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Comment Re:No (Score 2) 400

While the growth of those neighborhoods definitely effects politics, it's not even close to the whole story. How about the local newspaper. Note that the local Democratic stronghold is the University neighborhood (which is maybe better for everyone than identity politics).

This is the first time since 1936 that OC went blue. In a place with ~200,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, Clinton won by almost 100,000 votes, with another ~64k votes going to 3rd party (or no one), with a very high turnout all around. This all adds up to a very significant number of Republicans voting against their nominee in a very strong Republican stronghold, in an election won nationally by the Republican. Even though Trump won, I think we are still seeing the death of the Republican party as we knew it.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 400

Hey, calm down Mr. Sensitive! If you read what I'm writing carefully you'll notice that I'm not disagreeing with you on a lot of what you're saying. What you actually said:

It's not Trump's message to the working man that got him elected. It's his appeal to the rich. If he gets his way, wave goodbye to the estate tax...

Your argument was that it was his appeal to the rich that got him elected, not that rich people voted for him because he pandered to them. There's a subtle, but important difference.

I agree it makes no sense for... well, anyone to vote for Trump. Where we disagree is that I don't think there are enough "rich" voters out there to elect him. In places with lots of rich people, he lost. Badly. Probably because those people were far more educated than his typical voter. Frankly, I don't see how he wins anything relying on rich voters. There are not enough rich, uneducated people out there, and the Democrats have done an excellent job pandering to the rich themselves recently.

Again, the party leadership for both parties, and the editorial boards for major media see the rural, white, working-class voter as the key to his election. As improbable as it is (and you make great arguments for why this shouldn't have happened), these folks voted for him.

Now, to everyone's surprise, they guy won. What he does now, I think (I hope), is support "his base." Trump is a rich jerk, but he loves being loved more than anything. I think we see him pander to these people who filled his rallies.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 400

Do you really think all those rural Obama voters in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were thinking about the estate tax when they voted for Trump? I don't know what they were thinking, but it's a real stretch to claim they're wealthy enough to care about things like the estate tax.

You may not like it or understand why anyone would have voted for him, but this is how the election came out. A group of working class people felt overlooked and were very motivated to show up and vote for Trump in precisely the areas he needed to win. Some traditional "country club" Republican strongholds, like Orange County California, voted for Clinton. Those are typically the folks you reach with discussion about cancelling the estate tax. He didn't need any of "the OC" Republicans. He didn't need to win all the working class vote, just a very specific sub-set of it, which he got.

Putting your head in the sand and pretending something else happened is going to keep you surprised and off-balance for the next couple of years.

If you still strongly believe that this view of the election is wrong, you should see that this is the narrative the politicians on both sides, as well as the media are accepting as true. Perception is reality here, it really doesn't matter if it's a myth. These people are seen as "the base" of Trump's political support, real or not. For at least the next two years, savvy lobbyists and pundits (even those whose secret priority is the estate tax) will try to frame every argument to Trump in a way to pander to this rural working class base. This is his political identity, for now.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Insightful) 1321

I think the "fake news" part of this is really under appreciated.

This is exactly the kind of thing that erodes people's faith in the ability of the news media to report facts, and to report facts without bias.

It's a pretty big deal to suggest you have evidence the presidential election was stolen. This is not a feel-good fluff piece, it deserves a little editorial attention. A review of the evidence by an expert in election statistics shows that it's really just normal voting patterns. Some people are going to read the article on CNN, read the actual statisticians response elsewhere, and know CNN was putting out click bait, not a real news story. If you're upset that other people putting out fake click bait articles skewed the election, then what CNN is doing here should really piss you off.

There is no way a responsible journalist publishes this story, or a responsible news organization carries it. It is BS like this that supports the idea that there are different standards for "truth" in the media depending on the politics attached to article.

I think a different standard applies to Halderman. He's a computer security researcher who is using the election as an example of a vulnerable system. It's great for him to put out his Medium piece, he's not pretending to be anything other than a guy really interested in the mechanisms for verifying information systems, and he right up front is clear that he's not making any claim that the election was actually stolen.

Comment Re:a little reality on funding (Score 1) 430

Fraud, secrecy and funding through a small number of select people are all still a big part of science. That's precisely the problem.

I think you're relying on a lot of myths rather than facts. Lord Kelvin was a professor, with a modern academic career path. His father was a math professor, his grandfather a farmer. He is "Lord" Kelvin because he was ennobled later in life. We use the same apprenticeship and government sponsored training system that Kelvin did, as well as the scientists for several generations before him.

