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Why Doctors Hate Science

tukkayoot Re:Evidence-based medicine (1064 comments)

The relevant question is not how common the test is.

The relevant question is, would it have made any difference?

Or, rather, what the chances are that it would make a difference, considering the fact that we live in a world where medical professionals (and the tools of their trade) are a finite resource that can be allocated in different ways -- some more effective, overall, than others. If routine PSA tests save 1 man out of 1,000,000, is it worth it? Maybe, it all depends on whether or not the time/resources of the physician could be better spent in other ways that might save more lives.

Most patients are going to want the most thorough care and will want to hold their doctor accountable if he doesn't catch something that the next guy would have, but there will always be a more careful doctor than yours. If you wanted to be super safe, you could get a thorough examination for all sorts of rare and common maladies every 3 months, but it'd be very time-consuming, inconvenient and expensive. Unless there's something in your medical history that calls for such frequent examinations, they would only offer only a negligible chance at improving your state of health compared to less frequent and thorough regular checkups.

Doctors are charged with the task of finding a responsible balance. It seems to me that if the doctor was acting in good faith, neither he nor his school should be held liable for the consequences suffered by an outlier -- at least not if there is strong evidence to suggest that, on average, his technique is more effective at treating patients and saving lives.

more than 5 years ago

Sony Makes It Hard To Develop For the PS3 On Purpose

tukkayoot Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (616 comments)

I think this is quite a valid strategy. It's liek Visual Basic, it turns application development into a drag and drop excercise. Anyone can do it, even people who don't really understand programming! However that results in Visual Basic getting a bad reputation because anything that's written by bad programmers is going to end up a bit shoddy. Sony don't want their console associated with shoddy games. They'd prefer that only decent programmers create games for their system.

Does have a large number of poor quality games really hurt a console's sales, though? I suppose it's conceivable (an ignorant gamer buys the console, doesn't bother to research games before buying, and then tells all of his friends that PS3 games suck because he's only picked mediocre titles), but most people that I know judge a system based not on how good the average game on the system is, but instead based on the quality and quantity of top-tier/highly-rated games on the system.

Making the system more difficult to develop may reduce the quantity of shovelware/crapware that exists, but it also reduces the quality/quantity of top-tier games as well. Since those games probably drive sales more than crappy games hurt sales, it seems to me there is a good chance that the strategy is not only frustrating and cynical, but ineffective.

more than 5 years ago

Gamer Claims Identifying As a Lesbian Led To Xbox Live Ban

tukkayoot Re:No, no, no, no, NO! (1182 comments)

It's not an argument for the morality of homosexuality, but rather a rebuttal of the erroneous claim that homosexuality is unnatural (and therefore bad). Of course it might be better to make the argument that to claim that something unnatural must be bad (or that something natural must be good) is also wrong, but either approach effectively undermines a critical premise in that particular anti-gay line of "reasoning."

more than 5 years ago

Earth May Harbor a Shadow Biosphere of Alien Life

tukkayoot Re:So something which we can't define... (267 comments)

perhaps they are intelligent, but if you talk to it for days, it can be just a split-second for the rock; and if the rock want's to tell you something, it won't finish the first word before you die of old age (or boredom).

It's called endurium.

more than 5 years ago

Open Source Study Included In US Stimulus Package

tukkayoot Re:What open source health technology systems? (187 comments)

The good: they're only studying health services, they've set a reasonable deadline, and all health technology systems should be open source anyway to make auditing simpler. The bad: This is debt-financed spending.

I see it more as a debt-financed investment. Which isn't to say all of this deficit spending isn't scary and possibly quite unwise, but it is encouraging to see at least a portion of the money is being used in ways that might ultimately save the government money and allow the economy to work more efficiently.

more than 5 years ago

Court Rules Autism Not Caused By Childhood Vaccine

tukkayoot Re:Children's psychosis (1056 comments)

The autism scare doesn't really have anything to do with how medical professionals and scientists in the United States treat mental disorders. Instead it has to do with how the media does business.

It goes like this: some crackpot with a MD or phD (or sometimes not even that) makes a crackpot claim which nonetheless might appear credible to the layperson. If the crackpot claim plays on the emotions, biases and greed of the public (wanting someone to blame, distrust of big pharmaceutical companies, desire for large cash settlements) and the media, always hungry for a sensational new story, picks it up and relays it to a credulous public, and the movement builds momentum. Occasionally the media will host talking head debates where experts on both sides of the issues duke it on in sound-bite interview-exchanges. The result is that both sides appear equally credible (or whoever has the more charismatic expert appears more credible) and the public goes on thinking the crackpot theory may be/is probably true, in spite of whatever the evidence is, or overwhelming consensus that the crackpot theory is just that.

