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Crowdsourcing the Discovery of New Antibiotics

miketheanimal Re:Obvious questions (73 comments)

Since you linked the WikiPedia article, you could have reported it correctly: The discovery of penicillin is attributed to Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928.

about a year ago
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Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

miketheanimal Re:hrm (730 comments)

FWIW, I'm British and I support the monarchy for two special reasons (whether in practice they'd be any use can of course be debated): First, pretty well all the Bristish armed forces swear allegiance to the monarch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_(United_Kingdom)#Armed_forces), so in theory if the government tried to use them against the population then the monarch could order them back to barracks, and the generals and whatnot would have a cast iron reason to tell the government where to go. Second, the monarch can dissolve parliament which triggers a general election. I'd guess this means that, in the event of a knife edge like the one that got Bush in as president, so none of the parties can form a government, rather then wrangling in court, the monarch can effectively force another vote.

1 year,16 hours
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We're Safe From the Latest SARS-Like Disease...For the Moment

miketheanimal Death Rates (106 comments)

"Back in 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS killed about 10 per cent of the 8,000 people it infected in southern China and Hong Kong" I asked the following question about H5N1, it seems to be just as relevent to SARS: When H5N1 was doing the rounds in the UK, I, and my wife, and a lot of other people I knew, had long running and/or recurrent chest infections over a couple of months or so. None of us was ill enough to bother to go to the doctor, and there were enough people about with the same symptoms that we were still working, so we didn't need a medical report to miss work. So, we never got on any statistics for having something. My feeling (and my wife's, who is a biologist) is that its quite likely that a lot of people got H5N1 but were never diagnosed nor counted. This makes the claimed "H5N1 killed n% of people it infected" (whatever n% was) totally specious. And I'd bet that the same is true of SARS. Unless there is random testing then nobody knows what the death rate is, and all these death rates are scare mongering by governments and the drugs industry,

1 year,11 days
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive?

miketheanimal Re:Write your own! (227 comments)

There can be a lot going for this. I work on a quite large web application written in Python, used by medium-to-large companies. It uses a custom MVC framework which I started 4-5 years ago. Like AC, we understand it, there are no hidden corners, and when we need to modify it to do something we need, we do so. Downsides are documentation (you can't rely on others to do it), and maybe recruitment.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:sockatume has problems understanding (668 comments)

No, they are not. The WSJ figures are quoted for the whole of the outbreak (by July it was essentially over); likely there were cases elsewhere in Wales, but there was no significant other outbreak so (unless we think there will be another outbreak) we can assume that the 1219 figure is broadly correct. They are not figures for the early stages (do you mean disease or outbreak?). Now, I don't have the over-diagnosis figures to hand for last year, but unless you can show me that they were around 50%, then you order-of-magnitude increase claim is pure speculation. If you check out http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgId=457&pid=25444 (NHS site for Wales) you can find "Reported notifications of measles usually far exceed the actual numbers of confirmed cases. Other rashes are often mistaken for measles". Unfortunately, they don't say by how much, which is a shame because there are some claims of 3000% overdiagnosis, which seems pretty wacky.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:sockatume has problems understanding (668 comments)

Because I strongly suspect there is a tendency to increasing over-diagnosis as outbreak size grows. Most doctors will have seen few if any cases of measles, so if someone presents with a measles-like rash during an outbreak, then it is more likely to be diagnosed as measles than when there is no outbreak. I also know of one case where a child with a rash was taken to the doctor, who said, no, definitely not measles ... then noticed on the records that the child had not been noticed, and instantly changed the diagnosis (and declined to take a sample to test). As it turned out, it was not measles. I'd not argue with over-reporting being uncontroversial in general, but I question whether it is independent of outbreak size.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:sockatume has problems understanding (668 comments)

Indeed, it is the change that matters, in which case, why quote a figure which is known to be incorrect, rather than the best known figure (laboratory confirmations). However, since this year laboratory tests were suspended because the public health labs. could not keep up (nor were the untested samples kept for later analysis), we don't actually know what the change is.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:WSJ gets the figures wrong. (668 comments)

The WSJ quotes the outbreak as 1219 to end July, this is similar to the figures in the UK press. To the beginning of May 850 had been tested, so even if *all* the remaining cases were positive, that would only give 370 + (1219-850) which is 739, which is *still* only 65%. In fact, around May the UK suspended mandatory testing since the public health laboratories were overloaded, so unless you have some additional information, I stand by a factor of 2 over diagnosis.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:sockatume has problems understanding (668 comments)

Because the figure is inflated. If measles outbreaks are a problem then they are a problem without inflating the figure (which was generally reported similarly in the UK press). Inflating the figures is not so different from the anti-vaccine people making unjustified claims.

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:WSJ gets the figures wrong. (668 comments)

In the UK vaccines are not government mandated, that's why some children are not vaccinated. And the shit didn't exactly hit the fan. One guy died, he had atypical measles, the doctor didn't diagnose and sent him home to go to bed and take some Paracetamol. So far as I'm aware nobody else had any long term problems. BTW, I'm intrigued, why "snob"? Because I use my brain?

