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Comments

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Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

dorpus What if it will kill 100,000 people instead? (186 comments)

I work as a statistician for a hospital chain. We already do data mining and have interventions for our sickest patients. Our experience, consistent with the medical literature, has shown that badgering patients with whatever "preventative" interventions increase hospitalizations and other costs. These programs persist because of a statistical illusion of regression to the mean -- people tend to be enrolled in such programs when their health is at a nadir, then they stabilize therafter. It makes it appear as if the intervention reduced utilization. In fact, a proper comparison shows that it actually increases utilization. Does Google think that spamming millions of people with robo-calls about eating apples will improve anything?

about a month ago
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Creationism In Texas Public Schools

dorpus The Creationist Poles (770 comments)

Santa Clause comes from the North Pole. The Easter Bunny comes from the East Pole. Uncle Sam comes from the South Pole on July 4th. And the Wicked Witch comes from the West Pole on Halloween. (That's what I tell my 4-yo son and I live in Texas.)

about 6 months ago
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Why Birds Fly In a V Formation

dorpus Convergence by Probability (207 comments)

Sooner or later, every cat I've owned has developed a habit of resting next to me while pushing their hindfoot against me. It seems to be their way of showing affection while still asserting dominance.

about 6 months ago
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SpaceShipTwo Sets a New Altitude Record

dorpus So many promises (117 comments)

In 2024, will they still be selling tickets for space flights that will "start" next year?

about 7 months ago
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New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates

dorpus Does it do any good? (263 comments)

While Asian countries are often accused of taking jobs from the West, the President of South Korea's Hyundai Motors visited factories in Russia and the Czech Republic. He said he was impressed by the quality of workers who were far superior to South Korean workers -- they never staged strikes and had far lower wages. While a South Korean factory takes 30 hours to make a car, the Czech factory takes 16. The visiting Korean managers could not keep up with the pace of production, so they received help from local secretaries in their 20's to fill their checklists. South Korean industry has been crippled by constant labor strikes demanding ever more wages and shorter working hours.

Do students who score high on achievement tests demand higher wages, cushy jobs, and become less internationally competitive?

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20131203-00000030-xinhua-cn
http://japanese.joins.com/article/999/178999.html?servcode=300&sectcode=300

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

dorpus Re:Phases of Evolution (343 comments)

So if physicists start mass-producing SpaceX rockets, are you saying they will somehow behave any better?

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

dorpus Re:Physics versus MBA (343 comments)

I'm sensing a gap in logic here. Are you saying that the books you list will magically get you an MBA degree?

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

dorpus Re:Phases of Evolution (343 comments)

Comparing PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, to other companies in comparable fields: do we see financial firms moving en masse to "low-tax cheap-labor cess pools"? Do aerospace companies do this? Last I heard, there are not a lot of financial or aerospace jobs in low-tax cheap-labor cess pools.

It could be that the likes of Boeing, VISA, BofA, etc. are run by plenty of MBAs and they do a fine job.

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

dorpus Re:Phases of Evolution (343 comments)

So he founded PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. How would he have PayPal taken seriously by the global financial industry with no expertise in the financial industry? Until then, it will just remain a bit player in online transactions. If Tesla Motors and SpaceX are to become mass-market commodities, are physicists the best people to put in charge of marketing, litigation, customer service, and financing, to name a few departments?

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

dorpus Phases of Evolution (343 comments)

Many startup bosses have said the same things before. When their businesses grow, they will quietly hire MBAs for needed expertise on complex accounting, legal issues, and human resources. Physicists like to think they are smarter than everyone else, but they often make big fools of themselves on non-physics topics that require social intelligence.

about 8 months ago
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Genetic Convergent Evolution: Stunning Gene Similarities Among Diverse Animals

dorpus What I've said all along (164 comments)

I got my PhD in statistical genetics. Why should we equate genetic homology to evolutionary homology? All these studies that speak of a hypothetical Adam or Eve assume that the same mutations could not have arisen independently in different parts of the world.

about a year ago
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Examining the Expected Effects of Dark Matter On the Solar System

dorpus Serious Question (190 comments)

This may or may not relate to dark matter, but the other day, an electrical storm was passing over my house, and I momentarily saw a dark spot on the wall. Is there a scientific explanation for such phenomena? I've never had visual disturbances like that otherwise.

about a year ago
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UnGrounded: British Airways Attempts to Bottle Some Startup Spirit

dorpus Why do we need more engineers? (128 comments)

Nobody hires thousands of engineers. A typical employer will hire at most a handful of engineers, if they are needed at all.

