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Harvard To Close New England Primate Research Center 100

Posted by timothy
from the monkey-changes-everything dept.
sciencehabit writes "Citing an increasingly bleak outlook for federal research funding, Harvard Medical School is shutting down its major primate center, which has recently experienced the departure of several key scientists and an investigation into its handling of animals. In the announcement, which surprised many primate researchers, the school said it will not seek to renew the New England Primate Research Center's (NEPRC's) 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will 'wind down operations' at the center in Southborough, Massachusetts, over the next 2 years. The center, which has a nearly 50-year history, had done groundbreaking work on an AIDS vaccine and developed animal models for diseases such as Parkinson's, among other accomplishments."

Comment: Re:Another reason not to fly via Heathrow (Score 1) 821

by totallyarb (#30998504) Attached to: "No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester
IANAL, but for my money the Fourth Amendment won't be any help to you Americans either. The authorities will argue that since the search is not mandatory (you have the alternative of not getting on the plane), and since you know at the time of purchasing your ticket that you may be scanned, your purchase of the ticket represents tacit consent to be searched, and the search is therefore not unreasonable.

Comment: Re:Hang On (Score 1) 340

by totallyarb (#29188269) Attached to: British Video Recordings Act 1984 Invalid

Council Directive 83/189/EEC was passed in March 1983.

Surely, though, an EEC Directive can only govern issues pertaining to trade between EU countries? I can see how under this directive other countries in the EU could be freed of the requirement to comply (or at least, protected from prosecution if they failed to comply), but I don't understand how non-notification would invalidate the law itself.

True or false: If I, a British Subject, today sold an 18-rated DVD to a 12-year old, I could not be prosecuted because some civil servant forgot to tell Brussels that they changed the law 25 years ago.

Basically, I'm asking: is this bad lawmaking or just bad reporting?

Comment: Re:Hang On (Score 1) 340

by totallyarb (#29188097) Attached to: British Video Recordings Act 1984 Invalid

If we were only talking about a requirement that made the law unenforceable when applied to importers from elsewhere in the UK without notification, you would be right. But in this situation, application of a law domestically becomes impossible without reference to an outside party. You don't think that limits sovereignty?

I'll admit it's a subtle difference, but I don't think a country can truly be considered sovereign when its internal laws can be invalidated by a failure to notify an external party.

Comment: Re:Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves Here (Score 1) 705

by totallyarb (#29103329) Attached to: "District 9" Best Sci-fi Movie of 09?

Not to mention the fact that the aliens would not have landed in South fucking Africa.

Yes, because all aliens are of course extremely well-informed about the geo-political landscape of Earth, and would therefore naturally land their broken down spaceship in an affluent first-world country with a successful film industry rather than, say, the first place they found.

Comment: Re:Really?? (Score 2, Informative) 572

by totallyarb (#28436613) Attached to: US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three

Typical Alcohol Side Effects:

Most of yours...

  • Enhanced cancer risk
  • Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
  • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
  • Increased heart rate
  • Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease
  • Decreased social inhibitions
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Impaired or reduced comprehension
  • Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
  • Paranoia
  • Psychological dependence
  • Impairments in learning and memory, perception, and judgment - difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
  • Intense anxiety or panic attacks


  • Risk of liver disease
  • Increased agression and irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Chemical dependence
  • Depressed immune system
  • Weight gain

According to the Lancet journal (simplified graph on the Wiki), alcohol is both more addictive and more dangerous than cannabis. If adults can be trusted with booze, they should be trusted with weed.

I'm sorry about your friend, I really am, but I can tell you a thousand stories of lives ruined by alcohol and tobacco, two products that are medically more dangerous but legally more available. If you want to learn from your friend's example and never smoke weed, good for you. But you don't have the right to make that decision for me, or for any other adult.

If a man is not free to chose wrongly and irresponsibly, he is not free at all.

