When I was asked to live blog a Borussia Dortmund press conference I thought it would be a normal task. Then a problem became apparent: I didn’t speak German…
According to an Amex Web page, the arrangement works like this. Amex cardholders first sync their card with Twitter. Then, when they come across products that are eligible to purchase under the plan — products that American Express will promote through a Twitter feed — they simply send out a tweet that includes a special hashtag. Amex will then send them an @-reply with a confirming hashtag. Finally, the buyer has to send out a second tweet with the special hashtag within 15 minutes.
I’m going to “synch” my credit card with my twitter account?
And I’m going to wait for them to send me tweets?
And then I’m going to tweet them back when I want to buy something?
Why would I want to do this?
Thanks to Fox News and its expert commentators, millions of Americans now understand the real, hidden reason why Germany’s solar-energy industry is so much further along than ours. Turns out it has nothing to do with the fact that Germany’s government has long supported the industry far more generously, with policies like feed-in tariffs that stimulate investment in green technologies. No, the real reason is much simpler, explained a trio of journalists on Fox & Friends: It’s always sunny in Germany!
“The industry’s future looks dim,” intoned host Gretchen Carlson at the beginning of the segment, which was preserved for posterity by the liberal blog Media Matters for America. She and her co-host went on to ridicule Obama’s “failed” solar subsidies, adding, “The United States simply hasn’t figured out how to do solar cheaply and effectively. You look at the country of Germany, it’s working out great for them.” Near the end of the segment, it occurred to Carlson to ask her expert guest, Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, why it might be that Germany’s solar-power sector is doing so much better. “What was Germany doing correct? Are they just a smaller country, and that made it more feasible?” Carlson asked.
Joshi’s jaw-dropping response: “They’re a smaller country, and they’ve got lots of sun. Right? They’ve got a lot more sun than we do.” In case that wasn’t clear enough for some viewers, Joshi went on: “The problem is it’s a cloudy day and it’s raining, you’re not gonna have it.” Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded, “but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work.”
The vast Basin-and-Range district of Nuremberg, the Mojave area around Stuttgart, the Sonoran expanse of Bremen, the wide open praries of Munich, the Saxon Death Valley….
And who could forget the Alpine salt flats!
One of the striking features of the drug world is how pharma companies become noticeably more inventive immediately before their patents are due to run out and their drugs are about to enter the public domain. That’s because they need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the generic manufacturers that are then able to offer the same medicines for often vastly lower prices.
Usually this takes the form of modifying the formula of a drug slightly, patenting it, and then seeking to convince the medical profession that the new formulation is better in some way. Butsometimes it involves more novel approaches, as here:
In coming months, generic drug producers are expected to introduce cheaper versions of OxyContin and Opana, two long-acting narcotic painkillers, or opioids, that are widely abused.
But in hopes of delaying the move to generics, the makers of the brand name drugs, Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals, have introduced versions that are more resistant to crushing or melting, techniques abusers use to release the pills’ narcotic payloads.
As the New York Times article quoted above reports, having introduced these “tamper-resistant” designs, the pharma companies are now pushing to get a ban on generic versions that lack this feature. If you think of “tamper-resistant” techniques as a kind of DRM for drugs, the pharma companies are effectively asking for their own version of the DMCA, which forbids the circumvention of DRM.
The drug companies have dressed this up as a service to society, but some aren’t buying it:
While companies like Purdue Pharma insist the public’s health is their main concern, others note that producers introduced tamper-resistant versions of their products just as the drugs were about to lose patent protection. In court papers filed in response to Endo’s lawsuit, the F.D.A. described the company’s action as a “thinly veiled attempt to maintain its market share and block generic competition.”
There’s no doubt that the abuse of painkillers is a significant problem, but according to another recent story, in The Washington Post, alarming levels of addiction to OxyContin and similar painkillers may be partly the drug companies’ fault. For instead of warning doctors about this issue, the latter were assured that there were “minimal risks of addiction and dependence” if they prescribed these kinds of drugs for their patients:
according to a Washington Post examination of key scientific papers, a court document and FDA records, many of those claims [about minimal risks] were developed in studies supported by Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, or other drug manufacturers. In addition, the conclusions they reached were sometimes unsupported by the data, and when the FDA was struggling to come up with an opioid policy, it turned to a panel populated by doctors who had financial relationships with Purdue and other drugmakers.
