Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

May 28, 2009

Are you too stupid to take Extra-Strength Tylenol?

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:26 am

An FDA panel has recommended limiting the tablet size of acetaminophen to 325 mg (“regular strength”) because taking too much can cause liver damage.

“There is extensive evidence that hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity) caused by acetaminophen use may result from lack of consumer awareness that acetaminophen can cause severe liver injury,” the working group report said.

And they recommend banning acetaminophen in “combination” products, like cold medicines:

Consumers may not be aware that acetaminophen is present in many over-the-counter combination products, so they may unknowingly exceed the recommended acetaminophen dose if they take more than one acetaminophen product without knowing that both contain acetaminophen,” the report said.

So basically, they are saying that people are too dumb to read the label. And by the way, they are going to fix that by changing the label.

The recommendations also call for limiting the maximum adult daily dose [listed on the label] to no more than 3,250 milligrams. The current recommendation stands at 4,000 milligrams per day.

So, people are too dumb to read the label, but smart enough not to take more tablets to make up for the fact that each tablet has less medicine in it.

Are there any studies to back that up? If people aren’t reading the label, it’s just as possible that instead of assuming “all pills are equal” they’ll assume that “extra strength is twice as strong as regular” — and will therefore take twice as many “regular” pills. That means their dose will go up, not down — since the “regular” pills are two-thirds the strength, not half the strength, of the “extra strength” pills.

May 26, 2009

Summary of Obama’s introduction of Sonia Sotomayor

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:56 am

I happened to catch Obama’s speech introducing his new Supreme Court nominee earlier today.

Here’s a summary:

Because of her background, she is uniquely qualified to represent the poor and downtrodden. She went to private schools as a child, then to Princeton and Yale. Before becoming a judge, she was a partner at a commercial litigation law firm specializing in intellectual property litigation. Because she is a woman of color, she knows what it’s like to be denied the educational and professional opportunities that other Americans take for granted. She is a Yankees fan, but Obama hopes she doesn’t suffer from the prejudice of New England Senators.

October 28, 2008

Colin Powell, Ted Stevens, and Barack Obama

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:20 am

Gen. Colin Powell testified in defense of Sen. Ted Stevens at his corruption trial:

Colin Powell described Sen. Ted Stevens in court today as a “trusted individual” and a man with a “sterling” reputation.

“He was someone whose word you could rely on,” said Powell, secretary of state in President Bush’s first term, who self-deprecatingly described himself as someone who retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then “dabbled a bit in diplomacy.”

Then Sen. Stevens was convicted of bribery.

In between, Powell said similar things about Obama.


(HT: Instapundit.)

October 16, 2008

Caught up on comments

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:00 pm

I’ve been a bit slow in approving comments, but I’m all caught up now. I’ve even posted comments in reply to your comments — see, I really do read them all!

There are still comments coming in on the Palin posts (scroll down), and a minor correction on the electric truck story (immediately below).

October 12, 2008

The do-it-yourself electric truck — saves money?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:07 am

Instapundit links to this story about a guy who converted his pickup to run on electricity. Here are the stats:

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) _ Finding cheap gas is no longer a major concern for Frank Lawrence.

Instead of filling up at the pump, he’s charging up his 1993 Chevrolet S-10 to run on two dozen 6-volt golf cart batteries.

“You know what you spend a week on gas, and all of a sudden your money disappears,” he said. Lawrence estimates he was spending $100 a week on gas before the conversion.

Total investment for the truck and conversion was $12,000. The batteries cost $150 apiece and should last for about 20,000 miles.

Lawrence said in the long run, he’s saving money because it only costs about $1 a day to charge the batteries. He typically drives the truck about 40 miles a day.

Let’s see how much money he’s saving:

Charging adds $1 to his electric bill, and gets him 40 miles. That’s 2.5 cents per mile.

The conversion cost $12,000, and is supposed to last 20,000 miles. That’s 60 cents per mile.

Total cost: 62.5 cents per mile.

Now, a normal Chevy S-10 has a mileage rating of 16 to 27 miles per gallon, depending on the specific model, and whether it’s the “city” or “highway” rating. Let’s be as generous as reasonably possible and assume he got 15 miles per gallon before the conversion. That means at 62.5 cents per mile, his cost is equivalent to spending $9.375 per gallon.

