Really Odd Jobs

March 6, 2008

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Came across a cute little article on CNN.com this morning. It is a list of odd jobs, some are weird, some are gross, and some you can’t believe people can’t paid to do. I thought I would share a few, but check it out here.

1. Breath odor evaluator

4. Ocularist (paint artifical eyes)

5. Flatulence smell-reduction underwear maker

10. Tampon tester

12. Dog sniffer

15. Barbie dress designer


Breast Cancer Drug Approved

February 23, 2008

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In a controversial move, the FDA has approved Avastin for breast cancer.  The drug is already used in lung and colon cancer.  For the FDA to approve a late stage cancer drug it needs to either extend patient’s lives or import the quality of life.  Avastin has shown neither and so the advisory committe recommended against its use in breast cancer.  The FDA went against the recommendation of its advisory committee.  The drug does shrink tumors effectively, but there is a debate if that alone is reason to approve a drug.

If you still die in the same amount of time in the same painful way was having smaller tumors  worth whatever adverse effects or side effects come from the medicine?  There are pros and cons to the decision.  The pros are the approval will stimulate even more research and development into tumor shrinking medicines.  The decision will also be good for business, stimulating development and growth.  But there are also cons.  First there is the obvious problem if a drug does not extend life or improve quality of life what is the purpose.  Tumor shrinking is important, but only as a part of the overall picture of improving health.  But what I find to be a more glaring problem is, the advisory committees are designed to have more knowledge and to have looked at a topic more carefully to give the FDA an intelligent recommendation.  Why have them if you don’t listen to the recommendation?  I think that sets bad precedent.

Hopefully the next large study of Avastin will show marked improvement in combination with  other drugs in the treatment of breast cancer.


Cloverfield Attacks Again

February 4, 2008

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Cloverfield, the much hyped monster movie, might be coming back. After a killer first weekend (followed by a big drop off) the creators of the film are looking to further cash in on the movie by making a sequel. REALLY? I mean I thought it was okay, as a one time thing. If the monster survived the end of this movie, how exactly would anyone even try to kill it next movie.

You can read my early review of Cloverfield here.


I’ll take the 10,000 Calorie Appetizer Please

January 23, 2008

New York City’s Board of Health is revisiting regulations in an effort to stem the obesity problem.  The board is trying to get a measure passed where people would have better access to the nutritional information of the food they consume.

 Under the rules, which officials rewrote after a federal judge struck down similar provisions in September, any chain that operates at least 15 outlets nationwide would have to display calorie content on their menu boards, menus or food tags — essentially wherever the restaurant lists the information that customers use to make their choices.

The proposal will likely be challenged in court, due to implementation problems and restaurant’s hesitation to  publish the data.  I personally support the measure.  It makes sense, you should have access to information about something you are putting in your body.  Many will argue the people choosing between the Big Mac and the Bacon-ater are not the calorie counting type, but that isn’t necessarily true.  If a person likes both, but knows one is a little better (although terrible) for them, they can make an informed choice.

More to the point it is often confusing or surprising the calorie content of meals.  People hear terrible things about places like McDonald’s but then may not associate sit down restaurants for being as bad as they are.  I know personally I feel worse when I go to a fast food drive through then if a group of us go out to a nice restaurant.

Did you know for the calories in Olive Garden’s Stuffed Chicken Marsala entree (which is not the worst food at Olive Garden) you could have a Big Mac, a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, and a Taco Bell Quesadilla?


Oprah Takes Over

January 17, 2008

Oprah is taking over the world. Or at least having a large influence on it. With millions of viewers and an ever growing audience, Oprah is talking to whoever will listen. And many are listening. Hell I don’t even watch her show, but I listen to what books I should read. But this time she is endorsing more than a book or gadget. She is endorsing Barack Obama for president. Many believe it is about seeing a black president or jumping on the rockstar like following for Obama.

But I know the truth, it is just one stop on her way to world domination. It is important to have friends in powerful places. The President of the United States is a pretty powerful position. Some have said my theories on Oprah are a little far fetched. But I’ve always know she was a conquerer. From the news, to the talk show, to the made for tv movies, to book club, to the Broadway shows, to the magazine, to the South African school and now to endorsing a presidential candidate.

But now she has gone to far!! She is getting her own tv channel. The Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, will premier in 2009.  So you wonder why is this so terrible?  No one is forcing me to watch it.  The problem is the channel will be replacing Discovery Health Channel.  I love the Discovery Health Channel.  “Incredible Medical” is the most compelling show on television, I have been late to work in order to see the final diagnosis.  Plus shows like “Baby Baby”, “Adoption stories”, and “Babies: Special Delivery” are the only shows on television that can make me cry.

