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Comment: Re:What 3500$? (Score 1) 280

by RockDoctor (#48228631) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

He comes to the USA to do some installation work of the product that was developed by his team in his country. How is this at all a sane idea that he now needs to be paid something entirely different based on the country where he is doing installation rather than what his actual salary is back in the country where he was hired and where he has his actual job?

Speaking as someone who moves around the world to operate software, train users and install and maintain equipment which my company develops here in the UK, no, I don't expect my pay rate to vary much from one country to another. There are local variations (dislocation pay rates if I'm more than 2 time zones away from home, which makes contacting the wife harder ; hardship rates for when working in disease-ridden hell holes with a good chance of being killed on the way to work ; overtime rates for more than 40 days a quarter away from home) which add up to about a 30% variation in pay rate from one job to the next.

There are, however plenty of employers in this business who do deliberately hire from the cheapest countries they can, and pay discriminatorily low pay rates as they move those staff around the world. We do try to harm them, our competitors, by hiring their best staff on UK contracts. If that means that we pay them like local maharajahs, we don't care. We still hire them out at UK rates, and shipping them around the world is a negligible cost (compared to finding the right people. Why should we care which continent they live on? That would be as discriminatory as hiring a Brit and paying him on a Thai rate just because he live there with his Thai family, even if he's working in Angola.

IF the company in question is based in India and this is what they're doing, then there's no problem with that. If the company is HQ'd elsewhere, then that's the rates they should be paying their staff on.

(Incidentally, our typical working day is 16 hours for seniors, 12 hours for juniors ; that's 112 and 84 hours per week respectively ; obviously in a crisis, you do what's necessary to not die, but generally that's not more than a few days of overtime.)

Comment: Re:The obvious question is (Score 1) 164

by RockDoctor (#48228559) Attached to: U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

If you can handle the civil disorder charges afterwards, you know since it is in a public place...

No, it's not in a public place. It's on private property (a supermarket) to which the public are *granted* access but do not have a *right* to access. Which is why they have to employ security guards who do not have the powers of the police (they can't touch you, except in self defence, nor detain you except under the normal conditions of a citizen's arrest). You do not have the right to go there - the store can refuse you access and demand that you leave (and you're then committing a public order offence if you don't then leave the private property).

If the store management object to you stripping your clothes off, then they can request that you leave. But they've invited you onto their property and if they don't like you stripping off and dancing naked down the aisles, it's for them to deal with, not the Police.

The boundaries are subtle, but they are there.

Comment: Re:UK article, US units (Score 1) 164

by RockDoctor (#48228525) Attached to: U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

And who would want a 9" pianist figurine anyway?

In a world where the Baby Jesus Butt Plug is a real artefact, and given the frequent public redneck masturbation on Slashdot over the buttocks of Obama, I can guess that slightly modified 9in Obama-dildoes are going to sell well.

Comment: Re:Yeah but ... (Score 1) 127

by RockDoctor (#48228483) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

The same tests on DNA from another man from the same era and locale but from a different Y-haplogroup

Where's the sample?

In archaeology (and palaeontology in general), you play the hand you're dealt. (Though you can try to stack the deck a little by choosing where to dig.)

Comment: Re:Colour me Suspicious (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228475) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

maybe I have played/watched too much resident evil

Maybe you have. (What's "resident evil"?) Unfortunately, this is not a game, and people are at risk. I've a colleague working in the area at the moment, and I'm due to be going back there in about April ; my neighbour's husband is worried about relatives who live in Ghana and his colleagues in Senegal.

I really think your concern about your conspiracy theories are a bit over-blown.

Comment: Re:Money, money, money... (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228451) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

Note that the NewLink vaccine donated by Canada has demonstrated Ebola-like symptoms in many of the people who've been inoculated in Phase I trials, so it's entirely possible Canada Health has been giving those people

Hmmm, I wonder if, after vaccination with this (or one of the other in-development vaccines and treatments), the patient will then always return positive on the piss-in-a-pot type tests for Ebola which are also under development?

Of course, if they do return positive because of the vaccination, then they'll not be prevented from travelling on that basis - they show positive because of the vaccination, and the vaccination is reported in their vaccination passport (do you carry your vaccination passport along with your identification passport? I do, in the same wallet.). So they'll just get waved through any security check for perfectly good reasons.

Will this vaccine against this strain of Ebola protect against the 6 or 7 other strains of Ebola? Oh, now that's a question whose answer would be really quite important to know.

But Slashdot demands immediate action now, regardless of unimportant questions like that. Oh Noes!

Comment: Re:clinical trials. (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228393) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

It definitely muddies the study up somewhat,

I'll translate that into statistician speak : more patients die than absolutely necessary.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad - it's just a nasty situation.

