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Comment Re:An unfair fight is the point of war (Score 1) 644

One violent person in a neighbourhood does not make the whole neighbourhood complicit merely because they have done nothing. It's rather difficult to tell the guy with a gun what to do when you have no real police or army to turn to.

Actually I don't really think the people of Iraq ever had much of a say in military budgets.

I would guess that the weapons of todays insurgents are financed from good-old mafia-style intimidation tactics and a peppering of out-of-country support. As such the majority of people just trying to get by have never had too much REAL choice.

Comment Re:they already are pretty constrained (Score 1) 1064

I disagree with the mechanic analogy. GASP, the car anology may not be appropriate :)

Doctors have no parts listing; their tools are primitive compared to the object they care for; their procedual manual is rudementary as well as full of half-truths and false-hoods. Consequently they must constantly be on the lookout incase what they are doing is wrong.

From a medical point of view many paitents really are unique. This is a big problem with modern medicine, we bin diseases by symptoms yet often treat them at a molecular level through drugs. In the future proper diagnosis needs to be improved, we will use personalised medicine that actually determines the molecular profile of a disease and whether a given drug is useful for a patient. Half the drugs we use now are wasted and in some fields, particularly cancer therapy, probably cause more harm than good on many patients.

Comment Re:The assumption here (Score 1) 1064

I doubt that many doctors want to kill their patients, although as Harold Shipman demonstrates a very small minority occasionally will. The really scary thing about Dr. Shipman was the sheer number of patients he deliberately killed without anyone noticing. This is akin to the Madoff scandle in that it highlighted just how aware the "experts" really are. If an average doctor kills one patient every ten years through bad practice can we really be sure the system would pick this up and modify behaviors accordingly?

So the real questions are: how many doctors are too busy or overworked to be competent?; and how many doctors are insufficiently self-critical to actually notice when they are harming or killing people?

That doctors are overworked is largely a self-imposed problem. If overworked doctors clocked half the time for half the money their customers would probably be better off. To compensate med-school intakes can easily be increased.

Secondly, if we have learned anything from the history of medicine its that our theoretically-correct "best practice" can in actuallity be faulty and lead to peoples death. The historical behavior of the medical community towards puerperal fever is a good example of this - during the 19th century in certain hospitals it was simply safer to give birth without a doctor. In such aberrant cases parts of the medical profession may be twisted purely into money making enterprises. Given the gains in quality-of-life scientific-medicine has given us such scenarios must always be searched for, incomplete knowledge, difficult statistical analyses, human greed and beaurocratic opacity almost gurantee they will constantly arise.

Comment Re:Malpractice and markets (Score 1) 1064

Depending on the "health-problams" of person A, real benefits can certainly flow through to person C.

Low incidences of transmissable disease in individuals is a boon to the whole of society. It leads to lower crime, higher property prices and reduces the chance that you will be infected by disease yourself. In this sense certain health costs really are beneficial to all of us.

Other health costs are of course more individual - heart disease and cancer perhaps? I disagree that society should leave such diseases untreated in those who cannot afford it.

Comment Re:Current users? (Score 1) 426

When I go out or on holidays I take cardboard cutouts of people or backdrops with me. It's to ensure that facebook's algorithms are confused by as many fake people, places, activities and false social connections I can get into their datastream.

At first I just did it out of spite to add noise to the advertising signal. But then it got out of hand when I grew attached to Martha, sure she's two dimensional and all but that smile...

Comment Re:France... (Score 1) 622

Imperial Japan killed a LOT of people in their invasion of Manchuria and were not even remotely nice about it. Far more civilians died in Asia than in the European half of the war.

The invasion was forced to end externally by Russia and the US. As a consequence many countries aren't really convinced Japan as a country ever really showed proper remorse, hence the anger. Contrast Japan's behavior as a socitey with the clear remorse Germany has shown over the last 60 years. In terms of not dealing with the nastier parts of their history they are far closer to the Austrian/Italian WWII response or the response of Britian/France/Belgium/Germany/Holland to their African colonial histories.

Comment Re:Attention! (Score 1) 261

We are born into the same world it just looks different to each of us. If you were born in an igloo in the middle of Siberia how likely is it you would be here right now on /.

I'm not talking about genes, just the social situations we find ourselves in the US. If your white access to education and job oppourtunities is a little easier (it used to be MUCH easier). Historically more white families have accumulated wealth; these are the families from which the people who innovate often, but by no means always, arise. How many of the big political families are generational (Bush's, Clinton's, Kennedy's etc.)?

Even 50 years ago just being white gave you far more privilage than today - better access to law and order, assumed correctness in contract disuptes, easier credit. Most of that has been levelled to some extent today which is why Obama is now president - in the long run though he is just a man like any other.

If you were forced to move right now into a town in the middle of rural China how long before your decendents would have: overcome racism; developed language-skills; obtained country-specific education; the political connections and the oppourtunity to run for major?

Comment Re:Attention! (Score 5, Insightful) 261

You see no social equality because people of eropean-decendent have done a mediocre job of trying to bring it about. While on the other side of the equation people of African decent are trying to jump up 1000-years of technological development with all the historical power-imbalences that entails.

Think about how HUGE social differences were - 200 years ago every black man in America was a slave, think on the sheer brutality that implies. In the 1960's (within living memory) seggregation was an established part of much of American society. When slavery was abolished it's not like education or skilled-jobs suddenly jumped into black communities, these things take generations to nuture from parent to child.

Any "physical differences" between races are at most 3rd or 4th order effects. My guess is it wil take a 100 years or more before social equality has advanced to the point where being black and in power in AMERICA is not noteworthy let alone the rest of the world. You've just elected your first black president - celebrate man this is how progress is made, and how we make up for the misdeeds and ill-gotten gains of pyshcopathic forefathers (on every side).

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