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on flu pandemics

This article has been upgraded to become a briefing document and is now available at on flu epidemics.

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michelangelo in the modern world

“If you don’t move, you get fat.”

Michaelangelo's David in the modern world. Source: GOSF and Wikicommons


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self-reinforcing market instability due to trader’s hormones!

A neat little article, it includes comment on herd behaviour.

“The implications of this hypothesis are far-reaching, for if traders become more risk-seeking during booms and more risk-averse during slumps, then the markets may be inherently unstable and traders may fail to seize on profitable opportunities.”


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mobile phones

“We usually linked fear of wifi and cellphone radiation with the tinfoil hat brigade, but more evidence is coming out that indicates we should be concerned. A 13-country study looked at the issue, and Tyler Hamilton says it is " the most comprehensive look at the potential link between cellphone use and cancer, involves the pooled analysis of thousands of cases of tumours in the head and neck area: gliomas, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas and parotid gland tumours. It was originally supposed to be completed in 2004 and published in 2006. Years later the final report has still not been released, a source of frustration among some scientists who say such a delay would never be tolerated in the context of a drug study.

“One researcher explains that over 50 scientists have to sign off on the final, but that it will come out "soon." Some of the reports that are part of the study have been released, and they point to increases in tumours and cancer.” [Quoted from]


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“According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), specific absorption rate, or SAR, is "a way of measuring the quantity of radiofrequency (RF) energy that is absorbed by the body." For a phone to pass FCC certification, that phone's maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6W/kg (watts per kilogram). In Europe, the level is capped at 2W/kg while Canada allows a maximum of 1.6W/kg. The SAR level listed in our charts represents the highest SAR level with the phone next to the ear as tested by the FCC. Keep in mind that it is possible for the SAR level to vary between different transmission bands and that different testing bodies can obtain different results. Also, it's possible for results to vary between different editions of the same phone (such as a handset that's offered by multiple carriers). [Quoted from]

Phones are available with ratings ranging from below 0.2W/kg, up to 1.6W/kg.
As a cynic might notice, the industry has managed to keep the legal levels in a comfort zone just above the highest manufactured levels.

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This site gives large catalogues of radiation ratings.
For instance, Motorola F3 mobile phone - SAR rating (2.0W/kg): 0.4
                     Apple iPhone - SAR rating (1.6W/kg): 0.97

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from a book review - killer medicine page 2

My experience is that the situation is certainly no better in the UK and France, though the percentage of GDP spent on medicine is much lower outside the USA.

“Shannon Brownlee in Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer

“Doctors, in turn, risk malpractice suits if they withhold a treatment requested by a patient, however unlikely it is to be of help. Sophisticated marketing campaigns by drug and medical device companies, aimed at both average Americans and their doctors, lobby hard to increase the use of new medicines and devices, even if they are no more effective, and possibly more dangerous, than earlier forms of treatment.

“The result is that Americans spend about $6,000 per person on healthcare annually, roughly 2-1/2 times more than the median for the rest of the industrialized world. Americans also swallow 25 to 50 percent more prescription drugs per capita than do Canadians or Europeans. Yet the average life expectancy of Americans, at 77 years, is lower than in Western Europe, Canada, or Japan and closer to that of Cyprus, Costa Rica, and Chile.

“The costs are more than merely financial. One estimate, Brownlee says, ascribes the number of deaths of Americans from unnecessary medical care at 30,000 per year. And an influential Institute of Medicine report released in 1999 called "To Err Is Human" estimated that as many as 98,000 Americans are killed each year by medical errors.

“What this means is that ineffective medical treatments are more than just a waste of time and money: They raise the risk of harm to patients.

A lack of solid, unbiased information exacerbates the problem, Brownlee says. Patients rely on doctors for advice, and doctors rely on medical journals. But many physicians lack the training they need to assess the science in journal studies.”

Overtreated by Shannon Brownlee

Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2007
ISBN-10: 1582345805
ISBN-13: 978-1582345802

$17.13 [] {advert}

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