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Comment: FDA == slow progress too (Score 5, Insightful) 80

by javilon (#49051435) Attached to: Unearthing Fraud In Medical Trials

Seife suggests the FDA is trapped in a co-dependent relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, and needs strong legislative support to end its bad behavior.

This is clearly the case, and this not only means that some drugs that should not be on the market are approved. It also means, and in my mind this is more important, that the big Pharma are using the FDA as a barrier of entry against startups. Getting a new drug on the market costs an average of $2.558 billion in 2013 dollars.

This days are the early days of the biotech revolution where we will gain enormous control over our health are just starting, and progress is slow due to regulation capture. If some of this money would be given back to researchers instead of lawyers and bureaucrats, we would get better treatments available sooner.

As an example, big pharma companies get old drugs whose patents are about to run out, change their chemical formula and improve them just a bit and then go to market with them so the can reap huge margins with basically the same compound. This is safer business than trying to produce a breakthrough with a completely new compound. And the reason for this is the way the FDA operates. This results in very valuable resources being used with little benefit to the public.

Comment: Re:Cheaper option, Google Cardboard (Score 2) 74

by javilon (#48810011) Attached to: Ars: Samsung Gear VR Is Today's Best Virtual Reality

When Google's Project Tango is ready and the hardware is shipped in phones, Google cardboard will have positional tracking. And since it has a camera, you can use it both for virtual reality and enhanced reality apps. You will be able to run around with the headset (as opposed to Occulus Rift where you are tethered).

If your phone has Project Tango hardware and a good amoled screen with high resolution, and if the manufacturer implements a high refresh rate, you will have a lot of what the Occulus Rift has in terms of image quality, but without the limitations. And you have to have a phone anyway this days, so it is just a matter of dropping a few more bucks for the extra hardware.

Comment: Re:The longer you live...Cancer could be your rewa (Score 1) 273

by javilon (#48801051) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Quest To Extend Life 'Well Beyond 120'

Agreed,

And even if completely defeating cancer is not possible or achieved quickly (progress in partially defeating cancer is business as usual), the set of technologies they are seeking would allow us to live healthier, longer and more productive lifes until the cancer (or whatever) takes us away. This would be a huge deal for anyone.

Comment: Re:Doesn't really matter if they do patch it (Score 1) 629

by javilon (#48794437) Attached to: Google Throws Microsoft Under Bus, Then Won't Patch Android Flaw

I guess if Google were to fix it, Cyanogen would pick up the fix and back port it to their old versions. Then you could root the phone and install cyanogen. It would not only be more secure. It would also remove all of the carrier and manufacturer crap and work better than the original.

Comment: Re:Image quality (Score 2) 141

by javilon (#48786729) Attached to: 3D Cameras Are About To Go Mainstream

I think the point here is that with 3D comes the ability to better understand the images. Don't think about producing content. Think about gathering information from the environment. A phone or tablet will always know where it is, even if GPS doesn't work, just by processing the input from its camera (see Google's project Tango). And eventually will understand what the objects it sees are. Think robotics, enhanced reality and many more applications...

For those applications image quality is not relevant.

Comment: Re:This silly person has no idea what will happen. (Score 2) 688

by javilon (#48615979) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

1. Humans are able to do physical work. This was automated away.
2. Humans are able to do repetitive manually skilled work. This is being automated away.
3. Humans are be able to do repetitive intellectual work. This is starting to be automated away.
4. A subset of humans are able to do highly creative / complex intellectual work. This will start to be automated away in about 20 years from now.

Then what? I mean, as long as you define work as "something useful that needs to be done in order to solve some problem or improve the situation" all of it will eventually be automated so we can achieve the goal in a more efficient way than using humans.

But even if 4. takes a very long time to arrive, what do you do with the rest of the people that can't do intellectual work? do you starve them? do you designate them as "underclass" and keep them on charity forever? do you share the available wealth in a mostly equitative way?

I would go for the last one, if anything because all of us are going to be in the "underclass" eventually, when our level of ability can be matched by automatic tools.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 5, Interesting) 688

by javilon (#48615895) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

In fact, we may be experiencing this trend right now. Economic growth is not needed anymore by the elites to increase their wellbeing, where it used to be neccesary.

The elites used to need an army of servants to clean their clothes, cooke their food, keep their houses, drive them around, manage their wealth and most of all, work on their factories... This is all being automated, and the new luxury is not based on people laboring for the elite, but on technology and resources available to the elite. The fact that labor was needed, and the unionization of workers, forced some redistribution of wealth during the past century. But it may be that in the history of humanity the past century is an exception and the "natural" state of society is to have a higher concentration of wealth than what we had in the sixties.

