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Comment Re:In the U.S., why isn't this obsolete by now? (Score 1) 129

A friend of mine worked on the last census. His job was to physically visit places that people were living like under bridges, in caves, shacks, farms, etc to get them to fill out the census. There are apparently a significant number of people living in strange places without computers.

Comment Re:Local cell tower for 911 (Score 1) 482

Depending on the area, firefighters can effectively always be on call. We have an all volunteer department and they only ever have one or two guys actually at the station (typically the college students who live there). If the live ins are out, the station is empty. If something happens, they call in everyone, go to the station, then head out to the call. There is an app that they use to alert everyone to the call and track who is responding.

But except for the night that you sleep at the station, volunteer firefighters have pretty normal lives. They have jobs, families, go to concerts, etc. And when someone sets their house on fire or crashes their car, they drop everything.

Comment Re:Local cell tower for 911 (Score 1) 482

You are assuming the only kind of emergency involves you needing to call 911. Perhaps the babysitter/hospital is trying to reach you to tell you that your kid fell down the stairs, is at the ER, and they need your consent to operate / put him on a helicopter to another hospital. Perhaps you are a volunteer firefighter and there is a fire.

Comment Re:An even better design? (Score 1) 172

Except the earth isn't a sphere. It's an oblate spheroid that is better modeled as an ellipsoid. This matters. A lot. The radius at the poles is significantly less then the radius at the equator.

And the rocky mountains are pretty damn big. So are the Appalachians (when you talk about tunneling under them). You can't just hand wave them away.

Comment Re:Amazon (Score 1) 210

Amazon never won out cause of tax. Amazon charges tax now, and I still buy stuff from them instead of my local stores. Because Amazon has what I want when I want it. I once tried to buy a book from a local book store. They didn't have it, but would order it for me. It was going to take them two weeks to get it and cost around $15. Amazon had the book for $10 with two day shipping.

Comment Re: Religion (Score 1) 519

So why on earth not just be good because you are a good person, rather than be good because some book written by hunmans with a slew of contradictory statements tells you to be good?

And that's what happens. Evil people are evil. Good people are good. Religion has nothing to do with it. It is simply a tool that provides support and hope to millions of people around the world and gives them moral guideposts. However, a good person is not going to go out and murder babies because someone said their god commands it. They will reject that god. Most people do not accept 'just following orders' as an excuse for hurting people.

The evolution of our moral codes over time shows that as a whole, society examines itself critically and tries to be better. We reject the tenets that we find repulsive and keep the ones we like. Since most people are not actually evil, this tends to work out for the betterment of society as a whole.

Comment Re: Religion (Score 1) 519

Child beaters are sick fucks and should go to jail. We all agree on that.

People who use religion to justify child beating, murder, etc are sick fucks and should go to jail. We all agree on that.

People use religion to justify being sick fucks ergo religion is evil. That is where we disagree.

There was a time that I used to think organized religions were evil because there is a lot of evil that is done in God's name. But one day I realized that they are actually made up of a lot of good people who use the tenets of their religion for good and that making generalizations about 'religion is evil' does them a disservice. When people go out an feed the homeless, help them with jobs, give diapers, clothes, and support to pregnant women, or take in people running from abusive spouses in the name of their God, should we disparage them and their efforts to make the world a better place? Do we lump those people in with the murderers because some asshole has decided to use their God's name to justify horrific things? Or do we place the blame on the asshole?

Comment Re: Religion (Score 1) 519

And in the US, parents who kill their children go to jail.

People who beat their children in God's name are no different than people who beat their children because they are drunk and the kid isn't listening or wet their bed or talked back. The drunk isn't going to regret it. Not really. They might regret the consequences, but they still blame the victim, not themselves.

Wasn't there a football player who took a switch to his naked toddler and said he did nothing wrong? That's how his dad disciplined him and he didn't see anything wrong with it? Meanwhile we have a kid covered with welts and cuts. And that woman in Florida who drugged her daughter, stuffed her in the trunk of the car, and then didn't report her missing from months so she could go clubbing or something? Or the people who let their babies starve to death while they play video games? I guarantee if you watch your local news you will hear about people getting arrested for beating/killing their kids for all kids of depraved reasons. God told me to is actually pretty far down the list with 'the bitch wouldn't stop crying' being at the top.

People who think it's ok to hurt other people don't need religion. It's just convenient and easy. The world is full of sick fucks who will latch onto any excuse to be evil. It doesn't make the rest of bad people.

Comment Re: Religion (Score 1) 519

Religion also tells us to help the poor and love our neighbors.

Like a gun or a kitchen knife, it can be used for good or evil. Blaming the religion is a convenient and easy way to explain evil people. Nationalism and the 'greater good' is also a convenient scape goat for evil. So is poverty, money, love, drugs, and alcohol. When people beat their spouse to death, we do not blame domestic life.

Some people are just evil. Does it really matter how they justify themselves? Does it matter if you beat your kid to death because God told you to or because that's how you were raised or because you were pissed off or because you were drunk?

Comment Re: Religion (Score 1) 519

I don't think anyone denies that there are violent sects of Christianity or that horrific things have been done in the name of God.

The point is that the modern, mainstream Christian sects condemn violence. When was the last time Christians led a crusade to wipe out the infidels? One of the mainstream sects with actual world power and influence?

The whole "remember the Crusades!" bit whenever someone points out that Christianity teaches peace is a bit childish. If you have to go back 400 years to get your example of Christian rampage, isn't that a pretty good record?

Comment Re:No no no (Score 1) 607

What I am suggesting is that experience counts. Just like in any field. Before you can know that something doesn't look right, you need to know what it's supposed to look like. But you also need to know what all the variations are, etc. If we are just going to give doctors a flow chart and replace them with a computer program like WebMD, we are going to end up doing needless, invasive procedures on a lot of people because diagnosing a lot of conditions isn't as simple as "you have a stuffy nose and a headache. Its a sinus infection, have some anti-antibiotics".

If the troubleshooting tree doesn't work for "my computer won't turn on", what makes you think it will work for "I have chronic headaches"?

Comment Re:No no no (Score 3, Informative) 607

When I was a teenager I ended up having my tonsils removed. The doctor thought they looked "funny" and sent off to pathology. Pathology came back and said "lymphoma". So we got to go visit the pediatric oncologist who started doing blood tests, bone marrow samples, and scans looking for cancer.

They were going to crack my chest open to put a center line and start chemo. But the oncologist thought things weren't adding up. I wasn't sick enough. So he ordered a DNA test for the ebstein bar virus (mono). That test came back positive when three other of the regular mono tests came back negative. Apparently mono can look identical to lymphoma under a microscope.

The protocol was to crack my chest open. The doctor, realizing things weren't adding up, ordered one more test and saved a teen age kid from going through chemo for no reason. Medicine isn't always a cut and dry if A then do B.

Comment Re:No no no (Score 1) 607

OMG! How horrible that we have strict training requirements for doctors! We should just let anyone with a 4 year degree practice medicine, do surgery, and prescribe drugs to babies. That whole apprenticeship and practice thing is a waste of time! Learn by doing!

I have a friend that got all the way into his residency and then while doing an ER stint that involved lemons in an awkward place, decided to change careers to nuclear engineering. He realized he didn't really want to ever deal with something like that again and he didn't want to be a doctor that badly. There is a reason the bar is high.

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