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Comment: Re:Don't Be Sad (Score 1) 324

by slew (#49149357) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

...These little instruments of correction, these gentle aids to the power and honour of families, these slight favours that might so incommode you, are only to be obtained now by interest and importunity. They are sought by so many, and they are granted (comparatively) to so few! It used not to be so, but France in all such things is changed for the worse. Our not remote ancestors held the right of life and death over the surrounding vulgar...

Or something totally different, but like that... ;^)
(kinda makes you wonder if they *really* paraphrased this from dickens or not)

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 2) 242

by slew (#49132901) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

they also need to put in a requirement that if you accept the prize money, then you give up the patent, allowing generic drugs.

Otherwise I foresee a case where they take the $2 billion profit, then go ahead and charge $10,000 a pill, just like cancer drugs.

In that situation where they cannot actually manufacture the drug in commercially viable situation, mostly likely they will never commercially manufacture the drug and there will only be generics. This will severely complicate the regulatory process as generics are generally licensed relative to their non-generic counterparts. Since there won't be any non-generics, there will little to benchmark the purity and efficacy of the generic drugs against. For some things this may not be a problem, but it seems that in general it will lead to only sub-optimal drugs being available.

I think what most people forget is that the delivery system is often as important as the active chemical in many drug treatments. Sure there are many common delivery mechanisms like pills that dissolve in the stomach and deliver the drug at certain pre-determined rate (commonly known as time-release), but many generic manufacturers attempt to move up the generic food chain by offering customized delivery systems that aren't part of the original study (e.g., time release instead of 2 doses a day, or multi-valent) or are incapable of producing the original tested delivery system (e.g., transdermal, to avoid stomach acid and intestinal absorption issues, etc) and simply produce chemically equivalent pill formulations that have off-the-shelf inactive compounding ingredients that involve little testing under the assumption of bio-equivalence or bio-availablity. Conversely, they might not be chemically equivalent (e.g., have more or less active ingredients), but in conjunction with the delivery system have similar bio-availablity (on average, but not necessarily for different individuals) or be "juiced" to counter chemical shelf life degradation (to improve profit margin on the generics).

Most likely simple broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs in generic pill form probably won't suffer many of these issues, but the issue of generics isn't as simple as most people make it out to be...

I think it's easy to argue that things should be available to the masses as soon as possible, but the initial availability is also an important part of the drug release process. Having this as standard as possible helps to make sure that the drug can be fine-tuned before it gets to the generic stage. You might also argue of the length of the initial availability period, but it's arguable that if a patent is 20 years, and it takes 10 years for approval, that 5-10 years of widespread availability in a standard form for a drug with potential short and long term side effects might not be totally unreasonable. But I guess that all depends on risk tolerance (f thousands of people are dying of a resistant bacterial infection, the relative risk of less testing might be lower)...

Comment: Re:i always thought this was a good idea (Score 1) 242

by slew (#49132627) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

A bounty? No. Just give the money as grants to academic research labs applying to do a search for new antibiotics.

No hoping someone has the funding and inclination to try themselves, an if no, oh well. Give a job doing it directly to those interested in the project.

No, that's how we fund the military. When you throw money out there in search of weapons, instead of getting weapons programs, we get jobs programs that produce weapons that nobody wants. Seems like it might work in principle, but in practice it often doesn't pan out as well as you hope...

Often to get results, you really have to get people invested in the outcome, not simply the process...

Comment: my only advice (Score 1) 684

by slew (#49131665) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Make sure that your daughter and wife both know that they can leave you behind and still be happy w/o you.

I know that's hard to hear, but there will probably come a time where your wife might meet someone who will want to be a father figure to your daughter. Letting them both know that you are okay with that (in principle) w/o dwelling on specifics, can probably help them lead a happier life than if they constantly felt they would be betraying you by going that route. You won't be there and you cannot anticipate their needs after you are gone (even with piles of money in the bank and family and friends to watch over them who may be eventually too busy with their own nuclear families to adequately keep watch)...

That is if you think you have the courage to broach the subject. In a way, that is the ultimate sacrifice you can make for their happiness, but it's probably harder than cutting off your hand to save your life...

Comment: Re:Instilling values more important (Score 1) 684

by slew (#49130663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Remember, not everyone deserves the same respect, but the reasons that individuals may deserve more or less respect is based on the individual, not on any easy category that the individual has no control over. She should judge people, but she should judge them for things within their control, for their choices. Everyone should start out as a blank slate and through observation the level of respect is determined.

I don't know how you are defining respect, but it is good to give some base level of respect is for everyone. It is too easy to dehumanize people in this era of virtual interaction over the internet, and when we make it easy to dehumanizing each other, it seems to me that is the beginning of the end (FYI dehumanization is how both militaries and terrorist help train their operatives to perform acts that they normally wouldn't do)...

Additionally, as you say respect is earned, not deserved. Since you can't respect people relative to what they haven't done yet, no more than you can respect people for what category they seem to fit in, I see no rational way to fully judge people on the limited observations that we have of most people. We cannot know others motives or decision processes, only the outcome relative to our own experiences and that seems like a terribly short sighted way for someone to judge another (especially for someone who is young and inexperienced in the world).

As a terrible example, imagine how you might respect something your parents do as a child, then maybe not respect them as a teenager, and then when you become a parent, you realize that you have a different level of respect for their actions. What you parents did and their frame of mind in the past did not change, but what did change was your perspective along the way.

