Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why Teslas are not green cars

I love Elon Musk (is there an Engineer who doesn't?)  and Tesla remains the biggest holding in my stock portfolio, but in this post want to show you that Teslas are not green cars at all.

Just because a Tesla run on electricity they can't be called green cars. In making the Tesla car itself, the company buys loads of metals and materials and components. How are they made? Unless they are all made by environment friendly (solar or wind) energies, a Tesla can't be called a green car at all! There is more though-you must consider the transportation of all these materials, the infrastructure involved (highways, ships, aeroplanes, trains, etc) involved in transporting them. You can't just look at the way the Tesla runs (electricity, clean energy) to decide whether it is a clean car; you must consider how the car is made, the materials involved, and how energy is supplied to make the car and it's components. Everything is interrelated in economics.

Unless Tesla the car itself can be made out of 100% clean energy, it can't be a green/environment friendly thing to buy it. A car is a giant piece of machinery, and a lot of energy is used to make it. If fossil fuels have been used to make the car, then by buying more Tesla cars, you may end up helping Exxon Mobil more than you can imagine, because almost every industry used large amounts of oil, directly or indirectly.

In many ways, Tesla is an option on the oil industry. If oil prices were to suddenly rise up and stay high (if for example the solar lovers were to suddenly shut down the oil industry), the costs of all the materials used to make a Tesla would become high as well, and you may find that producing a Tesla car would cost much much more. The reason the Tesla costs what it costs is because of the oil industry, which makes it cheap to wrought up the metals used to make it, to transport the materials and metals from all over the world to Tesla's factory, to run the factories of all the suppliers at a reasonable cost, etc. A scarcity of oil (or a rise in price, which is the same thing) would push up the costs of all materials. Because oil industry is still the biggest producer of energy in the world, by a very large margin (over coal and nuclear-wind and solar are negligible), any massive scarcity of oil will cause prices of all goods to increase considerably, and Tesla the car might become too costly to make. In other words, even if it runs on clean electricity using solar or wind, the car itself is really made by a massive help from the oil industry.

Another similar case is of hand dryers which are electric powered (they blow hot air on your hands)-they are supposed to be "green" because they eliminate the user of paper towels, which are from trees, and trees should not be cut down, etc. etc. etc. Well the hand dryers themselves are solid pieces of metal, and in making them, probably  a lot of energy was used. Most forests are renovated quickly by the lumber companies who sell cellulose (it makes sense, they sell the pulp, they will take care of the trees) and it is very difficult to imagine that using an electric blow dryer is less or more harmful for the environment/for the trees than using paper towels.

I like Teslas because they are a great machine, noiseless, fast, clean, easy to maintain, etc., but not because they are green or good for the environment, etc., because they are not.

Sanjay

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A list of phony professionals and specialists

Here is a list of professions which are largely phony, and often times fraud. More than 95% of the stuff these professionals do is useless or harmful, only 5% can be called useful at best.

Chiropractors: The profession believes in the "adjustments by force" of your bones and joints to remove your pain/cure you. The therapy has no logic at all. Back pain being a major problem for humanity, many resort to this pseudo profession to get rid of it. Some are cured spontaneously, and attribute the success to chiropractors. The others are not cured and go on to find other therapies. There is a substantial portion which is left worse than before (applying pressure to zones which are already hurting contradicts the basic philosophy of biological animals-the pain is there to essentially immobilize (rest) that part-that is the main function of this pain-and to make this part move more cannot be good for you). I went to a couple of chiropractors in a different countries, and their dialogue is full of pseudo-science. They even will try to tell you that your whole spine is defective, that regular checkups of the spine are necessary, etc. etc...all to justify the foolish procedures which they want to do on you. They will display elaborate musculoskeletal charts in their offices, pretending to be medics. Usage of charts, graphs, diagrams and tables is nothing new-astrologers have used them for centuries to fool the public that there is science and math behind what they say. I highly recommend that you avoid chiropractors. I have covered back pain in a previous post to help you with this common problem (I am a chronic back pain sufferer myself).