I am a statistician for a major hospital chain. I do important work and I am a celebrity within the organization, but there has been no need for more statisticians. There is only so much work that requires formal analysis.

about a year ago
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Genomics Impact On US Economy Approaches $1 Trillion

dorpus Funny (115 comments)

Yes, I've followed the boom of "bioinformatics" majors and their spectacular inability to get jobs. I've been to academic conferences that talked big about the promise of genomics, never mind all the unemployed PhDs scurrying around looking for jobs. I have read academic journals that talked big about the job prospects of such students, quoting an exceptional graduate that managed to get an assistant professorship somewhere. When I asked the writer about other graduates, they acknowledged that they had only interviewed that one student, and have no idea about how other graduates did. Why yes, "genomic medicine" has produced its laughable failures such as Bi-dil, along with other new age "biotech" companies that make up whatever random DNA and sell the "genome data" to customers, telling them that they are at risk for whatever random diseases. If you test a sugar pill on enough "ethnic groups", it will appear successful in at least one of them. And so it goes for billions of random DNA letters -- one can use the data to prove anything they like. Accordingly, real academics do not take genetics seriously.

about a year ago
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Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US

dorpus Re:I don't miss fire ants (250 comments)

Fire ants do interbreed.

http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/forages/events/FC13/03/ANR-1248%20Fire%20ants%20and%20cattle.pdf
http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/07/fire_ants_joes_outdoor_office.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=vxt5BqOKEAIC&pg=PA510&lpg=PA510&dq=fire+ants+interbreed&source=bl&ots=8eWZaSkLp_&sig=uJHTanPl1LV7mhieoReC1eX0plc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dwiYUdimJ-rI0gHttIGwBQ&ved=0CEwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=fire%20ants%20interbreed&f=false

Also, they do bite before stinging.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ants

Different plant "species", such as of pine, do interbreed as well. The distinction of species vs. sub-species is often blurred in the wild.

about a year ago
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Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US

dorpus Re:I don't miss fire ants (250 comments)

I did not see such a chemical at the local hardware stores. I did learn the futility of any agent, since they bred faster than any chemical could kill them. They seemed to have a deep underground reservoir of breeders.

about a year ago
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Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US

dorpus Re:I don't miss fire ants (250 comments)

They naturally developed a population cycle. The lawn would be a sea of ants one year, then be relatively sparse the next year due to starvation or whatever diseases they had.

about a year ago
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Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US

dorpus I don't miss fire ants (250 comments)

We just sold a home in Remlap, Alabama. The entire mountain that the house was on was owned by fire ants -- they built underground interconnected cities, so there was no point in spraying a mound. They were aggressive and bit you without provocation. When I got bit, my blood pressure dropped and I felt very ill for a few hours. The fire ants interbreed with local species, so they came in a large variety of appearances. The ones we had were very small and dark crimson, almost black. Their bite was all out of proportion to their size, though. We think they may have interbred with crazy ants because they liked to walk crazy zigzag paths.

about a year ago
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In Iceland, Tap Cellphones To Avoid Incest

dorpus Incidentally (296 comments)

When I went to grad school to get my PhD in biostatistics, they taught us in genetic epidemiology class that 1st cousin marriages do not have a significantly higher risk of genetic problems in offspring than marriages by unrelated people.

Some parts of the world where 1st cousin marriages have taken place for many generations do have higher concentrations of some forms of thalassemia. But for a typical American who does not come from such a lineage, the medical risks of first cousin marriages are minimal.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Nuclear Explosion occurred in China

dorpus dorpus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dorpus writes "http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-6-3/71353.html

A nuclear explosion occurred near the epicenter of the Chinese earthquake, according to the Epoch Times. Overseas Chinese website Boxun News reported that the expert confirmed there was a nuclear explosion near the epicenter, based on witness reports and the discovery of concrete rubble believed to have come from an underground military installation.

According to a China News Services (CNS) report on May 31, 2008, paramedics from People's Liberation Army (PLA) hospitals and psychologists from Beijing onsite May 23 found concrete debris at the bottom of a valley near the epicenter. The half-mile-wide valley was covered with debris 10 — 20 inches thick, covering the valley floor for almost 1.5 miles.

Chinese Internet surfers commented that right after the quake military Special Forces blocked traffic heading toward the epicenter on the mountain, and men in white chemical protective clothing in military vehicles were also spotted driving toward the mountain. Rescue personnel near the epicenter were all military, according to witnesses.

The expert believes the nuclear explosion was not confined to the underground test area and has caused radiation contamination, stating that in a call to Beijing he recommended authorities accept help from other countries, seal the area, find and provide help to those who had been exposed to contamination during the rescue work, and take emergency measures to prevent water contamination."

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