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Damian Ryan

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since May 09, 2003
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Recent posts by Damian Ryan

The score received in an IQ test measures exactly what it says: IQ. Not intelligence.
Ask 10, or even 100 psychologists what "intelligence" is or how to measure it (if indeed it can be measured in meaningful terms of one or a few numbers) and you are likely to receive almost as many different answers.
What an IQ test measures is the ability to take IQ tests. There is undoubtedly some correlation between general intellectual capabilities and IQ score, but not as much as the proponents of IQ tests would like to have you believe. I think a lot of people recognise this and that's why most of us don't seem to attach too much importance to them.
Like any intellectual exercise, familiarity and practice can yield improved scores on repeated tests. Does that mean you're more intelligent than last time you took the test? Hardly. It just means you're better prepared for the kind of questions asked.
I agree with what Jim and others said about keeping the brain stimulated. It definitely is a case of use it or lose it with a great deal of the non-essential stuff we load our brains with. I'm in my mid-thirties and am already alarmed at how much I've forgotten because I don't use it anymore.
Practice more if you want to improve your IQ score. It can be done. You won't be any more intelligent at the end of it, and 99.9% of other people won't care, but if it pleases you for your own amusement or personal satisfaction, that's as good a reason as any other
16 years ago
Well done!
16 years ago
Well done!
16 years ago

Thomas Paul: In the US, a doctor could be prosecuted if his negligence is so serious as to be criminal. This does not mean that doctors can be prosecuted for making mistakes. A doctor who kills a patient by giving them too much medication by accident would not be prosecuted for a crime. A doctor who gave too much medication because he was drunk would likely be prosecuted.

16 years ago

Originally posted by Richard Hawkes: Maybe they should treat medical negligence as a criminal matter rather than a civil matter. The doctor should get punished by jail time and struck off (maiming, endangering life). Its incredibly hard to get struck off the medical register apparently - in the UK anyway - because it is self-governing profession.

I can't speak about the situation outside the UK (where I have no experience) but medical doctors are, and always have been subject to criminal proceedings as well as the civil law if they commit criminal acts.
One example is common assault (doing anything to a patient without their express consent, except in cases where the patient is unable to give consent, for example, due to unconsciousness when emergency life-saving treatment is required and no next-of-kin is available to give consent).
Another is manslaughter, usually as a result of criminal negligence. Such cases have been prosecuted on the grounds that a doctor failed seriously in his or her duty to the public, for example not checking the correct route of administration of anti-cancer drugs and so giving an intra-spinal injection instead of an intravenous one.
Yet another is grievous bodily harm. Such cases have been successfully prosecuted when surgeons have performed surgery so badly as to leave patients maimed for life. These are quite often tied up with medical negligence. The case of a gynaecologist in Kent a few years ago comes to mind.
Admittedly, news of criminal prosecution of medical doctors is uncommon, but it can and does happen in the UK. It is of course much more common for doctors to be sued in the civil courts for medical negligence, and it is becoming more and more common each year as we seem to be increasingly adopting the approach to life that something can't just go wrong without it being someone's fault.
Earlier on someone else mentioned the number of unnecessary and expensive investigations ordered by US doctors. I think it was Vasu Maj. This is true to an extent. Certainly, compared with doctors in the UK, US doctors order far more investigations. This is changing though, as in the UK doctors start to order more investigations too.
What are the reasons for this? I think there are several. Fee-for-service is one contributory factor. So is the availability of investigations. In a situation where expensive investigations are more readily available (such as MRI scans, angiography and other invasive diagnostic radiological investigations, etc) there is naturally a lower threshold for ordering them. But one of the largest contributory factors to poly- and over-investigation is defensive practise.
The more exhaustively a clinician investigates a patient, the less likely (arguably) it is that false positives or negatives from one modality of investigation will cause a wrong diagnosis to be made. I won't go into an argument here about what constitutes an acceptable level of investigation. Opinions vary. That's a whole other discussion. I make the point here because successful defense of a medical negligence claim is based upon what a body of medical peers would consider as reasonable practice. If your peers consider you underinvestigated a patient, then there is no defense and you lose your case. Do not pass go. Do not collect �200. Your medical insurance company pays out, your premiums go up, etc.
In a culture (which seems to exist in the US, and is increasingly apparent here in the UK) where doctors constantly face the risk of being sued, does it surprise you that some (not all by any means) err on the side of caution and perform more investigations than might be necessary? Some might know they are doing it and acknowledge that having a ready answer to potential litigation is part of their motivation, others might just believe what they are doing is completely medically justified.
I know this post was a bit off topic, but I couldn't resist.
16 years ago
You'll just have to keep checking into the certmanager site (where you uploaded your assignment).
Unless procedure has changed since I did my exam (only a few months ago) you won't get any other notification. Unless you pass and after several weeks you received your certificate.
It took me about three weeks to get my results. I think I was only logging in about 50 times a day by the end
I think the timescale is a bit variable - other people have taken over 6 weeks to get their results - I think it just depends on who's marking your assignment and how efficient they are.
Good luck anyway!
Arun, hi
taking a look over the code from Max's book I think I can answer your questions. (Before the man himself gives us the real answer ). The main server loop (in DVDSocketServer) listens on a ServerSocket and spawns a new Thread (a DBSocketRequest, actually, which is a subclass of Thread) to handle each client connection. This thread then handles the client/server I/O while the main server loop goes back to listening on the the ServerSocket in the main thread.
The DBSocketRequest gets the request from the client, performs the operation on the DVD database, sends the response back then the run method completes and so this Thread dies and its resources are released. And as the DBScoketRequest object was a local variable in the main server loop it isn't referenced anywhere else once the thread dies and so it goes out of scope and is eligible for garbage collection.
It is true that a new thread (DBSocketRequest) is spawned to handle each separate client request, which means that that the same client will be handled by different threads (newly spawned) even if it makes two consecutive requests, uninterrupted by other clients. This is a simple way to implement a stateless client-server protocol.
It is also true that spawning a new thread for each client request is processor and resource intensive, but I think what Max was probably aiming for in the book example was the elegance of simplicity. Yes, in a commercial server you'd probably use a thread pool, and perhaps keep threads alive to implement persistent connections between the server and particular clients, but these make the code more complicated and don't add to the fundamental points of socket communication that Max was probably trying to demonstrate.
Does this help at all?

