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Showing posts from February 15, 2004
Bollettino PS – we urge readers to peruse this James Surowiecki article about Big Pharma , and then compare it to the LI criticism of a former Surowiecki piece on big pharma. We reproduce our piece, all the way back from 2001, here. Has Surowiecki been sneaking glances at our humble blog? The suggestion that he makes – that smaller R&D firms represent the coming wave of research, while the Pharma dinosaurs should either learn to market efficiently or die in their own stupors, is exactly the point we were making about the way monopoly has practically driven efficiency out of the big Pharma culture. Here’s our humble little piece: In the November 5th New Yorker there is a column by the astute but limited James Surowiecki, who makes the standard case against breaking the Bayer patent on Cipro. The case goes like this: to come up with an antibiotic takes years of R & D, and R & D costs beaucoup millions; so if in the end, the anti-biotic isn't a moneymaker, then R &a
Bollettino LI is finishing up the 13th chapter of our novel – hurray! And so, at such a solemn moment, we’ve been contemplating the spirit of comedy. Yes, we know there are giants’ footsteps, here, and we tread, comparatively, with a munchkin’s size 7. Still, when you are working on a fictional, comic account of an attempted rape, you think, why am I trying to make this funny, as well as, why is this, or not, funny? When in need of help, I always go to an expert. Or so I’ve been instructed by the Reader’s Digest and the Poison warning label on insecticide cans. So I decided to look up the current research on comedy. This took me, bien sûr, to recent issues of Humor: the international journal of research in humor. I am just catching up with the 2002 issues. As the readers of HIJRH are well aware, literary comedy is not where your average humor researcher majorly focuses, especially when there are all those holes in the correspondence between threatening facial expressions of ch
Bollettino After the first few months of WWI, according to Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War, the German general staff knew that their one major hope (to knock out a stronger, more numerous enemy quickly) had been dashed. At this point, the Chief of Staff uttered the immortal words that sum up the incorrigible stupidity of the military mindset: “even if we are ruined by it, it was still beautiful.” One wonders if any Russian general feels the same this week, the fifteenth anniversary of the Russian evacuation of Afghanistan. It is funny. I went through the eighties as a very active protestor. I talked every day with various leftist friends. We all talked about Nicaragua. None of us talked about Afghanistan. Even when the place was invaded, in 1979, the event was overshadowed, to the average American mind, by what was happening in Iran. Who knew that it was all about the leakage, the leakage? It never penetrated that there was some meaning in the fact that the largest CIA outpost i
Bollettino Lately, all the news from Iraq has been gloomy. So why do I feel like Iraq’s situation is the best it has been in decades? It comes, I suppose, from my screwy take on this war. I recently looked at two media forums. In Open Democracy , there is a report on the debate at the New School between Hitchens, Danner, Powers , and Frum. Hitchens and Frum represented the right wing pro-war side, Danner and Powers representing the responsible anti-war side. Hitchens was the only optimist in the bunch. Danner and Powers think Iraq is spinning out of control, and Frum, representing the muted panic of the Bushies, thinks we all have to work together, ie stop criticizing Bush. Then, in the Guardian , there is an article, writers on the war, which polls prominent writers about their own pro or con-ness about the conflict. I was happy to see that the majority were anti-war, but unhappy to see that the instinct to distrust Bush had not extended to any very deep thought about Iraq