Items tagged with: easier
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19875531
Posted by csmnils (karma: 54)
Post stats: Points: 101 - Comments: 78 - 2019-05-10T06:30:03Z
#HackerNews #and #clear #code #correct #easier #efficient #makes #write
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The snag? It’s because your parents are going to die
Article word count: 1004
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18840223
Posted by godelmachine (karma: 3709)
Post stats: Points: 76 - Comments: 152 - 2019-01-06T19:57:37Z
\#HackerNews #become #buy #easier #house #will
MANY YOUNG Britons believe that the housing market is stacked against them. And who can blame them? In the past two decades house prices have doubled in real terms, because of both tight planning restrictions, which have limited the supply of homes, and low interest rates, which have stoked demand for them. Theresa May, the prime minister, has described the scarcity of housing as “the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation”. But the reality is that it challenges some generations more than others. Elderly folk, who bought their houses before the boom, own a huge slice of overall housing wealth relative to their share of the population (see chart). It is a different story for youngsters. A 27-year-old living today is half as likely to be a home-owner as one living 15 years ago.
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Yet some economists spy a silver lining for millennials. The thinking goes that, within a decade or two, baby-boomers—the bumper generation born between roughly the early 1940s and early 1960s—will begin to sell up, as they first start to downsize, then move into elderly people’s accommodation and, eventually, to the great old-folks’ home in the sky. As their properties are put on the market, supply will rise, depressing prices and bringing ownership within reach for more people. This is much talked about in America, where a recent article co-authored by an economist at Fannie Mae, a government-backed mortgage provider, pointed to the “coming exodus of older homeowners”.
Back-of-the-envelope calculations give an idea of the effect on house prices when boomers begin to sell up. England’s owner-occupier baby-boomers live in houses with an average of three bedrooms. If all of them downsized to homes with two bedrooms, that would free up housing equivalent to around 2.5% of the current stock, reckons Ian Mulheirn of Oxford Economics, a consultancy. Most empirical work shows that a 1% rise in the housing stock leads to a 2% fall in prices and rents, all else being equal. On that basis, a mass-downsizing would imply a cut in prices of about 5%.
Yet so far the British boomers are in no rush to scale down. In contrast to America, Britain does not have much of a downsizing culture. By one calculation just 40% of Britons who owned their homes at age 50 will move house before they die. A paper published in 2011 by James Banks of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think-tank, and colleagues, provides convincing evidence that geography and climate play a big role. In America oldsters can move to sunny climes like Florida. Britain is a bit short on such places—Cornwall, lovely as it is, is not known as the “Sunshine County”—so most pensioners don’t bother. An intrepid few retire to the continent. But Brexit is likely to make that harder.
Government policy also discourages downsizing. Stamp duty, a tax on homebuyers, makes moving expensive. As house prices have risen in the past decade, the average amount of stamp duty charged per house-purchase has risen by half in real terms (homebuyers pay around £8,000, or $10,200, in stamp duty). Meanwhile, there is little direct cost associated with remaining in a large empty nest. Council tax, an annual levy on residential property, is based on valuations from 25 years ago and falls relatively lightly on big, pricey houses.
If downsizing is unlikely, boomers may at least sell up when they move into an old people’s home. But here, options for elderly Britons are also limited. Perhaps 3% of British over-65s are in some sort of residential care, compared with more like 5% in America. Lawrence Bowles of Savills, a property firm, points out that Britain is under-supplied with good retirement housing. More than half of the existing stock was built or last refurbished more than 30 years ago. And the design of the social-care system means that most British pensioners do not need to sell their home to pay for their treatment. In their election manifesto last year the Conservatives floated a plan to include more people’s housing wealth in the test of whether they had the means to pay for their own care. After the move was dubbed the “dementia tax” it was hastily scrapped.
All this means that it may be only when baby-boomers start to check out in a more permanent way that lots of houses begin to change hands. The most common year of birth for the baby-boomer generation is 1947. Since their most common lifespan is around 87 years, Peak Death could occur in 2034, when Britain will see around 15% more fatalities than in 2018. It will be very sad. But for house-hunters it will be a help. By that time baby-boomer deaths will be pushing down on house prices by around 0.7% a year.
Yet just as the housing crisis affects different generations unequally, the impact of the great baby-boomer sell-off will have an unequal effect on different groups of youngsters. The boomers will leave record amounts of wealth to their descendants. Data are poor but according to our calculations, roughly £100bn are left behind each year. Over the next 20 years the total value of bequests is expected to more than double, peaking in 2035, according to a paper by Laura Gardiner of the Resolution Foundation, a think-tank. Most of this unearned wealth will not be taxed, on current plans. By 2020 a couple will be able to pass on a house worth £1m tax-free.
Most of the inheritance bonanza, however, will go to a relative few. Nearly half of non-homeowning millennials have no parental property wealth at all, according to Ms Gardiner’s research. The other half will be able to use their inheritance to gain greater purchase in the housing market, for themselves or their own heirs and heiresses. A class of wealthy oldsters is moving on, only to be replaced by a class of wealthy inheritors. Demography will put downward pressure on house prices. But some people have a lot more to look forward to than others.