This would allow the elites to escape the general economy. They will build their luxury cars on automated factories, clean their houses with robots, be driven by robots (when they feel like not driving), manage their wealth with software and highly automated consultancy, shop on the internet... so what it matters that the economy is contracting as long as the luxury part of the economy grows? they don't need the goods made by the general economy as much as they used to. They will only need the highly skilled workers that produce new technologies, lay out new automated factories, build new medical procedures, manage their wealth, entertain them and teach their children.

They can be wealthy without having to spend a dime on other people, just on technology. This leaves the door open to a split in society where the wealthy people achieves "escape velocity" and they become a different class, or even a different species. The can manage the underclasses with the very powerful media and manipulation tools they have. They have all of the details about each one of us and the analytical tools to process them so they will be able to find the soft spots that can be used to convince a statistically sufficient part of the rest of us that "this is the only way it can be".

And we may be seing the beginning of this already...

Comment: Translation (Score 2) 28

by javilon (#48589223) Attached to: Cardboard Hits Half a Million Mark, Gets an SDK

The head tracker API returns a 4x4 matrix from the sensors:

public void getLastHeadView (float[] headView, int offset)
Provides the most up-to-date transformation matrix.
Parameters
headView An array representing a 4x4 transformation matrix in column major order.
offset Offset in the array where data should be written.

I wonder how reliable the translation information is. The angle seems to work quite well from the apps I have checked, but no app is trying to use translation information. Having it available, if it is reliable enough, would enable a whole lot of new cool applications.

Did anyone test this?

Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 4, Interesting) 183

by javilon (#48572159) Attached to: Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

You are right,

And in a way, this can be seen as a reaction to the raise of a political party in Spain: Podemos. It translates into "we can" and it is made up of young people that are trying to rethink the whole democracy thing, turning it into a more direct democracy. It has gone from not existing to being the first in the polls in a period of two years. It has the old traditional parties panicking.

This seems to be the answer from the old elite. Censorship and personal attacks. And it is backfiring. With each of this actions, they show how corrupted and misguided they are, and podemos raises in the polls. People do not trust the traditional media (TV and papers) anymore and seeks information directly from other sources on the web.

I don't think podemos will end up governing the country. They are far left, at least they were at the beginning, although they are moderating their statements as they become wider. But this is causing lots of changes for good on Spanish politics, with the traditional parties not being able to turn their head anymore on corruption, corporate tax evasion or undehanded lobying.

Comment: Censorship (Score 5, Interesting) 183

by javilon (#48571903) Attached to: Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

I am from Spain. The most interesting thing about this is that this stupid law was rushed throught the parlamentary process by surprise, with an ammendment added at the last minute. On the same period, three of the most important reporters that were critical to the government in the big spanish media were fired.

There is especulation that the two things are linked and this was a deal between the Spanish government and the owners of the big media conglomerates in Spain. The media got this law against Google in exchange for supporting the ailing government party which is 50% down in the polls as compared to the last general election, and panicking.

So the big media owners got what they wanted in exchange of censoring news critical to the government. What they do not realize is that this is going to hit their bottom lines because Google is not going to fold down. The are going to lose lots of money and media, and other newspapers from outside Spain are going to increase their share. At the end they will run to the government asking them to remove this law. Or they may even do it before the law is in place, when they see that Google is going to shut them down. The will deserve the humilliation. And this will tarnish their credibility because of the deal they did with the government. They are fools.

Comment: Re:Isn't that click fraud? (Score 5, Interesting) 285

by javilon (#48555351) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

If you put stuff on an URL, and then you make the URL public (and put it on search engines), you are agreeing with the http protocol. The contract is:

"At this URL you can find public and freely available data".

That's the way http works. There is no click through contract to get to an URL and the standard is made so data can be processed easily (there are content, presentation and behaviour separated parts, and each part is designed so it is easy to extract only a subset of it). So, again, clearly the intent of the http protocol design is: "At this URL you can find public and freely available data in a format easy to process so you can use any subset of the data any way you want".

Seen in this way, an advertiser has agreed with the http "contract" by publishing the data. It should be illegal than an advertisher tries to subvert the nature of the http protocol and force you to consume content in a way that further's his interests.

This is similar to what is happening with net neutrality. People trying to subvert the design to convert a protocol into something it is not so to achieve control in the ways the protocol is used, removing control from the actual users of the protocol. They should call it something different, like "filtered internet".

Comment: Re:Isn't that click fraud? (Score 1) 285

by javilon (#48555205) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

Agreed.

The basic idea here is that the http protocol doesn't mandate what to do with the information stored on a given URL. That is left to the user to decide. It is just information you use in any way you want. Removing the ads is just one application of this concept, rendering text for blind people is another possible application.

Protocols with DRM (Digital Rights Management or actuall Digital Restrictions Management) functionality try to mandate what you can do with information. They didn't work. But even if they would, http is not a DRM protocol (except for the newly introduced video extensions). If they want a DRM protocol, then let them try to push a new standard protocol and put their shit there. See if it sticks.

If you analyse anything, you destroy it. -- Arthur Miller

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