Kinesiologists: Similar to chiropractors, they believe in stretching and stimulating your muscles (instead of bones vertebrae, and the skeletal system, which the chiropractor focuses on ) to take care of back pain, and other rehabilitation after knee surgeries, etc. That the muscles need to be stretched and put in form is the basis of their therapy. The forced motion they subject you to is less intense than a chiropractor cracking your spine vertebrae, but the problem if not using rest and motionlessness to cure the body remains the same. Their back pain relief argument is stretching muscles in hamstrings and even the ankles. The fools in the university of kinesiologists teach them some rudimentary principles of physics (all muscles are connected, and stretching from one end relieves stress throughout the muscle strands, etc) and apply them to living bodies. The basic principle of resting and leaving the damaged part immobilized is not mentioned at all-obviously not very good for their profession to recommend such things. Nowadays they will stimulate these muscles by temperature shocks, electric and magnetic fields, which is a very risky strategy. The ones who are left handicapped by these pseudo-therapists are posting heavily in online forums. Brute force therapy cannot be good for you, and kinesiologists together with chiropractors are going completely contra this basic common sense principle of recovery of all living beings. Both kinesiologists and chiropractors insist on the value of exercise and motion to keep you healthy or to restore you to good health. The fact that mammals like Tigers, cheetahs, leopards, deer, wild buffalos etc. never exercise and can run much faster and longer than humans is completely ignored. Many of these animals are very lazy-but when need be, they can run and do all kinds of physical activities. In fact, long sleeping hours are necessary for carnivores-lions, tigers and cheetahs spend more than 12 hours a day sleeping and the rest of them just lounging about.

Dentists: The massive scam this profession is can't be explained in one paragraph, I have a complete blog post just to expose the foolishness of dentists (they like to use sophisticated terms like odontologists to describe themselves, to dupe the public of course). Here I will just say that dentists have broken the fringe/alternative medicine shell to enter as doctors (they love being called Doctors) , and that is a very bad thing for humanity.

Psychologists and Sociologists: Most of their theories of behavior etc. are unprovable. Psychologists have an elaborate DSM manual, trying to organize illnesses into categories, and then cures of talking and going over your past, behavior therapy etc. are practised to treat the patients. The whole thing is a giant play of words-and I doubt that they cure anything serious by their talking cures or their cognitive and behavioral therapies. They are like Geishas and friends for hire at best.

Financial analysts (related to the stock market, investments, including real estate): Most of these are clueless about the stock market. Wild theories of asset allocation, index fund returns, etc. are invoked to make you invest in funds X and Y, and grow your nest egg until retirement by Z% with V% volatility. Nassim Taleb covers them well in "Fooled by Randomness"-most of this profession is full of data analysts who extrapolate random noise to see the future, and fail spectacularly in the process. Several win Nobel prizes to make their craft seem scientific-it is not. They are good at Math, which is a wonderful thing-but all the Math is designed to confuse the investor and saver to part with their money. They even invent stuff like Financial Engineering to encroach upon the very useful careers of Engineering (yours truly has two degrees in Engineering).

Marketing and Sales types (Marketing managers, etc): Marketing types are another breed of fake specialists. Many exist in product design, publicity and market campaigns of consumer products like shampoos, soaps, detergents, razors, beers, wines, etc. They claim to design marketing which touches your conscience. The "feel good" feeling they want to portray through advertisements, they claim, help sales of whatever product they are selling. Most of these marketeers are story-tellers (and they will even accept this!) and their whole goal is to fool the public to buy your products. The problem is that their expertise is extremely doubtful, and a lot of success is by chance alone, rather than skill. The demand for all these products goes up as society becomes richer; and these marketing type people will claim credit whenever they see success. They conveniently blame the failures on other things, bad products, etc. Salespeople who seem to understand what people want better than the people who make the product are another breed of liars. It is much easier for product makers or engineers to learn sales than for salesmen to become product makers or engineers.

Climate scientists, global warming enthusiasts: A large number of these are purely in the game for money. The models of global warming etc. are unprovable, and for some strange reason, global cooling (which was feared in the 1950s in the USA) has gone to global warming in a period of 50 years. The models have not much to do with reality. The conclusions are highly speculative and are designed to cause alarm. I cover these in previous posts. Global warming garbage science post 1  and  Global warming garbage science post 2.