Gas is now between $3 and $4 per gallon.

How much, again, is he saving?

Sounds to me like his “investment” is losing money hand over fist.

And that’s not even taking into account the implied value of all the labor hours he spent doing the conversion!

August 3, 2008

Is Al-Qaeda’s #2 Dead?

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:02 am

CBS News, of all sources, is reporting that Ayman al-Zawahiri seems to have been severely injured, and may now be dead, as a result of a U.S. air strike that killed six other Al-Qaeda members, including their top weapons expert.

(CBS News) — The second most powerful leader in al Qaeda may be critically wounded and possibly dead, CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan reports exclusively.

CBS News has obtained a copy of an intercepted letter from sources in Pakistan, which urgently requests a doctor to treat Ayman al-Zawahiri — who is Osama Bin Laden’s top deputy. He’s believed to be somewhere in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas of Pakistan.

The letter refers to Sheikh Dr. Ayman ul Zawahiri by name — and says that he is in “severe pain” and his “injuries are infected.”

It is reportedly written by local Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, whose signature and seal are visible on the letter.

This of course requires more confirmation, but I just heard on the radio that Al Qaeda is reporting on its web site that four of it’s leaders have been killed. Do they normally admit to that sort of thing? Where is their web site, anyway?

May 23, 2008

Retribution is swift and sure…

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:17 pm

Motorcyclist flipped bird, popped wheelie, crashed

May 5 03:13 PM US/Eastern

COPIAGUE, N.Y. (AP) – A Long Island man who flipped his finger at a police cruiser and then popped a wheelie on his motorcycle is recovering from injuries after crashing.

Suffolk County Police said Frank Patti, 26, of West Islip, rode by the police car at a service station in Copiague at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Police say Patti made an obscene gesture to two officers in the car, popped a wheelie and then sped away.

Police gave chase.

When the motorcycle turned into a parking lot it crashed into a police car that had joined the chase.

Police said Patti was treated for minor injuries at Southside Hospital. He’s charged with fleeing police, resisting arrest and several traffic violations.

He was being held for arraignment Monday. Police did not know if he had an attorney.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

May 14, 2008

The “Missing Child” Poster Experiment

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:00 am

Do those “missing child” posters actually work? I’ve heard some stories about kids with pictures on milk cartons and the like being found (or not), but the question in my mind has always been, what is the chance that someone who sees the child will actually see the poster — within enough time to make the connection between the two?

It turns out, most people don’t notice the child — even if the child is sitting right next to the poster.

Local 6 printed missing posters of Britney — a paid 8-year-old actress — and posted them at the entrance of the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando.

Britney sat alone on a mall seat near a missing poster as her father watched from a distance inside a nearby Panera restaurant.

The experiment was to determine how many people would notice or help the girl posing as a missing child.

Local 6 videotaped person after person entering the mall without even noticing the missing child signs.

Others who did see the posters on the doors were videotaped walking by the missing child.

So, people aren’t really that observant, right? OK, so they are busy and thinking about their own things, not looking around, right?

Well, no — it’s worse than that. They stopped a bunch of people who claimed to have noticed the child, but decided to do nothing.

“I saw her but didn’t know what to think,” shopper Megan Reed said.

“I didn’t even see her,” shopper Priseilla Landerer said. “I didn’t notice her.”

The majority of people at the mall who did see a missing person sign also saw the young girl but just kept walking, Local 6′s Donald Forbes reported.

“I took a good look at the poster,” shopper Tony Roush said. “I’m a photographer, so I’m good with faces and I walked in and I was like, ‘That’s the girl. What do I do?’”

Some people said they were fearful of getting involved.

And, some people were afraid of being mistaken for the kidnapper:

“That’s what I was thinking,” a shopper said. “I was scared the mom would pop out of nowhere and be like, ‘Why are you talking to my child?’”

“We don’t want to get really close because some people don’t like it when you bother their child,” shopper Linda Turner said.

Then again, two people did stop and talk to the child and tried to figure out what was going on. In real life, maybe that’s all it takes.

