Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fooled by Randomness-Egregious Errors Example, and Morality of Private Medicine

There is some cardiologist who is trying to say that switching the clock to daylight savings time leads to increased risk of heart attack. He has all the "Data" to prove this.

The sad  thing is is that this guy probably makes hundreds of thousands of dollars cutting open people, doing angioplasties, open heart surgeries, etc..and has no idea about false correlations.

If he tried to correlate his increase in heart attacks with the size of the left kidney of the patient, or the amount of coca cola someone drinks per day, etc. etc. He will see some other pattern. After seeing the pattern, he will come up with an explanation, a story, a scientific explanation he would call it-to make us understand why there is an increase of heart attacks, for example, after drinking 1 liter of coca cola per day.

His basic assertion is "Sandhu examined about 42,000 hospital admissions in Michigan, and found that an average of 32 patients had heart attacks on any given Monday. But on the Monday immediately after springing the clock forward, there were an average of eight additional heart attacks, he said."

News report  here
and
Here

He even suggest doing further research in Hawaii and Arizona, which do not shift the clock for daylight savings time,  to confirm his findings-leaving open the field for more fools to follow his footsteps. The research was presented at some American College of Cardiology conference.

My rule is to  stay away from novel, cutting edge procedures in medicine. Something which has not been around for more than 30 or 50 years, please don't trust it at all. These guys are experimenting on you, and you pay them for it! Worse still, there is no money-back guarantee in medicine-if things go bad they still keep the money. And the worst part-you sign a document saying you cannot even sue them for damages if things go wrong.

The medicine monopoly is the most organized mafia scheme in the world (where private medicine is allowed). The patient has no rights, no promises-they only pay money and hope that they are cured. The other side, the medics-have a free ride on the rest of humanity.

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The moral hazards of private medicine are further shown by the recent controversy of Gilead's new pill for Hepatitis C. The treatment is going to cost US $ 84,000! Click  here for details.  No one is able to see the inhuman part  about this-how can you stiff someone of so much money when they have a severe health problem? Isn't society there to help the poor and needy? Or the Government?

The argument given by these pharma companies is that they need the money to continue innovation and science. Bollocks! They are doing this to establish their monopoly. The Governments and even the Courts fall for this logic (in a previous post I covered how Monsanto does this the Justice system of all countries)..and everyone wants to pay these pharma companies to do more top-notch research, science, innovation etc.

Instead of preventing the formation of monopolies, the Governments and Courts end up assisting them. Such are the wily arguments of the merchants, Smith would say...and the monopoly spirit of these mercantile companies continues 200 years after Smith published  the Wealth of Nations. As covered before, all patents and exclusive FDA approvals do this-establish the monopoly of these companies, at the expense of the citizens, who are stuck with paying $84K for a drug, or simply carrying around the illness with them forever.

And no-one seems to see the inhumanity in Gilead's asking this exorbitant amount of money. If a man is dying, he will pay $100K for a drink of water, and that's what these people are doing. They are trying to charge the dying man $100K for a drink of water, and the Goverment, Patent and Court system is actively supporting this charge, in the name of increasing innovation and science (a spurious argument, as I have already shown in a previous post).

***

For these cardiologists, and all these people who look for data and causes of things, Taleb's Fooled by Randomness should be mandatory reading. In fact it should be mandatory reading for  everyone in University-so they don't mistake correlations for causality. The sheer volume of possible correlations confuses them into thinking they are on to something-they are all children of randomness. They underestimate the power of chance.

Sanjay


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Doctors vs. Technologists; Angioplasty

The harmful effects of monopoly of private medicine and doctors should become clear with this post.

AMA, the American Medical Association, is the cult-like organization of many doctors in the US (the Canadian version is CMA). The are vehemently anti-immigrant. They would not even let doctors from Canada or Britain come in easily to practice medicine in the US-they have the exclusive  monopoly of treating all these poor American hard working citizens of their diseases. The result-doctors in the US is one of the highest paid professions amongst all professionals.

The technologists, championed by Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, Google, etc...are pro-immigration. They respect people from all over the world who bring good skills of Engineering and Technology to the US. The US Tech sector attracts and keeps the brightest people from all over the world-even from countries which US has very bad relations with (e.g. Iran). Technologists do not think of competition-they think of growing together to make more stuff for humanity. If the tech sector would behave like the AMA, they should discourage immigration; and keep all the tech sector jobs to themselves. That would raise their  salaries in reality-but the gains would be nominal (relative to other Americans). The real production of the US would go down, because the tech sector produces so much for the American Economy (think computers, software, Iphones, Facebook etc.).

