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Comment: Re:My wife just died of cancer this week (Score 1) 112

by Rich0 (#47904455) Attached to: If We Can't Kill Cancer, Can We Control It?

The cost to develop a drug is actually a matter of considerable debate. I'll agree that $100M is a lower-end figure for it. Most of the cost depends on how many failed candidates you factor into the calculations. The cost to actually develop a successful drug is probably $50M or so. The problem is that for every one of those you have many failures, but most of those tend to be abandoned before the full $50M gets spent.

My point is just that MRSA isn't commonplace enough to be a priority for private investment. People will pay $25k for a cancer treatment, but not for an antibiotic. Antibiotics aren't taken chronically either.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for spending more on antibiotics. The money should come from taxes, and the resulting antibiotics should be illegal to prescribe except when there is evidence that other antibiotics would be effective (or something to this effect, I'm more than happy to let the experts define the appropriate diagnostic criteria but I certainly don't want to see the NIH spend $1B on a MRSA cure only to see it put in "hand soap").

Comment: Re:My wife just died of cancer this week (Score 1) 112

by Rich0 (#47904415) Attached to: If We Can't Kill Cancer, Can We Control It?

When I talk to the average person on the street in the US, they talk about ISIS. They might even talk about the NSA. They don't talk about MRSA.

The demand SHOULD be huge, but the reality is that it isn't.

This article suggests that we only JUST started spending $30M per year on antibiotic research. At that pace it seems like it would take years to come up with a viable drug, and that is only if the NSF/NIH spend some of the money on actual development and not just blue-sky research, which they rarely do. Clinical trials are the expensive part, and usually the government just tries to sell the drug to a pharma company and get them to fund those. That means that only the strongest candidates would be pursued, and most likely the resulting drugs will be expensive. If there was money in any of this the drug companies would be spending their own money.

Being rude isn't going to make a cure emerge either. I realize that R&D isn't like building a bridge. There is a lot of serendipity involved. However, if you're spending $0 on R&D you'll probably have a lot less serendipity than if you are spending $100M on it.

Comment: Re:My wife just died of cancer this week (Score 4, Interesting) 112

by Rich0 (#47902047) Attached to: If We Can't Kill Cancer, Can We Control It?

In a sense this is a self-regulating problem. If a LOT of people start dying from bacterial infections you'll see new antibiotics developed. The problem today is that there isn't much public funding for antibiotics, and there isn't much demand for new ones. Sure, the few who need them REALLY need them, but stuff like MRSA is still fairly rare. Nobody wants to pay $100k for a 10-day supply of antibiotics.

The problem is that developing a new antibiotic costs around $100M or so. (Well, it would be more accurate to say that the new antibiotic would cost $10-20M, but to find it you'd have to spend $80M on a bunch of other antibiotics that don't work out.) Whether you believe in patents or not, SOMEBODY has to spend that money if we want a new antibiotic. The market just doesn't exist for that kind of expenditure, so you won't see private companies doing it until the market grows (ie, more people start dying). Governments don't seem to care much about the issue either - any of the first world nations could easily fund this research but they all want somebody else to do it for them so that they can just do compulsory licensing of the resulting products and get them for cheap (well, the US won't do this since they're in bed with Pharma, but they're busy bombing people in Iraq). Tragedy of the commons...

Comment: Re:Easy to contain (Score 2) 116

by Rich0 (#47899343) Attached to: US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

Did you read the post you replied to. He wasn't suggesting anything that required anybody to comply with government orders. He basically advocated putting a big wall around the infection zones and mowing down anybody who tried to climb over.

Completely sidestepping the huge moral issues, I'm not convinced that could actually be done at a national level. At least, not for countries in Africa - there is just way too much area to try to patrol. You really need geographic barriers if you're going to do something like that for anything bigger than a city (and even a city would require a HUGE force/effort to lock down). If all the infection areas are surrounded by some natural barrier then you could make that your line of defense - people can't easily cross open deserts/etc without vehicles and those could be easily detected and destroyed from the air. Anybody who manages to make it through could probably be spotted for days in advance. Africa itself would be able to be geographically isolated if you cut off all air and shipping to the continent.

