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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Links - 5th January 2019 (2)

Current model of Internet separation unsustainable in longer run: MOH chief data advisor - "While it has resolved or mitigated some cyber-security risks, Internet separation has come “at the price of increased time and costs, lost productivity and new risks”... Dr Yip’s comments came a week after SingHealth’s group chief executive Ivy Ng expressed similar sentiments... Frontline public healthcare employees now need to use separate devices to check and retrieve patient information such as medical insurance details, financial or grant status, as well as Medisave balances from the Central Provident Fund.Dr Yip told the committee on Monday that this initially led to "lengthened patients’ wait times" because such Internet-enabled devices are shared by users.The time taken to obtain letters of guarantee from private insurers has tripled — from five minutes to between 15 and 20 minutes... In some institutions, staff members have had to work overtime to complete tasks... Two public hospitals had to suspend teleconsultation with the National Neuroscience Institute, but this was later resolved through the provision of a dedicated leased line with sufficient bandwidth to support high-resolution video conferencing.At one hospital, which was not named, Dr Yip said the class size for basic cardiac life support courses was halved because trainers were unable to access e-learning materials... The use of separate Internet-enabled devices leads to other risks and vulnerabilities because “some information will need to be transferred between (these devices) and the corporate machines through… emails and external storage devices”, he said.In the longer term, with a shrinking healthcare employee pool and a rapidly ageing population, the “current model of (Internet separation) would not be sustainable... “In the immediate aftermath of the (cyber attacks), public healthcare staff have accepted the additional burden and challenges… Internet separation may hinder the deployment or trial of newer or more seamless modes of patient care, such as telemedicine or ways to shift patient care towards the community and home... Portugal does not practise Internet separation, believing that it “increases the complexity of work in medical practice, and blocks access to important medical resources that are integral to patient care”
Meanwhile, in the civil service...

Internet separation has lengthened waiting times - "Healthcare staff have had to take additional steps to book screening appointments and upload test results for patients. These steps include the manual porting of information, causing delays in reporting and creating an additional risk of transcription errors... hospital staff have to use their personal mobile phones to work, and some hospitals have suspended their policies that disallowed this. Hospitals and clinics have spent "a significant amount of resources" to get more devices for their staff to use... The use of separate Internetenabled devices also opens up the system to new cyber-security risks, pointed out Prof Yip.As these devices are not on the corporate network, they need to be patched manually, which could lead to a delay in the updates. Tasks associated with servicing and maintaining hospital equipment such as diagnostic testing, remote troubleshooting or uploading of maintenance logs are also affected... patients have accepted poorer service delivery standards, delays and inconveniences"

The problem with “shop local,” explained by Jeremiah Moss
Apparently big companies are so evil they're willing to pay more in rent just to drive mom and pop stores out of business. And in his world big companies aren't suffering from online shopping

Online shopping blasting holes in traditional retailer profits - "A deadly but invisible hitman is targeting traditional retail departments and chain stores across the country.Edcon, SA’s largest nonfood retailer, remains in the intensive care unit as its new owners painstakingly try to stop the bleed of customers to new technology and competition"

