Saturday morning coffee [September 15 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is from UCLA, obviously. I accompanied my daughter down to UCLA a couple of weeks ago to attend her orientation. It’s a beautiful campus. While I was creeping around I ran into Jim Mora, head coach of the UCLA Bruins football team, sitting on the steps outside of Ackerman Union. I’ll admit, I thought it was pretty cool to see him. I made eye contact and gave him “the nod”, i.e. the male equivalent to saying hello. He blew me off completely. Nice to know he has standards.

The Possession was #1 at the box office again last weekend. Still haven’t seen it, and still have no intentions to. And Lawless was #2 at the box office again last weekend. Still haven’t seen it either, but would like to. Maybe today or tomorrow.

–  The United States isn’t the only country dealing with the problem of medication adherence. A recent article in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy (J Manag Care Pharm 2012(Sep); 18(7): 527-39) took a look at using pharmacists-led intervention for patients with type 2 diabetes in an ambulatory setting. Overall the results were positive. The article concluded that “Patients with type 2 diabetes who received pharmacist-led pharmaceutical care in an outpatient diabetes clinic experienced reduction in A1c at 6 months compared with essentially no change in the usual care group. Six of 8 secondary biomarkers were improved in the intervention group compared with usual care.” The full article is available for free here. Pharmacists, we’re not just dudes who move pills from a big bottle to a smaller one.

– A group of researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island and the Technical University of Berlin have created software that analyzes sketches and crude drawings and can figure out what they are in real time with surprising accuracy. It’s pretty cool stuff. Check the video below.

– Tranexamic acid is an interesting compound. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s not all that commonly seen in healthcare. I’ve seen it used now and then in the treatment of various conditions, following heart surgery, etc., but it’s never taken center stage. I remember using it at UCSF for Cystic Fibrosis patient in critical condition with severe hemoptysis. It worked well. An article in the September British Journal of Medicine (BMJ 2012; 345) looks at the impact tranexamic acid has on mortality in patients with traumatic bleeding. Guess what? It works. “Tranexamic acid was associated with a significant reduction in all cause mortality and deaths from bleeding. Tranexamic acid can be administered safely to a wide spectrum of patients with traumatic bleeding and should not be restricted to the most severely injured.” Something for pharmacists to file in the back of their minds for later.

– Did you know that there are more than 1,200 different chemical components in coffee? I’ve seen articles that say upwards of 1500. It’s true, coffee has a lot of crap in it from chlorogenic and phenolic acids to lipds, minerals, trigonelline (known for causing bitterness), and of course my beloved caffeine. Pretty cool stuff. And just think, we drink it. The book to the right – Coffee Flavor Chemistry – would be cool to have. It combines two of my favorite things, coffee and chemistry. With that said, I just can’t bring myself to drop nearly five Benjamin s on it.

– I’m a smoothly kind of guy. It’s why God created blenders. Here’s an awesome recipe from for a Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie. Throw all that stuff in the aforementioned blender a blend it, baby. Blend it.

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk (of your choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or agave)

– The iPhone 5 was announced this week and demand for it is at an all-time high. Apple’s stock also shot through the roof following the announcement. I actually followed the announcement with great interest and read many, many reviews in the days since. I consider myself tech savvy, and I wanted to know what Apple had up their sleeve. Not much. Apple is literally playing catch-up with the rest of the smartphone industry in terms of technology and functionality for the first time ever. With that said I had to laugh at much of what I read. Once again the tech world is pissing themselves at the “shear genius” of what is quite honestly outdated thought. Of course this is my opinion, and mine alone. I suppose I give people too much credit. I used to assume that the average person was fairly intelligent, but I was wrong. I’m starting to discover that the average human being is actually pretty dim witted. Businesses count on it. I’m learning that the dumber your audience the more likely it is that you can say whatever the heck you want and they’ll buy it. Business 101. It’s given me a new lease on life. An epiphany it you will. I’ve been over thinking things my entire life. Velcro, duct tape, pencils. We still use pencils for cryin’ out loud! It’s clear to me now that the world needs just as many Pee-wee Herman’s as it does Nikola Tesla’s.

– Northwestern University: “Every cook knows that boiling water bubbles, right? New research from Northwestern University turns that notion on its head. “We manipulated what has been known for a long, long time by using the right kind of texture and chemistry to prevent bubbling during boiling,” said Neelesh A. Patankar, professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and co-author of the study.” This is why chemistry is the best science in the world. Just sayin’.

– ABC News: “A national study in the Journal of Rural Health of over 8,800 Americans showed that country folks were nearly one-fifth more likely to be obese compared to those living in cities. In other words, the findings suggest, where you live is important in obesity.” – And what’s your point?

– I’m thinking about buying a new smartphone. Looking at the Droid RAZR MAXX HD, which isn’t available yet. I love my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but battery life has become something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. With an extended battery on my Nexus I get between 6-8 hours of heavy use when I’m on the road. That’s really not acceptable. Unfortunately none of the current crop of smartphones on the market today outside of the RAZR MAXX series can do much better. I carry two extra batteries with me, so it only takes me a couple of minutes to remedy the problem, but I would sure love to get about 16 hours out of my phone without having to worry about it.

