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From the NYT:

Caught in the Theranos Wreckage: Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch and Walmart’s Waltons

By REED ABELSON and KATIE THOMAS MAY 4, 2018

Even some of the world’s richest people may get duped, according to newly unsealed documents in a lawsuit filed on behalf of investors in the failing blood-testing company Theranos. …

Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes when she was a 19-year-old Stanford University dropout, promised to revolutionize the lab industry using a few drops of blood from a simple finger-prick to look for everything from diabetes to cancer, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional blood test.

The company became a Silicon Valley fairy tale, with investors awarding the privately held company a valuation of around $9 billion. But the story began to unravel in October 2015 after The Wall Street Journal, owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp., began questioning whether the tests worked. …

Theranos had always boasted a star-studded list of investors and directors — its board included the former secretaries of state George P. Shultz and Henry A. Kissinger, two former United States senators, and Gen. Jim Mattis, the current secretary of defense. But while some high-profile investors’ links to Theranos had been previously known, the new documents provide a detailed list of financial amounts….

The Walton family invested about $150 million in 2014 through two separate entities, according to the investor list. Mr. Murdoch put in about $125 million, and the extended family of Ms. DeVos invested about $100 million. …

Other prominent investors, according to the list, included the Cox family; the Atlanta billionaires who own the media conglomerate Cox Enterprises and who invested $100 million; and a company affiliated with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim that put in about $30 million. Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, invested $1 million.

And think how much they would have lost investing in Ms. Holmes if only America’s elites weren’t so biased against women.

 
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  1. This is still unfair to women. If she’d been a man, the thing would have worked.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  2. Tyrion 2 says:

    Theranos reminds me of the Curb Your Enthusiasm storyline where Larry David finds out that his lawyer isn’t actually Jewish, hires a replacement on that basis alone and then loses everything in the divorce case.

    Only this is worse. It is not totally crazy to hold Jewish lawyers in high regard as to their professional competency and then act on that belief. Obviously, dedicating enough time to appraise them as an individual would be much better.

    This is more like if Larry were to find out that his lawyer was not Saudi and then fire him to replace him with an actual Saudi simply because there haven’t been many great Saudi lawyers in the past.

    Or like crossing the road at night to walk near the group of young men and avoid the group of old women because old women haven’t tended to commit much violent crime so somehow they’re more likely to rob you now.

    It isn’t just not noticing patterns. It is noticing them and then betting the exact opposite.

  3. jim jones says:

    I do not see why a traditional blood test should be expensive, you sit down and a nurse sticks a needle in your arm. It takes about thirty seconds.

    • Replies: @res
  4. Jack D says:

    Holmes was not a brilliant inventor but she was a brilliant con.

  5. Anon[178] • Disclaimer says:

    Would Holmes have been a more effective CEO if she were a Male to Female transsexual like Martine Rothblatt?

    • Replies: @bartok
  6. Tiny Duck says:

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. This white person built a company around a fabricated product and lied about it. She stole billions from investors, but will walk away with a slap on the wrist – a mere $500,000 fine for her troubles.

    Meanwhile, poor Children of Color rot in jail for years, just waiting for their arraignment after being accused of stealing a backpack. Others are locked away for selling pot, watching their life drain away with the bang of the gavel.

    This is why white peoples NEED to tread small great things by Jodi Picoukt

    It reveals his whites are given unfair advantages in American society

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  7. Arclight says:

    I feel that this could be a great movie, if someone managed a way to get it made.

    • Replies: @Anon7
  8. Big valuations for companies that may or may not make ANY money remind me of the very end of the last century, with internet companies like Dogpile.com. Yes, I bring that name/url up just because it was one of the stupidest sounding that’s still in my head.

    20 years ago, the market caps of these companies were maybe 1 – 2 orders of magnitude lower than this Theranos, but it was still lots of money. Another difference though, was that back then, I don’t think the crony capitalism seen with these ex-Secretaries-of-State and Senators being on board was necessary. All you had to say back then was “it’s gonna be on the INTERNET!” “Yes, watchbands and shoelaces – ON THE INTERNET!”

