The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

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idonno
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby idonno » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:31 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42308341

The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington's has been corrected ...


Not really corrected, but yet another palliative the patient takes for the rest of their life.

Not really saying that's bad, just pointing out that yet again they found palliative and not a cure. Ever notice that hardly anyone finds cures for anything?

Even that so-called haemophilia cure upthread, they're not sure how long it will last. Cynic in me says it won't last very long, because the drug companies would be losing profits on £100,000 treatment per year per patient.

Some people have a really strong incentive for the future to never arrive.

Do you have any reason to believe it should be anywhere near as easy to cure underlying issues as it it is to address the debilitating symptoms? Given the complexities that give rise to conditions like this, it seems incredibly unlikely that this would be the case. If this is not the case, you are witnessing what a reasonable person would expect to see and because it doesn't line up with what you desire, you blame the very people that are working hard to help others.
Drug companies have issues but I know scientists at both Dow and Eli Lilly and I can assure you that if the lack of cures is some deliberate conspiracy, someone has figured out a way to keep the scientists that are doing all of the research in the dark. Short of memory wiping tech, I'm not sure how anyone could accomplish that.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Liri » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:44 am UTC

I work in one of the top cystic fibrosis research center in the world (my lab does other lung and immune response work) and the people here don't have some ulterior motive stopping them from finding a cure. Around half are still practicing physicians and regularly see patients, most of them children. If there's anyone who wants to find a cure more than the people suffering from it and their families, it's the people I work with.

To keep things germane, yesterday I was at a talk where the speaker presented research from his lab. One of his PhD students took skin cells from a patient with CF, induced them to become pluripotent stem cells, corrected the mutant CFTR gene with CRISPR/Cas9, and based on the lab's prior research, induced the cells to differentiate into lung progenitor cells, and finally to develop alveolar spheres. All through timed additions and withdrawals of different developmental signaling proteins that the lab had worked out. Pretty friggin incredible.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm UTC

idonno wrote:Short of memory wiping tech, I'm not sure how anyone could accomplish that.
Oh, the irony, that the inventor of the memory-wiping tech is totally unaware of how it is being used!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:36 pm UTC

If they arn't holding back cures, and they most likely aren't, they are certainly setting the knife deep on pricing. The conspiracy is doing the same old thing over again slightly differently, and charging ever higher prices.

And for the crowd, while I'm sure a lot of Doctors are in it for the good of humanity, that doesn't mean they don't suffer from the same foibles as the rest of us.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby addams » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:14 pm UTC

Liri wrote:To keep things germane, yesterday I was at a talk where the speaker presented research from his lab. One of his PhD students took skin cells from a patient with CF, induced them to become pluripotent stem cells, corrected the mutant CFTR gene with CRISPR/Cas9, and based on the lab's prior research, induced the cells to differentiate into lung progenitor cells, and finally to develop alveolar spheres. All through timed additions and withdrawals of different developmental signaling proteins that the lab had worked out. Pretty friggin incredible.
oh...Yes!
That IS Pretty friggin incredible!

When I did that kind of work, fifteen years old was an old Cystic Fibrosis patient.
I have spoken to a 40 year old Cystic Fibrosis patient. (Double lung transplant)
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idonno
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby idonno » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:If they arn't holding back cures, and they most likely aren't, they are certainly setting the knife deep on pricing. The conspiracy is doing the same old thing over again slightly differently, and charging ever higher prices.

That may be the case with a lot of breakthroughs but it is certainly not the case here. They are trying to take a debilitating ultimately lethal condition and removed both the debilitation and death. That is by no means slight.

Also, small incremental discovery is the norm for science so the only real legitimate thing to complain about is prices which the researchers don't control.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:11 pm UTC

idonno wrote:They are trying to take a debilitating ultimately lethal condition and removed both the debilitation and death. That is by no means slight.
I don't disagree. And occasionally they perform miracles. My great niece has Turners Syndrome and they are fighting to keep her alive long enough to grow up. As I write this she is in for another round of surgeries to give her that chance of longer life. I'm thinking of calling her the Six Million Dollar 8 year old. One Kidney, and multiple surgeries to repair almost everything below her waist. She takes human growth hormone weekly or better. Genetic therapies could change her life.
idonno wrote:Also, small incremental discovery is the norm for science so the only real legitimate thing to complain about is prices which the researchers don't control.
Well it is the norm now. I don't know that I agree that it was always so. I suspect the big things like the Small Pox vaccine or the Polio vaccine spoiled us. But in any case researchers are part of the problem, irrespective of the who is in control. Research costs money. Researchers research things that can be funded. My opinion is that it is a corrupting process. I don't see a lot of researchers bailing on big pharma because of the way big pharma prices. Having said that I don't see another way for it to work either, so I grumble and bite my lip. But that is a tough thing to accept, and it makes people get angry and see things that aren't real, because the reality is pretty painful.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:24 pm UTC