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal Re:sockatume has problems understanding (668 comments)

No, I'm comparing the number of laboratory tests to the number of laboratory confirmations. Up to the start of May (by which time the outbreak had mostly run its course) there where 1170 notifications, of which 850 were tested .... of which only 370 confirmed measles. So the actual number of cases was more like 530 (1219 * 370/850).

about a year ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

miketheanimal WSJ gets the figures wrong. (668 comments)

From TFA and quoted by the poster: "A measles outbreak infected 1,219 people in southwest Wales between November 2012 and early July, compared with 105 cases in all of Wales in 2011." Wrong, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/02/measles-epidemic-swansea-teenagers-targeted-vaccinations (May 2nd) "The headline total for measles across Wales is now at 1,170 cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases in the outbreak stands at 370 out of a total of 850 samples tested." So the outbreak is exagerated by more than a factor of two.

about a year ago
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How Do You Get Better Bug Reports From Users?

miketheanimal Re:Make them feel connected. (205 comments)

Our power users are people who are good at selling you stuff you don't actually want. None of them are developers.

about a year ago
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How Do You Get Better Bug Reports From Users?

miketheanimal No (205 comments)

No. Well, not yet, but I don't expect that to change anytime soon.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Programmers Who Have Not Stayed Current?

miketheanimal Re:Can't offer much (509 comments)

In an ideal world the company would allow people to spend time looking at new technologies and stuff, otherwise you rely on employees doing it in their own time - in which case the company can't impose any direction - or on hiring new people - in which case the new people don't know about the company's business and systems. Of course, that generally doesn't happen because the bean counters are too stupid. Me, I'm self-employed, and some of the time I bill to clients is to cover looking at new stuff. I figure they are interested in what they get for my billing, and not precisely how I get there. No-one has compained yet.

about a year and a half ago
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Pakistan's PM Demands International Blasphemy Laws From UN

miketheanimal Blasphemy, really (957 comments)

OK. Lets do it. The Koran says that Jesus was a prophet (abliet rather a special one) and not the Son of God. That is blasphemy, so the Koran should be banned in all Christian countries. I may be an aetheist, but I know double standard where I see them.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Blocks 'Innocence of Muslim' Video In Indonesia and India

miketheanimal Re:Well, with a lot of differences (484 comments)

England already has Sharia courts.

This is technically true but grossly misleading: England also already has Jewish courts. They have exactly the same standing, which is they have no standing in law. They operate purely where the plaintiffs agree to abide by their judgement. Really, they are no different from say two people going to a mutual friend and asking the friend to adjudicate on a disagreement.

more than 2 years ago
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Diaspora* Announces It Is Now a "Community Project"

miketheanimal Re:Some tools are just plain bad. (124 comments)

I detest Ruby and ROR as much as the next man, but I have to take issue with "active record" causing security holes. Its not active record, its using active record with mass assignment that is the problem. Though, active record can cause horrible performance. I blame the lets-hide-SQL-behind-an-ORM culture; nothing wrong with ORM *provided* you understand what happens behind the scenes (and how RDBMSs can be performance killed).

more than 2 years ago
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Study Finds Unvaccinated Students Putting Other Students At Risk

miketheanimal Re:There's a shock... (1025 comments)

http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2654:united-states-disease-death-rates&catid=55:united-states-deaths-from-diseases&Itemid=55 By the time the measles vaccine was introduced in the US, the death rate was down to under 1 per 100,000. Since almost everyone would have contracted measles once, and assuming a population of 200 million with an average life expectancy of 50 years, then that's about 4 million births per year, or 40 deaths. You are free to argue for vaccines, but please don't selectively quote misleading statistics, even TFA does.

more than 2 years ago
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Study Finds Unvaccinated Students Putting Other Students At Risk

miketheanimal Re:There's a shock... (1025 comments)

So? "Measles once infected four million people and killed 4,000 of them each year, mostly young children". What year and over what period? Four million in the US population sounds around the birth rate, so that's one death per 1000; if that's around 1988 then the UK was a lot healthier - one death per 35000, but I bet it was longer ago than that, I'd assume the US wasn't that must worse. Ditto the savings: if you don't have the dates then the information is worthless.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Austrian tourist has photos deleted by UK police

miketheanimal miketheanimal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

miketheanimal (914328) writes "Just when we thought the UK police state could not go any further, an Austrian tourist in London had his photographs — of such sensitive subjects as red double decker buses and the Vauxhall bus station — on the grounds that any photographs on the grounds of preventing terrorism. "Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was "strictly forbidden". The policemen also recorded the pair's details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses." Come back the Soviet Union, all is forgiven. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/16/police-delete-tourist-photos"
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Nuclear Power: Too Hot to Handle?

miketheanimal miketheanimal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

miketheanimal (914328) writes "The Oxford Research Group http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/ have published a report arguing that Nuclear Power is incapable of providing anything like enough generating capacity to have any useful effect on greenhouse emissions. In their report http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications /briefing_papers/toohottothandle.php they argue that there is no way that the nuclear industry can build anywhere near the number of reactors needed; that even if they could then the global supply of suitable Uranium is limited to around 25 years, at which point it would be necessary to build Plutonium producing breeder reactors; and that most of the expected 50% increase in electricity needed over the next half-century is in the developing world (ie., in countries you might not want to have nuclear reactors).

What do SlashDoters think? Realism in the face of a nuclear whitewash? Green propaganda from the environmentalists? Global warming is a load of rubbish so it doesn't matter a jot?"
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miketheanimal miketheanimal writes  |  more than 8 years ago

miketheanimal writes "Hot on the heals of the FBI's software upgrade failure, the Guardian reports major problems with new software for the UK's National Health Service.

The full extent of the financial difficulties facing the company at the heart of the NHS's £6.2bn computer upgrade will be revealed later this week. The troubled software company iSoft must release twice-delayed financial results to the stock market by Friday or trading in its shares will be suspended. The company's results are expected to show a dramatic downward reassessment of its profitability. A series of highly unusual accounting practices appears to be behind much of the company's initial financial success.

Sounds depressingly similar"

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