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Totally agree with other comments here that consumables are the way to go. Just speaking for myself (and that may very obviously have nothing to do with whomever you're buying a gift for), I like to receive things to eat or drink more than anything else. A bottle of champagne, for example, is one of my favorite gifts, and I will never tire of it, yet my wife struggles to find "the prefect present" for me each birthday. Sometimes she succeeds, as in the time she bought me new binoculars, but in the end, I'm happy with a meal, a baked good from some specialty shop, or booze of almost any variety. I think this is such a perfect gift because not only do I like the thing itself, but I also rarely want more stuff. Giving someone stuff that they then have to find a place for, take care of, etc, can be kind of a dick move.

All that said, I'm currently buying my wife a V60 Polestar in the classic Polestar blue, because it's her favorite car. Nice and tasteful, sure. Inexpensive? Um....

WanderingEng  ·  8 hours ago  ·  link  ·  

I'll caution against food or alcohol unless you know the person enjoys food and alcohol in the context of what you're gifting. Do I like cookies? You bet! Put a dozen cookies in front of me and I'll eat them all in the next hour. Do I want a dozen cookies? I do not. Gifting me cookies would annoy me. Work likes to do food rewards. Company gets some award? Pizza party! This week it was National Hot Dog Day. I enjoy all of that but don't actually want it because screwing up my diet makes me feel like trash, yet turning them down is seen as rude or anti social.

b_b  ·  12 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Here's The Six Super Weapons Putin Unveiled During Fiery Address

Which classical writers are the queef sisters based on?

Subconsciously my ass. Fuck that guy. Then again, I've known manufacturing cars was hard since before it was cool.

b_b  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial wipes out more than 80 per cent of disease-spreading mozzie

For real. Any person in that situation would want the latest treatment, because they have nothing to lose, myself included. Just trying to highlight why it's a more complicated issue than a lot of the public probably realizes.

Depends on two key questions:

(1) will manafort cut a last minute deal?

(2) will Trump pardon him?

Either could easily happen, and I sort of expect that (2) is more likely. If neither of those things happens we'll see some really weird shit though, because evidence at trial has to come through witnesses. There isn't any other way.

The real shame would be if the judge let the trial proceed in secret because of national security or some bullshit.

Every time this stuff comes out it makes me think more and more that Stone must be cooperating with Mueller clandestinely. He's so obviously crooked. Mueller must have come to him more than a year ago to get the goods on everyone else. I wonder if these indictments were dropped because the manafort trial is starting soon, so they'll need to unmask some deep sources to call as witnesses.

am_Unition  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Re: The Timing, perhaps, but I also think this announcement three days before the Prump/Tutin summit in Helsinki was quite intentional.

And apparently there were inklings of this post's headline over a year ago: How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative

tacocat  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This has been hinted at for months. When I heard it again today I wondered if this wasn't timed purposefully to provide plausible deniability for Trump. Make a public statement using a known grandstander on the day you plan to attack. It's just enough space to create doubt.

I'm definitely not a fine legal mind so I have no doubt this raised suspicion with Mueller and his team. You have to look for the intent of the people handling Trump and they were by all accounts running a campaign based on the assumption of a loss. This creates a wide net that's going to take down plenty of people who are stupid enough to fight the investigation. Hopefully many top tier people still in government. I have a higher level of faith in some random dude I'd never heard of a year or two ago than I do in the brokenness of American democracy. What I'm really dreading is whatever backlash this causes

ButterflyEffect  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you think the Manafort trial is where we'll see the house of cards start to fall?

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Depends on two key questions:

(1) will manafort cut a last minute deal?

(2) will Trump pardon him?

Either could easily happen, and I sort of expect that (2) is more likely. If neither of those things happens we'll see some really weird shit though, because evidence at trial has to come through witnesses. There isn't any other way.

The real shame would be if the judge let the trial proceed in secret because of national security or some bullshit.

