Wednesday, May 10, 2017


You never step into the same TSA twice.--Alaric Phlogiston

Continuing medical education sounds very reasonable; unfortunately it has been extremely controversial as a requirement within medical care. These programs are tightly controlled and very expensive. Many physicians today have concluded that American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)  Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a program designed to perpetuate the existence of boards and maximize their income, at the expense primarily of younger physicians.

An article in the November/December 2016 issue of Practical Neurology states “Literature regarding the evidence supporting re-certification with MOC programs is weak at best, and most is written by conflicted authors who are executive board members of ABMS boards.”

One of Trump's failings is he does not allow any breathing room from politics. There is an endless stream of combat, anger, response and recrimination--it's what I would have expected if Hillary had been elected. Fatigue is surely coming.

In 1998, a study in the British journal The Lancet by Andrew Wakefield asserted there was a link between vaccines and autism. The Lancet officially retracted the paper in 2010. Most of the co-authors of his paper had already removed their names from the work. An investigation concluded that Dr. Wakefield intentionally manipulated data to support a connection between MMR vaccines and autism. His medical license, which was issued in Britain, was revoked based on evidence of deliberately falsifying data.

$60 billion--BILLION--is spent annually in the U.S. on pets.

What is...Crispr-Cas9?

Funny line from Krauthammer on the Flynn Affair:  "It's a Watergate-era cliché that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. In the Mike Flynn affair, we have the first recorded instance of a cover-up in the absence of a crime."
But one thing is certain, Flynn may have lied to the V-P or the FBI (or he may not have) before, before, he was National Security Advisor, but Susan Rice lied to the American citizens (and the rest of the world) about the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador and consulate members in Libya when she was National Security Advisor. Flynn is gone and might be in deep trouble; Rice is an esteemed public leader. The lesson? The Feds can lie to the people but the people can not lie to the Feds.

Milton Friedman: The benefits that are alleged to flow from a tariff are clear and obvious.  If a tariff is imposed, a specified group of people, whose names can almost be listed, seem to be benefited in the first instance.  The harm that is wrought by the tariff is borne by people whose names one does not know and who are unlikely themselves to know that they are or will be harmed.

According to Wikileaks, they released  three classified CIA "tasking orders" revealing details of a seven-month long campaign by the agency to intervene in the 2012 French presidential election. Influencing another country's election?! Obama=Putin?

The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., will retain potentially lucrative rights to a powerful gene-editing technique that could lead to major advances in medicine and agriculture, the federal Patent and Trademark Office ruled on Wednesday.
The decision, in a bitterly fought dispute closely watched by scientists and the biotechnology industry, was a blow to the University of California, often said to be the birthplace of the technique, which is known as Crispr-Cas9.
Golden oldie:
"The El Dorado of unearned wealth" is one of those lines. "El Dorado:" a myth believed and sought by crude, disease bearing, homicidal adventurers.

Now comes a big report on gene editing. Strangely it focuses on "the gap between the rich and poor"--something, a way of thinking, that really needs explained because anyone who thinks this raises problems of social equality is really not paying attention: "On Tuesday, the influential National Academy of Sciences released a 261-page report on this issue, titled “Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance." It’s one of the most thorough looks yet at what’s likely to be possible with new genome-editing techniques — and why scientists should tread carefully. The report’s recommendations are eyebrow-raising: In very, very limited cases, editing of viable human embryos should be allowed to go forward in the United States — a conclusion that’s certain to prove controversial. In particular, the report argues, clinical trials to edit human sperm, eggs, and embryos should be permissible in cases where there’s a high chance of preventing babies from being born with serious genetic diseases and no “reasonable alternatives” exist. By contrast, the panel says editing embryos for human enhancement — say, making people stronger or more intelligent — should absolutely not proceed in the United States until there’s much broader society-wide discussion of the thorny ethics involved, like the risks of exacerbating the gap between rich and poor." (Vox)
What could they be thinking? Gene editing has an incredible upside and terrifying downside. But the rich and the poor? And perhaps the worst danger is not expanding humans but contracting them, developing a compliant and complacent subset of drones. 

On infrastructure spending, Taylor wrote: "I’m not opposed to spending more money on fixing up roads and bridges and other physical infrastructure–indeed, it’s often an investment fully justified by cost-benefit analysis–but I am dubious that 21st century economic growth is going to be based on fewer potholes. When talking about investment to drive economic growth, I’d like to see more focus on expansion of research and development spending." This was a libertarian response:

"I will go a step further and say that I am opposed to more infrastructure spending as carried out by the Federal government. Politicians are fond of allocating capital to themselves, and my guess is that as flawed as the private sector may be, it will spend an additional dollar more wisely than the politicians."

When budgets are cut, it’s easy to see the likes of government employees who lose jobs, farmers who get smaller subsidy checks, arts exhibitions that must now survive exclusively on private contributions, and poor people whose welfare payments fall.  But the analysis and conversation nearly always stop there.  If cutting funding for some government-funded activity is found to cause some hardship (and which such activity isn’t so found?), cutting government funding of that activity is typically deemed cruel and wrong.  But what is too-seldom asked is: As compared to what?  What will those who now keep more of their incomes spend this money on?  In what ways will the money now left in the private sector be invested?  What new products, businesses, and economic opportunities might be created now that the state no longer seizes these resources from those who create or earn them?  And how will system-wide incentives change when government reduces taxes and spending?--Bordeaux

The rules regarding Roth IRAs will likely be reversed, according to recent new bills under discussion. The government will tax it again eventually. Which is to say, they have broken another promise. The irony is lost on them: They take an announced tax protection and tax it twice. And they wonder why people are so obsessed with protecting themselves.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has argued that judges give federal agencies too much power to make policy, and some of his best-known cases criticizing agencies have come in defense of illegal immigrants.

As the ACA falls apart and the Rube-publicans fuss about replacement, why can't the nation have the same health insurance as federal employees? It's already in place.

In 1740, writing as Captain Hercules Vinegar, Henry Fielding summoned poet laureate Colley Cibber to court, charged with the murder of the English language. Fielding was not only a satiric playwright and novelist but a lawyer (soon, a Justice of the Peace) and a notorious wag; his joke would have been popular among London's coffee house wits, most of whom would know of Fielding's enmity for Cibber, if not share it. Cibber was a well-known but second-rate writer and actor in London, most famous for his adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III, in which there was no "winter of our discontent" or "my kingdom for a horse," but such Cibberisms as "Off with his head -- so much for Buckingham!" Now for the bad news: It was the only version of the play acted in England for over 150 years, so popular that attempts to do Shakespeare's original were booed off the stage.

The velocity of money, how quickly money moves in the culture, is at its lowest in the history of its measurement. Tax dollars are reflected in the economy at 65 cents on the dollar, industrial spending 16.5 times the investment.
Imagine you are asked to compose an ultra-short history of philosophy. Perhaps you’ve been challenged to squeeze the impossibly sprawling diversity of philosophy itself into just a few tweets. You could do worse than to search for the single word that best captures the ideas of every important philosopher. Plato had his ‘forms’. René Descartes had his ‘mind’ and John Locke his ‘ideas’. John Stuart Mill later had his ‘liberty’. In more recent philosophy, Jacques Derrida’s word was ‘text’, John Rawls’s was ‘justice’, and Judith Butler’s remains ‘gender’. Michel Foucault’s word, according to this innocent little parlour game, would certainly be ‘power’. --Colin Koopman's recent article in Aeon


 AAAAAaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd......a graph:

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