I mean, the AIDS mortality rate basically fell off a cliff, and that went from a big super-fear, at least in some circles, to something that's still troublesome, but no longer in the same league.

We killed rabies pretty recently. Was a fear in literature and what not until fairly recently.

Shingles got a vaccine in 2005.

Nobody's withholding cures.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:10 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, the AIDS mortality rate basically fell off a cliff, and that went from a big super-fear, at least in some circles, to something that's still troublesome, but no longer in the same league.

We killed rabies pretty recently. Was a fear in literature and what not until fairly recently.

Shingles got a vaccine in 2005.

Nobody's withholding cures.

Except (anti)vaxxers. Fuck them. And the orphan drug pharmaceutical companies. That's blood money there.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:42 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: But in any case researchers are part of the problem, irrespective of the who is in control. Research costs money. Researchers research things that can be funded.
[...]
Having said that I don't see another way for it to work either
This is self contradictory. It's disingenuous to blame a party that is not in control for problems beyond its control.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:49 pm UTC

Orphan drug companies are more the fault of the patent office, and the fact that the US doesn't clamp down on the ripoff where pharmaceutical companies can sell the same drug overseas for literally pennies while selling for hundreds of dollars here. We could have more or less all but eliminated HIV in the US by offering every high risk individual (MSM, sex workers and addicts) Truvada, a pill that literally costs 20 cents a pill in South Africa (and the company still profits) but $50 in the US.

At least the patent will expire sometime in 2021. I mean, the cost of manufacturing is less than that of a clean needle, could basically use the same infrastructure as the needle exchange programs to provide the drug to heroin addicts.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:22 am UTC

ucim wrote:This is self contradictory. It's disingenuous to blame a party that is not in control for problems beyond its control.
You can always choose not to play. There is a cost to that of course, no research, not being able to make a living in what you have trained to do. It's always hard to find a place to make a stand, isn't it? Your morals or your family. I don't hold it against them, but please don't accuse me of committing doublespeak. Without their expertise big pharma would die. They have more control than I do.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:09 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:... a pill that literally costs 20 cents a pill in South Africa (and the company still profits) but $50 in the US.
... and who pays for the research to develop this pill, or the next one? And what happens to AIDS in South Africa? Is this another "America First" thing? Yeah, I get that $50 a pill is very expensive even in the US (multiply by how many pills are needed), but that's what health insurance is for. Oh yeah, never mind about that nowadays. I suspect that $50 a pill, heck, $50 a month is out of reach in South Africa. Also, disease is global - we have jet planes now - so curing it locally won't cut it.

Yeah, disease is horrible, and yeah, it's a crime to actually or effectively withhold a cheap cure if the research is already done. But somebody has to pony up for the research or there will be no more cures.

It would be nice if the money for research could come from a different source than profits from drug sales, so that the incentives are less perverse. Got any ideas for making that happen, especially post Trump?

morriswalters wrote:You can always choose not to play. There is a cost to that of course, no research, not being able to make a living in what you have trained to do.
It's the wrong stand to make. It's like blaming the waitress for the price of a meal, or blaming the mule for the quality of the wheat in the cart. Especially when you follow it with "Having said that I don't see another way for it to work either", in bold type even.

The blame lies not in the waitress or the mule or the researcher. It belongs (in part) to management, and in part to the idea that the sick should pay for their own care (and the hungry should pay for their own food...) But in any case, somebody has to pay for it.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:41 am UTC

ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:... a pill that literally costs 20 cents a pill in South Africa (and the company still profits) but $50 in the US.
... and who pays for the research to develop this pill, or the next one? And what happens to AIDS in South Africa? Is this another "America First" thing? Yeah, I get that $50 a pill is very expensive even in the US (multiply by how many pills are needed), but that's what health insurance is for. Oh yeah, never mind about that nowadays. I suspect that $50 a pill, heck, $50 a month is out of reach in South Africa. Also, disease is global - we have jet planes now - so curing it locally won't cut it.


