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October 22, 2014, 10:08:32 pm
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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The Warren vs. Obama Spin on: October 13, 2014, 04:20:45 pm
Wow every Democrat seems to be ragging on Obama these days. He's not done that bad.
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton finds a message in Philly on: October 10, 2014, 06:08:15 pm
It means the old populist from 2008 is still alive in her, and she still knows how to talk about issues that Americans actually care about? This is good news from the perspective of Democrats... Frankly, the "Hard Choices" routine that she's been doing over the past year has been dry and uninspiring.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: October 09, 2014, 05:32:21 pm
Wow. You guys are really mean. : (
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Anti-Smoking Ads on: October 08, 2014, 10:33:24 pm
From an individual standpoint I think the libertarians have somewhat of a point. Statistically, an individual who smokes less than 10 pack-years over his or her lifetime, where a pack-year is defined as a pack a day (20 cigarettes) for a year, increases their chances of getting lung cancer by only a very, very small absolute amount. This is especially true if they quit by age 30; one study I saw even labelled the increased risk in this scenario as insignificant. The main problem by far is those who become addicted heavy smokers and continue to smoke a pack a day or more into middle and old age. These people can increase their chances of getting lung cancer from negligible to 10% or more. That being said, I would say smoking any more than one cigarette a day for a long term period would be inadvisable, given how horrendous lung cancer is as a disease. Even a 1% increased risk is scary.

However, from a societal standpoint, there is nothing wrong with trying to decrease smoking, as even a minor increase in the incidence of lung cancer raises health care costs. And anti-smoking ads are certainly the least intrusive form of social conditioning against smoking. One would think that heavy taxes and outright bans would be considered more objectionable to libertarians.
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Possible coup in North Korea on: October 08, 2014, 09:25:20 pm
Yeah, like you said, the media has cried wolf too many times for me to believe it at this point.

Pretty much. I wish beyond words this was real, but there's too much wishful thinking in rumor after rumor. It's getting cruel.

The lack of hard information from North Korea means that even wild, poorly-sourced rumors are often reported as fact.


No, irresponsible assholes reporting wild, poorly-sourced rumors as fact mean that wild, poorly-sourced rumors are reported as fact.

Quote
Of course, the documented facts we know about North Korea are crazy enough that it's little wonder rumors take hold.


The Kims have been in control of North Korea since the 1940s. There is nothing in the "crazy" documented facts about North Korea that suggests a coup is occurring to overthrow a Kim every six months.

Quote
That being said,  Kim Jong Un is clearly unhealthy and it's possible that he's been incapacitated leaving a power vacuum (this is more believable than a coup anyway). Either way, we won't know for months or possibly years.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/8/us-intel-kim-jong-un-still-in-charge-in-north-kore/?
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In Defense of Obama on: October 08, 2014, 09:09:54 pm
Lots of things have improved under Obama.

Some of the stuff he's come under criticism for are overblown. ISIS, as tragic as it is, remains largely a Middle Eastern problem, driven by sectarian conflict. It's possible those grounds could be used as a staging area for a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland, ala the Taliban in 2001, but then again so could a number of other places. Obama has kept U.S. ground troops out of it, and thus kept U.S. troops safe.
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 08, 2014, 06:48:00 pm
Fascinating difference between Figure 2 and Figure 3

There appears to be some sort of serious degradation of reporting capabilities in Liberia; WHO has said case numbers will likely be revised up.

In comparison, reporting capabilities in Sierra Leone are stellar. Unfortunately, they show the situation is starting to really take off there.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: General Discussion threads on: October 08, 2014, 05:39:57 pm
Good idea.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: October 08, 2014, 05:04:02 pm
I'm creating a US domestic version of the thread here, since some people will probably be mostly interested in US domestic cases.

Summary: Since the beginning of the West Africa Ebola outbreak, authorities have frequently admitted that Ebola could spread to the United States via commercial carrier. However, due to the difficulty of contracting the disease (despite it being a BSL-4 agent) which was gleaned from 38 years of experience with the Ebola virus from 1976 to 2014, it was not generally perceived to be a threat in developed countries where contact tracing techniques may be carried out. At the time of the creation of this thread, god willing, that remains to be true. However, it may be worthwhile to compile a general thread of cases of Ebola in the United States. Today marks the first day someone has ever died of Ebola in the United States.

Note: In the past three months we have seen numerous reports of suspected Ebola cases at various locales; while it is dramatic if it is being reported in your hometown, the chances of these reports testing positive for Ebola are low. Medical professionals are correctly doing their job by isolating even low probability cases. However, be aware that if a person has merely traveled generally to West Africa (for example, "Nigeria", where Ebola is not currently widespread) and is only manifesting generalized symptoms, such as fever or stomach pain, the person most likely does not have Ebola and more likely has malaria. The biggest predictor of whether a person has had Ebola or not is whether they have come into contact directly with another Ebola patient. So to avoid backlash against "scaremongering", please be conservative in posting news reports about unconfirmed Ebola cases in your hometown.

A couple of other developments in the past couple of days have indicated the need for heightened vigilance in developed countries, and frankly, tipped the scales for me to start this thread. First of all, the fact that a nurse in Spain who was caring for a man flown into the country for treatment became infected with Ebola suggests that developed countries, such as Spain, cannot yet adequately protect their health workers even with a patient who was known from even before he entered the country. Second of all, there has recently been a report that a deputy in Dallas, who was ordered into the home of an Ebola patient to deliver a legal document, and who did not have protective fear, may has recently been admitted to the hospital on suspicion of Ebola. The police officer only spent a few minutes inside the apartment. His symptoms are quite severe; according to one account I have seen, he was "slumped over, moving slow, weak and holding stomach". [Edit: However, most likely he does not have Ebola.]

