The Sky is Falling! Really?

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Here it comes again! On 1 July, CMMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) proposed cutting the payment of dialysis allocations by 12%. (For those of you not well versed in math- that’s about a 1/8 cut.) But, that’s not quite right, since they also offered a 2.6% increase in the “bundle” payment rate, so the cut comes to about $ 24 less per treatment.

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Sugar High (or is that low?)

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I remember way back when… the saccharine study was all the rage. Right before it was basically outlawed. One of the statements made was that if sugar were not a natural substance and subject to the same testing as saccharine, it would have been eradicated from the market. Because the same dose of sugar in pop was far more harmful to humans than saccharine.

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Shmini Atzeret

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Last night (this should automatically post around 6 am on Thursday) started a most unusual holiday. This is the last one that requires me not to work until April.  (Good.  Now, I can make some money!) The bible gives us very little clue about this holiday.  It’s called the Eighth Day of Assembly (Shmini Atzeret).

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A Microbial Battery For Waste Treatment?

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I’ve written beforeabout methods and processes to treat wastewater  (here and here, for starters- you can find more by searching the index to the right for wastewater)- including methods that may be able to provide power to attenuate the costs of such treatment. Now, another concept to employ microbes to generate electricity has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (right now, it’s ahead of print) describing work being done by Dr. Craig Criddle’s group at Stanford.

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Biofarming- with some great new twists!

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Many of you know that I have been working with water reuse systems for some four decades now. One of the first projects was the development (and sale) of a home wastewater recycling system. During it’s development, we found that certain high use conditions led to a buildup of ammonia in the returning (clean) wastewater to the toilet. Trust me, there are only so many times you can tell the homeowner that the ammonia smell means their toilet bowl is clean. (If you must know, once was about the limit!)

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Born? Made?

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So, it turns out that at least some of us are turned out to help others. fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) is being used to prove that fact. But, the goal of most of the studies has not been to see if we are generous to a fault, but to determine how (if?) we can help folks who lack empathy or want to improve on their generosity.

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I’m gonna live forever?

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I’ve written before about one project at Google– the one aimed at determining why folks become terrorists.  The basic concept is to determine why people join gangs and how that is similar to folks joining terrorist cells.  In so doing, we should be able to find ways to stop folks from becoming terrorists. This venture is led by one smart young chap- Jared Cohen- who got his start in the Condy Rice’s State Department and stayed on under Hillary Clinton’s tenure, before  heading up this new gig.

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