AI In Medicine

Self-taught systems beat MDs at predicting heart attacks:

All four AI methods performed significantly better than the ACC/AHA guidelines. Using a statistic called AUC (in which a score of 1.0 signifies 100% accuracy), the ACC/AHA guidelines hit 0.728. The four new methods ranged from 0.745 to 0.764, Weng’s team reports this month in PLOS ONE. The best one—neural networks—correctly predicted 7.6% more events than the ACC/AHA method, and it raised 1.6% fewer false alarms. In the test sample of about 83,000 records, that amounts to 355 additional patients whose lives could have been saved. That’s because prediction often leads to prevention, Weng says, through cholesterol-lowering medication or changes in diet.

To be honest, while it’s statistically significant, I’d have expected a bigger improvement than that. And it’s not clear how useful it is if the recommendations aren’t science based, as prescribing cholesterol-reduction or diet change generally aren’t.

Terraforming Mars

Fuggedaboutit:

“The rate of loss of gas today is very low — slow enough that it would take billions of years to remove the equivalent amount of gas that is in the atmosphere,” principal investigator Bruce Jakosky said in an email. There is some CO2 left in the polar ice and in carbon-bearing materials, he added, but not nearly enough to warm the temperature significantly if it somehow was put back in the atmosphere.

“There isn’t a source of CO2 that could replenish the atmosphere — even outgassing of CO2 from volcanoes has got to be incredibly slow today,” Jakosky added. “If we wanted to put enough CO2 into the atmosphere to raise temperatures significantly, it would take something like 10 million kilometer-sized comets (if they were all made entirely of CO2). This is just not feasible.”

I think there are other possibilities (e.g., bombarding it with carbonaceous and other asteroids, and comets, and manufacturing the CO2 on the surface), but largely, I consider the obsession with Mars to be much more romantic than practical, at least as a new earth.

Trump To Democrats

“Negotiate on ObamaCare, or I’ll enforce the law“:

At stake are “cost sharing” payments that Obamacare backers say are supposed to be made to insurance companies to cover their losses from low-income customers.

A federal court has invalidated the payments, saying the Obama administration spent the money even though Congress specifically stripped the funds from its annual spending bills.

The government is still making the payments pending an appeal of the case, but Mr. Trump hinted last week that he would halt the payments himself, forcing Obamacare into a quick death unless Democrats agree to negotiate over major changes to the Affordable Care Act.

“If Congress doesn’t approve it, or if I don’t approve it, that would mean that Obamacare doesn’t have enough money, so it dies immediately as opposed to over a period of time,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Live by the pen and phone, die by the pen and phone.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: What is Trump’s deal?

he confusion here is rooted in trying to figure out what Trump’s convictions are, what his foreign policy is. This inevitably goes astray, because Trump doesn’t actually have any firm convictions, at least along those lines. He can be in favor of and against gun control; be against the government being involved in healthcare and in favor of a government single-payer system; be opposed to bombing Syria and okay with Tomahawk cruise missiles striking Syrian airbases—because he doesn’t actually have any sort of coherent large-scale vision or any particular ideals about the human condition.

He’s a salesman. What he cares about is the Deal. He even says it outright: his autobiographical business book is called The Art of the Deal.

If you want to understand salesmen, the best start is to watch the famous “Always Be Closing” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross.

“Always Be Closing” is not David Mamet’s invention, it’s an observation. It was the advice given to salesmen back at least into the ’60s when I was reading sales training materials that my grandfather had for the salesmen that worked selling pianos and appliances in the family business. (Yes, I actually will read anything.) It’s the advice given to salespeople now.

“Always Be Closing” means everything you do should be in the service of getting the deal, getting a signature and a check.

Whatever else one may think of Trump, you have to admit that Trump is a master salesman. Look at the campaign, where he took various positions — expel Muslims, deport Mexicans, or well, maybe not all Muslims, and Mexicans are mostly wonderful people — one after another, clearly responding to the reaction. Always Be Closing: he made sure his positions got him closer to closing the deal on the presidency. Did it matter that he contradicted himself? No! Concerns about things like that weren’t helping him close the deal.

This has been clear to me from day one. Beyond his boorishness, his utter lack of principles or coherent worldview was the reason so many principled conservatives (and libertarians) opposed him. But I’m still glad she lost.

[Update a few more minutes later]

Trump’s choice: Populism or corporatism.

It’s a shame that neither are particularly principled. The Founders would weep.

[Update a few more minutes later]

Corporate America’s support for the Paris agreement is why Trump should get us out of it.

Well, it’s not the only reason, but yeah.

The New Air Force Launch Procurement

Some thoughts from “Main Engine Cut Off.”

I’m glad to see that Congress isn’t pushing the AR1 as hard as it’s been. This looks, ultimately, like bad news for AJR. They’re going to have to become more competitive if they want to maintain their business. They’re trying to do it with printing engine parts, but I don’t know if it will be enough. They’re going to have to really slice overhead, I think.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!