Earlier in the month we wrote about the CDC Atlanta collectors cards of viruses (or should that be viri?)
Not to be outdone, toy makers have struck back with giant microbes in plush fur including flu, black death and ebola.
Escape from Tatooine was the winner of Atom Films Star Wars short competition this year, picked by George Lucas himself. Personally it is not a patch on TROOPS which we featured the other day. However, all you comic/sci-fi/fantasy geeks out there can watch this while you lust after Revenge of the Sith, or you could get a life instead.
Cynthia Webb’s Filter column at The Washington Post has an interesting article by Robert MacMillan on the rise of bloggers as a media force to reckoned with at the Democratic Party Congress. Maybe its because the liberal media (meagre though it is) want the blogger militia to take on Murdoch’s Fox red coats because no one else can stop them.
Pirsig in his book Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance talks about an argument where with his university board on the nature of quality. He compares the argument to a buffalo is damned if he takes either of two possible stances ending up being impaled on its horns, he could reject the fight (going between the two horns and cracking them on the head) or he could sing the buffalo to sleep. In the UK, New Labour after three election defeats successfully sang the NewsCorp buffalo to sleep, maybe the Democrats should take a similar pragmatic approach?
I am too young to remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind when it first came out at the cinema. I remember watching it in the mid 1980’s round at a friends house whilst playing hookie from school. I quite liked it but my peers preferred the American Ninja series, The Octagon, The Hitcher and Governor Schwarzenegger’s early action movies. I borrowed it from Blockbuster, using their 3 for 5GBP for a week offer that applies to slightly older DVDs.
I was blown away. This film was made in 1977, and yet it is so visually rich, it makes CGI films look sterile in comparison, its hard to believe this was done with smoke effects neon lit rigs and painted backgrounds. The concept, the acting from the assorted Indians, hill-billies and cops, Richard Dreyfus, to the little Cary Guffy, the little boy that Dreyfuss almost runs over in his power company pick-up.
According to the New York Times (free registration required) George Bush is seeking to block medical legal cases brought against the manufacturers of FDA approved products. This is a dangerous move as scandals such as Opren the anti-inflamatory drug and Thalidomid are extreme examples of ‘the ones that got away’ in a regulatory system that fails quite a lot of the time. Because of the nature of spending on medical treatment this will impact the most on babies, children, women and older people. According to research done by the United States General Audit Office in their report FDA Postapproval Risks 1976 – 1985 51.5 per cent of FDA approved drugs approved during this nine-year period showed serious postapproval risks that meant they had to be relabelled or withdrawn from sale. Serious postapproval risks were defined as adverse reactions that could lead to hospitalization, increases in the length of hospitalization, severe or permanent disability, or death.
This has the potential to impact on the UK and Europe as this US administration has been known to throw its weight around to steamroll through uniform trade orientated legislation to match their own standards.
The second link is a report on electronic patient record privacy in the US that raises some interesting issues including the fact that online records have brought a better definition to privacy, but that has not mean’t existing standards.