DanBC's recent activity

  1. Comment on How would you reduce speeding by car drivers? in ~talk

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pqskm (Crossing Continents is a good radio programme and it's well worth a listen). We know from Ferguson (and other places) that pressure is placed on police...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pqskm

    The Bizarre Workings of St Louis County, Missouri

    Crossing Continents

    Are excessive traffic fines and debtors' jails fuelling community tensions in suburban Missouri? Claire Bolderson reports on a network of ninety separate cities in St Louis County, most of which have their own courts and police forces. Critics say that their size makes them financially unviable and allege that some of them boost their incomes by fining their own citizens and locking them up when they can't pay.

    This edition of Crossing Continents goes out and about in St Louis County to meet the people who say they are victims of a system which sees arrest warrants issued for relatively minor misdemeanours. Many of the victims are poor and black. The programme also takes us into the courts, and out onto the freeways with some of the County's police, who say they are upholding the law and promoting road safety.

    The US government is not so sure. One of the towns in question is Ferguson where riots erupted after a white police officer shot a young black man dead last summer. In a recent report on the riots, the Department of Justice concluded that the Ferguson police had been stopping people for no good reason. It said they were putting revenue before public safety.

    Claire Bolderson investigates how widespread the practice is and considers the impact on relations between citizens and the authorities that govern them.

    (Crossing Continents is a good radio programme and it's well worth a listen).

    We know from Ferguson (and other places) that pressure is placed on police officer to raise revenue. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31849421

    Emphasis on revenue

    Ferguson's police practices are shaped by a focus on maximising revenue rather than improving public safety.

    • City officials put pressure on police to issue fines to raise revenue
    • Many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson's predominantly African American areas, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue
    • For example, police accused a black man sitting in his parked car cooling off after playing basketball of being a paedophile. He was eventually charged with eight violations, including "making a false declaration" because he had given his name as Mike instead of Michael.
    2 votes
  2. Comment on Has anybody changed their first and/or last name (legally or socially)? in ~talk

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    You don't even need a deedpoll, you can just start using the new name. It is sometimes tricky to get organisations (like banks) to accept the change of name. Weirdly it's easier to get a passport...

    You don't even need a deedpoll, you can just start using the new name. It is sometimes tricky to get organisations (like banks) to accept the change of name. Weirdly it's easier to get a passport in the new name and then use that to persuade the banks.

    2 votes
  3. How would you reduce speeding by car drivers?

    I was reading this twitter post and it made me wonder if you have any ideas to stop speeding by car drivers? Have any of these ideas been tried anywhere? I'm also interested in unintended...

    I was reading this twitter post and it made me wonder if you have any ideas to stop speeding by car drivers? Have any of these ideas been tried anywhere? I'm also interested in unintended consequences.

    https://twitter.com/agnessjonsson/status/1229103764843438086?s=20

    Agnes @agnessjonsson

    fact of the day: Sweden once experimented with a “speed camera lottery”. Those who drove within the speed limit were automatically entered into a drawing where the prize fund came from fines that speeders paid.

    They tested it in a few different cities and I haven’t read the results of each one, but in Stockholm the average speed on the selected road decreased by 22 percent.

    16 votes
  4. Comment on In retrospect it seems hard to overstate the cultural damage done by South Park in ~tv

  5. Comment on What TV classics are significantly better than the remake? in ~tv

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    I'm surprised that's what you got from that episode, because you've missed all the other stuff it mentions - which is mostly not about policing.

    had a hamfisted theme (“police bad”)

    I'm surprised that's what you got from that episode, because you've missed all the other stuff it mentions - which is mostly not about policing.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Google sends a unique Chrome browser identifier through Chrome when you visit their websites in ~tech

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    Consent is one of the lawful reasons to collect data, but it's not required. There are other lawful reasons to collect data. Google will be relying on legitimate interest. From your link:

    Consent is one of the lawful reasons to collect data, but it's not required. There are other lawful reasons to collect data. Google will be relying on legitimate interest.

    From your link:

    While being one of the more well-known legal bases for processing personal data, consent is only one of six bases mentioned in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The others are: contract, legal obligations, vital interests of the data subject, public interest and legitimate interest as stated in Article 6(1) GDPR.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    DanBC
    Link
    Avenue 5 I'm really enjoying Avenue 5 and every episode so far has had a few standout funny moments. Universal Credit - Inside the Welfare State has just started on the BBC. It will only be three...

    Avenue 5 I'm really enjoying Avenue 5 and every episode so far has had a few standout funny moments.

