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Comment: Re:So, should I just read reddit? (Score 1) 78

by swell (#49383939) Attached to: Thousand-Year-Old Eye Salve Kills MRSA

"Then, they do even MORE lab tests to determine if the mechanism of action can be delivered..."

You left out the primary reason for all this effort. Willow bark can't be patented. Without a patent it is useless to investors, who are the only people that matter.

Many drugs began as ordinary substances. They would remain so but for the power of the patent. The patent is a jealously guarded piece of property. Obviously no infringement can be tolerated, but it goes way beyond that.

Anyone trying to sell the original substance (which may have been used for centuries) will have to deal with the Food and Drug Administration (the enforcement arm of the food and drug manufacturers). There will be questions about the safety and/or efficacy of the formula. There will be questions about any health claims made for the substance. Labeling and packaging will be scrutinized. And though there is little money to be made with herbal or generic products, there can be huge costs when you go up against Big Pharma.

It isn't about helping patients in the USA, it's about money and lots of it.

Comment: fake story? (Score 1) 197

by swell (#49351195) Attached to: Japan To Build 250-Mile-Long, Four Storey-High Wall To Stop Tsunamis

Exactly who are these 'authorities'? Where are the 'plans'? Who approved the money for this project and why do the citizens have no say in it? Later the word 'proposals' is used; so is it a plan or a proposal?

This is very poor journalism. Not a single authority is identified. There are references to two critics of the project who have no authority and their opinion doesn't matter. There is no substance to this story at all, no citations, no evidence that it is not just in the reporter's imagination.

& cement is not the same as concrete.

Comment: Re:some causes & solutions (Score 1) 317

OK, I posted the 'causes' comment and lots of cowards replied or moderated.

I have been there. I've been there with many others in a group situation.I know. The comment just above this is accurate for many- the rest are trash.

Many of my friends who shared this condition with me are long gone and forgotten. They died so long ago that they aren't listed on the internet. They are truly gone. The ones who survived did it by one simple technique: They learned to look outside themselves. They refused to turn inward.

What saved me was the Milky Way. It was still visible when I had my troubles. A vast infinite sea of objects, each little dot far bigger than I could even imagine. And beyond my vision many more. And here I am in a common type of galaxy, a boring solar system, a small blue planet, and I'm one of billions of creatures on that planet. Is my ego so big that I think I'm important? Not when I look at the heavens. I got over myself.

Some people may need drugs or other help initially. I can't speak for everyone, but I have observed many. But I strongly believe this to be true:

To the extent that you think you and your miserable life are important, you will suffer. Get over yourself, participate in the world around you. Join an organization that does good work. Read a book that isn't about sick people (I read every psychology book I could find at first). Exercise and learn tai chi. Help a child who is struggling in school.

And ignore anonymous cowards.

Comment: some causes & solutions (Score -1) 317

People who consider suicide tend to be self-centered. They have no real interests outside themselves. No hobbies, no close relationships, no physical or intellectual challenges in their lives. They are surrounded by mirrors and every event, every comment they hear, every activity is interpreted as having a personal impact. There is an ego element in the feeling that they are important, but also a tragic sense of personal doom and victimhood. If the president declares war, it is because of something in the individual's personal world. This is common among teens.

It would be reasonable to expect a high proportion of suicidal people to wallow in Facebook. And perhaps appropriate that Fb would take this precaution. Parents should take responsibility, but parents, unlike drivers and hairdressers, don't need a license or any education about care for their offspring. That leaves schools, but they barely have the budget to teach reading and arithmetic.

Comment: Re:Domain Name Front Running (Score 1) 295

by swell (#49288937) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Domain Name Registration?

I have a number of domain names, and have some names I may want. I also have trademark names that are not active yet. I would dearly love to Google these names to check if they are claimed, to know what their history is, to see if I can make them my own.

You can bet that google, bing and yahoo are all alert to a search with no result. You search for a term like 'flipple' and if there are no results alarms go off in the search engine. Some human will look at that term. Does it have any usefulness? Could it be the name of a domain, a business, a device, a service... Could we sell it so someone?

You have exposed your clever word to people who have the means to exploit it while you are twiddling your thumbs. It's gone.

Comment: the company 'suffered' (Score 1) 69

by swell (#49288747) Attached to: Personal Healthcare Info of Over 11M Premera Customers Compromised

The summary says "Premera Blue Cross has suffered a data breach". But have they suffered? No doubt there will be lawsuits that drag on for years, but how much will this cost them in relation to their overall wealth and income? And how many executives will lose their bonus for the year (of course none will be fired)? Where and how exactly are they suffering? Has any company or executive ever paid a substantial penalty for losing identity data? Perhaps the penalty is having to distribute donations to their congress people who will protect them from prosecution.

Comment: the benefits of criminality (Score 1) 305

by swell (#49264971) Attached to: Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders

It has been suggested that you can not be a member of Congress or other high office unless you have a criminal background.