1) Open up the books of any pharmaceutical company. Their R&D budgets are typically less than HALF of their marketing budget. "Oh sooo expensive to create drugs", give me a fucking break.
2) The public already does most of the research. The drug companies then purchase the research, do maybe one or two things, then claim it as their own. Only, you know, the research that's proven successful. So the public already eats most of the R&D cost, part of why the R&D budgets of the pharmaceuticals are so low.
3) Oh for fuck's sake, do you know who ends up paying for all the costs of health insurance? YOU. One way or the other. If the cost of insurance goes up, YOU pay it in the form of increased premiums.
4) If asking that the drug companies charge Americans the same price they charge everyone else is jingoistic, then call me the most xenophobic asshole you ever met, because I'm sick and tired of being charged up the ass for the same drugs that everyone else gets. The US has the most expensive health system in the world because the drug and medical companies are able to overcharge us so much, nevermind that per capita we are like, maybe number 10 in wealth. Hey, how about charging the Saudis, Lichtensteiners, etc more than the US? And if it's because America is paying for the fixed costs while everyone else is only paying variable costs, what does that say about the rest of the world?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:51 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:... a pill that literally costs 20 cents a pill in South Africa (and the company still profits) but $50 in the US.
... and who pays for the research to develop this pill, or the next one? And what happens to AIDS in South Africa? Is this another "America First" thing? Yeah, I get that $50 a pill is very expensive even in the US (multiply by how many pills are needed), but that's what health insurance is for. Oh yeah, never mind about that nowadays. I suspect that $50 a pill, heck, $50 a month is out of reach in South Africa. Also, disease is global - we have jet planes now - so curing it locally won't cut it.


1) Open up the books of any pharmaceutical company. Their R&D budgets are typically less than HALF of their marketing budget. "Oh sooo expensive to create drugs", give me a fucking break.
2) The public already does most of the research. The drug companies then purchase the research, do maybe one or two things, then claim it as their own. Only, you know, the research that's proven successful. So the public already eats most of the R&D cost, part of why the R&D budgets of the pharmaceuticals are so low.
3) Oh for fuck's sake, do you know who ends up paying for all the costs of health insurance? YOU. One way or the other. If the cost of insurance goes up, YOU pay it in the form of increased premiums.
4) If asking that the drug companies charge Americans the same price they charge everyone else is jingoistic, then call me the most xenophobic asshole you ever met, because I'm sick and tired of being charged up the ass for the same drugs that everyone else gets. The US has the most expensive health system in the world because the drug and medical companies are able to overcharge us so much, nevermind that per capita we are like, maybe number 10 in wealth. Hey, how about charging the Saudis, Lichtensteiners, etc more than the US? And if it's because America is paying for the fixed costs while everyone else is only paying variable costs, what does that say about the rest of the world?

While I agree with 4, do you have a citation for that? Surely someone has done a well reviewed study of this.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Leovan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:08 am UTC

My father used to work for a company designing and selling knee and hip replacements. The same product, designed and manufactured in Switzerland, cost 3k in Switzerland, 2k in Germany, and 5k in the US. The German state-run health insurance refused to pay more, and the US insurances basically said they don't care what it costs because they pass the costs on to the customer. In fact, it looks good for them because then they have less overhead in %. The customer in the US usually being companies which are relatively unlikely to jump ship after working out contracts with insurance companies for all their employees. Price elasticity in the US is relatively low, companies won't change insurer too often and the insured aren't directly affected by price increases or can't change insurance without footing the entire bill instead of just the part their employer leaves them. And the independent customers are used to not being able to afford it in the first place.
The American customers weren't used to pay R&D, they were just fleeced...

