Posts by Rich of Observationz

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…,

    Maybe a reasonable compromise would be for a doctor to certify that (a) the patient has a named condition and (b) they have no known factors that would contra-indicate the use of cannabis*

    That allows the government to keep up the pretence of prohibition whilst not involving a doctor in providing an unethical treatment.

    * A bit like a medical for diving. The doctor isn't saying that pressurising your body and taking it underwater is a good idea, merely that you are no more likely than average to damage yourself in such an ill-advised activity...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…,

    What amazing magic process are they going to use in some tightly controlled medical cannabis plantation?

    Well, if you wanted to do evidence-based medicine, you'd start by taking your crop, maybe making cannabis oil using the usual process, then assay it for active ingredients and then standardise it by dilution or concentration so you had a known dose.

    Then (assuming you'd pre-decided that the drug was generally safe and effective) you'd prescribe it to each patient, perhaps starting with a small dose and increasing to see the effect on their symptoms. You'd record this and report any adverse effects, as well as conducting formal follow up studies on safety and efficacy (informed by the way you are using a standardised product).

    If you don't do that, it isn't evidence based medicine and isn't what doctors are supposed to do.

    If people want to take weed, either because they consider it helps them medically or they just like being stoned, then to me, that's fine. The government should provide clear and accurate information on the health effects and leave them to make up their own mind.

    But trying to introduce into medicine the idea of "prescribing" random plant material is a big step backwards.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance,

    What would *you* change?

    Allow party leaders to replace MPs at will - so that all the MPs were in office at the leaders favour?
    Allow the Speaker to remove MPs at will - similarly, especially as the Speaker is nominated by the ruling party?
    An MP can get tried and prosecuted and lose their seat when convicted of a serious offence - that's what we have now.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?,

    Captchas. Noisy images generated in the reverse direction, human input required to go forward.

    Ideally mined by large numbers of slaves in developing countries.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Meth Perception,

    It's obviously not in the interests of a landlord to perform a test - I certainly wouldn't. Property owners should always be wary of creating a paper trail that impacts their LIM or creates something you are bound to disclose - for instance, if you have an issue with neighbours, don't put in writing if at all avoidable.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yeah, I think the problem is that the inventors of bitcoin were (I suspect) propertarian wingnuts. As such, they believe in the idea of a currency based on an artificially scarce commodity (cf gold). As expected (and I think I documented this someplace many years ago) this is likely to lead to rampant deflation - which is of course just as much a problem to anyone attempting to use the currency as rampant inflation would be.

    If my business took bitcoin, we'd have to adjust our prices in realtime and then have a highly unstable cashflow (in real money we can pay staff, rent, servers and taxes in) to manage.

    An alternative that simply pegged the coins to a real-world currency and issued them against a bank account full of money would work better and not waste energy - but it would still suffer from excessive transaction times.

    The real problem this is solving isn't technical - having central ledgers operated by trustworthy organisations is a perfectly good solution - but that governments grant an oligopoly to banks which then fail to deliver innovative payment solutions that aren't beset by legacy issues (embossed numbers on credit cards and so on).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance,

    The whole business of being an MP relies on the member being honourable

    Absent that, they need to get re-elected every three years. Of course, the electorate may have their reasons to elect a highly dishonourable candidate (wanting to pollute rivers and cover mountainsides with subdivisions, for instance).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?, in reply to izogi,

    Yep, any kind of non-polling place voting, be it postal ballots or online will suffer from the same problem.

    I'd suspect that one reason the trial of online voting at last years council elections didn't happen is this unfulfillable requirement in the spec:

    1.24 The online voting system must not enable the voter to be in possession of a proof of the content of the vote cast.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?, in reply to Neil Graham,

    I see that.

    If we're making a system that lets a voter go along to a polling station, get given a ballot paper, and validates that they're the first to vote, then one could do that with a blockchain. The problem with it (in common with many such solutions) would be the time taken for the change to the blockchain to propagate - you wouldn't know a vote was being duplicated until the voter and the mis-voter had both left the building.

    And I can't see great advantages over a conventional centralised database to solve this problem.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This article proposes two blockchains, one for voter status (eligible and hasn't voted) another for the actual vote, which is encrypted. (Of course, it doesn't solve the fundamental problem that any form of voting away from a polling place is *inherently* non-private).

    The trouble with everything article I read about blockchain is that the author is clearly fully aroused by the subject, but doesn't know enough about CS and cryptography to write an article that makes sense at a technical level.

    And whenever I have tried to actually use bitcoin over the last few years, my computer has spent many hours grinding away before the funds finally got transferred.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5494 posts Report Reply

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