Cardiologists: Specialists of parts of the body like cardiologists are dangerous when they overspecialize.  They ignore or do not consider the interrelatedness of the various organs of the body, which can and does lead to disastrous consequences. The whole industry behind angioplasty is false. The original premise, that cholesterol increase heart attacks, is not true. Clogged arteries cured by angioplasty or fancy heart surgeries do not consider the massive redundancies present in the body's arterial and veinous system. The medicines they recommend are largely data from pharmaceutical industry experts and scientists-and whenever I have seen some of these researchers, they are full of bad conclusions/incomplete data sets. Angioplasty is trying to fix a cleaning of the artery gone bad in a very bizarre way of inserting a  foreign object. I have covered this in more detail in a previous blog post-but angioplasty seems to violate the basic principles of sound plumbing and fixing the line when there are problems. The only use of cardiologists is to relieve symptoms of pain, not to cure the disease-because their theories of heart attacks, etc. are all flawed. The whole concept of  bypass surgeries is strange-people suffer from some pain or loss or breath and are operated upon. A very  large number of people who undergo bypass surgeries die or are left worse off than before. The ones who do get better (for unknown reasons, or by chance) are touted as success by these cardiologists.

Neurologists and Neurosurgeons: These specialists are born out of technological advancements in X-ray and MRI imaging. Because they are not engineers-they try to overinterpret and see problems when there aren't any (much like dentists). Neurosurgeons are needed for removal of sharp objects in the skull in accidents, or to remove tumors or growths which are causing pain-but they do not address the underlying problem of the cause of the disease (cancer). Only in accidents and impact injuries should one need to consult with these neurospecialists.

Oncologists: Cancer is a said to be a leading "cause" of death, and it is a small surprise that medicine has created a specialist to meet the demand of the public for this. But the science behind these specialists is flaky.

The logical mistake of cancer is confusing correlation with causality. See Khan Academy video here for explanation. That deaths occur in metastatic cancers is clear-but that does not mean that the cancer is the cause of the death. A large number of people with cancers which metastasize live on for decades. Others die very fast.  Cancer seems to be a sympton of some underlying (probably genetic-but may be biochemical, etc.) problem, and that same genetic problem seems to cause organ failure or death of the individual. It would be like blaming wrinkles on death of people-and thinking that wrinkle removal will lead to lower deaths. The very existence of benign tumors and cancers shows that cancer is not causing deaths in many cases-so it is not that bad. The assumption that spreading of the cancer leads to deaths is erroneous. Also, given all the theories of how cancers metastasize (spread around in the body)-through lymph, blood, etc, they do not consider the fact that cells might be mutating independently in organs to give the impression of spreading. In other words, when you find a breast cancer like tumor in the brain, can it be that the brain cells have misfired in their replication and growth, and created cells which look like breast cancer cells? In that sense, it is not spreading; it is the growth of all these tumors independently due to some defective firing mechanism of the cells. To me this is the most probable way that tumors appear, rather than the popular theory of cancerous cells being carried around in the body to cause cancers in other regions. We know that when we have allergies to something-symptoms (e.g. a rash) will appear at different parts of the body simultaneously; but it is not necessary that the rash "spread" internally to cause rashes on other parts! Same with moles, chicken pox, and many other diseases-there need not be a transfer of cells-the islands will sprout up independently, will look all the same, which is what will characterize the disease at the first place. We don't go around looking for how a chicken pox swelling goes from one part of the body to another through lymph nodes, etc. It is the same for cancerous growth! Metastasis is a very questionable way to explain the existence of similar-looking tumors in the body, these tumors develop independently. This is the reason why many times you will not find the primary tumor at all-because it is all independent island type growth, just like the formation of ice when water is frozen. You would think that if it was breast cancer in the brain, the breast would have a tumor-but many times it is not seen there at all. When you ask the cancer experts why that is-they have no good reason. The obvious reason seems to be that the breast (cancer) like cells in the brain are a formation in the brain; and have nothing to do with cells in the breast. It is as if the cells are growing the wrong organ at the designated place-a more believable explanation as someone ages (propensity to defective cell multiplication or errors increases with age) or genetic defects, when it is not happening in old age. Cancer is a symptom of disease; not a cause of disease. This is why when you shrink some tumors with radiotherapy or chemotherapy-you do not cure anything; the tumors appear again in different places, and the patient dies anyway. As the Khan Academy video link shows-if you do accept that Metastatic Cancer is a just correlating to deaths but not the cause of deaths, you can even argue that removing cancers might hurt you -you are more likely to die if you try to shrink tumors (which might be the body's expression of fight, for example).

