Syria …no good options…unless…

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 9.18.39 AM

There is one hopeful option though:

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem strengthened Tuesday his nation’s backing for a Russian proposal to see his nation turn its chemical weapons stockpiles over to international control to avoid a U.S. military strike, even as his Russian allies worked to hammer out the details of the proposal.

After meeting with the speaker of the Russian parliament, al-Moallem said his government quickly “agreed to the Russian initiative,” adding that Syria did so to “uproot U.S. aggression.” His statement sounded more definitive than his remarks Monday, when he said that Damascus welcomed Russia’s initiative.

I sure hope that this works out. As far as President Obama: he has always said that he doesn’t care who gets credit so long as good things happen. That is what I voted for.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Barack Obama, Middle East, world events | , | Leave a comment

Syria ….

The New York Times has an article. President Obama has decided to seek Congressional approval for airstrikes.

I am not sure as what to do here. Obviously the use of chemical weapons was wrong, but….if there is no way to attack the Syrian government without aiding the Al Qeada backed rebels.

The situation is indeed perplexing:


Though I back President Obama in most things, in this area he needs to explain

1. Why it is in the interests in the United States to strike.
2. What expected good will come from this strike that wouldn’t have come had we not struck.

It is a high bar, and ought to be.

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Middle East, politics, world events | , | Leave a comment

Syria: Congress? International Law?

Would intervention in Syria be legal under international law, or should it done anyway.

Should Congress, as a whole, make this decision?

I think that the latter would put President Obama on better footing at home.

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Middle East, politics/social, world events | | Leave a comment

Syria: what to do.

Secretary of State Kerry made a public statement; you can find it here. It appears as if the United States is attempting to justify a military strike of some kind.

President Obama is making a declassified report available to the public that shows that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their opposition.

I am not sure as to what to make of this. I don’t have the negative feeling that I had about the Iraq war; this reminds me a bit more of President Clinton and Kosovo.

1. Forget about establishing a liberal democracy in that region (one in which minorities have guaranteed rights); we’ll end up with some flavor of a theocracy. There ARE no “good guys”/”bad guys” here.

2. But it appears that they did use chemical weapons. Via Doctors Without Borders:

Here is what we know: three hospitals in Syria’s Damascus governorate that are supplied by Doctors Without Borders reported to us that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms such as convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress, in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21.

These patients were treated using Doctors Without Borders-supplied atropine, a drug used to treat neurotoxic symptoms. So far 355 of those patients reportedly displaying neurotoxic symptoms have died.

Due to security concerns, no Doctors Without Borders staff have been able to visit the hospitals who reported these symptoms to us, but the accounts come from medical facilities with which Doctors Without Borders has had strong, effective and reliable collaborative relationships. We are neither able to confirm the cause of the illnesses and deaths nor establish who may be responsible, but the reported symptoms, the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, and several other factors, strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.

Unfortunately, when medical personnel treat patients exposed to a neurotoxic agent, they too are at risk of becoming ill. Sadly, the doctors in one of the hospitals reported that 70 out of 100 volunteers suffered symptoms after direct contact with patients and that one person has died.

I am not sure as to the right thing to do. I am a knee-jerk isolationist but, well, who knows.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

August 27, 2013 Posted by | Middle East, religion, world events | , | 3 Comments

Booms, Bombs and Jobs…

Click for the larger view. I know what this is supposed to be about, but this is also a good reason why we should periodically review procedures.

Paul Krugman attempts to kill the “regulation is bad for the economy” zombie:

Let me start with a puzzle: why did faith in the wonders of financial deregulation persist so long?

After all, if you step back from the record, deregulation began producing disasters from early on. Early deregulatory moves helped bring on the Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s; Garn-St. Germain produced the savings and loan debacle; freed-up capital flows produced the Asian crisis and LTCM; and now we have the great bust. So why were Very Serious People so convinced that it was a good thing?[...]

And the answer, once you think about it, is obvious: growth for whom? There’s only one way in which the post-deregulation boom was exceptional, and that’s in terms of the growth in incomes at the top of the scale.

Here’s a comparison of the postwar boom with the deregulation alleged boom, using real average family income from the Census and real average income for the top 1 percent from Piketty and Saez:

Surprised? That is the typical Republican view: if it helps the top 1 percent, it must be good.

