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Comment 4 year-expired epi-pens are almost as effective (Score 1) 459

This is the kind of article going around in my circle of people with anaphylaxis prone children. Seriously. Citizens of our once great nation are buying YEARS expired medication, second-hand, so their kids won't die.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/...

One family I know personally had to budget for a YEAR in advance in order to replace an expired pen... and by the way, you need 2 in order to be sure to not die.

So yeah if you are lucky enough to have insurance that actually covers the epi-pen... when yours expires, you can sell it for $100 or more.

Comment Grumpy old man moment: (Score 4, Interesting) 125

Let it die. We are terrified of letting the archive filter itself out, but really it is ok to let a billion VHS tapes go.

I think one of the real dangers of the digital age is that we are so worried about losing memories, we are afraid to make them.

Painstakingly archiving every detail of life really makes for a shitty life.

I know I sound like a curmudgeon, but there it is.

Comment Privatized medicine is immoral and broken, duh (Score 0) 135

Investors require unreasonable short term profits.
Established medical research firms and patent owners are the only ones able to navigate arduous regulation
People's lives are in the balance

Result: The only way for-profit medical research and treatment can happen is to charge unreasonable and predatory amounts of money for already approved medications, in order to fuel future research AND pacify the insane greed of wall street.

Our system is not set up for innovation or disruption, it is set up for the time-tested approach of building wealth: Throw as much human death and suffering at it as you can get away with.

This government protected wealth-building kills human beings, tens of thousands per year by any measure. It is time to "provide for the common defense" regardless of campaign donation bribery.

Comment Re:Self driving car + network along the highway (Score 1) 142

And heck, I could see specialty companies rent out showers and such to people who have been riding in their car to their destination - their own "red-eye" version but on wheels - so they can get cleaned up and dressed for the day when they get there. Hourly motels might not be "just for sex" anymore. Or a national chain of gyms - or whatever.

Just FYI, truck stops have this already, and have for decades. Usually they are free if you purchase 50 gallons of fuel or more, but they are also pretty cheap if you just need a shower. I used them when I was mostly broke and driving WAY too far for job interviews in the summer time in a car without a/c.

Comment Re:Travel sites are useful (Score 1) 75

except you have to realize that the hotel is playing a double-edged game.

They are fighting against the online travel agents AND other hotels.
So it goes like this: They want customers to migrate from travel agents to direct booking. They do NOT want customers to go from Agent booking at Hotel A to Agent booking at Hotel B, so they have this love-hate relationship with agents. If they dared to completely gut the agents, the significant bookings brought by that agent would drop off like a rock.

It isn't as stupid or easy as it seems. To rebate the entire commission to the consumer, unless they had a pretty badass way to get consumers to completely change their habits instantly... would cause the Hoteliers to go out of business, as if you choose to starve agents out, they will simply flip a switch and go to /otherhotel/ for their commission.

Comment Travelers want to buy a trip. (Score 4, Interesting) 75

The real disconnect is that Travelers want to buy a trip(airfare, car rental, hotel, attraction), Hoteliers want to sell a stay.

Even more importantly, business travelers aren't generally allowed to buy anything other than a Trip, they have to use some Travel Management Company who is essentially an Online Travel Agent but with a shitty interface and a corporate policy enforcement.
American Express is disrupting the Agent/hotel infrastructure right now by allowing hotels to pay a flat annual "commission replacement" instead of a per room night commission, when nights are booked using AMEX's corporate Travel Management Company. This of course locks them in to the agent model further, but makes the pill a bit sweeter. The "book direct" push is a bit wrong-headed as the Airlines have already opened central booking, such that it is a no-brainer for a website to add flights and hotels together, whereas hotels are almost never going to be able to tack on airfare without becoming full service travel agents.
Book direct seems like a no-brainer, until you look at how travel is planned and purchased in the real world.

And none of that is even counting the fact that all the big hotel chains still run their businesses on 30 year old platforms with no end in sight.

Booking non-refundable rooms for the guaranteed low price is also primed for an upset from the reselling app standpoint. If you book a $200 dollar non-refundable room... then you can't make it... you can auction it off on Roomer or others... selling it to someone for $150 recovering some of your loss... And undercutting the "lowest rate" promise at the exact same time.

The whole thing is a mess and direct booking won't solve it... and may make it worse.

Comment Ink printers are a disaster (Score 1) 259

I don't understand why people put up with it. A decent laser printer is similarly priced to a garbage printer, and toner is a cheaper and MUCH more seldom purchase. Home color prints are terrible quality, expensive, and generally annoying.

