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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Draknor Re:writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythin (455 comments)

While I agree with your general concept (I think), this example doesn't demonstrate it because you don't have enough context.

Why would the child giggle when dad eats a bite of chocolate? Simply put - the child wouldn't, assuming this is his first observation of the pattern of behavior. The child would have no reason to giggle, because nothing is inherently funny about it. Dad (and Mom, for that matter) go into the refrigerator to get food all the time. Mom (who most likely does the grocery shopping) puts food in the refrigerator all the time.

The child would giggle if he had observed a pattern of behavior where:
1. Mom puts a "special food item" (like a chocolate bar) in the fridge
2. Dad sneaks a bite of this special item without Mom's awareness
3. Mom later discovers a missing bite of her food.
4. Mom (or Dad) respond with some behavior which the little boy decides is funny

So on subsequent repetitions of this pattern, the boy sees steps 1 & 2, and mentally projects step 4, causing him to giggle.

Alternatively, Dad cues little boy during the initial iteration of step 2 that this is a funny action (perhaps doing it by acting in a silly manner, smiling & laughing more than normal, etc), in which case his laughter has nothing to do with a mental simulation, but is merely reflecting Dad's attitude.

The bottom line is -- humans are REALLY GOOD at pattern recognition, and computers less so (currently). What you call "simulations" I see as simply extrapolations of observed behavior patterns -- and if computers got good at autonomously recognizing human behavior, they'd get good at "simulations" too.

about 2 months ago

The American Workday, By Profession

Draknor Re:Seems good to me. (146 comments)

And unions are bad again... why?

(making a generalization - I don't know if tompaulco has ever said anything about unions or not.) Many posters comment on this extreme power dynamic differential that they are at the short end of, but then no one seems to be in favor of unions. Not saying unions aren't without their problems, but the simple fact is the only thing that can effectively fight organized bureaucracy & greed (like management) is ... more organized bureaucracy & greed (in the form of unions).

My $0.02, anyway...

about 5 months ago

How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

Draknor Re:The Real Story Should Be... (286 comments)

I got a parking ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant, despite the fact that the curb in that location was NOT painted yellow. A block away the curb around the hydrant WAS painted yellow.

I took photos & my ticket to the judge. I was told the curb markings are for convenience only; doesn't matter if it wasn't painted. He did knock a few bucks of my ticket, but he didn't dismiss it.

about 8 months ago

If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

Draknor Re:Free market (353 comments)

While I agree with your general sentiment, you are missing two key points:
1. While "me driving to work" and "me driving someone else to work for compensation" are the same physical actions, they have very different intents and motives, so they are NOT the same. As another posted wrote (and I have friends who confirm) - as a private pilot you CANNOT take passengers on flights for compensation, even if you are flying the same aircraft you normally fly alone (or with non-paying passengers).

2. The risks to a passenger vs another driver are very different. If I'm a passenger in an ill-maintained vehicle, I have no control over my situation. If the axle breaks then I have to suffer whatever consequences happen. But if I'm a different driver on the road - I have options in terms of what I can do with my vehicle, when the other vehicle's axle breaks - I can slam on the brakes, swerve around, etc. As a driver, I might be able to avoid the dangerous situation, or I might make the dangerous situations worse -- but being in control of a vehicle I have options that the passenger does not.

So yes, I think it is legitimate for cab / taxi services to be held to a higher standard than regular drivers.

That said, I agree we have too many terrible drivers on American roads (I'm assuming you are American), and I would not be opposed to elevating the standards for everyone! But that is orthogonal to if cabs / taxis should be held to a higher standard than regular drivers - I would support both.

about 9 months ago

A Primer on Data Backup for Small- to Medium-Sized Companies (Video)

Draknor Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (76 comments)

You make the assumption the editor's goal is NOT to use the readers as targeted customers.

I'm not sure that's a valid assumption.

about a year ago

An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Draknor Re:It doesn't cost any more to serve more data (479 comments)

Simple technical solution, maybe -- but I imagine your billing & support costs would go through the roof, with everyone calling in not understanding why the internet was fast yesterday but slow today, or they got charged more this month then last month.

