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Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 137

Did you actually read Aurora? It's worth examining his argument in detail instead of dismissing it outright. KSR suggests that a viable biosphere is a matter of scale that human beings may not be able to achieve even with access to large amount of solar or other energy. As for health, KSR muses that exposure to Earth's biosphere may be vital, even if a space shelter is otherwise well-shielded from radiation and endowed with artificial gravity.

Comment Re:Science fiction != science fact (Score 1) 137

Umm, you are aware that that is science FICTION right?

Umm, you are aware that fiction (and especially science fiction) often serves to set up thought experiments, right? Why get on my case for thinking hypothetically, when it is a pretty normal human activity? In fact, science-minded individuals are more likely to do so than the average.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 137

IIRC, KSR depicted the colonized solar system as being dependent on resources from Earth, and workers on outer planets regularly returned to Earth to maintain their health. While humans could live on the outer planets for some time, they could not have maintained that residence without the mother planet.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 137

You might enjoy reading Kim Stanley Robinson's last novel Aurora which muses that life might be a planetary phenomenon: human beings are inextricably tied to Earth's biosphere and can never move beyond it. Even large generational starships might be unable to maintain a viable biosphere as waste like salt begins building up in the wrong places. (KSR was spurred to write Aurora in part by the critical backlash against his idealistic vision of terraforming in his famous Mars trilogy of two decades ago).

So if the Singularity never happens and human beings can never transition to machine bodies from biological ones, we're not going anywhere.

Comment Re:IP law has nothing to do with logic. (Score 1) 391

It's amazing (and hopeful) how human beings evolved to be cooperative and work together for the benefit of the group.

There's lots of research on that, in anthropology, biology, behavioral economics, etc.

I read the Wall Street Journal editorial page for 30 years. Milton Friedman was wrong. Ayn Rand was really wrong.

People aren't motivated by money, once they're financially comfortable. In published studies, they will sacrifice real money in order to satisfy their sense of justice. Look up behavioral economics.

Comment Re:Reading comprehension failure (Score 1) 391

the core problem created by our "friends" in places like the UK and Canada who do it. Those foreign governments doing it for their socialist medical services are what forced the American consume to bear all the R&D costs and drove-up OUR drug prices; they threatened to break the patents and let the American companies get ripped-off if the American companies did not sell at prices too low to cover all the costs. The result was that the companies lowered the prices over there to a level that allowed a profit on the manufacturing costs but no margin to cover the R&D costs which went entirely onto the US customers and their insurance companies.

I take it from your comment that your expertise is not in pharmaceuticals.

Did you ever hear of insulin (Canada), statins (Japan), penicillin (England), cancer chemotherapy (Italy) or monoclonal antibodies (Argentina/Switzerland)?

I am leaving the Wikipedia search as an exercise for the reader.


Google Tests A Software That Judges Hollywood's Portrayal of Women 311

Slashdot reader theodp writes: Aside from it being hosted in a town without a movie theater, the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival was also unusual in that it required all entrants to submit "film scripts and downloadable versions of the film" for judgment by "the team at Google and USC", apparently part of a larger Google-funded research project with USC Engineering "to develop a computer science tool that could quickly and efficiently assess how women are represented in films"...

Fest reports noted that representatives of Google and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy appeared in a "Reel vs. Real Diversity" panel presentation at the fest, where the importance of diversity and science to President Obama were discussed, and the lack of qualified people to fill 500,000 U.S. tech jobs was blamed in part on how STEM careers have been presented in film and television... In a 2015 report on a Google-sponsored USC Viterbi School of Engineering MacGyver-themed event to promote women in engineering, USC reported that President Obama was kept briefed on efforts to challenge media's stereotypical portrayals of women. As for its own track record, Google recently updated its Diversity page, boasting that "21% of new hires in 2015 were women in tech, compared to 19% of our current population"....

Comment Re:Reading comprehension failure (Score 1) 391

The US pharmaceutical industry tried some of the short-cuts you recommended and ended up with several disasters, such as the New England Compounding Center disease outbreak, which caused 64 deaths.

The Chinese pharmaceutical industry also tried it with the same results.

Pharmaceutical quality control and manufacture is a lot more complicated than making artisinal beer.