    Universal Credit - Inside the Welfare State has just started on the BBC. It will only be three episodes. It doesn't do a good job of explaining the background and purposes of the benefit other than in broadest brush strokes, and I don't think that's what's needed. The benefits system is enormously complicated and the BBC isn't doing its job of informing the public. I guess the program is better than nothing. It follows bureaucrats inside the DWP, workers in Job Centre Plus, and benefit claimants. It feels like to get that amount of access they had their hands tied a bit.

    Losing It continues. The 3rd episode follows two people who are suicidal, and one person who's been under the care of services for a long time. Each episode is 45 minutes, so we get about 15 minutes per person. That's simply not long enough to tell their story and explain what's going on. We see someone who's made 10 attempts to end their life but who isn't being offered in-patient treatment. The only attempt to explain why is a clinician saying (as part of this person's appointment) "I don't think it's going to be therapeutically useful". There are really good reasons not to admit someone as an inpatient, and this was a missed opportunity to explain why and what's going on and what a better approach would be. The viewer is left with the impression that in-patient treatment is gold standard best option, and that it's not available because of under-funding of NHS. The NHS definitely is under-funded, but even if it had all the beds it needs this person probably wouldn't be admitted as an inpatient. What they actually need is better community treatment options, and those are not available, and the reason they're not available is under-funding.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Google sends a unique Chrome browser identifier through Chrome when you visit their websites in ~tech

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    Which bit of GDPR is being broken here please?

    As people have noticed in the URL, this is a blatant violation of GDPR.

    Which bit of GDPR is being broken here please?

    4 votes
  9. Comment on Where to start with Mozart? in ~music

    DanBC
    Link
    My suggestion would be to watch the movie Amadeus. It's enjoyable, it has a bunch of short snippets of music and they're all listed in the Wikipedia page. It isn't particularly historically...

    My suggestion would be to watch the movie Amadeus. It's enjoyable, it has a bunch of short snippets of music and they're all listed in the Wikipedia page. It isn't particularly historically accurate though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadeus_(film)

    My other suggestion is to try different recordings of the same piece. Here's an example of a bit of Bach by two different orchestras, and they sound quite different.

    St Matthew Passion (Karajan) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImPB3T1X3LM

    St Matthew Passion (Brüggen) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-0fmsT3ODM

    (I much prefer the second one because it's much pacier).

    2 votes
  10. Comment on How Brexit could reignite tensions at the Irish border in ~misc

    DanBC
    Link
    You can get an idea how complex this is from this UK government report: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8571 The Irish border is a big deal, and we could see a...

    You can get an idea how complex this is from this UK government report: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8571

    The Irish border is a big deal, and we could see a return to armed para-military action if we get it wrong.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Old CSS, new CSS in ~comp

    DanBC
    Link
    No no, you'd open up paint and create an image, then type your text in paint on that, then if you remembered you'd convert it all to web safe colours and save as a gif.

    Note also the utterly unreadable red text on a textured background, one of the truest hallmarks of 90s web design. “Why not put that block of text on an easier-to-read background?” you might ask. You imbecile. How would I possibly do that? Only the <body> has a background attribute! I could use a table, but tables only support solid background colors, and that would look so boring!

    No no, you'd open up paint and create an image, then type your text in paint on that, then if you remembered you'd convert it all to web safe colours and save as a gif.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on How do we stop the polarization/toxicity filling the web? in ~tech

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    Most people with an account can flag, and as far as I know all flags are equal.

    Most people with an account can flag, and as far as I know all flags are equal.

  13. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    DanBC
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been watching Losing It on Channel 4 (in the UK). This is a documentary about people living with mental illness and getting treatment in an English NHS Trust. There are two episodes so far....

    I've been watching Losing It on Channel 4 (in the UK). This is a documentary about people living with mental illness and getting treatment in an English NHS Trust. There are two episodes so far. It's handled sensitively, and isn't too exploitative. It shows some of the problems with the English NHS system which is under enormous pressure (mostly caused by government under-funding for many years). https://www.channel4.com/programmes/losing-it-our-mental-health-emergency/on-demand/68236-003

    999 What's Your Emergency has returned for its 10th series. Currently on episode 2. I enjoy this because it's a non-judgmental look at policing and people who commit crime. This programme is told from a policing perspective, but it doesn't demonise criminals. https://www.channel4.com/programmes/999-whats-your-emergency

    I enjoyed the first episode of Avenue 5, but it had a bunch of scene-setting and I wanted to wait until the second episode before talking about it. The second programme starts ramping up the situations. So far, I love this programme and I can't wait to see how it continues.

