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* Posts by The BigYin

3025 posts • joined 25 Mar 2008

Chinese 'Thunder God' plant could crush cancer

The BigYin
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Re: Turmeric has few side effects

I doubt it will be. It'll be just like other plant extracts. Once they figure out how it works, other compounds will be developed that do the things they want, and don't do the things they don't want (also, if it needs delivered intravenously it'll probably need purified). A bit like Aspirin was (see earlier comments).

And if it turns out that turmeric is the shizzle as it is and delivery via a good curry is the way to go, do you really think a doctor won't simply tell you that? There's a good reason we still do things like gargle salt water rather than god-knows what; it's safe, cheap and works. Compared to that, treatment with a drug is just too much bother and will only be done if the problem doesn't shift.

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The BigYin
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@Captain

Aye, sorry about that. I over simplified things for the moon-unit brigade who seem to be living in fear of the Lizard People (or whatever the latest conspiracy theory is, I can never keep up).

You more complete explanation is a great example of why evidence-based medicine works. "This does a thing we like, but also something we don't. Can we make it better?" But, of course, the better item is "artificial" and clearly a plot by the Lizard People to hide the Truth of the Ancients from us! Or whatever.

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The BigYin
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Re: The Main Difference

I suggest you go do some reading, the placebo may not be as all powerful as it seems.

Here's a good starting point: http://www.skepdic.com/placebo.html (then there's always Wikipedia)

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The BigYin
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Re: Turmeric has few side effects

And this is all good news because we know it's the curcumin up to something and the boffins will be boffing away at it like billy-o figuring out how it works, how best to delivers it, what variations might be good for other things etc etc.

I would urge caution though. Any benefits delivered by the curcumin in the turmeric are likely to be offset by the sedentary lifestyle caused by becoming terrified of leaving the khazi. :)

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The BigYin
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Re: Why does "Medicine" use "Synthetics" instead of direct extracts?

"The "medical industry" has no financial interest in a cure, only in money."

The computer industry has no financial interest in computing, only in money.

The car industry has no financial interest in driving, only in money.

The book industry has no financial interest in literature, only in money.

Those three statements, along with yours, are utter crap. The medical industry is interested in money. Of course it is. It's a business! And how do they make money? By providing drugs and treatments that work! If Company A has a treatment that only alleviates symptoms, Company B will still be trying to cure the problem because it can still make money by offering a better treatment than Company A.

There are problems with the medical industry, yes (e.g. selective publishing of results to push new drugs through) but to dismiss the entire thing, along with all the advances that have been made, is crass stupidity of the absolute highest order.

"you can patent the PROCESS for extracting the active ingredient if it has never been done before or if there is a special technique required."

And....so what? Any time some new process is created from some new thing it is almost certainly going to get patented to protect the investment (I can think of exceptions which rely on trade secret instead). Why should chemical plants/processes be any different to any other feat of design/engineering?

Oh wait, It's the Intergalactic Drug Cartel of the Lizard People; isn't it?

"You will find that the efficacy of the synthetics may not even be as good as the natural extracts are."

Citation, please.

The synthetic is a pure for of the natural compound. It will be exceedingly potent simply because it is pure. Where one may observe a difference with the natural compounds is because they are not pure and do not get delivered isolation; they're a cocktail and it might be that it is the cocktail which is the important bit (maybe some other compound is acting a bit like a catalyst)

Also consider the fact that the compound might occur naturally in a form that renders it ineffective or lethal (e.g. can't be injected safely). It is thus processed and delivered in a suitable fashion.

"Also note that the chemical formulation of many drugs closely resemble that of the natural extract but are usually shifted; stereo isomers or "mirror images" of the natural material for no other reason that they can be patented."

Citation, please. Especially for that isomers statement. Depending on the drug and how it interacts, an isomer of the natural compound could be ineffective or downright dangerous.

I'd also like you to consider this: Company A gets a chemical from a plant, changes it slightly, patents it and expects to make billions. Y'know what Company B does? Just gets it from the feckin' plant! Simple! Company A is now up a certain creek and has a major competitor looking into greenhouses; we benefit from that competition.

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The BigYin
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Re: Bad news for endangered species

"The real question though, is whether real acupuncture and / or placebo acupuncture are better than no acupuncture at all"

No it isn't. Any intervention will have an effect, either placebo or nocebo. Acupuncture is an intervention and will have an effect. Due to how acupuncture is usually presented, it will probably be placebo. Even talking to someone has an effect. Cheer them up, they feel better; "Laughter is the best medicine" as they say.

