Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ron Wyden threatens to filibuster the PROTECT-IP act

Wired posts an article stating that Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon threatens to filibuster the Protect-IP act in the Senate after his hold on the bill expires

Two words for that: FUCK YEAH!

Drugs and the different treatment of the Pharmaceutical Industry vs Illicit Substances

I wrote this for my livejournal and am x-posting here.
I want to make a disclaimer that I am quite aware that my knowledge of some of these issues is sorely lacking and so if you find fault with it, I appreciate being corrected. Not in a sloppy, argumentative way, but a factual concrete description of the differences or whatever explanation you have or can find. ON WITH THE SHOW!

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Congress passed a law in 1986 called The Federal Analog Act. In the face of widening creation of "designer drugs" based upon a base molecule, its purpose was to judge drugs not on their unique chemical structure, but upon similarities to other previously scheduled drugs... I'm not sure how it all works, exactly, because some things that I would think would have been banned in the act such as Alphamethyltryptamine (AMT) is similar in structure Dimethyltryptamine, even though their effects are much more divergent. AMT acts much closer to somewhere between LSD and MDMA in its effects, while DMT is a much shorter trip and more intense experience. For a long time this drug wasn't considered scheduled, until 2003 during Operation Tryp when the DEA closed down a large number of online distributors of heretofore quasi-legal substances. The DEA then made an emergency scheduling.of AMT along with a number of other substances to classify them as Schedule I substances. Why they did this instead of relying on the analog act, I'm not sure.

Here's some hallucinogens on wiki that they say are "designer drugs" (and I assume - fall under the analog act). (note, however, that AMT is listed, so... again - not sure why they needed an emergency scheduling).

OK, so why do I post all this?

Because you should observe the methods of the State when it comes to illicit vs licit drugs and how the two approaches are wildly divergent in philosophy.

When it comes to legal drugs (the kind made by pharmaceutical companies) we have a pattern of established patent holders coming up with what could be considered "novel" forms of the drug. There are two ways that drug companies try to retain the rights to their products past the normal expiration of their patents.

The first is not related to this essay, but bears mention: Attempting to get a new usage for the already existing chemical. We could look at an SSRI that initially became approved for depression. Later, more studies can show it has an efficacy in the reduction of PTSD symptoms. So the company then attempts to extend its hold on the chemical in the "new" usage of the substance - so even if the patent for depression usage is now expired, the company's right to the drug is continued for the PTSD cause, and no other company can make a generic. This is one way the game is played, but again - not essential to the point of this.

HERE is the other way the game is played, and more essential: An analog of a drug is made so that it has a slightly different profile. Sometimes these new analogs are actual analogs such that they are a minor modification of a previously existing drug, and they try to get it considered a whole new drug under the drug enforcement regimes. If they succeed, even though it's an analog, it will be marketed as a new drug. Sometimes, these drugs are the same exact chemical with different delivery systems, and as such aren't technically even novel chemicals (and hence not an "analogue"). In my personal case, there was the Venlafaxine - which brand name is Effexor. It eventually became generic, but in the meantime, Effexor XR came to the market - it was merely an extended version of Venlafaxine, using time release capsules. Same drug, but yet because it's delivered to your system differently, considered a different drug, and thus the patent for THAT specific delivery system now exists.

Now if this were the illegal market, these would be considered analogs, and the state would attempt to consider the new form an already existing substance.

That said - I am not saying that we should completely do away with the new forms - if you can make a drug that makes it less likely that a patient has to remember to pop 3 a day - the pill-taking regime is easier to control and patients have better compliance. But if this is the case, why not just go to an extended release form ASAP? Because they need to milk the profits first, I imagine. Anyways - I guess my initial point was how funny it is that when it comes to analogs, how we treat legal substances vs illegal substances is very divergent.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SOPA

Some of you may have heard about SOPA. It's a nasty little piece of legislation going through congress right now. It's the "Stopping Online Piracy Act" -- I wrote to my Rep. a while back - she's fairly progressive, so I have a little hope for her to do the right thing.

Sadly, Russ Feingold was booted out by a Right-Wing Catholic Priest Pedophile Defender, Ron Johnson, so I couldn't write a personal letter that I knew would have an effect. I'm not sure if PROTECT-IP (the Senate version) has been voted on already or not - but I figured that using the following form would at least add my name to those who oppose this bill, hopefully he receives it to show I oppose the idea behind it.

So here's the link to help you write to oppose this draconian legislation that removes due process of law and allows people a vector of attack against legal sites...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Apologies and First World Problem/Anti-Google Rant

I know I said I was going to post more, and well... I haven't. Oh well.

That said I did want to rant in a more open forum about Google Reader.

Because seriously? Fuck that shit. I loved it - I didn't ever use the "social" features and I know that's what has got a lot of people annoyed. I am upset about them taking away social if only because it's emblematic of Google making every other fucking product subservient to the almighty PLUS.

When I first heard that G+ was going to allow 'nyms at some point, I pondered returning, but the way it's infecting every other product (and products that functioned just fine before without trying to ape G+'s functionality and appearance) makes me want to use it even less.

