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... is that they WANT less people to get their healthcare via government. So why aren't they pleased with the CBO analysis when it says that 33million fewer will be insured ?

If they believed their ideologies were right, they would be able to just say - "We believe it's right that fewer people get healthcare through government because that way we can make government smaller and reduce taxes. The way to get healthcare is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get rich like us. If you're already sick and really poor, we'll still have a really basic Medicaid so we don't totally go against everything Jesus taught but if you get sick then basically you're ruined. But as soon as all the sick and poor people die out everyone will be happy like us!" /politics /ahca

Understanding one's own (and other people's) ever-surprising ability to disregard what is blatantly true is something of an obsession for me ATM. When you believe something defines you ("I am a Christian") it appears this cannot be questioned without putting at risk the whole idea of who you are.

As it transpires, the same regions of the brain light-up under MRI when confronted with an actual knife-wielding physical threat as when a statement contradicts closely held beliefs important to our identity:</a>

The thing I would question is the conclusion. Are "who we are" and "what we believe" different things?

/neuroscience /religion

US Wealthcare System

14 07 2017 21:07 | #1 /jamesleeds

There is no free market health care option; a true "free market" would allow poor people to die. 

However, the Republican party is wedded to an antiquated ideology that the free market is king - believing that cutting taxes is a universal solution (even though trickle-down economics has been shown to be a joke) and reducing government interventions - whether for protecting the environment of keeping people alive - are always anti-freedom. So what happens when someone is lying dying following a road accident, and has no insurance? Do the paramedics simply leave them?

Even staunch conservatives (well, most) have a morality of last resort - don't let the free market kill. That's why America's new health care system falls back to pre-death coverage as their only real consession to counter a truly free market.

Paul Ryan's proposed wealth-care system is then an object lesson in why ideological positions can lead to harmful consequences - but if it doesn't directly affect the self-interested (or their chosen demographic "family") they can shut those bad consequences out of their minds.

/politics /trumpcare

how would you do it?

09 05 2017 06:05 | #1 /jamesleeds

Here s a big one. (well, quite small really.)

This one is less problematic!!
One person's common sense is different to another's... the term is simply shorthand for your own prejudices; usually that you are not aware of as prejudices. For example, "You should close your borders to stop terrorists coming it - it's common sense" or "It's common sense that relationships should be between men and women" or "It's common sense that if more people had guns to take down a shooter, less people would get shot" etc.

This is why one should always be wary as soon as "Common Sense" is stated as justification... it says "I have no real justification, other than my own feeling on it".

Also good to be aware of this if you ever find yourself using the phrase.

All empires fall eventually. We will be able to trace the end of the US's global dominance to this point - the point where they gave up the moral high ground
The mind is always trying to convince us that the world is a simpler, more understandable place. Despite our protestations, we stereotype all the time - it is the only way our limited intellects can cope with the complexities of the world.

Hardly any decisions we make are based on a dispassionate assessment of facts or stats - we feel things. And I'm not just talking about those we consider less intelligent - the populists, the sheep - we are all readily persuadable as even smarter people don't make probability calculations in everyday life.

So what can we do if we don't wish to be part of the prejudiced throng - we can't stop our minds making simplifications ourselves? We can acknowledge WHERE we are making simplifications and honestly state so. There is nothing more terrifying than someone who makes a simplication on a sixpence as a means of coping but who then zealously defends it for fear they won't be able to cope if it might turn out to be wrong (or simply more complicated).

As the CEO and Technical Architect for the Pupil Asset school system, I will clearly be claiming the future of MISes is PA MIS! But actually, we are not there yet - and where we are heading in trying to produce the system of the future is I think still interesting - as well as how far away we are from realising those goals.

When I first began looking at school software, I found it incredible that so little progress from the wider world of technology had penetrated into schools. Management software was confined to physical servers (or a Compaq PC under the secretary’s desk!) and so impossibly hard to use that everyone who had not been on the 3 day training course was scared of it. So all this complexity obviously delivered a huge amount of functionality for the school. Didn’t it? Well… beyond storing parent addresses and doctor’s details (never, ever used btw - teachers just phone an ambulance if it gets that bad) it was always a fight (and often another training course) to complete a government census return or extract data for analysis. Let me tell you - making a complex and confusing system is EASY - making a SIMPLE one, now that’s 8/education% of the work. Ebay is far more complex as an application than a school MIS - yet if you had to have 3 days training just to use it they would be out of business.

Worst of all about these legacy systems was the precious little “Information” in Management Information System. An impenetrable mess of menuing leading to a raw data Excel download (and often only if you’d bought the optional assessment package…) That is flexible, yes - but in the same way as buying a PC and learning to program is flexible.

The original iPhone came out in July 2/education/education7 (yes, 1/education years ago!) I clearly recall the conversation I had with a friend at the time saying he already had a digital camera and an iPod - and internet connections were better through a land line. What he (and the other handset manufacturers) failed to see was that in combining these things with a simpler interface wrought something far greater than the sum of it’s parts. Schools are no different… the data is there, and it’s not hard to track - but pulling it together lets you - as a head or governor - see who in my school is not achieving to their best potential. And by “see” I don’t mean manipulate spreadsheets for 2 weeks before Ofsted come in - but have it there, at your fingertips, on a dashboard, in real time, as soon as you sit down with a coffee. What’s more, those initial widgets need to be clickable  to examine that cohort - explore WHY this Maths set is not doing as well as the English one. By combining the attendance, behaviour and assessment data together, you can see that little Jonny is struggling - but he’s been away 6 out of the last 1/education days and got into a fight two weeks ago. 3/education seconds - Maximum. That’s all it should take.