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
No. Rape and statutory rape are different. They have different terms. This is argument by obfuscation.

No, it's not any kind of argument. It's a question. To you, or anyone else who knows the answer. The question mark should have given it away, I'd have thought. And what does "different terms" mean? If a man is convicted of statutory rape, is he not a rapist then? If not, why is the word rape in the name of the offence? Help me, I'm asking a serious question.

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
I'll note one thing: you went WAY out of your way to take my quotes out of context to justify your position that I am moralizing. I'm glad it was that much work.

You really do like to patronize, don't you? In fact, it took me less than five minutes quickly scanning over the thread to find all the quotes I included last time.

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
This clearly states to me that Eugene accepts pedophilia.

I give in. I've just realised there's no arguing with you. You're mad.
16 years ago

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
It's awry.

Ok, mea culpa. I think I lost track of your exact position over the course of this lengthy thread. I need a memory upgrade... Looking back, I see I misinterpreted your stance (I think during your exchanges with Tarun I must have phased out and misunderstood your feelings about rape in non-human species; your insistence on calling "non-consensual" intercourse between non-human species "rape" fooled me because the word rape is so loaded with moral judgement in my interpretation. I do see though that you also specifically said that what set humans apart was that we had transcended instinct and constructed social notions of right and wrong. Ok, so no more pigs...)

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
DR: I think we could go around in circles for ever over semantics here
Nope. You can, because you won't address the point. Either rape is always wrong or it isn't. If it is always wrong, it is an absolute Wrong.

I think this is a matter of semantic confusion (say, on my part). We've not been holding the same definition of "absolute wrong" in our heads while we exchange views. I can blithely agree that rape is always wrong. If someone is guilty of rape they should be punished. No problems there. My difficulty is, who is the arbiter, in each case, that decides rape took place? I am NOT trying to present any kind of justification for coercive sex, let me make that clear. I just think one group's definition of rape might differ from another's.
Let me explain what I mean: I know in its simplest terms rape might be defined as "forced, non-consensual sexual penetration of another person". That might not be a legal definition, but I think it's one we can work with? Now, I believe (though I could be wrong) that there's an offence in the US called "statutory rape", which applies to sex where a female is under age (I admit I don't know the exact definition) and so not legally able to provide consent (though perhaps in every other respect able to). A man convicted of this crime must, per se, be a rapist, yes? After all, he committed statutory rape.
Does he deserve the same punishment as a rapist who lurks in a dark alley and accosts a woman with a knife or firearm then brutally has intercourse with her? I don't think so. Because there are different circumstances involved. It's not a case for me of "black and white, absolute wrong, he's a rapist, string him up". Don't say "we're not talking about punishments here" because then I would ask, what is the point of debating rights and wrongs with no reference to their consequences? "Wrongness" isn't a binary variable, it's analogue and some wrongs need more punishement than others, or at least I think that what most of us believe in the 21st century.
(This situation wouldn't arise in the UK because the equivalent offence is called "Illegal sexual intercourse" with no mention of rape. And the age of consent for a female to heterosexual intercourse is 16 (which is I think, younger than in the US?) whereas there is no legal age of consent to heterosexual relations for a male (an it's 18 for male homosexual relations). This brings up the question aready mentioned some time ago of national differences in ages of consent. What constitutes (or might) statutory rape in the US would be perfectly legal in the UK or other countries with even lower or non-existent ages of consent).