I don't know about Teksavvy, but given it's name I'm guessing it's users probably understand a bit more about what they are doing. A small rural telco coop in Iowa -- not as likely to grok this. Esp if most of them are using 5 GB / month -- I downloaded more than that in a 24 hour period just patching video games.

1 year,11 days

Why a Cure For Cancer Is So Elusive

Draknor Re:Why morons are so prevalent in scientific circl (366 comments)

If your immune system can kill off cells that have mutated -- a sort of integrity check -- then you can't get cancer.

True - except that it's reasonable to assume that even in a perfectly healthy system, immune function decreases and cell mutations increase with age. So at some point more cells will be mutating than the immune system is able to keep up with. Keep boosting the immune system and reducing causes for mutations and you kick that can down the road, but you can't eliminate that intersection.

I guess you could possibly kick it past some other biological deadline (eg running out of telomeres, perhaps?), effectively "preventing cancer"? Until we figure out how to lengthen telomeres.

1 year,25 days

Why a Cure For Cancer Is So Elusive

Draknor Re:Why morons are so prevalent in scientific circl (366 comments)

The point still stands that longevity beyond reproductive/rearing age is rarely an evolutionary advantage.

This is plausible in the case of an individual, but I put forth the theory that it is NOT true at a macro level -- that 'tribes' (communities, if you prefer) with long-lived members (well beyond reproductive age) would benefit from greater care, knowledge, & experience and would thrive better than tribes that died shortly after reproduction stopped being viable. In this way evolution would not select specific genes for longevity, but rather select populations that carried genes that promoted long healthy lives.

IANA[whoever studies this kind of stuff] so I have no idea if anyone has researched such a theory, but it seems imminently plausible to me that a tribe with members ranging from 0-120 years of age could be more successful than a tribe with members only aging until 30 before dying. More members to hunt, gather, share "eat this not that" type of knowledge, know/remember important environmental events and geographic locations, etc.

1 year,25 days

Lawmakers Out To Kill the Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate

Draknor Re:Maybe this corn can be used for food again? (314 comments)

Some things don't need regular repeal - some laws are just that good. Like laws against murder.

Right, and copyright -- because everyone agrees that these laws are important, right?

I like the idea of all laws having automatic sunsets - maybe with max of 10 or 20 years out. It's an automatic opportunity to review the legislation again when it comes for renewal. Does it mean that all laws will be re-analyzed in depth? No, of course not - most of the core legal framework would just be renewed without debate in giant, omnibus-like bills.

But it could trigger discussions about topics that might have changed in the last couple of decades - things like copyright, patents, healthcare, taxation, immigration, gun laws -- topics that have had material change and should be re-evaluated.

And it helps prevent old, dumb laws from sitting on the books, like these (most of these happen to be state laws, but the point stands):
Dominoes may not be played on Sunday
Shotguns are required to be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.
A man may not seduce a woman by lying, and claiming he will marry her.


about a year ago

Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Draknor Re:Accuracy of Theranos Tests (282 comments)

I think you responded to the wrong post, but I'll bite anyway -- sure, it's easy to self-diagnose incorrectly. I'm guilty of it myself. But the ability to get labwork done (on my own dime) is super valuable to me, because (anecdotally) doctors follow their traditional protocols, which are generalized for the population and (often, it seems to me) rely on prescribing a magic pill.

I was diagnosed by my doctor with hypothryoidism based on a high (but not astronomical) TSH. My doctor would have NEVER ordered a lab for free triiodothyronine - she just rx'ed synthroid and was done with me. I did more research on my own, decided I really wanted to track FT3 & FT4 because I suspected my symptoms strongly correlated with those levels rather than TSH. And I discovered low/normal FT3/FT4 is NOT good for me - despite it being within the reference range.