Consolidation. That’s the future. 
Next steps should be built in too. Texting parents (or better still free iMessage style app messaging) as soon as they need to know is a solved and relatively simple problem. Building a connection to your external messaging service is more work than just sending a text message.

In summary, the future MIS isn’t an MIS - certainly not as we know it today. It’s a system for sorting out your school full stop. So how are far along are we with this vision? Well, actually you can do everything above today with Pupil Asset. So what’s missing from our goals? You. Don’t you think it’s time to take control of your school?


In polling, 75% of Trump supporters want to repeal Obamacare even though they are mostly the poor beneficiaries. If you ask the exact same question without calling it "Obamacare" that drops to 13%

Those fighting against the USs fledgling ability to catch up with the rest of the civilised world and look after people who are ill are able to keep popular support against it by reminding people it was proposed by a black man.

In Kentucky, they even rebranded it so that those in need would take it up:

It's only after reading comments against various Obamacare articles that I understand (though disagree) with the opposition to it from poor white Americans. The rebranding of ACA as "Obamacare" is a racist issue THAT makes it sound like healthcare for poor black people, paid for by increased premiums to wealthy whites.

... you can do anything, so you don't

....that's akin to saying we might not face a military threat again; so let's not bother with an army /climate


14 07 2017 21:07 | #1 /jamesleeds

Have to agree with /JayZ on this one

/music /radio

Pro Market / Pro State

14 07 2017 21:07 | #1 /jamesleeds

Refreshing to see analysis that is both Pro-market and Pro-state: The Republican Health Care Crackup

Toca Town access codes

12 07 2017 19:07 | #1 /jamesleeds

This week's Toca Town update allows you to claim free gifts when by typing 8 character words in the keyboard room. After some experimentation with my daughter, I thought we'd share the ones we've found (as nowhere else on the web seems to interested in children's games such as this)

  • SURPRISE can do anything, so you don't.

/TRUMP is honest

01 03 2017 10:03 | #1 /jamesleeds one way - he does not couch what he says, lacking the intellect to think things through. And that means he makes stuff up that is patently false - but he believes it
In this, concerning higher /education haven't achieved
Regarding /code, simplicity beats complication everytime.  A mark of intelligence is how simple something can be made and still retain it's functionality. Smarter people can simplify more effectively and allow an increased number of less smart developers to understand and fix it.

Many slightly less smart devs prefer to make things look as clever as possible (mostly for ego reasons) and real dumb-asses will go so far as make their code so impenetrable as to be perenial confusing and virtually unfixable.

Education set to "Hard"

15 02 2017 09:02 | #1 /jamesleeds

Need to coin a phrase for the educational attitude (expressed here) that promotes teaching fundamental principles before nurturing natural interest.

We risk putting off potentially excellent candidates / extinguishing natural interest by introducing subjects at a complex level disconnected from the experience or interest of the student. In this example, I would have been put off as a child if I didn't have BASIC to allow me to instantly see something that looked like the games I had already played. Learning the principles of pointers or recursive functions would have proven too high a bar - for my interest and my intellect.

Other examples in eduction abound however. Is the reason we trail other European countries in maths something to do with our desperate policies to cram learning in at an increasingly young age - far before any natural interest (or relevance) has presented itself? So many children go on to consider Maths a "chore" - just a means to a grade to university to a job.

It's the Govian mentality of learning your nouns and verbs and proper grammar before establishing a simple joy of writing creatively.

How about over-education? Or Premature-Curriculum?

... is just stupid, brilliant fun
/games /zelda
"[he]’s a great way of understanding how machine learning algorithms can give us stuff we absolutely don’t want, even though they fundamentally lack prior agendas"

/trump /politics /maths /AI /machineLearning

Special Relationships...

31 01 2017 09:01 | #1 /jamesleeds

... aren't "special" if one party is bullying the other into compromising their principles

/politics /trump
"Terrorism doesn't have a nationality; discrimination is not an answer" /muslimban
It's sad when those you admire fall...
Doing so at a state level is fascism. Trump's ban on all muslims entering the US is on the same continuum as kicking Muslims out, then rounding them for extradition, then holding them in camps because there is nowhere for them to go.

Is ironic or terrifying (both?) that this executive order was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day?


20 01 2017 21:01 | #1 /jamesleeds

- Comments / mentions (thoughts on thoughts?)
- Margin notes (always specific to you, but can be written against anyone's big thoughts!)
- "Following" people or piles?
- Different "levels" of friendship
- Collapse big thoughts into summary paragraph
Trump's inauguration day crowd was both tiny and a see of one colour - white: 
Compare that to Obama in 2013: 
... it gets it really wrong.

This is a 198/trumpinauguration Ford Mustang with a 4.2L V8 petrol engine that produces 119bhp. My older, 1974 1.6L makes more than that.

/trumpinauguration /cars

Example reply

20 01 2017 09:01 | #1 /jamesleeds

Reply to: /davidpye
Yes, have been thinking about gamification for a while. Probably something for the free version

Linux on Windows

17 01 2017 08:01 | #1 /jamesleeds

I would be surprised /davidpye if there aren't several future thinkers at MS calculating the effort in replacing the Windows core API with UNIX

Would require a similar transition period to the move from OS9 to OSX, with MS universal binary equivalents.