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Microsoft and Docker today announced a new joint open-source project, the Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB), that aims to make the lifecycle management of cloud-native applications easier. At its…
Article word count: 366
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18600953
Posted by kaboro (karma: 901)
Post stats: Points: 210 - Comments: 59 - 2018-12-04T16:36:11Z
\#HackerNews #and #applications #cloud-native #docker #easier #make #microsoft #packaging #team
Microsoft and Docker today announced a new joint open-source project, the Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB), that aims to make the lifecycle management of cloud-native applications easier. At its core, the CNAB is nothing but a specification that allows developers to declare how an application should be packaged and run. With this, developers can define their resources and then deploy the application to anything from their local workstation to public clouds.
The specification was born inside Microsoft, but as the team talked to Docker, it turns out that the engineers there were working on a similar project. The two decided to combine forces and launch the result as a single open-source project. “About a year ago, we realized we’re both working on the same thing,” Microsoft’s Gabe Monroy told me. “We decided to combine forces and bring it together as an industry standard.”
As part of this, Microsoft is launching its own reference implementation of a CNAB client today. Duffle, as it’s called, allows users to perform all the usual lifecycle steps (install, upgrade, uninstall), create new CNAB bundles and sign them cryptographically. Docker is working on integrating CNAB into its own tools, too.
Microsoft also today launched Visual Studio extension for building and hosting these bundles, as well as an example implementation of a bundle repository server and an Electron installer that lets you install a bundle with the help of a GUI.
Now it’s worth noting that we’re talking about a specification and reference implementations here. There is obviously a huge ecosystem of lifecycle management tools on the market today that all have their own strengths and weaknesses. “We’re not going to be able to unify that tooling,” said Monroy. “I don’t think that’s a feasible goal. But what we can do is we can unify the model around it, specifically the lifecycle management experience as well as the packaging and distribution experience. That’s effectively what Docker has been able to do with the single-workload case.”
Over time, Microsoft and Docker would like for the specification to end up in a vendor-neutral foundation. Which one remains to be seen, though the Open Container Initiative seems like the natural home for a project like this.
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I've often wondered what things we have in style guides which make it difficult for visually impaired programmers. I would like to know how to make my code easier for you to read and write. Please help me to improve my code for you.
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18478776
Posted by ioquatix (karma: 1151)
Post stats: Points: 180 - Comments: 38 - 2018-11-18T03:45:50Z
\#HackerNews #ask #blind #can #code #easier #for #make #programmers #what #you
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From the thermometer’s invention onward, physicians have feared—incorrectly—that new technology would make their jobs obsolete
Article word count: 1460
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18224062
Posted by dsr12 (karma: 24771)
Post stats: Points: 121 - Comments: 71 - 2018-10-15T21:40:51Z
\#HackerNews #doctors #easier #jobs #make #reject #that #their #tools #why
I want to tell you about a brouhaha in my field over a “new” medical discipline three hundred years ago. Half my fellow doctors thought it weighed them down and wanted nothing to do with it. The other half celebrated it as a means for medicine to finally become modern, objective, and scientific. The discipline was thermometry, and its controversial tool a glass tube used to measure body temperature called a thermometer.
This all began in 1717, when Daniel Fahrenheit moved to Amsterdam and offered his newest temperature sensor to the German physician Hermann Boerhaave. Boerhaave tried it out and liked it. He proposed using measurements with this device to guide diagnosis and therapy.
Boerhaave’s innovation was not embraced. Doctors were all for detecting fevers to guide diagnosis and treatment, but their determination of whether fever was present was qualitative. “There is, for example, that acrid, irritating quality of feverish heat,” the French physician Jean Charles Grimaud said as he scorned the thermometer’s reducing his observations down to numbers. “These [numerical]differences are the least important in practice.”
Grimaud captured the prevailing view of the time when he argued that the physician’s touch captured information richer than any tool, and for over a hundred years doctors were loath to use the glass tube. Researchers among them, however, persevered. They wanted to discover reproducible laws in medicine, and the verbal descriptions from doctors were not getting them there. Words were idiosyncratic; they varied from doctor to doctor and even for the same doctor from day to day. Numbers never wavered.
In 1851 at the Leipzig university hospital in Germany, Carl Reinhold Wunderlich started recording temperatures of his patients. 100,000 cases and several million readings later, he published the landmark work “On the Temperature in Diseases: a manual of medical thermometry.” His text established an average body temperature of 37 degrees, the variation from this mean which could be considered normal, and the cutoff of 38 degrees as a bona fide fever. Wunderlich’s data were compelling; he could predict the course of illness better when he defined fever by a number than when fever had been defined by feel alone. The qualitative status quo would have to change.
Using a thermometer had previously suggested incompetence in a doctor. By 1886, not using one did. “The information obtained by merely placing the hand on the body of the patient is inaccurate and unreliable,” remarked the American physician Austin Flint. “If it be desirable to count the pulse and not trust to the judgment to estimate the number of beats per minute, it is far more desirable to ascertain the animal heat by means of a heat measurer.”