    There’s a lot of the same thing going on. It’s not necessarily that all of these bright or connected (more importantly) people think that this was a great idea that’s gonna work. It’s more that they are pretty sure that OTHER INVESTORS are going to put money in because these big shots did. Nothing has to make any money, so long as you pull yours out in time. Musical chairs, it’s not just for breakfast kids anymore.

    • Replies: @sabril
  9. @Tyrion 2

    Very good analogies there, Tyrion.

    Regarding Steve’s point, I think the fact that a young woman started this company was regarded as a BIG PLUS by all the big investors. They could be seen as hip and down with the new era where women can do whatever men can. They were hoping, I’m sure, that a whole lot of hardworking men engineers and software guys would get this thing working. Again, what the hell, just get your money back out in time (sort of discreetly if at all possible…. shhhhh…)

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  10. “Okay (okay, okay) it’s just a little pin prick.
    There’ll be no more ahhhhh – ahhhh,
    but you may feel a little sick*.
    Can you stand up (stand up)?
    People think it’s working … good.
    That’ll keep you going through the IPO,
    well, you know I told you so!”

    * Once you get your 18-Q2 broker statement (not part of the lyrics since it doesn’t fit the meter. I’m not gonna pull a Joni Mitchell here, no …)

  11. sabril says:
    @Jack D

    I suppose somebody might rationally invest in her snake oil based on the Greater Fool Theory.

  12. AndrewR says:

    One wonders how many sexual favors Ms. Holmes engaged in in exchange for such insane investments.

  13. Maybe she solicited them all over the phone and they thought she was a man.

    • LOL: Autochthon
  14. @Tyrion 2

    At some point they already had enough money.

  15. The entire Theranos story reflects very, very badly on America’s elites. It’s at least nice to know that they aren’t evil masterminds bent on destroying us but have simply gotten high on their own supply.

    I’m not a billionaire, but I am affluent and I both hire and invest. Some simple heuristics:

    1 – Women are not creative or innovative
    2 – Women are bad entrepreneurs and managers
    3 – Anyone, man or woman, cosplaying as Steve Jobs is almost certainly a fraud

    Now these things aren’t true of 100% of the time (though I bet #3 is 99.99%), but they are in general. In our current culture you should approach any alleged female innovator who wants your money with a jaundiced eye. Especially if you are an old man and she’s young and pretty.

    That’s not to say women are useless in business. Women are detail-oriented, have general instead of specific memories, and don’t mind engaging in boring work. Anything that has to do with compliance, record-keeping, accounting, regulations, HR, etc. Women also form useful social networks in business.

    Pretty women of course have always had their uses in business (and elsewhere).

    And there are some things specific to Theranos. Did any of these investors think to talk to a hematologist or a chemist before throwing money at Holmes? Did anyone ask the obvious question why, say, Siemens wasn’t trying to buy her out?

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @Brutusale
  16. Put the women-hating billionaires in the ring with the billionaire-hating women. It’d make for a good show.

  17. njguy73 says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Theranos reminds me of the Curb Your Enthusiasm storyline where Larry David finds out that his lawyer isn’t actually Jewish, hires a replacement on that basis alone and then loses everything in the divorce case.

    Or the All In The Family episode where Archie claims whiplash when the taxi he’s driving gets hit. He goes to the phone book and under Lawyers finds “Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz.” He calls them up and over to the house comes the one Gentile associate. Archie says, “You go back to where you came from and get me a Jew!”

    Why do shows today bother with social commentary?

  18. Only this is worse. It is not totally crazy to hold Jewish lawyers in high regard as to their professional competency and then act on that belief.

    The real reason the SPLC won’t hire black lawyers is that there are so few good ones that those few are greatly overpriced, and they want to get the most bang for their buck(wheat). As rich as they are, they are also notoriously tightfisted.

    Which makes me wonder, would Jewish lawyers then be underpriced? Even with their group reputation, there’d be a glut.

  19. Mattis went for the easy money, and free roast beef sandwiches, when he accepted the offer to serve on the corporate board of the Theranos fraud shop.

    I have previously been quite harsh on Mattis in regards to his eager acceptance of corporate doggie treats for serving on the Theranos board. I hereby claw back my prior denunciations of Mattis.

