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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

nbauman Re:Math author dies rich... (167 comments)

It's too bad the Soviet Union didn't survive under Gorbachev. I think you would prefer Gorbachev to Putin, and probably to Yeltsin.

When Gorbachev came in, Ogarkov was out. Gorbachev didn't have any problems making computers, or free speech, widely available.

I've never been able to understand why the Soviet people (with the encouragement of the West) threw Gorbachev out. It's as if for 70 years the Soviet leaders weren't willing to take a risk of more freedom, because they were afraid the West would stab them in the back. Finally, along came Gorbachev, who was willing to take a risk for peace and freedom. Sure enough, the Westeners stabbed him in the back.

I read samisdat. They were circulating in the U.S. for a while after the thaw. One of the problems was that they were too long and didn't get to the point. That's why, when Solzhenitsyn finally came to free market America, he complained that, under capitalism, nobody wanted to read his books. When they finally had freedom of speech, nobody was interested in them.

 

yesterday
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

nbauman Re:Dover Press Books (167 comments)

Yes, they can reprint out-of-print books that are more than 100 years old, but they can no longer reprint out-of-print books that are 30 years old, which is how they started in the 1950s. I still can't get the Dover books that I read in the 1960s, because they're orphaned, copyrighted books.

They couldn't even reprint the 1917 edition of Growth and Form. http://store.doverpublications... They had to get permission and pay royalties to Cambridge.

I did do a bit of research on this because I work in the publishing industry, and I know a couple of publishers who have reprinted out-of-print books. I found out that some of the classics were out of print, and I thought it would be a good idea to reprint them.

One of them was Yevgeney Perelman's Physics for Entertainment, which is part of a series, which wasn't even copyrighted because the Soviet Union didn't believe in copyright at that time. Perelman died in the siege of Leningrad. After the fall of the Soviet Union, they went out of print. I talked to some librarians and copyright researchers, and it was impossible to track down who had the ownership under the new copyright law. Was it Russia? Was it his surviving heirs? Were there contracts? A lot of publishers didn't even keep their old contracts after the 26-year copyright expired, and now suddenly the copyright was extended to 100 years after the author's death. Publishers went out of business, and their files were destroyed. They signed contracts based on a 26-year term, so it's not clear who owns the rights afterwards. A lot of times you can't even find out when or if the author died. Every so often somebody will publish Perelman's books, but it's illegal. A publisher explained to me that if he were to get caught, which is unlikely, he would just pay royalties. People have also posted Perelman's books on the Internet, but that's also illegal. (Although the copyright law is so complicated, especially for international works, that it would cost thousands of dollars or more in legal fees to figure out what copyright law applies.) The problem with just doing it illegally is that a library can't make their collection illegally available on the Internet. That's why Google books has gaps.

I can't research Dover's catalog and give you a definitive answer, but Project Guttenberg ran into this problem and wrote about it in detail. I've talked to librarians. The copyright laws have made it impossible to exchange published works that were in the public domain before. That was the purpose of the Sony Bono Copyright Act.

If you're a copyright lawyer and you know otherwise, I'd be happy to know how I can publish those orphaned works.

2 days ago
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

nbauman Re:Math author dies rich... (167 comments)

As someone who did not study math in higher education but now wants to learn more it is quite difficult to find out which math text books have the best content. Would someone please suggest some books and authors of great texts I can then search for?

I would ideally like to build up a bookshelf of great maths texts to go alongside the computing books I already have.

You know, I used to have a good answer, but because of New York City Mayor Bloomberg, I can't give you an answer any more. He destroyed the library with the greatest collection of introductory math books that I've ever seen.

We used to have a library in Manhattan, on a prime piece of real estate opposite the Museum of Modern Art, called the Donnell. It had collections of books for young adults, which in library-speak means high school students and above. They had librarians who understood the subjects, and worked with high school teachers to develop excellent collections of books with good content that would grab you when you took them off the shelf and started to read.

They had a collection of science books and a collection of math books in two big bookcases. Those bookcases contained every great math book I read or wanted to read in high school. Sometimes I'd find a book in the library, and buy a copy in the bookstore.

The Donnell was a beautiful library, in the 1930s style of Rockefeller Center, a fitting match for the Museum of Modern Art, where you could sit and read by huge picture windows. It was a hangout for teenagers from around the city, who used to come there to do their homework and their research. They also had an auditorium where they held poetry readings. It was a New York institution.

After 80 years, the Donnell could have used some repairs and upgrading to its heating and air conditioning system and so forth. Instead of paying for the repairs, Bloomberg decided to tear down the library. He had connections to a real estate company that came up with a plan to build a hotel on the site. They would have a much smaller library down in the basement. But it wouldn't have the same young adult science, math and other collections (which were scattered among other libraries around the City). The real estate company would make a lot of money, the City would get some, and use the money to "improve" the library system and buy more computers. It was controversial, people fought it, but Bloomberg was a billionaire and he won. They fired all the expert librarians, and tore down the Donnell.

Then the real estate market collapsed, so Bloomberg's real estate friends couldn't deliver what they promised.

I've talked to many science librarians in the public library. There is no longer any place in the City where you can find a collection of science and math books like that. They couldn't even give me a bibliography of books like that. It's gone. In fact, they fired most of the expert librarians, and replaced them with computer specialists. They don't really know the subject. You ask them a question and they look in a database.

The best thing I could recommend now is to find a math teacher. It used to be that you could go to a college campus, walk over to the math department, and find somebody who would be happy to give you advice. Now, with all the security, you might not be able to get in the door any more without an ID card. Or you might be able to find a good librarian. If you find a good bibliography, let me know.

(The classics that I remember, BTW, were The World of Mathematics, which was a historical collection of sources, Courant's Introduction to Mathematics, and Polya's How to Find It. There were so many more. If it wasn't for the Copyright Act, you could get them all free on line today.)

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re:How about ignoring it? (469 comments)

This is known as anecdotal evidence, and a datapoint of 1. It's a fallacious argument, since you can use it to prove anything.

People have lots of habits, and people wind up in devastating situations. Sometimes they are the same people. You could substitute anything for "cannabis," and (falsely) draw the same conclusions -- comic books, the Internet, teenage sex, masturbation, TV, rock 'n roll, negroes, Mexicans, the military, and religion, were all blamed for having devastating effects on teenagers. If I had somebody close to me who was religious, and turned into a schizophrenic, can I therefore conclude that religion causes schizophrenia?