For patients that are willing to take charge of their health, having more access to tests is a good thing. Doesn't mean patients shouldn't have conversations with their doctors - I'm meeting with mine in 3 weeks - but those can now be much more fruitful conversations.

about a year ago

Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Draknor Re:How to interpret results (282 comments)

Exactly. You need a baseline to "compare" results.

Which I don't get with today's system.

I've been feeling really fatigued lately so I had an iron test done. I have low iron-binding capacity, and yet high serum iron. Is that normal for me? I have no idea - I'm 33 years old and I've NEVER had my iron checked before, because my doctor(s) have never ordered it. At least today, I can go online to order tests (paid out of pocket, drawn at local service centers for LabCorp or Quest) that I think might be useful, irregardless of if my doctor would order it or not, and start to look at some of those things pro-actively.

about a year ago

Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Draknor Re:hemoglobin test (282 comments)

Exactly where I'm at right now - diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 2-3 years ago, given the standard synthetic thyroid hormone and sent on my way. Many dosage changes & roller-coasters of symptoms, now I'm ordering all my own tests online at sites like truehealthlabs.com & directlabs.com & anylabtestnow.com (not affiliated, just a satisfied customer) -- they just requisition orders for labwork to be done at LabCorps or Quest.

I order online, go to a local LabCorbs or Quest patient service center, have the blood drawn, and 3-5 business days later get emailed the results. I get exactly the labs I want, when I want them -- not on my primary doc's schedule or whim. And yeah, I'm paying for these labs out of pocket, but like the GGP posted - I care a lot more about my health & specific condition than my dr does, and if I'm willing to put in the extra time & effort for additional testing, why shouldn't I be able to?

I do still need my doc's guidance (or probably a specialist, given some of my recent confusing results), to help figure out what the results mean in combination with each other, and what additional tests may be useful to run to shed more light on what's going on, but it makes my occasional 15 minute office visit more valuable by discussing lab results, not just deciding we need to run some basic labs.

about a year ago

US Postal Service To Make Sunday Deliveries For Amazon

Draknor Re:what? (258 comments)

I think the question of whether or not something should be government-run (or at least involved) vs free market is: Are we, as a society, okay if some people don't get this service?

If the answer to that is 'yes', then free market is probably the way to go.
But if the answer to that is 'no', then free market won't work -- free market requires the voluntary participation of buyers AND sellers.

Don't care if some people don't have health care or education because they can't afford it? Free market is the way to go.

Think health care & education are important for a civilized, well-functioning society? Probably need to have government involvement then -- which is not to say our current systems are perfect (far from it!) but "free market" is not the solitary answer.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Which Encrypted Cloud Storage Provider?

Draknor Re:Why? (200 comments)

Because people want automated off-site backups (a good idea), and not everyone has the knowledge to administer a remote hosted server?

about a year ago

HealthCare.gov: What Went Wrong?

Draknor Re:Here is a thought.. (400 comments)

Some people object to the concept of the government being the final arbitrator of life and death. If an insurance company refuses to cover something, I can attempt to get funding elsewhere. When the government does so, I have little to no options left- even if it is to have the hospital perform the procedure and take the charges off as part of the charity work needed to keep their tax exempt status which does happen all the time.

Wait, what? So when an insurance company denies you a service, you can "attempt to get funding elsewhere"? Like where, pray-tell? You basically have 4 options:
1. Appeal the denial & hope you can get them to cover it anyway
2. Pay the cost of the procedure in full and figure out how to cover it (debt, fundraiser, etc)
3. Negotiate with the hospital for a self-pay discount or charity care
4. Don't get the procedure.

Those are the same 4 options you have if your plan is provided by the government, and that gov't plan doesn't cover the procedure.

The simple fact of health care is, we can't afford to do all the procedures, for all the people, all the time. We have finite resources - so they HAVE to be allocated. And someone HAS to decide HOW they are allocated, which means someone has to say "we will pay for this" and "we won't pay for that". That's the reality - no getting around it. What "this" and "that" are -- plenty of room for reasonable debate there, with parameters for profitability, ethics & morality, etc.