    Way back in the ancient mists of time, or March 15 of this year, I was overly rude to Mattis for his happy greed in taking cash from the crooked gash Lurch woman, Elizabeth Holmes. I now see the wickedness of my ways in condemning Mattis in such a manner. Mattis is only human, and he likes corporate board roast beef sandwiches and easy corporate cash as much as the next person.

    I’ll repeat the worst of what I said from March 15, 2018:

    Pentagon Bureaucrat Jim Mattis took big bucks from crooked crook Elizabeth Holmes to occupy a seat on the corporate board of Theranos. Jim Mattis is a bureaucrat dirtbag who should be fired immediately.

    Jim Mattis is a treasonous rat who pushes nation-wrecking mass immigration and multiculturalism. Jim Mattis continues to push for the promiscuous misuse of the United States military.

    Jim Mattis was most likely one of the moron US Marine officers just begging to be sent into land-locked Afghanistan so as to attain some fading imperial glory.

    Jim Mattis was born in 1950 in the sweetspot for treasonous rat baby boomers. Patriots in the United States have to begin removing dirtbags born before 1965 from power in the United States.

    On second thought, I ain’t rescinding a bit of what I wrote. The only saving grace for Mattis is that he has kept high level lines of communication open with the Russians and Chinese to prevent the use of ultimate extinction weapons.

    The ruling class of the American Empire is evil and greedy and myopic and they must be destroyed.

  20. I have to wonder if our elites believe libertarian and Silicon Valley propaganda about the superpowers of entrepreneurs. Perhaps they saw Holmes as a biotech version of Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged.

  21. Wilkey says:

    From Wikipedia: “Holmes was also scheduled to host a $2,700-a-head fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in March 2016 at the Theranos Palo Alto, California headquarters. The fundraiser was moved and rescheduled after her campaign was criticized for holding an event at the offices of a company under federal investigation.”

    Funny that doesn’t get mentioned in (m)any of the news stories about her. When a crook has links to a Republican it is always always mentioned, usually at the beginning.

  22. The Wall Street Journal, owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp., began questioning whether the tests worked. …

    Positive sign of not censoring research that goes against Murdoch and co.’s interests?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  23. Anonymous[300] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve,

    Ok, now that the incel stuff is cooking right proper (told ya so…).

    There is a much broader over-arching theme of which incels and their tears are just one very small facet.

    Super fascinating and ties a lot of iStevey things together in a way that could be your next Big Thing, break out of the ant colony you maintain here, and will make you blush about previous Sailer Strategy and Laws of Female Journalist fluff.

    You got it in you, you just have to do it.

    It would be Wolfe-esque, and we all know about the big ol’ mancrush you have on him.

  24. Anon7 says:
    @Arclight

    Great idea. I think maybe Charlize Theron playing the tragic role of a doomed female entrepreneur, doomed because Buzz Mohawk is right, if she was a man it would have worked, and doomed because she was deserted by male capitalist patriarchs just when a fresh round of investment would have put her over the top.

    Edit: Holy crap, they’re really planning a movie! The Theranos movie, tentatively titled “Bad Blood” is in development with Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Holmes and to be directed by Adam McKay. Ooo, I like the title: it’s blood’s fault that she failed!

    • Replies: @CJ
  25. Notice, there’s been a pivot from: “Isn’t this company awesome because ‘Girl Power!’”

    To…(cue black maid from Being There): “Yep. All you got to be is white to make it in America”.

  26. BenKenobi says:

    What a scam.

    1. Come up with Applied Phlebotinum tech
    2. Get handed 9 billion.

    Her only mistake was not taking the money and running. Why isn’t she the poet warlord of some mercenary army in south-east Asia? Did she think she could actually pull it off?

    I’d have bought an island from the military junta in Myanmar, called it Theranos and retired there. Silly woman.

  27. Hiring or investing on basis of skin color or gender rather than competence ends up badly.

  28. Lot says:

    Another Trumpfail on third world migration. He just extended TPS status for Honduras another 18 months.

