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Comment: Re:Because capitalism, idiots. (Score 1) 243

by stdarg (#49147621) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

It also shows that the non-profit / academic market isn't as great as they think they are. At the end of the day they chose to contract out that work instead of having that doctor continue making kits for $5. That's on them. Perhaps it was greed, perhaps they rationalized it and said "Your time is better spent back in the lab, and anyway if we get $100/kit we can use that money to fund more development."

I would also question the $5 price. Was that a nominal fee or did it actually cover materials and labor? It sounds like a case of "Hey guys I'll just make these kits until the manufacturer fixes their problems. I keep getting paid right? Okay cool." Obviously not sustainable.

Comment: Re:common man (Score 1) 194

by stdarg (#49112063) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

Sounds like a straw man argument. Nobody is saying geniuses are self-sufficient islands. And it seems silly to conflate the ideas of "self-made man" and "genius" anyhow.

The special thing about geniuses is that they are rare. The guy who crafted the first violin that Mozart ever heard was probably a fine craftsman. But there are hundreds or thousands of other fine craftsmen who could have made just as good of a violin.

The farmers who grew the food that Mozart ate were good, hard working people. But there were thousands or millions or other good, hard working people who could have grown that food.

But there weren't many (if any) other people who could have taken Mozart's place. There is other good music, but it even looking at other musical geniuses it wouldn't be the *same* music, whereas the potato I have with my dinner could be any of a million other potatoes and I wouldn't even care.

Comment: Re:Bogus and Sexist Programs (Score 1) 355

Wrong. For example, on you can see a list of grantees that Google gave money to. One of them is Girls Who Code. Go to and look at the signup link. It takes you to this form ( which asks:

Your Current Grade or the Grade of Students You Work With (if applicable)
Note: Only current 10th and 11th grade female students are eligible to apply for the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs in 2015.

It's amazing that you genuinely thought that programs targeted at getting girls into coding would necessarily include boys. How did you come to that conclusion anyway?

Comment: Re:Makes things worse (Score 1) 355

No, I'm saying it won't.

That's the same thing as saying they can't when you're generalizing about large groups.

Observe: I'm not saying black people can't make good doctors, but black people won't make good doctors. What??

No, I think they need to be served by people who understand and care about the issues which affect them in particular.

White people can understand and care about issues affecting black people. Black people can understand and care about issues affecting white people. To deny that is to say there's something inherent in white/black people that prevents them from understanding certain things that other people can understand, and that's racist.

Observing racism is not itself racism.

That's not always true, of course, because the classification of something as racist can be subjective. If I attribute some behavior that one black person exhibits (say, an interracial crime) to "Oh, yeah of course, he's doing that because blacks are all racist against whites" then that is definitely racist.

But that's just nitpicking. I see your point and my serious response is that observation is different from calling for action. Saying black people are treated differently is one thing. It's quite another to say that white people can't (sorry, won't) treat black people better and that only black people can treat black people correctly.

Comment: Re:Makes things worse (Score 1) 355

When businesses more accurately reflect the makeup of the nation, they better serve the nation.

It's racist to even make that claim. Racism is "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."

You're saying that an all white company can't serve as well as one with more black people. That's racist against whites because you think they can't serve black people on their own, and it's racist against blacks because you think they need special accommodations to be adequately served.

Comment: Re: Keep them busy. (Score 1) 246

by stdarg (#48642833) Attached to: 65,000 Complaints Later, Microsoft Files Suit Against Tech Support Scammers

I've started to do this as a minor hobby as well. Now I want to take it a step further and get contact I do to report them. They really don't like giving out a working phone number though.

Next time I get "card services" on the line I want to try reeeally playing the part of genuinely being interested and then suddenly something comes up and I have to go. Perhaps they'll risk it.

Comment: Re:Should Allah be translated to God? (Score 1) 880

by stdarg (#48613761) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

I just had another conversation with someone about this topic and I wanted to add this because it came up.

You seem to be confused about whether "Allah" is a proper noun or a generic. Like the word "God" in English it is both.

I think it is a confusing concept, but one way to think of it is one word with two meanings. God can mean "the one monotheistic god" or it can mean "a deity." But when translating a word to another language, it's not true that every meaning gets translated the same way. As a concrete example, the word "set" has tons of English definitions. One translation of "set" to German is "Satz." That encompasses several of the same definitions as "set" including "a collection of things" and "a series of tennis games."

But another definition of "set" in English is equipment, like a TV set. In German that gets translated as "Gerat."

So even if it's true that one form of Allah (the generic form) should be translated as God, that doesn't hold that all meanings of Allah should be translated as God.

Comment: Re:Let them eat cake! (Score 1) 307

by stdarg (#48613695) Attached to: Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Your statement relies on a false premise. If race were "irrelevant" as a factor, then there would be no disparity along racial lines.

