would be just fine.

That is the problem with many of the edits of Wikipedia - their definition of a source is murky at best and negligence at its worst. I don't think every post/edit must have a source, but don't reject one because the current article references some random myspace page and the change contradicts it.

If it were up to me, I would only accept textbooks/journal articles as valid sources and relegate everything else to the "See Also" category (I know that textbooks and journal articles can be wrong, but presumably there was some sort of review process that doesn't exist for most other forms of reference).

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 1088

The idea of the Electoral college is to stop the largely populated areas from dominating the smaller and rural areas...

You mean stop the democratic process from reflecting population shifts?

It could be possible for a candidate to get the popular vote simply by concentrating on the population centers and ignoring more then two thirds of the other states...

As opposed to with the current system in which a candidate concentrates on the swing states and ignores more than two thirds of the other states?

What is good in one state doesn't mean it is good in another...

And that is OK. I live in Wisconsin and we know that most of the country considers us a "fly-over" state. We only get attention once every four years if/when we are a swing state in the presidential election...and that's OK. Do you really want the state of Wisconsin (pop ~5 million) having as much or more influence than the city of New York (pop > 10 million)? It is important to prevent the population centers from having all the power, but that is already implemented in congress. The electoral college serves no purpose most years (a candidate wins both the college and the popular vote) and enrages > half the country when they differ . At least a popular vote can be accepted by everyone. No ones feels their vote was more or less important (as IS the case right now...think of the citizens of Florida in 2000).

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I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.