Monday, December 28, 2009

Economic Outlook: How retail fared

Good economic news!

 I thought you'd be interested in this story from

 Shopping is a critical barometer of economic health and the holiday season the annual blitz that can separate a good year from a bad one. In the United States, consumer shopping is frequently cited as making up 70 percent of the gross domestic product, the broadest index of that nation's output.
sales grew - the depression is over - let the renewal begin  

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Bacteria used to power simple machines
ARGONNE, Ill. (UPI) -- U.S. Department of Energy scientists say they've used common bacteria to power simple machines, providing insight for creating bio-inspired energy production.

The researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University said they discovered bacteria can turn microgears when suspended in a solution.

"The gears are a million times more massive than the bacteria," said physicist Igor Aronson, who led the study. "The ability to harness and control the power of bacterial motions is an important requirement for further development of hybrid biomechanical systems driven by microorganisms."

The scientists discovered the aerobic bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, appear to swim around the solution randomly, but occasionally the organisms will collide with the spokes of the gear and begin turning it in a definite direction. The researchers then added a few hundred bacteria which worked together to turn the gear.

When multiple gears are placed in the solution with the spokes connected, the bacteria will begin turning both gears in opposite directions and it will cause the gears to rotate in synchrony for a long time, the scientists said.

"Our discovery demonstrates how microscopic swimming agents, such as bacteria or man-made nanorobots, in combination with hard materials can constitute a 'smart material' which can dynamically alter its microstructures, repair damage or power microdevices," Aronson said.

The research is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Greed protection law

"Credit card firms prepared for new law

7:03 PM, December 9
Analyst Bruce Harting at Barclays Capital said an estimated 20 percent reduction in revenue from fees will be more than offset by declining credit costs and stable margins, USA Today reported Wednesday."

Greed protection law

"Credit card firms prepared for new law

7:03 PM, December 9
Analyst Bruce Harting at Barclays Capital said an estimated 20 percent reduction in revenue from fees will be more than offset by declining credit costs and stable margins, USA Today reported Wednesday."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas

Have a great holiday by giving of yourself in the spirit of Christ. Help others in need and you will gain true and needed satisfaction.

The rank commercialism -where 40% of total sales are made in one month -loses the original meaning of Christmas . Give of yourself not things please and get back to the original family tradition of good charity and cheer.

in reference to: Blogger: Blogs I'm following (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Satire -the government spending morass explained scientifically

?ui=2&view=att&th=1254b89a15f3f187&attid=0.1&disp=attd&realattid=ii_1254b89a15f3f187&zwThe government morass factor explained scientifically

New Element Found

Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton like particles called peons. Since Gv has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Gv causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second!

Gv has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Gv is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

When catalyzed with money, Gv becomes Administratium (Am) - an element which radiates just as much energy as Gv since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

In summary - GV and Am will expand due to the moron and peon factor geometrically unless contained by critical thinking.

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Money is no problem if you are connected

?ui=2&view=att&th=1254b3520e47126c&attid=0.1&disp=attd&realattid=ii_1254b3520e47126c&zwThe Highly Profitable Business of Vaccines

Exactly how the swine flu story will play out remains to be seen, but there is one business sector that may secretly be hoping for the worst -- vaccine manufacturers, that are more than $1 billion richer, a number that will soar far higher if, in fact, the winter outbreak is as bad as many fear.

Halo-worthy as vaccine makers may seem, the truth is that Big Pharma is motivated by more than a desire to save humankind, given the enormous profit potential from a successful vaccine. New blockbuster products and manufacturer-friendly legislation have combined to make the global vaccine market even larger and more lucrative than ever. In fact, the vaccine market is growing even faster than the market for regular pharmaceutical drugs, bringing in as much as $20 billion or more, by some estimates. That's because the markup on vaccines is larger than on pharmaceutical drugs, making them especially profitable. However, as the use of vaccines has expanded exponentially in recent years, so have concerns regarding their safety and efficacy.

