Monday, September 20, 2010

New Drugs Stir Debate on Basic Rules of Clinical Trials

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/health/research/19trial.html?_r=1&hp

If this was a randomized double-blind trial I could see Roche's argument, but what the hell is the point of having a control group if the study isn't blind? Needless suffering?

There are plenty of dead people from stage 3 and stage 4 melanom...a with the B-RAF mutation and tons of data on how long they survived on dacarbazine. Even if the FDA demanded a control group why not have the dacarbazine control group in Canada or another OECD country where Roche does not yet have approval nor is seeking approval for the new drug?If this was a randomized double-blind trial I could see Roche's argument, but what is the point of having a control group if the study isn't blind? Needless suffering?

Friday, September 17, 2010

What are our commanders thinking?

If you abandon a forward operating base, you don't leave useable ammunition or any part of the base intact.

You evac and drop some heavy munitions and flatten the entire base.

Now the Taliban has an intact base to practice attacking.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

US Military using Reaper drones to combat Somali Piracy

In April 2009 I wrote about the need to use MQ-9 Reaper drones to combat piracy off of Somalia.

It appears that in October 2009 the US military eventually came to the same conclusion and deployed MQ-9 Reaper drones based in Seychelles. Bravo!

More Stupid Stimulus, RIMM in trouble, Panic Rooms on Cargo Ships

1) More Stupid Stimulus
$50B for infrastructure? Yes, great idea, let's attempt to replace the epitome of boom/bust cyclical jobs, construction, with another set of boom/bust cyclical jobs... construction.

As I said over a year ago, stimulus money should go directly to states and municipalities. The federal government is quite possibly the worst actor when it comes to allocating stimulus money efficiently, it is impossible for them to know where the money is needed for all 50 states and thousands of municipalities. The direct-to-state and direct-to-muni money would prevent hospital closures, fire/police/teacher layoffs, muni bankruptcies, property tax rate increases, state income tax rate increases.

2) RIMM in trouble
I've had a blackberry for 9 years (6 personal, 3 work), and an iPhone for 2 years.
The blackberry was years ahead of its time in terms of email management, but has always been and will be for the near future, horrible at everything else. The web browser, for example, is unusable. Even the email system has fallen behind the times, I cannot view embedded HTML photos, no workable pdf reader, the ability to read excel files is extremely limited.

With Android's native gmail capability and excellent browser the only reason for anyone keeping the blackberry these days is blackberry exchange server (business email/calendar/address book).

In the non-corporate sector, I foresee RIMM losing customers at an alarming rate (from 2006-2009 RIMM had signficiant penetration in the consumer and small business sector), as those customers will want content rich browsing, email, and the ability to access cloud applications on the phone (what's the point of a cloud system if you can't access it outside the office).

3) Panic Rooms in Cargo Ships
Typically when Somali pirates take over cargo ships, armed intervention is a no-go because of the risk to hostages. The best reponse that crewmembers can take is to seal themselves off in a panic room in the vessel's hold. This allows for commandos to retake the ship:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ5jRcF3oMs
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/dutch-marines-storm-cargo-ship-seized-by-somali-pirates-1937612.html