Running out of treatments: The problem superbugs resistant to everything

Scary stuff ...

Doctors are running out of treatments for today's trauma victims and critically ill patients because of infections due to drug resistant microbes -- even after resorting to using medicines thrown out 20 years ago because of severe side effects, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

20:15 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Another Lamb Gone

Well, I guess that maybe Rasta llama actually did do some good after all - we lost another lamb yesterday to coyotes or dogs. That's two in the last six months. Both since Rasta departed, having not lost a single one in the preceding four years.

Methinks we'll be getting a new llama after all.

06:10 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Moral Hazard

Doug Masson pointed me to this wonderful essay by Robert Reich - read it and understand what the last 8 years have really cost us.

Bush's "ownership society" has proven a cruel farce for poor people who tried to become homeowners, and his minuscule response to their plight just another example of how conservatives use moral hazard to push their social-Darwinist morality. The little guys get tough love. The big guys get forgiveness.

(link) [The American Prospect]

via Masson's Blog

06:02 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Blitzen the One Horned Wonder Goat

With all the flu that's been going on here, I'm afraid I was remiss in not mentioning the events of last Tuesday (the 18th), which was a rather extraordinary day indeed.

It started off sedate enough, but the situation began to deteriorate about 11, when Stubby had our first lamb of the season.

I was at work, Lorraine wasn't feeling up to par, and it was pouring rain to boot. Stubby was in the side stall, and as the rain increased in intensity, the entire flock joined her. Then Hammer came in. Then the two remaining cows, and finally the goats. It was pretty crowded, and our new little ram lamb was in some danger of being squished on his first day here.

So Lorraine climbed over into the zoo, and managed to get Stubby and her new boy into the big stall in the main area of the barn. It was a mess, to say the least, and Blitzen took this opportunity to vault through a wooded and mesh fence feeding stanchion and into the foyer of the barn - with all the remaining hay!

She called me at about 11 and asked if I could come home for lunch, just to check out the new arrival and help her get things back to some semblance of order. No problem - I got here about 11:45.

It was when trying to get Blitzen back out to the pasture (she'd gotten him into another stall with Francie, our doe goat) that I noticed something was amiss with his right side. There seemed to be blood on his face! Ack!

He had torn his horn nearly off when he jumped through the fence, and was bleeding pretty badly. The horn was still hanging on, but barely. I'd never had to deal with anything like this before!

A quick gander through the books, and a call to the vet, told us that we had to remove the rest of the horn and stop the bleeding. To make a long story short, that's exactly what we managed - after many loops around the barn with poor Blitzen spraying blood everywhere, and much agony on his part when I used the hacksaw to cut through the tenderest part of his horn that was still attached.

We got his head wrapped with some vet tape, and I went into town to get a couple of extra bags of feed for the new momma (and Blitzen, whom I was pretty sure would be confined for a bit). I also picked up some BloodStop powder. Good thing, too, because his bleeding, while it slowed, was not stopped by the pressure wrap. The powder did stop it (and probably saved his life) but not until after a couple more laps around the barn, spraying goat blood. Yuk!

It was 4:30pm by the time I got back to work after "lunch" (I can't remember if I ate anything or not). And, sorry, but no pictures - I just can't bring myself to take one yet. He looks utterly ridiculous with only one horn. But I'll embarrass him here with some nice profile shots sometime this summer ... after his attack of stupidity last Tuesday, he deserves it!

06:32 /Home | 2 comments | permanent link

Free drug samples may burden patients' pockets

I wonder if it ever occurred to these boneheads that a principal reason for the results of this study is that patients that were given free samples were just give new prescriptions as well - and their costs would've gone up anyway, free samples or not?

If it weren't for samples from doctors, my mother would probably be living in a cardboard box under a bridge now.

Following free drug sample receipt, patients who receive these samples have significantly higher out-of-pocket prescription costs than those who don't, according to the first study to look at the out-of-pocket cost associated with free-sample use.

(link) [EurekAlert!]