Now You Own It, Soon You Don’t? - The New York Times - "A controversial United States Supreme Court decision in June 2005, which upheld the power of local governments to seize private property for the benefit of private businesses, inspired an uprising that led 40 states to pass laws that rein in, to varying degrees, that authority."
So evidently eminent domain can't account for the death of small retail throughout the US
Reason and Reality in an Era of Conspiracy - "Did Nelson Mandela die in prison or did he die years later? Many people reading this probably lived through such recent history, and know perfectly well that he died decades after his release. Many of our students, however, do not know this because they didn’t live through it, and they haven’t been taught it. That is trivially true, and not particularly worrisome. But in 2010 a quirky blogger named Fiona Broome noticed that many people she met – people who should know better – incorrectly believed that Mandela had died in prison. She dubbed this kind of widespread collective false memory the “Mandela Effect” and began gathering more cases, inspiring others to contribute examples to a growing online database... There’s nothing particularly surprising or even interesting about such failures of memory. Our memories are deeply fallible and highly suggestible. A recent study revealed that psychologists can easily coax subjects to ‘remember’ committing a crime they never actually committed (see Dr. Julia Shaw’s recent book The Memory Illusion). With the right coaching I can start to remember the time I assaulted a stranger, even if I never did... here’s where it gets weird. Students – yes, current undergrads – think the explanation for these strange false memories is that a parallel universe is occasionally spilling into ours... Alternatively, a number of students believe that we humans are moving between these parallel universes unknowingly, and also time-traveling so that our memories are distorted via the shifting time line. When I pressed my students, suggesting they were not really serious, they grew indignant. Like a gnostic elite, they frowned upon my failure to grasp the genius of their metaphysical conspiracy theory... Intense handwringing has attended the rise of fake news. The worries are justified, since the media has never been more unreliable, biased, and embattled. But the proposed solutions tend to focus on fixing the media, and no one dares suggest that we should be fixing the human mind. The human mind, however, is arguably broken... Harvard legal scholars Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule suggest that contemporary Americans are more credulous and committed to conspiracy theories because they have a “crippled epistemology.”... According to a recent survey by the National Science Foundation, for example, over half of young people today (aged between 18 and 24), believe that astrology is a science, providing real knowledge. During the last three years, I have surveyed around 600 students and found some depressing trends. Approximately half of these students believe they have dreams that predict the future. Half believe in ghosts. A third of them believe aliens already visit our planet. A third believe that AIDS is a man-made disease created to destroy specific social groups. A third believe that the 1969 moon landing never happened. And a third believe that Princess Diana was assassinated by the royal family. Importantly, it’s not the same third that believes all these things. There is not a consistently gullible group that believes every wacky thing. Rather, the same student will be utterly dogmatic about one strange theory, but dismissive and disdainful about another. There appears to be a two-step breakdown in critical thinking. Unlimited information, without logical training, leads to a crude form of skepticism in students. Everything is doubtful and everything is possible. Since that state of suspended commitment is not tenable, it is usually followed by an almost arbitrary dogmatism... Another motive seems lurking in the background too, and it is insidious. The millennial generation does not like being wrong. They are unaccustomed to it. Their education – a unique blend of No Child Left Behind, helicopter parenting, and oppression olympics, has made them uncomfortable with Socratic criticism. When my colleague recently corrected the grammar on a student’s essay, the student scolded him for enacting “microaggressions” against her syntax... More than just a curative to lazy conspiracy thinking, logic is a great bulwark against totalitarianism and manipulation. The best cure for fake news is smarter citizens"

On the Fallibility of Memory and the Importance of Evidence - "memories are not concrete, nor do they simply deteriorate with age. They are malleable, changeable, and easily influenced by suggestion. These changes are incorporated into the original memory to a degree that they seem every bit as real as its truest aspects. As Yale researchers Marcia K. Johnson and Carol L. Raye noted, “All experience is constructed in that people use their general knowledge of the world to fill in ‘missing elements.’” For this reason, memories are subject to what is known as the Misinformation Effect... A flashbulb memory is a memory encoded in a time of intense psychological stress that is supposedly extraordinarily vivid and accurate, like a snapshot illuminated by the light of a camera’s flash... flashbulb memories use the same neural mechanisms, decay at the same rate, and are no more nor less accurate than typical memories overall. The only notable difference seems to be the confidence with which people speak about their flashbulb memories... many researchers argue that flashbulb memories are less accurate... New York University neurologists Christina Alberini and Joseph LeDoux examine memory reconsolidation, in which the act of reconstruction at the time of retrieval leaves a memory “susceptible to change” each time it is remembered. Operating under the assumption that different kinds of memories are stored via different mechanisms, Alberini and LeDoux demonstrate that amygdala-dependent memories—those based on threat conditioning and intense fear emotions like in “flashbulb” memories—might be more susceptible to disruption and alteration via reconsolidation... It is not so much like a camera’s snapshot of an event as it is like an impressionist painter’s interpretation of it... each retrieval of a memory leaves it susceptible to alteration. Thus, memories that are called upon quite frequently—as traumatic memories often are—will decrease in accuracy at a more rapid pace than those that are retrieved less often. Over a long enough period of time, this can lead to a memory that’s virtually unrecognizable when compared to the original event. “When memories are retrieved they are susceptible to change, such that future retrievals call upon the changed information.”... In 1992, the Innocence Project was founded... By far, the leading cause of false imprisonment in these cases was eyewitness misidentification, which played a role in 70 percent of the convictions. Nearly half of those misidentifications (46 percent) involved multiple eyewitnesses “identifying” the same, innocent person... eyewitness testimonies of victims are far more likely to play a role in wrongful convictions than those of bystanders... our recognition of casual acquaintances—people we may see quite often but with whom we rarely interact—is often no better than chance... activists routinely point to data that shows the rate of false claims is only about 5.9 percent. However, they invariably neglect to mention that this figure only covers those cases that were unequivocally proven to be false by authorities. It does not include cases dropped due to insufficient evidence or otherwise left unresolved because the victim withdrew from the process, or was unable to identify the perpetrator, or mislabeled an incident that does not fit the legal definition of sexual assault. The number of cases that fall into one or more of these categories is 44.9 percent, not including the 5.9 percent figure, above. It’s therefore impossible to tell what the true percentage of false accusations is, but even a 6 percent (or one in 17) chance that an innocent person may be convicted ought to be too great a risk."
So much for unusually compelling testimony

