Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Comment Re:The real patent villains unmasked (Score 2) 115

-2 misinformative.

If you're talking about Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug in question is Diaprim (aka Pyrimethamine). This drug has been around since the 1950s and is not, I repeat NOT subject to any sort of patent protections.

Furthermore, the drug is a treatment for toxoplasmosis not HIV. There is some confusion about this because people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the parasite which causes toxoplasmosis.

The big controversy with Diaprim arises from the fact that there are relatively few cases of this infection in the USA so there is only one manufacturer of the drug. The size of the market is so small that it's not economically viable for anyone to set up a competing operation. Therefore, Turing figures it can radically increase the price.

Comment Re:IMHO that's good (Score 1) 99

Is that "groupthink" or is it a matter of cultural norms? Isn't a small town just a social connection between "like minded individuals" which is made somewhat more rigid by geography? The types of differences you're talking about definitely attract attention in a small town, but it's unfair to suggest that every difference which attracts attention is viewed as an intolerable negative.

The problem I see with cities is that this "mind your own business" mentality becomes extreme to the point of dehumanization. People outside your little cliques no longer count as humans who deserve respect and basic courtesy. The city dweller might be exposed to plenty of people, but is less likely to interact with or render assistance to a random stranger. In a small town, everyone is more or less in your clique so it's perfectly acceptable to strike up a conversation with someone and entirely normal to help out a stranded motorist for example.

Comment Re:yet more engineer bashing (Score 1) 495

She's not currently an elected representative, but Hillary Clinton recently said that an Australia style national gun "buyback" program is something worth considering.

"Buyback" is a ridiculous way to characterize what happened in Australia because it conjures up images of a voluntary program. In Australia, they first managed to implement firearms registration (bad idea). Then, when they moved on to the confiscation phase, people who owned guns were ordered to either turn them in to the "buyback program" or be considered felons. And thanks to the gun registry, they knew who owned what. That is "gun grabbing".

Comment Re:It's the IT service providers that need fixing (Score 1) 262

"So, there's proof that they're not doing it for cost savings."

Their positive cash flow and profits "prove" nothing about their motivations. To a corporation, profits are never high enough.

  "bringing in H-1B labor for purposes that don't meet the original intention of the program."

The federal government publishes a set of "guidelines" and describes the "intentions" of the program for sure. Unfortunately, neither the guidelines nor the intentions are codified in actual LAW. Therefore, corporations like Disney can simply ignore them.

"According to federal guidelines, the visas are intended ... to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found. Their use, ... should not âoeadversely affect the wages and working conditionsâ of Americans." (NYtimes 6/3/15)

Great, except for the fact that we're supposed to trust that corporations will follow the "guidelines" as opposed to exploiting the LAW to maximize their profits? Ha! That's why the fired workers can't accuse Disney of breaking the law and have to resort to this "discrimination" theory.
Once again, we get royally screwed by the Federal Government and the corporations get blamed.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 815

Talk about "freak outs". This type of nonsense is happening all over the country. It's the new normal under "zero tolerance" policies.

*Finger gun at a Virginia grade school: suspension
* Breakfast pastry "gun" at a Maryland elementary school: 2 day suspension
*Hello Kitty bubble gun at a Pennsylvania kindergarten: 10 day suspension

If a pop-tart gun is grounds for discipline, then why does clock boy deserve $15m for a freak out about a timing device in a metal case?

Comment Both parties are wrong (Score 1) 815

On one side, the police and school administrators acted like total a$$holes in their handling of this situation. On the other side, the whole act of bringing a disassembled clock to school in a metal briefcase was a deliberate attempt to provoke this sort of over-reaction. Both parties are in the wrong.
I call it an "over-reaction" but we live in a time where gun-shaped things made of pop-tarts or cardboard are grounds for disciplinary action under idiotic "zero tolerance" policies. The disassembled clock clearly wasn't a bomb, but a timing device in a metal case looks more like a bomb than a pop-tart looks like a gun.
The kid's father is/was an activist with political ambitions. My guess is that he orchestrated the whole thing and it succeeded beyond his wildest expectations.

