Saturday morning coffee [October 12 2013]

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Plato

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….


Here’s one for you, the World Cup Tasters Championship. The event “awards the professional coffee cupper who demonstrates speed, skill, and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees. Coffees of the world have many distinct taste characteristics and in this competition format the objective is for the cupper to discriminate between the different coffees. Three cups are placed in a triangle, with 2 cups being identical coffees and one cup being a different coffee. Using skills of smell, taste, attention and experience, the cupper will identify the odd cup in the triangle as quickly as they can.” We’re a competitive species aren’t we.

Gravity was #1 at the box office last weekend with more than $56 million in box office receipts. Like many I’m surprised that the movie is doing as well as it is. I can’t even say that I know what it’s about. I get the basics from the previews, but can’t decide if there’s enough going on to make me want to see it. Initially I had no plans to spend my hard earned money on Gravity, but all the internet hype is quickly swaying my decision.

Speaking of movies, I’m way behind my average for this time of year. It’s week 41 of 2013 and so far I’ve only taken in 30 movies at the box office; the vast majority of those coming before August. I don’t think I’ll hit my annual goal of 50 this year. First world problems.

I love popcorn. Always have. Whenever I go to the movies I have to get a bucket of the stuff. I’ve tried skipping it, but just can’t. The Smithsonian Magazine blog has a great article on popcorn: Why Do We Eat Popcorn at the Movies. It’s a bit long winded, but worth your time if you like informational tid-bits about random subjects like popcorn.

The most visited post at over the past 7 days remains Why pharmacy continues to fail.

I’m surprised at just how little I’ve been affected by the government shutdown. What does that really say about the situation?

Google has changed their Terms of Service and people are in an uproar. People are unhappy that Google would be able to use their public profile information in advertisements to promote products that they’ve reviewed, +1’d, etc. I understand people’s caution, but don’t freak out about it, just opt out. There’s a little check box at the bottom of the Terms page that allows you to exclude yourself. It take 5 seconds. Chill people.

How do microneedles deliver drugs? This is incredible technology.

Medscape Pharmacists: “When community pharmacists are in the loop, patients experiencing a nascent episode of worsening heart failure could well be identified and their physicians alerted before it might otherwise have been detected and while there’s an early opportunity to intervene….Pharmacists at four pharmacies in the community, including within the Kroger chain of stores, were recruited to use a simple questionnaire in routine interactions with customers getting their heart-failure medications. The six questions were designed to detect any recent changes in the patients’ heart-failure status, whether they were aware of them or not…Of the 65 patients who participated, a surprising two-thirds gave responses that disclosed the first signs of worsening heart failure, raising suspicions enough for the pharmacists to take the next step.” – Community pharmacy has the potential to play a significant role in chronic disease state management. It’s a real shame that the profession hasn’t embraced the concept. Outpatient pharmacy should play a much bigger role in patient care. And by that I don’t mean distribution.

RxEconsult had an interesting article this week about the new Walgreens Pharmacy concept. The author was quite impressed with it. I had more questions than answers after reading through the description of his encounter with the pharmacist. First and foremost, was the pharmacist the only person out front facing the public? If so were they responsible for things like running the register, answering questions like “where’s the milk”, and so on. The only photo in the article shows a single employee engaging a customer at the counter. Is that the pharmacist? And what are they talking about? I’ve worked in retail environments before and they were never about patient care. They were all about squeezing everything they could out of the situation.

iHealthBeat: “The University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine is offering a for-credit course in which students will edit Wikipedia articles about diseases in an effort to boost the quality of medical articles in the online encyclopedia. Although professors often incorporate Wikipedia into their coursework, this is the first time medical students will be able to receive credit for such work.” – I’m not sure whether to be horrified or intrigued by this. On one hand it will get students familiar with the concept of Wiki’s. On the other hand people have no business going to Wikipedia for healthcare information.

Innovation doesn’t have to be expensive. Actually, I would argue that inexpensive innovation is more valuable than multi-million dollar innovation. Why? Because inexpensive innovation has the potential to impact the masses. From Medgadget: “Tracking of blood flow within living tissue iis often done using a technique called laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI). The equipment used to do this technique tends to be high-end and expensive, so a team of biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a laboratory-grade LSCI system made from off-the-shelf components that costs less than $100 to build. They used a $5 laser pen, a $35 webcam, and a couple simple camera lenses for the rig.” Oh yeah, the system performed just as well as the multi-thousand dollar version. Here’s a link to the article in Biomedical Optics Express.

NFC World: “The NFC Pharma app enables consumers to set up — with the assistance of the pharmacist — a wellness profile detailing their dietary requirements. They can then tap a product’s NFC shelf edge label in the pharmacy to obtain detailed information and be notified if there is any risk to their health.” – A good use case for NFC technology in smartphones.

I use Microsoft OneNote quite a bit. It’s a great companion for anyone that likes Windows based tablets that support inking. Onetastic is a neat little addin for OneNote that adds to its already great functionality. The addin is free so there’s really no excuse for not trying it out.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Round this week. The device sports a slightly curved 1080p 5.7-inch OLED screen. It’s cool, and I’d like to see one if person, but I can’t see much demand for a device like this. The roll effect is neat thought.

Interested in all the new Baytrail Tablets hitting the market? Of course you are. You’d have to be either brain dead or an iSheep if you weren’t. Anyway, UMPC Portal has a great list of these Atom-based machines. Of all those on the list I’m most interested in the Dell Venue 11 Pro. I never thought I’d use “most interested” and “Dell” in the same sentence.

This could be interesting: Genetrainer. Take a DNA test –> Connect to Genetrainer –> Choose your goals –> Receive personal plan –> Get Fit!

So it appears that a German company stopped shipping propofol to US distributor after vials were sent to Missouri for use in executions.

From the no-duh! files, “concerns associated with electronic health records are hindering physicians’ job satisfaction”. This from the genius’ at RAND and reported by iHealthBeat. To coin a phrase from the great Sam Axe: you know physicians, bunch of bitchy little girls.

This just because it’s funny, and true. Caution: a bit of language, i.e. 1 F-bomb.

The NFL has been full of surprises this year, but none more so than the New York Giants and the Kansas City Chief. Who would have predicted that the Giants would be 0-6 or that the Chiefs would be 5-0 with a real shot at being 6-0 by the end of this weekend? I surely wouldn’t have put money on either one of those scenarios.

Is there any division worse than the NFC East this year? The Eagles and Cowboys sit atop the division at 2-3. The Cowboys meet the Redskins (1-3) this weekend. Chew on this scenario for a minute: if the Cowboys and Eagles both loose this weekend, the Redskins would technically lead the division at 2-3, and the Giants at 0-6 would only be two games out of the division lead. Now that’s funny.

NFL Games worth watching this weekend: Green Bay at Baltimore and New Orleans at New England. Other than that there’s not much happening. Of course, I have an interest in the Cardinals at 49ers game, but I don’t expect the Cardinals to win that one. As much as it hurts me to say this, the 49ers are a better team.

Have a good weekend everyone. See you next time.

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