Vaccine Risks
Vaccines have enabled us to take major steps forward in public health, virtually eradicating devastating diseases, such as polio and smallpox, says Larry Sasich, PharmD, MPH, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy in Erie, Pennsylvania. But vaccines are drugs, he points out, and all drugs carry some risks. Though rare, vaccines have been known to cause seizures, brain damage and even death.
In the early 1980s, consumers deluged manufacturers with lawsuits, most especially parents whose children had suffered complications after inoculation with the problematic DTP vaccine (immunization against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, or whooping cough). Fearing the public health consequences if vaccine makers responded by reducing production or pulling out of the market altogether, the federal government passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 to shield manufacturers from liability.
Legislated Protection from Liability
The 1986 act created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which protected vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits and set compensation standards for people injured by their products. For example, compensation for vaccine-related deaths is limited to $250,000 -- a fraction of what might be awarded by a jury in a civil trial if, say, a child had a fatal vaccine reaction. In truth, this amount of money is like pocket change to drug companies, and they aren't even the ones who must pay up -- the federal government writes the check. This protection may help get important vaccines to market faster, but it doesn't do much to ensure safety, because vaccine manufacturers are shielded from consequences for products that turn out to be problematic or even dangerous.
Also, vaccines are genetically engineered and competitors are forbidden by law from duplicating them. This gives manufacturers a virtual monopoly on their products. Since they never have to face competition, biologic-based vaccines continue to generate big profits for years and years and years.

Gardasil: A Cautionary Tale
Protecting manufacturers this way puts consumers at risk. In 2006, for example, despite sparse data to support its safety and effectiveness, Merck introduced and aggressively marketed Gardasil, a new vaccine designed to protect girls and young women from cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Among their questionable marketing tactics, the firm gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in "grants" to medical associations to develop educational materials promoting the vaccine. Even worse, Merck made substantial campaign contributions to state legislators -- as it lobbied them to make Gardasil mandatory for girls attending public schools.
Yet, this vaccine doesn't vanquish a deadly disease such as polio or smallpox. Rather it protects against four viruses that comprise 70% of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer -- and even if they've received the vaccine, women still require regular screening for the disease. While study results published in the August 2009 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) note that Gardasil has a safety record in line with that of other vaccines, serious complications (including an increased risk for potentially fatal blood clots) have been reported. Gardasil is also painful and painfully expensive. The three-shot series costs $400 to $1,000, which is only sometimes covered by insurance, and last year brought in $1.4 billion in sales for Merck... amazing, given that there's no evidence yet how long immunity will even last or whether booster shots will prove necessary. Thus far, the vaccine has been successful in preventing HPV infections that precede cervical cancer, but since this type of cancer takes years to develop, only time will tell whether Gardasil protects against cervical cancer itself.

Moving Forward: The Debate Continues
Even in the face of a pandemic, it remains impossible to reach a consensus regarding vaccines and whether they should be mandatory. Consumer advocates argue for greater regulation and higher standards (e.g., for new vaccines and other drugs, medical devices and procedures), while industry insists that government should keep its hands off. As for the vaccine shield protecting Big Pharma from liability, some legislators talk of getting rid of it while others say it should be strengthened.

Dr. Sasich told me that he personally believes that vaccines have the potential to do enormous good for society and that the vaccine shield enables science and technology to move forward faster and more efficiently. While I agree that many immunizations save lives, I am skeptical about some of the more recent entries into the vaccination arena, such as Gardasil. Perhaps manufacturers need a stick as well as a carrot -- financial responsibility for failures as well as windfall profits for success -- to motivate them to ensure that vaccines are safe, necessary and effective before introducing them on a large-scale basis to the American public, much less making them mandatory.

Larry Sasich, PharmD, MPH, pharmacist and assistant professor of pharmacy practice, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy, Erie, PA.

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