Sunday, July 29, 2012

Random chart - U.S. military commands

Source: U.S. regional military command map - U.S. European Command, or EUCOM (Europe and Russia), U.S. Pacific Command, or PACOM (Asia), U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM (the Greater Middle East and part of North Africa), U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM (North America), U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM (South America and most of the Caribbean), and U.s. African Command, or AFRICOM (almost all of Africa).

Random charts - Olympic coverage

Source: A Gender Analysis of NBC’s Coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics (17-page PDF)

Some findings: "... for female athletes to garner media coverage, they must be involved in socially acceptable individual sports and/or sports that highlight body type. Women who take part in sports that involve either power or hard body contact are particularly unlikely to receive media coverage.When women engage in stereotypically feminine events, or look pretty or graceful, they will receive coverage, but risk being shunned if they venture from that space...

More recently, beach volleyball has come to prominence, beginning in 2004. While there is no doubt of the athletic prowess of the gold medal-winning American women’s team, it is curious that while men’s volleyball coverage was split nearly equally between beach and court volleyball, women’s court volleyball received no coverage, despite the fact that those athletes won a silver medal...

more noteworthy than the amount of coverage is what is covered. Even today, it seems that women are accepted as athletes only if they continue to look and act as women are expected to look and act..."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Random charts - drug shortages

Source: Short-Supply Prescription Drugs: Shining a Light on the Gray Market (Hearings: U.S. Senate Committee of Commerce, Science, and Transportation)

Previous blog entries on drug shortages:
Diagnosis - muddled thinking - Jan 21st, 2012
Polarization? - Dec 2nd, 2011
Help on the way? - Jul 31st, 2011
Random charts - Apr 6th, 2011
The why's of drug shortages - Mar 3oth, 2011

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Technological panacea - follow-up

The May 14th, 2011 blog entry 'Effortlessly error free?' argued that claims that no dispensing errors have been made by automated systems while they have dispensed millions of doses over a period of years need to be placed in context... Here are two more-recent articles on the subject - 'Meet ROBOT-Rx, The Robot Pharmacist Doling Out 350 Million Doses Per Year' and 'The Pros and Cons of Rx Robotics.'

Of these two reports first the first is more technology cheer-leading while the second is more nuanced, recognizing that you have to be careful and consider the human factor and integration with your processes - "... the more people you elect to train, the more important it is that you ensure uniformity in your training. The human factor never goes away, even with a system like this, and that human factor is what can cause things to go wrong. People like to make their own workarounds or do things slightly different, but that kind of deviation can be the real weakness in your system. Your training has to address that..." Amen

The gulf between?

So, what are the main differences between Candidates Romney and Obama? Well, if one was to assume that these might be revealed by considering the main topics on which the incumbent is attacking his rival, the two main differences would seem to be related to the recently-passed Affordable Care Act, and to the outsourcing/off-shoring of American jobs. President Obama and the Super-PACs supporting him are making big play that:
  • Romney was in favor of universal coverage, but flip-flopped, and is now against it, and,
  • Romney while at Bain Capital was responsible for outsourcing jobs (to China)...
OK, let's posit that this is true and 100% correct. What does it reveal about the differences between these two? Well, really not all that much! Why, one asks? Well:
  • If candidate Romney is a flipper-flopper 'who was for universal coverage before he was against it', then President Obama is a flipper-flopper 'who was against universal coverage before he was for it.' After all, during the presidential campaign of 2008, then Senator Obama mocked Hilary Clinton's call for an insurance mandate, saying, "... if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house...
  • Now, it is an article of faith among broad swathes of the Democratic Party that free trade agreements are bad, a principal reason being that they are accused of encouraging off-shoring. Yet President Obama has been an enthusiastic supporter of free trade agreements, signing agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, while pushing for (along with the Republicans) the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord. So while Romney has been facilitating off-shoring at the individual company and state levels, President Obama has been doing it at the national level. Who does that make a better candidate for the title of "off-shorer in chief"?
OK, so this blogger is not arguing that there are no differences between the candidates, because there clearly are significant ones. However, they are not the ones that seem to be the main focus of President Obama's push to 'define Romney' for the American public...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Great quotes - Iranian missiles

"Iran already has a missile that could reach the U.S. if it could put it on a ship and move it to within 600 miles of the American coastline.."

- CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence (here)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WMD then... and now

WMD then:

Source: Weapons of Mass Destruction, a Visual Perspective ("Little Boy")

... and now:

Saudi National Convicted on WMD Charge in Texas Terror Case - "The 22-year-old man was apprehended in early 2011 following a probe of his West Texas residence by FBI agents who unearthed ingredients and instructions for making bombs as well as study material on potential targets such as ex-President George W. Bush's Dallas house."

Some previous blog entries:
WMD *really* aren't what they used to be - Jan 11th, 2011
Bomb - explosive, firearm, and WMD - Jan 9th, 2010
WMD aren't what they used to be... - Apr 22nd, 2008

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Another one (to bite the dust?)

Earlier blog posts, summarized by the November 2010 entry 'Getting to agreement', highlighted the illusory nature of a number of the Obama administration's "achievements" in which parties with substantial disagreements came together to "agree" on a common document and course of action. Examples included Copenhagen 2009, the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the 2010 New START agreement, 2009's UN Resolution 1887, and 2009's "Tegucigalpa/San Jose" agreement.

This blogger summarized the 2009 NPT conference as follows: "The bottom line? A final document that could be accepted unanimously by the various parties. However, no "real" agreement, since each of the opposing camps focused on the part of the agreement that was palatable to them. The U.S. led the way in selectively picking and choosing the parts of the document that it liked, thereby vitiating the final document..."

Fast forward to today, and another intractable problem... Syria. From 'International deal reached on peace for Syria' we read "... World powers meeting in Geneva have reached an agreement on a way forward to end the violence in Syria ..." Since all the attendees at the 'Action Group' signed on, one might conclude that the "agreement" (go here for the Action Group for Syria Final Communiqué 30.06.2012) apparently bridged the gulf between the U.S. position (unambiguous that Assad has to go) and that of China and Russia (no external interference in Syria), and that the parties agreed on the way forward. Well, perhaps not!

Kofi Annan agreed that it was up to the Syrian people to determine who should lead them, quickly adding however, "I would doubt that Syrians... would select people with blood on their hands to lead them." In this he presumably was referencing the Assad regime...

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said "How exactly the work on a transition to a new stage is conducted will be decided by the Syrians themselves... There are no demands to exclude from this process any one group. This aspect had been present in many of our partners' proposals. We have convinced them that this is unacceptable."

The Chinese Foreign Minister said "... outsiders cannot make decisions for the Syrian people."

Hilary Clinton said "Assad will still have to go,.. What we have done here is to strip away the fiction that he and those with blood on their hands can stay in power."

The bottom line? Another "agreement" that is sure to bite the dust!