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Comment Re:Mandate reporting when antibiotics are prescrib (Score 1) 75

Yes. But we need to be aware that man is not the only source of antibiotics. They naturally occur. We get a good lot of them from plants and bacteria, starting of course with penicilin which we got from mold, and which was already present on salted food and damp environments. What we did was to make antibiotics present in organisms other than their natural sources.

Comment Everything Old is New Again (Score 2) 75

The Andromeda Strain was published in 1969.

The United States has some disease reporting, it started at least 75 years ago before the antibiotic bubble. This CDC Report summarizes the present state of disease reporting, in two pages. We need higher standards of reporting and legal penalties for failure to report.

Comment Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 414

Which of the socialisms was Orwell advocating?

The cited text (Lion & Unicorn) would explain better than I could hope.

From the point of view of Marxism (and I'm obviously not a Marxist) neither of the situations you describe are socialism. The first, I believe would be dismissed as "primitive communalism." The second seems to be a self-defeatingly histrionic* description welfare state ideology. It is a common these days to confuse the welfare state with socialism. Historically, however, the modern welfare state was the invention of conservatives (esp of Otto von Bismarck) and was explicitly an anti-socialist measure. It is an accident of history that the welfare state has become associated with nominally 'socialist' parties (long after the imminent threat of a socialist takeover faded, rendering the welfare state no longer necessary to conservative purposes).

Marxists view socialism as a "transitional state," as a the final form of state power on the path to their utopian (though Marxists would object strenuously to that term) vision of stateless communism. The famous motto "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" which is meant to characterise communism is matched by the starker motto of socialism, "to each according to their contribution" (if memory serves me both come from Marx' Critique of the Gotha Programme). The idea was that the proletariat as the "universal class" (a imho mystical conception Marx inherited from the conservative philosopher Hegel who regard the bureaucracy as the universal class) would set up a self dissolving "dictatorship" in which the fruits of production would be shared only by those whose labour brought them into being. That is the owners of factories etc (the means of production) would be dispossed. Socialism then is most easily defined as the state ownership of the means of production as a path to the eventual state self-elimination which was to be communism. [Note that no country under Communist Party rule has ever claimed to be communist. They did claim to be socialist]

And that was their "scientific" socialism which they distinguished from "utopian" socialism!

But actually my main point was, notwithstanding the dig at the Soviet system, in 1984 Orwell was not so much describing a dictatorship of any political colour, but rather showing a state whose purpose served no ideological agenda at all, other than the exercise of power for powers sake. It is a very worthwhile read.

[*It is more persuasive to define a system first and then go on to show how aspects of that system ineluctably lead to poor outcomes rather than over-obviously writing the untoward outcomes into the very definition. Just an idea if ever you want a good essay mark.]

Comment Re:Well that's terrifying (Score 1) 414

To a free man it's not valid

To such a "free man" 7 need not be a prime number either.

... violates the first principle of human rights.

And the canonical example of what might constitute a "valid law" of the English Parliament, namely that "all blue-eyed babies be put to death" doesn't?! *

Prohibition was "duly enacted" in the US, too, but it was a stupid, ill-advised, and evil power trip.

It may well have been stupid, ill-advised and an evil power trip. It was nonetheless, as a matter of mere fact, a valid law. After all, Prohibition was repealed rather than being struck down.

[*Besides which, those so-called "human rights" which are actual rights rather than aspirations, are simply called "rights"]

Submission + - How to View the SpaceX Falcon 9 Return to Flight at Vandenberg Air Force Base (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: Silicon Valley folks should, sometime, take the opportunity to view a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Lompoc is 4-5 hours from the Bay, 2.5 hours from LA if there's ever no traffic. An upcoming SpaceX launch is notable because it's their return to flight, months after their last attempt blew up on the pad during a pre-launch test. Read how to view the launch.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Eich resigned because of external pressure on the Mozilla organization. I hear that one of the lobbying activities against him was when the dating site "OK Cupid" started informing Firefox users who accessed the site of Eich's activities and that they should download a browser made by people who don't nominate someone with gender discrimination issues to be their CEO. At the time, 8% of OK Cupid customers were there to arrange same-gender meetings.

They felt he was the public face of the company.

Russ Nelson published a piece on what he theorized was the economic motivation of Blacks to be lazy, and was booted off of the Open Source Initiative board. He wasn't thinking about how it would be perceived. A modified version of the piece is still online, but not the version that got him in trouble. In general, executives are seen as the public faces of their organizations even in the case of Nelson, who was not the chairman of the board, but was simply a member of the executive board. In Nelson's case, it wasn't that he made publicity appearances and press releases, it was that he was one of the people with the power to direct the company (and thus a more real face of the company than soneone who just does PR), and folks did not trust that someone who wrote what he did would behave as they would like in that position.

Comment Re:What's the big deal? (Score 2, Insightful) 250

Playboy departed the nude photo market due to the vast and unending supply of photos and video of all manner of naked people doing sexual things which one can access via the Internet.

However, one can make a case that a good deal of the past content of Playboy was about objectifying women and to some extent the publication still is about that.

It was a dumb decision. Several people just weren't thinking. They're embarrassed now. They learned, and won't do it again.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

It was only 1967 when the United States Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, a miscegenation case. Preventing blacks and whites from marrying, as the State of Virginia (and many others) did with laws on its books until it was forced to remove them in 1967, is an issue of racism, nothing else. One doesn't have to be thin skinned to be disgusted by racism.

Why should I feel any different about gender discrminiation? Texas had a law on the book making homosexual relations illegal in 1998, and two men were arrested for it and similarly to Loving, helped to strike it down in the courts. Marriage discrimination is yet another legal wall erected by the prejudiced. Doesn't take a thin skin at all to oppose it and its supporters.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Because you are an end-user and not an investor in these companies, you might actually think the public face of the companies is a logo or a trademark rather than a human being. Perhaps you think the public face of McDonalds is Ronald McDonald! Or that Sprint's used to be that actor who portrayed a technician. But this naiveté is not shared by the people who are the target audience for the public face that the CEO's appearances and quotations produce. AMD has people to handle the guy who once plugged one of their CPUs into a motherboard. The public face nurtured by the CEO is reserved for investors and business relationships, government, and corporate citizenship. These are all areas in which a decision made outside of the company can have great impact on the company. And so, if you go on the company site, you will see the CEO quoted in the press releases related to those items. At trade shows, you will see these CEOs as keynotes. I am heading for CES in January, where many CEOs you've never heard of who run large tech companies will be speaking, and there will be full halls of their eager target audiences.

Don't you think it might be self-centered to assume someone's not the public face of the company because you don't know who they are?

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