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Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 237

I'm not talking about research, I'm talking about public health and mandatory for school vaccinations. Surely you're not claiming that children are being involved in a secret research project starting at 15 months of age?!?

Considering that the vaccine hasn't been available for 20 years yet, there aren't a lot of health care workers whose immunity derives from the vaccine yet unless you count candy stripers and even there, it's not 100% of them since the vaccine wasn't mandatory when it came out.

I agree that learning how the immune system forgets would be extremely valuable, but that isn't anywhere near on-topic here and certainly doesn't count as a justification for the Varicella vaccine for school children.

It may be that data derived from tracking vaccine performance would be helpful, but the value is likely limited WRT autoimmune since in the latter, the immune system will be constantly stimulated.

The data point on breakthrough cases is more an observation that having chicken pox is 100% effective at immunization (with the exception of immune compromise where vaccines don't work either).

Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 237

Understood that the range is still not proven. I do note that the original single injection schedule was updated to 15 months then at 6 years. Nobody has yet gone 20 years between boosters since it hasn't been approved that long. We'll find out in a few years I guess.

We seem to be putting out a lot of effort and people's money for a fairly small benefit (if, indeed there is any in final analysis).

Just another data point, we have seen breakthrough cases of chicken pox in otherwise healthy vaccine recipients, but I'm not aware of any in those immunized by having the disease, even with it's reduced prevalence.

Comment Re: sure! (Score 1) 296

Gold is undeniably a compelling leader in the "Hey, do you need an handy abstract representation of value?" market.

It is effectively impossible to counterfeit(all the metals that look kind of golden aren't nearly dense enough; Tungsten and DU have the density about right but are wrong in basically all other respects, nuclear synthesis isn't really counterfeiting but is uneconomic, it's tricky to alloy with something cheaper without being caught by even fairly primitive measurement of volume and weight; etc.), it's pretty scarce, it can be divided/combined/melted down/reshaped easily(unlike precious stones, say, where the value of two halves of a diamond is markedly lower than the value of the larger stone), people find it appealing, and so on.

The problem is just knowing what situations do, or don't, reward possessing a handy abstract representation of value. Too little civilization and you either can't find anyone willing to sell you stuff; or run into somebody who knows that the exchange rate between gold and iron is actually pretty favorable when the iron is of the right shape to stab the guy with the gold. Too much civilization and the fact that it's an inert, unproductive, comparatively cumbersome to transport/store/transact with lump of deadweight makes it a pain compared to whatever currency is being reasonably well managed at the time.

It's only in the intermediate situations, where you are developing a real market; but don't have anyone competent enough to produce worthwhile currency; or have a real market but a previously stable currency is on the rocks; where it really shines. Outside of that, it's just jewelry, anticorrosion coating, or a specific commodities position that might be useful under certain specific conditions as part of a larger portfolio.

Comment Re:Never was a reasonable conversation (Score 1) 237

That is mostly true.

However, vaccines are not 100% effective. If everyone in my neighborhood gets the vaccine, we're basically safe. Anyone who by chance does get it will tend to have a mild form and so others will have little exposure and will most likely be protected by their vaccine.

OTOH, if I alone got my shots, the whole neighborhood will probably end up with more severe cases of the disease and I'll be under constant exposure. If my vaccine is anything less than 100%, I'll get it.

That in a nutshell is herd immunity.

Submission + - Private phone and chat conversations ended up in tech company

Dex Hex writes: The Volkstrant reports: "The private communications of thousands of Dutch citizens has fallen into the hands of the Australian technology company Appen. It concerns telephone and chat conversations from 2010 and 2011. According to telecom experts, the only explanation is that this communication was tapped by the British intelligence service GCHQ and was then handed over to Appen with the aim of improving software for converting speech into text."

Can you believe the arrogance?

Submission + - The iPhone 7 has worse battery life than HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 (

Mark Wilson writes: Consumer group Which? has conducted a series of battery life tests on the latest smartphones, and the news is not good for the iPhone 7. Pitted against the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and LG G5, Apple's latest handset came in last place... and by some distance.

In terms of call time, the Samsung Galaxy S7 lasted for more than twice as long as the iPhone 7, while the HTC 10 had two and a half times the longevity. Things were not quite as bad for the iPhone 7 in internet usage tests... but it was still found bringing up the rear.

Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 237

Actually, looking it up my memory is correct. Immunity from actually having chickenpox is acknowledged to last much longer than from the vaccine, and will be lifelong in most cases, particularly if you are occasionally re-exposed to chickenpox (for example, by being around a child that has it). The duration for the vaccine is thought to be about 20 years.

A quick check confirms that the Varicella vaccine is a live, weak virus one

I'm pretty sure I could get the study proposal through the ethics board, there's nothing unethical here and it's an important enough question. I just doubt anybody will consent to being deliberately given a virus that inserts itself into their genome, just to see if their immune system still will recognize the virus and produce antibodies to it.