And I believe the who autism scare was kicked off by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield, and was picked up and spread by the UK media, so it's not a purely American phenomenon.

more than 5 years ago

Hydrocarbon Rain Swells Titan's Lakes

tukkayoot Re:bad modding (110 comments)

Howver far into the future the mainstay resources will shift. Currently oil literally drives us. It used to be food(people, horses ,etc). It will probably be the element that enables FTL.

FTL may not even be possible. I think our likely "far future" will be shaped by the development of strong artificial intelligence and the realization of a technological singularity. It's hard to predict what will follow that, almost by definition ... but it's hard for me to imagine that it will involve humans fighting wars over material resources. Which is not to say such conflict won't be replaced by something even more appalling.

more than 5 years ago

Nintendo's Miyamoto On Innovation, Wii Ambitions

tukkayoot Re:Next Console? (263 comments)

OK, I'll feed the troll.

It was a cliched and unimaginative way of opening my post, but it's true. Also, wasn't really my aim to praise Sony, but I do lament the fact that the Wii lacks a couple of the big features that its competitors sport in this generation of consoles, and I hope that in the next generation of consoles, Nintendo tries harder to compete head-to-head with MS and Sony, while continuing to support the Wii as an inexpensive toy for old folks and casual gamers.

more than 6 years ago

Nintendo's Miyamoto On Innovation, Wii Ambitions

tukkayoot Re:Next Console? (263 comments)

Conclusion: Nintendo no longer catering to their traditional demographic may be sad, but it isn't bad -- someone else will pick up the slack if there is demand.

It's bad in the sense that someone else pointed out -- it means you have to spend $300 (plus accessories) on a console if you want access to Nintendo's traditional franchise titles, but doesn't get many of the big AAA cross-platform games like Fallout 3 (maybe a bad example, because I'd prefer to play it on the PC anyway).

Also, I'm someone who enjoys casual titles as well as the more hardcore ones, and it seems to me that Nintendo is getting a little lazy in this regard too. One of the first things that got me excited about the Wii upon reading about WiiConnect24 and the motion controls was the next Animal Crossing game -- but it turns out that Animal Crossing: City Folk is just an unimaginative rehash of the previous AC titles that doesn't even try to use many of the Wii's best features to its advantage. That may be fine for folks who didn't own the GameCube version of the game, but for me it was a big letdown. I'm not even going to bother to buy one of the games that had me most psyched-up about the console in the first place.

They're catering to a more casual audience, but also a less critical and demanding audience, which means they can afford to cut corners and let quality decline and innovation lapse. Nintendo's strategy is smart, but from my own selfish perspective, I think their success may end up being a bad thing for gaming in the long run, if Nintendo (and other companies) learn the wrong lessons.

more than 6 years ago

Nintendo's Miyamoto On Innovation, Wii Ambitions

tukkayoot Re:Next Console? (263 comments)

I'm a Nintendo fanboy, camped out for my Wii on launch day, don't own a PS3 or 360, but I have to say that I think some of the criticisms against the Wii here are spot-on. The idea of motion-controlled games is nice, but I think the implementation leaves something to be desired, and the lack of a hard drive and strong graphical capabilities (compared to the other consoles) really does limit the system's potential.

As for the casual gamers ... a friend of mine with all three systems regularly hosts game nights for his church and guess what system we end up playing the most? The PS3 for Rock Band/Rock Band 2 and, more recently, Little Big World. Of course, Rock Band is available on the Wii as well, but the fact that new songs are released every week has helped keep the game fresh, while the novelty of the wiimote faded a long time ago.

The Wii may have broader appeal than the other systems, but that doesn't mean it's a better system. That's why I'm with the parent in hoping that the next Nintendo system is packing some horsepower. Your grandparents will presumably still be happy with GameCube-level graphics two years from now Nintendo can keep releasing new controllers and relatively simple, inexpensive games to keep that segment of the market happy.