Comment: Re:Good reason to get shut (Score 1) 922

by totallyarb (#27134471) Attached to: US Forgets How To Make Trident Missiles

I wasn't making that judgement, merely make the point to the previous poster that to suggest that the wealthy's affluence, and what they do to maintain it, doesn't in turn directly affect the affluence of the poor is nonsense

The thing is, though, the wealthy's affluence doesn't cause the poverty of the poor. Think about DSG again. Imagine a world in which DSG didn't do all their manufacturing in the far East. They'd have slightly less demand for their goods, and considerably higher costs. So, yes, they'd make less money. BUT, there would be a lot more unemployed workers in the far East. Lacking the expertise, capital and equipment to start their own electrical goods industry, those far Eastern workers would now be unemployed, or employed in jobs that pay even less. Everyone loses.

Maybe I'm missing something, but as far as I can see, DSG's decision to set up a plant in the far East benefits both sides. The fact that DSG benefits more from the arrangement doesn't mean that the far Eastern workers are somehow being exploited. They're better off than they would otherwise have been, and no one's forcing them to take jobs at a DSG plant.

My point is that when these arrangements are voluntary (as opposed to the sort that is "negotiated" at the point of a gun), both sides win. And when they are negotiated at the point of a gun, it's unfair to (as the GGGGP does) call it the "evils of capitalism". A mugging is not a capitalist exchange.

Comment: Re:Good reason to get shut (Score 1) 922

by totallyarb (#27133145) Attached to: US Forgets How To Make Trident Missiles

How, for instance, could companies like DSG - the UK's largest electrical goods retailer, make a profit without cheap far Eastern labour, and it's only cheap because they're poor.

Economics 101: A company's profit is the product of two factors: The number of items sold and the profit margin on each item.

Let's imagine that the far East was far richer than it is now. For DSG, this means labour costs go up. But it also means that they have millions of extra people who can now afford to buy DSG products. The increased cost narrows the profit margin per item, but they're selling more items. So it's more or less a wash, even before you take into consideration the economies of scale that reduce per-item costs as total output increases.

At the same time, we have the added blessings of increased wealth in the world: more people can afford to educate their kids, so there are more thinkers, more scientists, more inventors. Consequently, we get better and more efficient ways of doing things, which in turn help to create more wealth.

To think that keeping the poor poor is in the best interests of the rich is to succumb to extremely short-term thinking. A rising tide floats all boats.

So DSG would love a richer far East. But that wealth won't just appear overnight. It has to be created, and the only way that's going to happen is by companies like DSG continuing to do business, transferring money paid by customers in Britain to workers in the far East. And if a Malaysian worker is paid half what a British worker is, then good: hire two of them, feeding two families rather than just one, and getting twice the output in return. How can that be thought to be immoral?

Comment: Re:Good reason to get shut (Score 5, Insightful) 922

by totallyarb (#27123607) Attached to: US Forgets How To Make Trident Missiles

It's not so much "haves and have nots" but "I have and you can't have" that's the problem.

You're being unfair. No one (or nearly no one) is saying "you can't have", they're saying "this is mine, get your own". Wealth isn't a fixed pie to be divided up; it's something that's actively created by people's actions. Your wealth does not cause my poverty.

Money isn't the root of all evil; the desire to get money without earning it is. And that moral failing exists irrespective of the dominant economic system; it just expresses itself in different ways. Under capitalism, it's unfair and exploitative trading practices. Under socialism, it's welfare parasitism and government corruption. Different symptoms of the same disease.

Comment: Re:In other words... (Score 2, Insightful) 155

by totallyarb (#26640155) Attached to: UK Government Abandons Piracy Legislation

I'm fairly certain the hotel *could* have me arrested for stealing their soap...

I doubt it. Not when the packaging calls it "complimentary soap". I think it's fair enough to consider the soap to be a gift from the hotel to you, much like the little chocolates on the pillow.

It's a flawed metaphor anyway. If you take the soap, it's gone, whereas when you download an MP3, it's still there. A better comparison would be dodging your fare on the Underground - and Transport for London levies a £50 fine for that, which is less than a parking ticket will cost you.

The degree of technical confidence is inversely proportional to the level of management.