Evidence that temperature signaled disease made patient expectations change too. After listening to the doctor’s exam and evaluations, a patient in England asked, “Doctor, you didn’t try the little glass thing that goes in the mouth? Mrs Mc__ told me that you would put a little glass thing in her mouth and that would tell just where the disease was…”
Thermometry was part of a seismic shift in the nineteenth century, along with blood tests, microscopy, and eventually the x-ray, to what we now know as modern medicine. From impressionistic illnesses that went unnamed and thus had no systematized treatment or cure, modern medicine identified culprit bacteria, trialled antibiotics and other drugs, and targeted diseased organs or even specific parts of organs.
Imagine being a doctor at this watershed moment, trained in an old model and staring a new one in the face. Your patients ask for blood tests and measurements, not for you to feel their skin. Would you use all the new technology even if you didn’t understand it? Would you continue feeling skin, or let the old ways fall to the wayside? And would it trouble you, as the blood tests were drawn and temperatures taken by the nurse, that these tools didn’t need you to report their results. That if those results dictated future tests and prescriptions, doctors may as well be replaced completely?
The original thermometers were a foot long, available only in academic hospitals, and took twenty minutes to get a reading. How wonderful that now they are now cheap and ubiquitous, and that pretty much anyone can use one. Itʼs hard to imagine a medical technology whose diffusion has been more successful. Even so, the thermometerʼs takeover has hardly done away with our use for doctors. If we have a fever we want a doctor to tell us what to do about it, and if we donʼt have a fever but feel lousy we want a doctor anyway, to figure out whatʼs wrong.
Still, the same debate about technology replacing doctors rages on. Today patients want not just the doctor’s opinion, but everything from their microbiome array and MRI to tests for their testosterone and B12 levels. Some doctors celebrate this millimeter and microliter resolution inside patients’ bodies. They proudly brandish their arsenal of tests and say technology has made medicine the best it’s ever been.
The other camp thinks Grimaud was on to something. They resent all these tests because they miss things that listening to and touching the patient would catch. They insist there is more to health and disease than what quantitative testing shows, and try to limit the tests that are ordered. But even if a practiced touch detects things tools miss, it is hard to deny that tools also detect things we would miss that we don’t want to.
Modern CT scans, for example, perform better than even the best surgeons’ palpation of a painful abdomen in detecting appendicitis. As CT scans become cheaper, faster, and dose less radiation, they will become even more accurate. The same will happen with genome sequences and other up-and-coming tests that detect what overwhelms our human senses. There is no hope trying to rein in their ascent, nor is it right to. Medicine is better off with them around.
Whatʼs keeping some doctors from celebrating this miraculous era of medicine is the nagging concern that we have nothing to do with its triumphs. We are told the machines’ autopilot outperforms us so we sit quietly and get weaker, yawning and complacent like a mangy tiger in captivity. We wish we could do as Grimaud said: “distinguishing in feverish heat qualities that may be perceived only by a highly practiced touch, and which elude whatever means physics may offer.”
A children’s hospital in Philadelphia tried just that. Children often have fevers, as anyone who has had children around them well knows. Usually, they have a simple cold and there’s not much to fuss about. But about once in a thousand cases, feverish kids have deadly infections and need antibiotics, ICU care, all that modern medicine can muster.
An experienced doctor’s judgment picks the one in a thousand very sick child about three quarters of the time. To try to capture the remainder of these children being missed, hospitals started using quantitative algorithms from their electronic health records to choose which fevers were dangerous based on hard facts alone. And indeed, the computers did better catching the serious infections nine times out of ten, albeit also with ten times the false alarms.
The Philadelphia hospital accepted the computer-based list of worrisome fevers, but then deployed their best doctors and nurses to apply Grimaud’s “highly practiced touch” and look over the children before declaring the infection was deadly and bringing them into the hospital for intravenous medications. Their teams were able to weed out the algorithm’s false alarms with high accuracy, and in addition find cases the computer missed, bringing their detection rate of deadly infections from 86.2 percent by the algorithm alone, to 99.4 percent by the algorithm in combination with human perception.
Too many doctors have resigned that they have nothing to add in a world of advanced technology. They thoughtlessly order tests and thoughtlessly obey the results. When, inevitably, the tests give unsatisfying answers they shrug their shoulders. I wish more of them knew about the Philadelphia pediatricians, whose close human attention caught mistakes a purely numerical rules-driven system would miss.
It’s true that a doctor’s eyes and hands are slower, less precise, and more biased than modern machines and algorithms. But these technologies can count only what they have been programmed to count: human perception is not so constrained.
Our distractible, rebellious, infinitely curious eyes and hands decide moment-by-moment what deserves attention. While this leeway can lead us astray, with the best of training and judgment, it can also lead us to the as of yet undiscovered phenomena that no existing technology knows to look for. My profession and other increasingly automated fields would do better to focus on finding new answers than on fettering old algorithms.
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