Whoda thought? Grapefruit can kill!

Grapefruit Is a Culprit in More Drug Reactions

I have never been a huge fan of grapefruit (or drugs, though I tend to pound the ibuprofen when I get a migraine), but I know that lots of people like it and there are some silly diets that specialize in it (cleanses or whatever), so thought of elevating this to my mighty readership. The article, btw, has a link to a PDF that lists all known drugs that have adverse reactions with grapefruit.

Here is some advice from experts for grapefruit lovers:

¶ If you take oral medication of any kind, check the list to see if it interacts with grapefruit. Make sure you understand the potential side effects of an interaction; if they are life-threatening or could cause permanent injury, avoid grapefruit altogether. Some drugs, such as clopidogrel, may be less effective when taken with grapefruit.

¶ If you take one of the listed drugs a regular basis, keep in mind that you may want to avoid grapefruit, as well as pomelo, lime and marmalade. Be on the lookout for symptoms that could be side effects of the drug. If you are on statins, this could be unusual muscle soreness.

¶It is not enough to avoid taking your medicine at the same time as grapefruit. You must avoid consuming grapefruit the whole period that you are on the medication.

¶In general, it is a good idea to avoid sudden dramatic changes in diet and extreme diets that rely on a narrow group of foods. If you can’t live without grapefruit, ask your doctor if there’s an alternative drug for you.

Record impact

California Sutter’s Mill meteorite entered Earth’s atmosphere at 64,000 mph

Note that the explosion was estimated to be about a quarter of size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Tunguska event, for comparison, was estimated to be 10-15 megatons, or 1,000 times the Hiroshima. These things could be quite sever even if they are not ‘dinosaur killers’, yet we spend pennies per person looking for them.

Perhaps that is the Mayan Apocalypse: we get an asteroid upside the head.

Mmm mmm good!

Will your next burger be ground-up mealworms?

Having watched Survivorman a lot (I have been interested in survival since a kid, though seldom put any of my knowledge to test/use) I believe that the right bugs might actually be quite tasty when prepared properly. Still, I figure I have to be in a position of eat bugs or starve to death before I give it a try, so it is only of academic interest to me at this point. My father told me when he was taking a survival course (he was a Naval officer being sent to Vietnam) he found a cricket on the first day, but wasn’t hungry enough to eat it, so stuck it in his pocket. A couple of days later when he got that hungry it seems the bug managed to escape, so he never got to see what it tasted like.

I wonder at the food conversion efficiency of the bugs and if they are any better than fish. Fish, according to my research for aquaponics, can routinely turn 1.5 lbs of food into 1 lbs of fish (there are reports of some people able to get 1.1 lb of food to produce 1 lb of fish, so the above should be considered highly feasible). Eating fish is widely acceptable and, as has been proven extensively, fish can be grown in very high density, so unless these bugs are able to be more efficient than fish I really think this article is more about sensationalism than anything else.

Vanity patent

Well, I hope it won’t be a vanity patent, of course, but unless this is finally my winning lotto ticket that is what it will turn into.

As some of my reader(s) may know, I have been working on an idea for a DNA sequencing chip for a number of years (looking at my notes, since mid 2007). I had pretty much given up on it a couple of years ago when I found a competitor doing something quite similar, but at the instigation of an investor friend, a couple of weeks ago I met with some patent lawyers to discuss the prospects. Surprisingly to me, they felt my idea was quite distinct from competitor, so I started to explore the idea of getting a patent. They did some research pro bono and found what they initially thought was a deal killing patent and sent it to me, but when I looked at it it seemed to me my idea was equally distinct from it as it was from the previous one, though it took an in-person meeting to get my point across (images might be worth a thousand words, but if most of those words are interpreted incorrectly there is no substitute for arm waving and scribbles on paper). After that meeting (last Tuesday) we decided to go forward with the patent application. The cost is not trivial (I expect to pay between $15-25K, at a minimum) and that caused some friction with my better half, but we are off to the races.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the details of the patent process as well as commercializing a patent and think that there is a pretty good chance (better than 50%) that I can find an interested buyer even if I don’t have a working prototype. Failing that, I believe there is an even stronger chance (likely 90%+) that I can get enough interest in current DNA sequencing companies to pay a (relatively) small licensing fee that I can use to pay for the research, so I won’t need to give up 90% of the equity just to get the money to do the research. There remains the chance, of course, that I won’t be taken seriously even with a patent, but that still leaves me with the opportunity to find investors and do the research the ‘old fashioned’ way (i.e., by giving up 90% of the equity).

