Coppers in Bahrain try to blind protestors with lasers

Reuters Pictures used by permission

Anti-government protesters shout slogans while standing in front of laser beams emitted by riot police in the village of Diraz west of Manama, Bahrain December 29, 2011. Hundreds of anti-government protesters took to the streets demanding the downfall of the regime. Riot police fired tear gas to disperse and prevent demonstrators from entering the main highway.

There’s always some stupid hooligan at a football match in Europe who tries to blind a striker or goalkeeper during a critical moment in play. FIFA and national football associations try – to varying degrees – to stop these dullards from causing injury. Arrest and bans are not at all unusual.

And then we have police departments doing the same thing.

Adderall shortage + 2 wrong ideologies = useless drug policies

A shortage of Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shows little sign of easing as manufacturers struggle to get enough active ingredient to make the drug and demand climbs.

Adderall, a stimulant, is a controlled substance, meaning it is addictive and has the potential to be abused. The Drug Enforcement Administration tightly regulates how much of the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) can be distributed to manufacturers each year…

Increasingly that estimate is coming into conflict with what companies themselves say they need to meet demand for the drug, which is reaching all-time highs. In 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, up 13.4 percent from 2009, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription data…

‘All-time highs” – A deliberate choice of words?

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders. An average of 9 percent of children between the ages of five and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused, hyperactivity and difficulty controlling behavior. If they are not properly medicated, children with ADHD may act out and be held back in class; adolescents might engage in impulsive, risky behavior; adults are at greater risk of being fired from their jobs…

And living in a nation that chooses symptomatic treatment over any other, we are all required to nod our bobbleheads and worry about a shortage of drugs for the next generation of junkies.

Continue reading

Cancer researchers “discover” Medicaid patients survive less time

Measured concern from Republican governors

Looking only at highly treatable types of tumors, researchers found Ohio Medicaid enrollees were between 1.6 and 2.4 times as likely as other patients to die of their disease within five years…

“While Medicaid is potentially lifesaving, it is better to be able to support yourself and have insurance that protects at a higher level than just Medicaid,” added Dr. Derek Raghavan, who heads the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And how likely is that while job-hunting amid the carnage leftover from the Great Recession?

Raghavan and colleagues looked at eight different cancers, such as testicular cancer and early-stage colon and lung cancer, in patients from an Ohio cancer registry. With treatment patients typically survive more than five years with those diseases, so doctors often refer to them as “curable…”

Of the non-Medicaid patients, fewer than one in 10 died within five years of their cancer diagnosis.

By comparison, more than one in five Medicaid patients died during that period, and those who enrolled in Medicaid later survived the shortest time…

Continue reading

2012 route adds excitement to Argentina-Chile-Peru Dakar challenge

Dakar 2012 has a new twist for the competitors in all four classes: Bike, Car, Quad and Truck. Instead of the past routes taking them through Argentina to Chile and back, Peru has been added to make the event a coast-to-coast adventure in South America. In addition to the new route, one of the top teams in recent years has withdrawn. It is not surprising that changes occur to what is one of the most demanding endurance events: The Dakar!

The first Dakar was the brainstorm of Thierry Sabine who discovered that the changing landscape in Africa offered a unique challenge. He was lost during a rally event in Africa and upon his return to France, Sabine proceeded to design a rally raid that would start in Europe on a route to Algiers before crossing the Agadez and would take the challengers to Dakar.

Sabine commented on his idea that it would be “a challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.” Since the first event in 1978, the Paris to Dakar rally has seen changes and the start moved over the years. No matter its start, the ending was at Dakar until the organizers deemed it unsafe due to terrorists’ attacks in the African Continent and they cancelled the Dakar in 2008…

In 2009, the new route in South America became the “Dakar”. Argentina and Chile were the host countries but for the 2012 edition, Peru has been added to the 2012 route that over a 30 year span has seen 27 countries become a host nation for the legendary rally raid event. The historic event this New Year will cover territory in three countries with roads from soft sand to rocky trails. The route will take the competitors across the Andes mountains, the deserts, the rivers and, of course, a variety of sand dunes…

Continue reading

Admin and tech questions OK for nuclear plant construction

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a radical new reactor design on Thursday, clearing away a major obstacle for two utilities to begin construction on projects in South Carolina and Georgia.

The decision, a milestone in the much-delayed revival of plant construction sought by the nuclear industry, involves the Westinghouse AP1000, a 1,154-megawatt reactor with a so-called advanced passive design. It relies more heavily on forces like gravity and natural heat convection and less on pumps, valves and operator actions than other models do, in theory diminishing the probability of an accident.

Which says nothing about cost overruns, kickbacks for lobbyists and political graft in construction.

Two reactors are planned for the Southern Company’s plant near Augusta, Ga., and another two at the Summer plant of South Carolina Electric and Gas in Fairfield County, S.C.

Continue reading

Sir Jony of Cupertino

Just about the simplest computer commercial ever produced
Apple design guru Jonathan “Jony” Ive has been awarded a second knighthood by the Queen of England as part of her annual list of honors. Ive has been named Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or KBE for short. When in England or any member of the British Commonwealth like Canada, he will be entitled to be addressed as Sir Jonathan.

Its his second honor from the Queen, who named him Commander of the British Empire, or CBE, in 2006. The new title will be conferred by the touch of a sword held by the Queen.

Interestingly, Ive is only one of two people being given this particular title this year, from the extensive list of other honors published in the London Gazette. The other KBE recipient is the art historian John Patrick Richardson, who wrote a well regarded biography of Pablo Picasso.

The best profile of Ive that I know of is this 2006 BusinessWeek story by my former colleague Peter Burrows. It’s more than five years old, and so may be a bit dated, but it’s terrific.

I’ve worked with some terrible industrial designers – mostly for firms that relied on subcontractors of components to provide whatever was most affordable. That part of life included working for the firm that invented and first produced aerosol products. Yup – like hairspray.

OTOH, I worked for a few folks who revolutionized the products they were associated with. Probably the best-known bicycle designer I worked for was Gary Fisher – essentially the inventor of mountain bikes. A couple of centuries from now, we may get round to building cities with citywide public transit in tunnels powered by compressed air. His design.

I would love to work with someone like Jony Ive.