2012 Mitt Romney is yapping about President Obama’s economic record:

Only one President has seen unemployment above 8% for each full month of his presidency. Only one president has overseen the highest levels of long-term unemployment on record. Only one president has grown the national debt to nearly $15 trillion:

Uh, Mr. Romney:

See that time when we were LOSING jobs? That is when we followed the policies that you espouse. Yes, I know: the job growth is still too small to make a serious dent in unemployment; I get that. The economy still sucks, but it sucks less than it did.

President Obama wants some infrastructure repair in a jobs bill. Here is what happens when a country neglects such things:

Bonddad blog quotes the Financial Times:

Rows of cargo containers clutter the tarmac outside an overflowing warehouse at Jakarta’s airport where there are not enough landing slots for all the planes. The chaotic scene offers the most graphic illustration of how strong economic expansion is straining Indonesia’s worn out infrastructure just as it emerges, once again, as a regional power.

The young democracy of 240m may be booming, but the situation at the capital’s airport epitomises one of the biggest problems holding back south-east Asia’s largest economy: its roads, ports, power plants and bridges have fallen far behind its needs because of years of government underspending.

No, we are NOT in that extreme of a situation; but crumbling infrastructure does harm the economy. It is not something that we can neglect, and infrastructure repair can’t be outsourced.

World Events
Yes, Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon.

There will be cries (from conservatives and the blindly pro-Israel lobby) for military action. I oppose that. Even if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, they are no threat to us…and Israel has them. It is unrealistic to think that we can keep the nuclear genie bottled up forever; we have to work on deterrence.

November 9, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, economics, economy, Middle East, Mitt Romney, politics, religion, republicans, republicans politics, world events | Leave a comment

26 May 2011 late morning

Workout notes
I did sleep in an miss yoga; I didn’t sleep well last night. I suppose I miss my GILF who is on a trip.
But I did work out: I lifted, did PT, ran 4 miles (on a track; threatening skies) and did some yoga on my own.

Lifting: incline press: 10 x 115, 6 x 135, 6 x 135, 5 x 135
curls (dumbbell) 4 sets of 10 x 25 lb.
pull downs (shoulder friendly grip) 3 sets of 10 x 140
Hammer Machine rows: 10 x 200, 10 x 210 (medium grip), 10 x 220 (narrow grip)
sit ups: 100
PT for the shoulder

then 4 miles of running on the indoor track (37:53)
10:04, 9:43, 9:23, 8:42 (last 2 half miles: 4:26, 4:16).
I was out of breath at the end, but that was because I was just about at my current 5K race pace….sad I know. :)

Then I did some yoga on my own.

News of the silly
Utah made it illegal to “act like a hooker”:

Anna North —Utah Makes It Illegal To Act Like A Hooker A strange new Utah law would make it a crime not just to explicitly offer sex for money, but also to “indicate, through lewd acts,” that you’re willing to do so. In addition to scaring ladies into hiking down their skirts, the legislation could allow cops to target legal businesses, like strip clubs.

According to the AP, the law, passed this month, would expand the definition of solicitation “to include any person who indicates through lewd acts, such as exposing or touching themselves, that they intend to exchange sex for money.” Police say the new legislation will put a stop to a tactic prostitutes are allegedly using against undercover police: asking them to touch themselves to prove they’re not cops. Under the law, even such a request now constitutes solicitation. The bill’s sponsor, Utah State Representative Jennifer Seelig, also says it will help target underage trafficking victims who are “trained to evade arrest,” and that arresting them would be the first step towards helping them.

Ms. North (the author of the post) points out that a law like this didn’t stand up to a court challenge. Randazza discusses this law at The Legal Satyricon.

I don’t know enough about law to have a prediction, but my “gut” tells me that this isn’t going to stand up to a court challenge.

On a related note (civil liberties), Randazza notes that while we killed Bin Laden, we also killed many of our civil rights under the guise of “keeping ourselves safe”; so in some sense, Bin Laden won.

Yes, I like President Obama and yes, I’ll try to get him reelected (and evidently, the Republicans are helping out). But I really don’t like his record in this area. I’d love to say that I am disappointed in him here, but to be honest, I figured that he would carry forward many of the Bush-Cheney policies…and he has. It is tough for someone to voluntarily give up power, especially when it is inconvenient to do so, AND much of the public supports your keeping this power. But yeah, I expected that he wouldn’t be much different from President Bush IN THIS AREA.

Middle East
At first, I was upset at the Israeli Prime Minister’s reaction to President Obama’s speech. In fact, my initial reaction was a bit like this.

But Lawrence O’Donnell basically said that the Israeli Prime Minister is EXPECTED to act with outrage; it is all part of the political kabuki.