Read More


Badass Computer or Overpriced Toy?

January 16, 2008

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Here’s some of what USA Today had to say about the sleek laptop:

… on first impressions, there’s no denying that Apple has designed another gorgeous machine. Apple has managed to cram in a full-size keyboard, 13.3-inch backlit widescreen display, iSight video camera, 2 gigabytes of RAM, state-of-the-art Wi-Fi and an 80-GB hard drive. The whole package weighs three pounds and ranges from 0.16 to 0.76 inches thick. You don’t realize just how thin that is until you see Jobs pull the machine out of one of those yellow interoffice envelopes.

Pint-size laptop computers always exact compromises. Perhaps the most glaring in Air’s case is the lack of a replaceable battery. Much as the iPod, the Air’s battery and other components are sealed inside and are not easily removed.

What’s more, Apple dispenses with a drive for loading CDs or DVDs. But the need for such a drive is somewhat diminished in the age of digital downloads, such as the iTunes movie rentals Jobs announced Tuesday.

I think the MacBook Air is a stunning testament to product development. They knew the public wanted a lighter, sleeker laptop and Mac did what it does, it delivered. It delivered an incredible, although minimalist, laptop at a reasonable price (~$1800) My problem is when reviewing the tech specs on the Apple website, the $1800 MacBook Air really is nothing more than a small laptop. To get the small laptop at the quality I expect (and deserve) hits closer to the $3000 range.

Want the 1.8 GHz Processor? Add $300.

Want the 64GB Solid State Hard Drive? Add $999

Want the ability to play and burn CDs and DVDs? Add $99

Want an Ethernet port and a modem port? Add $79

Want the Apple Remote? Add $19

Admittedly, I would still love a MacBook Air to appear in my living room. But in reality I think ‘ll wait for more reviews to come in and the price to go down. Still nice to see a company innovating when so other computer companies stagnate.

PS. Props to Apple for integrating the multi touch gestures from the iPod and iPhone, those are awesome.


When Shoemakers forget they’re Shoemakers

January 11, 2008

Me: Hey hand me the phone.

You: why?

Me: I need to call Converse

You: why?

Me: they forgot something

You: what?

Me: just the fact they are shoemakers (with a small clothing spin off).

get off your high horse and back on your high tops.  silent commercial that aren’t PSAs have no place on my television.   people like mindless marathons of sitcoms, its relaxing.

I vote this is the world’s stupidest ad campaign.  its like “wow! be different, get up do something, think for yourself” and at the same time “think like everyone else, care about name brand shoes, buy our shoes because they make you an individual like everyone else”


Love, Violence, and Glue?

December 4, 2007

Imagine the scene – You are standing in the kitchen with your partner on a cold winter evening over the holidays. You get in one of those mega arguments . You call her fat, she calls you mean, tears are shed and voices are raised. She’s swinging her arms and trying to slap at you, you are trying to hold her still. Next thing you know she’s holding a knife…and wham… crazy bitch cuts you. Bloods everywhere. Previously there were only two courses of action.

Option 1: Go to the hospital before you bleed to death/pass out. Basically admit to the world you got owned. Since everyone will know what happened you will be forced to break up.

Option 2: Bleed to death/pass out. She’ll feel really bad for a few days, but won’t respect you anymore so you can expect more beatings for the duration of the relationship. You’ll be forced to stay with her forever because you feel like you can’t do any better.

But now there is an option 3..

Option 3: super glue up the cut and be a man about it. face the possibility of a banging scar and a nasty infection (thats what antibiotics are for anyway). she is so relieved you are okay, and so happy you are not going to the police/hospital, that you can expect some serious sex and attention from the crazy bitch.

Call it the secret life of Super Glue.

(NyTimes: Link)

During the Vietnam War, emergency medics began using the all-purpose glue to seal

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battle wounds in troops headed for surgery. The glue was so good at stemming bleeding that it was credited with saving many lives.

Nowadays, professional athletes often close small cuts with Super Glue or similar products to get back in the game in a hurry. The glues are also used by veterinarians, and many people keep a tube around the house to help them out of a medical pinch. It is believed that the glues — made from the chemical cyanoacrylate — not only stop bleeding quickly, but also lead to less scarring.

So should you keep some Super Glue in the medicine cabinet? Probably not, experts say. Studies show that although the glue can be useful in emergencies, it can also irritate the skin, kill cells and cause other side effects, particularly when used on deep wounds.

There is a safer alternative. In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration approved a similar, antibacterial form of the substance called 2-octyl-cyanoacrylate, which is marketed as Dermabond.