This does not mean that you can speak magic words that heal people. It's the placebo effect again!

"If they ARE better than no acupuncture"

See above. They would have to be better than placebo. Also, we'd have to have some idea what was going on. It's not going to be chi, chakras or any of that. That is all bullshit.

"find out by what mechanism the acupuncture IS working"

It probably isn't, it's probably placebo.

"instead of ignoring it (or calling it bullshit) because it isn't better than a placebo"

It claims to operate by a mechanism that is unknown to modern science, does not seem to have a theoretical model which can be tested and has been shown to be no better than a placebo. Looks like bullshit, smells like bullshit and you know what? It's probably bullshit.

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The BigYin
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Re: No big shock really

This is what a lot of companies already do. They also discount a lot of the moon-unit "treatments" (like crystal healing etc) as they usually contravene major parts of modern scientific knowledge, or have been sown to fail in previous studies (actual, proper studies; not shams conducted by the moon-unit brigade).

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The BigYin
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Re: The Main Difference

"I guess there's no money in studying why and how some people are curing themselves just by thinking that they're being cured, and finding ways to replicate that consciously."

So how do you explain the studies into the placebo effect then? And the nocebo. And the fact it doesn't always work - the placebo effect isn't going to mend your broken bones for example.

The reason drugs are expected to exceed the placebo effect is so that we can be sure the drug actually does something. That the drug, in and of itself, made a difference. That means getting over the "noise" of the placebo effect.

You posts really do make you sound like a conspiracy nut.

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The BigYin
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Company 1 : We have a thing that resolves the symptoms. We'll make beeeeeellions!

Company 2 : We have a thing that fixes the actual problem. We'll make beeeeeellions!

Company 1: Rats.

And that, in a nutshell, is how it works. No need for nutty "Big Pharma" conspiracy theories. If there is collusion, we have laws to deal with that. They may not be great and they should maybe be wielded a bit more often, but that is a general societal issue to do with greed, short-termism and spineless politicos.

Even if it did come from a basic plant, the active ingredient would still require refinement because the dose the plant can give is probably rather small. Even if the plant did give a high enough dose, it would still need refinement because of all the potential contaminants. Even if the active ingredient was delivered in a pure enough form, it would still be studied as it could lead to a new class of drugs. So what I'm saying is, they'd still make it and they'd still profit from it.

For example: acetylsalicylic acid. You can get that from willow bark easily enough and yet we still get tablets of the stuff don't we?

Or, you know, maybe there really is a conspiracy all run by the Lizard People and I am just a shill for them. They don't want you to know, man, they don't want you to know!

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The BigYin
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Re: Bad news for endangered species

There is no such thing as "Western medicine" or "Eastern medicine" or whatever, there is simply "evidence-based medicine" and "bullshit".

"acupuncture, pressure puncture are just a few that have already been adopted by western medicine."

Well, apart from the fact that evidence-based medicine has shown "real" acupuncture to be no better than placebo acupuncture. i.e. it's bullshit. For certain ailments it may be possible to get a greater than placebo effect, but it will still have nothing to do with re-aligning chakras or restoring chi flow or whatever. It'll be because of an actual physiological response that and be studied, understood and then used with actual, real, evidence-based knowledge.

"these traditional medicines have had thousands of years of human testing."

Oh wow, so they had properly conducted double-blind trials did they? Wrote it all up in peer reviewed journals? Eventually figured out the mechanism by which the active ingredients worked (and a mechanism that doesn't contradict the rest of known science)? Excuse me if I call crap on their "testing". Or do you still drill a hole in your head when you are ill to release the demons? That had years of human testing too.

"So rather then dismissing traditional medicines as quackery, wouldn't it be better to adopt it as actual medicine and ensure that it undergoes the same rigorous testing?"

No, it wouldn't. For the simple reason that after it has been studied, shown to work in a proper tests/trials, been refined etc we tend to just call it MEDICINE.

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The BigYin
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Re: No big shock really

All? Far from it.

Those that have been shown to have an effect in a properly conducted double-blind trial should be investigated (i.e. greater than placebo). There rest should be ignored.

The amount of support fake medicine gets (even from our own NHS) is depressing.

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The BigYin
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Re: No big shock really

"Chinese medicine benefits from thousands of years of experimentation!"