Science is also a money making proposition for a great many organizations, and has been for a long time. Universities in particular turn a big profit on pure scientific research, as do many small business "SBIR shops."

My biggest quibble though, is that there is a clear demarcation where science ends and technology begins. That's very hard to nail down to the point of being meaningless.

Think about it from my view. I'm a scientist. I also build and sell what I consider technology. This technology is an integrated graphene-biochemical sensor. People outside of my company and customers very firmly consider this science, because they've barely had a few years exposure to this field as a science and have never seen or heard of this as a technology. At what point is it a technology? This year when we launched a new marketing effort? Last year when we launched our dev kit? A year before that when my design was adapted by a professional engineer? A year before that when I built a complete system using only consumer grade components? Several years before that when I trained other people to build these? In my mind, this became a technology once I'd built the first system and knew how to build more. There were about 10 years of "science" funding between then and now. Having gone through this progression, these advances had much more to do with available funding than any scientific or technical understanding.

Both my example and yours (Xerox, US profiting off of British inventions) have more to do with business acumen than science or technology. Scientists are part of this process! It used to be assumed that scientists would move strait from the lab to take leading roles at big companies, sit on boards, or serve as CEOs. That's no longer part of scientific culture, and it's at the root of why you don't trust the GMO testing practices. The best scientists now stay at the bench (university) and there is a barrier between commercialization and research.

Comment a little reality on funding (Score 2) 430

The NSF periodically puts out reports on science funding, which you can read yourself. Or, if you want the most relevant quote:

...the U.S. invests twice as much as any other single nation in R&D, despite slipping to tenth in world ranking of the percentage of its GDP it devotes to R&D. In 2011, the U.S. spent $429 billion on R&D, compared to China's $208 billion and Japan's $146 billion. Among other S&T metrics, the U.S. leads in high quality research publications, patents, and income from intellectual property exports.

To put a little perspective on that, we spend $40 billion a year on startup companies.

There are a few scientists who will leave the US because they get poached by governments abroad. That has happened already and would continue, no matter what we do. Our pie is the biggest, but we have a lot of people to feed. There are also scientists who will have to leave because of visa issues. That has been happening (a lot) anyway too. We've had a labor surplus in science in the US for a long time.

The world will not end if other countries are allowed to be good at science. We will not implode if the government cuts science funding. As scientists, there are plenty of structural problems we can improve during a time of change.

We rely too much on cheap academic labor. We no longer have a working system for transitioning young, high level scientists from training to independence. The government only funds about 1/3 of scientific work, but with the slow and continuing death of real commercial research, the government funds far more than it's share of these young scientists, and this puts stress on the whole system. In general, we have become bad at commercializing scientific work. From the cost to develop new pharmaceuticals, to clean energy, to nanotechnology, we have not delivered in the fields that were supposed to have application. We are now extremely bad at understanding how our work can be applied to everyday life in a non-threatening way (think GMOs...). Our professional organizations organize these calls for increased funding, but we don't address any of our other structural issues. We have an opportunity here to work on some of these things.

Comment populist cop-out (Score 1) 1081

The argument for elimination of the electoral college is an argument for old-school tyranny.

We are purposefully not a democracy. The electoral college exists to protect from the kind of upheaval that ended the Roman Republic. Our founders were obsessed with this, and it's still worth learning about today.

The EC prevents one population from having complete control. It requires people in the economic centers of the country to pay extra (even unfair) attention to the people on the margins. The purpose is to keep the country together.

Comment Re:Some backroom chatter is necessary for democrac (Score 1) 304

You do know that these guys already (voluntarily) video tape most public meetings. They don't video tape the ones where no one shows up. This doesn't change any of the Legislature's actions. Regardless of whether this bill passes, they're still going to tape their meetings.

Now, I don't disagree that this is all for political theater. That's why they record in the first place. Our legislature is pretty screwed up. It's been 20 years since the Republicans threatened any sort of legislative control in the state. So pretty much we've been living with back room deals and internal party politics governing us for most of that time (political parties and their meetings are private, so one party rule is not really open to the public). In the mid 90s there was a very brief (1 year) time where actual compromise flourished in the legislature. Horrible things like mixing the party affiliation of the major committee chairs happened.