Comparing AMA with IEEE  (IEEE is the society for Electrical Engineers) gives you a clear idea of the major difference between how doctors and technologists think in the US. One of them hates immigration, the other loves it and encourages it. One of them hires a large number of lawyers to prevent lawsuits against its members. The other has practically no lawyers-and rarely are members of it sued by the public. One of them has member earnings of USD $300,000 per year, the other about USD $60,000 per year.

What amazes me is how these crooks of medicine, even after being paid so well, still get so much respect from american society.

The AMA is insecure about it's members abilities. Rightly so-medicine is not science. Private medicine practised in countries like the US and Chile is basically a ripoff of the other citizens of these countries. They know it-that's why they go to great lengths to prevent immigrant doctors from coming in easily.

The tech sector of the US encourages immigration!

***
Angioplasty

About 1 million Americans per year are getting angioplasty these days. Stents are inserted into a patient with constricted arteries. This practice violates the basic common sense of plumbing. If a tube is clogged-you don't go around putting another piece of foreign material in the tube to reinforce it! Most of angioplasty is probably very harmful to people who get it. The docs do it to make money, that's all.

The correct treatment is to give blood thinners and anti-cholesterol medicines to decrease chances of cholesterol and clot formation.

Physically inserting stuff doesn't do anything. If no other medication like blood thinner or anti-cholesterol medicine is administered, the artery will clog somewhere else, duh! The real treatment, which is not invasive (of administering these drugs) is combined with the very lucrative and harmful treatment of angioplasty, where a foreign object is inserted in the poor man's heart. The numbers speak for themselves; if 1 million are getting it a year, and assuming most people who get these are above 50 (a population of about 100 million in the US), about 1% is getting angioplasty per year!  In 10 years, about 10% of the population is walking around with Johnson and Johnson, Medtronic or Boston Scientific Stents...you can see that this can't be right!

These private drug companies with their mercenary researchers will cook up data to prove how stents help (please consult your house plumber, he should be able to see the bullshit thru this). The docs and AMA fool the FDA (which is really more docs, nothing else) to approve all these strange procedures. The hapless patient pays in money, and  is left with a foreign object in a critical part of his body.  I rest my case.

Sanjay

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anti-dumping duties, and Government policy flaws-policy should be pro consumer, pro abundance, and not pro producer

The topic  of restraining imports to "encourage" domestic producers, consumption of domestically produced goods, combined with it's nationalist rhetoric, was covered and explained well by Adam Smith. For some reason, after 250 years, the lessons of the Wealth of Nations have not been understood. The useless Economics Doctorates and Nobel Laureates are to blame-they have done no progress since Smith's Wealth was published. So here I will attempt to explain this.

US Steel and AK Steel are two big steel makers in the USA. They want the US government to put anti-dumping duties on china for "selling steel below cost to get market share" etc. Micron Technology does the same stuff for Samsung and Hynix memory chips.

The US Government should completely ignore the pleas of these companies which want to restrict importation by anti-dumping duties.

If someone sells something below cost-what's the consumer's problem??? It is great for the consumer! There is abundance of that commodity in the home market (Steel, memory chips) and that in turn is great for the US consumer. If US Steel and Micron go bankrupt in the process, that is their problem. The Government, instead of discouraging the monopolization of the home market by local producers, actually encourages it by putting anti-dumping duties! Talk about these companies really convincing Uncle Sam to kill the consumer's interest for their benefit.

The goal of public policy should be to reduce costs of everything, to make everything more abundant, for the country's consumers. That's the basic philosophy which they should follow. If that means some domestic producers are wiped out by the a skilled importer, so be it; that is not the Government's problem. All they should care about is the consumer. They should not encourage national rhetoric clould their good judgement-which should always be to favor lowering of costs of everything, or increasing their abundance, which is really the same thing.

The other day I heard about India putting anti-dumping duties on ceramic tiles for China. The local producers told about how the importation was killing the domestic industry-and the poor government fell for this self-serving logic of these producers. The result is that people in India are stuck with bad quality home made ceramic tiles, instead of  better quality cheaper tiles from China.

Plus there is a moral issue there. Why should a government favor the domestic producer's interest over the interests of the importer, who is risking her capital to import the foreign goods? An importer is a citizen of the country as much as the producer is. The goal is not to provide jobs, it is to lower the price of goods (increase their abundance). The domestic producer always invokes the argument of job loss to convince the government to restrict imports; and the consumer suffers by having a shoddy product only in the home market, thanks to the domestic producer and the workers employed by these producers.

If the foreign goods are good, the consumer will prefer those. That means the domestic producers will have to work harder to improve the quality of their product, which is a good thing for the consumer, and what's good for the consumer, is good for the country.