I don't see any of this happening, however.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 108

The problem with what you propose is that it is a race to the bottom. If you require domestic companies to treat workers in a certain way, but allow them to trade freely with companies in other countries that do not have to treat workers in this way, then everybody is going to outsource everything to whatever country has the fewest controls, until everybody repeals all their worker protections to keep people employed.

Free trade and socialism just don't mix. It is far more sensible to band together with other countries that desire to have similar standards of living and cooperate together to create trade barriers that discriminate against countries that do not legislate a similar standard of living.

I'm not talking about sending the marines into some country to overthrow their government. They can treat each other like cattle if that is what their culture demands, but their goods won't be sold cheaper in the civilized world as a result. I'm all for helping out developing countries so that they can have a better standard of living as well, but that doesn't extend to lowering trade barriers without improving conditions. Otherwise megacorporations will just abuse everybody, and the last thing they care about is the welfare of their employees beyond whatever it takes to keep the gears of production turning.

Comment: Re:In other words nobody is born smart (Score 1) 265

by Rich0 (#47897687) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

First, this study didn't test "intelligence." Second, it was looking for individual genes that contribute to it. It is a MAJOR stretch to say that it has concluded anything about intelligence not being determined by genetics. Rather, you can only conclude that taken individually there is a big list of genes that do not have a detectable influence on the characteristics that were measured in the study.

Comment: Re:Magic (Score 1) 362

by Rich0 (#47897671) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

Ugh - if I wasn't running btrfs I'd be running lvm+mdadm. The last thing I want is to have to have a ton of mounts everywhere simply because the underlying storage management system doesn't support dynamic resizing. Sure, there are lots of good reasons to use different filesystems for certain things, but I don't want to have to do it just to juggle hard drives.

Right now I'm running btrfs. If I want to add/remove drives I can just do it, and the space gets used. If I want to I could set up multiple subvolumes and directly mount them, but I don't have to do that just to juggle drives.

As far as rearranging raid geometry goes - I've done this just about everytime I've increased my drive sizes. Sure, we probably wouldn't do it at work since we can just have the shareholders sacrifice a few hundred bucks for spare drives to hold everything while we rebuild arrays from scratch, or more likely we'd just have them pay $1000/TB for some big-name SAN. At home I don't have an extra 5 hard drives just sitting in a box to play with, so I'll pick a storage system that affords me flexibility without having to start over.

As I've said elsewhere in this thread - zfs is targetted mostly at people who are managing dozens of hard drives, not individual workstations, and it is looking more at things sold by EMC/etc as competitors. Btrfs is more targetted at being an ext4/lvm/mdadm replacement.

Comment: Re: Magic (Score 1) 362

by Rich0 (#47897627) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

I was just reading up on Ceph a bit. One thing that does have me concerned is that it does not appear to do any kind of content checksumming. Of course, if you store the underlying data on btrfs or zfs you'll benefit from that checksumming at the level of a single storage node. However, if for whatever reason one node in a cluster decides to store something different than all the other nodes in a cluster before handing it over to the filesystem, then you're going to have inconsistency. I'm shocked that they don't do some kind of checksumming at some level on the client and store that with the metadata.

Apparently if an inconsistency is detected one copy is treated as the primary copy by default and it just overwrites the others, regardless of whether the one primary copy differs from 75 replicate copies of it, etc.

It just seems a bit odd - if you're going to suffer all the performance penalties of a distributed storage system, you'd think that you'd do EVERYTHING you could to insure data integrity. I'd consider having one definitive version of what a file should contain a priority. Plus, if you hash everything at some level I'd think that this would make stuff like dedup easier anyway.

Comment: Re: Magic (Score 1) 362

by Rich0 (#47894853) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

I tend to agree that Ceph is much more promising at large scale, but btrfs is more targeted at being a replacement for the likes of ext4. I haven't actually looked at it in a while, so thanks for reminding me about it. Perhaps I'll be crazy enough to run it at home one of these days. :)

Comment: Re:Kickstarter's Problem (Score 1) 210

by Rich0 (#47893637) Attached to: Kickstarter's Problem: You Have To Make the Game Before You Ask For Money

The problem with this is that you don't have any practical recourse.