EDIT: Also doesn't help that to even get into the US market it took multiple people over a year full time to get FDA approval for a product that had been approved in most of the rest of the world for years, so all the tests were done, the product had been proven, and yet it still took a lot of effort. But then the US is a high margin market you do want to get into...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby addams » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:[1) Open up the books of any pharmaceutical company. Their R&D budgets are typically less than HALF of their marketing budget. "Oh sooo expensive to create drugs", give me a fucking break.
2) The public already does most of the research. The drug companies then purchase the research, do maybe one or two things, then claim it as their own. Only, you know, the research that's proven successful. So the public already eats most of the R&D cost, part of why the R&D budgets of the pharmaceuticals are so low.
I wanted to say That.
But, you did it faster and better.

THE R&D IS DONE BY Ph.D STUDENTS AND FACULTY!
AND!! NOW THE STUDENTS ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE!

The privilege of designing and executing primary research.
The privilege of 24 hour care of an ify projects. (fuck)

People!
We are going the Wrong direction!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
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They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Chen » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:32 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:4) If asking that the drug companies charge Americans the same price they charge everyone else is jingoistic, then call me the most xenophobic asshole you ever met, because I'm sick and tired of being charged up the ass for the same drugs that everyone else gets. The US has the most expensive health system in the world because the drug and medical companies are able to overcharge us so much, nevermind that per capita we are like, maybe number 10 in wealth. Hey, how about charging the Saudis, Lichtensteiners, etc more than the US? And if it's because America is paying for the fixed costs while everyone else is only paying variable costs, what does that say about the rest of the world?


Maybe some sort of socialized healthcare would help with that. Oh but wait, that's just pinko commie talk right?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:19 am UTC

ucim wrote:It's the wrong stand to make. It's like blaming the waitress for the price of a meal, or blaming the mule for the quality of the wheat in the cart. Especially when you follow it with "Having said that I don't see another way for it to work either", in bold type even.
Well, as a practical matter, what else is there to say?

Just to show that I am paying attention. Apples and oranges. The waitress didn't create the grilled cheese sandwich, and mules didn't invent agriculture.
Tyndmyr wrote:We killed rabies pretty recently. Was a fear in literature and what not until fairly recently.
I suggest that you don't really want rabies, to the best of my knowledge it is alive and well in the wild. And still killing people. But that is me being an ass. The vaccine has been a present from the RNG. People seem not to understand what a cure is. Or why finding a cure may be a second best outcome.

My apologies to the fora, it appears I have derailed a thread.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby addams » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:32 am UTC

ech...Morris;
You are a venerable Old Timer here.
A Cranky Old Uncle to my Eccentric Old Auntie.

The Thread will soon be re-railed by one of our Bright, Hopeful Youngins.
Someone will bring forward one of the many miracles we live with, now.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby idonno » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:58 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:... a pill that literally costs 20 cents a pill in South Africa (and the company still profits) but $50 in the US.
... and who pays for the research to develop this pill, or the next one? And what happens to AIDS in South Africa? Is this another "America First" thing? Yeah, I get that $50 a pill is very expensive even in the US (multiply by how many pills are needed), but that's what health insurance is for. Oh yeah, never mind about that nowadays. I suspect that $50 a pill, heck, $50 a month is out of reach in South Africa. Also, disease is global - we have jet planes now - so curing it locally won't cut it.


1) Open up the books of any pharmaceutical company. Their R&D budgets are typically less than HALF of their marketing budget. "Oh sooo expensive to create drugs", give me a fucking break.
2) The public already does most of the research. The drug companies then purchase the research, do maybe one or two things, then claim it as their own. Only, you know, the research that's proven successful. So the public already eats most of the R&D cost, part of why the R&D budgets of the pharmaceuticals are so low.
3) Oh for fuck's sake, do you know who ends up paying for all the costs of health insurance? YOU. One way or the other. If the cost of insurance goes up, YOU pay it in the form of increased premiums.
4) If asking that the drug companies charge Americans the same price they charge everyone else is jingoistic, then call me the most xenophobic asshole you ever met, because I'm sick and tired of being charged up the ass for the same drugs that everyone else gets. The US has the most expensive health system in the world because the drug and medical companies are able to overcharge us so much, nevermind that per capita we are like, maybe number 10 in wealth. Hey, how about charging the Saudis, Lichtensteiners, etc more than the US? And if it's because America is paying for the fixed costs while everyone else is only paying variable costs, what does that say about the rest of the world?

