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Comment Re:Landline is it for me. (Score 1) 165

We have a landline at home and have never thought of getting rid of it. Apart from the fact that it is the medium by which our broadband appears there also seem to be some big conveniences which we couldn't achieve with mobiles (which we also have) but perhaps we are behind the times and there are ways around these limitations with using mobiles instead of a landline.

1) On the land line we have a DECT base station with three handsets scattered around the house. If someone rings then there is a good chance that one of the handsets will be near at hand. If I only had a mobile then I would either have to remember to always carry it with me as I went from room to room (even in my pyjamas) or put up with the fact that it would always ring when I was at the other end of the house and I would have to sprint up or down stairs to answer it. With my advancing years, I neither want to sprint around the house or try to remember to lug my phone from room to room.

2) Often, relatives don't want to phone a particular family member, but rather the family in general. We could I suppose have yet another mobile which was always at home for this purpose, but otherwise callers would have to make a guess about who is in before deciding which mobile to call.

3) The batteries thing again. The DECT phones sit on chargers so they always work. Mobiles go flat quick if left on, but by only switching them on when we go out they need charging less often.

Comment Re:we need a public utility (Score 2) 289

At the end of the day, people don't want this sort of regulatory protection even if it genuinely is done entirely for the benefit of consumers.

Here in the UK we went through a great deal of regulatory pain over the last 30 years to go from a single state run monopoly in the shape of Post Office Telephones (yes, I am old enough to remember them), who wouldn't even let you buy your physical telephone from anyone else, let alone the telephone service, to the current state where although British Telecom run most of the lines and exchanges you can actually buy your phone service from a range of suppliers (including the cable company). Bizarrely, this has resulted in my father buying his phone service from the Post Office!

Meanwhile, the great unwashed just want 'shiny shiny' and happily use entirely proprietary and closed communications systems like Skype and WhatsApp. When I explain to friends and colleagues that I am not prepared to communicate with them via proprietary communications systems, but am happy to use the phone, SMS or email they just look at me like I am a bit crazy (they may be correct) and go on about "How convenient" they are.

Conclusion: Expending political effort on telecommunications regulation isn't worth it. Just let a few companies gain a monopoly, charge what they like and provide whatever level of service they want and only a few weirdos like me will even notice.

Comment Do some of the cameras look from the back? (Score 1) 216

Presumably this things has loads of cameras, otherwise how can it see everything inside the fridge. I can't see everything in our fridge even with door wide open and neither can my wife. She is forever moving a pickle jar and going "Oh, I've just found some leftovers from three weeks ago that I was going to feed you".

My point being that if I wanted to be able to see everything in our fridge using internal cameras I estimate that I would need at least a dozen and as many as twenty if I wanted to include the contents of the various internal drawers. Also, do you have to keep carefully re-arranging the contents to ensure that they are not in front of the cameras. How easy to shove some more stuff in and accidentally move a big jar of mayonnaise at the back so that it completely obscures the view of a rear camera.

Comment Re:What about tourism? (Score 1) 440

Somehow I don't think my bank is likely to drop the charges just because I ask them nicely, but yes, I could go to the hassle of changing bank or getting myself another credit card with lower charges, OR, I could simply take my holiday in a country which still accepts cash!

Obviously if I travel on business then I don't care as I just claim the charges back although it is a right pain submitting each charge separately into our very badly designed travel claims system.

Comment Re:What about tourism? (Score 1) 440

Setting aside for one moment the questions of government tracking (which clearly is the entire point of the whole operation), I agree that there are potential problems for tourists.

When I use my UK debit card overseas I get stung for a small fee for each transaction (I seem to recall the fee be one pound - about 1.5 dollars - so actually it is not that small). Normally this is not a big problem. I get myself some Euros and then I only need the card for a few big costs like hotel bills. If I go to Sweden and then get charged for every damn tiny transaction it is going to soon add up to quite a bill.

Comment Re:jesus thats all it takes? (Score 4, Interesting) 106

What is actually wrong with you?

Julia is a useful niche language with a sizable community, not some bullshit vanity project. Unfortunately it has not chance of dislodging R, and I'll never understand the decision to make it dynamic, but it fills a role that nothing else does, at the moment.

Also, I have no idea what you think the word "hipster" means, or why you're so angry about it.

Comment Re:At what cost (Score 1) 93

"this is our development cost for the drug, these are our costs for developing failed drugs, +30% profit margin."

That's not how for-profit companies work. Literally not a single company in the world operates that way.

Who is it, that you think will invest $2.5B into something that will take a decade and will almost certainly fail, on the promise of a 30% profit?

How VERY KIND it is for that company to lower the price to affordability for foreigners while screwing over their own countrymen by charging rates here that challenge even the deepest US pockets.

Yes, how truly awful for the US to contribute something positive to the rest of the world, for once.

In late 2020's instead of RIGHT NOW. D'you realize how much human misery that delay means?

Do you realize that that misery exists independently of Gilead, and they're the only ones to have done anything about it? They pulled together an insane amount of money and effort (and luck) and made a huge impact on that misery now and will likely help eradicate it in a few years. A single cured person is a positive change.

You, on the other hand, have opinions about what they should be "allowed" to charge, because you can imagine some ideal society where all of this is magically taken care of by state money.

In short: I know plenty of scientists who would be willing to work for nothing more than the betterment of society, but I don't know any investors who would contribute billions of dollars for the same goal.

Comment Re:At what cost (Score 1) 93

not how much they should sell it for to recoup their costs and make a reasonable profit, but by how much they thought they could/should get

That's literally the definition of capitalism. You know, that thing our entire way of life is based on.

Personally, I think all drugs ought to be developed with public research dollars.

Awesome! Please enclose your plan to increase NIH funding five-fold. Oh, and I guess also your plan to legally prevent private companies from investing in medical research... because apparently that's how our socialist planned economy works.

There's less incentive to work on PROFITABLE drugs and work on IMPORTANT drugs.(Think cures for cancer instead of Viagra.)

Can you name one other $1B+/year drug that you deem to be "unimportant"? Do you honestly think that a cure for any moderately common cancer wouldn't be stupendously profitable?

There's less incentive to falsify the result of drug trials so that you can get FDA approval and be able to sell the drugs

How many drugs can you name that were brought to market based on falsified results?

And, when a really cool drug is developed, such as the cure for HepC, EVERYONE gets it immediately, and Hepatitis C is eradicated or nearly eradicated.

As it stands, this will happen in the late 2020s when sofosbuvir goes off patent. Currently, it is licensed for generic manufacture in 90 developing countries, covering a patient population of 100 million.

That's 100 million people that would be shit out of luck in your magical world of wishful thinking and unicorn farts.

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