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Comment There was more than that wrong with the films (Score 1) 175

Yours is the most accurate critique. Jackson attempted a completely different way of telling the story and it failed utterly. How was the audience supposed to perceive the films? I mean, how could we have found them anything but boring?

Perhaps the biggest failing of the films was not making us care. Most of the dwarves were rubbish and this is possibly due to Jackson's energy being elsewhere. But every director should know that you cannot make an audience care about more than 3-4 characters. That's basically Gandalf, Thorin and Bilbo... and we already liked Gandalf.

Now Bilbo didn't like Thorin and that's a problem if you're telling the story from his perspective. If the rest of the film had been good enough, Jackson would have got away with it. The book I recall shows the other dwarves paying immense respect to Thorin and that's another way Jackson could have got us to care.

Jackson should have learned by now that every time you deviate significantly from the script, you alienate your core audience. The female elf love plot wasn't the worst thing in the films by any means but didn't fit in with Bilbo's story.

LotR spent a good portion of time showing us beautiful vistas of the world. The Hobbit looked like it was filmed in the world's smallest studio with extremely dodgy lighting. This made the dwarves and the goblins look ridiculous.

I truly wonder how much of this could be fixed by a fan edit. Obviously you can't change it to Bilbo's perspective but you can remove anything that doesn't make the audience care. Use some filter or even blurring on the overlit scenes. Make the barrel and Goblintown escapes look less stupid.

Much of the third film was excellent -- if you like battles.

Comment It's not just refusal to research innovative drugs (Score 1) 345

Big Pharma...

1. Buries studies showing dangerous side effects or negative efficacy
2. Refuses to use active placebos or otherwise allows the blind to be broken and improve results for their drug
3. Pays ghostwriters to hide their own authorship of papers
4. Spends a fortune on brainwashing doctors including getting them to prescribe drugs for uses even the FDA won't approve
5. Encourages massive overprescription
6. Crowds out non-pharmaceutical treatment eg in mental health.

What else... the pharmaceutical industry is built around monopolies on drugs which sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

I'm no socialist but if ever there was a case for a state-run industry, it's pharmaceuticals.

Comment Re:They say you get the government you deserve... (Score 1) 115

This bill is supported by both Labour and Conservative. So that means at least 44% of voters voted for the "asshats". And a further 33.9% didn't care either way so I don't see why their opinion matters.

Alan Johnson didn't even know what it says. Watch from 11 mins:

If we switched to proportional representation, then we'd have a Conservative/UKIP coalition. Is that what you'd prefer?

Only if people voted exactly the same way (which they wouldn't) and we didn't use an electoral system that asks the voters about their opinions on all the candidates eg STV.

Comment Citation needed (Score 2) 1307

You'll need to do some googling, I can't teach a full econ class here.

Not least because you're hopelessly unqualified.

But the TL;DR version is that every country that tried austerity has recovered more slowly than every country that didn't.

Please list these countries that had a choice about austerity, and which countries you're comparing them to.

That and the entire justification for austerity was in that one spreadsheet that turned out to have a glaring error.

You seem to have missed the slightly more obvious justification of avoiding a debt spiral.

Comment In the UK, it's free (Score 1) 66

Pay-As-You-Go phones don't have a monthly tariff.

One network, GiffGaff, you get free 0800 calls, free calls to other GiffGaff users for 6 months after you topup and you can even get free minutes for helping people. Calls are 8p a min though.
With the other one I use, 3, it's 3p a text, 3p a min to phone.

Comment Re:meanwhile (Score 1) 342

What if your company is HQ in Bermuda, and you operate an independent subsidiary in UK?

Then keep receipts.

UK has introduced a general anti tax avoidance law. Basically, if it looks and serves like tax avoidance and the Govt says it is, then it is.

Whether either that or this new Google tax will hold up under EU law, I don't know.

Comment Placebos are far from useless (Score 2) 447

Placebos have undoubtedly successfully treated more people than any medical procedure. [We can say this because treatments are rarely twice as effective as placebo. As such, placebo can be considered to be responsible for typically 50-100% of a treatment's effectiveness.]

There are many health issues where treatments don't outperform placebo by 10% eg mental health.

Now if you or your public health service is on a budget, a cheap placebo might well be the best option.

A couple more points:

- Many treatments are impossible to test against placebo eg osteopathy and the like. Homeopathy is perfect to test against placebo -- it is scientifically indistinguishable from water. Therefore we know with far more certainty than anything else that homeopathy doesn't outperform placebo. We could still be wrong but we can be surer of that than any other complementary treatment.

- Double blind is a necessity for testing against placebo. Single blind cannot give a positive result -- but a negative one means your treatment is pretty bad. But double blind methodologies are often flawed and should always be tested by asking the patient what they think they took. If > 55% guess correctly, you have a problem.

Comment Re:Vivaldi is likely to be skinnable... (Score 1) 167

I agree.

In my opinion, Opera 12 was the prettiest browser. I still use it on my laptop.

I'm going to forward this Slashdot post to Vivaldi so that they can see how unpopular their skin is. Unfortunately, their website is done out in the same skin.

I guess Tetzchner wasn't the aesthetic one in Opera Software.

I still think Vivaldi will soon be the best browser available for power users.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.