Conversely, when I was in college, some of the most successful students, including the valedictorians, were heavy users of marijuana (and rock 'n roll). So obiously many people escape the evil effects of marijuana, and if I use your logic of anecdotal evidence it caused their success.

This person close to you might have had just as much of a decline without cannabis. How do you know he wouldn't have? Lots of people with marijuana were very successful, and lots of people without marijuana turned out terribly.

People claim all the time that you can't use randomized, controlled trials on marijuana, but we've done similar trials many times in the past. (When we finally did a RCT with estrogen replacement therapy, it turned out that ERT was a major cause of breast cancer.)

If in the 1980s, when the highly suggestive evidence of the benefits of marijuana started to appear, we had started RCTs of marijuana for conditions like AIDS wasting syndrome and epilepsy, we incidentally would have had data on the adverse effects of marijuana, and we'd know whether it ever has these devastating consequences that you claim.

But instead the DEA refused to allow studies even from legitimate, respected scientists.

You can debate marijuana all you want, and there may well be some rare or minor adverse effects, but the DEA and other prohibitionists don't have enough scientific evidence that it's dangerous enough to justify putting people in jail.

And you don't have enough evidence to claim that you have the "truth" and that everybody who disagrees with you is wrong.

2 days ago
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

nbauman Math author dies rich... (167 comments)

When I studied calculus the hardest part was studying calculus, not buying the book. Textbooks were a lot cheaper.

Even cheaper, my math teacher used to organize book-buying from Taiwan.

At that time (1959), there was no copyright agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan (and besides, they were fighting Communism), so it was completely legal.

They cost about a tenth of U.S. prices. The publisher he used had reprints of all the popular math and science books (like Dover, except not limited to to public domain). They had an entire Encyclopedia Britannica for about $25.

Dover of course used to re-publish the out-of-copyright and out-of-print math and science classics. There was a time when a professor could have a rare out-of-print book, that nobody else could get, and teach an entire class out of that book. Dover put an end to that.

Of course the Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension Act put an end to Dover (or at least their reprint business) by extending the copyright to 100 years after the author's death.

So the great classics, like Yakov Perelman's Physics for Entertainment (the world's largest-selling physics textbook), are now out of print, even though Perelman died in the siege of Leningrad.

The other source of cheap textbooks was the Soviet Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow, which translated all the great Soviet science and math textbooks, including Perelman's, into every major language of the world, including English, and sold them cheaply everywhere. They were even cheaper than Dover, $2 apiece. And the Soviets didn't believe in copyright, so Dover or anybody could reprint them. I've heard Indian scientists reminisce about how they grew up reading Perelman as children.

It's too bad the Soviet Union didn't survive until the Internet. They could have put all their scientific, literary and music works online copyright-free.

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (469 comments)

How is it hard to harass someone on drug charges, if they are not using or possessing drugs at the time of a police stop?

"Can I search your vehicle / bag?"

"Affording my constitutional rights, No."

Now the police either has to show a judge probable cause to get a warrant, or they let you go.

What ivory tower have you been living in for the last 40 years?

If you tell some donut-stuffed cop, "Affording my constitutional rights, No," he's going to say something like, "OK, if you don't give me permission to search your car, I'll call the drug-sniffing dog, and if he wags his tail, we'll take apart your car until we find it." You're liable to wind up with your car unscrewed into a heap of parts on the side of the roadway.

Of course it's illegal, but you'd have to be a lawyer yourself to know how far you can push it (and it varies by state).

And if they want they can always plant it on you. They've been planting evidence on innocent people again in New York City. The Times had a few stories about that recently.

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (469 comments)

Still further, Colorado is seeing the general effects of people being stoned, such as deaths,

This turns out to be hysterical misinterpretation of the evidence. If you follow that link back to the source, https://www.sciencenews.org/ar... you'll see what they really say is

The results offer just a “snapshot at the time we did the testing,” Thames says. They describe an association, not causation. “The question down the road is, what kind of implications does that have for everyday functioning?”

Scientists have largely failed to turn up compelling evidence that adult pot smokers risk permanent brain problems, Earleywine says. “Being stoned all the time is a strange way to live your life,” he says, but data just aren’t there to argue that a cannabis-fueled lifestyle is permanently harmful to the adult body and brain.

So far nobody has been able to supply any evidence (good enough to be published in a peer-reviewed journal) that marijuana is harmful.

A bigger problem than marijuana is a lack of the public understanding of science. These people don't understand what "evidence" is.

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re:How about ignoring it? (469 comments)

I can't believe anyone can be stupid enough to think cannabis is dangerous enough to merit criminalization.

What you can or cannot believe isn't important, the truth is that canabis can have a devastating effect on the developing teenage mind. Even if you don't consider that enough to warrant criminalization, that does not justify insulting those of us who do.

I wonder how you arrive at that "truth". Even the arch-enemy of cannabis, Nora Volkow, head of NIDA, admits that they can't prove it because association is not causation. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/1... Or at least that's what she was forced to admit when the reviewers at the New England Journal of Medicine insisted she back everything up with published research.

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re:How about ignoring it? (469 comments)

Actually, pot has more harmful chemicals in the smoke you inhale than cigarettes do. And since the goal of smoking pot is to hold the smoke in for longer, it makes it worse.

"dangerous" isn't the word you wanted to use there.

Citation needed.

You don't realize how dangerous nicotine is. It constricts every blood vessel in the body, which is why smokers have more strokes, heart attacks, non-healing wounds, etc.

2 days ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

nbauman Re: Simple answer... (469 comments)

Inhaling any smoke into your lungs can cause damage and long term health problems. Chronic cough, emphysema, and even lung cancer are all possible outcomes of smoking pot. it also raises your blood pressure and your heart rate, similar to smoking tobacco.

only the ignorant or misinformed deny it has any ill health effects.
its not that different from smoking tobacco.

It is ironic that somebody who posts this much ignorance and misinformation can accuse others of being ignorant and misinformed.

Even Nora Volkow, the head of NIDA, in her review article in the New England Journal of Medicine trying to defend the war on drugs, doesn't go that far. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/1...