1 is absolutely true and something needs to be done about it.
2 is a pretty inaccurate to claim given the high rejection rate of new drugs. Even with just the R&D budgets it is pretty clear that bringing new drugs to market is expensive.
3 is true but it is spread across a lot of people.
As for 4, why should we pay what people in Africa pay? I am perfectly content with price discrimination. I say let people who can't afford to pay research costs pay only for production costs and divide the research costs up across wealthier people. Of course lets stop spending money on the advertising.

Side nitpick ,according to wikipedia we are third in terms of wealth per capita. We are 25th in terms of median wealth though.

Chen wrote:Maybe some sort of socialized healthcare would help with that. Oh but wait, that's just pinko commie talk right?
There are two things that make me very hesitant to embrace national healthcare. First, I'm deeply concerned with the amount of reliance that will put on our legislature. I don't trust them to not screw everything up with the current power they wield. I'm not sure how to fix this issue though.
Second, in the not to distant past, we were secretly sterilizing native women without their consent via federally provided health services. This is now well documented fact and yet it is a minor side note a lot of people aren't even aware occurred or worse don't care about. While I think it would be hard to get away with today, I'm not exactly optimistic that this will be the case in the future. There will be a lot of money ridding on this and I can certainly see scenarios where people are concerned that their healthcare services is being harmed by all these poor minority children who's mothers have irresponsibly had when they can't even afford them. I just have to look at anti welfare rhetoric to confirm my worries.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:11 am UTC

Chen wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:4) If asking that the drug companies charge Americans the same price they charge everyone else is jingoistic, then call me the most xenophobic asshole you ever met, because I'm sick and tired of being charged up the ass for the same drugs that everyone else gets. The US has the most expensive health system in the world because the drug and medical companies are able to overcharge us so much, nevermind that per capita we are like, maybe number 10 in wealth. Hey, how about charging the Saudis, Lichtensteiners, etc more than the US? And if it's because America is paying for the fixed costs while everyone else is only paying variable costs, what does that say about the rest of the world?


Maybe some sort of socialized healthcare would help with that. Oh but wait, that's just pinko commie talk right?


The US government(s) already pay for 2/3 of the health care costs. Socialized healthcare? We've had it for decades now, just the most asinine, byzantine and incompetently run socialized healthcare in the world.


Want healthcare to be affordable?
1) Chargemasters MUST be made public (California does this now)
2) The discounts every insurer gets to the chargemaster must ALSO be made public
3) Cap the rebates. If an insurance company manages to the negotiate the price down from $5000 to $2000, you can't charge anyone else more than $2500
4) End the gravy train that is medical malpractice. This both is and is not an exaggeration. Lawyers don't make quite as much as you'd think from med-mal (they actually make more from accounting malpractice), but the result is a fuckton of unnecessary testing. Every 50,000 mammograms performed will KILL one person, as will 3000 CT scans, but doctors and hospitals order them anyway to avoid the lawyers.
5) Restrict lobbying. 'Nuff said.
6) And like I said, can't overcharge Americans for the same drugs. You want to have the US pay extra in order to cover overhead. Ok, fine, but the EU has a larger GDP than the US does so they have to pay up too; whatever the prices in the EU is the cap on American drugs.
7) Stop subsidizing corn. HFCS by itself isn't making people fat, but when HFCS is so cheap that all of our bread is literally cake...
8) Stop designing suburbs and towns to require cars. Can't stress this enough.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:29 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:We killed rabies pretty recently. Was a fear in literature and what not until fairly recently.
I suggest that you don't really want rabies, to the best of my knowledge it is alive and well in the wild. And still killing people. But that is me being an ass. The vaccine has been a present from the RNG. People seem not to understand what a cure is. Or why finding a cure may be a second best outcome.

My apologies to the fora, it appears I have derailed a thread.


It's still a significant problem in Africa and Asia, true. It is effectively cured in the US, and poses a negligible risk of death. Lightning strike is currently maybe 30 times more likely to kill you. This wasn't true in even the relatively recent past.

Hell, if you want a different example, look at how good urgent care has gotten. Medical care hasn't prevented gunshots, but if you make it to the hospital, your odds of surviving are pretty good. Sometimes something doesn't really make headlines, particularly because incremental improvements are often not treated as newsworthy, but the end results can be impressive indeed.