Obama and Israel, posted with vodpod

May 26, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, civil liberties, human sexuality, Middle East, political/social, politics, social/political, training, weight training, world events, yoga | Leave a comment

20 May 2011 PM….

This will be even more disorganized than normal….

The Republicans were confident that they would win in conservative Jacksonville Florida. They didn’t:

Republican leaders said over and over in recent weeks that a race for mayor of Jacksonville amounted to the first big Florida fight in the 2012 presidential race.

“The liberal organizers who want to keep the American people enslaved by wasteful spending and hideous deficits need to know that they have jumped the gun on 2012 and have awakened a sleeping giant,” Duval County Republican chairman Lenny Curry declared this month before handing a $50,000 check to Republican mayoral candidate Mike Hogan. “We’re going to send a message that Florida is red.”

Republicans better hope Curry is wrong about the race being a harbinger, because an African-American Democrat named Alvin Brown this week was elected mayor of Florida’s largest county. Across Florida and the country, stunned Republicans are struggling to understand the narrow upset in conservative northeast Florida.

“Jacksonville has always been a conservative stronghold for Republicans, and we’re going to have to really study what happened in this race,” said Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a U.S. Senate candidate who had expected Hogan to win handily. [...]

Bottom line: the Republican may have well been hurt by having to embrace the Tea Party. Of course, there is probably some local factors and I know that I am ignorant of those…but then again it was the knowledgeable “serious” Republicans who had been predicting victory. :)

International The Israeli Prime Minister may have misjudged Americans:

Update In the comments, Dr. A reminds me that “expect” can also mean “anticipate” rather than “demand”; e. g. I “expect” that Dr. A. will vote Republican even if they run a rubber chicken. :)

For whatever reason, I tend to react strongly when a foreign leader disrespects the United States, and its President. I didn’t like it when Hugo Chavez of Venezuela insulted President Bush; I don’t like listening to Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan lecture the U.S. on its sins, and I’m not happy when certain Pakistani leaders gin-up righteous indignation about American behavior when it was their country that served as a refuge for the greatest mass murderer in American history.

And so I was similarly taken aback when I read a statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday that he “expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both House of Congress.”

So Netanyahu “expects” to hear this from the President of the United States? And if President Obama doesn’t walk back the speech, what will Netanyahu do? Will he cut off Israeli military aid to the U.S.? Will he cease to fight for the U.S. in the United Nations, and in the many international forums that treat Israel as a pariah?

I don’t like this word, “expect.” Even if there weren’t an imbalance between these two countries — Israel depends on the U.S. for its survival, while America, I imagine, would continue to exist even if Israel ceased to exist — I would find myself feeling resentful about the way Netanyahu speaks about our President.

Remember that on a cumulative basis, we’ve given more aid to Israel than any other country:

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance­, having since been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.

(via: the U. S. Congressional Research Office)

Ignorance: yes, some high school student challenged Rep. Bachmann to a debate about the Constitution. Nothing new here; anyone can challenge anyone to debate about anything (even though I think that Ms. Bachmann is profoundly ignorant or at least pretends to be). But now this student is receiving …..death threats?

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — A New Jersey teenager says she’s received threats since challenging U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to a debate over the Constitution.

Ann Myers challenged the tea party favorite in a letter dated April 29. After it started getting media attention last weekend, commenters on tea party websites have threatened to publish her home address and some have threatened violence.

The 16-year-old from Cherry Hill says several commenters have called her a “whore.”

Her father, Wayne, says he’s concerned for his daughter’s safety.

But Cherry Hill Police Lt. William Kushina says anonymous online threats like these are usually empty.

Myers says the Minnesota congresswoman misstates or distorts facts about the Constitution. Bachmann’s office told The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill that it won’t respond to the debate challenge.

I wonder how many of these threats contained misspellings and grammatical errors? :)

More ignorance:

The key thing here is that this clown says that “every President, up until 2008, acknowledged Jesus…”
First: Thomas Jefferson was, at most, a deist; he even created the Jefferson Bible in which he stripped the Gospels of anything supernatural. Next: President Taft was a Unitarian; Unitarians denied the divinity of Jesus as an official part of their doctrine! He wasn’t the only one; there 4 altogether: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft.

Note: some atheists have tried to claim President Obama as “one of us”, but sadly, he really isn’t:

Key quote: 1:44 to 2:05. No atheist would say this; they would say something more generic like “I pray and read the Bible”, etc.