If the foreign goods are inferior, there is no need to fear-the public will realize this and will keep buying home made goods (this happens too, the only loser is the importer and the foreign firm).

If anything, importation should be slightly encouraged, at the expense of the domestic producer. This will force the domestic producers to be become better. Otherwise they are assured a monopoly over the home market (which they so enjoy) and they will keep producing bad quality goods and screwing over the consumers of the country with the high prices.

Any country where importation is restricted is full of bad quality products. Conversely, the more free the importation, the better the quality of products is. The Government should not worry about domestic jobs lost (the people who works for the bad domestic producers will find other jobs) or the interest of the domestic producer; it should only worry about the consumer.

Anti-dumping duties should be abolished in all countries. If some foolish foreign manufacturer wants to sell their goods below cost, to gain market share or whatever, they country should accept that as a gift, and not reject it! What happens to the foreign manufacturer is their problem; if they are truly selling it below cost, they will soon go bankrupt. If they are not, as is most likely the case (who wants to sell stuff below cost?), then the domestic market will have better quality products overall, which will be a great thing for the home consumer.
***
Patents are a closely related subject. They act much the same way as duties on importation. They stifle competition, aid monopolization, and raise prices for consumers. Patent Offices worldwide should be very parsimonious in granting them-only the very important discoveries should be patent protected.  Patents on drugs should be completed eliminated. More on that here.

Patents by technology companies are all the rage nowadays. They are used to prevent new entrants to fields. Patents by Apple Inc. on design of cell phones belittles technological advance of humanity. Design patents, software patents, all these intangible patents, should be completely thrown out of the system. The Government, instead of preventing the formation of monopolies (and increasing the cost of goods for customers), is fooled into aiding their formation!!! Such are the machinations of companies to fool the law to screw over the public and the consumers.



Sanjay



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The dentist disaster, patents-when they should and when they shouldn't be awarded, Monsanto.

I have dedicated a considerable amount of space in this blog to evaluating medicine. Inside medicine, a particularly terrible department is of dentistry. If you are a dentist who are reading this-please give up your profession and stop hurting people's health. You either are a complete fraud-knowing well that most of the stuff you do harms your patients; or are an ignorant fool who doesn't understand much about science and medicine, in which case you need to brush up (no pun intended) on your basics.

When I moved to the USA from India at the age of 21 for my Grad School in 1992, I was surprised to find that most Americans and Europeans I met, who were of my age, had fillings in their teeth. Noone in India I knew had had fillings at that age. I had never seen a dentist in India.
Investigating dentistry in the following yeaT he few cases I saw-were of people who were older than 50. rs, and visiting one or two of them, gave me more insight into this really scammy profession. It is probably even worse than organized religion in the net harm it does to society.

Dental caries (and cavities, the result of these) are infections in the teeth. In the Americas (North and South) and Western Europe, the dentists have convinced everyone that kids' caries need to be taken care of right then; otherwise runaway infections will happen and their children will be in serious trouble. The tooth around caries are taken out physically by abrasive procedures; the dental drill is their most important tool. Part of the child's tooth is permanently removed and a filling placed over it. The dentists start  doing this procedure to children around 7 or 8 years old. The teeth of a child is growing in proportion to her body as they get to teenage-the filing obviously falls off every two years or so, and new ones are put in. This procedure continues well into teens, when the child finally has reached the mature, no growth stage.

The simple solution in India is to deal with the infections by antibiotics and give painkillers to the child. No-one ever takes their child to a dentist. By the time the child is a teenager-the caries go away and the cavities are filled up automatically, owing to the normal growth of the tooth.

After that, dental checkups are recommended by these low-ethic medics all your life. Wisdom teeth are removed, teeth below the normal teeth (visible in X-rays) are removed, all in the name of preventative maintenance. I am certain that most of these procedures are completely unnecessary-plenty of old people I know in India have never got any of these procedures and have a pretty good set of teeth even in their 70s.

I had an episode of bruxism a few years back. A special separator was ordered for me, at a cost of about USD1000. Before this a silicone separator  was used-which cost about USD10. The dentists convinced the governments in all these countries that silicone separators were bad; one needed to have a custom separator designed for "good health of citizens' teeth). Silicone separators are not even allowed in Chile, USA and Canada. The monopoly of dentists fools all the governments of these countries to ban stuff which is really more comfortable and cheaper than the harder separators which are custom designed. The end result is-that for bruxism, where some simple muscle relaxant and a USD10 silicone separator will take care of the problem, the patient is made to pay north of USD1000. All of it goes into these dentists pockets.

