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Comment: Re:Women in academia are given a little more slack (Score 1) 517

Very interesting post. I am guessing you are hiring for a STEM type professor? While I think there is some level of truth to the statement that someone who is any kind of minority in a field is more likely to still be there because they love the subject, one would expect then for the same logic to apply to male candidates in female dominated fields, but it seems like it doesn't according to the data. Men may brag more, but I understand research shows women are better communicators on average and thus in theory better able to express their accomplishments. Also, if there are more men over all being hired, and a fairly small number of washouts, it is more likely to randomly happen to a male. Finally, I also have not hired people who I thought were too qualified (though rarely), but the gender of the person wasn't relevant. I think the danger is that it is very easy to make an apparently self consistent reason for any kind of bias you like, but hard data ought force us to at least question our assumptions however well meant.

Comment: What do you get when you... (Score 2) 294

by (#49328951) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk
...make a computer thinks like a person? A computer that loses it's car keys. When we finally emulating living intelligence artificially, it will have many of the same disadvantages that normal human intelligence has. In fact it HAS to, if it does not it won't be a true replica and I suspect many of our so call disadvantages are inherent to the system. It is interesting to note our most useful tools really are very unlike the things they replace, a bull is much better able to take care of itself than a tractor is. To a great extent computers are useful to us because they do things we don't do well, not the things we do well. FYI, a true AI that could pass the Turning Test would itself want a PDA to help it out and take care of the pesky details it didn't like dealing with. Another time someone once remarked to me that they thought in the future, maybe we would have the way to enhance someone's intelligence with computers. I replied, "like making them better at chess?", they said yes and I pointed out we have that technology now, just give them a laptop with a chess program and have them copy the moves. The future is more like a highly connected hive mind, with human and artificial minds closely linked, in many ways our smart phones are the first step on this path.

Comment: The future of medicine (Score 3, Interesting) 77

by (#49148649) Attached to: Banned Weight-loss Drug Could Combat Liver Disease, Diabetes
In the future, our laws and the FDA are going to have to reform to adjust to a new realty. In brief, there no bad chemicals or bad drugs, only bad uses. Medicine has been so extraordinarily good at providing near miraculous cures, that we have come to have a "magic pill" mindset. This drug magically cures this disease and is "safe". The reality of medicine is a series of tradeoffs, typically the tradeoffs are greatly to our advantage, but not always. Further, it has long been known that a drug that works for one person doesn't work for someone else. There is no doubt that targeted medicine, what I consider a subset of open source medicine, is the next critical system break through. For example, this is why it is so intriguing to be putting IBM Watson on the task of medicine, Watson will be able to analysis your personal health makeup and suggest a drug appropriate for you, along with recommended possible side effect markers to watch and even possibly test for! How do you go about regulating medicine is such an environment, in the future it will no longer make sense for the FDA to "approve" or "disapprove" a drug. Rather the most sensible course will be to monitor an accurate database of effects and make sure all the participants are following correct recording procedures, along with assuring purity of products. If you follow through this logic, you will quickly realize it calls into question the current system of patents. Where an entity has a financial interest is promoting a particular drug, it also has an interest in suppressing negative information and promoting positive. Under such circumstances it isn’t strongly in anyone personal interest, other than an illegal cartel, to promote inappropriate uses of a particular drug. Obviously some system of financial rewards/incentives need to be applied, and of course no can work for free. But just as the open source software movement hasn’t killed off software companies, nor will making a space for open source medicine kill of drug companies. Indeed the free flow of ideas has only enhanced technological progress. I hope I have convinced some of you to embrace a move to open source medicine.

Comment: Re:Does this make sense economically? (Score 1) 245

by (#49132451) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics
On your second point, that is a big part about what open source medicine would be about. All drugs are a bit of a trade off inherently, though some are bigger trades offs then others. The most important thing to a doctor is measuring effect and scale of side effects. Good data about what a drug does, and the ability to effectively implement it, is much more important than a "magic cure all pill" approved by the FDA. I also like Watson looking into medicine, I really like the idea of an AI calculating likely good results from chemicals.

Comment: Re:Simple Solution: Use the patent system (Score 1) 245

by (#49132279) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics
That doesn't work, even if it doubled the profits it would still be the wrong scale of returns. What is wrong with new antibiotics is that the current ones do in fact solve most of the problems, a new expensive one would be used only as a last result. Basic economics dictates that research will only become viable once an antibiotic crisis is already in progress and a sufficient number of people are willing to open their wallets to save themselves.

