Google has better Ideas? We’ll see soon…

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I had the opportunity last year to attend a very interesting program, graciously sponsored by Mintz Levin (an International Law and Lobbying firm).  The program title was “Internet Freedom, Social Media and Policy-Making in the 21st Century”. I learned a lot and met some very interesting people.  One of them was Jared Cohen- then, a 28 year old Wunderkind.  Jared had worked for Condoleeza Rice in the State Department in the policy planning unit.  He stayed over to work with Hilary Clinton, where he specialized in counter-terrorism, youth, technology- and even the Middle East.  And, he explained the kind of work and things he had seen during his time there.  He left the State Department  last year to join the Council on Foreign Relations, subsequently joining Google.  He agreed to join Google to do just what he is doing now.  He heads up Google Ideas, a small (6 person?) think tank in New York. (And, no, there isn’t a website for Google Ideas.)

Continue reading Google has better Ideas? We’ll see soon…

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The Law of Unintended Circumstances

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From 1988 to 2004, the incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) cancers of the tongue and tonsil, has increased 225%.  The number of oropharynx cancers is expected to rise to 8500 new cases annually by 2020.  While not a large number, this means that its incidence will surpass the number of cervical cancers experienced by women. Continue reading The Law of Unintended Circumstances

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Better call your brother! He ain’t never seen a wreck like this one!

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I have often spoken about our ability to learn from failure.  When we fail (hopefully, very infrequently), we analyze what we did wrong to insure we don’t repeat the same mistakes.  But, when we succeed, we always assume we planned and executed perfectly.  We don’t consider the fact that we may have been lucky, that some unforeseen event changed the environment that afforded our efforts the success we achieved. (It’s why we propose post-mortems on every project and plan.  We want to learn what worked and what didn’t.) But, it’s sometimes easier to look at someone else’s failure to learn.  Given that, let’s see the fodder one failed project can provide. Continue reading Better call your brother! He ain’t never seen a wreck like this one!

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Dialysis is BIG business. It’s going to get BIGGER still!

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Some days I just can’t believe it.   More than ½ a million Americans have kidney failure; about 350,000 are on dialysis.  These are so much higher than the numbers we expected way back in the early 70’s.  While most of the patients are covered by Medicaid and Medicare (the latter now covers everyone after 14 months or so), most of the “gravy” comes from private pays- the first 14 months of treatment and those covered by private insurance.  The dialysis companies also had erythropoietin (EPO) dosages to provide additional cash, but the Federal government has cut back the approved dosages (no EPO if the hemoglobin levels are 12-14 g/dL) and begun using bundled payments to keep the reimbursements lower.  (By the way, a Veterans Administration/Harvard School of Public Health study recently showed that a change in dose of EPO from 15000 to 45000 units/week  harmed diabetic kidney patients [from 20 to 33 % greater death risk, respectively, plus additional cardiovascular problems], in particular.)

Continue reading Dialysis is BIG business. It’s going to get BIGGER still!

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Autism, Vitamins, Gene Expression… Link?

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Researchers at UC Davis published a survey  in Epidemiology purportedly reporting on the effect of prenatal vitamins and their ability to preclude births of children with autism.  Drs. Schmidt (2), Hansen, Hartiala, Allayee, Hooman, Tancredi, Tassone, and Hertz-Picciotto (UC Davis) reported that women who took prenatal vitamins BEFORE pregnancy (and during pregnancy) were ½ as likely to have a child with autism; those that had high risk mutations were associated with a 7 fold reduction.

Continue reading Autism, Vitamins, Gene Expression… Link?

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