Just because tobacco causes chronic cough, emphysema, and lung cancer, that doesn't mean that anything you smoke has the same effect. That's like sympathetic magic.

Actually, when medical researchers tried to prove that cannabis caused those things, they failed. When you look at people who smoke marijuana, and compare them to people who don't, the marijuana smokers have no more chronic cough, empysema and lung cancer than non-marijuana smokers.

Look at it this way: If I chew tobacco, I'm more likely to get cancer of the jaw. But I can chew all the carrots I want, and I won't be more likely to get cancer. Obviously, there's something in tobacco that isn't found in carrots that causes cancer. And there's something in tobacco that isn't found in marijuana that causes cancer.

2 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Failed state policies (424 comments)

... it's also their nutrition programs.

What a great euphemism for rationing.

Cuba has a relatively low income, and the boycott is responsible for much of that (that was the purpose of the boycott, remember?) That's the result of U.S. policy, not the failure of Cuban socialism. So you cut their food and then blame them for rationing food.

In other low-income countries, especially free-market countries like Guatamala, when people can't afford to buy the food or health care that they need to live, they just die. That even happens in the U.S., where people die from curable diseases all the time because they can't afford to pay for medical care http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/1...

However, unlike most other low-income countries, Cuba has distributed their scarce resources, like milk, to those in greatest need, particularly to pregnant women and children. Prenatal nutrition is a big factor in infant survival. The studies of the Dutch famine during WWII showed that. There are studies of animals. That's established medical science. So doctors would expect Cuban infant survival to be lower because they give pregnant women more food. And it is. Even the CIA agrees. It's not because they define infant mortality differently.

Once again, there are no studies that meet the standards of science (published in peer-reviewed journals, adjusted for any differences in definitions) that say that Cubans have a higher infant mortality than Americans. The "scientists" who made that claim (in the letters section of Science, for example ) can't support it with facts.

Low-income people in Cuba have better health care than low-income people in the U.S. That's the facts.

There are people who form their conclusions based on scientific facts and people who form their conclusions based on ideology. You are free to join whichever group you want.

3 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Why not push toward collapse? (424 comments)

Bush conquered the entire country, replaced its government, captured its previous leader and handed him over to the new government to be hung by the neck. If that is still "losing", I don't know, what "winning" is...

Winning, as von Clausowitz said, is accomplishing policy. One of the stated purposes of the war was to replace Saddam Hussain with a leader that was more agreeable to us, while converting Iraq into a free market economy (according to what I read on the Wall Street Journal editorial page). Douglas Feith said, it would be like installing a new chip on your motherboard.

Instead, under Bush, they dismissed the army, were unable to create a new one capable of maintaining security and safety, and were unable to maintain the economy. It's a failed state.

Bush had six years to do whatever he wanted. Roosevelt and Truman won World War II in less time. Bush didn't accomplish his goals. He created a mess, and handed it over to Obama. I can't imagine how anyone could restore order to Iraq again. It might take another 10 years, 20 years, 50 years. You can't blame that on Obama.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Why not push toward collapse? (424 comments)

What did Bush leave Obama? Anarchy, controlled by armed gangs. Now the strongest force is the Islamic State.

Not true at all. Iraq was moving in the right direction, its various groups learning to talk to rather than fight rivals.

Withdrawal was grossly premature. That it was done not as an honest mistake, but for cynical political considerations ("See? I did not close Guantanamo, but I did get us out of Iraq"), makes it all the more disgusting...

That article seems to undercut your own argument.

In August of 2002, as George W. Bush and his allies were building the case for regime change in Iraq, Scowcroft warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that an attack on Iraq “would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.” Though Scowcroft was confident that the U.S. could succeed in destroying Saddam’s regime, he was also confident that military action would be expensive and bloody, and that it “very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.” As we all know, Scowcroft’s warning went unheeded by the Bush White House.

The war hawks in the Bush Administration, like Douglas Feith, were telling us that we could replace Saddam Hussein with our own dictator, Chalabai, like replacing a chip on a motherboard. The free-market ideologues were telling us that all we had to do was destroy Iraq's government-run industries, and replace them with the free market, and they would flourish.

Instead, the new free-market Iraqi health care system fell apart, the power system failed and couldn't supply electricity to run the air conditioners and sewer pumps, and most of all, neither the U.S. military nor the "free" Iraqi government could maintain security, against the armed sectarian gangs that started killing each other, as that Slate article described. Bush struggled in Iraq for longer than it took to win the entire WWII, and he failed. 600,000 Iraqis died, and 4,000 American troops and contractors.

Bush lost the war. At what point do you face that and cut your losses? Maybe you don't care about the 600,000 Iraqis, but do you want to lose another 4,000 Americans? Did you volunteer? Where did you earn your battle stripes?

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Why not push toward collapse? (424 comments)

Well, Iraq was pushed to collapse. That did not go so well.

What do you mean? The country was then conquered within months by us. Saddam Hussein himself was then captured, tried publicly, and executed deservingly.

Yes, and look what took over after Saddam Hussein was gone. What did Bush leave Obama? Anarchy, controlled by armed gangs. Now the strongest force is the Islamic State.

von Clausowitz that the purpose of war is not to destroy the enemy, it's to accomplish policy. (However you spell it.)

Bush is like that guy in Atlas Shrugged who couldn't watch a pot of soup without letting it boil over.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Failed state policies (424 comments)

Oh, and that infant mortality statistic is complete B.S. In Cuba, they just let the premature babies die and it never counts as a live birth to mess up the statistics. In the U.S. they bend over backwards to save babies but since they aren't always successful, the statistics get skewed.

Proof: http://www.nationalreview.com/...

Nothing in that article says that Cuba measures its infant mortality differently than the WHO standard, or even mentions Cuba.

So the fact remains that the Cuban infant mortality rate is lower than the U.S., by any standard measurement.

The main reason for that is the lack of access to health care, and health care doesn't do much good without access to nutrition, housing and basic living standards, which the poor don't have in the U.S. That's why we have so many premature infants. True, it's not just Cuba's health care system, it's also their nutrition programs. I concede that the poor in the U.S. have worse nutrition too, which contributes to their higher infant mortality.

Every honest doctor who follows international health statistics knows this, in contrast to guys like Scott Atlas who cherry-picks his statistics and publishes them in the National Review.