So, here's why I'm pissed. Again - I never used the social features so their removal doesn't bother me personally, but it obviously is affecting many other users who I've seen quite upset about the removal. For me, the issues are related to control of the layout and what I'm finding now is how it handles marking items as read.

1) I used to be able to collapse (resize? I know it was one of the two) the sidebar that contained the folders/subfolders of all the feeds I read. This came in quite handy when I would come across things like boingboing's posting of Tom the Dancing Bug which took up a large part of the screen, and on my smaller monitor at work, the lack of ability to collapse the sidebar means I have to jump out of the reader. They have a "pre-collapsed" reader, but that's a drop down menu. That is even more annoying than not having a collapsible bar, even though in theory it provides the same functionality. The reason for that is that while a collapsed bar can be easily opened permanently to navigate the feeds, a drop-menu forces you to select the item you want and then it automatically recollapses, despite your desire to have the full list of subs open until you choose to recollapse. It takes choice away from the user. It's also fugly as sin.

2) The latest thing I'm now noticing is greader no longer shows all-read subscriptions as having a "front" page saying "all items are read - click here to read previously read items". Instead it indicates as usual the number of unread items next to the subscription name "boingboing (3)" for example. And when it works, reduces the indicator by one until there are no more unread feeds.

But you wouldn't know that while browsing, because instead of showing you a list of unread feeds, it forces you to view ALL feeds, read and unread, and there is no setting to show only "unread" feeds. This is completely absurd and contrary to the way the way feed reading works.

Again, it forces the user to take their eye away from the content and look over to verify that all items have been read. There are plenty of blogs that reblog items. So now, if I see an item that looks familiar I have to ask" is this a reblog from another blog (and thus with different editorial content) or is this the EXACT SAME POST I SAW LAST NIGHT? Well, now I have to go look at the count to verify whether I've gone through all unread content.

Why the fuck does Google hate users? They were never perfect with UI issues, but it mostly worked, things were mostly clean, I enjoyed it. It forced services like Hotmail and Yahoo to clean up their visual clutter. But now they are trying to re-engineer previous products and shoe-horn it into a completely different product while retaining the strengths of the original services.

So I'm looking for alternatives. There's a new project called "HiveMined" which supposedly is going to bring back a close clone of the original greader. That may or may not be what I'm looking for. I'm a bit worried that they're trying to clone it and not just do a good feed reader on its own merits.

I've used bloglines in the past and while I don't want to go back there necessarily (I believe they insert ads into the feeds since they've been bought out), I don't see many other proper feed readers. There's some apps for iphone and shit, and things that have fancy skins for feeds, but I just want a basic feedreader.

I'm thinking a self-hosted one would be good but the only thing I've seen is "Fever" (I think that's its name) and it sucks because it wants to be smarter than me. I don't want a machine to fully take over - I don't mind a reader letting me have options to see similar blogs, but I don't want the damn computer thinking it knows what I want to read. You let ME filter that shit out you fucks.

So I'm stuck.

Fuck you Google, and fuck Vic Gundotra, and fuck Bradley Horowitz, and Fuck your shitty vision for the future of Google cuz it is utter shit, and I refuse to go back to G+ even if you DO allow nyms because I see where you're going and it's looking more and more like "Do Evil" -- sure right now it isn't fully evil or as evil as FB, but you're going to turn that way if you get enough power, so I refuse to join on the bandwagon.

Piss off. 2011 is the year Google lost me as an enthusiastic supporter.

Friday, November 04, 2011

One post on FB

From someone observing some of the Black Bloc antics and what they believe to have been 2 Agents Provocateurs.

Read it here...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Preliminary "Occupy" Post and future plans for this blog

Hello, fine reader (I would add an "s" at the end of that, but I do not believe I have more than one reader (Hello Xeno ;)), also wherein the post where I use too many quotation marks...

That said, I would like to say that I have thoughts bubbling in my head regarding the Occupy Movement. It's complex (as is the "movement") and I'm not quite sure what angle I'm taking. I guess I would posit a brief overview of some of the ideas I'd like to tackle on the future posts regarding the current situation.
1) Black Bloc "Anarchists" and Agents Provacateurs - the history of the Black Panther, current FBI tactics and historical anarchism - the trend toward a potentially actually revolutionary force vs "mere" insurrection.

2) Building up a national consensus from the various localities
- Perhaps, even, separating divisions of local issues vs national issues. Forming an alternative, and making proposals to evolve both the movement, society and economics. That is to say: Making a "MOVEMENT" that is not merely marches, but an actual threat to the system. That is: a national conference (and perhaps even INTERNATIONALE ;P) of the local groups - finding a way to vote, send delegates, etc... (mostly my thoughts are based upon anarchist federalism)

3) Building up alliances between heretofore non-convergent ideologies that nevertheless have some relation to each other, but have so focused on antipathies that they have refused to work on their unities. This, I believe, may be the key to a successful "revolution". Essentially, I want to post about the cross-currents between: hippies, anarchists, libertarians, anti-statists, anti-capitalists, free-market capitalists, moderates, liberals and conservatives. Find what unifying message can appeal to all and work from that.

There are many many other things, and I could just babble on all day. But these are some topics.