    Supposedly “just this one last time.” Sure. He did the same thing for Haiti. The idea is eventually these countries won’t suck.

    The Senate has 65+ members who favor mass migration. There never was a real chance of passing reform in Congress, though I note we don’t even get votes on reform that let us clearly know our enemies. Or attempts to “swap” family visas for asian worker visas that doesn’t reduce the flow much, but at least makes it less dysgenic, and which could possibly pass.

    But TPS is some of the worst countries in the world. Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, El Salvador. The ones that make Nigeria and Cuba look good. And TPS status is completely at the whim of the Executive Branch.

    I can forgive Trump for the wall, but not for this. Same thing for drawing out DACA when he promised to end it “one day one.”

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Faraday's Bobcat
  29. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Lot

    Can’t blame Trump for not ending DACA. Pro DACA legal foundations took it to the courts and every judge ruled to keep DACA.

    That’s our system, judicial supremacy.

    But Honduras. The capitalists bring up the primitive jungle dwellers to work in their farms and canneries and slaughter houses. The men work for less than minimum wage and they live off, and send money back home from the welfare the women and kids get.

    I’d love to see an 80 percent tax on all remittances. But the day it passed the anti White legal foundations would file lawsuits against it and the judges would overturn it.

  30. songbird says:

    Wow, I wonder if they even ever met her – she doesn’t seem very charismatic.

    The first time I ever heard of Theranos, it was through an article on the internet. One of the first commenters on the article smelled a rat immediately because the technological edge had not even been vaguely described. It was all “we are able to use very small amounts of blood.” No technological justification was given as to why they were able to use small amounts.

    Makes me think of all the websites that have ditched comments. Once gain, I think Mr. Unz deserves some props!

  31. ANON[143] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    I’m sitting here in Japan netsurfing white a baseball game is on television, which I’m not watching, because I’m not really a baseball fan. Suddenly I start paying attention because a player is explaining fluid dynamics and other physics concepts in English. Trevor Bauer? Cleveland Indians?

    Do these guys take the Wonderlic, and if so, what is Bauer’s score? He’s apparently a pitcher who has some sort of science background and does all kinds of analysis of his throw.

    • Replies: @Pat Boyle
  32. BB753 says:

    They also lost a great opportunity by not investing in Allison Mack’s venture, NXIVM!

  33. @Lot

    Extending it for 18 months is better than extending it forever, which would have been the alternative.

  34. anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Like the Janet Colgate character in the movie “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

  35. Hubbub says:

    As many commenters have pointed out, if Trump fails to do what he promised regarding immigration, he can kiss his chances for re-election goodbye. I will not vote for him or his allies – all the other do-goods he accomplishes will mean naught to me. Immigration reform, deform, abnorm, malform is the central political and demographic defining issue for this country for our time.

    • Agree: Tyrion 2
    • Replies: @bartok
  36. @Jack D

    She chose the wrong sector.

    Had she gone into a sector that required people skills (charming and taking money from rich people) rather than developing technology, she might have been very successful.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  37. @AnotherGuessModel

    WSJ reporter John Correyea (sp?) pretty much broke the Theranos story singlehandedly. He’s got a book on it coming out.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  38. Wency says:
    @Tyrion 2

    I don’t think it’s like that at all. This is more like certain tradcons tripping over themselves to back Herman Cain or Ben Carson.

    Though when it comes to lawyers, my father’s advice was to know your audience. For a problem in Idaho, he hired a well-connected good ol’ boy; in New York, he picked the most abrasive Jew he could find. Worked out well both times.

  39. bartok says:
    @Anon

    Would Holmes have been a more effective CEO if she were a Male to Female transsexual like Martine Rothblatt?

    Clearly, yes.

    Having a mannish voice did not suffice to make Holmes an brilliant tech startup CEO. Being born a man might have.

  40. bartok says:
    @Hubbub

    if Trump fails to do what he promised regarding immigration, he can kiss his chances for re-election goodbye

    A point in his favor is that he is ridding the GOP of its cucks, dispatching Flake, Corker, Issa and Ryan so far.

    He has made immigration into a permanent wedge issue, like guns and abortion. If you don’t remember, that represents a large improvement over the status quo ante.