Let me know when you find something in a peer-reviewed journal that says Cuba's infant mortality statistics use definitions that distort them to make them better. I'm not holding my breath. There was an exchange of letters about this in Science, and the anti-Castro people couldn't come up with anything, so I don't think you will.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

nbauman Re:Failed state policies (424 comments)

In addition, American doctors toured the Cuban health care system and published their results in the New England Journal of Medicine. Cuba has one of the best medical schools in Latin America. The Swedes helped them set it up. As a result they have a major modern biotechnology industry that discovered and manufactures some vaccines that are used worldwide.

4 days ago
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9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

nbauman Re:Hope it won't happen in USA, again ! (158 comments)

... Benghazi being only one of the most recent bits of soiled underwear ...

In the Benghazi incident only three Americans died

The 9/11 event, over 3,000 perished

The war in Iraq, 650,000 Iraqis perished.

Oops. You only care about dead Americans. Well, 4,000 Americans died in GWB's war. Tell me again why we invaded?

about a week ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

nbauman Re:Can you say... (266 comments)

That day, the FDA banned the drug. It cited a study that found that the drug was linked with something bad, I think maybe suicidal thoughts.

But then she found that the study was produced by the company that made the brand name version of the drug, which had competition by generics by that point.

Sounds like or the same as neurontin, used for pain, accused of suicidal thoughts and available still as generic. If not, the same play book was being used to push it off the market. Double check your sources, you may have been lied to (the horror).

It does sound like a garbled version of the Neurontin (gabapentin) story. Gabapentin is still available. It has a lot of problems.

If anecdotal evidence is in order, a friend of mine was taking Neurontin. He got into a fight on the job (the other guy started it, and he fought back) and was fired. I called the FDA and one of their doctors told me that one of the reported side effects of Neurontin was aggression. It's not the kind of drug you'd want people to be buying on the free market.

about a week ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

nbauman Re:Can you say... (266 comments)

I'd like to know what the name of the drug is.

The FDA doesn't usually "ban" drugs. They usually "request" that the drug manufacturer cease production. If the manufacturer thinks that the drug is still useful, and wants to continue to produce the drug, he can negotiate with the FDA to continue selling it with restrictions.

If it's an effective drug, you might be able to get a supply from Europe or Asia.

about a week ago

Submissions

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What gets little girls interested in science?

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about three weeks ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Programmer David Auerbach is dismayed that, at a critical developmental age, his 4-year-old daughter wants to be a princess, not a scientist or engineer, he writes in Slate. The larger society keeps forcing sexist stereotypes on her, in every book and toy store. (Et tu, Lego?) How do you non-coercively inspire girls that age to go down the STEM path? What actually works?

If you are a little girl, or once were a little girl, or were the parent of a little girl, what worked for you?"

Link to Original Source
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Hey kids! Banned books!

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about three weeks ago

nbauman (624611) writes "The Gilbert, AZ school board has voted to tear out a page from Campbell's Biology (a standard highly-recommended textbook that many doctors and scientists fondly remember), because it discusses contraception without also discussing adoption. Julie Smith, a member of the Gilbert Public Schools governing board, said that she was a Catholic and "we do not contracept." Smith convinced the board that Campbell's violates Arizona law to teach "preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption" over abortion. The Arizona Education Department decided that the pages didn't violate Arizona law, but nevermind. Rachel Maddow generously risked hassles for copyright violation and posted the missing pages as a service to Arizona honors biology students. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-ma..."
Link to Original Source
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Danes make $20 an hour, Americans $9 for same jobs

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 2 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Fast food workers in Denmark make at least $20 an hour, with time and a half for evenings and Sunday. In the U.S., they average $8.90 an hour for the same jobs, and get public assistance. A Big Mac costs $5.60 in Denmark, $4.80 in the U.S. Restaurants are less profitable for the owners in Denmark, but profitable enough for the chains to set up shop there. Workers get a bigger share of the profits. Why is that?
“We Danes accept that a burger is expensive, but we also know that working conditions and wages are decent when we eat that burger,” said Soren Kaj Andersen, an economics professor.
Danish fast food workers also have a strong union, 3F, which works cooperatively with the employer associations. McDonald's arrived and refused to join, but after a year of protests, caved in.
The New York Times compares Hampus Elofsson, 24, who works for Burger King in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Anthony Moore, shift manager at Burger King, Tampa, FL. Elofsson has enough for a night out with his friends and a savings account (plus government health care). Moore makes $9 an hour for a 35-hour week, gets $164 a month in food stamps, is behind on his bills, can't buy clothes for his kids, and can't afford Burger King's health plan.
A pair of stories in the New Yorker reports on the (hopeless for now) movement to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 or at least $10 an hour, and debunks the arguments that minimum wage workers are teenagers getting their first job for gas money. It quotes some candid remarks by an adviser to Charles Koch, secretly recorded at a fundraising filet mignon dinner. http://www.newyorker.com/news/...
http://www.newyorker.com/magaz..."

Link to Original Source
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Why do Danes make $20 an hour and Americans $9 an hour for the same job?

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 2 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Fast food workers in Denmark make at least $20 an hour, with time and a half for evenings and Sunday. In the U.S., they average $8.90 an hour for the same jobs, and get public assistance. A Big Mac costs $5.60 in Denmark, $4.80 in the U.S. Restaurants are less profitable for the owners in Denmark, but profitable enough for the chains to set up shop there. Workers get a bigger share of the profits. Why is that?
“We Danes accept that a burger is expensive, but we also know that working conditions and wages are decent when we eat that burger,” said Soren Kaj Andersen, an economics professor.
Danish fast food workers also have a strong union, 3F, which works cooperatively with the employer associations. McDonald's arrived and refused to join, but after a year of protests, caved in.
The New York Times compares Hampus Elofsson, 24, who works for Burger King in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Anthony Moore, shift manager at Burger King, Tampa, FL. Elofsson has enough for a night out with his friends and a savings account (plus government health care). Moore makes $9 an hour for a 35-hour week, gets $164 a month in food stamps, is behind on his bills, can't buy clothes for his kids, and can't afford Burger King's health plan.
A pair of stories in the New Yorker reports on the (hopeless for now) movement to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 or at least $10 an hour, and debunks the arguments that minimum wage workers are teenagers getting their first job for gas money. It quotes some candid remarks by an adviser to Charles Koch, secretly recorded at a fundraising filet mignon dinner. http://www.newyorker.com/news/...
http://www.newyorker.com/magaz..."