Damn. USA isn't number 1 in anything anymore :(

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The $42 Trillion Bubble

I've read many, many articles over the last, say, 4 years that say "We're finally at the point where China is about to implode under the weight of its own debt." I can't say that this is not another one, but they're still always interesting to me. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decides to drive the car until it runs out of gas? That's how I look at China now. They may go way farther than you ever thought they could, but eventually the tank is going to dry up.

Do you think that FAANG being devalued by Comcast getting to fuck them in the Ajit Pai era will adversely affect the Chinese debt feeding frenzy? Perhaps by leading to a selloff panic that could spread overseas?

The shoe has to drop at some point, right? Maybe if Trump's dumbass ever accidentally does anything positive it will be the resetting of our economic relationship with China after their debt bubble bursts (not that I think that's his trade war aim, but it may contribute to it).

kleinbl00  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It might have been Galbraith, it might have been Rosenberg. It might have been both. Either way, the quote is "Bubbles have a tendency of inflating for far longer than most people predict."

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial wipes out more than 80 per cent of disease-spreading mozzie

There is a mechanism to get your hands on an experimental drug ("compassionate use" in America and something like "named person use" (can't remember the term of art exactly) in Europe), in which a person with no other options's doctor can request a specific experimental drug. This reasonable sounding alternative is less cut-and-dry as it might seem on face, because the thing you really, really don't want in evaluating a drug's effectiveness is anecdotal evidence.

E.g., Patient A takes miracledrug and get better against all odds. Patient B hears about patient A's experience on the internet and also demands miracledrug. Patient B dies horribly because the drug is actually quite toxic and Patient A would have gotten better anyway but falsely attributed their recovery to miracledrug. Something like that. Or on the other side Patient A dies and all of a sudden miracledrug's manufacturer has a PR storm on their hands that threatens to sink the drug even though Patient A would have died anyway and miracledrug played no role.

There are also many issues relating to informed consent that are too long and boring to write about. For these reasons compassionate use is an ethical and business minefield that the FDA and drug companies shy away from. One patient isn't a study, and the efficacy and safety of any drug should always be evaluated within the confines of an appropriately powered double blind clinical study unless there's a really compelling reason not to do that.

To your other point, I think that biology as a school subject is really boring because of how it's taught, but it's taught that way because that's how many biologists think. I think that biologists think that way, because the type of people who are attracted to that style of learning are boring people (rote memorization). I and mk and our mutual mentor were all trained in physics, so that's how we look at the world. We fortunately have the ability to ask "why not?"

johnnyFive  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Those are all fair points. Still, after a certain point, I feel like it stops mattering.

b_b  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For real. Any person in that situation would want the latest treatment, because they have nothing to lose, myself included. Just trying to highlight why it's a more complicated issue than a lot of the public probably realizes.

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial wipes out more than 80 per cent of disease-spreading mozzie

I'm in the business of making medicine. Specifically, medicine for brain injuries. We (mk and I, along with a few other colleagues) have invented a medicine that we think may help brain injury victims heal more efficiently (stroke, traumatic injuries, etc). There's a significant problem with this medicine in that we don't really understand how it works (hence my favorite history of science fact about IC engines and the ideal gas law), at least not in any granular detail. This is difficult, because (a) it's hard to get funding to support it, and (b) the FDA has certain requirements that will be hard to meet some we can't explain exactly what e think we're doing. The whole medical system is set up around a reductive approach to biology. However, it has been proven by such geniuses as Wittgenstein and Koestler that reductionism is a fool's errand with regard to biology. There are things that cannot in principle be explained at the molecular level. Descriptivism fell out of favor in psychology long ago, but it still has a long way to fall in molecular biology.

johnnyFive  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's an interesting comparison, particularly in terms of psychology. I'm thinking about the fact that I have two meds on my desk as I type this whose mechanisms of action are at best partially understood. But they do wonders, target the symptoms we want them to target, and (so far, at least) have not caused any side-effects. Granted, it took a couple tries to get the right ones, but the proof is in the pudding.