Really? Really, really? Dried seahorse has evidence to support its use? Which journal was that published in? And tiger bits etc?

I think you meant to say "Chinese medicine benefits from thousands of years of random quackery!"

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The BigYin
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Re: The Main Difference

It's simply evidence based medicine Vs bullshit. And usually bullshit that is only going to affect your wallet.

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The BigYin
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The placebo is strong in this one. Although to be fair, unlike a lot of other alternative hippy-crap, herbalism at least has a fighting chance of delivering an active compound(s).

Got a headache? Chew on some willow bark. Which we still do today. Except we've taken the active compound, figured out how to synthesise it and now deliver it in handy pill form. Much easier than dragging a small forest around with you. :)

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The BigYin
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Re: Kind of ironic

Not really.

Plants are known to contain various organic compounds and it is fairly common practice to extract these from plants, test them and set about synthesising the ones that work in much greater quantities and purity.

The big advantage here is that the resulting compounds are actually known to work (we may even know how they work) and have a supporting body of evidence to prove it. It's not based on anecdote and hearsay, which is all you generally have for herbalism.

Also note, this plant was used to treat auto-immune problems not pancreatic cancer.

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Virgin Media's blighted SuperHub NOW comes with extra squeal (oink)

The BigYin
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Re: I heard a constant whine in the corner...

"...which confused me as I don't have Virgin."

But with an attitude like that you are a virgin, aren't you?

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The BigYin
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@AC Re: Mine does this, and has done since day one

FFS, I wish people would shut the hell up about "Modem mode" as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's still going to be running, it's still going to be making a noise, it's still going to be drawing power and it's still going to shit it's little pants because it it UTTER CRAP!

I do not want to use their garbage, I want to connect my own modem/router. Is there some technical reason (and I do mean "technical", not "business") that VM do not allow this?

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The BigYin
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Mine does this, and has done since day one

If the telly and radio are off, I can easily here a high-pitched whine from the SuperFlub. Sounds exactly like a transformer on the way out. I'd really prefer to connect my own router rather than have to rely on this sack of crap.

Will VM ever relent and approve some other routes for connection? Why can't I just connect a standard cable-type router/modem - is there some deep technical reason?

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Win 8 ready for slate ... but biz customers can wait

The BigYin
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Joke

No need for 'lock me down until i'm useless'...

...Win8 starts out that way.

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Wanted! 4m-plus PC purchases to halt industry decline

The BigYin
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Re: To all the computer OEMs

"- No more bloody glossy screens, it's impossible to work with and it's plain stupid"

This. Oh dear god, this. The glossy screens are only good for the store; they're shit in everyday use.

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The BigYin
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Linux

WANTED!

Reasonable build quality;

Reasonable prices;

And an end to enforced OS choice.

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Amazon UK leaks Windows 8 retail box, TV ads

The BigYin
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Exactly

The Window 8 box is boxy and shit. Just like the UI!

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Samsung says 'yes' to iPhone 5-sized Galaxy S III

The BigYin
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Re: Oh, interesting

Excuse me, I am going to take myself to one side and punch myself for the apostrophe abuse.

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The BigYin
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Oh, interesting

I was thinking about getting an SIII, but it's ludicrous size was putting me off.

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Kernel crimps make Windows 8 a hacker hassle

The BigYin
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FAIL

Is this a tech site or the Daily Fail?

Hacker != Cracker || Attacker

Please use the correct term. I initially thought that Windows 8 was going to be a nightmare for innovators or their own developers (i.e. "kernel hackers"), then I realised you were using the wrong word.

FFS El Reg, sort it out.

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Microsoft: Pirates at high risk of malware infection

The BigYin
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Re: Keygen a threat?

"So, what you are saying is that you steal stuff and cover your tracks so that you are {hopefully} protected from any nasty side effects of your illegal activity."

I think they are saying that they infringe the copyright license, I don't think they are stealing anything. Not that that makes it any better. Of course, they could have a legit copy and are using the bootleg to by-pass all the DRM nonsense that gets in the way of a decent playing experience.

"If you can't afford to pay for something, find an open source equivalent."

Open Sources (and even Free Software) are not always zero-cost. I agree with the sentiment; don't consume or simply wait for the price to come down. That game? It'll be in the bargain bucket soon enough, and if it's a good game it'll still be a good game.

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Crazed Microsoft robot accuses BBC kids' channel of Win8 piracy

The BigYin
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False DMCA?

Aren't they issued under threat of perjury if they are false?