I think there are some valid reasons to be concerned about the cost of health care, but I'm not particularly worried that the health care system is somehow hiding cures. That doesn't square with the actual results seen.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:47 pm UTC

I think schistosomiasis is a bigger danger than rabies. A quarter billion people, all bleeding out of their urethra, or worse. Vitamin A deficiency is about as bad, too, but somehow irreversible blindness is not as scary as bloody dicks.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby addams » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:53 pm UTC

Yep. You have a point there.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:04 am UTC

In a move that could revolutionise the way we buy groceries, Amazon opens its first supermarket without checkouts - human or self-service - to shoppers on Monday.

Amazon Go, in Seattle, has been tested by staff for the past year. It uses an array of ceiling-mounted cameras to identify each customer and track what items they select, eliminating the need for billing. Purchases are billed to customers' credit cards when they leave the store.

Before entering, shoppers must scan the Amazon Go smartphone app. Sensors on the shelves add items to the bill as customers pick them up - and deletes any they put back.
Gianna Puerini, head of Amazon Go, said the store had operated well during the test phase: "This technology didn't exist - it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning."

Amazon has not said if it will be opening more Go stores, which are separate from the Whole Foods chain that it bought last year for $13.7bn (£10.7bn).

As yet the company has no plans to introduce the technology to the hundreds of Whole Foods stores. However, retailers know that the faster customers can make their purchases, the more likely they are to return. Making the dreaded supermarket queue a thing of the past will give any retailer a huge advantage over its competitors.


But...

The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed.

Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.

Oxfam said its figures - which critics have queried - showed a failing system. It blamed tax evasion, firms' influence on policy, erosion of workers' rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap.


Ever-increasing efficiency is good, but unless it's paired with ever-increasing social care (for example a generous Citizen's Wage) the future looks bleak for the average worker.

IMO automation and AI will eliminate many many more jobs than they enable - but even if by some miracle that's not the case, human beings are going to struggle to keep up with the accelerating need to learn new skills to shift to new sectors.

If a Citizen's Wage proves to be a non-starter economically, governments must at least fund life-long education and training programs to give people a smidgen of hope of keeping up with the rapidly evolving job market.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ObsessoMom » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:55 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:We killed rabies pretty recently. Was a fear in literature and what not until fairly recently.


Sorry, if we could come back to this...

TL;DR: The vaccine is only effective before symptoms are showing, and the vast majority of symptomatic people who have received the Milwaukee Protocol as treatment for rabies have died anyway. So I don't think it's accurate to say that we've killed rabies.

Spoiler:
All we've done recently is discovered that the death rate after symptoms are showing is not the 100% we once thought. (The rabies vaccine was developed in 1885, and can be successfully administered immediately after infection, but once symptoms are showing, it's too late for the vaccine to help.)

The rabies-symptomatic people like Jeanna Geise of Wisconsin who have recently survived without vaccination may have survived in spite of, not because of, the Milwaukee Protocol that was developed for Jeanna. The Milwaukee Protocol, which has a survival rate of 8%, puts patients into a medically-induced coma to buy their immune systems more time to fight the virus. But whether the Milwaukee Protocol can be credited with the survival of those few who survive is debatable.

Some Peruvians who were never vaccinated for rabies have been found to have antibodies to rabies, which suggests that they have had contact with the disease and did not die. Jeanna Geise and Precious Reynolds and the handful of other recent post-symptomatic survivors may also have been immunologically special in some way that we don't yet understand.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Yakk » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:11 pm UTC

[quote="elasto"]If a Citizen's Wage proves to be a non-starter economically, governments must at least fund life-long education and training programs to give people a smidgen of hope of keeping up with the rapidly evolving job market.[/quoe]The problem I have with the Citizen's Wage isn't economical or even traditional political.

It is that it divorces nominal from actual power.

It grants people nominal economic (and social) power in the form of money. If, however, they are *not* "useful" to the economy, this places a strain on the system whereby eliminating their power (economic *and political*) is only held at bay by the unstable fact that they have exactly that power.

In short, their political and hence economic power is only held in place by their political and economic power they are granted by the system.

In comparison, people whose labor generates lots of wealth have power from the fact that eliminating them causes significant harm to other parties in that socieity. The masses have economic power because they are _useful_, and getting them to be useful without granting power is _expensive_. They have political power because they are _useful_, and getting them to be useful without granting power is _expensive_.

