Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great quotes

"Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."

"I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene"

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (during his weekly sermon), and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad (on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini), respectively.

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h/t Uskowi on Iran: Iran to exploit uranium

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Source: Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain

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Source: UN Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan August 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Say what II?

10.4 errors per patient-day? Improved to 5.6 errors per patient-day? Wow! This study (1995) suggests a rate of 0.3 medical errors per patient-day, this one (2002) 2 per patient-day, this one (also 1995, or is it 2008) 1.7 errors per patient-day in the ICU, etc.

Weapon of mass infection

"Weapon of mass infection", see here.

Say what?

"We're dealing with human lives here, and if they could do anything to make their products safer, they ought to." - Henry Chanin.

"... the pharmaceutical companies were responsible for providing 50 ml vials of propofol to ambulatory centers that would require no more than 10ml to 20 ml bottles because profit dictated the decision to do so. The larger size vials encouraged multi-dosing becoming weapons of mass infection. The result is nearly immeasurable.” - Henry Chanin's lawyer.

"... They gave no warning to doctors, gave no warning to nurses, and that’s why we have all these outbreaks in eight different countries, 11 different institutions around the world..." - The lawyer for Henry Chanin's wife. Also "... What this jury has done may be the most important thing any jury anywhere has ever done for drug safety in the history of the United States ...”

By golly, apparently those greedy pharmaceutical companies continue to put out defective product... And this courageous couple has struck a decisive blow for the safety of all patients everywhere! Well, perhaps not. The facts of the case:
  • It was discovered that the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center in Las Vegas (Dr. Deepak Desai et. al) had infected a very large number of their patients with Hepatitis C. Apparently, in a racket to make as much money as possible, this 'doctor' had his employees a) Reuse single-use vials of the anesthetic propofol on multiple patients, b) Reuse syringes and other single-use instruments, c) Rush procedures to speed up throughput, and d) Neglect to ensure that his employees were trained on how to clean endoscopes between cases.
  • One of Dr. Desai's victims, Henry Chanin, decided to sue... the drug companies that manufacture the propofol used.
  • Why? Well, his lawyer argued that they "... endangered public safety by producing vials that were much larger than necessary for typical endoscopic procedures, which enticed nurse anesthetists to reuse the vials among patients instead of throwing away leftover sedative..." And the complaint against the companies "... alleged product liability, negligence and disregard of known and accepted medical procedures, resulting in Henry Chanin contracting hepatitis C from exposure to contaminated vials of the anesthetic propofol. Baxter was the distributor and Teva the manufacturer of the drug..."
  • The jury found in Chanin's favor and awarded him and his wife $5.1 million in compensatory damages....
  • Never mind that the drug is dispensed in single-dose vials and that Teva pointed out that "the label for its propofol product clearly states that it is for single patient use only and that aseptic procedures should be used at all times ..."
  • Good grief! But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there's more...
  • The jury went on to award Chanin $500 million in punitive damages ($356 million for Teva, and $144 million for Baxter)!
  • Apparently the jury was so generous because they felt badly for Chanin. The school headmaster now suffers from lingering joint pain, and "... he and his wife had stopped having sexual relations, for fear that he would spread the disease to her..." Oh, well, in that case...
What a crock! Meet Henry Chanin, poster boy for tort reform. Best of all they trotted out that perennial chestnut: it wasn't about the money, but about getting two giant companies to change, and "... if we didn’t come forward and we didn’t pursue some kind of action, we weren’t doing all we could to make sure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to anybody else”

Drugmakers Lose Hepatitis C Trial
Patient says hepatitis lawsuit just start of public safety battle
Jury Orders Baxter, Teva to Pay $500 Million In Largest Award in Nevada’s History

First addendum:
Ran across this insta-poll on a local Las Vegas news outlet. Apparently seven percent of the people who took this poll feel that the award was "not enough"!

Second addendum:
Others injured in the same way by the same clinic are watching, Hep C Victims Watched Court Case Closely Another victim is "... glad Henry Chanin has justice, but wonders if he'll still be around to ever have justice of his own..." And "... with years of court appeals ahead, the 70-year-old may never see any large sums of money from the propfol drug companies he believes are partly to blame for the constant pain he faces..." Very unfortunate for this gentleman, who deserves justice. Unfortunately he's looking in the wrong place! This decision is "justice"? Teva and Baxter are "partly to blame"? What absolute nonsense.

Third addendum:
Apparently a number of the jurors wanted a higher award. According to reports "... "It was difficult to assess an amount to make someone wake up and make a change," (jury forewoman) Williams said. She said some jurors feared an award of $1 billion might be appealed.

