I live in the DC area. So about a month back, my parents were visiting. we went to a restaurant that was not terribly near to either our home or their hotel. As the weekend metro was being the weekend metro, we decided to cab back to our respective locations. I called an Uber for them since I figured it would be easiest. Since you can only dispatch one Uber per account, me and my wife had to take a cab. Looking at the difference between those two rides is why I stopped taking cabs.
My parents uber arrived promptly, it was clean and comfortable. It took them to their destination quickly, and the pricing was transparent and conveniently billed to my card.
When my wife and I finally hailed a cab, it was dirty, and the air conditioning was broken (It was about 90 F) The front seat had been pushed back as far as possible, and was in fact kind of bowed. The driver attempted to take some odd circuitous route back to our home until I asked him to take a more direct route. When we got there he tried to get us to pay cash.
This was an extreme example, but it made me think of all the other negative experiences I'd had with cabs in the city, they have been on the whole uncomfortable, inconsistent, dirty, poorly maintained, and discourteous (including drivers that pulled away as soon as they heard where I was going). At that point I realized that Uber was a better option. The worst Uber experience I've had so far was one that smelled slightly strange. For my area, it really is no contest, Uber is just better than the cabs.
This is spot on. My wife once bought a pack of homeopathic pills despite being a very intelligent person, simply because they were next to the actual medicines and advertised the remedies she was looking for. Since she wasn't even aware of homeopathy in general, the 10x and 100x notations on the back in the very official looking drug facts label meant nothing to her.
I personally don't see how the sale of these things could be blocked, since they don't actually contain anything harmful, but they should be prevented from sharing the labeling used by actual medicine. It is somewhat dismaying that there is more scrutiny given to health claims on beer labels than on products placed in the pharmacy.
You are absolutely right, you can't make raw materials out of thin air, and introducing 3D printers just means there are a more raw materials being added to the mix.However, I'm going to jump off this comment to make a counterpoint: 3D printing has the possibility to make specialized finished goods as fungible as raw materials. Rather than worrying whether a person needs a shoe, a splint or a crutch, you can just send the raw plastic and the printer and figure it out on a case by case basis, which could be both faster and more efficient. It simplifies not only the logistics of bringing things into the area, but distribution as well. It's not uncommon in disasters for needed supplies to be in the affected zone, but in the wrong area with no available transport, or forgotten entirely. If you are making the goods as needed, this becomes less of a problem.
That all said, 3D printing is just not yet nearly fast or versatile enough to be helpful in disasters, outside of a few specialized niches.
"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"