As I recall, there have been some pushes to both reform the FDA's approval processes, and IIRC a bill passed recently allowing people at the end of life to try experimental treatment (and why this is controversial is beyond me). I've also been encouraged by some things I've seen about using modified viruses to attack cancer cells and/or edit their genes so they attack each other. Here too there may be some unintended side-effects, but when the alternative is death, I have to imagine it'd be hard for those effects to be worse than the disease.

But more generally, your point about the approach to biology is an interesting one. I know it was always my least favorite subject in school, and looking back, what you describe may be a good deal of why. I am attracted to systems, and biology always felt like a bunch of pieces, especially when compared to chemistry (which was my passion when it came to science). Of course, I do wonder to what extent this is more how it's taught than how it's researched.

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There is a mechanism to get your hands on an experimental drug ("compassionate use" in America and something like "named person use" (can't remember the term of art exactly) in Europe), in which a person with no other options's doctor can request a specific experimental drug. This reasonable sounding alternative is less cut-and-dry as it might seem on face, because the thing you really, really don't want in evaluating a drug's effectiveness is anecdotal evidence.

E.g., Patient A takes miracledrug and get better against all odds. Patient B hears about patient A's experience on the internet and also demands miracledrug. Patient B dies horribly because the drug is actually quite toxic and Patient A would have gotten better anyway but falsely attributed their recovery to miracledrug. Something like that. Or on the other side Patient A dies and all of a sudden miracledrug's manufacturer has a PR storm on their hands that threatens to sink the drug even though Patient A would have died anyway and miracledrug played no role.

There are also many issues relating to informed consent that are too long and boring to write about. For these reasons compassionate use is an ethical and business minefield that the FDA and drug companies shy away from. One patient isn't a study, and the efficacy and safety of any drug should always be evaluated within the confines of an appropriately powered double blind clinical study unless there's a really compelling reason not to do that.

To your other point, I think that biology as a school subject is really boring because of how it's taught, but it's taught that way because that's how many biologists think. I think that biologists think that way, because the type of people who are attracted to that style of learning are boring people (rote memorization). I and mk and our mutual mentor were all trained in physics, so that's how we look at the world. We fortunately have the ability to ask "why not?"

johnnyFive  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Those are all fair points. Still, after a certain point, I feel like it stops mattering.

b_b  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For real. Any person in that situation would want the latest treatment, because they have nothing to lose, myself included. Just trying to highlight why it's a more complicated issue than a lot of the public probably realizes.

sd86  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you feel like, in general, we're starting to get better at considering the idea looking things on a more interconnected level? I ask, because it seems like in the past decade, the number of conversations around our health and its connections to our diet and nutrition, environmental factors, psychology, and such have not only increased in quantity, but also in nuance and amount of information available.

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial wipes out more than 80 per cent of disease-spreading mozzie

We're at a stage in the maturity of cancer treatment that can only be described as barbaric. I think it's less humor-like, and more bleeding-of-the-patient-like (which of course itself was a vestige of the theory of humors). Blood letting actually does some good in some circumstances, so they thought, "Let's do more of this." Cancer is sometimes similar. Some chemo and some radiation can work some of the time, so we just do more, often to the point where the patient can't tolerate it. It's very sad, but it's the best we can do most of the time.

Just like with blood letting, we're missing something about the theory of life that will go a long way to explaining how to better treat cancers of all kinds, and I don't think it's going to come from the sort of piecemeal approach taken by most cancer researchers (e.g., gene X is deleted here, so we need to target its target, or gene Y is multiplied, so we need to limit its expression, etc.).