Even if we grant that cancer is "spreading" from the original tumor, the cures have their holes. Cancer removal by surgery is to remove symptoms of pain-it never will solve the problem of why there is cancerous growth at the first place. The cancerous cells are misfiring, and no one has proved that the cells in the vicinity go bad because of a cluster of cancerous cells in the vicinity. Models of metastasis and cutting off or doing surgery at the primary tumor do not consider that by the time the primary tumor is seen, other parts the body may already have the primary tumor's cells...cutting the primary tumor now will not help, it might be already too late.

Controlled experiments for cancers in mice etc. are full of bad selection of samples, and conclusions from mice cannot be used easily for humans. The saying that detecting (and removing) a cancer early helps you cure it can't be proved. Cancers will grow in other places even if the early cancerous growth (primary tumor, or other tumors) are removed. Cures like chemotherapy, radiation therapy etc. are full of naysayers-a cursory look on the internet will tell you this. Medicine is not rolling dice with my body-if you can't guarantee with let's say a 90% or higher probability that I will be cured, I do not want to be treated. Not even considering that I might have to pay a lot of money to get the treatment at the first place, which the medics will keep even if I die. The only place where you may get surgery for cancer is if the pain at the local location where there is cancer is too much; then it is symptom relief, and not a "cure" as the oncologists like you to believe, by their flawed theories of spreading and controlling early stage cancers. Until a clear mechanism for metastasis is proven, all cures based in removal of the primary tumor are highly questionable. Every day a new article is published in Cell or Nature or another "scientific journal" to inform us about a new mechanism for metastasis of cancer cells. That itself is proof enough to keep away from at least a surgical treatment by oncologists.

In this sense, the appearance of cancer is like wrinkles. An observer can see clearly that wrinkles are correlated to death (most people who die have wrinkles); but can falsely conclude that removing wrinkles will remove deaths. Imagine the thousands of wrinkle removing cream manufacturers (they don't even remove wrinkles, by the way) touting the benefit of postponing death by removing wrinkles; that's what curing cancer to reduce deaths is. The presence of benign cancers, or cancers which grow and spread, but then don't do it anymore, is enough to prove that worrying about cancer in itself will not solve the problem of deaths which are correlated with cancer.

Another example to understand this, consider the appearance of grey hair. We know that grey hair correlates well with death (most people who die have grey hair). But it would be foolish to think that removing the grey hair, or coloring them, will somehow prevent the person from dying! Cancer in that sense is nothing more than graying of the hair-it is an offshoot of some bad problem in the system (probably due to aging of cells, as I have said above) but doesn't actually CAUSE death. Removing cancer does not prevent the person from dying, just as removing or coloring their grey hair is not going to decrease their chances of dying. An ET (extra terrestrial) sometimes can tell you better about life than humans who try to see causality everywhere; for an ET, there is not difference between graying of hair, cancer and wrinkes; they are all symptoms of death to the ET, that's all. Causality is a difficult thing to prove, and with cancer, it seems like the whole industry is way off the mark, unless there is some specific circumstances where the outgrowth of cancer cells actually is resulting in organ failure (e.g. pressing of an artery, etc). But those cases are rare; and even something like lung cancer, a fairly common type of cancer (and I have personally known people who have died from it, and watched their cancer's development), is not causing catastrophic lung failure it seems. Removing cancerous tumors for lung cancer does not prolong the life of the patient. It can be done to remove the pain (if they are suffering from pain), but is really nothing more than removing their grey hair in terms of the health benefit.

The real problem to solve is the death due to aging. It is aging of the body which is causing wrinkles and cancers; and the true problem is to prevent cells from aging, or help in their regeneration, etc...which will automatically take care of cancer.

Nutritionists and Dietitians : This is another fake group of experts. The so called science of nutrition varies considerably depending on the country you live in (food habits of humans vary a lot over the world). Even stuff like multivitamins for adults is questionable. Taste as an indicator of what the body really needs is completed ignored by all these experts. When I can't decide what is good for me, I trust my natural instinct of what I find tasty at that moment to purchase my groceries. Taste has an interesting property-after you have had your share of carrots or ice-cream or whatever else you wanted to eat tonight, you don't eat it anymore. This shows clearly that the body is naturally needing some ingredients in these foods, and once those ingredients are supplied, the body is satisfied, and doesn't want to eat more of the same stuff anymore. Taste to my mind is a natural indicator of what one's body biologically needs right now-and none of these pseudo-experts takes this into account. On the contrary, what is tasty is almost always said to be bad for you...probably from our fear of our own senses and enjoyments (basis of all religion). Instead of the hedonist, everyone likes the person who avoids and spurns pleasure. This was covered well by Smith (what wasn't!). We seem to respect people who flagellate themselves, and don't like indulgence or hedonistic tendencies. It is not a bad thing for many things-but for foods, I think trusting your biological taste buds is much better than trusting nutritionists and dietitians.

