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b_b




When not in real life, I spend my time here.


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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.

b_b  ·  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).

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?"

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.

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).

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.

b_b  ·  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.

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.

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.

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