Nonetheless, however his case turns out, let's compile anything interesting we come across and might want to discuss here.

Could take 48 hours to confirm if deputy has Ebola
10  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 08, 2014, 11:12:01 am
Meanwhile, some Ebola patients in Liberia are coming back to life, after having died of Ebola.
11  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 08, 2014, 10:29:20 am
Thomas Duncan has died.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 07, 2014, 06:15:06 pm
So, the world is finally waking up to the severity of the Ebola problem. The problem now is that there is no coordinated response. If we had a single world government, this would be easy. But instead we have all these different organizations each "contributing". In an environment such as this, with such a scary disease, it's easy for individual organizations like the US govt, WHO, MSF, to get caught up in a hero complex, the idea that we're already doing more than 99% of people out there, so let's pat ourselves on the back. Because it's true. They are heroes.

But a problem needs more than just a series of contributions, it needs a solution. Particularly, as we've seen, since the world is not prepared for a large scale response to this. Any large scale response will take months to get into gear. This is akin to a military mobilization for a type of war we've never fought before. There needs to be one comprehensive plan of how to defeat this ebola epidemic from start to finish. There needs to be a single, centralized command structure, international in nature, that will take control and implement this plan. It must have authority to coordinate all actors, including governments, NGOs, and international bodies. And it must be competently and efficiently run. One would think the genesis of such a headquarters would be in the United Nations, but WHO seems out of its depth and not in charge. The U.S. has contributed a lot. Russia, China, Japan, India, etc. have contributed far less. The response seems ad-hoc, almost as if the former colonial masters are being asked into each country to handle each one separately. No one is in charge, so ships full of supplies sit in dock for weeks.

This is all going to have to change. The sooner the better.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 07, 2014, 10:41:29 am
"El Mundo reported that it was the nurse who asked to be tested for Ebola, having to insist repeatedly on being tested before it was done on Monday"

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/07/ebola-crisis-substandard-equipment-nurse-positive-spain

Once again, proactive people = win, bureaucracy = fail.
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Ho Chi Minh on: October 07, 2014, 12:48:35 am
HP, a symbol of backwardness.
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Possible coup in North Korea on: October 07, 2014, 12:47:05 am
Yeah, like you said, the media has cried wolf too many times for me to believe it at this point.

Pretty much. I wish beyond words this was real, but there's too much wishful thinking in rumor after rumor. It's getting cruel.
16  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Buddhism on: October 06, 2014, 06:46:37 pm
Alright, I'm not mad anymore. I overreacted a bit. You're right, I shouldn't have referred to Buddhism as being only majority in a few countries.
17  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Buddhism on: October 06, 2014, 06:22:38 pm
What's your point? To refute my line about there hardly being any Buddhist countries left except a few in Southeast Asia? Japan, China, and Taiwan are not Buddhist, they are largely secular. Tibet is not a country. I support Tibetan independence myself, but us saying it's a country doesn't make it one. Vietnam is borderline at best. Only about 8% of Vietnamese are practicing. I don't know why you seem so determined to refute one throwaway line by me. So far you've deliberately twisted a wikipedia quote, and make up a new country to exaggerate Buddhism. What's your motive?
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 06, 2014, 06:09:20 pm
This is far bigger news than the Dallas case. Dallas... I mean come on, it was just a matter of time. You have 10,000 people from the affected region that were coming in by commercial airplane every 3 months. The experts conceded as much.

This... is a genuine surprise. Otherwise, the authorities would never have let this woman go on vacation. Look at the precautions they were taking:





19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Buddhism on: October 06, 2014, 05:47:33 pm
Oh come on, that's obviously false. The same wikipedia line says that "7085% of Japanese profess no religious membership or personal religion."
20  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: October 06, 2014, 05:42:58 pm
A Spanish nurse has been confirmed to have contracted ebola, after treating a Spanish priest at the end of September. She was working in a facility especially designed by Spain to handle ebola patients and (the facility) had treated another Spanish priest back in August. They are not sure how the nurse contracted ebola. She had entered the patient's room twice: once while he was still alive, and once after his death. After his death, the nurse went on vacation. She had a fever for several days while on vacation before being isolated. She is 44 years old and married with no children. There is no confirmation of how many people she had contact with.
21  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Buddhism on: October 06, 2014, 04:47:43 pm
Positive. It's still hard to believe that in the early 19th century, it was thought that Buddhism was the world's largest religion. Now there are hardly any Buddhist-majority countries left, except for maybe a few in Southeast Asia.
22  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christianity on: October 06, 2014, 04:44:55 pm
At the sacrifice of being cliche, the story of Jesus that speaks to me pretty deeply in a way that none of the other world religions' stories do. Buddhism is probably a close second.
23  General Discussion / History / Re: Why is Eisenhower so praised? on: October 06, 2014, 04:37:35 pm
The economy was extremely volatile prior to the late 20th century compared to contemporary standards. For instance, there were three recessions during the "Roaring 20s." I am not quite sure why that is, but it may have to do with the fact that the service sector accounted for a smaller proportion of the economy and that it was less elastic than the industrial sector. In 1958 there was indeed a sharp recession, however by the end of the year it was clearly over and there was a sharp rebound in 1959. Overall, the economy of the Eisenhower 1950s can be classified as booming.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Hillary vs the Above Poster on: October 06, 2014, 01:11:34 am
I'd vote for most forum members over any politician, so... Sawx.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: 3rd wave of YouGov/CBS/NYT Senate polls out tomorrow on: October 05, 2014, 06:35:05 pm
The YouGov survey was a little social issue heavy, IMO. They could have asked about the minimum wage, or foreign policy.
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