  41. Anonymous[264] • Disclaimer says:
    @julius caesar

    Had she gone into a sector that required people skills (charming and taking money from rich people) rather than developing technology, she might have been very successful.

    Does she have people skills and charm? I’ve always thought she seemed a bit like a robot.

    • Replies: @julius caesar
  42. CJ says:
    @Anon7

    in development with Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Holmes …

    ROFLMAO is she going to auto-tune her voice and flatten her boobs? Just how did she land the role?

  43. res says:
    @jim jones

    It would be interesting to see a cost breakdown. The ones I see are:
    - Office rent
    - Phlebotomist
    - Consumables (I’m guessing sterility requirements make this more expensive than one would expect)
    - Sample transportation including refrigeration
    - Expensive test hardware

    I’m amazed they can sell something like this for $26: http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/itemLC381822/Chemistry-Panel-Complete-Blood-Count-CBC-Blood-Test

    That said, there seems to be a great deal of profit built into what people pay for many tests.

  44. wren says:

    Awesome!

    The Masters of the Universe united to prevent Theranos from getting all the Infinity Stones and wiping out half the life in the galaxy!

    Close call and a happy ending!

  45. @Anonymous

    She managed to convince some very rich families and executives at firms like Walgreens to invest in her company. She also had very loyal support from elites like George Shultz, who supported her over his own grandson.

    She may not be the next Dale Carnegie but she must be very good at manipulating people. Perhaps the robotic behavior was just an act, like her deep voice and Steve Jobs’s wardrobe, to look like a nerd.

  46. @BenKenobi

    Her only mistake was not taking the money and running. Why isn’t she the poet warlord of some mercenary army in south-east Asia? Did she think she could actually pull it off?

    She was a dropout from Stanford. One of my brothers is a Stanford grad, the other a Harvard grad. Schools like Stanford and Harvard inculcate in their undergrads the belief that just getting into Stanford or Harvard makes you a superior breed of human being compared to the vast unwashed masses that could only go to, for example, U. of California.

    Yeah, Holmes thought she could “pull it off”: reportedly, one of her Stanford professors even encouraged her in the scheme.

    Did I mention that things did not actually turn out all that great for my two brothers after they graduated? Turns out that, unless you get well-connected to the ruling elite while you are at Stanford or Harvard (my brothers didn’t), the real world does not care that much whether you went to Harvard or the University of California.

    I did my undergrad at Caltech, where we spent four years wondering if we were all really stupid since all of us failed to grasp much of the material in most of the classes (I hear MIT is much the same). But, at least they did not try to convince us that the world would bow down before us just because we had a degree from Caltech.

  47. sabril says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yeah, a similar thought occurred to me. There is a saying among boiler-room penny stock pitchmen: “Sell the sizzle not the steak.” In a world where people invest based on sizzle, it might make sense to also invest based on sizzle if you can get in and out early.

    On the surface, it might seem to make sense to bet against companies which are led by women. But what happens when someone like Warren Buffet announces that he’s investing 10 billion dollars in Vagina Inc? As the saying goes, the market can stay irrational for a lot longer than you can stay solvent.

  48. Pat Boyle says:

    Many commenters have remarked on the credulity of all the supposedly smart guys who invested in her gizmo. I’m not at all surprised and I’ll tell you why.

    Such a device should exist. It’s a little strange in fact that it doesn’t.

    I just tested my blood sugar level. I do that every morning. I have a little kit with a lance and a meter. The whole thing weighs about two ounces. I draw from my left fore arm. Unlike a finger prick this doesn’t hurt. The meter has a screen where you get a nearly instantaneous readout.

    In a couple hours I’m going to have another blood test for my Coumadin regulation. I have not only diabetes but also Heart Failure (lucky me). But in this case I will have to get in my car, drive to the hospital, and wait to see a phlebotomist. She will draw about a half ounce of blood from a vein in my arm and I will drive home. The Coumadin clinic will phone me in a couple hours to tell me my results or send me an email.

