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Comment Re:How about affordable care? (Score 1) 578

Ah, I see you have looked at the space but never followed a drug all the way. It's crony capitalism everywhere, the governments pick winners, and the difference is whether you get to book the bribe as a legitimate business expense or not, and whether you bribe the regulatory body in the form of a service fee, or follow the Olympic Organizing Committee model and just pay to send the decisionmaker's kids to college.

The regulatory bodies over most of the world accept each others' study results. The EU countries are obvious, but Sweden, non-EU former-Soviet states, and the rest of the planet (the ones that have regulatory agencies) all accept a double-blind standard.

It's the FDA that mandates tests that deviate from the standard everybody follows. So the tests need to be re-done. And CFR 18 Rule 21 compliance issues are also incompatible with the EU electronic signature for research records directive, meaning double-entry is forced there as well.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 578

First off, most governments tightly control the information on the efficacy of their programs. It's a shell game of accounting games, and it's really really hard to tell what's happening. Remember, nobody actually regulates the government, so other than saying "transparency" a lot, there is little else related to transparency happening.

In those governments that are moderately open, systems the ACA was modeled on was the worst financial performer. Regulatory realities intervene, so the US can't really have a system like Canada's since the US federalism and it's limits are more like Germany's, and they solved this problem in 1880 because they had a universally popular chancellor.

The most positive light on the ACA is that it's a very large body of horrible laws overlaid on horrible laws governing a broken system - the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but still. I can't even move six blocks to the north of where I do now and not have to change health insurance providers. Seriously.

American Exceptionalism: Doing what everybody else on the planet discarded as unworkable, and expecting a different outcome.

Comment Insurance went from $290 to $690, why stay in US? (Score 1) 578

I have kept my family self-insured for years because I contracted, kicked off and sold start-ups. With a pre-existing condition (PTSD, and also the most horrible, needing Zyrtec for allergies) made getting self insurance pretty darn difficult even on plans that exempted mental health. Yes, I heard "we don't cover mental health, but underwriting has declined coverage because of your PTSD."

Fast forward to now: My family of four was PPO insured for $296 a month, $10,000 oop max $5,000 oop individual max, 20% co-pay, free kids' preventive care. It didn't cover maternity (I'm snipped dag-nammit) nor pediatric dental, but in all other aspects exceeded the ACA "Bronze" level plan.

But it was a direct plan. Insurance (CareFirst/BCBS) company cancels group.

Replacement: $690 was the lowest cost plan at the "Bronze" level PPO, which gives us $13900 oop max, $7000 oop individual max, 25 or 30% copay, no included kids' preventive care or immunizations, it rolls in with everything else. We do get maternity. And I get to pay for kids' dental TWICE, since dental insurance is either a family package or per individual.

So basically I get to pay almost $5000 per year more for less. My aggregate income tax rate where I live now 39%. Some places in Canada (okay, Alberta) are the same. California is much higher, with tax loads surpassing that of Germany.

So why should I bother kicking off another start-up here, or keep the ones I have running where they are?

I now pay the same, still get bills for medical services rendered six months ago stamped "overdue" from 4 different providers for a single doctor's visit, and get to sort the mess out all on my own. The ACA threw most self-insured people under the bus - "but hey, no pre-existing conditions anymore, so you get to pay the same as a smoker twice your age with asthma!"

Submission + - Russian Firm Claims Wi-Fi Chips in Chinese Irons and Kettles (

hol writes: Russian news agency Rosbalt reports (BBC article linked to, Stern in Germany picked this up too) that they have found chips inside Chinese-made kettles and irons that attack Wi-Fi networks they detect, and try to infect devices connected to unprotected Wi-Fi networks. They even have a live video of a techie disassembling a device and showing the chip.

Apparently these types of chips have been found in dashboard cameras and digital cameras.

Comment Clear Mission != Fishing Expedition (Score 1) 187

Most libertarians have no problem with drones - they're cheaper to operate than manned aerial vehicles, and have a lot more on-station time. Nobody will argue with drones being sent to find someone lost in the woods.

The problem arises when drones are "on patrol" with narrowband radar looking into houses on fishing expeditions. And so the question remains - what appropriate checks and balances exist search with court permission?

Comment Re:ThinkPads (Score 1) 708

T420, gen 2 i5 processor, base model except for the high res screen. It's fast, quiet, and has long battery life. And it can be found for under $800 with 4 GB of RAM and a pretty fast 320 gb hdd.

Running Ubuntu 11.04 and now 11.10 on it, no issues at all. Battery life on the stock kernels is about 4 hours for just typing and surfing.

The version of X that shipped with 11.04 did have the intel GMA system hang issue, but it was rare, and could be reduced even further by setting i915.semaphores=1 on the kernel command line. 11.10 does not have an issue, with or without that setting though.

Submission + - UK DMCA Effectively Bans Public Wi-Fi (

hol writes: One of the effects of the UK's DMCA equivalent being discussed is that effectively makes anyone providing free Wi-Fi an ISP, and so liable for pirated/otherwise illegal content being downloaded. Most coffee shops and the like can't afford the filtering software and systems to run them, which basically forces them to close the service.

Comment Even less effective than street level cameras? (Score 4, Insightful) 390

Well, I guess this had to happen. Full fail for street level cameras for billions, so the only option left is to go full retard.

One cannot even argue that this is a responsible use of public funds:

Of course, tourist photos must be deleted though, you know, in the name of public safety. Where is the "shake my head in disbelief" animated icon again?

Comment How can you be convicted of breaking a secret law? (Score 4, Interesting) 775

This sounds tongue-in-cheek, but is really a serious question. On one hand, you have the notion of ignorance is no excuse although there are precedents now stating if you're famous, that's okay. There are precedents for secret treatises for national security, like the withdrawal of missiles from Turkey at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But how would the mechanics of enforcement work?

Will the FBI kick in your door, shoot your dog, and haul you off for breaking a secret law?

Would they need a secret warrant?

If you ever got your day in court, would that court be secret too, to protect that law?


Now for Canada: A judge last year tossed out a RIAA style copyright suit because the defendant had made CDs. As everyone knows, Canada has a special tax on blank media to reimburse the copyright holders for piracy that may or may not happen. Kind of like paying a partial speeding ticket before you get into your car each day. Since this implies guilt, the defendant was deemed to have been punished already, and was so exempt from being convicted again.

How would the secret treaty work in Canada? Change the laws secretly?

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