For general consumption, but clinicians especially please read.
tl;dr: If you, your loved one or your patients are on generics of Prozac, Ativan, Seroquel, Wellbutrin, Tranxene, Aricept or a whole bunch of meds for somatic conditions, and weren't/aren't responding or had adverse reactions, it may be attributable to bogus meds. The extent of the corruption uncovered already staggers the imagination and is still unfolding.
So the bad news of why I was even thinking about that bit from "The Hunt for Red October" (h/t fiddlingfrog) that I some how knew about without ever having read the book:
Soviet antibiotics, "plan" medications, were substituted. It was a common practice in Soviet industry for workers to earn bonuses by manufacturing goods over the usual quota, goods that bypassed what quality control existed in Soviet industry. This particular batch of medication had never been inspected or tested. And the vials had probably been filled with distilled water instead of antibiotics, Marko learned the next day. Natalia had lapsed into deep shock and coma, dying before the series of errors could be corrected.is this:
[Ranbaxy employee] Thakur left Kumar's office stunned. He returned home that evening to find his 3-year-old son playing on the front lawn. The previous year in India, the boy had developed a serious ear infection. A pediatrician prescribed Ranbaxy's version of amoxiclav, a powerful antibiotic. For three scary days, his son's 102° fever persisted, despite the medicine. Finally, the pediatrician changed the prescription to the brand-name antibiotic made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Within a day, his fever disappeared. Thakur hadn't thought about it much before. Now he took the boy in his arms and resolved not to give his family any more Ranbaxy drugs until he knew the truth.
Massive, massive fraud has been discovered at the manufacturer of man generic drugs sold world-wide, yes, including in the US. This is only the most recent case of a manufacturer of generics being found to be making bad meds. (h/t Metafilter).
This post has a lot of "homework" reading, even by my standards, but I think it's important and fortunately its easily read but for the horror of it all. ( Read more: RanbaxyCollapse )
The congressional inquiry into the FDA petered out over the years. But under the direction of David Nelson, investigators interviewed the FDA inspectors who went to Paonta Sahib and asked them a simple question: Would they feel comfortable taking Ranbaxy drugs? "Every single inspector that went to India said they would never take a Ranbaxy drug," says Nelson, "like eight out of eight."
In case you would like to do likewise, here's the list of Ranbaxy generics sold in the USA. Folks from other countries, if you can come up with your own countries' lists, please link or cut-and-past in comments. My list is drawn from this FDA.gov PDF
Ranbaxy sells the following generic medications in the United States:
( Read more: Teva, Dr. Reddy's and Cetero ResearchCollapse )
( CommentaryCollapse )
Many thanks to fiddlingfrog who posted that OMNI magazine is now available for free at the Internet Archive. There is much that is awesome in that trove, and I'll be unearthing some of it. But the crowning issue, as far as I am concerned, was February 1986. It was the issue which introduced me to the word "tetrodoxin", the concept of ethnobotany, and the existance of the Exploratorium. And the jewel in the crown was a short story, which remains one of my all-time favorite works of fiction. Neither SFF nor magic realism, it introduced me to -- though it never used the word and I only figured it out later -- Surrealism.
I reproduce it here in full.
The Man Who Wasn't There
by William Kotzwinkle
Idle one evening and dully curious, I chanced to turn over a painting that hung upon the wall of the rooming house. Wrapped around the wire was a little scroll of paper. I opened it and read: Now you have met me/ Can you forget me?/ I offer you a chance.
In the bottom corner of the paper was the name of a tramp steamer and its next port of call. I rolled the little scroll back up, but instead of placing it back upon the wire, I slipped it in my pocket, as a souvenir.
I thought no more of the matter, but fate, or chance, had me on that tramp steamer when next it sailed. It was a voyage of several weeks, and I'd been staring at the empty springs of the bunk above me for many nights and mornings before I noticed there was a tiny figure tucked inside the coils---a figure of a unicorn, cleverly shaped out of folded paper. Examining it, I suddenly knew that it had been made by the man whose note I carried. I'd followed his thoughts---to the unicorn, mythical creature never seen.