Time for some MS execs to be put in the dock State-side I think.

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

The BigYin
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And yet...

...we waste millions on pointless wind farms when we should be going nuclear.

We'll be like Germany. Claiming how green we are and pointing to our collections of wind farms, whilst importing dirty power from the likes of Poland.

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Windows 7 overruns NHS Scotland

The BigYin
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All of your points, whilst valid, also apply to Win7.

The only reason thee NHS even considered Open Source was to get some leverage over MS. This is the UK, the rich must be made richer.

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Mozilla floats fondleslab-ready Firefox for Win 8

The BigYin
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FAIL

Re: Shock news!

"do you expect everyone who wants a product to perform a specific task to be able to help create the product/feature beforehand?"

For the avoidance of doubt - yes. Yes I do. And there's any number of ways people can help. They could code (bug fixing/adding features), document, assist in forums, test. Or, and here's a concept for you, they could pay for the software. Thus allowing the project to hire people to do some of the aforementioned tasks.

What people should not do it moan on random forums that some piece of free software doesn't do exactly what they want when they haven't lifted a finger to assist that piece of free software.

"simple feature requests"

What number was your request? Did you even bother to raise it?

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The BigYin
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Re: Shock news!

And how much did you pay for this product?

So you want something for free, that does exactly what you want but don't think you should inform the devs (bar ranting randomly on unconnected forums) Yes....good luck with that.

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The BigYin
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Re: Shock news!

If it is so important to you, I take it you have involved with Mozilla and are assisting them (either with code, documentation, funding or whatever) to make it a reality.

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The BigYin
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Shock news!

Software tool does not do what user wants.

User does not use software tool.

More exciting revelations next week!

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Top admen beg Microsoft to switch off 'Do Not Track' in IE 10

The BigYin
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It won't help

The companies will just ignore it. Like they were probably going to do anyway.

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Hackers leak 120,000 student records in raid on world's top unis

The BigYin
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Re: Am I the only one not impressed?

The Anons were doing something positive when they were going after the Cult of Scientology.

Then there was...err...no; I think that's it.

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Microsoft releases JavaScript alternative

The BigYin
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Re: verbing wierds language

Can we move the debate on to "deplane" and "detrain" (or even "debus")? Those make me want to do a violence.

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The BigYin
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Re: What a laugh if ...

Remember that MS's definition of "open" is not our definition of "open". The Office XML standards are "open" and yet infected with patents that prevent an open implementation (just one example).

Only a dribbling moron would use any MS tech without the understanding that they will be locked-in to that vendor.

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Japan enacts two-year jail terms for illegal downloading

The BigYin
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Re: The Spartacus defence

Simple answer.

Run an open guest network on your router, throttled so as to not kill all you bandwidth. Once enough people do that, downloads can still happen and there is now no way to prove who did what.

Another law for the rich and greedy which actually has no effect and will simply make the problem worse.

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The BigYin
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Re: This is fantastic news

No, because you have not consumed their output. There are different models, but I would say that if you consume someone's labour they deserve recompense (either directly from you or via advertising, whatever).

The situation we have now is massive companies crying foul, having laws enacted, getting the recompense and then not passing it on. Clearly two wrong do not make a right, but if they want to be treated with any respect and have any validity; it's high time they led my example.

Me; I'll continue to throw money at the artists/projects directly(ish) where I can.

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The BigYin
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Illegal in the UK too

Format shifting remain illegal in the UK as well (unless that changed recently?)

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The BigYin
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This is fantastic news

Now the artists, technical crews, production staff and everyone else who works in the creative industries can be sure of getting paid for their work in Japan. It's not like the media companies will defraud the artists (umm, apart from the fact they do), not pay them their contracted fees (umm, apart from the fact they do), engage in false accounting (umm, apart from the fact they do), claim rights to work that is not theirs (umm, apart from the fact they do), infringe on freedom of expression (umm, apart from the fact they do), act against free trade (umm, apart from the fact they do) or would in any way whatsoever act in a manner which one would say is against the common good (umm, apart from the fact they do).

Copyright infringement is wrong. No question there at all. Zero. It's plain wrong. It is taking money out of the very pockets of the people you should be support (well, it would be if they were ever going to get it in the first place; but that's another story).