Biology suffers from a lack of a theoretical framework in which to think about experimental biology. In physics, by contrast, there are lots of theorists, and they continually propose new ideas that can be tested by the experimentalists. In biology there are basically only experimentalists who are charged with devising hypotheses, testing them, and then convincing their colleagues that their hypothesis confirmation is credible. It's neither, in my opinion, a very efficient nor a very credible way to do science. It ends up being hyper descriptive, with very little predictive power (hence all the "omics," which make me want to puke).

sd86  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    barbaric

That was the word I was originally gonna use, but opted against, for fear of sounding like I'm being critical of scientists and medical professionals.

As to the rest of what you said, that same book also touches on that a bit as well, but in a different way. It seems in science, we have a desire to break down concepts to granular, almost elemental levels, in hopes that in understanding the parts, we'll have a better understanding of the whole. To which, there is some good deal of logic behind that. The point the author brought up though, is that sometimes when the parts interact with each other, the result is often completely different from what we would expect. The example he used was that hydrogen and oxygen, on their own, act in a very certain way, combined though, water has completely different properties. So while granular understanding is important, a wider, more holistic understanding is also important.

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm in the business of making medicine. Specifically, medicine for brain injuries. We (mk and I, along with a few other colleagues) have invented a medicine that we think may help brain injury victims heal more efficiently (stroke, traumatic injuries, etc). There's a significant problem with this medicine in that we don't really understand how it works (hence my favorite history of science fact about IC engines and the ideal gas law), at least not in any granular detail. This is difficult, because (a) it's hard to get funding to support it, and (b) the FDA has certain requirements that will be hard to meet some we can't explain exactly what e think we're doing. The whole medical system is set up around a reductive approach to biology. However, it has been proven by such geniuses as Wittgenstein and Koestler that reductionism is a fool's errand with regard to biology. There are things that cannot in principle be explained at the molecular level. Descriptivism fell out of favor in psychology long ago, but it still has a long way to fall in molecular biology.

johnnyFive  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's an interesting comparison, particularly in terms of psychology. I'm thinking about the fact that I have two meds on my desk as I type this whose mechanisms of action are at best partially understood. But they do wonders, target the symptoms we want them to target, and (so far, at least) have not caused any side-effects. Granted, it took a couple tries to get the right ones, but the proof is in the pudding.

As I recall, there have been some pushes to both reform the FDA's approval processes, and IIRC a bill passed recently allowing people at the end of life to try experimental treatment (and why this is controversial is beyond me). I've also been encouraged by some things I've seen about using modified viruses to attack cancer cells and/or edit their genes so they attack each other. Here too there may be some unintended side-effects, but when the alternative is death, I have to imagine it'd be hard for those effects to be worse than the disease.

But more generally, your point about the approach to biology is an interesting one. I know it was always my least favorite subject in school, and looking back, what you describe may be a good deal of why. I am attracted to systems, and biology always felt like a bunch of pieces, especially when compared to chemistry (which was my passion when it came to science). Of course, I do wonder to what extent this is more how it's taught than how it's researched.

b_b  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There is a mechanism to get your hands on an experimental drug ("compassionate use" in America and something like "named person use" (can't remember the term of art exactly) in Europe), in which a person with no other options's doctor can request a specific experimental drug. This reasonable sounding alternative is less cut-and-dry as it might seem on face, because the thing you really, really don't want in evaluating a drug's effectiveness is anecdotal evidence.

E.g., Patient A takes miracledrug and get better against all odds. Patient B hears about patient A's experience on the internet and also demands miracledrug. Patient B dies horribly because the drug is actually quite toxic and Patient A would have gotten better anyway but falsely attributed their recovery to miracledrug. Something like that. Or on the other side Patient A dies and all of a sudden miracledrug's manufacturer has a PR storm on their hands that threatens to sink the drug even though Patient A would have died anyway and miracledrug played no role.

There are also many issues relating to informed consent that are too long and boring to write about. For these reasons compassionate use is an ethical and business minefield that the FDA and drug companies shy away from. One patient isn't a study, and the efficacy and safety of any drug should always be evaluated within the confines of an appropriately powered double blind clinical study unless there's a really compelling reason not to do that.

