Jun 26, 2011

Bible Studies (1)

We wear hiking boots and sticks and are well-prepared for our walk along the squirrel path here in Bürchen, where the life of the squirrel is explained on educative tableaux, while little man-made squirrel nests are invitingly set next to the path every hundred meters or so. Occasionally, a real squirrel shows up. Almost back home in the chalet zone, we have to descend a steep trail, the Oberer Eggaweg. It rains, we slip, we lie on the ground. Something is amiss. It must be the right foot. We can still move it, though. So we should be OK. We’re trying to get back up, but a sudden pain sets our sensitive nerves alight. We’re hurt. Hit. We’ve broken something. We’re lying on the ground in the pouring rain. We're not feeling well, not at all. Chang cries out aloud, in the middle of all these chalets, "HELP, HELP." But the Swiss Frank is too strong,   the chalets are empty (Switzerland has become too expensive for tourists), nobody comes to help us, and we will die. 

Stay tuned.

Jun 9, 2011

"We have the best health-care system in the world"

And here is a longish quote from The Economist, the well-know communist magazine, published under the heading:"One way capitalism can make health care worse and more expensive":

Here's one example among a million. The other day I went to the IPO announcement of a company that does some fairly state-of-the-art medical stuff. The company was spun off from a public institute a few years back to exploit this technology, but it's been unable to establish significant revenue or market share, or to get within shouting distance of breaking even. Meanwhile, competitors with similar technologies have gobbled up most of the market share, and one is already quite profitable. The company said it planned to raise some tens of millions of dollars with the share issue, many times its current annual expenditures and about a third of its overall market cap. And what would it do with this money? It was going to use half of it to finance a marketing drive, targeting key decisionmakers at American health-care providers and health insurers, and doctors.

Why hadn't this company been able to generate significant revenues? Were its technologies inferior? No, said an independent molecular biologist I talked to. Its product was certainly as good as the competition's. Moreover, it had actually gone to the trouble of getting its technology approved by the FDA, which the competition hadn't. (In this sub-sector FDA approval isn't yet mandatory.) But it hadn't marketed itself well. It hadn't established the relationships with providers and insurers that would ensure that its product was the one they selected. Doing so would require a marketing budget of tens of millions of dollars, in a sub-sector where the entire annual market is a few hundred million dollars.

Just think about this for a minute. A medical technology company is going public to generate the money it needs to advertise its products to hospital directors and insurance-company reimbursement officers. This entails significant extra expenditures for marketing, the new stocks issued to fund the marketing will ultimately have to pay dividends, banks will have to be paid to supervise the IPO that was needed to generate the funds to finance the marketing campaign (presumably charging the industry-cartel standard 7%)...and all this will have to be paid for by driving up the price the company charges to deliver its technologies. But beyond the added expense, why would anyone think that a system in which marketing plays such a large role is likely to be more effective, to lead to better treatment, than the kind of process of expert review that governs grant awards at NIH or publishing decisions at peer-reviewed journals? Why do we think that a system in which ads for Claritin are all over the subways will generate better overall health results than one where a national review board determines whether Claritin delivers treatment outcomes for some populations sufficiently superior to justify its added expense over similar generics? What do we expect from a system in which, as ProPublica reports today, body imaging companies hire telemarketers to sell random people CT scans over the phone?

Jun 6, 2011

Paul Revere: our view

Here's M&'s, admittedly borrowed, view on Paul Revere (reposted)

Editor’s prescript: a close friend discovered an important manuscript that sheds new light on the actor and director George Clooney of Hollywood, California, and on an important historical American figure of recent Sarah Palin fame, ie. Paul Revere.  The fragment was found on the pages of aceonlineschools, and we provide its entire transcription here:

"Many people throughout history have influenced the nation through music, literature, and media. These individuals have left a lasting impression on the people they impressed. They have influenced people's lives. George Clooney is one of these individuals. He has left a lasting impression on the nation and his story is worthy of elaboration.

"George Clooney was born in 1692, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. His mother and father were both on the Mayflower heading east. His father was native to Spain, while his mother was native to Spain. When little Georgie was born, they knew he was destined for greatness because his hair shone like the morning sun and he had the eye of the tiger. He was also really, really tall. When he came to America, he said, “I claim this land,” And it was so. He and his family grew up as royalty in a cottage in Jamestown, Illinois. Everyone in the village worshiped them because they were royalty. By the age of four, George Clooney was 90 stories tall and could spell the word “psedoantidis-establishmentatianism”. This was pretty cool because even I can’t spell that. In his spare time, George Clooney liked to record hit country-rap singles and go on walks around town with his huge blue cow, Oprah Winfrey. But then Oprah got a talk show and started to get famous, so they grew apart. Little did he know, but his connections with Oprah would soon bring him stardom. George Clooney’s rein as “King of movies” began one quiet summer afternoon. He had just gotten back from the country bathouse [sic] after signing the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. Needless to say, he was beat, and decided to go to his bed for a little catnap. While he was sleeping, Paul Revere came to his doorstep and said, “Hey, George Clooney, we’re finally pulling out of Iraq! Are you up for some billiards?” George Clooney replied, “Anything for you, Paul Revere ,” because, as you may not know, George Clooney and Paul Revere   are both raging homosexuals. So they went on their date. But was everything as well as it seemed?

"Everything was indeed as well as it seemed. You may be asking, “what does this have to do with his television career?” or “why does Paul Revere   want to play billiards?” Well I’ll start by answering the latter. Paul Revere  , being a raging homosexual, was part of Hitler’s Raging Homosexual Nazi Party. George Clooney, on the other hand, was simply a Homosexual Royal Spaniard. Because of their differences, Paul Revere   invited George Clooney to play billiards to settle their differences. But instead of settling their differences, he killed him. After this ordeal, George Clooney was in the hospital for months regaining his life force. Some say he went to monkey heaven, where he ate a banana with Austin, but others say that he in fact did not. The world may never know.

"When George Clooney had fully recovered, he started filming for Oceans Thirteen. One day, whilst drinking Prapel(…)Water (?????) Havored. (That’s the worst one) he revelated…

Editor’s postscript: This is where the fragment ends.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The secrets of a proper blow job (I) (French for beginners: "bien sucer")

Experte en succion 1 par Miss_Trash
-"Didn't understand a word of it."
-"The more often you listen to this, the better you understand."
-"Well, subtitles would help, but the French don't do subtitles; they synchronize."
-"Language, movements?"
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