Comment Re:Logic Says It Should Be Legal (Score 2) 391

You also mentioned something about a media source claiming syringes require "extensive medical training" or something... I call BS. Again, diabetics deal with this all the time. There are some precautions, but most are similar to EpiPens, and the additional warnings can easily be explained in a few minutes. You also may want to check into the credentials of that medical professional -- I've seen some media quotes in stories in the past few days saying similar, but it turns out they work for allergy societies that get a huge amount of support from the manufacturer of EpiPens, which at a minimum presents a significant conflict of interest.

That "media source" was Consumer Reports. I have checked into their credentials. Their medical reviewers are probably more qualified in each of the specialties than some of the reviewers in the second-string peer-review journals. And they take no money from industry.

Diabetics do inject themselves with insulin, however there are differences between them and people with anaphylactic reactions so you can't equate the two. The most obvious difference is that insulin-dependent diabetics inject regularly, several times a day, so they're used to the equipment and familiar with it. People with anaphylactic reactions might a reaction once in their lives, once a year, or once every few years (according to a friend of mine who did have an anaphylactic reaction to bee antigen in a doctor's office), so they can forget how to use it.

You want to say that it makes no difference. I don't accept that. In a matter of life or death, you need better evidence than your own personal feeling. You seem to know enough about medicine to be able to look up articles on PubMed, but I'm certain that you're not a medical doctor or medical student. The standard of evidence for pharmaecuticals is a lot more rigorous than, say, the flavors and fragrances industry. I'd rather follow the advice of an MD.

It's not good enough to say that diabetic injections are sort of like epinephrine injections, so if it works for diabetes it seems like it should work for epinephrine. The only thing that will tell you what kind of problems come up when people use manual epinephrine injections is a well-designed study of people who use manual epinephrine injections, preferably with a comparison group of people who use the EpiPen. But that would be hard to do, because an anaphylactic shock is such a rare event.

And contrary to what you say, there is nothing in those studies that addresses the claim that "people won't fill them correctly or they'll lose time in doing all that for people inexperienced with them." Those were just lab studies of 2 narrow issues -- stability and sterility.

If you want to understand the design of medical studies, you could read the NEJM, BMJ, and JAMA Internal Medicine (my preferences) over the last few years. If you want to get a summary of what it's all about, you can look in http://www.healthnewsreview.or...
Can You Get a Cheaper EpiPen?
You could save about $400 per two-pack with generic Adrenaclick and still protect against life-threatening allergy attacks
By Ginger Skinner
August 11, 2016

The DIY Syringe Method

To further cut costs, some have turned to using manual syringes and buying vials of epinephrine to fill them. The drug costs a few dollars per vial. But experts caution that switching to a do-it-yourself syringe is more complicated and can result in getting too much or little epinephrine. What’s more, you’ll need to be trained by a doctor or pharmacist on how to inject the drug quickly and accurately before attempting to try it during an emergency.

And because there are different concentrations on the market, getting the proper dose is critical, especially for children. Work with your pharmacist to get the right amount of the drug. One more hiccup: You’ll need to replace the syringe and epinephrine every few months because studies show the drug loses potency after just three months. (It’s recommended that you replace EpiPens and generic Adrenaclick pens every 12 to 18 months.)

"While switching to a needle and syringe is not ideal,” says allergist Murphy, “it may be the only choice some patients have."

Comment Re:Logic Says It Should Be Legal (Score 1) 391

I looked up your Pubmed citations in the hope that they would show that it was practical for people to use epinephrine injections rather than auto-injectors.

Unfortunately they didn't say that. Those were just lab tests of stability and sterility. In order to be convinced, I'd have to see a study of actual patients who successfully learned to do their own epinephrine injections. That would be a hard study to do, since anaphylaxis is relatively rare. Consumer Reports had an article about alternatives to the EpiPen, and their medical experts said that epinephrine would require more training than the EpiPen. You'd need a product that could be used by a bystander, such as a teacher, with minimal or no training.

If as you say people screw up the autoinjectors, it seems that they would be even more likely to screw up epinephrine. I'll believe it when I see the data.

(The other problem was that ephinephrine degrades after 3 months, while the EpiPen lasts 12 months.)

My basic reaction to your post is, you can't know that something is going to work until you've done a well-designed study in the real world.

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