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Comment: Re:Maybe we need a Surgeon General (Score 1) 381

by Rich0 (#48223287) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

Lol. Its not like the republicans can't just change it when they have control of the senate.

Yup. I don't get why people act like the whole cloture thing is some kind of constitutional guarantee. Committees, rules, cloture, etc are all just traditions. Anybody with a majority could choose to get rid of every congressional committee overnight, or remove all members of the opposing party, or whatever they want to do. The purpose of those committees is supposed to be to facilitate getting bills passed (ie make sure that there is something close to consensus on a bill before tying up the whole Congress in debate). They aren't supposed to exist so that a few congressmen can basically have a pre-veto on any legislation.

All the constitution requires for a judge to be appointed is a majority vote. I don't think the founders ever really intended the Supreme Court to be this body where people serve for 40 years and huge wars get fought over which partisan side the 4-3 majority falls on. Lower courts are supposed to be even less political.

Comment: Re:Not always about the money... (Score 1) 161

by Rich0 (#48217815) Attached to: Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

Most promising EBOLA vaccine currently in human trials was developed in Canada, another single-payer country.

Lots of drugs are developed by non-US companies. They make all their profits selling them in the US, just like US companies do.

If the US instituted price-controls on pharmaceuticals it would hit the bottom lines of the likes of GSK just as fast as it hit the bottom line of Pfizer. The location of a large company's headquarters has very little impact on anything other than how it manipulates its taxes/earnings/etc. Large companies source from the entire planet, and sell to the entire planet. The main exception to this are companies that are heavily subsidized by a national government, but I don't think that pharmaceuticals generally fall into this category (sure, they benefit from the fruits of government R&D, but for the most part countries don't target particular companies with their grants and few of those grants actually directly go to a pharma company - more often some academic lab does the government-funded R&D and licenses it to the highest bidder).

I wouldn't put medical procedures in the same bucket as pills. The latter are more like products - patented and sold around the world. The former tends to less commercial in nature unless it is connected to some kind of medical device or pill. If you publish how to perform a surgery, it is very hard to make any money off of it beyond your regular fees for performing the surgery (you'd probably make more than the average doctor if you're prestigious, but not like you would if you got paid a share of the cost every time anybody anywhere did the procedure).

So, the fact that this cell transplant was demonstrated in a country with socialized medicine is significant - I just wouldn't use pharma as an analogy. Actually, socialized medicine might be the perfect place for improvements in procedures - the government paying for the R&D is the party that saves money on paying for less-effective treatments and accommodations.

And, not intending to completely contradict everything I just said, Ebola is also a bit of an unusual case in the drug world. For various reasons it would probably be hard to make money off of an Ebola vaccine. However, socialized medical systems still benefit from having it in the bag of tricks. I would argue that in the case of non-profitable medications that a socialized medical system may very well outpace a for-profit system for investment. Just don't expect them to come out with the next Viagra.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 1) 381

by Rich0 (#48214525) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

If the CDC had descended on the hospital like a ton of bricks and the first inkling of Ebola they might have prevented most of that from happening then people would be complaining about Federal overreach.

No argument there, but this is really broken. This is a matter of interest to everybody in the country - it really can't be left up to the local hospital to have the final say. It makes no sense to have a system where New York is super-rigorous about Ebola but we'll go ahead and let Oklahoma become a huge pool of carriers because they don't want to spend too much money on this. Since the US has no restrictions on travel/etc internally the US population is going to be as well-off as the lowest level of care we give to somebody who is infected. Your million-dollar-a-year health insurance plan is worthless if some guy making minimum wage shows up to the local fast food joint and sneezes on your burger despite being symptomatic with Ebola because he doesn't have health insurance and paid sick time.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 2) 381

by Rich0 (#48211375) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

What do you expect when you constantly tell people they shouldn't have to pay for medical care? Most people don't have a very high regard for "free stuff" or even "cheap stuff".

The US Medical system puts patients and doctors in an adversarial relationship from the start.

The doctor in the US operates as a gatekeeper for medical services. Another word for gatekeeper is guard, and they arm guards for a reason.

I was chatting with a doctor who was talking about how owning a gun increases the risk of suicide, so he was thinking about asking patients about whether they owned one, but was concerned that patients might resent being asked. So, we had a bit of a chat about why patients lie to their doctors.