So it would seem that rather than mandating the use of tamper-resistant packaging for these kinds of painkillers, a better long-term solution would be to avoid the use of these drugs altogether, where possible.
This really took me by surprise. Just bought a new Naga 2012 mouse, installed the software and get greeted by a login screen right after. No option to bypass it to use the software to configure the mouse, set the options, sensitivity, shortcuts, macros etc.
So I go ahead and create an account and try to log in. Nothing. Try several more times, and still nothing. Try to make new accounts with different email addresses and it still wont work.
Finally call Razer who tells me the activation server is down, and I wont be able to use the mouse until it goes back up and will only be able to use it as a standard plug and play mouse til then. I ask about a workaround to use the mouse offline and they say there is none. Supposedly once the mouse is activated on the computer offline mode will work, but it needs to upload my profile and activate my account first and since their server is down its not going to happen. I ask for a supervisor to confirm this is the case and ask again for a workaround to use it offline. He said sorry theres nothing they can do, tells me the call center is closing and hangs up on me.
I’m pretty shocked Razer thought it was a good idea to do this to customers. Nowhere on the box does it say anything about needing an internet connection to “activate” a mouse. If the servers go down in the future, anyone who buys this mouse is out of luck.
Under the new type of contract, employees will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that are exempt from capital gains tax. In exchange, they will give up their UK rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and will be required provide 16 weeks’ notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual 8.
Owner-employee status will be optional for existing employees, but both established companies and new start-ups can choose to offer only this new type of contract for new hires. Companies recruiting owner-employees will continue to have the option of inserting more generous employment conditions into the employment contract if they want to.
Is there some problem workers have that this is trying to solve? I see no reason why I would ever want to work for (or own shares in) a company that does this.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services Union, challenged claims that the move would result in a form of “employee ownership”.
“There are so many holes in this it deserves to sink without a trace,” he said.
“The idea that owning a few shares amounts to ‘employee ownership’ is laughable, but also even a modest amount wouldn’t qualify for capital gains tax anyway, and would be worth nothing to someone who had been sacked after giving up their right to claim unfair dismissal or qualify for redundancy.”
It’s blooming embarrassing, is what it is.
The best part: police still won’t admit the plants they seized in what was supposedly the biggest outdoor marijuana bust in Lethbridge history are plain old flowers — daisies, to be precise.
All police will concede at this point is the 1,624 plants torn from a suburban Lethbridge garden on July 30 isn’t marijuana, as first claimed after a phalanx of police marched in and starting plucking.
“This is a significant bust, given the size of this operation,” is how a senior officer put it at the time, while proudly displaying garbage bags full of the dastardly daises.
That same officer, Staff Sergeant Wes Houston, now admits the plant haul was a mistake.
A supermarket chain which advertises using a slogan that urges more common sense in shopping has been selling peeled bananas on plastic trays wrapped in foil.
Police have released the head of Google Inc’s Brazil operations after his detention for not taking down a YouTube video a judge ruled violated local electoral law.
A police spokeswoman said on Thursday Google’s most senior executive in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, was released after agreeing to appear in court at a still undetermined date.
A Brazilian court had ordered YouTube to remove the anti-Islam video that prompted violent protests across the Muslim world, just as an elections court separately ordered the arrest of Coelho after the popular video-sharing service failed to remove another, unrelated video attacking a mayoral candidate.
Oh for heaven’s sake Brazil, just stay out of it. Pull your internet cable out of the wall and put your head under the covers.
Authorities will have greater powers to pre-emptively kill great white sharks swimming close to popular beaches under a raft of new measures announced by the State Government this morning.
Premier Colin Barnett and Fisheries Minister Norman Moore moved to head off growing concern about the risks of shark attack by unveiling $6.85 million in new so-called “shark mitigation” strategies.
It follows a horror 12-month period in WA in which five people were killed in attacks by white sharks and significant numbers of the predators were spotted.
Chief among the measures was $2 million to allow the Department of Fisheries to track, catch and kill white pointer sharks if they are deemed to be an imminent risk to public safety.
They also contain $200,000 for a feasibility study to trial shark enclosures, which safeguard swimmers by completely quarantining an area of water – typically a protected area such as Cockburn Sound or Geographe Bay.
