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Comment Re:For very specific hard to reach areas (Score 2) 44

There's a reason I likened drone pollution to light pollution - around population centers, there's now going to be this cloud of moderate density drone traffic. Doesn't affect "remote rural areas" where population density is low, you won't notice it in highly urban areas because they are already light and noise polluted beyond notice.

It's the type of thing that you probably won't notice unless you want to enjoy the scenery in some particular way that isn't really accounted for by the commercial drone users - just like light pollution makes it just a bit hard to stargaze.

Comment Re:these new companies trying to get around old la (Score 1) 253

You do know that dealers don't make money on new car sales, right? They make it on used car sales and service. Ever price out basic maintenance at a dealer? Or major maintenance?

Fact of the matter is, Tesla could have chosen to go through dealers, and they didn't - I wouldn't say this was wholly altruistic, either. In some ways direct sales are good, in others they aren't.

Comment Re:Epipen cost: $30, regulatory costs: $30 mil+ (Score 1) 325

Ya know, we got on fine without epipens so long as people had the notion that they were at least somewhat responsible for dealing with their own shit. Naturally a market where epipens are much more profitable prefers that people are too helpless to use a needle and syringe.

As to diverting to drug users -- anyone can order bulk needles/syringes from any veterinary supply house, and they are cheap, around $20/100 (and if you buy Monoject brand, they can last for years -- I actually have some over 40 years old and still good). You can also get boxfuls of the tiny ones for insulin OTC at Costco and probably elsewhere (I believe in every state but New York, which requires a Certificate of Need).

As to shelf life, as I said I used to keep epi on hand (when I lived in rattlesnake and nasty-bees country and frequently had to dose a bitten/stung dog) but I found from direct experience that the stale date was to be believed; a month or so later the stuff was no good, and it was stored in a dark fridge. Because of that it wound up mostly wasted, and I gave it up in favor of keeping atropine on hand, which for the purpose works about as well -- and keeps a lot longer. (The current bottle is stale-dated 1991 and still works as good as new.)

Manufacturing processes vary a lot, tho. I haven't read up on epi but I have on LT4, and there the shelf life varies from 6 months to 3 years depending on the tablet binder -- but I have seen some that was no good right off the shelf (the reference brand, no less), and another that was still good 25 years later (and a B-rated generic at that). If that mfgr did the testing on that latter batch... well, the results wouldn't reflect anyone else's product, let alone typical reality. May also depend on the mfgr'ing fail rate (again, dunno about epi, but for LT4 the recall rate is ~50%).

I wonder how many "needs a 2nd dose" were actually cases where the potency had silently and prematurely faded. AFAIK there's no good way to test that with a dose in the field, other than "it didn't work". With some drugs (eg. oxytocin) you can use it a long time after the stale date, you just have to double or triple the dosage to account for lost potency.

Comment Re:Epipen cost: $30, regulatory costs: $30 mil+ (Score 1) 325

Why go to all that bother? single-use needle-and-syringes are available anywhere for about 30 cents each. If your life depends on it, you can bloody well take five minutes to learn how to use it.

Also, yes, epi DOES go bad -- I used to keep it on hand, and I found it rather reliably goes bad about a month after the stale date. It may not change color either.

Comment Re:Epipen cost: $30, regulatory costs: $30 mil+ (Score 1) 325

If "getting the wrong dose" is a problem, provide syringes only in the correct size for a single dose. After that, as you say any idiot can learn to do it. And if someone's life depends on it, well, if they're unwilling to learn something so manifestly simple, maybe they have different problems.

Further, veterinary epinephrine is the same damn thing. It's about 50 cents per cc at 1:1000. (Obey the stale date, it does not keep well.) Goes to show what the stuff actually costs.

Comment Re:Will automated cars lift or stiffle the poor (Score 2) 239

All those previous things you mentioned were technologies that greatly increased productivity - that is, they produced greatly more output with less input, so they had a significant effect of reducing cost of pretty much everything. This meant the temporary effects of job transitions were not as harsh, because there was an environment of increased standard of living.

We aren't in a world like that any more - technology is not passing the results of increased productivity on to higher standards of living at the same rate to the people whose jobs got displaced* so the transient effect of disruptive technology is going to be more severe.

*This is important - yes, people in "third world" countries are having their standards of living increased rapidly, but this is now at the expense of standard of living of people in the highly-developed nations. We just got out of a strange century or so where people were gaining standard of living without reducing others' standards of living.

The potential for productivity increases for automated personal transport is low - we are so far along the curve of diminishing returns that it is costing society significant amounts for small gains in this industry, and when it comes to automotive safety, we are actually now probably spending more as a society (at least in the US) to eliminate one accident than that accident itself - even a fatal one - would cost society in terms of productivity.

Comment Re:bad inductor selection (Score 1) 196

I don't care what causes it, but it drives me nuts. I've had this on a Dell laptop (circa 2012) and on my current (2014) Macbook Pro. It's kind of terrible that this is now spreading to phones.

I'm more and more convinced that society hit a local peak in technology quality in about the 2000-2010 decade. I hope the next stage of improvement comes soon; even purely mechanical things are going downhill at the moment (the front panel of my 2-year-old dishwasher is detaching from the door frame; makes we want to go ask the person who designed and/or approved it would find that acceptable on their appliances).

Comment Re: Other than Brother... (Score 1) 386

I have an Epson Actionlaser that I found out too late plays the same game. When the cart runs out, the only way to replace it is not with a $50 toner cart, but with a $150 fuser assembly that includes the cart.

So when its first cart got tired (to be fair, that went about double its expected lifespan) the Epson got replaced by a couple of old HPLJs that I rescued from going to the landfill, and that take $30 aftermarket carts.

Comment Re:It's the Incentives, Stupid (Score 1) 536

It's not even as simple as just issues due to externalities - markets can fail all the time when there is incorrect or unequal information across all participants in the market. A market can also "fail" if the interested parties in the market are aiming for some effect other than what is perceived as a "success".

Put another way: markets are not magic and are inherently subject to "garbage in, garbage out."

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