06:02 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Meet Little Mac

I finally did it: we are now a (more or less) Windows free household. I got the smaller Mac Mini last week, refitted the hard drive from my dead Windoze box into a USB enclosure and went off to the races.

I did purchase VMWare Fusion, and I did load a copy of Windows XP into the virtual machine, but that's only so I could access my Microsoft Money files, and keep up with the checkbook. Always a good idea...

The virtual machine is a bit too slow to run my favorite Windows DirectX 9 pinball games(s), but otherwise works flawlessly. Mail was a pin to set up, but given the way I get mail around here, and the volume of SPAM that shows up, it's always a pain. And I still like Firefox more than Safari...

I'll tell you one thing - it's damn nice not to have a big, roaring box that sucks power running on my desk all the time. This little box is so quiet and efficient they should pass out carbon credits with every purchase. I think I could get used to this ...

06:54 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

March 25, 1954: RCA TVs Get the Color for Money

My family didn't get a color TV until the very late 1960's - I grew up in "dead black and white" as opposed to "living color".

Color-TV sets go into production, with dreadful quality at a dreadful price.

(link) [Wired: Top Stories]

06:25 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

AJAX patent threat to giants under the hammer

The idiots that filed this patent in 1999 had to be aware of the existing art - and they filed anyway, hoping to cash in, no doubt, when that art became ubiquitous.

Which, no coincidentally, is the very definition of "patent troll".

A patent scheduled for sale next month in San Francisco could threaten some of the biggest players on the internet leading Web 2.0.

(link) [The Register]

06:13 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

The Cigarette of the Future: All the Cancer, None of the Nicotine

Well here you have it. The bad thing about cigarettes isn't really the cancer or other diseases they alledgedly cause: it's the high they give the smoker.

Freedom is slavery.

Tobacco companies have spent millions tweaking the tobacco plant trying to make a less harmful butt, but a former FDA official argues the best cigarette for the public's health would take all the high out of smoking.

(link) [Wired]

20:58 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

What Created This Monster?

A good exposition of the mess. with no real clear answers, unfortunately. Not at this point.

Executives, regulators and politicians are scrambling to figure out just what created the credit crisis and how it can be fixed.

(link) [New York Times]

20:28 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Flu Part Two

This weekend has been Lorraine's turn with the virus from Hel ... hopefully next weekend neither of us will be down. This is getting ridiculous.

20:26 /Home | 1 comment | permanent link

Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines

I wonder if the kids will object to their parents objection when it's polio or smallpox instead of rubella?

In an unusual outbreak of measles in San Diego, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected.

(link) [New York Times]

21:59 /Politics | 4 comments | permanent link

Sundown with Arthur

A true giant. RIP

Author Jeff Greenwald, a long-time friend of Arthur C. Clarke, recalls his last visit with the sci-fi great: "During our final encounter, though, Clarke seemed melancholy and circumspect. There was no way to avoid a comparison with the beleaguered HAL, who remains self-aware as his magnificent consciousness is slowly dissembled."

(link) [Wired: Top Stories]

19:41 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Study: Top NCAA seeds lag academically

You want an argument against taxpayers funding so called sports "scholarships"? Here ya go ...

AP - North Carolina was the only school among the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men's tournament to graduate at least 50 percent of its players. A report released Monday found 86 percent of Tar Heels men's players earned diplomas during a six-year period. The other top seeds were far worse: 45 percent at Kansas and 40 percent at UCLA and Memphis.

(link) [Yahoo! News: Top Stories]

05:42 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Eli Lilly E-Mail Discussed Unapproved Use of Drug

It simply boggles the mind when folks who should have some integrity, don't. And it boggles it further when they advertise that lack of moral, let alone legal, sense in a very public fashion such as this.

What in the world was this idiot thinking when he sent this email?

John C. Lechleiterís 2003 e-mail message appears to have encouraged Eli Lilly to promote its schizophrenia medicine Zyprexa for a use not approved by federal drug regulators.

(link) [New York Times]

05:28 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link