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    • Book Review: The Spirit Level
      Given all the controversy around inequality, this is a must read book. About three-quarters of it is what I call “proving the obvious”: that inequality is in fact bad in every way imaginable. Inequality correlates to almost every bad social metric you can imagine. Health, lifespan, performance, violence, happiness and so on. The more unequal […]
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Seasonal Potpourri and other stuff

I’m really considering trying to arrange some kind of discussion around why the drug industry charges so much for drugs and the true cost of research etc. Maybe when I have more time. It is a very important topic and the people closest to the problem seem to be left out of the policy discussions. I think it’s time we hear from them.

Closely related, Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline has a short post about how devastating the mergers have been to R&D. He touches briefly on a subject that Matt Taibbi and Michael Lewis could write volumes about: consultant groups, like McKinsey and BCG. Take about vampire squids and blood funnels. This is a vast untapped area of greed and corruption that just flies under the radar.

Update: Derek posted this morning about the firing of Chris Viehbacher from Sanofi recently. A Whistlblower alleges that this is due to kickback arrangements Viehbacher had with consulting company Accenture and others. It’s intriguing especially because Accenture is all over pharma and I’ve had friends who have had to deal with them before. There is a lot of money involved in an Accenture deal, lots of subcontractors, lots of poorly paid developers in India, many delays, budget overruns and poor products. Think of Obamacare’s rollout. Yeah, like that, only worse. That’s what consultants do for pharma. Am I surprised that Accenture might be involved in unethical activity? Not in the least.

On a more cheerful note, I love Christmas time. It’s not because of the concept of Christmas. Historically, it makes no sense. But I love all the celebrations at the end of the year. I’ve taken a fancy to Solstice because it is a celebration of nature and I love that. Nevertheless, I have a Christmas tree because it is pretty and shiny and reminds me of my grandparents.

But I’ve stayed away from decorating Christmas cookies. It is always my intention to make them every year but I never get around to it. This year, I might attempt something simple, like reindeer cutouts. But check out this Christmas cookie to end all Christmas cookies from youtuber Sweetambs:

She makes it sound so easy. Yeah.

But if red flood icing is not your thing, maybe you’d rather dance. Here’s a line dance to Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer.

I might actually give this a try.