 For weight loss, the number of experts is amazing-from potion selling herbalife to protein only diets, everyone has a way to make everyone else lose weight. There is little science in these professionals.

Warren Buffet is a great indicator of what's wrong with the whole "science" behind nutrition. He drink loads of coca cola, and eats ice cream, snacks etc...all (wrongly) labeled junk food. Here's what he says about a healthy diet (I am pretty much the same-I only trust what is tasty, and completely ignore what nutritionists etc. say, and have no health problems).

As you will notice, a lot of these fake professions are in health-care. There has been massive overspecialization in health care -in 1840 there were no specialists in medicine. I don't believe that our understanding of human bodies has taken such a quantum leap in 150 years. But the liars in medicine have been able to convince the public by their slick science-like marketing that they know something special. They are losing the big picture-and keep insisting in being experts in treating areas of the body like teeth, the heart or cancers. If this continues, in a 100 years we will have a specialist for the right thumb, and another one for the left thumb. The point is-unless it is very clear that the problems are not related, one should not promote specialization at the first place. Independent or weakly correlated disciplines call for specializations-think of Physics and Learning Spanish, or Computer Science and Cooking. Whenever there is overlap, it is good not to specialize. Most of Physics at the higher levels is extremely Mathematical-which is why it is impossible to become a good Physicist without being an excellent Mathematician. Most of Engineering education is the same courses, based on Physics and Math really; the specialization is thrown-in in the later years; and most of the learning is on-the-job for Engineering. Specialization in medicine is really harmful-because most body parts and functions are highly correlated. The medical industry is full of fools and charlatans, who do not understand math and statistics and difference between correlation and causality that well, and the ones who do keep quiet because there is too much money at stake. The result is all these specialists who add no value to human health-and in actuality hurt more than help us.

The pseudo-professionals here always give the argument that I am just an Electrical Engineer-what would I know about kinesiology or oncology, that I need to study it more before jumping on to conclusions, etc. The same argument is used by religious people and astrologers. Here are a few tests

1. Neither Cardiologists nor oncologists, and much less the other professionals mentioned here, take any guarantee that I will be cured. In fact, they make me sign a document that even if I die, I can't sue them, that there is risk in this etc. etc. You would think that if they were more confident about their knowledge, they would give me a money back guarantee at least, if not a guarantee for the cure. They legally avoid both.

2. The opinions and therapies vary within the group considerably. That's why one has to go for 2nd and 3rd opinions in cancer. One recommends surgery-other recommends chemotherapy, etc. etc. They can't agree amongst themselves what the best treatment is. How can I trust this profession?

3. The practice and it's cure vary widely depending on the country you are in. Dentists in one country recommend root canals for everything. In another country they are recommending you take good care of milk teeth of children because that will cause problems later on when the fixed teeth sprout. All kinds of theories and meta-theories are published, and people are experimented upon. The pain and suffering of the people is real-but the cure by these people are largely hand-waving and experimentalist. A practice which changes from country to country cannot be trusted. Compare this to Electrical Engineering or Chemistry or Math-which remain the same whether you are in South Korea, Chile or Canada. One is hard science, the other is experimental science. I don't want to be the guinea pig for these therapists, and worse still, have to pay for the experiment from  my pocket!

If you can't guarantee a cure, can't give me a money back guarantee like Samsung does when I buy an LCD TV, I think it is clear that you don't know what you are doing. I do not want to be experimented upon and lose money also in the process.

***

There are a large number of medical profession which are wonderful and useful for humanity. An injury in an accident which results in an open wound will be stitched together by a surgeon. Or if by accident you get a sharp object inserted in your body; removal of that object with minimum damage is an extraordinary skill, and we need great surgeons for it. That is a great use of medicine-it is obvious, clear and there isn't much "hidden high tech science" behind it. The wonders of vaccinating children and how that really takes away infant and child mortality I have seen with my own eyes. a General Practictioner has a lot of good tools at her disposal to take care of minor things-minor infections, coughs, colds, etc. are the popular ones.