I know somebody who needs a lot of chronic medical care. They've come to greatly resent doctors in general, though not 100% of the time. The doctor basically wants to be in the role of the final-decision-maker. The US legal system ensures that if the doctor doesn't take this role he gets thoroughly screwed because if he prescribes a treatment course which isn't by-the-book he gets sued. On the other hand, the patient might not agree with the course of treatment and might want a different one. However, in the US medications and often even tests are illegal to sell without a prescription, so the patient's options end up being to either do what the doctor wants, convince them to do something else, find another doctor they can convince, or forgo treatment altogether. The patient is automatically going to resent the doctor for having this choice foisted upon them, even though the doctor didn't personally create the US medical system (though the AMA certainly helps to perpetuate it). Due to the whole liability thing, often the best way to "convince" a doctor to go with a different treatment is to manipulate them by controlling their access to information or lying to them.

The thing is, it is also in the patient's best interests to get frank advice from their doctor. The problem is that in the US we don't offer the patient of receiving frank advice and making an unrestricted treatment decision.

Then money becomes a factor as well, since insurance companies want to pay for the treatment option that is statistically the most likely to cost them the least - ie the patient gets better as fast as possible at the lowest cost. So, they get a say in treatment as well. I think that the folks paying for treatment ought to have a say in the matter, but there has to be a way to do this without taking ALL control away from the patient. If nothing else they should be able to pay for their own pills maybe with a credit for whatever the standard of care would typically cost.

IMO doctors shouldn't be gatekeepers except in limited circumstances. I'm fine with them being gatekeeper for antibiotics (even though it seems like many fail at that job today), since abuse of antibiotics is a public health problem. I'm fine with them having responsibility for reporting epidemics and such - anything that is a true public health problem and not merely a personal one. Otherwise, if somebody wants a test then as long as they understand the risks they ought to be able to pay for a test just like they can pay to get a tattoo. All medications should be available over-the-counter. By all means still have a system of prescriptions so that insurers can decide when to pay for medications, but if somebody wants to take something that is contra-indicated, that should be their right.

Maybe there is an in-between solution. However, if you want people to stop resenting doctors then you need to make them feel like they're the ones actually in control of their treatment.

Comment: Re:Removing my palms from my face... (Score 1) 104

by Rich0 (#48207773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

OK, let's get 10 random programmers who have never delivered a working system together as a team, and they're going to develop this mission-critical system from scratch in 4 months using Swift and Agile, even though none of the programmers have ever used either. And we can add more programmers if we start to fall behind.

You must work at my employer. Don't forget, resources are fungible!

Comment: Re:This is why they made the cloud (Score 1) 242

by Rich0 (#48196915) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

You don't buy expensive, power-hungry [hard]ware that's going to cost an arm and a leg to store, power, and cool for the next year when you only need its brute force for a few hours.

But he is planning to do conversions over and over, one after another, handling problems as they occur. As such, one of his goals is that the conversion be as speedy as possible, and he specifically said that he doesn't want to share a CPU with other cloud users. He wants one fast CPU devoted 100% to his project.

It would make sense to at least test the whole concept in the cloud before buying hardware. That costs almost nothing to do, and then it can point you to just what you need in a server.

It seems like most of the proposals on that website are MORE MORE MORE of everything. What about RAM? 64GB, ECC! What about disk? 4 250GB SSDs in RAID10! What about multi-thread? Gotta have 16 cores! What about single-thread? Better make that dual Xeons so that we can use the ECC RAM and since those are the best! Does it need fancy graphics? Nope, so we better build a second system to use as a console for the big one so that it can be put in another room so that you don't hear the hurricane of fans! Wait, noise? Ok, scratch that, let's buy some big fancy cooling rigs even though we aren't overclocking so that it is as quiet as a mouse, but let's still build that second console!

Why not at least profile the thing in the cloud and figure out what you really need?

Comment: Re:CapEx vs OpEx (Score 1) 242

by Rich0 (#48196813) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Because he's looking to open it as a conversion server for pretty much anyone that wants to use it on an ongoing basis - which means that CapEx is a much better solution.

Let's assume that a conversion takes 5 hours on EC2 at 25 cents/hour. Do we really think that there are 2000 repositories out there that need to be converted?

And if there are, then wouldn't it be nice to be able to convert them 10 at a time instead of doing them sequentially?

This is really a model case for a cloud solution.

Comment: Re:Research Paper Link (Score 1) 422

by Rich0 (#48189973) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

I think it's interesting that 100% juice does not have the same effects.
Juice is increasingly being treated as junk food by dieticians and nutritionists because of its sugar content.
They don't even want juice to be treated as part of your recommended consumption of fruit.

