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Comment: Re:So what? (Score 0, Flamebait) 230

by HBI (#46790193) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

Because he knows that the data is cherry picked and manipulated. Everyone knows that, otherwise there would be no hockey stick. The defamation suit would fail. So concealing the maximum amount of information benefits his very weak case.

He'll probably lose the defamation case, in any event. Regardless of what data ultimately is clawed away from him.

Comment: Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (Score 1) 135

by the gnat (#46770379) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

This is the thing. Its like the abortion debate. MY body.

Again, you're not understanding my point. I'm not arguing with patient choice, I'm against companies marketing snake oil, which is one of the specific reasons that the FDA exists. The difference between these drugs and most other phony cures is that the drugs can actually kill you. I feel the same way about tobacco - I think people should be allowed to do anything they want as long as they don't harm anyone else, but I'm totally in favor of bans on cigarette ads. The distinction is between allowing potentially unsafe behavior, versus encouraging it.

Comment: Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (Score 1) 135

by the gnat (#46759503) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

I am a HUGE believer in individual choice. If the consumer chooses to buy or use something that isn't government approved... that is their choice. Obviously make it clear to them so they don't do it by accident... but that's about it.

I don't disagree with this, but a key issue is marketing and insurance coverage, not availability. Drugs that are legally available to consumers can't be marketed for purposes other than the conditions they were approved to treat, and companies have paid billions of dollars in fines for violating these rules. That doesn't prevent doctors from prescribing the drugs off-label, but insurance companies usually won't cover this (I know, I've tried), and because these uses can't be marketed, the revenues are vastly lower. I am 100% in favor of experimentation and consumer choice, but I don't like seeing companies push drugs with potentially debilitating side effects on people without actual evidence that they work.

Comment: Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (Score 1) 135

by the gnat (#46757463) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

consider that we might do well to push a lot of these bio medical researchers at the private sector

Many of us would love to move to the private sector. There's just aren't a lot of jobs there either. In my current specialty, there are hundreds of postdoctoral fellowships (and maybe a dozen faculty openings) for every industry position. I have much broader expertise than that, but employers typically aren't interested in anyone who doesn't fit the exact list of criteria that HR prepared. I've basically spent the last 6 years working as a full-time software developer but I can't even get responses to job applications because I'm still in academia, and competing with CS graduates with the right buzzwords on their resumes.

Obviously my choice of career path was poor, but there isn't some magic solution that can retroactively fix that problem.

Comment: Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (Score 1) 135

by the gnat (#46757383) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

They say that they spend so much money complying with the FDA that they have very little for anything else.

That's because the FDA requires actual proof that a drug does what it's claimed to do before they'll let it be marketed as such - oh, and it has to not have debilitating side effects. If we got rid of the FDA, the barriers to market would be vastly lower, but we'd be flooded with a huge number of placebos with deadly side effects. Really, it's shocking how often drug candidates make it to Phase III trials only to discover that they're effectively useless. Do you really want to get rid of that filter?

Comment: Re:No shit, Sherlock (Score 1) 135

by the gnat (#46757319) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

The pernicious influence of this 'Federal technical complex' has led to an entire generation of scientists who believe that the only credible source of funding must be the federal government.

Actually, none of us really believe that. In fact, most of us would love to have more options than crawling back to the NIH every five years, and would also prefer not to worry about whether the hacks in DC will fuck everything up for us. The problem is that the governments really are the largest source of funding and there are limited prospects to replace that. Wealthy philanthropists are great but it's hard to find enough of those to shell out the equivalent of the NIH budget. Companies are rarely interested in spending money on anything they can't turn into a product in the shortest possible amount of time - in the life sciences, only a tiny handful of them do anything resembling "basic research".

The comparison to the "solitary inventor" of the past is irrelevant, because up until recently you didn't need much technology to make some pretty important discoveries. Unfortunately, as science advances, each incremental discovery tends to require steadily greater investments in equipment and infrastructure, which creates a huge barrier to entry. Additionally, the body of knowledge is so immense that it takes years to acquire the technical knowledge to tackle most research projects independently.

Comment: Re:They do have a point (Score 4, Informative) 584

by the gnat (#46746389) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

The mercury level in a dose of a vaccine is less than the amount you might get from eating a tuna steak.

It's also in a different form - fish contain methylmercury, which is extremely toxic, while thimerosol is metabolized to ethylmercury, which isn't something you want to have a lot of in your system, but isn't as awful.

Comment: Re:This is an ancient one... (Score 2) 584

by the gnat (#46746351) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

There is no credible evidence that the vaccines are unsafe.

Minor pedantic quibble: some vaccines are unsafe for a very small subset of the population, mainly people with compromised immune systems or severe allergies to components of the vaccines. I'm pretty sure doctors check for this before sticking the needle in. These people are one of the reasons why herd immunity is so important, because the only thing protecting them from certain diseases is the fact that the rest of the population can't act as carriers. Most of us won't be harmed if one of Jenny McCarthy's kids coughs on us, because we've had the shots - but the unlucky few who really can't get vaccinated are screwed.

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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