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Comment Re:Not her parents... (Score 2, Insightful) 804

For most people, no, it's not the only reason. First... none of those markets can even begin to approach the ubiquity and profitability of the drug trade. We are talking billions of dollars flowing among hundreds of millions of drug producers, sellers, and consumers. Second - and more importantly - all of the examples you listed involve crimes with victims. Producing, selling, and using drugs are all inherently victimless crimes: no person is harmed or deprived of their rights as a consequence of these actions.

Criminal organizations make the vast majority of their profit from the drug trade, because the market for drugs is huge, but they engage in many other crimes as well, including the ones you mentioned. If we can deprive criminal organizations of the profit they make from drugs, they will inevitably be weakened - their ability to use money to influence and bribe corrupt government officials to their ends will be reduced. No doubt they will redouble their efforts to make profit from other markets, but the markets for the things you mentioned are nowhere near as ubiquitous as the demand for drugs is (and there is no reason to believe that criminal organizations aren't already trying to maximize the profit they make from these other ventures.)

Submission + - Facebook fixes embarrassing security flaw (

feuerfalke writes: Facebook recently scrambled to fix a security issue with their privacy controls that allowed users to get a peek in to their friends' live chat conversations and pending friend requests. The issue existed with Facebook's privacy feature that allowed users to view their profiles as other users would see it. From the article:

"For a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users' chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the 'preview my profile' feature of Facebook privacy settings," Facebook said in a statement.

Comment Re:Student Interest Does Not Equal Employer Intere (Score 1) 225

Who is going to coordinate the development efforts between the various departments? The best person in each category is likely to know jack about the other category, and you're not going to effectively turn talent into an actual finished game unless you can get some communication going between the different departments. Programmers don't want to have to deal with art issues, and artists really don't want to have to deal with scripting or programming.

This is where the tecnical artist (AKA technical director) steps in. He bridges the gap between programmers and artists, providing tools for artists and ensuring that art gets smoothly integrated into the game (among other things.) It's an unglamorous job, but technical directors actually tend to get paid more than other positions because it requires a solid understanding of both aesthetics (art) and function (programming.) So in fact, someone with "all of those skills" still plays an important role in game development - he lets the other departments focus on being the best at what they're doing :)

Comment Re:Africa (Score 3, Insightful) 146

How in the world would another nation or continent regress simply because conditions in Africa improve? I guess you could make an argument that there are limited resources in the world - but I seriously doubt that another developing or developed nation would suddenly plummet into the stone age simply because Africa is catching up with the rest of the world. Whether or not the rest of the developed world wants to share any of its resources with Africa is another story, however... how many Americans would give up their oversized homes and cars and reduce their ridiculous consumption of meat, water, and so on just so that some far-off distant nation can fare a little better?

Comment Re:Insane (Score 4, Informative) 216

Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spare for a fuckup like this - some people were charged upwards of a thousand dollars! Not everyone can afford the tens or hundreds of dollars of fees they'll be facing, not just in overdraft fees, but also fees for bounced checks, etc. There are lots of people who live paycheck to paycheck - they feed themselves, maybe their kids, they pay rent... but there's not too much left over to save up after that. Even just a few days in which someone can't pay bills can cause a great deal of carnage in someone's life.

Comment Re:Practice and prepare yourself for death . . . (Score 1) 692

As far as I understand there is no actual evidence to back up the claim that DMT is released at birth and at death - it's just interesting but ungrounded speculation. The human brain does produce extremely small amounts of DMT naturally, however.

Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting DMT research in the 1990s at the University of New Mexico, advanced the theory that a massive release of DMT from the pineal gland prior to death or near death was the cause of the near death experience (NDE) phenomenon. Several of his test subjects reported NDE-like audio or visual hallucinations. His explanation for this was the possible lack of panic involved in the clinical setting and possible dosage differences between those administered and those encountered in actual NDE cases.

There are some striking similarities between NDEs and DMT experiences, however, such as the "tunnel of light."

Comment Re:Not seeing the problem here (Score 1) 336

The "massive fine" that Pfizer was charged amounted to 3 months' worth of profit (FTFA.) As others who replied pointed out, this lighter "punishment" wasn't levied to fit the crime - it was because Pfizer is "too big to fail."

As others have suggested, there are many other ways to actually punish Pfizer: the government takes over a percentage of ownership of the company; the government forces some of Pfizer's patents to become public domain or to be sold off to another company; etc... A relatively tiny fine, in the context of how much profit pharmaceutical companies make, is not a punishment; it's a cost of doing business. Hell, why not take a percentage of Pfizer's profit for x amount of years? To put it in context, Pfizer made $13 billion in profit from the sale of Bextra alone - twice as much as they would have made had they promoted and sold the drug only for FDA-approved purposes. Factoring in the fine, Pfizer made a net $4.5 billion additional profit by ignoring FDA regulations and then simply dealing with the "punishment" when they were caught. Where, exactly, is the disincentive for this sort of disgusting behavior?

Furthermore, regardless of the punishment the company receives, the actual INDIVIDUAL PERSONS responsible for this travesty should also be prosecuted and punished separately. Discourage the company from hiring these conniving salespeople by punishing it, and discourage conniving salespeople from being conniving pieces of shit by punishing them.

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