Wednesday, November 30, 2005


There are some things that rank high on the stupid scale. Spitting into the wind, picking a fight with a Hell's Angel, and wearing white after Labor day are all on the list. But starting to smoke ranks as number one. I suppose we should factor in that when most people begin they're teenagers and therefore extremely stupid to begin with.

What I just can't fathom, is why after a diagnosis of cancer some people still insist on lighting up.
"This is like putting a gun in your mouth," says David Johnson, deputy director of Nashville's Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, who was not involved in the research. "That just illustrates the powerful hold that nicotine has on people."
I've never been that fond of guns.

The Famous Just Aren't Like the Rest of Us.

Nothing says excess like buying your own sonogram.

A Stockpile For a Pandemic

Eight million doses? A nice start I suppose, but not close to a number that is going to make me smile. I want to hear about the Feds actually running out of storage space for all the stockpiled doses. I'm an optimistic of course. I actually think the Mets have a chance at the start of every season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Merck Layoffs

Merck is in some real pain.

Bird Flu in Aceh

Bird flu probably couldn't have hit in a worse place. These poor people are trying to reconstruct their lives after the tsunami and now this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

O, To Be In England

I have never had the pleasure of visiting England. Its certainly on the list of things to do, but to be honest its a pretty long list. But this is the kind of news that pushes it up the list a few notches.

John Clark, curator of the Medieval London gallery, said: "Most people, including children, drank ale made from malted barley without hops.

"The even drank ale for breakfast, and got through up to a gallon, or four-and-a-half litres, a day each.

"At a price of a penny per gallon, only the poorest had to make do with water."

One alehouse for every 50 people? That's worse then the Lower East Side. The fact that binge drinking seems to be almost a universal constant isn'’t a good thing but there's something reassuring about knowing the more things change the more they say the same.

Australia Takes A Mock Run At the Bird Flu

They running a drill down under to see how they do if the Bird Flu arrives by migratory birds.

Under a worst-case scenario, people aged under 40 years were the most likely to be affected, with up to 35,000 deaths in the state and up to 15 percent of the state's workforce likely to be absent for up to eight weeks due to illness and school closures.

Absence form work for up to eight weeks almost seems to optimistic to me. But even if that's it, think about how crippling that will be to infrastructure.

Banned Poultry

How long before import and export of poultry just stops dead? And when that does happen what country will he hit the hardest? Not necessarily in terms of lose of funds for the exporting country, but the lack of protein for the importing one.

Monday, November 21, 2005

40.3 Million People Living With HIV

An extremely sad milestone. One that should give pause.

And You Wonder Why Your Premiums Are So High

Some one actually funded this study. Heart attacks can be caused by the stress of a roller coaster. Shouldn't this qualify as one obvious things anyone with half a brain has already figured out?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Some Bird Flu Answers

A good question and answer at MSNBC. Needs to be longer though.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Decaf Finally Discredited

Decaf coffee isn't just useless. It will kill you. Yes, that's a little melodramatic, but there's nothing sadder and more pathetic then someone drinking decaf. Except for maybe non-alcoholic beer I can't think of a product more out of step with society. I love the taste of a good cup of coffee, but if it didn'’t have that little loving jolt that kept me going I would probably skip it. Especially the way prices for a simple cup have gone through the roof.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mouth Cancer and Drinking

So Doc I got this pain in my mouth and some white spots, real gross I know, what the hell is it? Mouth cancer? No way! I always thought it was my liver that was going to go first.

Frat boys beware. Pub crawlers stop crawling. You probably haven'’t thought too much about mouth cancer, but that's when the big C is most likely to bite you on the ass. So cut back on the libations.

While I'’m here Doc, I got this dripping.....

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bird Flu Round up of the Day


Anything that can speed your way out of a hospital and to you're own home is a wonderful thing and this falls into that catergory. Hospitals, by their very purpose are full of people you wouldn't want to be near if you were healthy. See that guy in the next bed coughing up a lung? How about that woman rolling up and down the halls in her wheelchair who doesn't seem to understand that she should cover her face when she sneezes? And she sneezes a lot. Hospitals are germ factories with an amazing production line. The sooner you can get home the better. And so this study on a faster recovery rate from angioplasty is a very good thing.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bird Flu in Kuwait

One of the two birds found with bird flu was a peacock. I can't be the only one that thinks that's just odd.