I made inquiries; no one onboard, from cabin boy to captain, recalled a passenger with the habit of folding paper into little animals. But when we docked in port, ( I had not forgotten him.Collapse )
Oh, hivemind! I come bearing a puzzlement.
I was certain that I recalled a certain fact about the movie "The Hunt for Red October" which doesn't seem to be so, and now I'm trying to figure out what happened.
I recall seeing the movie either when it came out or sometime not too long thereafter on video (so early 90s). I was very struck by a detail of the Russian defector's motivation: the cause of his wife's death.
But I rewatched the movie, and, at least in the version streaming on Netflix, the cause of his wife's death is never mentioned.
According to Wikipedia, the novel -- which I've never read -- does reveal the cause of the wife's death, but, at least according to Wikipedia, it's similar but importantly different from the cause I recall from the movie.
According to wikipedia: "His wife, Natalia, died at the hands of an incompetent doctor who went unpunished because he was the son of a Politburo member." That's a kind of political corruption, and makes a statement about political privilege in the USSR.
What I remember is that his wife died because the antibiotic with which she was treated turned out to be nothing but water; something to the effect of factory workers defrauding the factory or the factory defrauding the state. This is a different sort of corruption, and it makes a different statement about what was wrong at the time in the USSR.
Am I remembering some other film? Presumably from the same time period? I was very struck by that plot point, and it adhered in my memory to "The Hunt for Red October" ever since.
I just learned that merle_ died.
I only knew him through LJ and email. He followed me back to my journal from intj, IIRC; his first comment in my journal was in 2005. I've known him -- insofar as he let himself be known -- for almost eight years. In the last year, he revealed more of himself, and I knew the nature of his problem -- but not how close to the end he was. Maybe he didn't know; maybe he didn't let himself know.
I am stunned and I am heartbroken. I will miss him. I wish he'd gotten more of life than he did; I'm glad he got what he did.
Does anybody else remember the pre-DHCP joke that MIT got a /8 all to itself, so every lightbulb could have its own IP number? You know, just in case somebody came up with a use for internet-enabled lightbulbs, ha ha?
I went car shopping today. It was fabulous. The last time I went car shopping, it was a pretty intensely annoying experience. It was filled with strange theater, where there were good guys (salesmen) and bad guys (managers) did battle with each other to get me a good price and/or screw me over...
Today, I walked into the dealership and opened with, "I have absolutely no ability to affect the price/financing or service and warranty contracts at all. I am simply here to decide which vehicle I want, with what features. Then MIT purchasing will contact you and do all negotiations. I get no input into that process at all. I just pick the car and then forward them to you."
With that on the table, it was a pleasure. They didn't bother with any theater; they didn't pester me with foolishness at all. They just showed me cars, and told me about them. I took them for test drives, asked about features, examined cargo space, and talked about what was physically available. The two times when the salesman went into some pre-programmed spiel with prices or financing terms in it, he remembered, cut himself off, apologized, and got back to showing me cars.
I wonder if there's a market in that. Professional car price negotiator. The car-wanter gets absolutely no look into it at all, and tells the salesman that his "buyer" will contact him once he has chosen a car. The negotiator gets the best deal he can *AFTER* all the options have been decided upon and there's no annoying "I'll throw in floor mats if you take the extended warranty..." nonsense making the whole price matrix 10-dimensional.
It certainly made the process nearly painless for me. A HUGE change from last time.
I use reading filters heavily on LJ, and one of them -- and only one, AFAIK -- is returning an Error 500.
So some of you, I can't read your posts. I have no idea why.
OK, I'm curious if someone can lay out the EXACT calculations for that old "how many people need to be in a room before two share the same birthday" game. It seems to me like the odds (really, the calculations) vary depending on whether someone has a February 29th birthday in a way that I'm having trouble with.