But as for me, I want the next generation of Zelda, Mario and Metroid games to push the envelope, not only in terms of game-play and controls, but also when it comes to scope, graphics, etc. and enjoy every major multiplatform release on my Nintendo without the game losing any major features or visual appeal.

more than 6 years ago

New EVE Online Expansion Detailed

tukkayoot Re:I must say this: (96 comments)

I can go out and buy a car and learn to drive it in a few minutes... at most an hour if it were a REALLY complicated car. Sure you may not be an expert at it, but you CAN drive it. Maybe the future makes all ships so different from each other that it requires special degrees from a major university to teach you how to drive each one. The same applies to weapons, and pretty much everything in the game.

I can understand your frustration from the game-play side of things, but in terms of game lore, this makes a fair amount of sense. Comparing an automobile to a space ship is pretty silly. Consumer autos are designed with a fairly standard set of controls and features, and don't vary to a huge degree in terms of capability. And I think it might take more than an hour to learn how to safely drive, say, an F1 racer.

In EVE we are talking about talking about ships far more sophisticated than the space shuttle and are generally built with very specialized functions in mind. Pretty much all of the ships are larger than the Eiffel tower (even the lowly frigate) and most are bigger the the Enterprise-D. Also keep in mind that the pod pilot replaces the entire bridge crew.

Add that to the fact that you can never "catch up" seems to remove the skill of advancing your character faster/slower than someone else.

While it's essentially impossible to "catch up" to someone who's been playing longer than you (providing that he is good about remembering to have a skill in training at all times) it's not necessary to have an equal number of skill points to effectively compete with him in different circumstances. A manufacturing-focused character may have no advantage over you in combat, and the opposite is also true. Also, skills are subject to diminishing returns compared to the amount of time that is invested in them. Achieving Level V in a skill may yield a 5% improvement in one area, but take months to train. Most people don't bother. If you have the skills to fly the same type of ship and the same type of modules, generally speaking you can stand toe-to-toe with someone who's been playing for years longer than you.

Also, the advantage to this style of skill advancement is that your character's capabilities isn't connected so directly with how much time you can spend playing the game. It's more casual-friendly, in that sense.

Oh, and it feels like they already plotted out how much money (real life) it is going to take for anyone to play the game. They know exactly how much time you've invested in the game and how much money you've given them. It just feels like it's "on rails" too much.

I'm not sure what you're talking about here. EVE-Online is probably the most open-ended MMO out there. More than any other game, it is left up to the player to decide what his goals will be, and how best to fulfill them. The game gives you relatively direction, but there are many directions that you can decide to take. Yes, you will need to play for a certain minimum length of time before certain aspects of the game become fully available to you, but that's no different from other MMOs -- in EVE, at least you don't have to run on the treadmill for hours on end to get there.

more than 6 years ago

Doctorow On Copyright Reform & Culture

tukkayoot Re:BRAVO! (243 comments)

If people are willing to pay them that much, then yes, they should make that much money.

They "should" make that much money according to free market supply/demand principles, but getting rid of (or paring down) copyright law would alter the supply/demand dynamic. If fewer government-enforced restrictions on the copying of content reduced revenues for the film/TV industries and actors had to accept much smaller salaries for similar work, you'd have a new, legitimate estimation of the value of their services.

more than 6 years ago

Political Viewpoints Linked To Fear

tukkayoot Re:Sure, But Only the Paranoids Survive (800 comments)

It is a fact that artists, nerds and techies tend to be more mentally shall I say, weird, than the rest of the population.

Yes, but that's only a subset of the left, and a more extreme subset at that.

Ask yourself how mentally "weird" the people on the extreme right tend to be. Think of the hardcore fundamentalist Christians, alcoholic rednecks, etc. In my (anecdotal) experience, such folks tend to be more likely to exhibit signs of extreme narcissism or borderline sociopathy and psychopathy.

So consider the possibility that both of our anecdotal observations are accurate, and consider it along with jbeach's point about the unreliability of polls that depend on self-reported data. Which group do you think is more likely to acknowledge that they have a mental problem? The group with the redneck who beats his dog, or the one with the goth chick who cuts on herself? The "crazy Jesus lady" or the schizophrenic artist?

Granted, none of my speculations here are what you'd call scientific, but then neither are yours, and the Gallup poll wasn't either for the reason jbeach pointed out. All it tells you is that more conservative people claim, when polled, claim to have better mental health, compared to the claims of liberals.

more than 6 years ago


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