Link to Original Source
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Why did Presbyterian Hospital send Ebola victim home?

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 2 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "From the how-can-they-be-so-stupid department

One basic question a doctor asks is, "Have you been in a foreign country recently?" and the CDC issued guidelines on Ebola, so why did Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital send Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan home with antibiotics?

The Dallas Observer http://blogs.dallasobserver.co... asks whether it was a mistake or systemic problem. Presbyterian, an upscale hospital for people with good insurance, has a financial dilemma with low-income people without insurance. "Who eats the cost?" (Texas Governor Rick Perry rejected Obamacare and Medicaid money, and closed public clinics.)

Medicare/Medicaid regulations require hospitals to treat everyone in an emergency, but there are no records of that. Medicare/Medicaid does have public records of readmission to the emergency room, which is a proxy for inadequate treatment. Presbyterian is one of the worst in the area.

So maybe, under economic pressure of uninsured patients, Presbyterian ER doctors got in a habit of sending patients home with antibiotics and hoping they won't come back.

We won't know until or unless a health agency does a good investigation. Paul Levy, former hospital CEO turned industry gadfly, called for a full root cause analysis. http://runningahospital.blogsp..."
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Back to faxes: Doctors can't exchange digital medical records

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 3 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Doctors with one medical records system can't exchange information with systems made by other vendors, including those at their own hospitals, according to the New York Times. An ophthalmologist spent half a million dollars on a system and still keeps sending faxes. If doctors can't exchange records, they'll face a 1% Medicare penalty. The largest vendor is Epic Systems, Madison, WI, which holds almost half the medical records in the U.S. A RAND report described Epic as a “closed” platform that made it “challenging and costly” for hospitals to interconnect. UC Davis has a staff of 22 to keep everything communicating. Epic charges a fee to send data to some non-Epic systems. Congress held hearings. Epic hired a lobbyist. Epic's founder, billionaire computer science major Judith Faulkner, said that Epic was one of the first to establish code and standards for secure interchange, which included user authentication provisions and a legally binding contract. She said the federal government, which gave $24 billion incentive payments to doctors for computerization, should have done that. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology said that it was a "top priority" and they just wrote a 10-year vision statement and agenda for it."
Link to Original Source
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Top 50 science stars of Twitter: Not wasting time after all

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 3 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Genomicist Neil Hall proposed a “Kardashian Index” (K-index), which divides a scientist’s Twitter followers by his or her citations. Scientists with a high score should “get off Twitter” and write more papers, wrote Hall.

Science magazine calculated the K-index of the 50 most followed scientists on Twitter. Actually, many of the high tweeters also had high citation counts too. The converse wasn't true: Many high-ranking scientists think Twitter is a waste of time. But others were converted.

The 3 scientists with the highest K-index are:

1. Neil deGrasse Tyson, @neiltyson
2. Brian Cox, @ProfBrianCox
3. Richard Dawkins, @RichardDawkins


The top 50 list is here. http://news.sciencemag.org/sci..."

Link to Original Source
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Coffee genome sequenced

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 4 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "According to ScienceNow, "The coffee genome has finally been sequenced, and it’s revealing some insights into how one of the world’s favorite drinks got its buzz. Compared with other plant genomes such as grape’s, the coffee genome has expanded the family of genes that include those that code for enzymes involved in caffeine production, researchers report online today in Science. There are 23 new genes found only in coffee, the group finds. These genes are different from the caffeine-related genes in chocolate, indicating that the ability to produce caffeine evolved at least twice. This isn’t just the first published coffee genome; it’s also the first in its 11,000 or so species family, which includes milkweeds, periwinkles, and the species that supplies quinine. Although the genomes of many groups have undergone duplications thought to make possible their diversification into different shapes and sizes, the researchers found no such expansion in the coffee group. Instead they suggest that the duplication of individual genes, including the caffeine ones, spurred innovations.""
Link to Original Source
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Peter Piot's tale of Africa's first encounter with Ebola (free)

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 4 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Microbe Hunters, 1974. The Ebola epidemic, free in Science magazine.

A virologist's tale of Africa's first encounter with Ebola
By Peter Piot

Piot would become one of the world’s most respected epidemiologists because of his work on the viruses that cause AIDS and Ebola—he is a former under secretary-general of the United Nations, former president of the International AIDS Society, and now director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. In part one of this edited excerpt from his memoir, Piot describes how he and colleagues, with what now seem crude and risky methods, became co-discoverers of the deadly virus now on the rampage again.
http://news.sciencemag.org/afr...

By this point for him to keep us working on those samples was sheer folly; he knew we were not equipped to do the work in safety. In 1974 there were only three labs outside the Soviet Union that could handle hemorrhagic viruses: Fort Detrick, a military lab in Maryland that did high-security bioterrorism work on anthrax and other highly lethal diseases; the Army High Security Laboratory in Porton Down, in England; and the so-called hot lab at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in Atlanta.

Doing that kind of work wasn’t Pattyn’s job. He was a micro-manager but he wasn’t a technician, and in fact he could be rather clumsy. But impulsively he reached for one of the precious tubes, to check it out himself under the scope, and as he did so it slipped from his hand and crashed on the floor.

In this second excerpt, he and colleagues go into Zaire’s hot zone and, with the help of nuns who had survived, make a tragic discovery about how the virus had spread among pregnant women.
http://news.sciencemag.org/afr...

Pattyn insisted I take a suit and tie, as I would “represent the Belgian government” and meet with Zairean government officials.

Free! Special collection of Ebola articles in Science.
http://www.sciencemag.org/site..."
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Commercial sex and the Internet

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 9 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "A big academic study by the Urban Institute on the commercial sex economy described how the Internet changed prostitution since 2000. This makes it easier for sex workers to get business and for cops to track it. "Getting rid of Craigslist.com was actually a disservice to law enforcement because they were cooperating," said one cop.

The study, Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities, focused on Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, and Washington, DC. There, the underground commercial sex economy (UCSE), as they call it, was worth $40-$300 million in 2007. They give prices in major cities for major services, and list the popular web sites. They interviewed pimps, traffickers, sex workers, child pornographers, and law enforcement. Pimps and traffickers interviewed for the study took home between $5,000 and $32,833 a week. Pimps claimed that the media portrayals were inaccurate, and exaggerated violence. They thought the term "pimp" was derogatory. Female sex workers, whose income varied greatly, often had family members or friends who exposed them to the sex trade at a young age, normalizing it.

