Doctors Without Borders Refuses Vaccines from Pfizer – The Atlantic

The climax of a standoff with the pharmaceutical industry over high prices

The actual problem with vaccines is cost and access.

Of course, the doctors do see donations as valuable—simply not worth the costs in this context, which transcends seemingly straightforward philanthropy and medical science.

cost is the fundamental issue to Jason Cone, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders in the United States. He explained that donations from pharmaceutical companies are ineffective against a problem of this scale. While the donation would benefit people under the care of Doctors Without Borders immediately, accepting it could mean problems for others, and problems longer-term. Donations, he writes, are “often used as a way to make others ‘pay up.’ By giving the pneumonia vaccine away for free, pharmaceutical corporations can use this as justification for why prices remain high for others, including other humanitarian organizations and developing countries that also can’t afford the vaccine.”

Source: Doctors Without Borders Refuses Vaccines from Pfizer – The Atlantic

How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind |

I’m going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.

It’s Not About Red And Blue States — It’s About The Country Vs. The City

Step outside of the city, and the suicide rate among young people fucking doubles. The recession pounded rural communities, but all the recovery went to the cities. The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed. … See, rural jobs used to be based around one big local business — a factory, a coal mine, etc. When it dies, the town dies. … Cities can make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs with service jobs — small towns cannot. That model doesn’t work below a certain population density.

all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. … They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. … The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I’m telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It’s not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

Source: How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind |


2012 presidential election results by county
© 2012 Mark Newman, University of Michigan



Barack Obama on Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Cars, and the Future of Humanity | WIRED

The president in conversation with MIT’s Joi Ito and WIRED editor-in-chief Scott Dadich.

[Obama:] Joi made a very elegant point, which is, what are the values that we’re going to embed in the cars? There are gonna be a bunch of choices that you have to make, the classic problem being: If the car is driving, you can swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian, but then you might hit a wall and kill yourself. It’s a moral decision, and who’s setting up those rules?

[Obama:] Part of what makes us human are the kinks. They’re the mutations, the outliers, the flaws that create art or the new invention, right? We have to assume that if a system is perfect, then it’s static. And part of what makes us who we are, and part of what makes us alive, is that we’re dynamic and we’re surprised. One of the challenges that we’ll have to think about is, where and when is it appropriate for us to have things work exactly the way they’re supposed to, without surprises?

DADICH: But there are certainly some risks. We’ve heard from folks like Elon Musk and Nick Bostrom who are concerned about AI’s potential to outpace our ability to understand it. As we move forward, how do we think about those concerns as we try to protect not only ourselves but humanity at scale?

OBAMA: Let me start with what I think is the more immediate concern—it’s a solvable problem in this category of specialized AI, and we have to be mindful of it. If you’ve got a computer that can play Go, a pretty complicated game with a lot of variations, then developing an algorithm that lets you maximize profits on the New York Stock Exchange is probably within sight. And if one person or organization got there first, they could bring down the stock market pretty quickly, or at least they could raise questions about the integrity of the financial markets.

[Obama:] most people aren’t spending a lot of time right now worrying about singularity—they are worrying about “Well, is my job going to be replaced by a machine?” … if we are going to successfully manage this transition, we are going to have to have a societal conversation about how we manage this. … The social compact has to accommodate these new technologies, and our economic models have to accommodate them.

[Obama:] As a consequence, we have to make some tougher decisions. We underpay teachers, despite the fact that it’s a really hard job and a really hard thing for a computer to do well. So for us to reexamine what we value, what we are collectively willing to pay for—whether it’s teachers, nurses, caregivers, moms or dads who stay at home, artists, all the things that are incredibly valuable to us right now but don’t rank high on the pay totem pole—that’s a conversation we need to begin to have.

Source: Barack Obama on Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Cars, and the Future of Humanity | WIRED

Brexit and Trump – How the hell did we get to this point?

We got here by failing to ensure that enough demographics of people enjoyed the benefits of globalization and the continued progress of technology. Which is a little depressing since about 75% of the global population has done quite well – but that last 25% are relatively concentrated geographically and they are becoming concentrated politically.


Source: Milanovic, B., Lead Economist, World Bank Research Department, Global income inequality by the numbers. Annotations by James Plunkett.

The Story of Globalization in 1 Graph | The Atlantic


The ideological divide in the years to come will be the one May staked out this week: for openness to the world, or against it.

We aren’t “left” or “right” any more; we are either for globalization or against it | Quartz