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Source: Plastic to oil fantastic. "A Japanese company called Blest created a small, very safe and easy to use machine that can convert several types of plastic back into oil."

Damn! (updated 08/25/10)

August 25th update:

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Source: Top Counterfeit Drugs Report

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MLR redux

The August 29th, 2009 blog entry, 'Health care re-form VIII (More nonsense)', discussed the medical loss ratio in some detail, how it is being 'misused', and also touched upon some of the demagoguery surrounding this subject...

Fast forward a year - health care reform legislation has passed and minimums have been set for insurance company MLRs (80 percent for individual and small business plans, 85% for large employers). Of course, having read the earlier blog entry the reader knows there is no standard definition and a lot of "wiggle room" in the calculation of MLR. Thus it has become necessary to develop a standard definition and calculation methodology.

Meeting in Seattle, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) Executive Committee has developed a recommendation (see suggested template) that is being forwarded to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. The recommendations in theory should form the basis for regulations that will be issued by HHS. However, Democratic legislators, advocacy groups, and other will no doubt be soon weighing in, see 'Sebelius could face health-reg fight'. Let the simplification and demagoguery begin!

Transcript: Health On The Hill - August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

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Source: Migration Could Triple Populations in Some Wealthy Nations. Gallup asks adults around the world what countries they would migrate to if they had the opportunity...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Great quotes...

“I don’t know what the big deal is, it’s freedom of religion, you know?”

- Cassandra, anonymous stripper at New York Dolls, Murray Street, mere blocks from "hallowed ground."

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Ground zero

Source: Hiroshima Peace Memorial

The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History

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Source: Smudge Attacks on Smartphone Touch Screens. Interesting... "... Touch screens are an increasingly common feature on personal computing devices, especially smartphones, where size and user interface advantages accrue from consolidating multiple hardware components (keyboard, number pad, etc.) into a single software definable user interface. Oily residues, or smudges, on the touch screen surface, are one side effect of touches from which frequently used patterns such as a graphical password might be inferred. In this paper we examine the feasibility of such smudge attacks on touch screens for smartphones, and focus our analysis on the Android password pattern..."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Repeat... remix...

Trying to find either an online manual for, or an actual user review of, the Coolbphone in order to be able to use it has been an exercise in frustration. Google searches on the terms "Coolbphone" along with "user review" (or other likely combinations of search terms) bring up many, many sites. However, after looking at perhaps eighty or ninety sites they have all either been sites in China selling the Coolbphone, or gadget sites with "reviews" of the phone.

The term "reviews" here is placed, advisedly, in quotes. The content of these many, many "review" sites is remarkably similar. A few clearly credit/reference the (same) source material, but many simply re-use the same picture(s) and a paragraph or two of text (either verbatim or slightly tweaked), surrounded by ads, etc. Most clearly have not had their hands on the actual product and/or item, nor have anything original to say.

There are a few sites e.g. Akihabara that tend to be mostly original material, but the vast majority seem to be "recyclers" with no value added! As an example, consider a new Chinese gadget, the G6Touch. Above is a screen capture of the 'review' on the Akihabara site, while below are screen captures from the following randomly selected dot coms - gadgetblipsredirect, gadgetmix, gayakuman, globalgadgetnews, goodereader, lejournaldegeek, mp4nation, newsdeliver, nextgadgets, and techfresh... Clearly a case of recycle... remix...

Great quotes...

“Emily’s List is running scared – and it shows. Clearly, in this ‘Year of the Pro-Life Woman,’ which Sarah Palin helped make possible, women have found their political voices.”

- Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of The Susan B. Anthony List.

Sarah Palin vs. Emily's List: a Twitter 'feminist' feud

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Source: Mosque-Erade (The Daily Show)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BB 9800 Torch second look

Enjoying the Torch so far... Nice and solid in the hand. So far two small annoyances, see below...

One (browser) annoyance so far - you can no longer use the space bar to 'page down' a web page... Why should this be an issue when you can use the touch pad to "scroll" down? Well, when you get to a web page and use the zoom in function it nicely re-formats the text to the screen width. However, then as you use the touch pad to go down the page it is very easy to get off track due to the 'floating' margins e.g. see below. Using the space bar would probably have avoided this. Also, if you zoom in more than once the text does not re-format itself to the screen width...

A second issue... Not all programs work with OS 6.0 So far out of luck with SocialScope (though UberTwitter works like a champ!), Viigo, and Pandora. ScanLife did not have a Torch version, though the generic all-purpose version appears to work.

BB 9800 Torch first look