The theory is that there are certain powers who decide who may enter exalted positions. These 'powers' need to know that you will perform according to their wishes if elected. The way they do that is to have information about you. Information that could destroy you and any public support you may have accumulated. Once this is ascertained, you and they will come to an agreement about how you will behave in office. If you are a good boy or girl, you will be allowed a long political career.

If, OTOH, you are squeaky clean in all your doings ... you have no hope of being elected.

Comment: Re:He can tell us, he just chooses not to (Score 3, Insightful) 107

by swell (#49264879) Attached to: Senator: 'Plenty' of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don't Know About

"and nothing can be done to him"

The first thing that a freshman congressperson learns is that if you aren't on an important committee, you are nobody. How do you get on an important committee? You make your party happy. You vote according to their agenda, you show up at the proper events, you bring in donors who contribute to party priorities. Dare to make waves, to contradict any party platform and you will be relegated to obscurity.

Yes, lots can be done to him. He treads a fine line between attracting our favor and losing his party's favor.

Comment: filtration is key (Score 1) 112

by swell (#49264741) Attached to: Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies

Eliminate biased studies and the rest can see the light of day.

'Scientific Studies' today are a creation of a Marketing department in many cases. There is a product to be sold and it needs support and affirmative publicity. A company may do several studies in hope that one or two will be useful in their advertising. The others tend to disappear.

The US government (and other governments and non-profits) conducted studies for many years with the intention of proving that smoking and second hand smoke were dangerous. When the statistical validity of their second hand smoke studies was not sufficient, they simply redefined the term 'statistical significance'. They are the government, after all.

Any study that begins with the premise of proving some theory is flawed. They should clearly state the theory and try every possible means to disprove it. If they can't disprove it, they present their findings to their peers so that they may attempt to disprove it. Failure to disprove the theory over time can lead to general acceptance of it. The scientific method at work. Most studies do it backward.

Big bold letters at the top of every study should reveal who paid for it and the financial interest of every contributor. It's a start, but still subject to corruption.

Comment: It's alive ! (Score 1) 667

by swell (#49264593) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Yes it's a frightening fact, our language is alive and if we blink we will be left behind. But it's a wonderful thing to see when our eyes are open. English is by far the biggest language and, lamentably, the most difficult for others to learn but that is exactly the reason to learn it. Many concepts in science, technology, engineering, obscenities, medicine etc cannot be adequately expressed in other languages.

English has always stolen from other languages (and the other way too) and it has always been a hodge podge of them all. Even mighty Shakespere took liberties, among them spelling his own name in a variety of ways.

The British Empire and later Hollywood and the internet age have reinforced English as the language of business and entertainment. While language diversity is an interesting thing, and many are struggling to preserve it, English is what you need for most activities.

And how do you pin English down? It's like nailing jelly to the wall- we have many languages loosely referred to as English: Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dallas, Boston, Sydney, N'arleans, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Hong Kong, (sorry, there is no Canadian city with an interesting variation) ... We are a family of languages that are sometimes intelligible to each other.

No doubt there are some topics best explored in other languages- music, art, religion, anthropology perhaps. But for modern living we got it goin' on!

Comment: Re:ISO 8601 (Score 1) 107

by swell (#49263039) Attached to: Pi Day Extraordinaire

Now take that to the next step...

When you use the format YYMMDDHHMMSS.nn as I have done for decades, sorting remains easy and you require fewer characters/bytes/keystrokes. Why slash or hyphenate? Use as many digits as necessary but always include at least the year and month so that your meaning is clear. At a glance you can see that you are looking at a date, You won't have any ambiguity in most cases. I have hundreds of files (already in March) labelled with 15 followed by 01, 02 or 03. I don't expect to live until year 2115, so I don't need the 20 to designate this century, but business, government and young people should include that too.

Comment: a poor business model (Score 1) 64

by swell (#49236485) Attached to: Open Source Hardware Approaching Critical Mass

Suppose you could do the impossible; create a generic computer system that is not burdened with patents. It would cost money to come up with the prototype, and then you would have to consider manufacturing it. A system of hardware devoid of protection from competition.

Your investment in manufacturing equipment, location, employees etc will have to result in profits or all is lost. But, having laid some of the groundwork, done some of the initial research, you now face competitors who have the benefit of that expensive research.

The wonderful generic computer is, of course, generic. They are all the same. Any attempt to distinguish your product from another would risk patent wars or compatibility problems. The buyers demand that they be the same. And they will only buy from the lowest bidders.

So the only way for your business to succeed is to find a way to make them at a lower cost. Foreign labor? Inferior parts? Robotic assembly? It will be a cutthroat price competition. You have wasted vast resources of time, labor and money to enter an unwinnable competition.

Comment: research incentives (Score 1) 450

by swell (#49231365) Attached to: Reactions to the New MacBook and Apple Watch

There are plenty who can afford $10K and that investment may be considered a contribution to Apple research. It will be invested as wisely as Apple is able, to help understand the next step in the evolution of intelligent assistance to a wide variety of user needs: the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, and others who count on Apple to provide the services they need for day-to-day living.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if others were investing in such research?

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354