One of J's life-shaping themes right now is competition with his older siblings. He wants to catch up with them, and he wants to catch up with them now. He frequently expresses a desire to finish his current math book "today;" fortunately for my schedule, he is not quite driven enough to actually see this through, although I have occasionally refused to go on when the schedule's gotten tight or offered a selection of reinforcing activities when he's gotten to a point of difficulty. (We ran into this a bit with place value, for instance. On the one hand, it's not critical that he really understand it at 5 years old; on the other hand, it's the sort of foundational concept that's likely to become suddenly critical somewhere down the line if the curriculum thinks he's mastered it and he hasn't. So I stopped suggesting that we pull out Life of Fred for a while, initiated a bunch of games with place value blocks, and let him continue to participate in our mealtime math conversations and any other random math that happened to come up. A month or so of that and he seemed to have the concept figured out, so we're back to Fred.) Likewise, he wants to catch up with D and T in their spelling curriculum; since reading is something he's really not doing at all yet, this is a bit more problematic, as I can't really even give him a sense of making progress; on the plus side, it meant he was enormously motivated when we took him for evaluation for verbal (speech & reading) issues earlier this month.
Video games are another area in which he would like to at least be T's peer. Unfortunately, this one depends a bit more on manual dexterity, and he does not have my help or coaching or anything on this one. He's turning his intelligence to good advantage, however, finding ways to work the system. He discovered some months ago that he could raise his score in Mario Kart Wii by telling the Wii there was one more player than there was; one remote gets left sitting on the couch and so comes in last place, so he does not. Likewise, he seems to have found some way to use multiple remotes and multi-player mode on New SuperMario Brothers Wii when he's playing by himself to get some sort of advantage that's meaningful to him; I haven't played that one at all, so the mechanics of his advantage are not obvious to me, but he clearly thinks he's gaining something from all the switching back and forth of remotes, and I'm happy to leave him to it.
Some day, I'm sure, all this determination and hard work and strategizing are going to turn into something impressive. I just have no idea yet what that will be.
I mentioned on a previous post about Tumblr that it had a killer feature, but didn't say what it was. I recently has occasion to actually get around to explaining it in a comment in someone else's journal, so I thought I'd repost it here for the curious.
From the OP: Some people do use Tumblr for writing thoughtful, blog-style essays, and apparently get some benefit from the fact that there are no comments and the only way people can respond to your stuff is by reblogging and adding their own commentary. I don't comprehend how that works, but it certainly exists. It may be because the negativity generated by the entire internet falling on your head when you post something controversial is far greater, for some people, than the positivity of getting lots of comments and feedback.
When I wrote The Seven Kinds of Journal Post Topic I was asked what use the taxonomy had.
Turns out, different platform support different sorts of content topic differently well.
From one angle, that doesn't sound so controversial. From another, it's huge.
I wrote in a comment at that post, in response to someone noting that on review of his own last 20 posts, he only used four of the types, "Yeah, part of what got me thinking about this is noticing how few categories most people seemed to use, and how characterizing their choice was, of their journal. That's part of what fascinated me into the topic, so to speak."
This is something that came up back at techjob, in the discussions about the affordances of LMSs: developers are terrible at acting as if this were true.
I mean, sure, developers are vaguely aware that if they make it easy to upload video, people will upload video. But they have no awareness of "what sorts of topics are likely to be served by being able to upload video?" Or put another way, "if we want to attract certain types of topic" (whether because we think we could totally monetize it or because we think it would be easier and cheaper than other sorts of discussion or any other reason) "what behaviors do we need to support?"
Following the above comment, I wrote to someone this reply on what is happening with the migrations to various platforms:
Different people want different things out of their social media experience, so we wind up with different social media. I'm minded of coin sorters, where you dump a sack of heterogeneous coins in the hopper at the top, and it uses a series of holes of different size to sort them into shoots. Do you remember my post proposing a taxonomy of posts? The people who went to tumblr are those who want primarily to make (or want a forum optimized for making) "What I found" posts. Turns out there are a lot of those folks, and they used to all be on LJ. Other people want social networking mostly to have a sense of presence from their network, and make brief "what I feel" and coordinative posts; so they go to FB. People who want to optimize for "what I think" post on blogs (WP, Blogger, etc). LJ and DW have historically been, overwhelmingly, about "what I did" and "what I feel" posts, and DW has gotten pretty serious about supporting "what I made" in the verbal arts (visual artists head over to Deviantart, Flickr, YouTube, etc.)