Consent Isn’t Everything and Sex Is Not Like Tea - "The message that colleges and universities are communicating to students is that consent is a sort of panacea against all the (non-biological) risks of sex, and that, so long as there is consent, everything is okay. Of course, in a limited sense, the stance of higher education is understandable because, from a legal perspective, consent is everything. But, just because consent protects universities from liability, that does not mean that it protects women from harm. Sex, in short, is a lot more complicated than tea... For the hook-up to be a fair transaction, the two parties have to be mutually satisfied with obtaining the potential benefits of a single sexual encounter. This certainly includes the bodily or physical pleasures of arousal, stimulation, and climax. What makes sex tricky is that there is much more that is desirable about sex than these more physical pleasures. Many of the other desirable features are not easily contained within the single sexual encounter. Some of the enjoyments of sex have to do with a reflective enjoyment of the experience. Here we get into trouble because there are reasons to think that men have an advantage over women in obtaining these benefits from a single and self-contained sexual encounter... women take a huge gamble when they engage in casual hookups, and when her sexual partner fails to realize this, or take the necessary precautions, the result will be a feeling of violation, a feeling of being harmed, a feeling of being taken advantage of."

Columnist: It Should Be Illegal To Be A Stay-At-Home-Mom - "An Australian columnist, Sarrah Le Marquand, wrote in The Daily Telegraph that she thinks it should be illegal to be a stay-at-home-mom. The sound of that should surely get feminists happy; who have long viewed stay-at-home mothers with disgust as a group that has betrayed the sisterhood for (gasp!) wanting to raise their children to the best of their ability...
'Only when the tiresome and completely unfounded claim that “feminism is about choice” is dead and buried (it’s not about choice, it’s about equality) will we consign restrictive gender stereotypes to history.'...
at the end of the day, it’s really no one’s business how folks run their households. And there shouldn’t be any laws banning how your neighbors raise their kids because they're not falling in line with a feminist initiative. That’s just...fascist, right?"
Another feminism admitting (indeed proclaiming) that feminism isn't about choice and that it's about coercing women into making the 'right' decisions - just like how they killed the Grid Girls

Save our bacon - "the studies that claim to reveal the carcinogenic nature of meat show that the relative risk of eating meat is low. When dealing with epidemiological studies, it is wise to proceed with extreme caution. There are so many potential confounding factors that only the strongest correlations can be accepted as causal factors with any confidence. For instance, smokers are around 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. It is pretty clear therefore that there is a connection between smoking and cancer. Now compare that with the relative cancer risk of eating processed meat: one authoritative study in 2011 put the risk factor at 17 per cent. That’s more than a hundred times less than the risk of smoking – hardly grounds to assert that it causes cancer... living longer is far more costly. Those who live longer will keep on receiving pensions, health and social care, free bus passes, free TV licences and other entitlements for longer than anyone else. If the usual claims about what is healthy are true, then it is the salad-munching fanatics who will live longer and cost the most money. You could argue this means we should tax lettuce and gym memberships... there are roughly 60million deaths worldwide each year or eight deaths per 1,000 people. If the researchers’ claims are correct, these eye-watering taxes would postpone just 220,000, or 0.4 per cent of those deaths. But even this figure beggars belief. As Christopher Snowdon points out in the Spectator, the new study’s calculations are built on the idea that red and processed meat kill 2.4million per year. In comparison, the Lancet’s Global Burden of Disease series recently put the figure at 140,000, suggesting that even postponing 220,000 deaths is a massive overstatement"
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