Child pornography is escalating, and is mostly traded for free. Users often claim it's a victimless crime. The unsophisticated get caught. Some claimed that they were convicted because of images that were actually downloaded on their computer by family and friends.

The report's policy recommendations are to increase prosecution for commercial sex. "Consistently enforce the laws for offenders to diminish low-risk perception." Web sits that host ads should be prosecuted. Newspapers and web sites that post ads should be required to also post the phone numbers of trafficking hotlines. Investigators need more training."

Link to Original Source
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Immigration Fraud in Chinatown: Industry of Lies

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 10 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Can't get a U.S. immigration visa? Find a lawyer who will fabricate an asylum claim for you based on phony stories about persecution. Choose among Christianity, Falun Gong, political persecution or forced abortion.

Immigration law firms in New York City were coaching Chinese immigrants to lie about their experiences in China in order to get asylum, according to federal indictments reported in the New York Times. Applicants claimed they were forced to get abortions or sterilization, or that they were persecuted as Christians or as members of the Chinese Democracy Party or Falun Gong. A legal assistant who pled guilty testified that he would use the Falun Gong story for uneducated immigrants because it was easiest to remember. For young immigrants with at least a high school education, he would tell them to claim Christianity. Another defendant charged applicants for lessons on the basics of Christianity and how to lie, according to prosecutors. Her lawyer said she was a devout Christian whose “goal was to help these individuals find God through the teachings of Christianity.” In Flushing, Queens, churches give receipts for attendance to help them bolster their claims. A lawyer made up a narrative for a client about how she got pregnant out of wedlock, heard a knock on the door, was hauled off to a clinic by government officials, and forced to endure an abortion. Other legal assistants forged documents. Many sources said that these false applications were an open secret.

Federal investigators find immigration fraud among Russians, Afghans, Mexicans, Guineans and others, but right now, the overwhelming number are Chinese and the largest number are applying to the New York City office.

Fees start at $1,000 and can pass $10,000. Many of the applicants are restaurant and construction workers, nannies and manicurists. One indicted lawyer said that he was motivated by moral principles more than money. "We are doing work like the last stop on the Underground Railroad." Otherwise they would be sent back to China."

Link to Original Source
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Krugman: Say no to Comcast acquisition of Time Warner

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 10 months ago

nbauman (624611) writes "In his column, "Barons of Broadband" http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02... (easily circumventable paywall) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says:

Comcast perfectly fits the old notion of monopolists as robber barons, so-called by analogy with medieval warlords who perched in their castles overlooking the Rhine, extracting tolls from all who passed. The Time Warner deal would in effect let Comcast strengthen its fortifications, which has to be a bad idea.

Comcast’s chief executive says not to worry: “It will not reduce competition in any relevant market because our companies do not overlap or compete with each other. In fact, we do not operate in any of the same ZIP codes.” This is, however, transparently disingenuous. The big concern about making Comcast even bigger isn’t reduced competition for customers in local markets — for one thing, there’s hardly any effective competition at that level anyway. It is that Comcast would have even more power than it already does to dictate terms to the providers of content for its digital pipes — and that its ability to drive tough deals upstream would make it even harder for potential downstream rivals to challenge its local monopolies."

Link to Original Source
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US medical research down, asia up, sequester hits NIH

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Once, the U.S. paid for 70-80% of the world's medical research. Now it's down to 45%. Asia is up to 24%, according to an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine. Europe is steady at 29%.

U.S. spending on biomedical research fell from $131 billion in 2007 to $119 billion in 2012. This decline was driven almost entirely by reduced investment by industry, not the public sector. But sequestration of NIH funding will exacerbate this reduction.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 cut the NIH budget for FY 2013 by $1.7 billion, to $29.2 billion — a 5.5% reduction. Federal funding for biomedical research has been declining since 2003.

Meanwhile, Japan increased spending by $9 billion and China increased by $6.4 billion. China has the highest annual growth rate of biomedical research in the world, at 32.8% per year.

One reason for this decline may be that research is cheaper in Asia, with lower-cost labor and greater government subsidies. Conversely, FDA approval has become more expensive in the U.S.

The data suggests that industry may simply be reallocating R&D funding to Asia-Oceana. The authors say, "the lack of a coordinated national biomedical R&D strategy is disappointing.""

Link to Original Source
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Federal judge says prosecutors blackmail defendants into guilty pleas

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, gave Lulzim Kupa a day to plead guilty and accept 8 years in prison for cocaine dealing; otherwise he would get an automatic life sentence. Judge John Gleeson wrote that the Justice Department was abusing their power to bully defendants into giving up their constitutional right to a trial. "The fact that they are business as usual doesn't alter the fact that these sentences should instill shame in all of us," he wrote, saying that it would force innocent people to plead guilty. These hardball tactics are "sledgehammers against the ever-dwindling few who have the temerity to ask for the trial the Constitution guarantees." The prosecutor said that the tactic was approved by the Supreme Court, and "Since when is it extortion for a federal prosecutor to follow Supreme Court law?""
Link to Original Source
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What's Lost When a Meeting Goes Virtual

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "This summer, NASA's Lunar Science Forum became the largest scientific gathering to embrace the new world of cyber meetings. The experience drew mixed reviews, according to a report in Science magazine. Mihály Horányi, who has been a regular, sat down at his computer at 1:45 p.m. on the first day of the conference and began talking into a webcam perched above the screen. "Last year it was a performance. This year it meant staring at myself, being annoyed that I kept leaning in and out of the picture, and thinking, 'Boy, am I getting old.'" He and other participants say the virtual conference was a pale imitation of the real thing. At previous forums, "You see your friends, you ask about their kids, and then the discussion flows into the science." He participated much less this year, 2 hours a day. In addition to the physical challenge of sitting at one's computer for hours on end, participants say that their day jobs competed for their attention. 150 to 200 people "attended" at any one time. Even without distractions, the quality of the interaction was much lower than in person. "I received a handful of short comments [from my talk] and had maybe one e-mail exchange," Horányi recalls. One scientist who didn't present this year—and who listened to only one talk after the fact—said that he much prefers an in-person meeting because "you get a much better sense of how the audience is reacting to what you're saying, especially any negative feedback.""
Link to Original Source
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What works in education: Scientific evidence gets ignored

