August 15th, 2009

The isotopes

About 80% of the world production of medical isotopes (used for diagnostic purposes and cancer treatment) comes from two specialized nuclear reactors. One, called Chalk River in Canada, is good for close to 50%, the other one is Petten, located in the North-Western part of the Netherlands. Chalk River closed operations for repairs and maintenance last May, but it seems things are not going well. Latest is that the reactor will be rebooted March 1st 2010.

Petten was build about 40 years ago and is running on its last legs. It is scheduled to be closed for repairs March 1st 2010 because of problems in the cooling system (leaks and bubbles). That issue has it already running on what we call here a “brook-permit”. It’s out of spec, but they can use it for the time being. Only one tiny issue in Canada and the world supply will fall from just over 50% of capacity now to about 20%. That will seriously hurt treatment options, so there is pressure to keep Petten open a little bit longer.

Your next diagnose or treatment might come from this tiny country.

March 7th, 2009

Obama: “Let me be clear”

I voted for Obama – but when I heard he tried to exclude Rep. John Conyers from his recent “Health Care Summit” even though the White House invited several high profile health care industry lobbyists I thought – here we go again. Conyers, BTW, introduced HR 676, a bill that would implement “single payer” health care. Let me “be clear,” I predicted that Obama was a Clinton clone – and at least so far that seems to be the case (take a look at his cabinet). It’s time to really change things and I don’t see that happening. Obama is tossing out some crumbs while sucking up to the usual suspects. I don’t think Obama’s plan will work (too many things are missing) and when the money is gone we (the people) will be the ones that have been screwed. But the money may already be gone – the rich bastards that have 30% + of my retirement are now busy deciding how to spend my tax dollars. Flame out.

P.S. I’m sick and tired of Obama’s use of the phrase “Let me be clear.” He should think of something else to say.

October 2nd, 2008

SCUM 74, US 25.

Good morning all. Sports scores are in (I’m backing the Cubs this year). It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here.

SCUM 74, US (as in you and me) 25.

Throwing money at the rich as the U.S. Senate is hoping to do with their 74 to 25 vote in favor of giving private investors that dorked up $$$$$ (I think Michael Moore called it ‘stealing the silverware on the way out.’) will NOT fix the financial sectors problems. The problem of confidence is between the banks; especially in overnight lending. Simple fix – PASS LEGISLATION which makes the banks accountable for what’s on their books (audit required). Once that is done lending will resume since Bank A will be confident that bank B will still be there in the morning. It’s a f__k of a lot cheaper for us, and would be far more effective. Granted the FDIC will have to cover the losses of some depositors who are using banks that hold more trash than cash, but it would not cost the $700 billion (and probably more dollars) the “crisis” bailout bill demands. I am truly amazed at the propaganda currently being generated by the corporate press – they are not covering the issue; they are just, it seems to me, trying to confuse us.

Of course there are host of other solutions available – stop limiting the short sellers, since shorts keep stocks from being over valued (ooops, the free market folks in The Bush Administration have already put their finger on the scales by limiting which companies can be traded “short” [about 900 of them] and forced the value of stocks up beyond what they are worth – Free Market my ….). Help the citizens (tax payers) with health care and education costs. After all, the number one reason for mortgage defaults is unpaid medical bills. Wake up “America.”

Have a nice day (and call your Congressional Representative NOW).

March 21st, 2008

The church and the condoms

Scheckler is a German drugstore chain. In the city of Fulda, the building where the Scheckler store is located, is owned by the catholic church. Based on some article in the lease contract, the church has (succesfully) banned tge store from selling condoms, defending itself they “cannot oppose contraceptives and allow the trade at the same time on their own premises”.

This makes my blood boil. The good lord, interpreted by the bishop is of course happier with pregnant teens and STD infected kids. Oh but wait no, they shouldn’t have sex at all, right. Well, I will not make nasty remarks about priests and kids. Idiots. I am glad it is a big fuzz.

January 12th, 2008

The drugs comparision

This is a really cool comparision table, comparing 14 effect categories of the 6 mostly used drugs (Alcohol, Amphetamine, Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Tobacco).

Example: in the category Deaths worldwide:

Alcohol: Millions yearly. Mostly caused by heart and liver diseases, accidents and belligerance. Relatively few fatal doses.

Amphetamine: Thousands yearly. Mostly caused by belligerance and irrational behavior.

Cannabis: Thousands yearly. Mostly caused by police actions and accidents.

Smoking: Millions yearly. Mostly caused by lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, reduced resistance to infections and a few by fire.

Earlier on the nest: The bar and the coffeeshop part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

November 3rd, 2007

The shock therapy

Sherwin Nuland, writer, former surgeon, held a very personal, emotional talk at TED about how he basically lost everything (read: his mind) and resurrected from it. Without him (then) knowing, actually, he didn’t knwo anything at all, he was on the brink of having a frontal lobe lobotomy, which would almost certainly have “cuckoo-ed” him. I know this sounds like an entry to skip. Don’t. Worth the 20 minutes.

Sherwin Nuland

Note: It came to me through the fantastic Miro, what I like to call Television 2.0.

October 25th, 2007

The flu

Flu season starting here, I’m up for my shot early next month, as I am in a risk category. Many people think a nasty cold is flu (influenza), but it isn’t. Anyway, some interesting facts I would like to share.

  • Cold season indeed is a flu (and cold) stimulant. But not because we’re more susceptible or the virus gains magic powers by the weather. The reason is simply that we vent our houses less and lock ourselves in too much. Lesson: insulation is good, but keep some air flowing.
  • Best flu (and cold) suppressor is not the shot. Is is: wash your hands, then wash your hands, then wash your hands again. Before and after food, after you-know-what, and in general, as often as possible.
  • Know how to wash hands. Soap does NOT kill bacteria let alone viruses. Soap is an entirely mechanical aid, it bridges water to fatty material, so it helps rinsing off the germs, no chemical magic involved. Knowing that, the routine is: soap hands and rub carefully, up to the wrists and between the fingers (see picture below). Then rinse with lots of water. Use a paper towel and close the valve using the towel.
  • Do not use anti-bacterial soap. It will not kill viruses and the will only help the surviving bacteria to get more resistant.
  • Do not ever sneeze in your hand or on the back of your hand. If is probably worse than sneezing in the air, which is a big nono as we all know. The best thing to do (read any hospital procedure) is to sneeze or cough in the sleeve of your shirt.

Wasing hands

More tips? Post as comments pls. Stay healthy!

Added:  Another study seems to prove that as far as transmission through air (aerosol transmission) is non existing at 30C (90F) and maximized at 5C (40F), which is proof of the seasonal uproar of influenza. Also, low humidity adds to aerosol transmission, adding to the winter effect even more. The scientists from that study strongly suggest vaccination as the method and play down the effect of washing hands, but they do concur it helps a lot against the common cold.