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
It's easier for me to address an issue if you ask a question.

Mea culpa again. I thought that merely airing a view in a discussion forum might attract comment if other parties agreed or disagreed strongly enough to be motivated to post. I'll try to make it more explicit in future when I'd like a comment to provoke an answer.

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
Are you saying that declaring that rape is wrong will automatically lead to fundamentalism?

No, and you know it. You mentioned slippery slopes yourself much earlier in this thread when you expressed a preference against accepting grey areas in some moral arguments (though not in those exact words). I was applying the same concern about a slippery slope from conviction in moral absolutes (as I understood the term, see my discussion about our semantic interpretational differences earlier in this post) to fundamentalism or justification of atrocities.
A lot of our disagreements seem to have stemmed from talking at crossed purposes and perhaps this is all my fault. All I meant to say really when I first nailed my colours to the post yesterday is that I think the reason some people felt it necessary to disagree with you is perhaps, like me, that they found your tone to be one of moralising . For instance, after a reasoned argument from Andrew (followed by supporting comments by others) about cannibalism, you said:

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
I heard no end of ludicrously stretched examples of where cannibalism, for example, could be acceptable. Crapola. Even if it was necessary, it was not acceptable

That seems pretty dismissive to me. It sounds like the viewpoint of a man for whom things are black and white. "Those people in the Andes ate human flesh to survive and that is not acceptable". No mitigation allowed.
And to Eugene (who had tried to clarify the original metaphysical intent of his question):

Originally posted by Joue Pluta:
Stay away from my family. Really, I mean that.

I appreciate that you might have been employing a tactic of sensationalism to make a point, but I think others might interpret these words as stating a moral judgement on your part of Eugene (and others not agreeing with you).
And one plea to knock this rape question on the head: you seem to have latched onto this one of late, having previously accepted grey areas surrounding paedophilia (with the age cut-off issue) and cannibalism (which I think I saw you agree was more "wrong" if preceded by a murder for the purposes of procuring the cannibalism) and thus losing them (in my sense, at least) as absolutes. I appreciate that nothing I've said might have convinced you there are grey areas concerning rape, but I don't presume to be the most articulate proponent here. Perhaps someone else might be able to introduce doubt into your mind about that one. And then the next absolute, and the next...
[ September 18, 2003: Message edited by: Damian Ryan ]
16 years ago

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
You missed the key word "balance". The group you describe seemed to consist of too many frothing at the mouth absolutists.

I didn't miss your point, but perhaps didn't state mine explicitly enough. I meant to imply that in my view, the correct number of frothers for any given situation is a constant: 0.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Absolutism, in its clear cut black/white distinctions, is able to communicate its message very emotionally/effectively; in times of crises especially.

Hence my discomfort with it. The whole "black and white" thing leaves no room for mitigation or explanation, and can be subverted by those with an agenda or by those who get so het up that they misapply their indignation to something that wasn't wrong in the first place.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
So, are you denying any correlation at all between strong emotions on particular issues and an absolutist view of those issues?
Or are you denying any correlation between action...?