    I have asked my doctor for a simple self administered blood test for coagulation comparable to my glucose meter. The glucose meter is cheap, reliable and ubiquitous. Everyone with diabetes has one but the millions of people on blood thinners (Coumadin) have to trek to and from a clinic every month and sit in a waiting room.

    The lab that tests my blood viscosity doesn’t have a human with test tubes do it. They stick it in some machine. Apparently, it is at present a big expensive machine. It is not much of a surprise that if someone claims to have miniaturized the Coumadin machine like the common glucose machines, that people would believe it. Millions like me are surprised that such a machine doesn’t already exist.

  49. Pat Boyle says:
    @ANON

    Yes indeed. That was truly off topic.

  50. @Achmed E. Newman

    Again, what the hell, just get your money back out in time…

    The big name Theranos board members got director’s fees and maybe stock options, but I seriously doubt that they invested any of their own money in it.

  51. @Thorfinnsson

    And there are some things specific to Theranos. Did any of these investors think to talk to a hematologist or a chemist before throwing money at Holmes? Did anyone ask the obvious question why, say, Siemens wasn’t trying to buy her out?

    I agree. I remember reading some glowing article about Theranos several years before TSHTF, and it sounded too good to be true even then.

  52. Anything that causes the Waltons, Henry Kissinger, and Carlos Slim to lose money is a net positive in my opinion.

  53. @Steve Sailer

    Only because you botched the spelling so badly that Google didn’t know what you were talking about, it’s John Carreyrou

  54. anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pat Boyle

    What? My mother tests her blood to titrate Coumadin at home using just such a little gizmo, has been for several years now. It can’t be very inaccessible as people on Medicaid are given these.

    • Replies: @Pat Boyle
  55. @Pat Boyle

    Such a device should exist. It’s a little strange in fact that it doesn’t.

    That’s what I think. I don’t know anything about this subject except what I have seen people like you live with.

    What matters is what can be done, not the politics or intrigue that the big, fat belly of the public finds interesting.

    If the “right” people could make a killing on this, you would have your machine.

    Something similar is going on with Lyme disease where I now live. You catch it from ticks when you are actually outside on your land doing things — Therefore, it is a white, exurban person’s problem, in one region, and its victims receive little sympathy. My neighbors have suffered through it, but Lyme disease is too white and gentile to be socially important.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  56. @Pat Boyle

    Such a device should exist. It’s a little strange in fact that it doesn’t.

    Getting medical devices past the FDA (No more thalidomides!) is expensive, lengthy, and uncertain. Maybe it’s not worth fooling with for a device that retails for $26.

  57. res says:
    @Pat Boyle

    The glucose meter is cheap, reliable and ubiquitous. Everyone with diabetes has one but the millions of people on blood thinners (Coumadin) have to trek to and from a clinic every month and sit in a waiting room.

    I think the big difference is that the market is much bigger for the glucose meter. Diabetics need to test multiple times per day and there are more and more of them. I assume you have a glucose meter which uses strips? They have adopted a razor and blades marketing scheme where the meters are almost free and the strips cost about $0.50 each.

    All of that said, can you use these at about $5 each? http://www.carelinemedical.com/products/Coagucheks-4625315160/
    Perhaps not, it looks like the meters themselves are $500 and up: https://www.medicaldevicedepot.com/CoaguChek-XS-Professional-Meter-p/04837975001.htm

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  58. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    “Therefore, it is a white, exurban person’s problem, in one region, and its victims receive little sympathy.”

    Same with a universal flu vaccine – within reach but since influenza disproportionately affects the old (little disposable income and disproportionately white), nobody cares to spend more than a few million dollars on the effort.

    And with lots of other ailments like HSV, too – 80-90% of the population has it (even if they don’t get an outbreak), it’s one of the leading causes for blindness, it’s implicated in MS, autoimmune disorders, and many cancers, and it’s responsible for memory loss, etc. But since there is an affordable life-long treatment, why spend money on a cure that could remove a revenue stream for big pharma?

    This is where I diverge from libertarians. Only certain entities – such as the government – have both the will and the finances to fund research efforts into curing certain diseases or producing cheaper technologies (a lot of the tech you see that you thought was invented by some Silicon Valley billionaire genius was actually first nursed in its infancy by DARPA or some some publicly funded research university).

