Saturday, May 08, 2021

Weekend Reading: Still Too Busy Edition

I am still way too busy, but I guess work is a little better this week. I don't have to work this weekend, although I did have to log back on after dinner both last night and Thursday night. I think the bigger problem is that I have too many things to remember and too many things to juggle. I always feel like I'm behind and/or about to forget something. This is happening despite my many methods to organize my projects and my own tasks and years and years of experience managing multiple projects and competing priorities. I don't think the problem is me or my methods. I think the problem is too much work!

But let's not dwell on that this weekend, since I sacrificed two evening this week to keep the weekend clear.

Let's see what links I have instead.

First, in semi-self promotion: I'll be running a free promo on The Inconvenient God, by Francesca Forrest. It is currently free on Kobo,, and iBooks and will be free on Amazon once they price match. The point of the promo is two-fold: to get new readers hooked on the wonderful Tales of the Polity series (Lagoonfire is the next book), and to boos the book in the retailer algorithms. If you want to help with the latter, downloads from Amazon on May 13 or 14 are probably the most helpful. But regardless of that, if you haven't tried these books yet, now is a great time! I love the world Forrest builds in these two books and I love her main character. I think you will, too.

In other links:

You probably heard about the baby being born on a flight to Hawaii. Read the full story and think about how lucky that woman and her baby were in who was also on the flight.

Here's a nice post on the power of a good walk.

Here's a good post on office culture and who builds it and at what cost.

Here's a knowledgeable writeup on the COVID vaccine patent waiver. My opinion is it probably won't matter as much as either its proponents or its critics think. If we want to get more vaccines to the people around the world, we should focus on expanding manufacturing capacity. The patent waiver is at best a first step there and the later steps are far more constrained by availability of people with the right knowledge, manufacturing plants with the right equipment, and the necessary starting materials. Hopefully, we are also working on solving those problems and actually getting more vaccine made.

I also don't think this is going to end up hurting the drug companies, at least in the short term. They'll still sell all the vaccine doses they can make. Will it change the debate around drug pricing in the long term? I doubt it. I keep seeing people say "now lets do insulin!" and here's the thing.... Insulin is already off patent. The sequence of insulin is public domain knowledge and has been for decades. Even Humalog, the more modern formulation of insulin, has been off patent since 2014. Here's an old PBS story about it.  So it isn't clear to me what "now lets do insulin" even means. To me, this looks like yet another round of uninformed online shouting about a complex problem that does nothing to actually solve said problem and just makes people feel good about bashing "big pharma." I'd much rather we solve the problem.

In recommended listening: I enjoyed Krista Tippets short interview with Tiffany Shlain about the idea of a "tech shabbat."

Look at these beautiful birds:

Here are your bunnies for the week:

And that's all I have this week. Have a good weekend!


  1. Argh I keep forgetting to change the comment selection and losing my comment.

    Anyway, I've marked my calendar for the 13th. Do downloads on Kobo help you at all or is it only helpful on Amazon?

    I suspect people are calling for insulin "next" because of the cost, but I simply don't know enough about why it costs as much as it does when it's off patent. Someday I will have enough time to look into and understand that?

    1. Kobo helps, too! I would love to get a boost in Kobo's algorithms, because I'd love to build up a solid stream of income from one of the non-Amazon vendors.

      I haven't had the time to look into what's up with insulin pricing, either. I have seen knowledgeable folks point fingers at the benefits management companies that are the latest middlemen in our health care system, but I don't know enough about that side of the business to evaluate those claims. I suspect it is a combination of things.


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