Of course, my idea might not work, or at least I might not be able to make it work, thus the potential for a vanity patent. Still a lotto ticket, but the odds are way better than one in 175,000,000 (more like 9 in 10 in my estimation), so I feel good about it. My wife remains quite skeptical, for good reason, but I think this might be ‘the one’ and the cost is considerably less than the cost of our greenhouse/pool and the potential payback is astronomical in comparison so have kind of run roughshod over her objections.

Wish me luck!

News that isn’t news

Why the US media ignored Murdoch’s brazen bid to hijack the presidency
Did the Washington Post and others underplay the story through fear of the News Corp chairman, or simply tin-eared judgment?

Yawn! Another billionaire tried to buy the Presidency, can you pass the jam please?

I doubt I get any reader(s) here that are strong followers of Fox, but in the unlikely case that I do have one or two, you should take the time to see how beholden Fox is.

Even more amazing is that the WaPo relegated the article to the _style_ section. I get the Post and read the comics nearly every day and I have no recollection of seeing anything like that. I wonder if it even rated the front page of the style section. Even if I had noticed it, because of its location, I probably would still have ignored it; why expect politically explosive articles in the style section?

Of course, once all is said and done, there really isn’t anything ‘interesting’ here, it is the oligarchy using its power to manage the country, just in an increasingly overt manner instead of hidden in ‘smoke filled rooms’.

Nothing to see here, move along…

This bears repeating

Newtown kids v. Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions?
Numerous commentators have rightly lamented the difference in how these childrens’ deaths are perceived. What explains it?

I commented earlier a bit on the Newtown tragedy where I attempted to emphasize that the real problem had nothing to do with guns and everything to do with our crappy ‘your on your own’ government. Well, the above article takes a completely different tact and looks at the wildly asymmetric reaction of Americans to the Newtown tragedy and compares and contrasts it with the yawning indifference to the ongoing tragedies that the US commits regularly in Muslim countries. It should be required reading for every citizen; I doubt, though, it will make any sort of impact. Ignorance is bliss and our government and our subservient media apparatus work to keep the populous (sheeple) in bliss.

Them terrorists really hate us for our freedom!

Newtown, Connecticut

I am not a gun nut. Said the gun nut as he brought out his arsenal. No, really, I am not a gun nut. I have a couple of rifles and at some point intend on buying a couple of hand guns because I want my boy to be proficient in the handling of guns even though I hope he never has any need for them. I was in the Marines (once a jar head, always a jar head) and later in an infantry unit in the National Guard (reservist always, I am not sure I was compatible with full-time) and my specialty was small arms repair (where ‘small’ is 50 caliber machine gun or smaller), so I know my way around weapons. It is my firm belief that having a gun, _particularly_ a hand gun, without investing in the time and expense necessary to develop proficiency, is a recipe for disaster. It is very challenging to hit something with a hand gun on a range where there is no adrenaline pumping, there is plenty of light and the target is a fixed (and known) distance away. Few people are worth a damn at hitting paper targets under optimal conditions; all but those few with a hand gun during a robbery attempt are more dangerous to bystanders than the robber!

Having said that, I don’t think the appropriate response to the tragedy in Newtown is to restrict gun sales (for the record, I am fine with limited bans on assault rifles, waiting periods and limits on purchase frequency). Despite the arguable Constitutional allowance on gun ownership (the right to bear arms), I think there would likely be _less_ violent crime when the populous is allowed to carry hand guns. There is evidence that the incidence of violent crime _increases_ when gun bans are put in place and the few localities that made it easier to carry concealed weapons have evidence that violent crime actually _decreased_ when they have done so. To me that result is obvious, if criminals know that their victims might have effective means of defending themselves, they are much less likely to commit crimes.