No, I said I didn't know the answer, which is not a refutation. I meant that I didn't see that being convinced that something is always wrong (black and white) rather than just believing it was wrong in the given situation (through an intellectual analysis of the situation, vs. an instinctive, reflex "it's just wrong") would have much of an effect on a person's reactive behaviour. But again, I don't know. We may have been talking at crossed purposes.
[ September 18, 2003: Message edited by: Damian Ryan ]
16 years ago

Otherwise rape is not acceptable; this becomes an absolute Wrong, by fiat if not by definition

I think we could go around in circles for ever over semantics here. If rape is wrong by fiat (and it is; by humans collectively agreeing that it's not right to rape each other) then it is not an absolute wrong, but a relative one, in my understanding of the terms. We weren't given the axiom "rape is wrong" by an external adjudicator, we arrived as a species at the conclusion that it was not acceptable behaviour. We have no right to observe the behaviour of other species and classify it as "rape" because they ARE NOT HUMAN and so NOT SUBJECT TO HUMAN MORES. Note: human mores. Not absolute mores.
For example, is it sexual assault when a farmer sticks an electircal probe into the rectum of a male pig to make it ejaculate? Or when he inseminates a sow with the ejaculate so acquired, given that neither boar nor sow provided informed consent to the intimate acts? Some people might argue that it is. But they're in a relatively small minority I would guess. Because the rest of us don't apply rules of right and wrong to other species that we would apply to fellow humans. If sexual assault (a precursor to rape and an element of paedophilia) were an absolute, universal moral wrong then we would consider it just as wrong to assault a pig, a flower, or a bacterium sexually as a human being, if my understanding of your explanation of an asbolute wrong is not awry. Similarly, unless we fall prey to the mistake of anthropomorphization, we don't condemn member of other species when they kill each other, eat each other or have sex with first degree relatives.
That is what I mean by absolute and relative.
Now, what is your response to my point about fundamentalism? You come up with (what seem to me to be snide) asides about rape or defaecating on doorstops then murdering me, but where is your specific answer to my point? Or would you like to just turn around something I've said in this post and ask me another question withour answering any yourself, Joe?
[ September 17, 2003: Message edited by: Damian Ryan ]
16 years ago

Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
It's just as arrogant -- in the denotative sense of the term -- to presume there are no absolutes as to presume there are -- we can't know them. We can and do try to infer them, but ultimately it is human, social consensus that acts as the arbiter. All our asserted moral rights and wrongs may in fact map back to an objective state. But it's a happy coincidence at best. We can't know God, we can only believe.
So those of you who have been disagreeing with Joe on this point, my apologies, but you've been wrong all this time.

I don't understand how the second paragraph bears any logical relation to the first.
I don't think I am included in the group mentioned as disagreeing with Joe on the point in question (but to be honest I've kind of lost a grip on which exact point is meant here).
I prefer to believe that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, there is no set of absolute moral rights and wrongs. That the rights and wrongs we agree upon in a social group are entirely an artifical construct of the group (developed as adaptive responses to the physical and social environment). Not that an unknowable and unprovable divinity imposes them. This does NOT mean that I think the rights and wrongs are all arbitrary. We are all one species despite our global cultural diversity, and so some moral standards are likely to have arisen as beneficial adaptations across the species. You could argue that this makes them absolute, but I don't think it does. They don't and can't apply to anything other than us as humans. It is nonsensical to castigate a rat that mates with its siblings as evil because it has committed "incest", or a male lion that eats the cubs of its mate's previous mate as an evil murderer.
Applying Occam's razor, I see no need to complicate the issue of where my (or anyone elses') mores come from by invoking metaphysical constructs when the answer that they derive from my species' interactions with itself and its environment provides a complete enough answer for me. Perhaps even one that is testable by someone with more wit than me to know how. So I don't feel arrogant in taking my position.
The reason talk of the opposite position (that there is some subset (at least) of our mores which are absolute for all times and all possible situations, that exist without reference to Homo Sapiens Sapiens) discomfits me is that, in my perception (which I ackowledge is mine and not necessarily anyone else's), a conviction that some things just are right or wrong can be the start of a dehumanizing slippery slope of justification for appaling behaviour.
It was probably "self-evident" to Hitler and the fervant Nazis that Jews were subhuman, and so not deserving of the considerations one would normally apply to memebers of the human race, like it not being ok to rape or murder them. It was probably absolutely clear to the Christians who participated in the crusades that the Muslims were heretics who had to be converted or murdered (not that it would have been seen as murder. More likely cast as salvation of their immortal souls). Likewise I would guess it was "clear" to the people who felt justified in hijacking aeroplanes and flying them into the World Trade Center that what they were doing was "right", and no amount of appealing to them to dispassionately examine their views on an intellectual basis would have changed their minds. Because they were convinced of the absolute rectitude of their actions and the absolute evil of their intended victims.
It is the link I perceive between a conviction in moral absolutes and fundamentalism of any denomination that leads me to believe my position is the lesser of the two "arrogances".
16 years ago