I read many magazines, several pharmacy-related, also Mother Jones, The Atlantic, Time, Rolling Stone, even Entertainment Weekly, as well as the digital Arizona Republic every day. There is so much happening out there that it is hard to find time to share and comment on some very interesting developments or findings. I’m almost caught up on my reading of the latest batch of print media and must comment on some of the things I discovered.
MoJO had an article about sex ed in this country with a nifty little map diagram that shows that 25 states require that abstinence be taught as the best option and some of those don’t discuss contraception. More than half of those states have higher than average birth rates for women aged 15 through 19. To me, that seems like common sense, and another instance where a “study” is unnecessary to reach a conclusion.
Dave Gilson, in that same MoJo let me know that the FDA is allowing the formerly known as California Prune Board, to rename prunes as dried plums, saying it would be a more “female-friendly” choice. No word about raisins or figs. Did you know that there are lobbyists promoting replacing paper dollars with dollar coins? The money is coming from… wait for it… vending machine companies and copper mining companies. They claim the move would save America billions$$$.
Somewhere I saw that McDonald’s new kale salad has more calories than a Big Mac. That’s with dressing and chicken. Oh, it was Time, where I also learned that a Florida man got busted for tossing a live alligator into a Wendy’s through the drive-through window. Coming soon to Wendy’s: Gator Nuggets in an all-natural, leathery container. In other fast food news, Burger King announced that they will be aggressively going after the hot dog market. I’ll be watching for Prince Wiener. There was mention elsewhere that the wing eating winner in the Wing Bowl consumed 429 wings. Can that be right? I like wings, but, whoa!
I like the new Nature Conservancy ads that remind us that trees scrub out 1/5 of our carbon emissions. Maybe we can see some candidates planting trees!
Since 2009, under Obama’s watch, the US has manufactured, sold, and shipped over $200 billion worth of weaponry to the rest of the world, with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Iraq, and Israel making up the top 5. In contrast, during W’s two terms the total was $60 billion. Of course, W sent a lot more of our young men and our own weapons to foreign lands while Barack seems to prefer arming our allies (hopefully) and sending fewer boots with our guys in them. This web page gives a graphic picture of weapon sales in 2013.
Time pointed out that 244 drugs were tested for Alzheimer’s since 2000 and only one was approved. Stanford’s Dr. Frank Longo is quoted as saying, “we’ve cured Alzheimer’s many times in mice. Why can’t we move that success to people?” They currently have a drug in Phase II that shows promise in eliminating the amyloid plaques seen in Alzheimer’s. With over 50 million people battling varying degrees of dementia, I am hopeful that we are near a cure. I can only hope that Big Pharma will not find a way to slow progress towards a cure while they reap billion$ from the moderately effective treatments now available.
For the first time in 21 years, the US team won the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad! The Atlantic says “something very big is happening” in math. I think it’s the new focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The US Department of Education has many new initiatives that enable and encourage this important strategy for a bright future.
The FDA plans to hire 430 new people in the coming year as it expands its role in food safety.
The FDA has a computer app that has reviewed 380,000 electronic heath records and adverse event reporting data in FAERS and warns of potentially fatal drug interactions: ceftriaxone + lansoprazole; cefazolin + meperidine; vancomycin + meperidine; metoprolol + fosphenytoin. There have been over 9 million adverse events reported to the FDA since 1969, although summary data is provided based on the last ten years.
I learned in the Rolling Stone that the price of solar panels has dropped 80% since Obama took office. The always insightful Tim Dickinson digs into the efforts by the Koch brothers to cripple the rise of solar and how they are working at state level using “dark money” and deception. I thought things were pretty bad here in Arizona, with most of our utility-governing commission seemingly in the pocket of Arizona Public Service (APS) and its parent company, Pinnacle West. The RS article tells of even greater shenanigans in Florida where its utilities “crushed a citizen-led effort to open Florida to solar competition through the 2016 ballot.” It’s a very illuminating article and worth a read.
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