Comment Re:One thing about the NSA and the CIA (Score 1) 119

Nobody doubts that the CIA and other parts of the federal government have occasionally cultivated a public image of incompetence to mask their very competent evil. I totally disagree with your assertions about Snowden however. You call those revelations "zilch"? WTF more can there be? NSA nanobots infecting our bodies and reporting on our biometric data? He really did give us the smoking gun as well as the dead body of the U.S. Constitution. The ho-hum reaction is due to ignorance and indifference; I don't think the public actively approves of this crap. Nor do they approve of a government which will not punish its own employees for their crimes.

Comment Re:I like this a lot (Score 1) 514

Why do you think it's up to you or a food company to be the ultimate arbiter of what's "rational" or what's "safe" or to assess the overall environmental impact of a certain product or production process?

Should it be OK to put pork in food and sell it to unwitting Jews or Muslims because it's "irrational" to believe that a flying spaghetti monster described in some ancient fairy tails is going to curse you for eating it? Now that seems irrational to me, but it's up to the consumer to decide what to buy and what to eat.

Cross breeding plants is one thing. Taking a gene from a completely unrelated species, splicing it into another and producing some mutant organism that couldn't possibly exist in nature is radically different. All the species on this planet evolved slowly in a certain symbiosis with other species. Genetic modification upsets that delicate balance.

GMO and Organic labeling are merely about the consumer's right to have complete information about what they are purchasing. Organic doesn't necessarily mean "safe", it means that a specific set of guidelines were adhered to during the production process. GMO doesn't necessarily mean dangerous. Whether people's personal decisions based on labeling are rational or irrational is totally for them to decide.

Comment Re:Cool - but could we also ban... (Score 1, Insightful) 305

"the profit motive itself pretty much makes a mockery of the practice of medicine in general."

Because medical professionals should go through years of schooling and accumulate massive amounts of debt so that they can donate their time? Because drug companies should develop new treatments out of scientific curiosity, and medical device manufacturers should be volunteer organizations?

For profit companies provide the overwhelming majority of the goods and services you use on a regular basis and you typically have an array of choices and various price/quality options. The ONLY reason healthcare is so screwed up is that the government decided to stick it's fat nose into the mix. Since the advent of Medicare & Medicaid, costs have absolutely skyrocketed while quality of results has stagnated. You won't find a similar result anywhere in a profit-driven free market. Only government can engineer such a disaster.

Comment Re:Trading Places (Score 1) 381

The rich Wall Street and Washington DC assholes already have us eating high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils and other government subsidized, genetically modified garbage. If they're making jokes about the nasty "food" they've managed to put in our diets, the laughter has long since died down.
Nutritionally speaking, a few servings of mealworms would be an improvement in the diet of the average American.

Comment Re:Correction(s) (Score 2) 488

" you'd have to be an idiot to think we couldn't have stayed had we just asked. "

Bush negotiated the withdrawal date with the Iraqi government. When the date was approaching, the idea of an ongoing U.S. presence was indeed proposed, but the Iraqis refused to renew the Status Of Forces Agreement(SOFA). That's the agreement which grants U.S. military personnel the permission to operate with impunity inside the country. This was unacceptable to the USA. I suppose Obama could have forced the issue, but based on his campaign promises, he had to maintain the illusion of being the "peace" guy.

There's no good time to withdraw from a mess like this other than ASAP. Given the aftermath of the U.S. government's withdrawal from Vietnam, it could also be argued that the withdrawal happened "too soon". But, just like Vietnam, the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan are both completely untenable. There is no possible way to "win". The defeat is not a military defeat. It's a defeat based on the creation and maintenance of an endless morass of human misery and a sinkhole of U.S. taxpayer wealth.

Comment Re:Beyond humanity (Score 2) 378

The way human institutions are currently structured, the species is DE-volving. There's little hope that homo sapiens is going to become healthier, heartier or more intelligent through evolution. All of the evolutionary pressures have been removed by society and technology. Without drastic changes, we are an evolutionary dead end.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard