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General Board / Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:59:14 PM »
tag

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[...] In some cases, this morality may well be utter hypocrisy -- after all, many sexually active young women visit some back-street doctor for a bit of "corrective" surgery before marriage -- yet, for the majority of Turkish women losing her virginity means a lot.


Actually the state should pay for sexually active women to revert to virginity (or at least pay for an operation that will allow them to give the impression that they are virgins). France does, even though France is such a militantly secular nation that hijabs are banned in school, and even though the only women interested in "hymenoplasty," as the procedure is known, are Muslims for whose intended husbands their non-virginity will be a deal-breaker. Dr. Bernard Paniel is an obstetrician-gynecologist for France's public health system, and over many years has become the go-to guy for Muslim women who need to be "mended" before their wedding night, or face the wrath of their shamed, traditionally-minded grooms and the probable annulment of their marriage.  Dr. Paniel "mends" about 30 broken hymens a year with a simple procedure that can be performed with a local anesthetic. He considers himself the "oil in the machine" that allows tradition to carry on, and is teaching the procedure, which he learned as a visiting doctor in a Tunisian hospital in the 1960s, to his younger colleagues. Dr. Paniel doesn't issue "virginity certificates" as some of his colleagues do, but perhaps just as controversially -- and resulting in the same effect -- he does provide his patients with vials of blood to produce on their wedding night. It is an understatement to observe that such (in our culture) medieval-era proofs of virginity -- blood on the wedding night sheets displayed to witnesses -- is utterly outmoded, a relic of pre-enlightened times in Judaism and Christianity. But the continuing, and consequential fixation with virginity amongst observant Muslim men is a reality, and the practice of hymenoplasty has now become a legal and political hot chestnut in France.

For in April a court in the northern French city of Lille annulled a marriage between a convert to Islam and a French woman of North African provenance on the grounds that her husband had discovered on their wedding night that she was not a virgin. It is expected that the ruling will encourage Muslim men with retrograde views of women's obligations to believe the state supports their perspective. This will escalate demands for premarital virginity inspections, which in turn will up the demand for hymenoplasties. The verdict was only made public two weeks ago, and it is causing a ferment of denunciation. Last week 150 members of the European Parliament denounced the ruling as an act of "serious regression." Those who stand to lose the most from the ruling are modern Muslim women. The Muslim women's rights group "Ni putes ni Soumises" (neither prostitutes nor submissive) claim surgeons performing the intervention have overstepped their professional bounds. Illustrating this well-taken point, gynecologist Jacques Milliez, head of the ethics committee of the London-based International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, admits that he routinely issues certificates attesting to the "virginity" of his patients, and says many other colleagues do as well, whether the women are sexually active or not. Sihem Habchi, the group's president,  asks: "Does it really help? Doesn't it just bolster this tradition and this hypocrisy?" Dr. Milliez justifies his actions on the grounds that he is saving women from being ostracized by their communities. Nevertheless he is worried about the effects of the ruling and is organizing a "summit" around the procedure's ethics to be held in October.

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General Board / Re: The Da Vinci crock
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:25:52 PM »

Assuming you establish causality, how do you go for estimating much of the morbidity and mortality from a disease, for instance, might be prevented by interventions? Just curious, yanno :)


Screeing.



Screening test construction involves both traditional and unique psychometry. Nevertheless, screens should adhere to standards for any other educational and psychologist test including evidence of:

- Standardization
- Reliability
- Validity
- Criterion-related reliability

Standardization

This should include a large nationally representative population (rather than a referred population). Ideally, the sample should be a naturalistic one and not a concatenation of groups known to be either normal or abnormal (because this generally eliminates gradations in functioning that characterize children to whom screening tests are applied (e.g., those with below average but not disabled performance).

Reliability

Information should be included on internal consistency, inter-rater reliability, and test-retest reliability. Stability (longer-term test-retest reliability) is sometimes included although given the rapid changes in developmental performance set against a small set of items, stability indicators are not likely to be strong or meaningful.

Validity

Includes concurrent validity (a comparison of screening measures to diagnostic measures). Ideally concurrent validation should involve a test battery that samples the same range of developmental tasks measured by the screening test (e.g., if motor, language and academic skills are measured, the diagnostic battery should include motor, language and academic tasks). Discriminant validity studies are also desirable because they show how well a screening test detects the specific kinds of problems. In the case of broad-band developmental screens, discriminant validity studies should illustrate the extent to which the more common disabling conditions such as language impairment, mental retardation, learning disabilities, autism and cerebral palsy are detected, and for mental health screens, how well internalizing and externalizing disorders are detected. Predictive validity studies are not common but are desirable because they reflect how well screening test items and overall screening test performance measure enduring and meaningful dimensions of child development.


Oh please, stop all this validity and reliability and predictive value * & ^ %! Epidemiology is useless, it's junk science. The data are of inadequate quality. Bias and confounding are insurmountable under any circumstances. And even though you’ve done your best to control for all the confounders, there is either the possibility of residual confounding or even worse there is some confounder out there that you should have controlled for but you didn't even know it existed. This is an argument I refer to as the "unknown confounder" argument that is hard to beat.


Exactly - so much argument for such a piece of epidemiology * & ^ %!

@ # ! * off!

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General Board / Re: Bootstrapping
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:22:54 PM »

It points out the futility of identifying the first case of a circular cause and consequence. The predestination paradox (also called either a causal loop or a causality loop) is a paradox of time travel that is often used as a convention in science fiction. It exists when a time traveller is caught in a loop of events that "predestines" him/her to travel back in time. Because of the possibility of influencing the past while time travelling, one way of explaining why history does not change is by saying that whatever has happened was meant to happen. A time traveller attempting to alter the past in this model, intentionally or not, would only be fulfilling his role in creating history as we know it, not changing it. The predestination paradox is in some ways the opposite of the grandfather paradox, the famous example of the traveller killing his own grandfather before his parent is conceived, thereby precluding his own travel to the past by canceling his own existence.

A dual example of a predestination paradox is depicted in the classic Ancient Greek play 'Oedipus'. Laius hears a prophecy that his son will kill him. Fearing the prophecy, Laius pierces Oedipus' feet and leaves him out to die, but a herdsman finds him and takes him away from Thebes. Oedipus, not knowing he was adopted, leaves home in fear of the same prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Laius, meanwhile, ventures out to find a solution to the Sphinx's riddle. As prophesied, Oedipus crossed paths with Laius and this leads to a fight where Oedipus slays Laius. Oedipus then defeats the Sphinx by solving a mysterious riddle to become king. He marries the widow queen Jocasta not knowing she is his mother.

A typical example of a predestination paradox (used in The Twilight Zone episode "No Time Like the Past") is as follows: A man travels back in time to discover the cause of a famous fire. While in the building where the fire started, he accidentally knocks over a kerosene lantern and causes a fire, the same fire that would inspire him, years later, to travel back in time.

A variation on the predestination paradoxes which involves information, rather than objects, traveling through time is similar to the self-fulfilling prophecy: A man receives information about his own future, telling him that he will die from a heart attack. He resolves to get fit so as to avoid that fate, but in doing so overexerts himself, causing him to suffer the heart attack that kills him. In both examples, causality is turned on its head, as the flanking events are both causes and effects of each other, and this is where the paradox lies. In the second example, the person would not have traveled back in time but for the fire that he or she caused by traveling back in time. Similarly, in the third example, the man would not have overexerted himself but for the future information he receives. In most examples of the predestination paradox, the person travels back in time and ends up fulfilling their role in an event that has already occurred. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, the person is fulfilling their role in an event that has yet to occur, and it is usually information that travels in time (for example, in the form of a prophecy) rather than a person. In either situation, the attempts to avert the course of past or future history both fail.


In computing, bootstrapping refers to a process where a simple system activates another more complicated system that serves the same purpose. It is a solution to the Chicken-and-egg problem of starting a certain system without the system already functioning. The term is most often applied to the process of starting up a computer, in which a mechanism is needed to execute the software program that is responsible for executing software programs (the Operating System). The term "bootstrapping" alludes to a German legend about Baron Münchhausen, who claimed to have been able to lift himself out of a swamp by pulling himself up by his own hair. In later versions of the legend, he used his own boot straps to pull himself out of the sea which gave rise to the term bootstrapping. The term is believed to have entered computer jargon during the early 1950s by way of Heinlein's short story "By His Bootstraps" first published in 1941. Bootstrapping was shortened to booting, or the process of starting up any computer, which is the most common meaning for non-technical computer users. The verb "boot" is similarly derived.


Hahaha! ;)


Do you think scrodinger is joking, pil?


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General Board / Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:12:44 PM »
This user was placed on 7 day ban for harassment.

Thanks,

The Mods



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