Comment Re:Some backroom chatter is necessary for democrac (Score 1) 304

Ok, so... did you read what you linked? You do know that it includes statements saying the guy you're arguing with is right. I really hope you were just being pedantic about the phrase "pretty sure." The analysis states that currently the legislature and committee meetings are open to the public, and:

Live videos of most, but not all, of these meetings are available on the Internet. The Legislature keeps an archive of many of these videos for several years. The Legislature does not charge fees for the use of these videos.

So, the change here is that the current practice of transparency in the legislature is more evenly applied, and enforced in law. Wow. Hey, the real kicker is that it's going to take up 0.3% of the Legislature's internal operating budget. Gee, they're going to have to cut back on catered lunches.

Have you ever been to visit your representative? I'm a Californian, and have visited Sacramento to lobby the legislature several times. The argument here is typical of the petty politics of my state. In the Assembly, if you want something to fail, you have a Republican bring it to the floor. People gave Arnold a hard time for not playing well with the Assembly Democrats, but don't remember that Pete Wilson had the police lock the Assembly in their chamber until they passed his budget. Ideology, common sense, and good governance take a back seat to preventing the other guy from getting any wins.

Comment did they google this? (Score 1) 156

If the X-Prize folk searched "atmospheric water generator", they would find multiple commercial products that run on electricity. Then, they would simply need to set up a solar panel system, and they'd be done.

I live in a desert, and have looked into getting one of these systems. The (commercial) system I'm looking at has a cost that would meet their guidelines for production and cost, provided a working life of about 20 years. That's... not unreasonable.

Why don't we all use this technology? Because I'm billed for water (in the desert, in a drought) at $0.0015 per liter. If I'm really wasting water, and I get a fine for over-use, then I'm punished with a rate of $0.0036 per liter. If the cost for atmospheric water condensing was $0.02 (the X-Prize target), it still wouldn't be cheaper than aqueducts hundreds of miles long or ocean desalination (the two sources of my water). If they're going to have a cost target, it should be a lot lower. Really, they should be looking for creative ways to scale and capitalize the existing systems. We don't need more technology here, just different financing models.

Comment medicine and silicon valley aren't the same worlds (Score 1) 161

Ok, a $300M annual charity gift is a big deal, and that's great. But this is not going to drastically change things. Nationwide, the NIH annual R&D budget is about $30B. The USA as a whole has spent over $100B annually on medical research for several years now. This is ~60% more than the total VC investment across all fields in the USA last year.

Submission + - A Commercial Nanoelectronic Device (

Goldsmith writes: For about 20 years we've been hearing about nanotechnology. The promises have been sky high, but the reality has been disappointing. We might finally see some progress from a group of nanotechnologists at Nanomedical Diagnostics. They have an actual manufactured, advanced graphene device. It's not a nanobot (yet), but it is mass produced and does combine nanotech, electronics, and biology. If you're a drug developer, it may even be useful.

Comment Re:Marketing, not monopoly (Score 1) 396

Maybe you should look at that a bit. Also, you may want to actually find out how Medicare and Medicaid work.

Medicare pays for nearly all drugs, generic or brand name. The catch is that Medicare pays what it wants, not what the companies charge. Epinephrine (the drug used in EpiPen) is a generic. The delivery mechanism (the pen) is a device with a separate set of rules. The competition in the market is about the pens, not the drug.

Medicaid has formularies that are managed by plan (i.e. by local committees or a company running a plan). Not all drugs/devices end up on the formularies. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is people asking for brand names (i.e. "My patient needs an EpiPen." rather than "My patient needs an epinephrine auto-injector.") Depending on your local plan, Medicaid may (North Carolina) or may not (Colorado) include an alternative to "EpiPen".

So, yes. "Medicaid" does have a generic alternative to "EpiPen", you just may not be able to get it where you are.

Now, I pointed out in my original post that a simple Google search would find this information for you. It is telling that the "EpiPen" brand is so strong that people (you, for example) continue to assume a real monopoly even when told how to prove to yourself that this is not true.

Comment Marketing, not monopoly (Score 1) 396

There are other epinephrine auto-injectors on the market in the US, cleared by the FDA. A simple Google search will show Adrenaclick at the top of page 1 (FDA cleared, available, and cheaper than EpiPen). It's not hard to find.

The problem here is that people want an "EpiPen", which is a BRAND, not a drug. These guys do not have a monopoly on epinephrine auto-injectors (the thing people need), they have a trademark on "EpiPen" (their product name), which is totally reasonable.

This is not an FDA issue, a generic drug access issue, or an issue with the pharma industry's reduction of effective R&D everywhere but the US. This is about people being susceptible to marketing and branding.

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