Still, it’s disturbing that people were willing to admit that they noticed and did nothing. I find this more disturbing than if they’d claimed not to have noticed. Why? Because the fact that they admit it means that they think — or think most people would think — that it’s OK to notice and do nothing. And THAT is what’s most disturbing of all.

Some Perspective … Hopefully!

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:00 am

Dave Barry asks “And how was your day?” with a link to this story:

Driver gets in wreck, sees his home catch fire, gets ticket

Fri May 9 [2008], 5:27 PM ET

ROCK ISLAND, Tenn. – One moment, Justin Hill was turning into his driveway. Minutes later he was being flown to a hospital as his home went up in flames. Then he got a traffic ticket.

Hill, 42, got into a crash after turning into the path of an oncoming car Tuesday evening, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Monte Terry. Hill’s wife heard the crash and ran outside, leaving the kitchen stove, where she had been cooking, unattended.

Within minutes, their Rock Island trailer was on fire, and firefighters who had responded to the accident found themselves fighting the blaze.

The rural central Tennessee home had extensive damage. Hill was treated at the hospital and released, but he was cited in the accident for failure to yield.

I hope your day has been better than that.

June 26, 2007

What does success feel like?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:43 am

I imagine that if I were fabulously successful, I would probably feel something like this.

May 28, 2007

Silent Spring, silent children

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:44 am

Contrast these two articles. First, this one from the Washington Post, May 18, 2007, by David A. Fahrenthold:

Here, in a study that faces the garden, is where Rachel Carson would sit and write on days when she felt well. Here, in a bedroom with a dogwood outside the window, is where she would lie down and write on days when she felt worse.

On her sickest days, as Carson struggled with cancer and radiation therapy, she came back to her brick house on Berwick Road in Silver Spring and couldn’t write at all. Instead, an assistant read her words back to her, allowing her to edit even when she couldn’t sit up.

“She had such a sense of responsibility, that it was all on her. It had to succeed,” said environmental activist Diana Post, giving a tour of the house this week. “Once she took something up, she couldn’t put it down until it was finished, and finished well.”

Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” published in 1962, led to the banning of the pesticide DDT, the launch of modern environmentalism and her enshrinement as a kind of patron saint of nature. In this region, Carson’s name has been given to two schools, a park and a hiking trail — and it is evoked seemingly whenever environmentalists gather.

But this year, as the 100th anniversary of her birth approaches, people across the Washington area are also remembering the personal story that goes with Carson’s legend. She was a former government press-release writer who managed to captivate official Washington. Her public victory came at crushing private costs.

“She could not live with herself if she didn’t speak out,” said Post, president of an educational group, the Rachel Carson Council Inc., now run out of the Silver Spring house.

And what did the banning of DDT achieve?

Let’s hear from Fiona Kobusingye, coordinator of Congress of Racial Equality Uganda, writing in the PostChronicle.com:

I just got out of the hospital, after another nasty case of malaria. I’ve had it dozens of times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. Fifty out of 500 children in our local school for orphans died from malaria in 2005.

Virtually every Ugandan family has buried babies, children, mothers and fathers because of this disease, which kills 100,000 of us every year. Even today, 50 years after it was eradicated in the United States, malaria is the biggest killer of African children, sending 3,000 to their graves every day.

In between convulsions and fever, I thought about the progress we’re making – and about those who would stop that progress. I ask myself, why do some people care more about minor, hypothetical risks to people or animals than about human life?

DDT has worked in South Africa and Swaziland. USAID is now using it in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia. Uganda and other African countries are preparing to add DDT to indoor-spraying programs.

We don’t see DDT as a “magic bullet” that can eradicate malaria by itself. We don’t advocate outdoor spraying with it. But we strongly support spraying tiny amounts on houses – as part of comprehensive strategies that also include other insecticides, larvacides and better sanitation to control mosquito populations, Artemisninin-based combination drugs to treat patients, and bednets, education, better hospitals and sound management practices.

No other chemical, at any price, does what DDT does. It keeps mosquitoes from entering homes, irritates the few that do enter, so they don’t bite, kills those that land, and reduces malaria rates by 75% – all with a single inexpensive spraying once or twice a year.