Try one of the standard psychological tests : there is a run-away train on a line running towards a car with a family of five children in a car stuck on the tracks ; there is a set of points (errr, EN_US : switch??) which you can use to divert the runaway train into a siding where it will impact a wheelchair-bound man stuck in the crossing there. This is your situation. What do you do?

Nature doesn't care about how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

Comment: Re:clinical trials. (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228371) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

I still emotionally struggle with the clinical trial approach of giving half the participants a placebo to see how many of them die vs. the ones who were given the drug under study

You don't, generally, give the patients a placebo ; you give them the standard treatment. Generally, you're not interested in comparing whether your new treatment is better than nothing ; you're interested in finding out if your new treatment is better than the standard treatment.

And as your results (deaths, or whatever other end state you've defined, for example a 20% reduction in tumour size) come in, you assess the likelihood of the test treatment being better than the standard. If you reach a pre-defined level of confidence one way or the other then you switch people to the better treatment, but not until you reach that level of confidence.

Unfortunately, for Ebola, the best treatment at the moment is supportive care (fluids, essentially), with about a 30-40% survival rate.

Struggle with it emotionally. It's hard. That's why I gave that career path a body swerve when offered it (plus I hate working in offices).

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228351) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

Let me shed some light on this - a lot of people died of heart disease whilst heart medication was tested simply because the studies needed to be "double-blind" to ensure statistics' accuracy - thus medication that otherwise would've saved their lives was withheld

Properly designed and conducted double-blinded trials result in fewer deaths overall than badly conducted trials, if the drugs are any good. If the drugs are not any good (which is something you do not know until after you're at least part way into the trials), then people still die. But since you don't have an effective treatment, people are still going to die.

I did a reasonable chunk of medical statistics in my first year of university, and the department thought I was good enough that they wanted me to change to doing stats full time ; I didn't go into statistics because I couldn't stand the idea of my day job being to decided (in a cold-hearted, randomised, impersonal way) on people's life and death. Even when I knew - through having worked through the mathematics and having done the experimental design myself - that this was the way to minimise the number of deaths.

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228335) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

Simple. Use a portion of the 24,000 doses (a few thousand?) to spot vaccinate anyone who's had close contact with someone with Ebola, say all immediate family members.

OK, that's the first 100,000 doses of your 24,000 used. What are you going to do with the next -76,000 doses?

Most (not all) people in this area live in fairly extended families - mum, dad, several kids, one or several grandparents, maybe a cousin from the country. 6 to 8 per household might be a reasonable average.

Infections are running at about 1,000 cases per week, accelerating by about 40% per week. So this week, you'll need about 7,000 doses. Next week, you'll need another 9,800 (16,800 used so far), the week after another 13,720 (you're 6000 doses short already), the week after another 19,000 doses which you don't have. And now you're getting into the infections that may or may not result from your initial round of vaccinations, so maybe you'll stop having quite so many cases. But 3 weeks further down the line you're seeing cases from the 6,000 people you couldn't vaccinate.

All of which assumes that the vaccine is 100% effective. If it's 90% effective (which is pretty good, for a first generation vaccine), then you've still got a long way to go.


Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228277) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

So many people are executed every year in various countries (even the US). Why not allocate them for research purposes?

I'll put my statistician's hat on to answer your fucking stupid scenario.

Are the immune systems of overweight drug-addicted white guys living on a high fat diet directly comparable to the immune systems of subsistence farmers who work a 12-14 hour day and are significantly malnourished, and also have several types of intestinal worms and other chronic infections? (And malaria too, active or passive.)

This is why you test your vaccine (or any other treatment) on a population as closely comparable as possible to your target population.

That leads to another problem with such a testing regime : a significant number of your target population are going to be pregnant or menstruating women, so how are you going to recruit pregnant death-row inmates to your trial? (This is actually a general problem with drug design and testing - there is an understandable reluctance to test drugs for safety and efficacy on pregnant women and unborn foetuses. Breast-feeding women and babies too ; same problem.)

Do people on Slashdot actually try to think through problems before spouting politically-motivated bullshit? Oh, sorry, I just noticed that you're an anonymous coward (with the emphasis on the "coward" part of that).

Comment: Re:The Cult Leader will solve the problem! (Score 1) 121

by RockDoctor (#48228255) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues
There's about a half-dozen such piss-in-a-pot tests in development - which is good! - but that means that each of the drug testing agencies in their distinct countries of origin need to confirm their effectiveness (false positive rates versus false negative rates), and that is going to take cases and time.

The design purpose of these is not to test people arriving in western countries, but to test people suspected of infection in the outbreak countries, which is a far more effective way of keeping the disease from getting out of those countries. Secondarily, the test kits might be used to screen people going into airport departure lounges (typically, they take 10-15 minutes, which is not disastrous in a security/ departure setting ; in an arrivals hall, there would be riots. And you've already had the exposure on board.)

I heard Ron Paul's name mentioned. Who is he, and what relevance does he have to the issue (IANA-American)?

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.