But that is still not excuse to try and legislate your business model back into relevance (or install root-kist onto your computer's computers, eh Mr. Sony?). The people know the majors defraud the public and other staff, so they think "Big media execs can do it, why can't I? Why should I pay £20 for the same move again?" Well, the public can't afford the bribes and the poor sod who gets it in the next is the artist (they can't afford the bribes either). And it is bribery. Not lobbying, not education about the industry, not anything else. It's bribery, pure and simple.

I for one would rather throw money at the folks behind "Iron Sky", "The Tunnel" etc than engage in the funding some execs nostril powder. As an example of the chicanery involved;

1) How much money did "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" make?

2) When did "Return of the Jedi" turn a profit?

Answers:

1) -US$167million (yes, it made a loss)

2) It hasn't done so yet (despite the "Star Wars" franchise grossing US$33billion).

And yet the MAFIAA wonders why some people think it's OK to infringe copyright and deny money to the talent. Sauce for the goose and all that. Oh, and think of that final figure. US$33billion. Despite all the infringement, fakes etc etc, they made US$33billion. Surely enough is enough, eh?

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Work for beer, Neil Gaiman's wife tells musicians

The BigYin
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Re: Scientologists

Yeah, I read that Wiki article too (after my post). He still funded the cult though and that's not good.

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The BigYin
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A couple to thoughts

1) She had $1.3 million; she should have factored in the costs of tours before spunking the dosh on velour CD sleeves and what have you.

2) Some of the musicians might be willing to work for living/transports costs and a share of the tour's gross. A band that is playing together for a while has got to be better than a bunch of folks who only met two days ago.

3) Some might even be willing to do it for the billing (those who a wanting to get out of some other career, perhaps).

But this just reads of desperate naivety and hoping that by embracing the new funding model it will somehow just all magic out her ass. Kickstarters etc are a great idea, but it still requires the person getting the money to have some clue about WTF they are doing.

And Mr. Orlowski, please stop writing articles like this. I can't be a good sign of my mental health if we are in agreement. :)

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The BigYin
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Re: Scientologists

Oh shit. Is he one of them? Dammit. I quite like his books. Time to burn them I guess.

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NHS eye hospital embiggens in-house open source system

The BigYin
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Re: About bloody time

Agreed. It's not like medicine is closed source. Anyone (not just doctors) can go pretty much look-up whatever the hell they want.

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The BigYin
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Excellent

So now other eye hospitals can just grab this and use it. Heck, some parts are probably fairly generic and could get sucked into other systems. But oh no! What will all the IT suppliers do?

Umm...coin it in I think.

The hospitals probably don't want to run their own massive IT departments, so they will still need outside experts to install/update/code OpenEye. So they can just hire the skills as needed. The big advantage is that if on supplier turns out to be pish, they can just switch to another keeping the same code base.

Of course, if OpenEye turns out to be sub-standard that's still a problem. But that's the current problem with closed source stuff too.

The is exactly where F/OSS should be getting used in preference to proprietary.

Check out openMolar - started by one dentist because they got so hacked off.

I'm willing to bet that openMolar and OpenEye have some commonality (e.g. when is Ms. X booked in, did Mr. Y's results arrive; etc). Can you say "openNSHCore" (or similar)? I knew you could.

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Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish

The BigYin
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Multi-purpose

1) Increase the incidence of littering as people seek to avoid the charge

2) Really piss-off tourists who can't put their litter anywhere (see 1)

3) Drive demand for the hacking of RFID chips so someone else can get your bill

4) Increase revenue (you can be sure that local taxes didn't get reduced)

5) Increase surveillance of the proletariat (polluted by 3)

Or am I just too cynical?

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Online dole queue tech 'not grounded in reality', say councils

The BigYin
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Re: Why the hell

"2. Let's have distributed systems that talk together.

They don't talk very well, the overall results is higher costs."

Only because the code and formats aren't open. There are distributed systems all over the globe that are perfectly happy to blab to each other and can act, kind of, like a centralised resource if that's what you want. Obviously when dealing with personal information the system needs to be secure. oddly enough, there are open system to secure such comms.

Making such stuff F/OSS doesn't just solve the problem locally or nationally, it can help solve it globally. You can bet benefits in France, USA etc all come down to a few basic checks "Who are you? Are you eligible? How much for?". There can only be so many ways to answer those questions.

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The BigYin
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Re: Staff

By "council staff" they probably mean workers provided by a PFI contractor. It's probably the exact same staff in the building, but they get paid half as much whilst costing twice as much. Kerr-ching! The UK politicos do like to see their friends keeping those (almost tax free) profits rolling.

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