A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

January 30, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Interesting, Answers

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elizabeth holmes

Who is Elizabeth Holmes and what was she all about?

Elizabeth Holmes was, by all outward appearances, a wunderkind Silicon Valley genius. She was going to revolutionize medical testing by developing a credit card-sized device that could analyze just a few drops of blood from a finger-prick, using a machine small enough it that could fit on your nightstand. You’d prick your finger into the card-size analyzer, you’d slot the analyzer into the machine, and the machine would beam the data off to a larger processing center at Theranos’ headquarters. It would be quick, cheap, automatic, and idiot-proof.

This would be leaps and bounds above the only prevailing alternative, which is the normal-size syringe blood draw in a doctor’s office, several days of analysis, at considerable cost. It would change the world. Everyone would have one of these devices in their homes and the enormous expense of routine medical diagnostics would be totally replaced by a small, quiet, efficient, and cheap in-home alternative. They’d be as common as any other appliance in your house. She demonstrated these devices numerous times, and on the strength of these demonstrations and on the promise of such a revolutionary and potentially ubiquitous device, she raised what was then the record for a Silicon Valley biotech startup. Her funders included Henry Kissinger, Silicon Valley billionaires, and even one of her own professors from the college that she dropped out of to start Theranos. She led Safeway on with the promise of building an on-site Theranos analysis lab in every Safeway in America – and this deal strung along for years.

The problem: it was all bullshit, and she was a sociopath.

What was really going on at Theranos was very different. The tests were fakes. The night before one major presentation, she and the salesperson she had brought with her to the big client presentation were totally unable to get their device to work. So what’d they do? They jury-rigged a quick patch into their software that would replace the “ERROR” message that would display on the machine’s interface with a “PROCESSING” message. Then they would simply fake the results. Some of her clients noticed that the delays were considerably longer than had been promised – weeks instead of hours for analysis, because the home lab needed time to doctor the results – but, shockingly, some of her potential “clients” just kept believing the bullshit. Safeway was the worst example. Many Safeway stores were actually completely renovated in anticipation of the Theranos labs. Why? Because its CEO was personally enraptured with Holmes’ personality, he was desperate to grow margins after a few rough quarters, and he had been led to believe that he was in close competition with Wal-Greens and CVS for access to the Theranos device.

Holmes did the same song and dance for the military. Your tax dollars were spent entertaining her sales pitches.

Behind the scenes, Holmes ran her company like some bizarro version of North Korea. Her mysterious Pakistani business partner, who was also decades her elder and her lover, would fire anyone who so much as admitted to noticing that the Theranos devices never delivered as promised. Her business partner once even called the police on an employee they had just fired for “stealing ideas with his mind.” They would have people sign and re-sign NDAs constantly. Development teams were hard-silo’d from each other at the company because of Holmes’ paranoia about industrial espionage. Employees who bought the party line were treated lavishly. The slightest waiver or concern would be met with immediate dismissal. By the end, Holmes was having company-wide meetings where she would instruct the staff that they were doing “the most important work in human history, period,” and lead quasi-religious chanting sessions with mantras and Theranos slogans. In true North Korea style, insufficient enthusiasm at her pride rallies would be sufficient grounds for termination.

Holmes herself had come to idolize Steve Jobs along the way, to the point that she referred to him as just “Steve,” even after he died, during some of her frequent comparisons of herself to him (they never met). She even adopted the Steve Jobs black sweater look, and would spend business development meetings speculating about how “Steve” would address this problem or that.

Meanwhile, the devices weren’t working. So what she ended up doing was buying a similar-concept German medical analysis machine, which was much larger and clunkier and totally inappropriate for in-home use, but it worked. She had her engineers make some cosmetic changes to it, and they would literally hide it in a maze of cubical walls whenever their investors (or eventually, journalists and then the police) would come knocking so they wouldn’t see what Theranos had become.

Eventually, though, people started to express their concerns. For one thing, the physics of the Theranos device never made sense. The whole reason that doctors draw so much blood with a syringe is because you have a lot of blood and you cannot get a representative sample of blood with just a couple of fingerprick drops – that would be like saying you had invented a device that changed the way a bell curve works, as if the problem with polling 10 people out of 100 is that you’re polling too many people and not that you need to poll at least 10 people to get a representative sample.

For another thing, you need a lot of blood because a lot of it is simply lost in analysis. The centrifuge process destroys blood cells. Diluting with saline destroys blood cells, and you need to dilute it for good analysis. The capillary-like tiny tubes in the credit card-sized analysis tool she had “invented” were, by the laws of physics, too small for a blood cell to pass through without being damaged or destroyed by the amount of light and heat that passed through the analyzer. Her device could not have worked and she raised hundreds of millions of dollars over almost a decade because nobody who wanted to make money off her had the slightest clue how the physics worked, or cared.