This is a great page of 'medical' devices that did nothing but make money for their inventors.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Bird Flu Info

  • News from Vietnam here.
  • News from Beijing here.

Not good news at all. China closed 168 markets and destroyed six million birds. Let us hope they were just being overprotective.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Putting Chips Into People

I find RFID technology a very mixed bag. On one hand tracking people who might be kidnapped, like they've done to a limited group in Mexico, is a pretty useful application. If Fido runs away he's easier to retrieve if he's got a chip. But on the other end of the equation, and yes this is where the paranoia sets in, what if a government mandates implantation of its citizens? It seems farfetched, but what a better way to keep track of ex-cons. And then dissidents. And then people who just don't vote like the people in charge want them to. At first, chipping humans will be will be easy. We'll start with child molesters. Whose going to argue with being able to constantly track a guy who gets his jollies with children? If you think I'm over exaggerating... maybe I am. But this is tech we really need to be careful with.
I'm not sure the payoff from this project is worth it. So what happens if the find out one of their patients hasn't made tea two days in a row? Time to send in the cavalry! This just strikes me as one of projects that sounds sufficiently high tech enough to interest people, but will yield data that could probably be interpreted in a million ways.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Built in Heart Monitor

This sounds like a wonderful device. If I had heart issues, I would pay premium for it. Monitoring the heart as closely as possible for people with cardiac problems is parmount. It might set off a few metal detectors, but I suppose that wouldn't be a huge problem.
But maybe someone ought to explain to them that there are actually more then a few PDA's that might do the job better then a Handsping. They way technology moves forward at such ridiculous speeds they might as well be using a Trash-80.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Trouble In Arizona

Already the shortage stories are beginning. Even without the avian flu worries it appears we are already having problems.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pandemics and Goverments

I listened to the President's speech on the possible upcoming pandemic. As usual I was wasn't impressed with the delivery. I was pleased with the message though. We're going to need to spend money. Lots of it, so I suppose 7 billion plus is a good start. It also sounds like a good portion is actually going to go into science, as opposed to just flushing it down the toilet of bureaucracy. I'm not naive though, I do expect some of the funds to be wasted. Another thing we need to be wary of is our present government's almost obsessive need to hire the wrong people to do a job. If we end up with a 'pandemic czar' whose only prior job was a Texas lawyer who just happened to represent big oil we should just hand out cyanide capsules to the populace. It would be quicker.
There are some things that bother me though. I'm not sure we can just trust that most of the world will be transparent with any problems that arise inside of their borders. In this country, and most of the West it would be next to impossible to cover up an outbreak. Some local reporter would be covering the sudden rash of illnesses one day, and the next day the Washington Post and the New York Times will have a team of reporters on the scene. CNN would send Larry King in an environmental suit. I'’m not sure we can expect the same level journalistic integrity in China. I would expect them to do their best to cover up any outbreaks. Too much of their economy depends on trade with us. Trade that will almost certainly stop on a dime if they had a problem. Can you imagine any airline or shipping company flying into Beijing? Even if they pledged to, cross their heart and swear to fly, I doubt they will. Pilots and crew will undoubtedly either quit, or use all their sick days to stay healthy. We need to monitor as closely as possible what's happening in other countries. Especially the ones that think freedom of the press means not killing a reporter after he files his first negative report of the government.

Nipple Guards for Runners

The New York Post had an article yesterday on gadgets that help runners. With the NY marathon coming up its almost an expected use of newsprint. Fancy sneakers and watches aren't much of a surprise, but Nip Guards were. I've never thought about chaffing of that sort but I suppose it can be extremely painful. And at $9 it seems like a bargain, but I have to wonder if two strategically placed Band-Aids couldn't do the same job.