Kickstarter claims that they don't owe you a dime, and you have to go after the company you funded.

The company you funded probably will just ignore you, and declare bankruptcy if enough people successfully sue them.

The only way to get anything is to sue somebody, and good luck doing that over $50 or whatever - it would cost that much just to file in small claims court, and I imagine that jurisdiction would be a major headache. Even if you got a judgement from your local court, it would be of little use unless the company you're suing owns property in your state.

Comment: Re: Magic (Score 1) 362

by Rich0 (#47893567) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

Sure, but even in a mirrored btrfs configuration you don't have to add drives in pairs. Btrfs doesn't do mirroring at the drive level - it does it at the chunk level. So, chunk A might be mirrored across drives 1 and 2, and chunk B might be mirrored across drives 2 and 3. For the most part you can add a single n GB drive at a time and expand your usable storage capacity by n/2 GB. You don't have to rebalance anything when you add a new drive - it will just be used for new chunks in that case. However, in most cases you'll want to force a rebalance.

Another way to look at it is a zfs analogy. Let's set up 5 drives in a raid-z configuration in zfs. However, instead of creating a vdev with 5 drives, instead create 1000 partitions on each of those drives. Then create a vdev using the first partition on each of those drives, and add that to the zpool. Leave the rest of the drives unused. Then if space starts getting full, create another vdev using the second partition on each of those drives, and add that to the zpool. Continue operating in this manner. Then if the drives are half allocated to vedevs you can add another drive with 1000 partitions, and now whenever the zpool gets full you create a vdev that goes across all 6 drives. If the new drive is half the capacity of the others then you'd only put 500 partitions on it. If you decide you want to try mirroring, then the next time you need space pick the two drives with the most free partitions and create a vdev using one partition on each in a mirrored configuration.

This is basically how btrfs does multiple devices - the drives are allocated into chunks when needed, and the raid-like structures operate on top of those. This allows for more flexibility, since rebuilding/adding/removing/etc can be done a few chunks at a time, instead of a few drives at a time.

Comment: Re:Standard operating procedure (Score 2) 108

for western companies operating in Russia is to hire "logistics consultants" among locals who do all the actual bribing. It provides a degree of separation - a plausible deniability.

Yeah, I am working on a computer system that facilitates international transactions, and part of me wonders if part of the value-add of outsourcing some of the paperwork-handling in some countries comes from them handling paper of a different kind. We just pay a fee for them to do the job - who knows what they use it for.

Comment: Re:Cultural Differences (Score 1) 108

Well, the issue is that in many countries these payments are not legal - but those laws are just never enforced. So, I'm not sure if those payments are actually legal under the FCPA. You are right that this is just how business is done - the local government probably barely pays some types of officials at all, realizing that they'll do the job just for the bribes.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 108

I think FCPA is a good idea, the problem is that we don't level the playing field. If the US got everybody else to pass similar laws and enforce them, then the playing field would be level. The problem is that if a US company follows the FCPA and a German company does not, the US company is at a disadvantage (I just picked Germany at random - for all I know they have a similar law that is well-enforced).

I think that first-world countries actually need to stick together a bit more to get rid of this nonsense. Ditto for environmental laws - as much as the US/EU squabble over some of that, compared to some other countries both are environmental paradises and they should really set up trade barriers to keep companies from outsourcing pollution. I realize that this would probably result in the EU putting tariffs on US goods to make up for our lack of decent universal healthcare, and I don't really have a problem with that - what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Comment: Re:In other words nobody is born smart (Score 1) 265

by Rich0 (#47891639) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

I'm sure there are both genetic and environmental causes even for twin studies, and there is also epigenetics (which can be partially environmental as well).

I just don't know that you can conclude much from this study. If your "intelligence" were 100% determined by genes, but there were 1000 genes involved and none of them had more than a 0.1% contribution to your "intelligence" you'd never expect a study like this to show anything. Then factor in that we can argue all day about what intelligence is in the first place...

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard