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Comment Re:Illegal (Score 5, Informative) 182

People don't realise how costly monopolies are. I work for a UK hospital, and have worked in the department that's responsible for purchasing all of the medicines the hospital uses. We have an online system that tells us for any given drug that generic A is the cheapest at £0.50 per box, generic B is £0.60, generic C is £1.00 per box and generic D is £5.00 per box. If every hospital buys generic A's levothyroxine, then generics B, C and D will just stop producing this medicine, because there's no market for it - and then if generic A wants to charge £20.00 per box, they can, because they have no competition to bring the prices down and the hospitals need to buy levothyroxine.

So instead, the hospitals are grouped into purchasing regions, and one region will buy generic A's levothyroxine, one will buy generic B, and one will buy generic C. (Generic D doesn't get a look-in because its prices are considered unreasonably high). The hospitals that were made to buy the more expensive levothyroxine will then be told to purchase the cheapest simvastatin, and the middling-cheapest flucloxacillin (while the people who bought the cheap levothyroxine will buy the more expensive flucloxacillin), so no region is out-of-pocket overall.

And yet, when I've mentioned this to people, they seem to think this is unnecessary, and all the hospitals should just buy the cheapest version of every medication. Here's what happens when a company is given a monopoly and decides not to play nicely with its customers:

Comment This summary is unhelpful. (Score 4, Informative) 110

The significant parts of this discovery are:

- a noble gas has been found in space (this confirmed people's expectations that argon-36 could be found as part of a supernova, even though argon-40 is much more common on Earth - note that argon-36 is also available on Earth, just in smaller quantities, it's not a new isotope)
- a noble gas molecule has been found in space (previously, argon compounds were only detected following Earth-based lab experiments)

The significant part of this discovery is not:

- that a noble gas can form a compound. Argon has had known compounds since 2003. Xenon has had known compounds since 1962, some of which are even stable at normal room temperature/pressure.

Comment Re:Why such a high bill? (Score 1) 192

It's funny - when I took a preformulation class (drug crystallisation and compounding, etc) the lecturer gave us a list of library books he thought we might find useful. No pressure. One of my friends picked one fairly low down on the list, and we discovered, to our surprise, that the lecturer had actually co-authored that one. He'd barely encouraged us to read it, let alone buy it.

Comment Why such a high bill? (Score 1) 192

I graduated from university in the UK in 2012. Over my entire time at university I bought the following textbooks:
An organic chemistry textbook (£5)
A physiology textbook (£35)
A cell biology textbook (£25)
A BNF (£5)
Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (£40)
A spectroscopic analysis textbook (£5)

This adds up to £115, or about $170. I then sold most of these books on to other students and made a lot of this back.

Some students also bought:
A law and ethics textbook (£20)
A maths for pharmacists textbook (£20)

Which gives a final total of £155, or about $225, spread over four years and assuming that students sold none of their books (in reality, almost everyone had sold most of their textbooks by the end of the course).

Any other books we needed were either provided free of charge (for example, higher years could have the university's old editions of the BNF each time they went out of date) or were available from the library/in ebook format.

Why do American students have such gigantic textbook bills?

Comment Re:Sugar (Score 1) 926

A glass of fruit juice is every bit as bad, and does the same liver damage, as a shot of whiskey.

So fruit juice causes ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, deranged clotting (don't point to a warfarin interaction here, I mean independent increases in clotting time), hepatic flap, Korsakoff's psychosis and fatty liver disease? I would really like to see some citations on that one.

Comment Re:Are high school girls not normal users? (Score 3, Informative) 283

I actually went to this school when I was younger (so I was pretty surprised to see it appear on Slashdot!), and was very interested in this article because when I was there, we were given a very good IT education - in MS Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint and Frontpage (plus, er, PageMaker).

Anyway, I think there are a few reasons why this userbase might adapt to Linux better than a random selection of people:
1. Their age - while a lot of older people are extremely reluctant to just try something on a computer, for fear of breaking it, people who've grown up with computers as the norm aren't so worried about that. So I think they're less likely to be intimidated by a new interface, and more likely to engage with customising it.

1a. You would also probably get less resistance from them than from a worker who's been using MS Office every single day for the past 20 years and is extremely familiar with it and therefore works very, very quickly. Swapping their software over will result in an immediate productivity drop and could cost a company money. Swapping a 12-year-old's software over is a minor annoyance.

2. It's a science and engineering school, so a number of the girls who have chosen to go there will have a bigger interest in technology than the average population of the area. (There are other schools of a similar academic standard locally with different specialisms and this does guide some students' school preferences.)

3. The school is academically selective, so you have a better chance of being able to teach the students how to adapt to different systems (swapping between Linux and Windows when a workplace requires it, for example). In an average population you will confuse a lot of people just because the blue "e" they click to go on the Internet has disappeared.

Comment Re:Fat Hatred (Score 1) 446

Oh come on, don't blame CFS for being overweight. The last CFS group I attended, there was only one overweight person there. They aren't correlated. Okay, we can't exercise as much - but we can control our calorie intake as easily as anyone else, and food intake is more strongly linked with obesity than lack of exercise (since few people exercise enough to burn a substantial amount of calories).

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