May 20, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, Barack Obama, Democrats, Middle East, political/social, politics, politics/social, racism, religion, republicans, republicans politics, superstition, world events | 2 Comments

20 May 2011

Workout notes Walked 6.5 miles; 4.1 with Lynn. I started at 6 in the morning and we had GREAT weather. That will end this weekend.
I want to swim and lift over lunch but will force myself to moderate. I want to go long tomorrow and need to save some energy for it; I can swim and lift on Sunday.

General: if you like funny military sayings and cool photos of aircraft, check this out. It is a slide show of photos with pithy sayings.


No, I mean the one that this article is talking about:

The Haddad children of Middletown, Md., have a lot on their minds: school projects, SATs, weekend parties. And parents who believe the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to “sound the trumpet” on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

Last weekend, the family traveled to New York, the parents dragging their reluctant children through a Manhattan street fair in a final effort to spread the word.

“My mom has told me directly that I’m not going to get into heaven,” Grace Haddad, 16, said. “At first it was really upsetting, but it’s what she honestly believes.”

Thousands of people around the country have spent the last few days taking to the streets and saying final goodbyes before Saturday, Judgment Day, when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months. [...]

It is easy to laugh at these deluded idiots. But I have some pity too:

While Ms. Haddad Carson has quit her job, her husband still works as an engineer for the federal Energy Department. But the children worry that there may not be enough money for college. They also have typical teenage angst — embarrassing parents — only amplified.

“People look at my family and think I’m like that,” said Joseph, their 14-year-old, as his parents walked through the street fair on Ninth Avenue, giving out Bibles. “I keep my friends as far away from them as possible.”

“I don’t really have any motivation to try to figure out what I want to do anymore,” he said, “because my main support line, my parents, don’t care.”

Bottom line: “respecting religious beliefs” just because they are religious beliefs is just plain stupid.

Speaking of religion, here is an interesting critique of a The Good Delusion critique. (hat tip: Jerry Coyne). I’ll go a bit further: Dawkins’ book is on target because it attacks religion as it is practiced by the vast majority of believers. Very few believe in the word salad gods of the philosophers and theologians; they want a god that will cure their uncle’s cancer, keep their country from being attacked and get them a raise (or job). What kind of deity demands worship anyway?


President Obama and Israel
President Obama’s Middle East proposal is interesting:

President Obama has told aides and allies that he does not believe that Mr. Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal.

For his part, Mr. Netanyahu has complained that Mr. Obama has pushed Israel too far — a point driven home during a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.

Mr. Obama did not back down. But the last-minute furor highlights the discord as they head into what one Israeli official described as a “train wreck” coming their way: a United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood in September.

Mr. Netanyahu, his close associates say, desperately wants Mr. Obama to use the diplomatic muscle of the United States to protect Israel from the vote, not only by vetoing it in the Security Council, but also by leaning hard on America’s European allies to get them to reject it as well.

The thing to remember is that our proposing something puts less pressure on Europe to act, and Israel will ALWAYS get a better deal from us. What we have: lots of foreign aid to Israel and a veto in the U. N. Security council.

This is a complex issue; here is an interesting take on it. There is more here than meets the eye.

May 20, 2011 Posted by | aircraft, economy, injury, Middle East, moron, morons, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, training, walking, world events | 2 Comments

24 March 2011

Dizziness Last night, once again, I woke up after 2 hours and was very dizzy; the room was spinning and I started to feel nauseated, clammy and sweaty. I started to say “oh no, not Monday night again”…but then realized that I had felt this way before: this felt just like seasickness! So I realized that if the spinning (vertigo) went away my nausea would clear up, hence I changed my sleeping position. It was no longer a problem.
But I do have a doctor’s appointment for Monday.

Workout notes
Yoga; on the flow parts I took it very easily; I made sure that I did each pose properly even if I went slower than the rest of the class. I took down dog and forward bends very slowly, taking care to look up as I bent from the waist and then to lower my head slowly.

Over lunch I did a weight workout (upper body) and then jogged two easy miles on the treadmill (20:20).
No problems, though this wasn’t one of my harder workouts.
rotator cuff
incline press: 10 x 115, 4 x 135, 3 x 135, 10 x 120
dumbbell curls: 15 x 20 lb, 15 x 20, 15 x 20, 10 x 25
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 (Hammer machine)
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 120 (last set with shoulder friendly grip)
sit ups: 4 x 25 (incline 1, 2, 3, 4). Note: I did these slowly so as to not take a chance with balance.
then I jogged 2 miles on the treadmill, taking care to NOT get in “the zone”; I quit as soon as it became “work”.

