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Comment Conflating several issues here (Score 1) 38

Arguably "the same drug" will be the same everywhere, but if you're ordering online drugs from somewhere outside the FDA inspection regime, you don't know what your chances are that it's in fact actually "the same drug". Really, you don't know what you're getting.

That's still a possibility here, of course, but when a US producer commits fraud you'd better believe you'll have an army of lawyers beating down your door to help sue them into oblivion for it. Random Joe Bob's Discount Drug Shack operating in Singapore? Good luck.

Secondly, the FDA approval process itself. For better or for worse, having a complex medical trial and many layers of approval is probably better that not having it, in terms of protecting US consumers from unsafe foods and drugs. There's a fast-track process for promising drugs and devices to prevent dangerous conditions, and there registered experimental treatments, but all other things being equal, I'd prefer to know that some basic level of testing was done.

Drug IP process. People in other countries like to point out that they can purchase drugs for $20 that are charged higher processes here. You can thank us (the American Consumer) for that. Not everyone gets to be a marginal consumer.. and part of the reason we're paying full price for drugs is so that the market incentive allows those drugs to be developed in the first place. Without market incentive, you're only going to proceed in research as fast as centrally-planned authorities dictate you will. Or you're a charity, funded by donations.

None of those things directly deal with device IP, but to be honest cases like this (where someone is being an abject douchebag) are rare, and tend to get discovered, highlighted, and corrected through social pressure. (EMT's have been talking about the cost of EpiPens for years, and there were already initiatives under way to allow EMT's to inject Epi directly:

The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, and signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week, comes as the maker of the EpiPen is facing increased scrutiny from the federal government over dramatic price increases for the lifesaving drug. The cost of a two-dose package of EpiPens, made by pharmaceutical company Mylan, jumped from less than $100 nine years ago to more than $600 in May, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

While the timing is a coincidence, Rose said recent attention from Congress has attracted the public eye to an issue that was first brought to him by a rural fire protection district he represents.

If there's a justifiable reason for a price hike, it'll become public as well. Often there is. E.g., a critical component has restricted availability.

Comment Re:Too secure for insecure? (Score 1) 477

Unless they were retroactively classified for political reasons?

I'd say the chances are pretty slim on that, with all of the attention this is getting. There are dozens, if not hundreds of FBI and intelligence folks working on this, and surely any decision to classify (or re-classify) is getting multiple layers of review as a result of the fallout everyone knows it would be getting.

Submission + - Chemists develop promising cheap, sustainable battery for grid energy storage (

mdsolar writes: Chemists at the University of Waterloo have developed a long-lasting zinc-ion battery that costs half the price of current lithium-ion batteries and could help enable communities to shift away from traditional power plants and into renewable solar and wind energy production.

Professor Linda Nazar and her colleagues from the Faculty of Science at Waterloo made the important discovery, which appears in the journal, Nature Energy.

The battery uses safe, non-flammable, non-toxic materials and a pH-neutral, water-based salt. It consists of a water-based electrolyte, a pillared vanadium oxide positive electrode and an inexpensive metallic zinc negative electrode. The battery generates electricity through a reversible process called intercalation, where positively-charged zinc ions are oxidized from the zinc metal negative electrode, travel through the electrolyte and insert between the layers of vanadium oxide nanosheets in the positive electrode. This drives the flow of electrons in the external circuit, creating an electrical current. The reverse process occurs on charge.

The cell represents the first demonstration of zinc ion intercalation in a solid state material that satisfies four vital criteria: high reversibility, rate and capacity and no zinc dendrite formation. It provides more than 1,000 cycles with 80 per cent capacity retention and an estimated energy density of 450 watt-hours per litre. Lithium-ion batteries also operate by intercalation--of lithium ions--but they typically use expensive, flammable, organic electrolytes.

Comment Re:Too secure for insecure? (Score 4, Insightful) 477

It does not count if Congress declares any one of these emails classified after the fact for political effect.

You're begging the question here. Information is classified based on the content, markings are irrelevant. There's explicitly statutory language that indicates that someone who Should Know that data involved Should Be classified should be treating it as classified, *regardless* of any markings or lack thereof.

Joe Blow on the street may not know that certain info is classified and might pass it along. The Secretary of State is expected to know that something is classified information and has a duty to take care of it responsible. That's something you're "read into" before you ever receive any clearance at all.

If the emails are considered classified retroactively, then someone in her position should have realized they contained sensitive data. Nothing is being classified "for political effect"... and if something is, then that's a scandal in and of itself.

Comment Cloud spoils the dream (Score 1) 150

I'm fine with a smart home. I'm old enough to remember the DAK Catalog and more-or-less drooling over the advanced dreams that the 80s could sell me. But I'm not fine any of this data leaving my property line, or with intelligence or non-aggregated usage telemetry resulting in internal details going over the wire for evaluation. Even if Alphabet "Did No Evil" (which it probably does), transmission to control on the outside opens me up for spying and makes me vulnerable to hack.