Sure, but how many healthy types don't realize that and drink it anyway? Maybe the soda/juice aren't having any effects at all, but rather they are correlated with other behaviors which are having an effect?

Comment: Re:Link to the study. (Score 1) 422

by Rich0 (#48189955) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

I wonder if the discovery is a cause or an effect.

People with shorter telomeres may simply prefer a sweeter drink.

Show me a study that compares the peoples telomeres before and after a experimental change in habits/intake and I will listen.

Or, maybe people who drink non-diet soda tend to do other things that result in shorter telomeres. This is one of the reasons why any kind of non-randomized study tends to break down.

Comment: Re:Ebola obviously spreads more easily... (Score 1) 421

by Rich0 (#48180317) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

With the exception of Ms. Vinson's potential exposure to ~800 People, I'm not sure how You conclude "we aren't doing a great job at [containing Ebola in the U.S.]" Like Ms. Vinson, the only other two Individuals known to have contracted the disease were not adequately trained by the hospital in Texas. In fact, according to congressional testimony this week, They were not trained at all and the CDC had apparently informed the hospital not only did Workers need to be adequately trained but level 4 PPE was likely necessary, as opposed to the level 2 PPE used. Now, if by "we", You mean the Texas hospital, yes, I agree "we" aren't doing a great job at it. However, this point is not clear from Your statement.

By we I mean every person in the USA.

Diseases don't care whose fault it is that the ball got dropped. They kill people all the same. If people aren't competent to manage a disease, then they shouldn't be managing it. The CDC shouldn't be just sending memos from on high. If a hospital isn't doing enough, then this should be recognized as a national emergency and those who are mismanaging the situation should be placed under the supervision of somebody who knows what they are doing.

Of course, stepping in and actually doing something would mean that we can't just keep pointing the finger of blame at the folks who are bungling things.

People need to realize that the worst possible outcome of an Ebola epidemic isn't that people will stop shopping in malls and that the locally-elected coroner/etc and hospital board might lose some authority temporarily. In a state of emergency that requires coordination at the national level, sometimes you can't leave every decision up to the local level.

Comment: Re:Editor Troll (Score 4, Insightful) 284

by Rich0 (#48176449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

Yup. If posted on a typical distro support forum this would get a clear answer in about 3 posts.

Instead we'll get 300 "helpful" posts on slashdot where the closest to being helpful comes out to "stop using skype and pulseaudio" but most will be off-topic banter about Lennart and systemd...

Slashdot must be dying and this stuff has to be some kind of deliberate effort to attract eyeballs by making slashdot the premiere place for flamewars. Half the summaries and headlines are completely misleading as well, generally designed to maximize sensation and banter.

News articles should give everything away in the first three lines, and should give half of everything away in the headline. They shouldn't be teasers. You shouldn't have to read the original article to figure out what the summary got wrong. If I'm in a hurry I want the condensed version of the news, not misinformation substituted for news.

I don't know why I even bother here any more. The changes to the discussion system were annoying enough. It seems like the content has gone downhill as well.

Comment: Re:Region-Specific (Score 1) 86

by Rich0 (#48175655) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

Agree. It isn't clear to me how one implements a "regional GPS." You could certainly implement a global one and then disable it outside of the region (ie satellites don't broadcast when they're not near India). Maybe a few in geosync might work - they would all lie on the equator so the solution to the problem would allow for a position in either India or the Indian ocean, and if it is "regional" they could just exclude the southern solution. I'm not sure what the accuracy would be like since all your fixes would come from satellites without much angular separation.

Comment: Re:Prison population (Score 1) 407

by Rich0 (#48171581) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Makes you wonder if you'll start to see bubbles of high crime around airports with a high level of general aviation (which tends to use fuels with a very high concentration of lead compared to what was used in cars - ironically called "low lead" aviation gas).

Of course, there could be other factors. Such areas may have lower land values, and that could be a factor that impacts crime rates more strongly.

Comment: Re:freedoms f----d (Score 1) 132

*All* patents are supposed to only cover a specific implementation, maybe not quite so narrowly as pharmaceuticals, but to the point that it's not incredibly uncommon for corporations to steal independent mechanical inventions by modifying them just enough to no longer be protected.

Of course, but the fact is that with software this is often not the case, and it costs a great deal of money and risk to litigate things.

With pharmaceuticals for whatever reason the vague patents tend to get worked out, but companies have still managed to use them to delay competition, which costs consumers a LOT of money.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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