I came across many people who had root canal surgeries done. This kind of stuff is basically amputation of your tooth (the root)...and dentists do it is a "normal procedure" to millions of people in the world. Even in India they are doing it more and more now. The parasite of dentistry is slowly gaining power in this world!

I write this post to tell that very clearly that from all these observations, and see my previous posts for more empirical data on dentists HERE and HERE  and HERE, the whole profession of dentistry is a sham. The world would be a better place if dentistry schools were completely shut down. If you do have aches and pains in your mouth, as much as it is a part of your body, a General practitioner is your best bet. There is absolutely no need to have dentists as a separate profession.

The only place where they have some real need is when a tooth chips off-and a cement or filling can be put to cap or make this tooth whole. That can be done by a technician-there is no need to give a specialized degree for teeth experts for this. This procedure can be learnt by a 2 month training course by any medical technician. You can get rid of all dentists and dentist visits from your life. Save yourself money, and more importantly, don't get harmed by these pseudo-medics who are running the biggest fraud under the umbrella of healthcare and medicine.

***
There is a popular argument for private healthcare which is used to fool Governments and the public. This argument is proposed by everyone involved in private healthcare-the drug companies like Pfizer and Merck, the health insurers, the doctors and their mafia associations like AMA and CMA, private hospitals, etc.
It is particularly used by drug companies and other "innovative, cutting edge" science companies.

They say that giving good money to them is important to develop good products, to develop new drugs, etc. That Intellectual Property (IP) needs to be protected well, and compensated, so companies like Pfizer can keep innovating to produce better and better drugs. Essentially, give me money to do great research.
This is balderdash.

Good science doesn't need money,  or at least a profit motive. If the money is needed, it is better if it comes from the Government-not thru fooling private citizenry with slick ads to prevent and alleviate osteoporosis and arthritis. Some Government (US) organizations which produce amazing stuff are the US Military, NASA, the various National labs in the USA affiliated to NSF, etc. In Russia it is the Space Agency, same in India. Loads of great products and technologies are born in Universities. The profit motive is non-existent; most of the royalty goes to the Univ and not the Professor.

A reward for patents should be esteem from your fellow scientists, and maybe some money at the individual level, let's say a Million Dollars, but not more. Pfizers etc. are paid hundreds of millions of dollars for patent fees and patent violations. That's horrible. The  patenting of medicine is bad, bad for humanity. It is great if the Government gives some money to the inventor or the discoverer-e.g. if someone solves Cancer or solves AIDS, but the reward should not go to the company. The patent should come in a common pool, to be used by all companies, to ALLEVIATE HUMAN MISERY as fast as possible. What is ultimately good for society will eventually be good for these drug companies, but they are too foolish to realize this. Swayed by the nominal value of money-they make drug making, production and distribution a real mafia racket. It is bad for society, and in the end is really bad for them, because they are happy with the nominal value of money, where as the real value is not that high. Pain relief activities like Police, Military, Fire Fighting, and Medicine should be non-profit; in the hands of the Government. See details of why this is the case in a previous post here.

Anyway, I just wanted to question the commonly accepted argument that huge amounts of money is needed for drug discovery, which justifies these 17 year old patents, royalties, etc. It is not. Look at the Universities, Government agencies, etc. around you-they do cutting edge science, have great patents, and are the ones who should be doing all the cutting edge work when it comes to alleviating human pain. However, when it is for pleasurable activities-Tesla's electric cars, Google Search Engine, Intel chips or Samsung phones, that is best done by private capital.

It would be a great thing if medical patents were altogether eliminated as a category from the patent offices of the world. Good drugs will come to market faster; some individual companies will be hurt once in a while, but that's their problem. A good government should prevent the formation of monopolies; and the patent system is a punch in the face of that---the government actually aids the monopolists in their wily design to control and dominate the market.

For pleasurable stuff like Iphones and Car batteries; I think having a Patent Office is fine; but patents should be awarded rarely, only for real cutting edge discoveries. Right now they are used by companies to suppress innovation at other companies, to extort money-and the US or European or Japanese patent office, in their zeal to collect pennies in patent fees, gives up the benefit to mankind (the consumer) which would entail if they didn't give so many patents. Software patents are the newest beast in town; even the venerable Google has a low opinion of them (and they are an insider!). But the patent offices keep giving patents to Oracle, Apple, etc.; stifling competition, and making the monopolists' scheme even more perfect. Instead of preventing patenting, the government aids in patenting and establishing proprietary technology. If the monopolists can't guard their secrets, that is their problem; the government should not help them guard it.

