Nov 24 2009

News From The Neuro-Urology Department

Tag: brains,health,stimulusDonna B. @ 5:01 pm

The most amazing news to me is there’s such a specialty as neuro-urology. This is like life imitating a dirty joke. The author of Shocking Treatment Helps Erectile Dysfunction, and perhaps even the researchers just can’t seem to help themselves, even though the treatment sounds exciting, er… I mean interesting.

I admire the way researcher Yoram Vardi describes the parameters of the strength of the shockwaves in language the average layman can understand:

“These are very, very low energy shock waves,” Vardi said. Each shockwave applied roughly 100 bar of pressure — some 20 times the air pressure in a bottle of champagne, but less than the pressure exerted by a woman in stiletto heels who weighs 132 lbs. (60 kg). 

“This sort of energy is completely different from what you would get in a massage, although everyone can do what they want,” Vardi said.

This is just perfect material for a Neurotopia Friday Weird Science post.  


Feb 11 2009

Too Big Too Pass

Tag: legislation,stimulus,stupidityDonna B. @ 1:48 pm

Yesterday I downloaded the latest Senate revisions of the stimulus bill. It’s 778 pages long, costs $790 billion dollars — that’s only slightly less than $1 billion a page. And it covers almost every area of spending one can imagine.

I have not read the whole thing (duh!) and can’t help wondering if any of our Sens. or Reps. have. Or, if Pres. Obama has. How could any of them have had the time to do so? It took me an hour to read all the section titles!

This bill is too big not only in $$$ but in its sheer wordy bulk. I don’t think anybody has a clue as to how it will all work out, but it will take years for it to have any effect, IMHO. By then, I think the recession would be over anyway. I’m really disappointed in all our representation.

OH NO! I’ve just checked the latest version… it’s now 1434 pages! To be fair, this version includes all the deleted versions of each section. Page 678 is the first page with no strikethroughs. This version is labeled the “public print” version, but you’d have to a moron to print it.

The latest non-marked up Senate version is apparently this one: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Warning: large pdf file. But, it’s only 759 pages!!

Please feel free to apply any metaphor you wish to my post title.

Jan 30 2009

How Can You Fix It, If You Don’t Know What Is Broken?

Tag: economics,stimulusDonna B. @ 6:33 am

This article — Our Epistemological Depression – makes a lot of sense. It’s been my feeling all along that the bailouts and stimuli were frantic panic motions. No, make that emotions. I don’t see any evidence that any of the 535 members of Congress really have a clue what’s happened, much less why.

Barack Obama and his advisors and cabinet haven’t done or said anything much different. Should we call it Do Something Syndrome Even If It’s Wrong Syndrome? DSSEIIWS?

I think we’re screwed because our leadership does not know how to lead, merely that they must react, even if their reactions make the situation worse.

In Too Big To Fail? Or Too Big Not To Fail? I wrote:

What about that old saying warning one not to put all their eggs in one basket? Would heeding this have helped the “too big to fail guys” in fending off disaster?

Muller explains how this strategy, when carried to extremes had “…unintended and unanticipated negative consequences. The purported virtues mutated into vices.”

There was a belief in the financial sector that diversification of assets was a substitute for due diligence on each asset, so that if one bundled enough assets together, one didn’t have to know much about the assets themselves.

Jan 30 2009

Agreeing With Maureen Dowd

Tag: economics,politics,Responsibility,stimulus,stupidityDonna B. @ 12:15 am

Well, almost agreeing anyway. She’s advocating putting the screws to Wall Street’s Socialist Jet-Setters and I have to admit I’d like to see that too. At least to the current crop of nincompoops. The problem is that stupidity is not a crime and that’s all they are guilty of. So far.

I want to see them suffer much more than humiliation and ridicule, though I’m disappointed that Ms. Dowd thinks these gentlemen would be trustworthy enough to fill an ATM with cash.

Nor would I trust most of the Representatives and Senators to do such a job either. And that’s where I’m in disagreement with Ms. Dowd. “Let the show trials begin.” she writes. The show trials we have in this country are Congressional investigations and that’s like asking the Mafia to turn over one of its own. I’m not interested in sacrificial lambs, I’m interested in actual reform. Trials before juries of their peers, with the understanding that their peers are average Americans, whether they want to believe that or not

Let’s wish Andrew Cuomo, New York’s attorney general, good luck in his investigation of the $4 billion in bonuses paid as Merrill Lynch was failing.