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December 1, 2003 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Fight AIDS @home is a valuable resource for your "wasted" computer cycles. Instead of search the universe for extraterrestrial life, shouldn't we be searching our world for cures to our own diseases?
posted by swerdloff (20 comments total)

 
GEEZE....can't we do both?. I always wonder if the person who returns the "magic" work cycle will share in the monetary rewards that a cure(or better retro viral drug) will bring to the drug labs? As for finding ET I know i'll share the credit and make some scratch on the talk show circuit.
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:40 AM on December 1, 2003


hoopyfrood: you don't get any money, though you might get fame -- although probably not, since there's a lower chance of any particular work unit being "magic".

...basically, any worthwhile advance would take many work units (plus clinical work etc. that you wouldn't be involved in at all). As a consequence, there's nothing in it for you except the knowledge that you might be helping out.
posted by aramaic at 7:46 AM on December 1, 2003


yep I knew that I was just being cynical....that is why I don't(won't) participate. Not just the money but the fact these drug companies will make billions and hold anyone with AIDS hostage to these drugs...I know the world runs on money but in this case it shouldn't. So I won't do some drug companies mule work for them!
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:54 AM on December 1, 2003


hoopyfrood makes a good, if flippant, point.
What guarantee is there that the cycles we're contributing won't be used by some drug company to profit from dying poor people?
posted by signal at 7:55 AM on December 1, 2003


That's brilliant logic you two.

"We could find a cure, but we'd better not, in case some unscrupulous bastards don't want to share it once it's been found."

How, exactly, would they hold the cure hostage?

By making it a trade secret like coca cola? How long do you think that would last with the cure or vaccine to AIDS?

By patenting it? Patents have a shelf life (which is why you can buy generic Asprin).

Man. If they'd thought the way you all think back when they were doing the research that led to penecillin, I weep to consider where we'd be. Dead from the flu, probably.

And scripps? Scripps is a very large non-profit organization. Which part of that reads "Pharma?" (Hint: none).

Guarantee? You want a guarantee? Here's my guarantee: If you don't do anything, more people will die by the millions. One every 20 seconds. As many as died on September 11th every 12 hours. 3 million a year.

And you will bear the shame of having to face yourself in the morning and say "I did nothing, because I was afraid that if I did something, they might find a cure, and an unscrupulous bastard would hide it."

And people will continue to die. And you will have done nothing to help. The screams of millions of dead will haunt your sleep. But then, your conscience will be fine, won't it, because you did nothing, even though you could have done something, because you were afraid someone else might profit.
posted by swerdloff at 8:15 AM on December 1, 2003


Yeah, there's no cure for AIDS and it's all my fault because I didn't join the distributed computing project. Get a grip, swerdloff. That kind of hyper-sensationalism doesn't help your cause at all.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:19 AM on December 1, 2003


Instead of search the universe for extraterrestrial life, shouldn't we be searching our world for cures to our own diseases?

People often seem to make the argument that, because space-related endeavors appear to have no immediate benefit to life on Earth, we should not engage in them. That argument, however, completely ignores the fact that a large amount of important technology and our current understanding of the cosmos is directly traceable to such efforts.

Take this AIDS@home project, for example -- would they even exist if SETI@home had not paved the way?

(Sorry, that's just a pet peeve of mine.)
posted by Kikkoman at 8:20 AM on December 1, 2003


And people will continue to die. And you will have done nothing to help. The screams of millions of dead will haunt your sleep. But then, your conscience will be fine, won't it, because you did nothing, even though you could have done something, because you were afraid someone else might profit.

I'll put this hypothesis to test tonight and let you know.
posted by Kikkoman at 8:22 AM on December 1, 2003


swerdloff: By patenting it? Patents have a shelf life (which is why you can buy generic Asprin).

By the time the patent on an AIDS cure would expire, its demand would be drastically reduced.

And worrying about things that you bear none of the responisibility for will only get you ulcers.

(Double thumbs-up, Kikkoman)
posted by bunnytricks at 8:23 AM on December 1, 2003


Man Why Don't I Just Find A Alien Race Who Has A Cure For Aids, That Way Im Like Killing Two Birds With One Stone Or Some Jazz Ma Ra Tazz Like That....

"By patenting it? Patents have a shelf life (which is why you can buy generic Asprin)."

What's To Stop Sonny Bono From Rising From The Grave And Passing A Law That Extends Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights Forever?

Reality?

Bites...
posted by Dreamghost at 8:30 AM on December 1, 2003


I would participate in SETI@home, but that would just be helping Micro$oft set up an interstellar monopoly.
posted by boaz at 8:38 AM on December 1, 2003


Wait until the food and drug administration tries to make a pharmaceutical company drastically lower its prices, because its a historical fact that when a pharm company is faced with not selling it or selling it cheap, they always go for the former until they get their way.

Don't you read Tom Clancy?
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:40 AM on December 1, 2003


Wow.

I'm amazed at the depth of conspiracy addled thought around here.
posted by swerdloff at 8:42 AM on December 1, 2003


Swerdloff: actually, I'm running fight aids@home right now. I just think the question is valid.
Thanks for the barely coherent rant, though.
posted by signal at 8:52 AM on December 1, 2003


Corporations are already profiteering massively via AIDS drugs at the "expense" of the public.

The vast majority of research into AIDS medicines is paid for by the public purse, and then given to the multinational drug corps. to patent and reap the rewards.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:59 AM on December 1, 2003


It's not an either-AIDS-or-aliens dichotomy when it comes to distributed computing. There are lots of worthwhile distributed computing projects out there, even if you disagree with how the pharmaceutical companies are handling patents. As for me, whenever I feel bad for killing kittens, I think of all the positive karma I've accumulated from doing Folding@Home for over a year now.

Then I kill another kitten.
posted by DaShiv at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2003


The vast majority of research into AIDS medicines is paid for by the public purse

On what do you base that assertion? In 2002, private US Pharmaceutical companies spent over $32 billion on drug development research. In the same year, the total budget of the NIH was a mere $24 billion (a mere 43% of the total).
posted by shinnin at 3:23 PM on December 1, 2003


Unfortunately, AIDS@Home doesn't seem to have a Mac option, so it'll still be the aliens for me.

(anyone know of a good portal-type thing for all these distributed projects? I'm in the mood to see what strange work I could be doing whilst sleeping...)
posted by Katemonkey at 3:54 PM on December 1, 2003


There's also the United Devices distributed computing project, which works on molecular analysis of such diseases as cancer and anthrax.

Like DaShiv, I've built tons of positive karma by putting my computers' unused CPU time to good use.

Unlike DaShiv, I kill fluffy bunnies.
posted by wdpeck at 11:04 PM on December 1, 2003


Everybody knows that the aliens will have cures for all our diseases, physical and mental. They will usher in a new utopia of space-alien/humanoid love whereupon the old will be made unto young, the lame shall walk and the blind will be led by super-intelligent seeing eye dogs. Using wasted computer cycles to cure aids is the kind of irresponsible, wishful thinking that created HIV/AIDS in the first place.

SETI@HOME IS THE ONLY TRUE PATH.
posted by jdaura at 4:53 PM on December 2, 2003


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