– Speaking of extending battery life on smartphones, check out this PowerSkin battery case for the Galaxy SIII. The “skin” allows the handset’s NFC radio to continue to operate through the case. It contains a 1,500mAh battery that should extend the operational time of the phone by quite a bit. According to the manufacture the case is supposed to provide an extra 170 minutes of talk time and 97 added hours of standby time. I don’t like cases on my phone, but it sure beats the alternative when you’re on the road.

– With my daughter going off to UCLA next week, she’s been buying her textbooks. UCLA provided her with a list based on her class load. Dude, text books are expensive. She’ll drop nearly $2K on textbooks this year if she purchases them new from the UCLA bookstore, which we’re not going to do. She and I went to the textbook site. Same books, not the same money. Significantly cheaper, and they’re delivered to your front door. Cool.

– “[Microsoft] is promising its workers a brand new Windows 8 PC for work, a new Windows Phone 8 handset, and a Microsoft Surface tablet.” This coming from Venture Beat. My only question is, how can I get a job at Microsoft? Actually, I applied at Microsoft a few years ago when I wanted to get out of pharmacy. They have a division that develops products for healthcare. I submitted my CV, filled out the mountain of paperwork and got blanked. Crickets, dude. Crickets.

– My youngest daughter, Mikaela’s Birthday is today. Yay! She had her friends over last night. We took them all out for dinner, had cake and ice cream and they spent the evening swimming and having fun. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and the only thing on her list was a Samsung Galaxy S III. So guess what I get to play with today? Yep.

UT Southwest Medical Center: “Contrary to popular belief, sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t help you catch up on sleep lost during the week, but rather makes you sleepier come Monday morning.” – And there you have it, you can’t catch up on sleep. I find as I get older I can’t sleep in anyway. My body tells me to get up regardless of how much I rebel.

– Laser powered needles anyone? From The Optical Society (OSA): “A new laser-based system, however, that blasts microscopic jets of drugs into the skin could soon make getting a shot as painless as being hit with a puff of air. The system uses an erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, or Er:YAG, laser to propel a tiny, precise stream of medicine with just the right amount of force. This type of laser is commonly used by dermatologists, “particularly for facial esthetic treatments,” says Jack Yoh, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea, who developed the device along with his graduate students.” The paper, published today in the Optical Society’s (OSA) journal Optics Letters, can be found here.

– A group from San Jose State University Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering is working on an omnidirectional, self-balancing Spherical Drive System (SDS) electric motorcycle. Looks like the motorcycle in the most recent Dark Knight series of movies. “From an engineering approach the problem is a standard controls problem which will replace the person with accelerometers/gyros and human correction with drive motors. The system which this project will be modeled after is called the inverted pendulum, which aim to keep an inherently unstable system from falling into its stable state by having almost instantaneous response to outside disturbances. Ball Inverted Pendulum is an inspiration for us and shows some inner workings of possible solutions to our design problem.” Pretty cool stuff.  The website has all kinds of cool images, conceptual drawings and videos. You should check it out. SJS is just three hours up the road for me. I wonder if they’d let me drop in for a look?

– Sadly this week four Americans were killed during attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. I’m not a political man. I’ve never seen any use for politics as they’re a game played by the wealthy for the wealthy. The average American citizen, which I consider myself, has no impact on politics because we don’t have enough money or power to influence what happens in the world. The only thing I will say is that this is inexcusable and action should be swift and frightening to anyone outside the United States. We are a world power and we should act like it. Leaders in other countries should literally crap their pants when something like this happens on their soil because what comes next from the United States should be quick, decisive and brutal. No American citizen should ever fear for their life while acting on behalf of the United States in non-war time activities. Diplomacy is great for politicians, but remember what I said about politics above? Politics is only understood by the wealthy and powerful. The average man doesn’t care about a bunch of wealthy men sitting in high dollar hotels in posh conditions talking about what to do. I’ve probably said too much, but that’s my opinion in a nutshell.

And with that I bid you adieu. Have a great weekend everyone. Football.

4 thoughts on “Saturday morning coffee [September 15 2012]”

  1. Hi Jerry,
    Congrats on UCLA, I am sure your daughter is excited! I can certainly relate to your frustration with people believing anything they hear. As you know, I am also very passionate about technology and the devices I choose to use. However, I really think the Android vs. iOS question boils down to personal preference. Android is an awesome OS, and will be great for millions of people. Google is doing fantastic things with it, and I hope the innovation continues. On the other hand, Apple is also doing a great job and creating products people like.

    Jerry there is one more point I would like to make about your post. The average person being dim witted makes those that aren’t even more successful in life. We should be thankful everyone is not as sharp as we are :smile:

    Thanks again for posting the Saturday Morning Coffee. I do enjoy reading them!

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