When Dean Health System in Madison, Wisconsin announced last week that it "planned to 'immediately' lay off 90 employees," it wasn't kidding around. One of them was a nurse who was pulled out of surgery to be told the news.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't say if she then returned to finish attending the surgery, but Dean Health admitted to the paper that interrupting her during her job just to give her the news "violated medical protocol." We guess her manager had a long list to get through.
From the February 2 New Scientist:
Thanks to Alex Gough for pointing us in the direction of FairDeal Homeopathy, online purveyors of homeopathic remedies. Their website is intriguing, and not at all what you might expect.
"Homeopathy is not a substitute for evidence-based medicine and proper medical opinion," it states flatly. It goes on to argue that insofar as homeopathy "works", it works through "a complicated interaction with the human body and mind known as the 'placebo effect'".
"What conditions can FairDeal Homeopathy treat*?" is the next question. The asterisk refers to a note at the bottom of the page saying "*'Treat' in no way implies 'cure'". As for the answer: "FairDeal homeopathy," we are told, "can be used to treat any self-limiting condition." Such conditions are defined as "ones that, if left alone, will get better anyway".
Is this website a spoof? When Gough asked the owners they were most offended. "A spoof?" they replied. "Tsk tsk! We dispatch homeopathic remedies* the same working day! Real pills! In real little bottles and everything! How authentic do you want us to be?" Once again, a note at the bottom of their email explains the asterisk: "*No curative properties implied. Guaranteed as effective as all other homeopathic remedies. May taste of sugar."....
According to the "Testimonials" section of the website, such a remedy certainly worked for a Mr S. Scott: "I ordered your product to help treat a mild cold that I was experiencing and that evening I began to feel much better. By the time your product arrived I was nearly fully cured. I cannot recommend this enough, thank you FairDeal Homeopathy."
After toy-maker RC2's recall of lead-tainted Thomas & Friends toys, customers received an apology and a bonus gift, which has since been recalled for lead contamination.
Consumerist, which ran the story, comments: "That's pathetic. Maybe the apology toys for these ones will contain polio.".
(Thanks, Kevin Godby.)
Background: My eyes aren't straight, and I lack depth perception, which doesn't particularly bother me. (I try to look on the bright side, such as that even regular movies look as 3D as real life to me, and I could still be a space ship pilot.) Most people don't notice it, but some people think I'm not looking at them when I am.
When a new colleague seemed unsure whether I was directing questions at him, I explained that my eyes aren't straight. Another colleague exclaimed: "You have strabismus? Me too!" and gave me a high five. When I later told Keith, he said it would have been funny if our hands had missed.
Breast feeding helps new mothers lose weight they gained during pregnancy, but other women could also benefit from this effect. There could be special farms where women receive drugs to induce lactation, and they could be milked, removing unwanted fat from their bodies.
Because toxins are stored in fat, this would also have the benefit of removing toxins from the woman's body. If the milk does not have many toxins, it can be consumed by babies or fetishists. It could be sold in stores as "lady milk" or made into cheese, chocolate, or other fine foodstuffs. This could cover the expense of running the farm and even help the women earn money while they lose weight.
Intellectual activity is also known to burn calories, so women eager to lose the maximum amount of weight, could watch videotaped (or live) physics lectures while being milked.
Anyone know if men could also benefit from this technique? Despite my great idea, I am actually not an expert in human physiology.
I learned from New Scientist about a new "wonder drug for everyone":
Readers who have been interested in New Scientist's discussion of "disease mongering" - the invention of new diseases in order to push up drug sales (15 April, p 5) - may like to take up Steven Allen's suggestion of a visit to www.panexa.com. Here you can read about Panexa, "a prescription drug that should only be taken by patients experiencing one of the following disorders: metabolism, binocular vision, digestion (solid and liquid), circulation, menstruation, cognition, osculation, extremes of emotion".
The drug is also recommended for people suffering from "coronary heart condition (CHC) or two separate feet (2SF)", and it can be utilised to decrease the risk of death caused "by not taking Panexa" or by "complications arising from seeing too much of the colour lavender".
A word of caution, though. Before you "ask your doctor for a reason to take it", you are advised to check out the section on possible side effects. These include "really geeky laughs", "valuable faeces composed of aluminium and studded with diamonds and sapphires" and "sudden enjoyment of really bad music".
Perhaps we finally have an antidote for dihydrogen monoxide!
In Japan, McDonald's faced "a fundamental challenge of establishing beef as a common food". Their President, Den Fujita, stated "the reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years"; "if we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blonde".
If you havenâ€™t gone vegetarian yet, you need to read this now. When we asked nicely, you didnâ€™t listen. We spent years exposing the cruelty of factory farms and the dangers of eating fat-, cholesterol- and drug-laden animal flesh. We appealed to your sense of compassion, but you didnâ€™t care enough to make the switch to a cruelty-free diet. And most of you ignored the warnings about animal-borne diseases such as mad cow and SARS.
Now we face a new threat, avian flu, which seems likely to make mad cow and SARS look like a head cold. The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that the deadly H5N1 virus that causes â€œbird fluâ€ is in danger of mutating into a form that will spread easily from person to person. If this happens, humans will have no immunity to the new bug, and we will face a global pandemic that could kill more than 7 million people. This is a conservative estimate. Other experts fear the number of dead could be as many as a billion.
I agree with PETA that factory farming contributes to disease (although doesn't bird flu arise in rural areas?), but I think this campaign is in poor taste and beyond satire.
From El Universal:
Public safety officials in Mexico City last week announced that they would suspend the capitalâ€™s drunk driving vigilance program for the nights of Christmas Eve and New Yearâ€™s Eve....
The suspension of drunk-driving vigilance for Christmas and New Yearâ€™s celebrations is a tradition in the capital, where the practice is known as a â€œnoche libre,â€ or â€œfree night.â€