Comment: Need for open source medical research (Score 1) 245

by (#49132205) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics
I like the idea of a bio Xprize, but what if we could go one further? We have to drastically reduce the cost of bringing new medicines to market, without compromising the scientific method. What if drug researches could submit candidate drugs, for a much smaller price, to universities and governments labs for testing, would be paid a bounty, but in return the drug would be licensed for manufacture by all. I assert that the current "winner take all" approach to medical patents is much less efficient than open collaborative systems, really it survives because at the end of the day we are all willing to pump huge amounts of money into it, one way or another. What is nice about an open source system is that there is little incentive for anyone to falsify or hide results, and redundant testing by other labs, along with doctor hands experience, will quickly identify bad actors.

Comment: FDA due for reform (Score 2, Interesting) 80

by (#49051437) Attached to: Unearthing Fraud In Medical Trials
The FDA should have it's scope limited somewhat, focusing more on purity of things is regulates and less on effectiveness and uses. I have heard of various cases of outside influence and political pressure in the past. I think a more open source/wiki approach to medication effectiveness might be better. There is always a big danger of misuse when so much is relying on one organization with no outside checks.

Comment: Re:It is time to change the FDA and drug law. (Score 1) 201

by (#48993437) Attached to: Testosterone Increasingly Being Used To Fight Aging In Men
Maybe, maybe not. First remember how much basic research is done by universities, further much the same thing has been said about open source software. Remember I am not proposing the elimination of for profit drug research companies, but rather simply opening the door for more open source type avenues also.

Comment: It is time to change the FDA and drug law. (Score 1) 201

by (#48983853) Attached to: Testosterone Increasingly Being Used To Fight Aging In Men
True story, well if you can believe my dentist, but she seems very rational person. She said her brother had started selling a wrist watch that was used to combat ADD, basically is would vibrate and give an "atta boy" message when the child got off track, it was remote controlled by the teacher FYI. It was about as intrusive as a digimon watch. So he started selling them, but eventually got a cease and desist letter from the FDA for selling an untested medical device. When he later spoke with an FDA insider, he was supposedly told drug companies got wind of the device and turned him in, along with applying a little influence, to get him shut down. I think the day may have come to limit the FDA to verifying the purity of the drug or substance you are buying, but not make decisions on it's proper use. Maybe something closer to a medical research wiki with verification of information sources (so companies couldn't falsely claim results). Maybe the FDA could monitor the checks and balances of such a system or something. Over all the system would be less like "buy my anti balding pill" and more like research has shown chemical X reverses baldness, and the following companies sell chemical X and compete on prices. Drugs would become de-facto generics in most cases.

Comment: Re:Just a question (Score 1) 779

by (#48962511) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes
Yes, actually it IS a problem and really should be addressed. One important reason there are so many boys in CS and STEM is because there are so few boys in other classes, after all there are factually more girls in post secondary education over all. What is wrong to me is they are only focusing on one discipline, one gender and the solutions are sounding more and more punitive to boys. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar anyway.

Comment: Re:More US workers == offshoring?? (Score 1) 484

by (#48822927) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce
I think I can explain the idea. H1B visas are not green cards, companies like them because once they sponsor someone that person either keeps working for the same company or goes home. Companies like this because it makes the person wholly dependent on the sponsor company, read really low wages. Except the catch is eventually lots of these people do go home, bringing their technical skill and company IP with them. As the process continues you get net talent drain out of the U.S., the U.S. citizen was never given a chance to learn the job and those skills hours go back offshore. Back when there were very few real opportunities back home the process was slow, but as the process continues over time there are more and more options back home and each new returnee further enables the next one. That is why you are now hearing more so many stories about workers repatriating, at the end of the day most of them really would prefer to live and work in their native communities. That is why most technical organizations advocate green cards over H1B, if the person is really that good, why not give them the option of staying. Companies don't like it because once they get over here, they can't keep them unless they pay competitive wages.

Comment: Open source medicine, the time has come (Score 1) 164

by (#48812239) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor
For about 20 years I have felt that the solution to spiraling costs in medicine is to enable collaborative or "open source" type research. There is no doubt that the free market, where true competition takes place, can compete to produce medicine very cheaply if allowed to, but the basic research needed does take real effort and the resulting patents, though needed under the current system, end up being very expensive for the end user. The natural remedy crowd has long rightly claimed that there are many natural remedies available that can never get the funding needed to pass FDA approval because there is no profit in doing so. Likewise the information revolution has made even development of high tech remedies within the reach average individuals and communities. I call on us all to consider how the approval process could be adapted to keep safeguards in place, yet enable collaborative open source medicine to be researched and produced. If people are motivated to help out Wikipedia out of simple community altruism, consider how motivated people would be to help cure diseased afflicting loved ones! I think there is also a valuable place for government and university funded labs to perform much of the basic research needed.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.