Actual real-world patients started to notice that Theranos was bullshitting its analysis. Most alarmingly, Theranos’s doctored results would often have dramatically exaggerated indicators of prostate cancer. Some of their test patients would get these results, freak out, and then have tests done by real doctors – at their own personal expense – only to learn that the Theranos fake analyses had about the same error rate as random guessing. Go figure.

And so when John Carreyrou gets ahold of this story from a couple of brave whistleblowers and starts asking simple questions like “how does your device work?” “Why does your analysis always take weeks instead of days?” “Can I see one of these devices?” what did Holmes do? Did she demonstrate the device? Did she show the data? No, she hired one of the heaviest-hitting lawyers in California and started with the lawsuits. Lawsuits against journalists. Lawsuits against newspapers. Lawsuits against a kid in his 20s that she suspected had talked to a journalist.

Most of the victims of Theranos’ fraud were super-wealthy Silicon Valley venture capital types whose losses were, in a way, largely their own fault. The scam was right in front of them the whole time – simple analysis of the physics of it, or more pointed questioning about the inconsistent results, the delays, or to even see the devices working as promised would have exposed the fraud. But everyone had dollar signs in their eyes and so their greed cost them big. But the victims who don’t share in that blame are the employees whose careers and sometimes lives were destroyed (especially those who were outside the product-facing design teams), the patients who were led to believe they were dying, they were real victims.

Holmes is still not in jail. This story is almost 15 years in the making by this point.

John Carreyrou’s book about the Theranos story, Bad Blood, is a gripping and legible retelling. Strong recommend

bad blood theranos



What is the red pill philosophy? (according to a feminist)

I’ll try to summarize it in a way that doesn’t support or condemn it either way, since I think that sort of summary is most useful.

Red Pill is a way of behaving, and group of ideas, focused on the following:

There are a lot of overlapping beliefs that are common in Red Pill, Men’s Rights Activism, and Men Going Their Own Way, but these are the fundamental beliefs of The Red Pill in particular.

The Red Pill also has a large focus on certain aspects of self-improvement that will help a man to become more attractive to women, while also helping him to regard himself as high-quality even if any particular woman does not. This is the most common summary given to people who question The Red Pill.

The methods they advise for these things sometimes overlap with general wisdom on self-esteem, and at other times overlap more with the idea that self-esteem comes at least partly from lowering one’s opinion of others. This idea can be seen elsewhere even in as simple a situation as public speaking: people are advised to imagine the audience in their underwear so that the audience will seem silly. This style of increasing confidence is, in the Red Pill philosophy, generalized far beyond specific situations like public speaking.


What is the red pill philosophy? (according to a anti-feminist)

Let’s try this approach to make things clear:

“What are little girls made of, made of?

What are little girls made of, made of?

Sugar and spice and all things nice.

That’s what little girls are made of.”

“What are little boys made of, made of?

What are little boys made of, made of?

Slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails.

That’s what little boys are made of.”

When you take the Red Pill, you realise that the above nursery rhyme and all similar indoctrination is designed to lessen the value of men and to get them to accept their role as expendable in society. It isn’t just about women and their appalling treatment of men. It is about the whole of society expecting men to do everything from letting women out of a burning building first and getting killed in times of war (and shamed by women if they refuse to go – white feathers, anybody?) to being expected to stand if there are only enough chairs for the women. (Why?!!! What’s so damned special about the women?!!!!) You see it on the news when a tragedy will be reported as somehow worse if women are killed, like the men are not as important. “Twelve people were killed including two women.”

When you take the Red Pill, you wake up and ask questions like: “How come all this fuss is made about bringing the Boko Haram, kidnapped schoolgirls home with barely a mention of the little boys who had to watch their school friends being machine gunned and were dragged off and forced to fight? Where is the fuss about bringing the poor little boys home too? Are they less terrorised? Has their innocence been stolen any less brutally? Do they matter less?” Society seems to think so.

Bias against men is so endemic in a society which is blind to it that even to question it is seen as odd (as some of the other answers on here demonstrate.)

Taking the Red Pill is simply waking up to this historical, confidence trick and realising that women are not all that and men are no less valuable.