If a company wants to provide a means for me to control and automate my life, that's great. Do it with local control.

Submission + - British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech To Authoritarian Regimes (

An anonymous reader writes: Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas. Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology. In 2015, the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) started publishing basic data about the exportation of telecommunications interception devices. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Motherboard obtained the names of companies that have applied for exportation licenses, as well as details on the technologies being shipped, including, in some cases, individual product names. The companies include a subsidiary of defense giant BAE Systems, as well as Pro-Solve International, ComsTrac, CellXion, Cobham, and Domo Tactical Communications (DTC). Many of these companies sell IMSI-catchers. IMSI-catchers, sometimes known as “Stingrays” after a particularly popular brand, are fake cell phone towers which force devices in their proximity to connect. In the data obtained by Motherboard, 33 licenses are explicitly marked as being for IMSI-catchers, including for export to Turkey and Indonesia. Other listings heavily suggest the export of IMSI-catchers too: one granted application to export to Iraq is for a “Wideband Passive GSM Monitoring System,” which is a more technical description of what many IMSI-catchers do. In all, Motherboard received entries for 148 export license applications, from February 2015 to April 2016. A small number of the named companies do not provide interception capabilities, but defensive measures, for example to monitor the radio spectrum.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is anyone concerned that Men Die 5 Years earlier than Women? ( 1

BuckB writes: So many stories lately about Women's Equality Day, Breast Cancer, and even the best places to live (for women — answer, Hawaii). However, there really are no headlines, stories, or even articles about men's mortality rates. Do people not know, not care, or just accept it as a fact that men, for example, die seven years before women in the idolized Hawaii or ridiculed DC?

Alphabet's Nest Wants to Build a 'Citizen-Fueled' Power Plant ( 150

Mark Chediak, reporting for Bloomberg:Alphabet Inc's Nest Labs is looking to enlist enough customers in California to free up as much power as a small natural gas-fired plant produces, helping alleviate potential energy shortages in the region following a massive gas leak that has restricted supplies. Nest, which supplies digital, wireless thermostats, is partnering with Edison International's Southern California Edison utility to get households enrolled in a state-established energy conservation program. The company wants to attract 50,000 customers through next summer that could shrink their total demand by as much as 50 megawatts when needed, Ben Bixby, Nest's director of energy businesses at Nest, said by phone. "We are building a citizen-fueled clean power plant," he said.

Submission + - FBI Files Say China Firm Pushed U.S. Experts for Nuclear Secrets (

mdsolar writes: A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the U.S. pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose — and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI.
Summaries of the consultants’ interviews with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were filed this month in a federal court where the company, China General Nuclear Power Corp., has been charged with conspiring to steal nuclear technology.
The FBI documents surfaced shortly after the same company became a focus of concerns across the Atlantic: The U.K. last month delayed approval of the country’s biggest nuclear power station in a generation as questions swirled about whether China General Nuclear’s investment in the plant poses a security risk.

The filings provide a window into the tactics of CGN, China’s biggest nuclear power operator. One of the consultants said CGN employees asked for off-limits operational manuals to nuclear equipment and software, according to the interview summaries. Another said he was asked to provide proprietary temperature settings for material used to contain nuclear fuel. After he refused, he wasn’t offered more consulting jobs, he told the FBI.
Employees of CGN “frequently asked for documents which were proprietary or limited to restricted access,” according to a summary of one interview. In several instances, the company got what it wanted, according to the FBI documents.

Submission + - Google Fiber reportedly told to cut half its staff to offset subscriber shortfal (

walterbyrd writes: Alphabet CEO Larry Page is not happy with the speed of Google Fiber's rollout and last month told the unit's chief Craig Barratt to halve the unit's headcount to 500 and cut costs, sources told The Information.
Yet for all the costs sunk into Google Fiber, the service only had around 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2014, according to The Information, a figure that is well short of the five million hoped for within five years.

Submission + - Microsoft Bing uses Wikipedia (globally editable) data

RockDoctor writes: Though they're trying to minimise it, the recent relocation of Melbourne Australia to the ocean east of Japan in Microsoft's flagship mapping application is blamed on someone having flipped a sign in the latitude given for the city's Wikipedia page. Which may or may not be true. But the simple stupidity of using a globally-editable data source for feeding a mapping and navigation system is ... "awesome" is (for once) an appropriate word.

Well, it''s Bing, so at least no-one was actually using it.

Comment Re:I hope.... (Score 1) 88

Sorry I missed your Query. Yes the NSA, the poorly named "National Security Agency".

Where to even begin. First of all, they spy on us, and when unable to do so legally, farm it out to external resources who can. This is a clear violation of privacy rights, but more than that, has a chilling effect on free speech.

They know about software flaws that put us at risk to abuse by third parties, yet keep those hidden so that people like them can abuse those flaws to gain unauthorized access to private information and infrastructure.

They are the enemies of any person who cares about liberty and the abuse of power by individuals with deep pockets.

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