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Archive for January, 2007

Another Update on Miserable Failure Rankings

January 26th, 2007

Six months ago I posted about how the White House had apparently attempted to defuse the miserable failure google-bomb by redirecting http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html to http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/. I went into more detail at another blog explaining how the redirect was ill-advised and would probably backfire, which it did. Three days after I posted, http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/ was ranking for miserable failure, just as before. Bravo.

News today is that Google has changed it’s link analysis algorithm to detect google-bombs such as miserable failure and others in order to clarify to users that Google itself was not making opinions on certain subjects. Teary-eyed John Kerry can also now take heart, as he no longer ranks for waffles.

OK, enough with the facts, let’s get on to the speculation! Here are some possible scenarios for why this would happen now:

  1. Google is feeling sympathy for Bush and his 29% approval rating, and decide the throw him a bone.
  2. Google realized that after the whitehouse.gov website change last September, the bomb was going to go off on any new president as well, since the ranking page was http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/ and no longer specific to Bush’s bio. Not wanting to embarrass any of their liberal presidential hopefuls, they made the change.
  3. With a presidential race upcoming, Google feared that link-bombing could get out of hand and cause even more confusion and public outcry.
  4. Two Googlers decided to use their 20% time to fix this issue.

More discussion and detail at SearchEngineLand.

Tyson Politics, Search

More on America’s Pharmaceutical Plight

January 5th, 2007

I wrote earlier this year my thoughts on Doctors and the pharma industry in general, see Doctors Have Sold Us Out. A new report from the GAO concludes that the current patent law stifles drug innovation and allows for obscene profits for very minor changes to existing drugs. Let’s take a closer look at how this works:

Drug Patents
Pharmaceutical companies receive patents on a new drug which covers the innovation for a period of 20 years. One could argue that this alone should be reduced for the pharmaceutical sector, as this time far exceeds what is needed to recoup R&D costs (just looks at the profits for the big pharma companies recently). Furthermore, drug companies routinely use slight adjustments or new uses for an existing drug to receive patent extensions, keeping cheaper generic drugs out of the public reach for 25 years or more. Experts believe these privileges “allow companies to make significant profits while reducing the incentive to develop more innovative drugs”. Examples were given where drug companies would turn a tablet into a capsule shortly before patent expiration in order to receive further market exclusivity.

The study concluded that in the past decade, 60% of patents were for these so-called “me too” drugs, a variation of a drug already on the market. While I guess it’s good to have 7 choices of cholesterol medicine instead of three, the report concluded that much of the R&D budgets of pharmaceutical corps are doing just that, and raking in a ton of dough in the process. So while medicine costs increase, the overall good provided to the market remains stagnant. As Senator Durbin said, “Most troubling is the notion that pharmaceutical industry profits are coming at the expense of consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer new drugs.”

Tyson Politics, Technology

Romans Chapter 7 and Tenses

January 2nd, 2007

Not too long ago I visited a church out of town and listened to a sermon where the speaker cited Romans chapter 7 in the message. The minister made the explicit point that in chapter 7 Paul was referring to his pre-conversion state, or a pre-conversion man in general.

As irony would have it, today’s morning drive podcast began a series with John Piper on Romans chapter 7 and how Paul is not referring to pre-conversion, and how the battle with sin is a life-long battle. I instantly remembered back and thought how interesting it was for me to hear two sermons from the same text with diametrically opposing views in the course of a week or two.

Now, it never surprises me when Piper disagrees with a local CoC preacher. And from what I can tell, this is a century-long debate that will go on for centuries to come. Regardless, I’m interested in your thoughts. I know several of you have dug into this deeply…what’d you find? Anything to help me out?

Tyson Theology