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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.

Comment Give them something to do! (Score 4, Funny) 334

If you can be reasonably certain that your laptop will be seized and searched then you might as well have some fun.

1) Get a brand new hard disk.
2) Load OS and common software.
3) Apply full disk encryption if possible supported by hardware TPM.
4) Fill disk with pointless and uninteresting files (kitten videos, boring sales brochures for catering equipment, vast datasheets for common microprocessors etc etc).
5) Generate a little script which goes through and encrypts each file with a different randomly generated key (obviously run scipt from external media which you don't take with you).
6) For added fun, install a publicly available unencrypted movie (perhaps one you have made if you happen to be a film maker, otherwise something like Dumbo) and then use steganography to hide something inoccuous in it (e.g. the complete works of Shakespear).
7) Don't expect to ever get the laptop back.

Obviously this will take a fair bit of work, but that will be nothing compared with the huge effort expended by your tormentors in trying to work out what it all means!!

Comment Let's wait for some actual details (Score 1) 174

It is perhaps worth remembering that we still have no real idea exactly what this proposed legislation is going to say other than a fairly clear indication that ISPs will be required to keep some sort of record of web sites visited. There are also a couple of other reasons to think positively:
1) The recent government sponsored report into this matter came out very clearly against suggestions that encryption should be controlled. But, governments are good at ignoring reports which don't say what they want even when they asked for them in the first place.
2) The goverment has a very small majority and a number of their more rebelious members are hot on personal liberty and privacy. Not a huge number, but enough to cause a problem. The majority opposition labour party may well have some sympathy with the aims of the legislation but would far rather have the political gain of seeing the goverment lose. Before the recent election the now governing conservative party were keen on the idea of withdrawing the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights. Now they are in government the idea has been quietly moved well down the priority list presumably because of the same liberty loving trouble makers in their ranks. The bottom line is that the government may well remove some more controversial ideas from their proposal to maximise the chances of trouble free progress for what is left.

Submission + - Solar activity predicted to fall 60% in 2030s

sycodon writes: A new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645.

Comment Re:LOL (Score 1) 184

Correct. Clinical depression does not give a crap about how much money you have in the bank, though not having to worry about being homeless is a plus.

Except for when the money runs out and you are covering payroll out-of-pocket and taking on debt until the money is far beyond spent because you are responsible, and it just may come together next week or next month.. again.. and again. Then add depression.

Comment Perhaps this is a good thing? (Score 4, Insightful) 113

Just suppose that following Snowden a large percentage of the population decided to significantly increase the security of the internet use. This would force the NSA et al to increase power of their automated collection systems to compensate and those of us already taking enhanced security measures would lose out. If the populous does nothing then the NSA can just continue as they were.
Of course, one could argue that this lack of popular action simply makes security concious users stand out in the eyes of the NSA and attracts special attention. But perhaps this is also a good thing. Allow me to explain:
I start with the precept that the NSA will be able to gain access to practically everything I do online (and probably offline) no matter what I do. Given this, I would far rather be a special case. Imagine somone at NSA HQ clicking the "Collect and analyse all internet traffic from the UK" icon. Their computers hoover up some vast number of terabytes including mine and finds little of interest. The operative takes another bite from his apple and clicks the next icon "Collect and analyse all.....". My data has been spied on and I am iritated, but unless he finds a rotten bit of apple he isn't.
Now imagine that my security is rather better than most. The operative clicks the icon, but gets an error saying "Data from Huskydog not available". Gosh, thinks the operative, someone hiding their information, I must have stumbled upon an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell. He puts down his apple and starts to dig deeper. Eventually, after some time and effort he breaks in and ..... Nothing! (or at least nothing interesting to the NSA). He has wasted considerable time, his apple has gone brown and he has nothing to show for it. I am just as iritated as before, but now he is iritated as well.
So, given that we wish to iritate the NSA (and that is probably we worst we can hope to do to them) perhaps the best solution is to have a significant number of special cases which stand out from the easy to access heard and thus require special time consuming efforts to spy on but with nothing to show for it in the end.

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA

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