  59. Anonymous[412] • Disclaimer says:

    One must wonder how Mattis got drawn into Theranos by Holmes.

  60. @res

    Another thing to bear in mind, Pat, is that for certain kinds of tests, a healthy volume of good-quality, venous blood is absolutely necessary for accuracy.

    A glucose test involves only basic chemistry and need not by dialed in to an extreme degree of precision. But when testing for other things (e.g. hormonal factors that may indicate cancer) the chemistry is a lot more complex and we’re talking about only micrograms of factor per deciliter of blood that have to be measured to a very high degree of precision while avoiding false positives. That is not easy to do, and may involve such complicated lab techniques as gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry.

    The “blood” that spills from a prick to the surface of the skin involves a goodly amount of lymph and other subcutaneous fluids that will not form an accurate profile. That’s why a machine like kind Theranos was supposedly developing is not even theoretically possible: Both the sample size and its quality are insufficient. Reputable scientists should have been questioning Theranos from the beginning.

    • Replies: @ThirdWorldSteveReader
  61. Anonymous[216] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The scam or the blood tests ?

  62. Pat Boyle says:
    @anon

    I thank you. And I’m furious. I’m writing a note to my doctor right now demanding one.

  63. @Buzz Mohawk

    Lyme disease is too white and gentile to be socially important.

    Kinda like prostate cancer is too male to be socially important, even though in many years, it kills more men than does breast cancer kill women. Yet, every men’s sport in the U.S. is endlessly pushed to spread and display the pink of the the breast cancer narrative. Women and their colon spasms get more air time than prostate cancer.

  64. @BenKenobi

    And a scam with a very obvious warning sign: she was 19 years old, claiming to be a visionary genius in an area of science where the minimum theoretical knowledge for basic functioning is very high and where practical experience matters a lot. You can definitely be a math genius or a literary hotshot before your twenties, but hardly ever a guy reaches such status in biology before his forties

    Oh, and her big idea was to make a lab-in-a-pocket? How creative ; that’s been every doctor’s dream since lab tests started. Key is, it’s easy to dream and hard to make real, as everyone could have known back then…

  65. @Intelligent Dasein

    You’re right, specially about the contamination of venous blood by other fluids upon pricking and the test sensitivity issue. There is also the problem with many blood tests relying on adding specific antibodies to the samples and then detecting them with secondary antibodies – you can’t make many tests with the same sample due to there being a limited selection of secondary antibodies (plus crossreactions), and if you divide the sample too much you end below the detection limit. Can these problems be solved? One day they might, methods get improved and new protocols get developed – but it’s not simple, certainly not like Holmes made the investors believe.

    As for this:

    Reputable scientists should have been questioning Theranos from the beginning

    There is this strange situation where, sometimes, knowledgeable people know the scam from the begining but keep quiet, so as not be scolded for rocking the boat. I bet most reputable scientists smelled the farce early, but who were they to question the actual big shots who could get very, very angry at them?

  66. @ThirdWorldSteveReader

    Very informative. What Third World do you live in?

    • Replies: @ThirdWorldSteveReader
  67. @ThirdWorldSteveReader

    A friend of mine is a venture capitalist (with a research scientist background – I mention this to draw a distinction from just another money guy…he understands the science quite well) focusing on life sciences, biotech, etc. He glanced at Theranos for maybe 2 minutes and told me he was 99.9% sure there was “no there there”.

    I later asked him why he didn’t say anything publicly (he speaks often at conferences, industry events, etc). He said two reasons: 1) he didn’t invest his own or his investors’ money so what did he care?
    2) he’d be subject to the 2-minute hate for “degrading women”, hate, misogyny, etc.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  68. @William Badwhite

    …in a time of universal deceit, to tell the truth is a revolutionary act.
    - George Orwell

  69. MBlanc46 says:
    @Tiny Duck

    Crazy pills. That explains it.

  70. @Jim Don Bob

    Brazil. We still call ourselves Third World, though we are better positioned than many other places on the shithole scale. Healthcare is much better than expected, public security much worse.

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