Taking care of physical damage to the body due to an accident is probably the most useful part of medicine. The profession of surgery was started by barbers; and good skill with the knife (to take out a sharp object from the body, a splinter, a bullet, etc) is a very wonderful ability to have. Same with sewing up a gash or wound-there are lots of technologies to make the process easier and less painful for the patient.

My point in this post is to show you the problems in the few (normally called "cutting edge") areas where it is clear that medics don't have a clue. But overall, medicine remains a very useful specialization to develop for humanity-but the progress needs to be slow and measured, never fast and innovative-these buzzwords are not for medicine or serious medics. Treating live animals (humans) is a hard thing, much harder than making aeroplanes or internet websites (the job of engineers like me), and it should be done with care-accumulating sure progress, discarding the negative therapies and uses, to make medicine really take the form of engineering the human body-like repairing a car. Right now there is a lot of pretense to look at the body like a car-but I am afraid a lot of procedures done by medicine are not thorough. The lesson is to avoid cutting edge, not obvious therapies and cures; go for the small, sure therapies and cures which have survived 30 or 50 years of testing. I think in 50 years dentists might be doing something entirely different from what they are doing now...and I hope that the profession actually dies in the next 50 years, just like blood-letting did in 1840.

Most of these professions mentioned above-kinesiology, chiropractice, dentistry are what blood letting was in 1800. They have elaborate 3-5 year programs of getting "degrees" so you look like a professional; all they are is a training in practices which don't work in real life (exactly like blood letting). But the young students in them don't know any better; the marketing of the establishment (the ones who already have these useless degrees) makes hordes of new, young people join these departments in the hope of getting rich, rarely do they join these professions nowadays to serve humanity (as it should be). The end result is that these kids have spend 5 years of their valuable life learning something which is of little value. In 2200AD, humanity will look at these practices just as shockingly as we look at blood letting. When you are doing something foolish in the present, it is very hard to realize it. Religion obviously is another big one there. But Religion was replaced by blood letting, which was replaced by these professions mentioned above-I guess the game of pseudo-professions goes on. Our only hope is that over time (think centuries, not decades) we get rid of the useless professions faster than giving birth to new ones.

Sanjay

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!

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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.

From a physics/engineering perspective-if you clean a tube right, you would not need any reinforcement. Here they are doing the cleaning of the artery bad-and trying to fix a bad job by putting inserts. The original job of cleaning the artery well, so no scar tissue, etc. is generated, needs to be perfected; they are focusing on doing a bad job of cleaning and then perfecting the inserts. Obviously the drug and stent companies like it that way-the procedure is obviously more elaborate, and you can justifiably charge a suffering patient more. In other words-stents (reinforcements) are being put because the original cleaning job of the artery is not being done well. If they have to take out the cholesterol deposits in arteries-they have to focus on doing that so well that it leaves no collateral damage, at the least. I say at the least because I am not convinced that it is necessary to clean these "blocked" arteries. There is massive redundancy built in into the human or any animal's body. If some parts fail-other parts will take over to provide or compensate for the functions. People function well with just one kidney, one arm and just one lung. On the arterial system-there is massive amounts of redundancy and collaterals built in for humans and all animals. Here is an example for the pancreas. As you can see-an elabroate tubing system like arteries is bound to have many combinations to supply blood; and even if some block or go bad, others will most probably take over the functioning. This is the reason that even people with huge cholesterol deposits in arteries never get a heart attack. The medics will never tell you about these cases-and will keep harping on the ones where they did see the deposits and there was a heart-attack. Even if there are a few cases where people have high cholesterol, and have high deposits (as seen via imagery) of cholesterol in arteries, who never get heart attacks-it is enough to disprove logically the assertion that high cholesterol increases risks of heart attacks. I know of several such people personally. Brain strokes (where flow of blood is impeded to a part of the brain because of clots etc) for that reason recover with time-the built in redundancy keeps the patients alive while the main artery (or vein) which supplies (or takes away) blood  from the affected part recovers simultaneously. Everybody is familiar with how our feet go numb after some time in one position-after changing the position, blood flow resumes normally and all gets back to normal in a few minutes.

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.
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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