So I didn’t do “training”; I did an “old fart fitness” workout.

There is now a way of transmitting through metal. Note: this means that one can run bugs though metal too.

Yes, there is a clock that is powered by….dead flies? Flypaper catches them; they then decompose and the energy from the decomposition runs the clock.

More on communication technology
The Navy now has a new way of communicating to its submarines underwater via very low frequencies and an underwater telephone:

The signal sounded like crickets chirping, but the encoded message transmitted from the camp atop the frozen Arctic Ocean was music to the ears of the USS New Hampshire submarine crew.

Using a digital “Deep Siren” tactical messaging system and a simpler underwater telephone, officials from the Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory at the camp last Saturday were able to help the submarine find a relatively ice-free spot to surface and evacuate a sailor stricken with appendicitis.

The alternative could have been a ruptured appendix, or an emergency surgery on the table in the captain’s dining room, said a relieved Dan Roberts, a senior chief and corpsman who handles the crew’s medical needs. “It would have been rough.”

Physics: Scientists have now produced the He-4 anti-particle (the regular Helium; He-3 anti-matter has already been produced)

Northern Lights show

(click to see the full sized photo at Cosmic Log plus another spectacular photo!

Science community: bad papers
Yesterday I had talked about a bad paper that had been published and then retracted by a (normally good) mathematics journal.
Well today, Jerry Coyne talks about a paper that appeared in Nature: it attacks the idea of “kin selection” in evolution.
He makes the following claim:

If the Nowak et al. paper is so bad, why was it published? That’s obvious, and is an object lesson in the sociology of science. If Joe Schmo et al. from Buggerall State University had submitted such a misguided paper to Nature, it would have been rejected within an hour (yes, Nature sometimes does that with online submissions!). The only reason this paper was published is because it has two big-name authors, Nowak and Wilson, hailing from Mother Harvard. That, and the fact that such a contrarian paper, flying in the face of accepted evolutionary theory, was bound to cause controversy. Well, Nature got its controversy but lost its intellectual integrity, becoming something of a scientific National Enquirer.

That might have been true in this case, but it isn’t just the most distinguished people that get bad stuff published. For example, I once complained about a paper that appeared in a mathematics journal that enjoys wide circulation. The editor eventually admitted to me that he found it hard to “say no” to the person who submitted the article. Note: this journal has a pedagogical focus and this wasn’t the case of claiming a false result.

But false results have found their way into the literature before. In the cold fusion case, though one of the scientists was well regarded, he wasn’t from an Ivy-caliber university when he and his partner got their results published.

And there is always this embarrassing case:


The Darwin-Oparin-Haldane “warm little pond” scenario for biogenesis is examined by using information theory to calculate the probability that an informational biomolecule of reasonable biochemical specificity, long enough to provide a genome for the “protobiont”, could have appeared in 109 years in the primitive soup. Certain old untenable ideas have served only to confuse the solution of the problem. Negentropy is not a concept because entropy cannot be negative. The role that negentropy has played in previous discussions is replaced by “complexity” as defined in information theory. A satisfactory scenario for spontaneous biogenesis requires the generation of “complexity” not “order”. Previous calculations based on simple combinatorial analysis over estimate the number of sequences by a factor of 105. The number of cytochrome c sequences is about 3·8 × 1061. The probability of selecting one such sequence at random is about 2·1 ×10−65. The primitive milieu will contain a racemic mixture of the biological amino acids and also many analogues and non-biological amino acids. Taking into account only the effect of the racemic mixture the longest genome which could be expected with 95 % confidence in 109 years corresponds to only 49 amino acid residues. This is much too short to code a living system so evolution to higher forms could not get started. Geological evidence for the “warm little pond” is missing. It is concluded that belief in currently accepted scenarios of spontaneous biogenesis is based on faith, contrary to conventional wisdom.

So, it happens, though I suppose one might expect more out of Nature.


Here is Fareed Zakaria on why President Obama’s “middle course” of helping out in Libya but NOT taking the lead is the right one:

America has always done better in the role of the reluctant imperialist. The simple fact is that the world does not like its leading military power to be overly eager to intervene in foreign lands. In fact, until the Cold War, the U.S. had a very different image from European great powers precisely because it had few expansionist impulses. America entered World War I after three years of bloody fighting just in time to tip the balance. It entered World War II only after Japan attacked it and Hitler declared war. The U.S. had the capacity to be an imperial power but chose not to be one. Yet during the Cold War, Washington developed the habit of intervening early and often in far-flung places, worried about communist takeovers. As a result, America was seen in much of the Third World in the same light as the European colonial powers, forfeiting a crucial moral and political advantage. (Comment on this story.)