The next stage is saying: “To hell with this!” and refusing to allow society (and especially women who think they have some God-given right) to say what a “real man” is or what men’s aspirations should be. Being a member of the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement is possible without the subject of women even entering into it, although the journey to the Red Pill is usually typified by a man being treated so badly by women and a society which lets them, that they are jolted into taking the Red Pill. Women have done this to the men because feminism has allowed men to see women as they really are and this at a time when it can be spread all over the internet and comparisons made. In short, modern women are severely wanting, men are waking up to this fact and the Red Pill is the beginning of a stirring of mass, male rage.



What are my rights when I get pulled over by the police?

Police can’t pull you over without probable cause.

Cops can’t just randomly stop you and look for drugs in your car. They need a reason, or “probable cause,” like speeding or a broken tail light.

Let’s say you are speeding, the police do pull you over, and they do find drugs in your car. But let’s say the officer wants to give you a break and forgoes a speeding ticket. Cops don’t need to ticket you for speeding to provide probable cause for the stop in court; their notes from the situation would provide enough evidence.

“It’s not enough to just not have a ticket as proof. The officer would have had to fail to write it in his narrative,” Daniel Kron said.
You don’t have to pull over until you can do so safely.

You should still pull over when you can do so safely, Martin Kron said. And if you can’t, you should notify the officer with a hand signal and drive the speed limit.

“The sooner, the better though. Don’t upset the officer. Sometimes you might end up with three tickets instead of one,” he added, implying officers might look for extra infractions if you made them angry.

You have the right to stay in your car.

“It’s perfectly legal for you to say in the vehicle, but doing so looks bad to the officer,” Martin Kron said.

Officers often ask people to “step out of the car” as a safety precaution — to make sure the driver doesn’t have any concealed weapons. But it’s probably best to get out of the car to avoid a tense situation.

It’s not a good idea, but you can refuse a breathalyzer.

Most states, including New York, have a statute called “implied consent.” When you get your driver’s license, you agree to a breathalyzer when pulled over. You can technically still refuse a breathalyzer, but in many states you could get your license suspended for six months if you do.

Now, if police suspect you of drug use, the protocol changes. Based on probable cause, the officer can take you back to the station for either a blood test or analysis from a drug recognition expert, according to Martin Kron.

You are required to stop at checkpoints.

Yes, drivers do have to stop at checkpoints. Police departments plan checkpoints ahead of time, but they must have a specific plan, such as stopping every third car (or every car), according to Martin Kron.

Cops can only search your car without a warrant for these 5 reasons.

1) If you consent, police naturally have a right to search your car.

2) “Plain view” also gives an officer the okay to search your car. “If an officer approaches your car and on the passenger seat he notices a baggie of marijuana … based on regular activities — meaning he doesn’t have to search too hard” then the pot is considered to be in plain view, Daniel Kron said.

3) The third reason is “search incident to arrest,” according to Daniel Kron. Basically, if an officer arrests you with probable cause, he or she can then search your vehicle.

4) Your car can be searched if an “officer has probable cause to suspect a crime,” Daniel Kron said. For example, it’s not illegal to have blood on your front seats, to have a black eye, or to have a ripped-up purse in the car. But all those things in conjunction could be suspicious to an officer.

5) Lastly, “exigent circumstances,” allow a warrantless search. Before an officer receives a warrant, he can “break every rule if he suspects the evidence is about to be destroyed,” Daniel Kron said.

This happens more often in specific locations, like residences, instead of vehicles. For example, if the police want to conduct a drug search and they hear a toilet flush, they can reasonably enter your home, Daniel noted.

You have to let the cops search your car if they have a warrant.

You have to let them search your car if they have a warrant, but some limits apply to the areas they can search.

“If a police officer believes you have a gun in your vehicle, he’s not allowed to search in an area too small to hold it,” Daniel Kron noted. In that case, the glove box may be fair game but not the cigarette lighter.

Even if police find something incriminating the warrant didn’t stipulate — like drugs in the glove box while looking for a gun — the “plain sight” exception applies. They’ll still charge you.

You should still pull over when you can do so safely, Martin Kron said. And if you can’t, you should notify the officer with a hand signal and drive the speed limit.

“The sooner, the better though. Don’t upset the officer. Sometimes you might end up with three tickets instead of one,” he added, implying officers might look for extra infractions if you made them angry.

If you’ve been stopped (but not arrested), you have the right to ask the police whether you’re free to go.

If they say yes, you should calmly walk — not run — away from the scene.

If you are arrested, you have the right to ask for an attorney and should do so immediately.

If you have only been stopped temporarily, you’re not entitled to an attorney at that point. But if you’re being held for an extended period of time, either they’re going to have to let you go or place you under arrest.


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