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Comment Re: Libertarian free market leads to feudalism? (Score 1) 554

in real, every-day practice, libertarianism in the U.S. is about property rights, not personal freedom. Individual libertarians will cast aspersions on particular laws centered on codifiying personal speech and actions that they individually don't find objectionable, but are generally silent about government regulating the actions they do find objectionable. What libertarians focus on as a political group are property rights and business/tax regulation.

Comment Re:if you take the money out of marketing (Score 1) 263

If they used a robocaller it would annoy people (it's what robocallers do best) and they would end up resenting their pharmacy and their scrip. The study just told the public what the pharma companies had already known (and utilized) for years. I'm all for better and tighter regulation of the Pharma industry, but I don't see a way of replacing the profit motive with pure benevolence.

Comment Re:Allow only 10 patents per year (Score 1) 263

furthermore, applying the rule of "you can't patent an algorithm" would rule out patents on genetic tests. The technology necessary for doing the sequencing or other identification (SNP, etc) has been in the public domain for years. The patents really only cover using that public domain tech to generate data and then checking the data against a database of alleles known to have medical implications - i.e., an algorithm.

Comment if you take the money out of marketing (Score 2, Insightful) 263

you sell less drugs, and there's less money for R&D. Pharma doesn't spend money on marketing unless it generates more revenue than it costs: they have the guys with calculators to figure that out. Spending money on buying back shares, private jets, or buying out Sirtris: yeah, that hurts R&D. Marketing the drugs to people who shouldn't be taking them (Vioxx) and then losing 3x as much in the inevitable lawsuits: yeah, that hurts R&D. Someone did a study a while back, and found that the biggest effect that direct to consumer advertising of drugs had on sales wasn't to get people to bug their doctors to write them a scrip, it was in reminding people to refill the prescriptions they already had.

Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

Comment Re:Understanding dose-response (Score 1) 251

questions for you: Does BPA get whizzed out pretty quickly, or does the liver get a chance to turn it into all sorts of other nasty stuff first? If a baby mouse is dosed with BPA, is it still in its system when it hits puberty? As opposed to drinking soda, how about people (adults, hopefully) who work with epoxy? Epoxy generally starts as two liquids you mix together, one of them is generally practically pure BPA or a related compound. Would skin exposure be an issue - likesay molding that JB weld using your hands? Or dripping the stuff while you're doing the 'glassing' step of making fiberglass? How about inhalation of partly cured epoxy sanding dust? Inquiring surf board makers want to know. (this one wears gloves, a respirator, long sleeves, etc)

Comment Re:Bad Feeling (Score 1) 249

I'd say that the pharma industry is no more corrupt than any other regulated industry - it's just that pharma corruption is so much more asinine. Also, the reason pharma companies do marketing directly to consumers: it works. People see the ads and actually do pester their doctors about getting switched to the spiffy new medicine they saw on TV. There's also a more subtle reason: according to a marketing study I read about, the ads remind people to take their pills and then buy more.

Comment Re: coasting in neutral vs coasting in gear (Score 1) 1234

well, the 'puter in my Mazda puts me at ~ 70 mpg when coasting in neutral at 20 mph, and something similar when in gear. At 65 mph that would put me at over 200 mpg for neutral(the 'puter goes offscale at 99mpg). If I was driving over mountain passes each day it might be worth it to figure out which is more efficient, but for normal commuting the difference in fuel consumption will be negligable. It's all burned while accelerating/maintaining speed, not while coasting and braking. If I coast for 2 miles a day in neutral at an average of 100mpg, vs the engine burning NO gas at all for those same miles it would save me all of 7 gallons a year. A new clutch will cost me close to a grand, putting extra wear on it to save 20 or 40 dollars a year is penny wise/pound foolish. For braking moderately I let the engine brake the car til the rpms get low, then just take it out of gear. I'm not sure about shifting at lower RPMs either. It means shifting well below the torque peak when your engine is not at its most efficient for accelerating. You end up having to put your foot down further to accelerate at all, and then you have to keep it there longer to get up to speed. The 'puter says I do better when I use a lighter foot and stay in a lower gear a bit longer, shifting in the high 2000's rather than the low 2000's (2.3l 4 cyl, 5sp manual). It might be more applicable if you're driving 6+cylinders.

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