You've missed what I was referring to when I said it's irrelevant. To take a concrete example, I don't think black kids are less able to program. So race is irrelevant in their programming ability.

That's not to say race isn't relevant to things like "what populations are less exposed to programming classes."

But a race-blind program that targets all children who can't program would automatically take those demographics into account. If more black kids currently aren't exposed to programming, then a program that helps all kids program would disproportionately help black kids.

But creating a program that specifically helps black kids to the exclusion of other kids is racist, even though it would have a similar effect (disproportionately helping black kids).

Comment: Re:Should Allah be translated to God? (Score 1) 880

by stdarg (#48612741) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

No, I explicitly differentiated between language customs in English and other languages. English has a tradition of adopting foreign words, many other languages do not and are more resistant to it.

The fact that Christian Arabs use the word Allah to name the Christian god and the Muslim god has *absolutely no bearing* on what the Christian god and the Muslim god are called in English.

The fact that you think my argument is "incoherent" when it's just pointing out some fairly obvious attributes of our shared language is very odd.

Comment: Re:Should Allah be translated to God? (Score 1) 880

by stdarg (#48601237) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

No because I already knew that, as I indicated in my post ("Arabs can call God whatever they want in their own language, including Arab Christians who call the Christian god Allah.").

The words people use in Arabic are different than the words people use in English. If they want to use Allah to describe both concepts they can do that. I'm talking about how some people translate Allah into God when speaking English. That doesn't make sense. We don't translate other religious names like Jesus and Muhammed. We transliterate them, but we don't come up with completely different sounding new names based on people in our own culture who play a similar role in some respect. Like, oh Muhammed is a really common name for Muslims, so that's like the equivalent of John. Let's call him John! Or, Muhammed was a prophet, let's just call him Moses because he was a prophet too, and they both start with M! That's dumb, we don't do that with names.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by stdarg (#48597979) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Sorry, do you actually believe what you wrote?

Let's say it's 9am. My pediatrician's office is open. The urgent care down the road is open. The ER is open. My child has a fever of 105F.

Why on Earth do you think the *real cost* of treating my child at the ER is 10x greater than at my pediatrician's office or the urgent care place? Do you think regular pediatricians make $200k/year, but ER p ediatricians make $2 million/year? Do ER nurses make 10x more salary than regular nurses? Does infant Tylenol cost 10x more when an ER buys it?

If ER is 10x more expensive, that means they are doing cost-sharing between unprofitable and profitable services. A thug with a gunshot wound may cost a lot to treat, and may end up not paying, so they jack up the prices of infant Tylenol to cover for it. It's a poor-man's insurance scheme for doctors... people facing emergencies may not pay, so soak the ones who do pay.

The thing is, if you successfully divert all the people with fevers away from the ER and over to urgent care, that doesn't magically make the ER more cost efficient. It doesn't actually save money. It just gets rid of some of the cost-sharing. So other services that you can't shift get even more expensive.

And if you're simply talking about preventive care making emergencies happen less frequently, studies are inconclusive about whether that actually saves money on average. The cost of preventive care over a 50 year period is more than the ER cost of a single episode.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by stdarg (#48597923) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

The idea of regular/preventive care saving money is not established. Some studies have shown reduced costs, others have shown increased costs. If it were settled, then all hospitals would do what you described, because all hospitals want to save money while also providing better care.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by stdarg (#48597901) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

You've overabstracted and that leads to false equivalences. It's like saying "You don't like chocolate, and you don't like strawberry, but you claim you actually like pistachio ice cream??? Nonsense! You said you don't like 'flavors' and pistachio is also a 'flavor'!"

Complaining about one or two specific either/or arguments is not the same as complaining about all either/or arguments.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by stdarg (#48597841) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

In July, there will be a market for the generic... the people who don't want to pay top dollar for the new drug and were happy with the old drug. Why would all these people magically forget about how great the old drug was and not see that there's now a cheap alternative treatment?

In the meantime, why would the new drug be more expensive than the old drug? The old drug is still under patent protection until July so they can set the price to be whatever they want without risk of losing share to competition... unless of course there is competition that you're not telling us about, like alternative treatments. And those will still exist for the new drug.

The stories I've heard are more along the lines of the drug company introducing a genuinely superior product.. not necessarily in its effectiveness, but in something tangential like easy of administration. A 24-hour tablet instead of taking 6 pills throughout the day. A non-drowsy version.

Then the generic comes along but it's for the old method, which is now seen as crappy by consumers. So many people still pay more for the new drug.

That actually makes sense and there's not really anything wrong with it. That's good actually... now there's a cheap version and a premium version and people can choose.

Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.