Local governments would be called to bid for the right to host a shark enclosure – which are different to shark nets – off one of their beaches.
Other proposals to be given funding in the announcement were $2 million for further shark tagging activities, $2 million for research into shark repellent devices and $500,000 for surf clubs to buy jet skis.
Mr Barnett said the measures would help authorities gain a better understanding of white pointers while also providing extra safety for beachgoers.
“These new measures will not only help us to understand the behaviour of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer,” Mr Barnett said.
Mr Moore said redefining what constituted imminent risk would give authorities much better ability to kill sharks because previous destroy orders had only been issued after an attack.
“Now proactive action will be taken if a large white shark presents imminent threat to people,” Mr Moore said.
However, Mr Moore conceded there were no guarantees that Fisheries officers or the commercial operators they enlisted to help would be able to kill any shark identified as an unacceptable risk.
Humans are morons.
CHICAGO — A new paper just published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry uses extensive Freedom of Information Act findings to detail an extremely troubling off-label medical intervention employed in the U.S. on pregnant women to intentionally engineer the development of their fetuses for sex normalization purposes.
The paper is authored by Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is co-authored by Ellen Feder, associate professor of philosophy and religion at American University, and Anne Tamar-Mattis, executive director of Advocates for Informed Choice.
The pregnant women targeted are at risk for having a child born with the condition congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), an endocrinological condition that can result in female fetuses being born with intersex or more male-typical genitals and brains. Women genetically identified as being at risk are given dexamethasone, a synthetic steroid, off-label starting as early as week five of the first trimester to try to “normalize” the development of those fetuses, which are female and CAH-affected. Because the drug must be administered before doctors can know if the fetus is female or CAH-affected, only one in eight of those exposed are the target type of fetus.
The off-label intervention does not prevent CAH; it aims only at sex normalization. Like Diethylstilbestrol (DES) — which is now known to have caused major fertility problems and fatal cancers among those exposed in utero — dexamethasone is a synthetic steroid. Dexamethasone is known — and in this case intended — to cross the placental barrier and change fetal development. Experts estimate the glucocorticoid dose reaching the fetus is 60 to 100 times what the body would normally experience.
The new report provides clear evidence that:
- For more than 10 years, medical societies repeatedly but ultimately impotently expressed high alarm at use of this off-label intervention outside prospective clinical trials, because it is so high risk and because nearly 90 percent of those exposed cannot benefit.
- Mothers offered the intervention have been told it “has been found safe for mother and child” but in fact there has never been any such scientific evidence.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has indicated it cannot stop advertising of this off-label use as “safe for mother and child” because the advertising is done by a clinician not affiliated with the drug maker.
- A just-out report from Sweden in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism documents a nearly 20 percent “serious adverse event” rate among the children exposed in utero.
- Clinician proponents of the intervention have been interested in whether the intervention can reduce rates of tomboyism, lesbianism and bisexuality, characteristics they have termed “behavioral masculinization.”
- The National Institutes of Health has funded research to see if these attempts to prevent “behavioral masculinization” with prenatal dexamethasone are “successful.”
- The United States’ systems designed to prevent another tragedy like DES and thalidomide — involving de facto experimentation on pregnant women and their fetuses — appear to be broken and ineffectual.
Techdirt has been covering the important Myriad Genetics case for a while. Although the CAFCdecided that isolated genes could be patented, the Supreme Court has asked the appeals court to review the case in light of the former’s rejection of medical diagnostic patents.
The importance of this case is highlighted by the amicus curiae brief filed by James Watson, co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the structure of DNA, for which they received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 (along with Maurice Wilkins for related work.) Watson makes his views plain from the start:
what the Court misses, I fear, is the fundamentally unique nature of the human gene. Simply put, no other molecule can store the information necessary to create and propagate life the way DNA does. It is a chemical entity, but DNA’s importance flows from its ability to encode and transmit the instructions for creating humans. Life’s instructions ought not be controlled by legal monopolies created at the whim of Congress or the courts.