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "According to Gina Kolata in the New York Times, The Institute of Education Sciences in the Department of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, has supported 175 randomized controlled studies, like the studies used in medicine, to find out what works and doesn't work, which are reported in the What Works Clearinghouse. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ Surprisingly, the choice of instructional materials — textbooks, curriculum guides, homework, quizzes — can affect achievement as much as teachers; poor materials have as much effect as a bad teacher, and good materials can offset a bad teacher’s deficiencies. One popular math textbook was superior to 3 competitors. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluation/math_curricula.asp A popular computer-assisted math program had no benefit. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094041/pdf/20094041.pdf Most educators, including principals and superintendents, don't know the data exists. 42% of school districts had never heard of the clearinghouse. Up to 90% of programs that seemed promising in small studies had no effect or made achievement scores worse. For example a program to increase 7th-grade math teachers' understanding of math increased their understanding but had no effect on student achievement. Upward Bound had no effect."
Link to Original Source
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Medical costs bankrupt patients; it's the computer's fault

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Don't get cancer until 2015. The Obama health reform is supposed to limit out-of-pocket costs to $12,700. But the Obama Administration has delayed its implementation until 2015. The insurance companies told them that their computers weren't able to add up all their customers' out-of-pocket costs, to see whether they had reached the limit. For some common diseases, such as cancer or heart failure, treatment can cost over $100,000, and patients will be responsible for the balance.

Tell me, Slashdot, how difficult would it be to rewrite an insurance billing system to aggregate a policyholder's out-of-pocket costs?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/us/a-limit-on-consumer-costs-is-delayed-in-health-care-law.html
A Limit on Consumer Costs Is Delayed in Health Care Law
By ROBERT PEAR
August 12, 2013

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said: “We knew this was an important issue. We had to balance the interests of consumers with the concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers, which told us that their computer systems were not set up to aggregate all of a person’s out-of-pocket costs. They asked for more time to comply.”"

Link to Original Source
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Slate retracts doctor-bashing essay

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about a year ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Who needs journalists? Who needs fact-checkers? Let's just go on the Internet and give people the truth directly, right?

A Slate article gave incredible examples of abusive doctors, but Slate took it down because of the author's credibility — she had faked a suicide.

Slate published an essay from its partner Quora in which an obese woman named Sonnet Fitzgerald gave a long list of abusive comments that doctors and medical staff had made to her, including "When I was pregnant, one OB called me disgusting and told me to have an abortion."

Slate deleted the piece because it "did not meet our editorial standards," but didn't say why. http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2013/07/25/obesity_are_doctors_biased_against_their_overweight_patients.html

According to the blog http://sonnetfakedsuicide.blogspot.com/, in 2010 Fitzgerald posted a fake announcement by her husband of her own suicide. Several readers of the Slate blog challenged her credibility.

brandchannel reprinted the original essay, with more stories of abusive doctors, here http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2013/07/26/Slates-Quora-Partnership-072613.aspx

Old-style newspapers that followed the traditional rules of journalism wouldn't have printed a story making charges against unnamed doctors (or anyone else) that couldn't be verified. The old New Yorker would have asked for the names of the doctors, called them up and found out what they had to say. But on the Internet, the blogger can write anything she wants, and the reader doesn't know whether it's true."
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Advice columnist: Stop nagging husband about gaming

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 2 years ago

nbauman (624611) writes "Q. Husband's Gaming: My husband and I married a few years ago after just months of knowing each other. I have never once doubted our decision to marry, and on the whole, we are exceptionally happy. He is my perfect partner and an ideal father for our daughter—but, of course, there's a but. During our very brief courtship, there is one habit he intentionally hid from me—online gaming. Apparently, he didn't want me to think him nerdy. When he first disclosed this after the honeymoon, I thought it was funny and cute. A couple years later, I'm bitter—we have routine marital disagreements, but this is the only issue we ever fight about. He spends several hours a week (10-20) playing these online games! Every time we fight about it, he'll cut back or promise to stop ... but within a week or two, it's back to at least a couple of hours every day. This is a man who has quit smoking and quit his pseudo-addiction to energy drinks, but can't (or won't) quit online gaming. I can't imagine life without him, but this is making me miserable. I'm not willing to leave him over it; how can I get him to stop or change my own attitude to accept it?"
Link to Original Source
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"This is your second and final notice" robocallers revealed: Brenda Helfenstine

nbauman nbauman writes  |  about 2 years ago

nbauman (624611) writes "A New York Times consumer columnist tracked down the people who run a "This is your second and final notice" robocall operation.

The calls came from Account Management Assistance, which promises to negotiate lower credit card rates with banks. One woman paid them $1,000, and all they did was give her a limited-time zero-percent credit card that she could have gotten herself.

AMA has a post office box in Orlando, Florida. The Better Business Bureau has a page for Your Financial Ladder, which does business as Account Management Assistance, and as Economic Progress. According to a Florida incorporation filing, Economic Progress is operated by Brenda Helfenstine, with her husband Tony.

The Arkansas attorney general has sued Your Financial Ladder for violating the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigated Your Financial Ladder, but the investigator went to 1760 Sundance Drive, St. Cloud, which turned out to be a residence, and gave up.

The Times notes that you can type their phone number (855-462-3833) into http://800notes.com/ and get lots of reports on them."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Canadian health care better, cheaper than US

nbauman nbauman writes  |  more than 7 years ago Canadian health care is as good as or better than U.S. health care, at half the cost.

Gordon Guyatt et al. published "A systematic review of studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the United States," in volume 1, issue 1 of Open Medicine, a new Canadian journal with an editorial board composed of some of the world's top medical experts, and a staff that just got fired from or quit Canada's formerly top medical journal. http://www.openmedicine.ca/article/view/8/1 The review's conclusion is:

"Available studies suggest that health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are not consistent."

The article also says that, in 2003, Americans spent an estimated US$5,635 per capita on health care, while Canadians spent US$3,003.