Personally, the biggest problem that I see with our current system (which is starting to change), is we don't have "health care", we have "disease care". Your doctor is paid to do services for you, not for keeping you healthy. And the impression I get is that many patients are not "partners" in their own health -- they have a problem, they want to go to a doctor and have that problem fixed, and not have to change themselves. "I don't want to change my diet & lifestyle - just give me a pill to pop to make it all better." I think if doctors were reimbursed for keeping you healthy, and patients had a shared stake in that (besides the obvious benefit of living longer, healthier lives), we would have a very different healthcare system (and probably much, much more effective & economical).

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?

Draknor Re:Join.me (116 comments)

another plug for join.me -- we use it for screen-sharing for work (such as virtual meetings, conference calls, etc). I paid for the professional account ($79/yr, I think?) because I get a conference phone line with that, and it was a simple, easy-to-use service that I felt was worth it.

Stupid-simple to use -- user just visits a simple URL (join.me/my-url-here) to observer. If you pass presenter control to them, the browser will prompt to download an executable that runs to host. No install necessary, just download & run.

about a year ago

How To Develop Unmaintainable Software

Draknor Re:Old news (211 comments)

I think you are missing the author's points in your rebuttal.

Testing server -- maybe it's not ALWAYS possible with expensive enterprise-y server software, but just about anyone can spin up a VM on their dev machine to simulate (with varying degrees of accuracy) a production environment.

Secret logins & back doors -- you mean you've never created a "god" or "super admin" account (or "secret URL") that could access all kinds of technical / debugging info that regular admins/users shouldn't see? Having such an account means your application has additional logic & code paths to support -- code that's probably not being adequately (if at all) tested and probably has bugs, some of which may be security-related.

Test data in production - yeah, I've worked on systems (such as health care IT systems), where project team puts test data in the system. It sucks for operational users. "What, you mean Dr. Smith doesn't have a 2pm appt w/ TEST, DUMMY today?" "The compliance dept just got a call about a six-figure insurance claim to Medicare for a pregnancy-related hospitalization for a DUMBASS, JOE -- anyone know about that?" Test data belongs in a test database.

Frameworks -- in my humble opinion (and I'm not exactly alone) there are very few situations where run-time performance is actually "absolutely critical". More often (in my experience) time-to-develop "performance" is a bigger factor, and rolling-your-own (to get alleged better run-time performance) will cost you development time, bug-fix time, QA & testing-time -- which, for the vast majority of applications, will cost more than simply buying faster hardware (the happy medium way is to optimize just the critical slow parts in your application that the framework handles sub-optimally).

Choice of languages -- again, I think you missed the point. Any language is fine. His point is to keep your project consistent. If you've developed a hair-brained solution that involves Perl, cgi-bin, bash, PHP, and chunks of C -- it probably works great and flawlessly, like you said. Until that programmer (1) retires or (2) gets hit by a bus. Then the junior programming intern they hire to take his place is screwed. And that's the author's point -- write maintainable code. A mismash of languages & bindings "because they are cool" may function, but it's not maintainable. If your star programmer has this Perl/bash/PHP/C contraption and it's well-documented and logical, then maybe that junior intern will take it over and, with a bit of a learning curve, master it. But if your programmer used 4 different languages because "it's cool to make it complicated" -- well, good luck.

about a year ago

Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

Draknor Re:In a low tech way, (512 comments)

Not too mention, the horse still retains full autonomy and can, at its discretion, ignore you.

about a year ago

Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

Draknor Re:Libertarians (512 comments)

"Lower", huh? How would you like to qualify that?

I've lived with animals before. Sometimes I wonder if we really are "smarter" then they are.

Besides, I'm positive that I've had pets that were smarter than many members of Congress.

about a year ago

Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

Draknor Re:Cockroach rights? (512 comments)

Simple - commitment to non-violence is a choice to avoid conscious killing. Microorganisms killed in the course of normal bodily functions is not conscious activity.

about a year ago


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