Based on the two quotes above, I'd say they were already given a virus that inserts itself into their genome albeit a weakened one. It would be their parents who consented (without really being informed). As for the thus far unasked question, can the vaccine strain cause shingles later in life and how does the risk differ from the wild strain, we have no way of knowing yet.

As for the flu, yes it probably would be more effective for people around the most vulnerable to get the shot. I think that so far, a more generalized flu vaccine has eluded us, thus the annual shots.

Comment Re:Weird definition (Score 1) 237

I take it you're part of McCarthy's army then? Simply disagreeing with me isn't worthy of the crazy label. Disagreeing with well settled science based on the word of a discredited fraud in the face of overwhelming evidence gets that label.

I don't seem to remember sneaking up behind you and giving you (or anyone else) a vaccination. When was it you say that happened?

Comment Re: sure! (Score 4, Insightful) 296

Even gold depends on the shared belief that there will be somebody else willing to accept it in exchange for goods of actual use within a survivable period of time after whatever crisis you are expecting passes. Certainly more durable than a few electronic IOUs or fiat currency issued by a nation state that is now on fire/crawling with zombies/etc; but the intrinsic utility is pretty limited. If the apocalypse needs corrosion-resistant connectors, gold has you covered; you could substitute it for lead in ballistic applications; but that's pretty much the list.

With the exception of people expecting to deal with explosions(where bunkers are a natural fit; and fairly commonly used in varying degrees of sophistication); a lot of this disaster-prep stuff falls into an unhelpful category of being both overprepared and underprepared: If you are concerned, it's pretty easy to justify enough supplies to weather a breakdown in our efficient-but-tightly-stretched supply chains; but you don't usually need a bunker to do that. If you have a crisis more serious than not being able to buy groceries for a few months in mind, however, the problem stops being "Do I have enough MREs?" and turns into "Am I set for subsistence farming and/or tribal warfare; and do I really want to bother with that shit anyway?" unpleasantly quickly.

It all seems aimed at a (not impossible; but not necessarily plausible) medium-size disaster; which will somehow be big enough that the 'stash of supplies in the basement' crowd is doomed; but small enough that your bunker isn't going to be plundered by local militias and there will be a society worth living in waiting for you when it's time to open the door again.

Comment Re:guess again (Score 1) 237

And even that is not quite right. She is on record as supporting vaccines. She is simply questioning the FDA in general (honestly, it's track record in recent years gives her very good reason for that). Mostly from the standpoint that it's crappy track record for objectivity in recent years is being used as an excuse by the anti-vaxers.

Comment Re:guess again (Score 1) 237

Actually, characterizing Stein as anti-vax or pandering to the anti-vaxers is over the top. There is a HUGE difference between questioning the FDA's effectiveness and being anti-vax, particularly when it comes to the old and well proven vaccines. She is on record as supporting vaccination.

Since the Salon article only pointed to Snopes' home page rather than providing a useful link, I'll supply it here.

Johnson predictably says no to any government mandatory anything. That's not a proper anti-vax stance since he isn't basing his position on paranoid pseudo-science. It says nothing about if he would personally recommend vaccination or not.

Trump looks to be all in on the crazy pseudo-science and hysteria.

Comment Re:On a sober note (Score 1) 237

He may be talking about Varicella. IIRC, the immunity from the vaccine doesn't last as long as the immunity conferred by actually having the disease. Wouldn't that potentially protect from the disease in the very young where it is rarely a problem and then leave you vulnerable just when it starts to become more risky (potentially a net harm)? Meanwhile, (also IIRC), occasional exposure as a naturally immune adult is thought to act as a sort of booster to prevent shingles later in life.

The case is pretty strong for MMR and DTaP, but not so much for Varicella vaccine.

As for the flu, I recall some recent research that shows that people who have been immunized for flu the previous year are less likely to be effectively immunized by a new flu vaccine. Meanwhile, since (as you said) the available flu shot is based on a guess at which strains will become prevalent, there is a good chance that the guess will be wrong and so the shot will have very limited effectiveness. It may actually be better to confine flu shots to the most vulnerable populations where the flu itself is most dangerous.

Add to that the media blitz over H1N1 a few years ago where we were told with a strait face that we should all run out and get the flu shot that didn't cover H1N1 because H1N1 was going to kill us all but that there was no need to avoid crowded malls. Then, by the time the H1N1 vaccine came out, it was clear that it had already gone past it's peak and would be all but gone by the time the immunization would become effective (and it proved to be far less dangerous than initially thought) we were supposed to run out and get that too. It's hard to not think we are being lead down the garden path on that one.

That sort of thing is extremely unfortunate and even dangerous since it leads people to question the well proven and greatly beneficial MMR and DTP.

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