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Comment Re:Skeptical or terrified? (Score 1) 110

Your reply wasn't clear enough, but you may have been thinking that I was comparing GE to a startup. The startup that I was working for was a quasi-independent entity within GE, but it was using surplus cycles on a large network of Fujitsu mainframes. This was somewhat pre-Internet, and the actual model was CompuServe, which is already enough to discredit the entrepreneurial claim. Rather GE was just trying to claim a piece of the pie, and at that time no one (especially not at GE) understood how the pie was going to explode into the Internet.

If your comment is primarily about the original article, then I think we are in agreement. They (GE's managers) want the atmosphere of a startup, but without the risk, which is an unsolvable paradox (IMNSHO). The best approximation is to partition the company into small cells and accept that some of them will die. However, once that becomes institutionalized, the companies still seem to lose their entrepreneurial spirit. The chaos element is apparently necessary, but big companies (like GE) are allergic to chaos.

Comment Re: Skeptical or terrified? (Score 1) 110

Who are you talking to?

Whenever I see a comment like that from a low ID I speculate that the actual person passed away or otherwise abandoned slashdot and the account has been hacked for residual credibility.

In solution form, there should be a text analysis tool to assess when the tone of posts has changed enough to indicate a hacked account. Part of a broader security system?

Comment Ranked voting, please! (Score 1) 583

This might require considerable effort to get the GUI usable, but I think it'd be highly worthwhile to migrate polls to a non-plurality system involving ranking each item. Ideally, this would involve drag-and-drop of items into a final ranked list (favorite at the top, least favorite at the bottom) and then use a Condorcet method such as the Schulze method (as used by Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, FSFe, ...).

I think this would strongly benefit even polls like this one, where it's not as much "preference" as it is choosing what is most representative of your computing. Doubly if the poll's options were designed with that in mind. So, keeping it limited at 8 options (which seems like a sane number to me, btw), the current {BSD, deb, rpm, os x, solaris, win7+, older win, other} might become {deb, rpm, other free *nix, non-free *nix (OS X, solaris), win7+, older win, other free, other nonfree}, allowing people to better bucketize their responses, e.g. a Mint user might say deb, other free *nix, rpm, other free, non-free *nix, and then some arrangement of the remaining options.

This brings us to the question of how to deal with equals. Condorcet methods like Schulze don't facilitate such things (they need a winner for each pair of options for each voter), but it might be too much to ask people who e.g. don't care about non-free OSes to actually rank them; maybe they can just be randomized? You'll want a randomized listing of the options anyway (regardless of whether you have ranked voting, randomized poll options are essential for ensuring a sound experimental design ... though this may screw with polls designed to be read in a particular order, insert shed tear for CowboyNeal here), so if a user's less desired options are just left in whatever order they remain in after dragging the preferred options to the top, you get this by default, without any hidden randomization.

Let's come back to this poll and its groups; Win7+ is winning at 33%, but deb (27%) + rpm (7%) is tied at 32% (I assume ~2% error). If this were a ranked vote, even the simpler instant runoff format, we'd probably see Linux "win" unless there are enough flamers out there that e.g. despise RPM enough to promote Windows higher.

I'd particularly like to see what slashdotters would do with a ranked vote of the US presidential candidates (to compare with the plurality version run last month), though I also think that about most polls here (even e.g. vi/emacs/other given how many "others" there are).

(See also this older proposal for ranked voting and this example of the flaws in each voting method, which has a toy election in which each candidate wins with a different voting method.)

Comment Re:Marketing, not monopoly (Score 1) 383

Maybe you should look at that a bit. Also, you may want to actually find out how Medicare and Medicaid work.

Medicare pays for nearly all drugs, generic or brand name. The catch is that Medicare pays what it wants, not what the companies charge. Epinephrine (the drug used in EpiPen) is a generic. The delivery mechanism (the pen) is a device with a separate set of rules. The competition in the market is about the pens, not the drug.

Medicaid has formularies that are managed by plan (i.e. by local committees or a company running a plan). Not all drugs/devices end up on the formularies. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is people asking for brand names (i.e. "My patient needs an EpiPen." rather than "My patient needs an epinephrine auto-injector.") Depending on your local plan, Medicaid may (North Carolina) or may not (Colorado) include an alternative to "EpiPen".

So, yes. "Medicaid" does have a generic alternative to "EpiPen", you just may not be able to get it where you are.

Now, I pointed out in my original post that a simple Google search would find this information for you. It is telling that the "EpiPen" brand is so strong that people (you, for example) continue to assume a real monopoly even when told how to prove to yourself that this is not true.

Submission + - Proposed "Startup Visa" to Allow Entrepreneurs to Stay in US for 5 Years (

speedplane writes: New York Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security has proposed a new visa that would would permit startup entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for up to five years. The new regulation requires entrepreneurs to have a 15% stake in a company founded in the last 3 years and at least $345k investment from an established U.S. investor (so your rich uncle can't just buy you a visa). While clearly targeted towards the tech industry, the proposed regulation is not limited to tech. The regulation also does not require congressional approval, so after a 45 day comment period, this piece of immigration policy is expected to be implemented.

Submission + - Mediterranean diet better for the heart than taking statins, major study suggest (

An anonymous reader writes: A Mediterranean diet could be better than statins at reducing the risk of an early death for millions of Britons, research suggests.

Leading heart experts said patients should be prescribed the diet — rich in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and olive oil — before being put on drugs.

In the first major study to look at the impact of the Med diet on survival of heart patients, experts found it cut the chances of early death by 37 per cent.

Previous research has found just taking statins cuts mortality by 18 per cent. Experts said the figures were not directly comparable, and that many heart patients could get maximum benefit by doing both.

Comment Skeptical or terrified? (Score 3, Insightful) 110

Many years ago I worked for a startup subsidiary of GE and I was not impressed with the management style. I don't think it's just sour grapes due to my being pushed out the door, because the entire subsidiary died a couple of years later. Some kind of Internet thing. Of course it was doomed, eh?

Then again, after reading Jack Welch's book, I think there are grounds for concern. If GE is still as he made it in his image, then it's a dangerous and sociopathic entity. If it were an actual human being, then it is probable that we would all be dead now. Shades of the vicious ASI (artificial super-intelligence) in Our Final Invention (My quasi-review at as of last week?) No respect for your humanity after GE gets enough IoT devices into the market, and they still design lots of devices for the Chinese to build. Of course the Chinese involvement creates another layer of concern.

We need an economic system that rethinks things in terms of freedom. Cf my sig, eh?

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