Saturday morning coffee [March 14 2015]

“There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at.” – Goethe

So much happens each and every week, and 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 mug below comes straight from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR. My wife and youngest daughter were up North last week visiting colleges. They surprised me upon their return with a box of Voodoo Doughnuts and this mug. The doughnuts were delicious.


Chappie was #1 at the box office last weekend, which isn’t saying much as it pulled in a mediocre $13.3 million. I’m not sure what to think of Chappie. It’s not a movie that I’m likely to see on the big screen. I’ll wait for it to show up on Netflix or Redbox.

To date, the top three domestic box office movies for 2015 are: #1 Fifty Shades of Grey, #2 The SpongeBob Movie, and #3 Kingsman: The Secret Service. What a mix.

Today is Pi Day. Pi (π) is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s always the same number and has been calculated out to an insane number of decimal points. This year’s Pi Day is a once in a century occurrence as the date equals four decimals of pi (March 14 2015 = 3/14/15 = 3.1415).  It gets even more interesting at 9:26 AM, when the date/time equals 7 decimals of pi (3.1415926): March 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM = 3.1415926.

medGadget: “…a new machine developed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is able to synthesize small molecules completely automatically. In effect, it allows chemists to draw a new molecule and have the machine put it together without any assistance.” – Seriously cool stuff.

KQED Science: “Patterson’s story is far from unique. Across the United States, millions of patients are finding that their electronic medical record cannot be efficiently or securely shared between doctors, especially among those working at different health systems…Mendelsohn said the inability to share health information across medical systems is slowing down the consumers’ ability to access high-quality health care. Patients who walk into a hospital are complete strangers; it’s not always clear whether they have a medication allergy or a chronic disease.” – You think things are bad now, just wait until all these idiots start giving their health information to Apple.

As I continue my education on all things related to the cleanroom I run across great reference sites. This week’s reference of choice is a list of Sterile Compounding Webinars found at the Pharmacy OneSource site.

WT VOX: “Special sensor-laden inks would help diabetics monitor their blood sugar and allow people to stay on top of other elements of their body chemistry. The write-once, read-several-times inks could also let homeowners test for toxic pollutants, and help soldiers detect explosives and nerve agents on the battlefield. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) who developed the inks published their results in the 26 February issue of the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials…The scientists filled off-the-shelf ballpoint pens with their enzymatic inks. The pens could create a blood glucose sensor simply by drawing glucose-sensitive ink on a transparent, flexible strip that included an electrode. When a blood drop was placed on the sensor, the ink reacted with glucose in the blood and the sensor measured the reaction.” – Science, you gotta’ love it.

Formulary Watch: “However, the reasons for hospital readmission are different after sepsis; 42% of hospital readmissions among sepsis survivors are for “ambulatory-care sensitive conditions”—conditions that can potentially be prevented or treated early in the outpatient setting to avoid hospitalization. For these, the care provided at physician’s visits can make a major difference in how well the patient does overall, and how well they avoid the hospital.” – Pretty much par for the course. My brothers and I experienced this with my mother’s care. She received incredible inpatient care at UCSF Medical Center before, during, and after her liver transplant. Unfortunately here ambulatory care here in the Central Valley was pretty lousy, which resulted in several readmissions for the same problems.

Have you ever heard of homeopathy? Homeopathy is “the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease”.  That’s what I got when I Googled it, anyway. For those of us that know anything about pharmacology, homeopathy is pure garbage. It’s completely worthless, but many people believe in it. Zealots, the lot of them. Just in case there was any doubt, a recent analysis of over 225 medical studies and 1,800 scientific papers found that homeopathy is ineffective as a health treatment. According to the authors “people who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments“. Yeah, that about sums it up. Friends don’t let friends use homeopathy. The NHMRC report can be found here [PDF].

How cool is this? The video below shows NASA’s firing of its new booster for the Space Launcher System. It’s the largest, most powerful booster ever built. How’d you like to be standing behind that bad boy?

Here are 14 international coffee recipes for your pleasure. Number 3 on the list is a flat white. According to the article a “flat white, not to be confused with the everyday latte, is a velvety mixture of espresso and foamy, steamed milk that’s a favorite in Australia and New Zealand.” Interestingly enough, I had my first flat white this week. Maybe I should have gone to Australia to get mine because the one I had tasted like the everyday latte. Perhaps my taste buds aren’t discerning enough.

Google announced a new Chromebook Pixel this week. What a beautiful machine. The new Pixel has a 12.85-inch touch screen with a 2560 x 1700 resolution. It can be outfitted with an Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, and comes with several ports, including two of the new USB Type-C ports. I would love to have one, but am not willing to drop that many Benjamin’s on a Chromebook. I have the original Samsung Chromebook and use it all the time. In fact, it’s my go-to machine for web surfing, casual email, watching YouTube in bed, and so on, but I’m just not ready to spend more than $1K for a high end Chromebook. If I had $1K to drop on a new machine, you can bet your life it would be a Windows 8 Ultrabook.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “”In the span of about 12 hours Tuesday, three NFL players 30 or younger [27-year old Jason Worilds, 30-year old Patric Willis, and 26-year old Jake Locker] left behind millions when they announced they were retiring.” – And why not? These guys are young and insanely wealthy. Enjoy.

The mighty UCA Bruins men’s basketball team lost to the Arizona Wildcats last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas 64-70. My daughter – UCLA Cheerleader – and my wife are in Vegas for the tournament. They’re a little bummed. On the upside, they’re together in Las Vegas until Sunday. Have fun ladies, but not too much fun.

Bloomberg: “23andMe Inc., the Google Inc.-backed genetic-testing startup that popularized a $99 DNA spit test, will expand from screening people for diseases to inventing new medicine to cure them. It’s the latest evolution for 23andMe, which went from a seller of novelty ancestry kits to one of the world’s biggest repositories of genetic data, doing business with major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer Inc. and Genentech.” – Looks like 23andMe will be competing with the very companies they’ve been doing business with. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again, pharmacogenetics is going to change the way pharmacists provide care.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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