In the Libyan crisis, the Obama Administration made clear from the start that it was not enthusiastic about military action and would support it only if it were requested by the Libyan opposition and the Arab League — and with Europe doing much of the heavy lifting. This led to a remarkable turn of events in which on March 12 the Arab League officially requested that the U.N. impose a no-fly zone over Libya. This shift has not gotten the attention it deserves. In the 66 years since its founding, the Arab League has served as a shield for dictators and rarely produced anything but windy rhetoric about Arab solidarity and Palestine. The idea that it would act against one of its members — and because of human-rights violations! — was unimaginable one month ago. Five days later, the U.N. Security Council passed resolutions authorizing action against Gaddafi’s forces. France and Britain were positively itching for military action.

Health care debate Republicans are always going on and on about how our current health care system has higher cancer survival rates than other systems. Well, we don’t have the highest survival rate, and the term survival rate can be misleading:

Beyond that, there’s a well-known problem with survival-rate comparisons, acknowledged in the Lancet Oncology study:

Cancer survival is a valuable indicator for international comparison of progress in cancer control,despite the fact that part of the variation in cancer survival identified in this study could be attributable to differences in the intensity of diagnostic activity (case-finding) in participating populations.

Here’s how I understand the over-diagnosis issue, in terms of an extreme example: suppose that there’s a form of cancer that kills people 7 years after it starts, and that there is in fact nothing you can do about it. Suppose that country A screens for cancer very aggressively, and always catches this cancer in year 1, while country B chooses to invest its medical resources differently, and never catches the cancer until year 4. In that case, country A will have a 100% 5-year survival rate, while country B will have a 0% 5-year survival rate — because survival is measured from the time the cancer is diagnosed. Yet treatment in country B is no worse than in country A.

Real life isn’t that simple, but you get the point: a society that tests for cancer a lot may have higher survival rates simply because it tends to catch cancer early on, even if it doesn’t treat cancer any better.

And cancer, of course, isn’t the only disease.

So are the Republicans lying, or are they merely stupid? Perhaps it is neither; they probably really believe that the United States, when it does thing the “free market way” really delivers the best possible results…sort as an act of “faith”. Well…I suppose that makes them blind?

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, creationism, education, health, health care, mathematics, Middle East, nature, physics, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans political/social, republicans politics, running, space, statistics, superstition, technology, training, weight training, yoga | Leave a comment

9 September 2010 posts

Strangely enough, a CONSERVATIVE sent me this article. I suppose that I don’t disagree with all conservatives on everything. Here is a snippet:

[...]If I may sally briefly into unloved seriousness: What puzzles me, as one who has lived extensively abroad, is how little Americans are able to see things through the eyes of others, how little empathy they have (this latter defect being characteristic of both psychopaths and narcissists).

Consider a headline from of a sort appearing almost daily: “US Drone Strike Destroys House Full of Children in Pakistan.”

Apparently no one in the Great Rubber Room north of Mexico has an inkling why this might arouse hatred in Pakistanis. Can you imagine the fury that would ensue if a Moslem blew up a house full of American kids in, say, Queens? But when we kill their kids, no one cares. “Yeah, well. Tough. Giv’em a few dollars.” Buncha dirty raghead larvae. No better than cock roaches, right?.

Now, we’re going to have a pop quiz. Take out a sheet of paper. Question: Can you think of any reason why Moslems might be unhappy with America?

Right! They hate our freedoms.

In which case they daily have less to hate us for. [...]

I find it strange that a conservative would approve of the above sentiment but I am glad that a few do.

John Boehner: judge for yourself; here are some of his false statements.

Economy: Republican policies are geared toward helping the wealthiest. Of course, Republicans are ok with that.

Barack Obama: most respected leader in the world. Of course, Republicans see this as a negative.

Economy Republicans argue for more tax cuts for the rich. Democrats want more stimulus. But the long term: we need to get people ready for jobs that will be there and that means being more competitive with the world’s economic powers. That is one reason I favor the equipment and R and D tax cuts. But it will be harder than we think.

Republicans: are even turning on Andy Griffith. Why? He supported Obama and health care reform.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Barack Obama, Blogroll, civil liberties, economy, Middle East, obama, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, world events | Leave a comment


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