While there are certainly a few wack jobs out there that are convinced that our government is actually made up of foreign shadow agencies (as opposed to domestic oligarchy, why the hell don’t they complain about that?) that stock pile weapons (including assault weapons) in anticipation for the long awaited (but stubbornly refusing to arrive) apocalypse, there are vastly more people who get guns for hunting, recreation or (foolishly, in my mind, unless you will put in the time and expense to develop expertise) self defense. As developers of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, killing people in large groups doesn’t require anything more sophisticated than access to a grocery store and some knowledge trivial to get off the Internet (and prior to the Internet, available in many book stores). As the Secret Service knows all to well, if someone is wiling to give their life in an attack, it is very difficult to keep that from happening. Eliminating access to guns for ordinary people won’t make the slightest dent in the ability for wackos like this guy in Newtown or the fruit at Virginia Tech to take people out. While the forethought necessary to do the same level of mayhem with IEDs is higher than that with guns, it is only trivially so and restricting access of law abiding citizens from what is very arguable is their Constitutionally protected right (but then again, so is protection against self incrimination, the right to a trial of your peers, etc. which our Great Government and its Great President have been routinely violating) to have and use guns is not the right reaction.

Why do these things happen? Well, my understanding is these are very disturbed people who have a long standing belief that their life is worthless and meaningless. Most people with that conviction might alternately drink themselves into an early grave, engage in other self destructive behavior or simply commit suicide. A very few (like a dozen individuals in a population of close to 300,000,000 over the last 20 years, think about that for a while!) decide they want to become infamous and decide to take a bunch of innocent people with them when they commit suicide. A fewer still, like that nut case in Sweden or wherever, has some political axe to grind and deliberately doesn’t commit suicide because he now wants to use that notoriety as a platform to expound on his idiocy. However, in nearly all cases, the intent is to generate a lot of wide spread press coverage, to become ‘known’, to ‘matter’ and to no longer be invisible. The typical knee-jerk reaction of the press is to give these people exactly what they want. Granted, it is posthumous, but the next wacko, sitting in his dirty underwear contemplating suicide sees all this coverage and starts thinking that that is exactly what he needs to make his life have meaning. So, in my mind, all this press coverage is _exactly_ the wrong thing to do. Not that I expect there to be any change (not that I expect many people to read this), but the simple act of the main stream coverage of the present heinous act is what helps to trigger the next.

Of course, if our Great Country were to think about such radical ideas as free access to mental health facilities, perhaps some of these wackos could get the help they need before they make that fatal decision to garner the press to ‘make their life have meaning’. In the case of the Va Tech shooter, he had actually been in a psychiatric facility and was undergoing review for treatment when the system decided it had already wasted enough money on him and threw his ass out. I suspect the shooter in Newtown also has left a trail of obvious clues that he was disturbed and is in the small class of individuals likely to need treatment to keep such a tragedy from happening. Thus the real, meaningful and useful response would be to put money into mental health clinics and make them free to everyone. Sadly, I am quite certain, is likely the exact opposite of what will happen. Instead there will be more restrictions put on guns and ammo and the next tragedy will be from IEDs because the real core of the problem has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH GUNS. Yes, I shouted, but sometimes shouting is necessary to get people’s attention.

Instead of something useful that will help mitigate future tragedies, we will have further erosion of our rights, increased intrusion into our lives, the last few bits of our privacy stripped away and more injustice served upon our most vulnerable population.

That is the _real_ tragedy that happened in Newtown, Connecticut.

It’s official: Terrorism = Propaganda

New York’s top court highlights the meaninglessness and menace of the term ‘terrorism’
A fascinating new ruling unwittingly illustrates the separate system of ‘justice’ invented for Muslims in the US after 9/11

I talked about the meaninglessness of the words ‘terrorist/terrorism’ before, but now it is official! A court in our ‘justice’ system is unable to define the word, yet, rather staggeringly to me, continues to use the word!

As mentioned in the article, the ‘real’ definition of ‘terrorist’ is a Muslim acting against the interests of the US government. The courts even acknowledge this to be the case, though in a roundabout manner. They lacked the guts (or intelligence), though, to start striking down laws built around this sham term and instead came up with this entirely lame and ludicrous ‘explanation’ that explains nothing at all:

…we have a “collective understanding of what constitutes a terrorist act”…

Just like Mr. “I know it when I see it” United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, now terrorism is formally defined as ‘I know it when I see it’, thus legitimizing our government’s insane actions against its own people (not only are there plenty of Muslims living in the US, but a whole lot of them are US citizens, donachano).

In the US, being Muslim is practically a crime today!