    Channel 4 has a new cooking competition show Crazy Delicious. I was looking forward to this because it has some interesting chefs - Heston Blumenthal, Carla Hall and Niklas Ekstedt - and I really wanted to hear what they say about food. But sadly this programme is an incoherent mess. The judges don't talk much about food. There are a couple of comments here and there, but not nearly enough. The three competitors appear for a single episode, which isn't long enough for the audience to develop a bond with them, so we don't care who stays or goes. I won't be watching any more episodes. This review is a pretty good description of the programme and the problems. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/21/crazy-delicious-review-foodie-tv-brought-to-you-by-beelzebub-himself

    3 votes
  14. Comment on Why “rape games” are worse than violent games in ~games

    DanBC
    Link Parent
    Rape is sex without consent. There are plenty of people who impose other restrictions. They'll say rape requires force, or that if the victim hasn't struggled it's not rape.

    Rape is sex without consent. There are plenty of people who impose other restrictions. They'll say rape requires force, or that if the victim hasn't struggled it's not rape.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on The UK has one of the most equitable health care systems in the world. Here’s how. in ~health

    DanBC
    Link
    The article mentions the Cancer Drugs Fund as an example of where NICE got things wrong and was over-ruled. Evaluation of the CDF showed most patients got no meaningful benefit from these very...

    The article mentions the Cancer Drugs Fund as an example of where NICE got things wrong and was over-ruled.

    Evaluation of the CDF showed most patients got no meaningful benefit from these very expensive meds and many of them were caused harm. https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2097

    That feels to me like NICE getting it right, but being over-ruled by politicians (Lansley in particular is a fucking idiot) who implemented a system that only proved how needed NICE is.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on NICE choses not to recommend esketamine for treatment resistant depression in ~health

    DanBC
    Link
    I've linked the summary document. If you want the technical details they are here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/gid-ta10371/documents/129 We hear a lot about novel treatments for depression...

    I've linked the summary document. If you want the technical details they are here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/gid-ta10371/documents/129

    We hear a lot about novel treatments for depression such as ketamine or psychedelics, so some people may be surprised by the NICE decision to not recommend esketamine.

    I'm pretty confident that esketamine will be approved by NICE in the future, once the costs have dropped and when we have better quality research showing the effectiveness.

    Depression is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of different illness.

    Some people with depression are going to have spontaneous remission -- they'll get better even if we don't provide any treatment. Some people have reactive depression and they'll get better if we change the situation they're in.

    We know that short form talking therapy like cognitive behaviour therapy is effective for about 50% to 60% of the people who try it. We know that medication has similar effectiveness. We know that some people get most benefit from a combination of meds and therapy.

    But there are people who have chronic, severe, treatment resistant depression.

    For some people with long-lasting, treatment-resistant, severe depression where they are at risk of death by suicide we've used electro-convulsive therapy. Some people think ECT was the best thing that happened to them, but others tell us that it caused them harm.

    For this small group of people ketamine is probably going to be useful.

    So, why did NICE chose not to approve esketamine nasal spray?

    It wasn't being looked at for just this narrow group of people, but for a more general group. The definition of "treatment resistant" being used in the trials was "hasn't responded to two or more anti-depressant medications". The trials had an unusually large response from the placebo group -- people with supposedly treatment resistant depression were getting better after a placebo treatment. The trials also haven't compared esketamine nasal spray with talking therapies -- this is a large gap in the research.

    It costs £10,000 per course of treatment. That's a lot more than antidepressants or talking therapies and so it would need to show clear unambiguous benefits over those, which at the moment it cannot do.

    And there's uncertainty about side-effects and what happens when people stop treatment. This is a valid concern, but it has been perhaps manipulated a bit by anti-medication campaign groups. Discontinuation effects are unpleasant and they've only recently been taken seriously.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on Analysis of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland in ~health

    DanBC
    Link
    A "unit of alcohol" is a public health thing to help guide people about safer drinking. One unit is 10 ml of alcohol. You can find the number of units a drink contains by multiplying the serving...

    A "unit of alcohol" is a public health thing to help guide people about safer drinking. One unit is 10 ml of alcohol. You can find the number of units a drink contains by multiplying the serving size in ml by the ABV number. One 750 ml bottle of wine at 12% ABV would be 0.75 * 12 = 9 units. The cheapest that bottle can be sold for with MUP is 9 * 50pence, or £4.50.

    This report is the first comprehensive look at the effect of introducing a minimum price per unit for alcohol in Scotland.

    Scotland saw a 3.6% drop in alcohol sales while England and Wales saw a 3.2% increase in sales. MUP has had a big effect on the cheapest products - "white cider" used to be very cheap and is now somewhat more expensive.

    This thread has some useful discussion: https://twitter.com/VictimOfMaths/status/1222095159845847040?s=20