The journal Open Medicine is another story. John Hoey, editor of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, was fired last year by the CMA, and most of the staff resigned. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/19/1982 http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/174/1/9 http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/173/12/1435 Hoey sent reporters to buy morning-after pills in pharmacies around Canada. They found out that pharmacists illegally asked for personal information, which was entered in their computers. The Canadian Pharmacists Association complained to the CMA, and the CMA censored the story and fired Hoey. The CMAJ staff quit and founded this new journal, Open Medicine, and they have loaded the first issue with the best studies they could get. Open Medicine does not accept pharmaceutical ads.

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Medical privacy: You have none. Psych notes are public

nbauman nbauman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Your most private thoughts that you share with your psychotherapist have been scanned and merged with your general medical records, where they are now available to anybody who sues your insurance company over a fender-bender auto accident, if your hospital is like Stanford Hospital & Clinics (and most are). That's what Patricia Galvin found out when she sued her therapist, clinical psychologist Rachel Manber, for disclosing her therapy notes, even though Manber assured Galvin that their notes would be confidential. When therapy notes are merged with general records, they lose their special protection under HIPAA, and anyone with a subpoena can get them. This story about Galvin from the Wall Street Journal is now available from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06362/749444-114.stm free to cheapskates without subscription. Another good reason for medical privacy: Some companies fire diabetics for ostensible safety reasons, even though there's no evidence that they're unsafe, according to the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/health/26workplace.html
U.S. privacy protection is even weaker than Europe's http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/27/0743217
A lawyer told me how to protect your medical confidentiality: use a false name, pay cash, don't trust computers.

WSJ, 26 Dec 2006, Medical dilemma: spread of records stirs patient fears of privacy erosion; Ms. Galvin's insurer studies psychotherapist's notes; a dispute over the rules; complaint tally hits 23,896, Theo Francis.

(My notes, for people who are too lazy to even click on the link:)

In 1996, after her fiance died suddenly, Patricia Galvin left New York for San Francisco and was hired by Heller Ehrman LLP.

In 2000, Galvin began psychotherapy sessions at Stanford Hospital & Clinics with clinical psychologist Rachel Manber, who discussed her problems at work, her fiance's death, and her relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Manber assured Galvin that her notes would be confidential.

"I would never have engaged in psychotherapy with her if she did not promise me these notes were under lock and key."

In 2001, Galvin was rear-ended at a red light and suffered 4 herniated disks, which worsened.

In 2003, she applied for long-term disability. Her employer's carrier, UnumProvident Corp., said it would deny her claim unless she signed a release.

Manber assured Galvin her therapy notes would not be turned over. 3 months later, Unum denied her claim, because of psychotherapy notes about "working on a case" and a job interview in New York, which, Unum said, showed she was able to work. Galvin says they misinterpreted the notes.

In 2004, Galvin sued Manber, Stanford and Unum for malpractice and invasion of privacy, under California law. Galvin said "my most private thoughts, my personal tragedies, secrets about other people" were exposed.

In 2005, Galvin learned that Stanford had scanned Manber's notes into its system, making them part of her basic medical record. Stanford sent this file to Unum and the other driver.

Stanford said that "psychotherapy notes that are kept together with the patient's other medical records are not defined as 'psychotherapy notes' under HIPAA." It would be "impracticable" to keep them separate.

The health-care industry is scanning documents into electronic record systems. HIPAA gives psychotherapy notes special protection, but not when mixed in with general medical records.

Peter Swire, law professor, Ohio State U., explains why they wrote the rule giving confidentiality only to separate psychotherapy notes.

Stanford refused to separate her psychotherapy notes from other medical records. "Any time anybody asks for my medical records, my psychotherapy notes are going to be turned over."

In 2006, DHHS rejected Galvan's HIPAA complaint. From Apr-Nov 2003, DHHS had 23,896 privacy complaints, but hasn't taken any action. HIPAA exceptions allow release in connection with "payment" or "health-care operations."

Galvan, 51, is representing herself, because she couldn't find a California attorney with privacy experience.

Deborah Peel, Austin TX, psychiatrist and head of Patient Privacy Rights, says, "How many women want somebody to know whether they are on birth control?"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116709136139859229.html

NYT, 26 Dec 2006, Costs of a crisis: Diabetics confront a tangle of workplace laws, N.R. Kleinfield.

Some companies fire diabetics for ostensible safety reasons, even though there's no evidence that they're unsafe. Courts nationwide have split on whether diabetes is a disability under the test that a "major life activity" is "substantially limited".

John Steigauf, 47, was a truck mechanic for United Parcel Service, but UPS put him on leave because of his diabetes. UPS claimed his blood sugar might plummet while he tested a truck, causing an accident, and he couldn't get an interstate commercial driver's license with insulin-dependent diabetes. Some insulin-dependent diabetics are prone to dizziness, fainting or muddled judgment. His disability payment is $431, half his pay. EEOC ruled that he was subject to discrimination.

In 2002, ConAgra Foods withdrew a job offer to Rudy Rodriguez at a Texas baked bean plant because of his type 2 diabetes, when a doctor decided he couldn't work safely; an appeals court found for Rodriguez.

A mortgage loan officer in Oregon was forbidden to eat at her desk, and eventually fired.

A Sears lingere saleswoman in Illinois with nerve damage quit when Sears wouldn't let her cut through a stockroom; Sears paid her $150,000.

A worker at a Wisconsin candy company was fired after asking where he could dispose of his insulin needles.

Many diabetics conceal their illness on the job, says Brian T. McMahon, Virginia Commonwealth U.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/health/26workplace.html

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Nobel Laureate Attacks Medical Intellectual Property

nbauman nbauman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was fired by the World Bank http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Stiglitz blasted drug patents in an editorial in the British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7582/1279 "Scrooge and intellectual property rights". Knowledge is like a candle; when one candle lights another it does not diminish its light. In medicine, patents cost lives. The US patent for turmeric didn't stimulate research, and restricted access by the Indian poor who actually discovered it hundreds of years ago. The World Trade Organization imposed US style intellectual property rights around the world. "These rights were intended to reduce access to generic medicines and they succeeded." Billions of people, who live on $2-3 a day, could no longer afford the drugs they needed. Generic AIDS drugs cost $130 a year, patented drugs $10,000. Drug companies spend more on advertising and marketing than on research. A few scientists beat the human genome project and patented breast cancer genes; so now the cost of testing women for breast cancer is "enormous".

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