The corollary is that like beauty, respect seems to be mostly in the eye of the beholder, and like beauty, depending on your definition, most people have some base form of it that all beholders should embrace over time.

There is finite time on this earth for everyone, and we need to make the best of it and immortality (if you wish it) is only defined in terms with our interactions with others. In the end it doesn't really matter what people think of you, because in the final analysis, they don't really care that much what you think unless your thoughts affects them directly. Perhaps that means the people that might deserve the most respect are the ones that aren't seeking it from you because they realize that earning your respect doesn't matter to them, yet those are the same people that could care less about your respect.

That might sound circular, but that might illustrate how pointless the whole issue of respect is and what a waste of time attempting to transact in that currency might be in your finite time on earth. We should spend less time attempting to judge each other and respect is pretty much a courtesy that you should give to all. That's my 2cents...

Comment: Re:on starting with smaller-scale albedo modificat (Score 1) 420

by slew (#49113433) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

The reaction to this idea would of course be HOW DARE YOU SPEND MONEY AND TELL ME WHAT TO DO WHARRGARBL, because 'murrica.

Of course the land surface area of "America" is relatively small compared to the rest of the world, so you don't really need "America" on board with a albedo modification plan...

Oh, you want "America's" money to spend how you please... I see the problem now ;^)

Comment: Re:Another reason contracts should not be enforcea (Score 1) 196

by slew (#49100721) Attached to: A123 Sues Apple For Poaching Employees

I see you have already drank the koolaid...

Although you think that AMEX (and other major credit providers) are charging both sides a fee, in reality, they are only charging the merchants a fee (the fee they charge you is basically nominal).

The profit from the credit card enterprise mostly comes from shaking down businesses (they aren't allowed to list prices as more different credit protection levels or for credit than cash) and extracting from the poor a highly regressive tax in the form of an usury/predatory loan. In reality, that no different than the government other than it's "voluntary".

The shakedown game they use is not much different than the so-called windows-tax. Companies that decided to ship any windows machines need to pay for every machine regardless if windows is shipped with that machine or not. Credit card merchant agreements generally require merchants to list the same prices for simple credit and rewards cards (generally the only ones with the buyer protection and no fees) even though they pay different processing fees for the rewards cards (up to 3x the merchant fees).

The only reason it seems workable to you is that you are free-riding on the "tax" paid by others in the system. With the "government" scheme, you feel others are free riding on your taxes and you resent it. Much like the government scheme, if the poor folks boycotted the credit card tax, your free-ride would end because it is not sustainable. I can't see much of a difference to be honest...

Comment: Re:Another reason contracts should not be enforcea (Score 1) 196

by slew (#49097609) Attached to: A123 Sues Apple For Poaching Employees

Of course there are many laws enforced by governments concerning with how you are allowed to use credit ratings (not discriminatory), how you can get recourse for mistakes, how long dings/marks/bankruptcies are allowed to stay on your credit report, various usury and reporting laws, etc, etc..

OTOH, with less regulation, you get things like "bond-rating" companies that can collude with security issuers causing chain reactions that put the whole economy in the dumpers for a few years...

The question at the root of this is if people actually have the natural right of redress or not. If you have no right of redress, it is up to you to enforce the performance of any contracts or suffer the victimization of a tort (say by attempting to besmirch your tortfeasor's reputation).

However, if redress is a right, then it is a reasonable function of common entity to provide a forum to do so to prevent the anarchy of perpetual revenge or from those with more resources to crush those with fewer resources. For a simple transaction on Ebay, the company provides a redress resource to further its business goals (of skimming transaction profits). In other real life situations, that is often the government (because there isn't much profit in providing a redress forum for most torts, so nobody will provide it gratis).

Note that for many large contracts, they specify arbitration clauses anyhow so they specifically don't use the government courts to arbitrate, but merely enforce the result of the arbitration.

Without some backstop authority like the government, I suspect there would be larger non-compliance and increased use of "other-means" which is probably not what anyone wants (e.g., the organized crime element)... Have you ever heard of businesses like mugshotsonline or dontdatehimgirl ? You don't necessarily need violence to be organized and criminal...

Comment: Re:Another reason contracts should not be enforcea (Score 1) 196

by slew (#49096127) Attached to: A123 Sues Apple For Poaching Employees

Contracts should exist similar to loans or buying things on ebay. There is risk to both parties making the contract and you can only go by the reputation of the party you are dealing with.

By having governments enforce contracts you just externalize the costs of dealing with dishonorable people.

If these employees signed a contract with A123 and broke it the only thing A123 should be able to do is make those contracts public and try to hurt the reputation of those employees.

Yeah, I think that's how organized crime works... Hopefully you aren't suggesting that A123 goes that route to enforce their contracts...

Comment: Re:Pinky and the brain (Score 2) 193

by slew (#49090259) Attached to: Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brains

I'm afraid that there isn't anything funny about NIMH...

AFAIK, the "inspiration" for the secrets of NIMH was sadly this experiment...
Not much funny about that...

Although it does illustrate that Robert Frost's lamenting of the mending wall is bit idealistic, and perhaps there is a good reason to remember that sometimes, good fences do make good neighbors...

Comment: Let me see if I can get this straight... (Score 2) 80

by slew (#49051753) 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.

He wants the completely-non-influenced-by-big-money legislature to do something about the FDA being co-dependent with big-pharma...

Yeah, that sounds like it's gonna work...

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"