Watson recalls discussions on the topic during the $3 billion Human Genome Project to sequence human DNA as completely as possible:
Even at the early stages of the project, we were concerned about the issue of patenting human genes. Most, although not all, eminent scientists recognized that human genes should not be monopolized by patents. I believed at the time — and continue to believe — that the issue of patenting human genes went to the very crux of whether the information encoded by human DNA should be freely available to the scientific community. Some twenty years ago, I explained that patenting human genes was lunacy, and I was not a lone voice.
He also points out some concrete problems with gene patents in terms of their impact on assays (tests) that involve multiple genes:
If each of the human genes used in a new multi-gene assay are subject to patents, I fear that useful tests requiring multiple human genes will be unnecessarily delayed, become prohibitively expensive, or, worse yet, never be made available to patients at all. For a new assay using hundreds of human genes, the sea of patents and patent applications would create hundreds, if not thousands, of individual obstacles to developing and commercializing the assay. The best way, in my view, to resolve this problem is to eliminate the unnecessary patenting of human genes.
from each according to his volatility, to each according to his greed
Imagine a 9 year old kid posting this picture on her weblog:
What do you do as a school council? Indeed, you make taking pictures in the lunch room illegal, based on the “distress and harm” the picture caused.
UPDATE: Ban lifted
If you’re afraid of heights you may want to look away, and you should certainly never make friends with these daredevil photographers from Russia. We here in the U.S. have memes, young Russian photographers, it seems, have “skywalking”: the newest extremely dangerous photography fad to hit the Internet.
Skywalking basically involves a photographer making his way up to a death-defying height, and snapping a photo that’s meant to give you both a perspective you’ve never seen before, and that feeling like your stomach just made its way into your throat. Many of the photographers are in their teens, and unfortunately, with no sign of safety equipment anywhere in these photos, someone is gonna get hurt.
You’d think that Google would make sure this children’s book worked on an Android tablet, instead of looking like a dog’s breakfast.
A bag full of money: political speech
Like button on candidate’s facebook: unprotected non-speech
Some bouncers have been demanding people hand over their smartphones so they can check Facebook accounts, Newsbeat has been told.
It’s claimed that it is to make sure the person is who they say they are and isn’t using fake identification.
“If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have a problem.”
On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document (PDF) — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens’
summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a “pan-European framework for electronic authentication”.
A spokesman for digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said the Commission “will have full e-ID proposals on 30 May”.
The document, entitled European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, gives a rough outline of proposals to harmonise protections across member states for children using online services. It contains many suggestions for the increased use of age classification, as well as the inclusion of “efficient” parental controls “on any type of device and for any type of content, including user-generated content”.
So all EU citizens will lose online anonymity, gain a central attack node for all identity thieves, and all that just to force teenagers to find their porn outside the EU?
Through the research into the case testimonies it was found that some of the experiencers were able to stop or terminate the experience. There was a recognized commonality in the method that was used among the Christian experiencers. The experience was shown to be able to be stopped or terminated by calling on the name and authority of JESUS CHRIST. Not as a magic word but by their allegiance to and personal relationship with Him.
We also found that by sharing this with other experiencers we could help them also stop their experiences.
This is called repeatability.
The UFO community has been looking for that repeatable event that research demands to verify the data. We have documented this in our research. There is no other documented repeatable event recorded in any other UFO research. Not only has it been shown that the experience can be stopped or terminated in the name and authority of JESUS CHRIST, but we are able to help you stop the experience.
Blogging platform Tumblr is to introduce paid advertisements on its service, despite its owner once saying that online ads "turn our stomachs".
“If you’re not paying for it, you are the product.”
Updated to fix the quote.
Well, many questions, actually.
Let’s start with What the Fuck?
And to think this guy was a supposedly serious candidate for President..
[Santorum:] "People ask me why I am the best candidate to run against Barack Obama. I feel like in many respects like I am running against Barack Obama here in this primary because Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama in this primary," Santorum said Saturday in Effingham, Ill.
Obama and Romney are basically the same, and I’m losing against Romney, so you should pick me to run against Obama!
Logic that cannot be denied.
According to WantChinaTimes, Terry Gou, the head of Hon Hai Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer in the world, had this to say at a recent meeting with his senior managers:"Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou at a recent year-end party, adding that he wants to learn from Chin Shih-chien, director of Taipei Zoo, regarding how animals should be managed.
Apparently there are no psychologists in China.