To your other point, I think that biology as a school subject is really boring because of how it's taught, but it's taught that way because that's how many biologists think. I think that biologists think that way, because the type of people who are attracted to that style of learning are boring people (rote memorization). I and mk and our mutual mentor were all trained in physics, so that's how we look at the world. We fortunately have the ability to ask "why not?"

johnnyFive  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Those are all fair points. Still, after a certain point, I feel like it stops mattering.

b_b  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For real. Any person in that situation would want the latest treatment, because they have nothing to lose, myself included. Just trying to highlight why it's a more complicated issue than a lot of the public probably realizes.

sd86  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you feel like, in general, we're starting to get better at considering the idea looking things on a more interconnected level? I ask, because it seems like in the past decade, the number of conversations around our health and its connections to our diet and nutrition, environmental factors, psychology, and such have not only increased in quantity, but also in nuance and amount of information available.

My kid's nanny just quit graduate school in music therapy because she was like, "Fuck it, I love taking care of babies, and $15/hr is as good as I'll get out in the world anyway." Fucked up that I can get a college educated 20 something for $15/he because she doesn't have a lot of other prospects. Not sure if I should feel good employing someone, or feel bad about taking advantage of our perverted economy. I think I can feel both, but the one thing I can't do is pay her more. That's the difference between me and a big corporation: I'm spending what I can. I don't have a CFO ready to fire me if I don't jump at the chance to find a nanny who will work for $14.50 with a non compete clause.

tacocat  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yesterday I did some quick math about the hourly rate to be considered middle class. I made $15/hr at a point and was shocked to know I was technically middle class for my area. It ranges from about $12/hr to ~$23/hr depending on which state you live in. Something is very wrong with wages in this country. And while I have limited sympathy for people whining about struggling while making upper middle class salaries, I can be brought to sympathize with a person making $150k based on the details of their story.

kleinbl00  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Some of my friends are rising towards upper class. Most of them are descending towards lower class. Nobody is sitting still.

One of the things that allowed us to invest in building a birth center was moving out of LA. Our monthly expenses went down $1700 a month.

b_b  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 11, 2018

I think it's because we've all but lost several major contributors due to time consuming jobs. The problem is every major contributors stimulates more conversation than just what they write, so the effect of losing a few is pretty big on a site this small.

veen  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, for me it's work and life consuming most of my time. I'm writing an academic paper based on my thesis as well, and I notice it's not easy to find the time for that. But I have also drastically cut down my time on Reddit, Twitter, HN, and reading newspapers which has limited my exposure to cool things to post here.

mk  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm here and reading, but often desperately unable to get down what I want to say about something. I've found airports and planes be my most productive Hubski time.

I'm going to share some stuff here tonight.

My point has nothing to do with his qualification. It has to do with process. I see no coherent argument that Merrick Garland shouldn't be occupying that seat. It was stolen from him by a perverted political process. Impeachment is the only way to fix that.

johnnyFive  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh I gotcha, and yeah that makes more sense.

I just wonder what it's going to take the Democrats to start playing by the same rules the Republicans have been using for 30 years.

I mostly agree. There's an argument that the Democrats shouldn't have removed cancelled the filibuster for non supreme Court seats a few years back. GOP was blocking almost 100% of Obama's picks for no other reason than to strangle the government, but still I think it would have made a better campaign issue. Hard to say. On the other hand, even if they didn't do that probably McConnell would have changed the rule to confirm Gorsuch anyway. McConnell is a next level piece of shit, possibly the most horrible person in government in a very crowded field. Whatever the case, impeaching Gorsuch would cause me great joy.

tacocat  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"We can't have a confirmation vote during an election year" is some expert level spin. Not that it hides the intent all that well. It was just so boldly false. McConnell, Kennedy, Ryan and a bunch of others seem way too cocky about the party's long term success or entirely don't care about their legacy. I singled out McConnell because he's made a series of decisions that have amped up the hostility. I also hate his face