Them having economic and political power because they have political and economic power, on the other hand, looks like the end days of collapsing feudal socieities, where the rich nobles have power not because they are useful, but because they have power. Revolution arrives, and as the rich nobles power is a figment of societial convention, they fall, and the new society built up lacks that convention, and the new society *functions* because, again, the nobles where dead weight. The cost of revolution falls below the benefit of stability.

Successful revolutionary societies become more efficient than their inefficient alternatives, and they start to out-compete and encourage revolution in the areas where it hasn't happened yet.

The by-convention supported nobles, and masses supported by a living wage, are in this model in the same category.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:21 pm UTC

Yakk: That assumes that labour always has an economic purpose. What happens if labour has no purpose because AI and automation can do almost everything cheaper and more efficiently?

There are only a few kind of outcomes: The inefficient masses get suppressed/eliminated because they stand in the way of progress, the masses revolt and progress gets set back centuries, or the masses get accommodated despite not contributing in any useful way economically.

Spoiler:
Personally I think the only outcome which is remotely positive is if we all plug our brains into a virtual reality, Matrix style. We could all become gods, manipulating universes in our minds, at little more expense than the cost of nutrients and electricity. A minimal Citizen's Wage at maximal efficiency.

There'd be a handful of families who'd have most of the world's wealth who could live somewhat like kings in the real world, but why would they when they can likewise live like gods in their minds..?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Yakk » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:41 pm UTC

No, I'm not assuming labour has an economic purpose.

I'm presuming a misalignment of power by convention and actual power leads to unstable situations and revolution.

If human labour has no purpose because AI and automation can do almost anything, then power/resources given to non-AI and automation is by convetion and misaligned with actual power. Hence, an unstable situation that leads to revolution.

See every great power rising up and overthrowing old world orders, social revolutions (democratic, communist, noble), etc.

A citizen's wage patches over suffering and is great, but doesn't fix the underlying instability.

Now, a cheap enough citizen's wage may not lead to instability. I mean, beyond social brownian motion and no real *protection*. The citizens would be vestigial, like how the monarchy is vestigial in the UK. While not seriously instable, it isn't stable, as there is little to prevent seemingly random events from eliminating the vestigial organ of state (the human citizens).

Still, better outcome than an *expensive* vestigial organ of state, which is selected against.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:55 am UTC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42809445

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:33 pm UTC

Finally, my dream of an all-monkey Blade Runner can come to fruition!
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:30 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Finally, my dream of an all-monkey Blade Runner can come to fruition!

You just want to make people forget all about my all-sheep Planet Of The Apes…

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby stilettoblade » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:41 pm UTC

Researchers at the University of Alberta have built a functional infectious virus from scratch (not designed a custom virus, that's still in the future, but they assembled a working virus strictly from synthesized DNA fragments).
They were trying to replicate the now-extinct strain of horsepox that they believe was the original source of the Vaccinia that is used to create the smallpox vaccine. Controversy over publication of the research paper seems to center around it being effectively a lesson in how to build your own smallpox.
Article in Science Daily, and link directly to the paper in question

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Coyne » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:56 pm UTC

Some futures are scary...

"Orero, order me a LittleScientist DNALab. Two hour drop ship please."

Two hours later...

"Orero, use my DNA lab to build a smallpox virus."
In all fairness...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Dauric » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:35 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:Some futures are scary...

"Orero, order me a LittleScientist DNALab. Two hour drop ship please."

Two hours later...

"Orero, use my DNA lab to build a smallpox virus."


That's probably how the robots will kill us all. Not through malice, but blind, helpful obedience.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Coyne » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:19 am UTC

Dauric wrote:
Coyne wrote:Some futures are scary...

"Orero, order me a LittleScientist DNALab. Two hour drop ship please."

Two hours later...

"Orero, use my DNA lab to build a smallpox virus."


That's probably how the robots will kill us all. Not through malice, but blind, helpful obedience.

Well, don't get too distracted by the surrounding storyline. You will be able to make the smallpox virus in your sink, probably.
In all fairness...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:59 pm UTC


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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Ciber » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:26 pm UTC

Who SpaceX!
Routine double rocket landing!
Much success!
Very future!
Sadness lost third core to gyroscope grimlins!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:09 pm UTC

How long do you think the Tesla will be able to keep playing Space Oddity?
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