I have an idea how to save $50 Billion annually on healthcare - ban pharmaceutical advertising and "marketing"

There is no reason for us to be inundated with happy looking people in ads telling us how wonderful Invokana or Cymbalta are (followed by fine print of horrible potential side effects). There is no reason why I should have to know what Invokana does and does not do - this is not about being an "informed consumer". If I need Invokana, there is a professional whose job it is to tell me that and to understand precisely how and why Invokana is for me - that would be my Doctor.

Pharmaceutical advertising is nothing but an arms race - companies spend Billions for something that is completely unnecessary if only from one point in time everyone had to play under different rules. Tobacco company profits did not go down when cigarette advertising was banned - they went up because they saved on all that advertising expense. Pharma companies would not have less money to invest in R & D if they were not allowed to advertise - arguably they would have more.

At the same time the entire p…

Rich people do not "care about money" more than poor (or not wealthy) people do

Recent political developments revived debates of inequality and how "the rich are getting richer" and in those discussions a fundamental point of difference has been completely missed which is that rich people do not care about money more than people who have less of it.

Or to put it differently, once one achieves a certain level of wealth, the concerns of money in terms of making more of it become a much lesser relative concern than they were when they had little and had to "put food on the table".

This makes so much sense and yet it is widely accepted that the opposite is true - that a Billionaire will be focused on money more so than somebody who is short rent money this month. And where it gets really off the rails is in the implication that somehow, in terms of their behaviour, wealthy people will be willing to compromise morals, ethics and even the law in order to "get more money" and do so more readily than poor people.

The unexamined and unspoken …

Young men protesting, rioting, looting and punching people

Recent weeks and months have seen a remarkable escalation of emotions spread around the world. I won’t go into why, what it means and what may happen next, at least not here.
What this recent period has made me realize is that the propensity of young men to “express” themselves through violence is a human universal, only this time around it has found a somewhat new, very thin, veneer under which to mask itself as being “different this time” than in other instances (such as French students protesting hikes in student fees).
First of all, this is about violence, about physical confrontation including vandalism and damage of property. While women protest plenty, it took a man at women’s march in Edmonton to actually throw a punch (at a woman). For men, physical confrontation is not only a key part of their “expressing themselves”, it seems to be innate.
Senseless violence of football hooligans in Europe has been around forever. Young men in Belgrade schedule to fight each others beca…

"Make America Great Again" was less about "Great" and much more about "Again"

The US Presidential election was not about whether America is great today so much as it was about the suggestion that we could all go back to some better, simpler time.

While few have actual memories of the 50s, most have an idea in their heads of what it was like when things were much simpler. A simple candidate, one so simple to border on a simpleton, came along after a long line of lifelong politicians. Whether slick political operators like Bill Clinton and Obama or the political dynasty of the Bush family.

Trump is simply not difficult to understand for most people. Almost everybody knows somebody who has some of his characteristics, both the good and the bad. He is bigoted while genuinely thinking that he isn't. He is believable in his denials because he is Archie Bunker with a private plane. He may be disagreeable but he is understandable.

There is nothing we don't understand about him - eating KFC on your plane is something everyone can understand. The KFC part of it, …

I smell a rat. On Climate Change.

The article linked to here is just one example of what I have been following for decades now and something is "off" and people appear to be lying and doing so knowingly. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was created about 30 years ago and developed 100 different computer models to predict future climate. On the basis of those computer model projections, they issued some dire warnings in their first report, which then they cut in half (forecasts of global warming and sea level change and the like) in their most recent report. But, because their first predictions have now been out for decades, one can compare forecast data with actual observations and the real world is refusing to cooperate with their models. The actual observed changes are much much less than any projections and hugely different than the average of all of their models put together. This appears to be unacceptable to the main entities participating in this (the UN and the meteorological offices…

About China

With a few days to gain some perspective and observe the reactions, I will "go there" about the phone call from Taiwan's President to Trump. I realized that everyone's reaction to it was first and foremost motivated by fear. Fear of China that is. It is kind of like that "problem Uncle" at Thanksgiving who gets smashed and then you never know which uncomfortable behaviour he is going to engage in next but there is always something. My own first reaction was the same - "Oh, shit, what will China do." And it is the same with other things about China - when I see 1 Million protesters on the streets of Seoul protesting against their President, I am not concerned that there will be some massive world altering blow up. If that happened in Shanghai, I'd be booking next available SpaceX ticket to get off this planet 'cause that wasn't gonna be pretty. I get nervous when 2 legislators in Hong Kong "behave badly" in a way that would n…

The thing about protests and protesters

With proliferation of protests of all kinds I think it is time to have some basic rules about them that everyone can agree on.

The first is that if you are holding up a sign, you are required to be able to explain what the sign says. If it says "Climate Justice", in 3 minutes or less explain what that means. And the same for "#notmyPresident" or "Love Trumps Hate".

The second would be that you absolutely cannot protest something where you had the opportunity to change something and you ignored it and now you don't like the result. Such as "#notmyPresident" protests where each protester should be required to say that they voted, and voted for Clinton. Some will lie but just being made answer the question will discourage many from showing up at all.

Third, your protest has to be in "designated protest area" in the great tradition of ancient Greek public squares or the Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

You absolutely cannot ride skateboa…