A case in point nowadays is Apple vs. Samsung. Apple has patented the silliest of things-from they way to tap the device to the way to hold and swipe it with your finger. The USPO and EPO have missed the point that they should not put patents out for originality but for something which is difficult to do, a true technological or scientific achievement. An example: every cook does something original with a dish or the vegetables she uses. Cook X might patent a new way to cut carrots-with the head on the board. It is really new, noone has patented it, you see! If you cut a carrot with the head on the board, you might violate the patent of carrot-cutting by Cook X ...is that what patenting is???  If patenting was cheap, every cook should file patents then.. the good thing is they never get stinky rich like Apple to do so. The point I want to hammer home by this example is that patents should be awarded rarely, only for clearly difficult to do stuff-not for originality. Another example-a guitarist files the first patent for playing the guitar behind his head-and now we have a major problem, because so many cool rock stars have to pay this guitarist money to do the cook strumming with the guitar behind the head trick. You can't blame the guitarist or Apple to try to extort money from everyone-the fault lies with the Patent Offices for awarding the patent at the first place!

A good way to judge if there are too many patents awarded is the existence of patent trolls. If companies exist just to collect royalty on patents, and have no operations-then something is really wrong. Number of patent awards should go down considerably; and all such companies should go out of business. The employees could do something more useful-making Subway sandwiches sounds like a very nice profession for these people.

Patents are nothing but an award of exclusivity. You can even argue that if something is difficult to do and replicate, why bother patenting it? And since we shouldn't award patents for easy stuff anyway, we can see that society can completely get rid of patents, and  the net will come out as a benefit for the consumers. Therefore, all patents become lies-lies to fool the Government, in the name of advancing innovation, protecting scientists, etc, etc. at the expense of the consumer. They are in reality devices to establish and increase monopolies (like manufacturers discouraging imported goods to support domestic industry-sounds like a noble cause, but it is the wily spirit of keeping the home market to oneself, always understocked, with no competition from outside products, which is the real reason for manufacturers wanting this. This was explained well by Adam Smith). The Government should try to increase competition between scientists, or at least not decrease it; everywhere they decrease competition, they raise costs for the consumer. As Smith said-a Government should be pro-consumer, and not pro-producer. In this case they are producers of patents. They may have their PhD's or Medicine degrees, but in the end, it all hurts the consumer. If you cannot protect your trade secrets-that is your problem. Don't run to the Government to help you. Unless it is a clear physical theft of stuff-in which case the right entity to go to  is the Police, not the Patent Office and the Courts!

***
Monsanto is another company which oppresses farmers by their bad science patents. The US patent office gives them patents liberally. The US court system can't see this-they side with Monsanto, again with the arguement of Intellectual property protection being necessary for innovation. The judges are not able to see the bad science; and most scientific witnesses in these cases are paid by Monsanto directly or indirectly (sponsorship of  professorships, research, etc.). The farmer is duped into buying a fake science round up or whatever seed; and the US patent office, together with the court system, readily assists Monsanto in establishing this monopoly. More on Monsanto's garbage scientific research here.
Sanjay


Monday, May 27, 2013

Monsanto-problemas reales

Sacan Monsanto de Chile, Argentina y Latino America por favor...mentirosos los cientificos de esa empresa..solamente ponen contratos y demandas al campo..son inutiles sus "mejoramiento genetico" a semillas, etc..es para amarrar el campo que ponen estos estudios que violan los principios basicos de ciencia. Mejoramiento de plantas no es lo mismo que mejoramiento de animales (humanos incluidos) y no es necesaria. El rendimiento del campo en Francia (donde no se usa semillas geneticamente modificada) no es menos que EEUU, estan en el mismo rango. Con siglos de seleccion humana, hemos logrado mejorar la semilla de planta muy bien; lo que pretende hacer Monsanto es eso, nada mas.

 En todo caso, la comida esta ok para comer..no tiene problemas con salud, etc..vivien cientos de millones de personas en EEUU y Sud America que comen granos alterados de Monsanto u otros empresas..no pasa nada...el problema es otro. Que no hay mejoramiento real, es solamente para monopolizar el campesino.

La excepcion donde esta bien usar modificacion genetica, es para quitar algunas enfermedades que provienen de causas genetica.  Esto no es mejorar rendimiento-es en algunos casos particulares de animales y humanos solamente. En plantas, no veo muchas enfermedades geneticas que necesitamos eliminar; hemos hecho bastante bien con seleccion artificial en el campo.

Aca detalles sobre la ciencia mala de esta empresa (usa el traductor en la mano derecha por favor)
http://sanjayjohn.blogspot.com/2013/05/monsanto-real-problem.html

Sanjay