DDT was also used 46 years ago to slash malaria rates in western Uganda’s Kanungu District. It can and must be used again – according to storage, handling and indoor spraying guidelines – to stop disease and save lives.

Why do some people want to prevent its use? Pesticide Action Network exists solely to battle life-saving insecticides. The environmental movement became a powerful political force, by embracing Rachel Carson’s erroneous claims. But what about other opponents? What is wrong with them?

WHO Public Health and Environment Director Maria Neira wants to stop all use of DDT. The Uganda Network on Toxic-Free Control plans to sue NEMA, if it doesn’t stop the DDT spraying program. Both worry about its hypothetical health effects.

We wish they would worry more about malaria, and focus on DDT’s health benefits – on the diseases it can prevent, the lives it can save.

Three thousand African children die every day from malaria — that’s another 9/11 every single day slaughtered on the alter of environmentalism, all in the name of “protecting health.”

April 23, 2007

Where have I been all this time?

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:23 pm

Sorry for the light blogging lately. (Light? It’s been four months since my last post! How about “photon-mass”?)

Anyway, I’ve been a bit busy lately, but I’m still alive, and hoping to get back into the swing of things soon.

I’ve upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, and the comments aren’t working (yet). If you have any comments, send them to me at blog AT differentriver DOT com.


December 12, 2006

Great Books for Kids

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:46 pm

I highly recommend these books for kids ages (say) 7-17. Or adults. :-)

December 8, 2006

Another Cold War Hero Passes on

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:08 am

Jeanne Kirkpatrick has passed away.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a onetime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party and warmly embraced Reagan era conservatism, has died. She was 80.

Kirkpatrick’s death was announced Friday at the senior staff meeting of the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said spokesman Richard Grenell, who said that Ambassador John Bolton asked for a moment of silence. An announcement of her death also was posted on the Web site of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-oriented think tank here where she was a senior fellow.

Kirkpatrick’s assistant, Andrea Harrington, said that she died in her sleep at home in Bethesda, Md. The cause of death was not immediately known.

(Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.)

The aforementioned notices is on the AEI home page. Her AEI biography page is here.

November 22, 2006

Art Prices Soaring

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:42 pm

This is really strange:

Record art prices astonish New York dealers

By Deborah Brewster in New York

Published: November 19 2006 17:27 | Last updated: November 19 2006 17:27

More than $1.3bn in works of art have been sold in the past two weeks during a record New York auction season that has pushed art prices to an all-time high.

Experienced dealers and collectors were astonished by some of the prices paid at auctions held by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, which pulled in twice the sum they did last year. The worldwide collecting boom shows no sign of slowing, with Russian, Asian and Middle Eastern collectors, along with hedge fund managers, providing a fresh pool of buyers.

Prices are now clearly above the level of the last market peak in 1990. The Mei/Moses index [of art prices] rose 22 per cent in the 12 months to June and is expected to rise sharply further once the latest sales are included.

November 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Interstate Highway System!

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:53 am

Ralph Bennett writes:

As you prepare to head out to join with family and friends for that Thanksgiving turkey, give thanks right now for one of the most magnificent engineering feats of all time.

The Interstate.

Or, as it is more formally known, The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.

It’s 50 years old this year. And it was in this very month, November, 1956, that the first eight-mile stretch of what would eventually be more than 42,000 miles of limited access highway lacing the states together was opened in Topeka, Kansas.

Give thanks because the Interstate is going to make your holiday trip, this week, and at Christmas, immeasurably faster and easier than it used to be. Only those who drove or rode as children in automobiles in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s can fully appreciate how much faster and how much easier.

November 13, 2006

The Web is Old Enough to Drive

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:21 pm

In most (U.S.) states, anyway.

The World Wide Web is 16 years old today.

October 31, 2006

The Nature of the Sacrifice

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:42 pm

By example: The story of 2LT Joshua L. Booth.

October 10, 2006

Edmund Phelps

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:32 am

I would not be an eocnomics blogger if I did not mention that this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics is going to Edmund Phelps. But I can’t give a better explanation of, or collection of links to, his work than Tyler Cowen’s.

August 9, 2006

When a Friend has an Illness

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:36 am

Read this for future reference.

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