Automated Pharmacy

November 13, 2007

This article/press release is somewhat positively biased, but it does shed some light on Medco’s plan for pharmacy. It is interesting to consider the prospect of automated dispensing and how it will affect the jobs of pharmacists. I was asked in my interview for the University of Pittsburgh, “If I were to tell you that in ten years dispensing was completely eliminated by the use of machines, would you still want to be a pharmacist, what would you expect to do, and why?”


INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels joined executives from Medco Health Solutions, Inc. today to announce the company’s plans to build the world’s largest and most advanced automated pharmacy in Central Indiana, filling a growing nationwide demand for lower-cost medicines. The new 318,000-square-foot pharmacy, slated to open early in 2009, will cover an area equivalent to six and a half football fields — bringing approximately 1,300 jobs to the state by its anticipated peak operation in 2012.

“Medco has pioneered the use of computers, robotics, optical scanners and other technologies to create drug dispensing systems which are virtually error-free,” said Kenneth O. Klepper, Medco President and Chief Operating Officer.

The state’s business-friendly environment, modern transportation infrastructure, skilled labor pool and proximity to several schools of pharmacy including Butler University and Purdue University were other notable factors in the site selection process. Medco intends to provide competitive salaries and a comprehensive employee benefit package for a wide range of positions, including electrical and mechanical technicians, managers, warehouse specialists and more than 100 pharmacists, among other types of jobs. Hiring is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2008, with the majority of the hiring expected in 2010 and 2011.

Medco is leading the charge on transforming pharmacy care from a “generalist” practice to a “specialist” practice. “With advancements in science and technology blazing a path of personalized medicine, we can no longer take a shot gun approach to pharmacy,” Klepper said. “To that end, Medco has created condition-specific resource centers staffed with hundreds of pharmacists who receive specialized training in specific chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and asthma. This focus on one chronic disease state enables these specialist pharmacists to better help patients optimize their health.”

Coupled with its unparalleled dispensing pharmacy practice, Medco has created an industry leading end-to-end specialized pharmacy practice model.

Medco’s mail-order pharmacy business received an additional boost when the Federal Employee Program(TM) (FEP) awarded a contract for its mail-service and specialty prescription drug program for 4 million federal employees, retirees and their families, effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Medco’s two existing automated dispensing pharmacies in Willingboro, N.J. and Las Vegas dispensed 90 percent of the company’s mail-order prescriptions in 2006. Medco’s automated pharmacies currently have the capacity to fill more than 2 million prescriptions per week. Medco opened the world’s first fully automated pharmacy in Las Vegas in October 1996 and the world’s then- largest pharmacy at 280,000 square feet in Willingboro in 2001.

Full Article


Lions for Lambs for Losers

November 11, 2007

I love politics. I love movies. I love heated debates about the “war on terror”, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the importance of national service. I love Meryl Streep. I love uber liberal Robert Redford. I should have loved Lions for Lambs.

But I didn’t. In fact, I hated it. I thought it was one of the worst films I saw this year. Over hyped, over advertised, over acted, and over ambitious. In fact, I thought it was so bad I needed to post about it.

Problems:

It is preachy and self important. It tells you what is important and just how important it is. It had Tom Cruise just spouting the same Republican Party lines I could watch on CNN of the value of security and turning the Middle East into some Christian moral crusade. It had Meryl Streep as a weak, menopausal reporter who lost the spunk and dedication to truth journalists used to have. She was only capable of saying something needed to be done (and of course to compare the situation to Vietnam). Robert Redford was the worst; he was supposed to be the inspirational teacher who changes apathetic American kids into the proponents of change while having done nothing himself. Except it was so dry the only thing it inspired me to do was fall asleep. Intermittent through the two main conversations were some decent scenes of two soldiers, exploitation cinema at its finest. Although that was essentially to make you sympathize with the troops regardless of your political views by making them minority martyrs dying for our sins. Then after no plot, there was no resolution. I guess it was just to pose the questions you should be asking yourself about our government already. Except the problem is if you weren’t already asking those questions you wouldn’t have gone to see the movie, so it was preaching to the choir. It was also incredibly spineless, there was a general leaning towards anti-war sentiments, but it wasn’t strong or in your face. Just a terribly ineffective, boring tirade made my Hollywood to try to prove some sort of political awareness. I don’t care that you read the newspaper Robert Redford.

My advice:

If you are looking for a movie to make you ask yourself what is right and wrong, check out Gone Baby Gone. That is a fine example of movie posing moral questions while still having an entertaining and fast paced storyline.