If I need to print something in color, I step out into meatspace and do it at a place that sells that service.

exploiting the Gillette business model, in the past I have bought an ink printer on clearance, printed color on it until it ran out, then thrown it in electronic recycling, which was significantly cheaper than buying ink for whatever printer I already had.

but yeah, ink refills are garbage, replacement ink cartridges are a racket, but it all boils down to the fact that a color ink printer is simply a device that sits in your house reminding you that you need to pay the manufacturer more money as often as possible.

Comment Re: Who will pay for it? (Score 3, Interesting) 747

It is a completely different game once you bridge a serious gap in the market. there are 3 kinds of houses in the US:
1) Homes people buy because they need to live somewhere and they can afford to buy this house here.
2) Homes in which nobody who could afford them would live there (rental only, think slumlord to casual investor to real-estate get-rich sucker)
and
3) Ultra premium. Houses so far above the cost of living for an area that you cannot buy it if you work for a living.

These all have wildly different real-estate agent behavior, and most people will only ever deal with #1, and maybe #2 #1 are 6% commissions with realtors who will be a realtor for an average of 5 years, any "staging" they do will be cheap or free, and mostly your commission is paying for their time. #2 are square-foot checklists, repair lists, inspections, and flat broker fees. An agent might list on MLS and coordinate with inspectors... nothing really outside of that. #3 People have no imagination, and they simply won't buy a premium/high-end house if it isn't staged. They aren't buying a house because they have to live somewhere. a 10 million dollar+ house will be staged with a half-million dollars in furniture, art, dishes, towels, etc most rented, some owned by the realtor or their group. Any drawer, closet, or cabinet that might be opened, will have items in it that convey a luxury lifestyle. Leather-bound books on the book cases, electronics, toiletries, everything.
They might even hire a chef to put freshly made food in the refrigerator to be thrown away after a showing. I am dead serious.
They might learn that a buyer likes purple and replace all the flowers in the landscaping with purple pansies.
They will definitely put fresh cut flowers, fresh fruit, etc out before every showing. Spending hundreds of dollars on disposable goods every time they unlock the front door.

I worked in risk assessment for in the real-estate industry for years. Once for a listing in Malibu I had a 6 million dollar insurance policy go through my system... covering JUST THE ITEMS USED FOR STAGING. It included a Ferrari... Used for staging a garage.

Comment Re:Not a problem (Score 2) 747

I mean, you do know that he and buffet and gates and lots of other bazillionaires are actively working to give away 99% of their wealth to charity right? But not to (comparatively) wealthy lower class Americans, but to humanitarian causes that save literally hundreds of millions of lives in undeveloped countries.

Comment Re:How's that working for Venezuela? (Score 1) 747

Too true, if only we had an entire continent full of examples where democratic socialism was thriving.

Alas, since Venezuela is literally the only example of socialism ever in the history of anything, we know socialism is a death warrant.

Maybe we should get the European Union to study this problem.

Comment Re:Isn't this just welfare for the rich? (Score 4, Insightful) 747

it doesn't take 7 billion people to feed, clothe, entertain, and house 7 billion people.

If we want universal employment, you have to either limit the amount of work you want from any given person by a lot (20 hour work weeks?) or you need to make up projects for tons of people.

I don't disagree that it would be nice for everyone to be productive, but the truth is, we don't have enough work for that, like as a species... and we aren't willing to take on more work (exploration, conservation, sustainability, etc), as a society.

Full employment requires a radical change to world societies. Universal Basic Income is actually a very small change by comparison.

It is the difference between taxing a little more, expanding entitlements a little more... and changing the goals and focus of the entire human race.

Comment Re: Who will pay for it? (Score 1) 747

Welcome to the world.
3% to the seller's realtor, 3% to the buyer's realtor.
That is how home sales have worked for 3 generations in the US and longer in other countries. It is negotiable and might seem to a casual outsider to be exorbitant, but for a 10 million dollar property, a realtor might spend $50,000 -100,000 on staging the home and marketing it... much more if the realtor is not established, with negotiated marketing rates and a warehouse full of bullshit staging furniture (or rental agreements).

Comment Coding is like writing novels not neurosurgery (Score 3, Insightful) 359

Programming is fun. If it isn't fun to you, then you won't be successful as a programmer, and you will be as unhappy in your job as the average worker.

The comparison to a neurosurgeon is hyperbole, but I would compare it more to a novelist. Writing a novel is hard, so hard that people who don't enjoy it don't do it; yet the only evident work in a novel is simply typing.

The main difference between coders and novelists is that shitty coders can still make bank. Because of that, people who hate coding and people who are terrible at it (a venn diagram of almost entirely overlapping circles) sometimes stick with it.

Noveling and Coding have one other awful terrible truth in common: Everybody thinks they can do it.

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