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Comment: Re:And good luck asking for APAP-free medicine! (Score 1) 121

by swb (#47431387) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

Oxycodone has required a printed prescription on paper for a long time -- no refills, no phone in. I think hydrocodone (aka Vicodin) was scheduled lower and that made it eligible for phone-in prescriptions and refills without a new prescription, although I believe they recently re-scheduled it to be the same as oxycodone.

I have to sign for every prescription, from opiates to my high blood pressure medication to antibiotics. I can't remember not having to sign for them.

Ironically, I think the dependence on paper prescriptions as being more secure than electronic submission is kind of strange. Surely forging a paper prescription is easier than an electronic submission. I'm also surprised the DEA hasn't just created a mandatory centralized opiate prescribing system where all prescriptions are funneled through them.

I'm not endorsing this, mind you, but they could tighten it down to the point where the only way to prescribe a narcotic is for a doctor to log into a DEA terminal, complete with two-factor authentication, complete the prescription form and have it sent to the pharmacy, all under their watchful eye.

Comment: Re:And good luck asking for APAP-free medicine! (Score 2) 121

by swb (#47430779) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

The FDA has been mulling a total ban on acetaminophen combinations only recently, I presume this is because the most recent research probably indicated that the benefits were outweighed by the risks.

The physicians assistant who prescribed only oxycodone without acetaminophen to me was the youngest of the prescribers I've dealt with, so I'm also assuming her more recent education included this newer thinking.

The oxycodone dosage she gave me was the same as the combination offered elsewhere -- 5 mg. I found that the APAP-free version seemed more effective -- faster onset of benefit with no obvious reduction in duration or overall benefit.

The PA also prescribed other medication to try to enhance the oxycodone, hydroxazine and amytriptaline. Unfortunately both of these had significant side effects. Hydroxazine made me really sleepy and amytriptaline made it very hard to get up.

Comment: And good luck asking for APAP-free medicine! (Score 3, Interesting) 121

by swb (#47430151) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

The funny thing is, try to explain this to your doctor when she wants to prescribe an opiate like oxycodone.

In about half the cases I've been prescribed opiates the doctor refused to prescribe oxycodone on its own -- I was told it was Percocet (oxycodone + acetaminophen) or nothing, they would not write a prescription for just oxycodone. I had one surgeon do it reluctantly, pointedly asking me why and not really liking my answer that I felt it was dangerous and could add in acetaminophen on my own if I felt it was helpful.

I did have one specialist who wrote that way and when I asked her why she prescribed that way she said current research showed the liver risk outweighed the small benefits. Ironically she was the "less educated" physicians assistant and not a full MD.

I think most doctors believe its beneficial but I also think they somehow see acetaminophen opiate formulations as some kind of bulwark against abuse. Either because they believe it is so much more effective paired with acetaminophen and you'll be inclined to take less overall or that people "know" acetaminophen is bad in quantity and it will serve as a deterrent to excessive dosage, especially people with a history of drug abuse.

I also think they are highly skeptical of someone asking for a specific opiate formulation, even when they initiate the prescription (ie, you have an obvious injury and they prescribe an opiate). It's highly ironic that they're so worried about addiction they're willing to risk serious liver toxicity.

Comment: Re:No Funding for you then. (Score 2) 76

by swb (#47430051) Attached to: Senator Al Franken Accuses AT&T of "Skirting" Net Neutrality Rules

As a Minnesotan, I don't see unknown Mike McFadden making a lot of headway against Franken. The dedicated ideologues may vote for him but Minnesota isn't the kind of a state where hard-core ideology will win elections. And he surely won't win campaigning against Franken on a platform of letting Comcast do whatever it wants.

I think he'd be most vulnerable in his own party to someone like Betty McCollum (a current House member) if she wanted the Senate.

Comment: I'm surprised the Russians would complain too much (Score 5, Insightful) 93

Since it would seem to only lead to more focus on the mafia-like nature of the Russian government and the shadowy links between Russian government, intelligence and organized crime.

I'm sure the US-haters and the Russian propagandists will begin their usual moral equivocation, NSA, CIA, banking, etc.

Comment: Re:Normal humans exlcuded from practicing law/medi (Score 1) 568

by swb (#47415249) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

How much of the grueling training is done simply to be grueling and exclude people based on their lack of stamina? Think of law school assignments where they throw a 100 page brief at you Friday to be handed in Monday that requires analyzing dozens of circuit, appeals and Supreme Court decisions, maybe a few hundred pages of congressional record to determine intent and then some history for context? Or the marathon race of medical residency where 100 hours is a normal week and 36 hours straight is a standard shift?

I think in some sense these kinds of things are done not because they make the profession any better but because they are exclusionary and keep the pool of competitors smaller. If you look at less exclusive jobs that need to be done right in organizations that depend on them being done right you see training done for results in a saner fashion vs. some kind of weird torture test.

Comment: What do these systems cost without monetizing? (Score 1) 150

by swb (#47407957) Attached to: Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

What do these systems cost without the inbuilt subsidies that monetize your information?

I'm presuming they seem attractive to people generally because they seem to be inexpensive. Some of this low cost is due to the ever-decreasing costs of the hardware, both in terms of on-site devices (eg, cameras, sensors) and the back end "cloud services" that enable end-user analytics and web connectivity. But a lot of this cheapness seems to involve subsidies provided by monetizing the information they gather and selling it to third parties.

I'm curious what these services would cost if they were offered without any monetization. Would they be cheap enough to be appealing?

I'm mostly thinking of turnkey solutions, not DIY systems where people cobble together their own collection of hardware and software. These may be cheap in dollar cost outlay but if you factor in the cost of labor, time and expertise are pretty expensive and not available to most people.

Comment: Re:I Use Streets and Trips on RV Trips (Score 2) 174

by swb (#47406097) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

I won't knock what you're doing but I'm curious what you get out of it that you couldn't get out of a Rand McNally trucker's road atlas and a dedicated GPS.

The dedicated GPS would give you turn-turn directions without any data service and the atlas would give you decent printed maps for most highway planning.

As kids in the 70s we covered most of the Deep South and Eastern Seaboard in an RV with just a paper map. I don't remember us getting lost and we sure seemed to spend a lot of time off the beaten path.

I suppose the trip planning part would be OK if you were really compulsive about it, but it seems like a lot of work.

Comment: Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (Score 1) 85

by swb (#47402195) Attached to: Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

When Netflix was just a DVD service, keeping up with the star ratings of movies you had watched wasn't hard. You'd log into the web site to manage your queue anyway and clicking on the ratings was simple.

Now so many people watch things via streaming that it's easy to not do it (and so many STBs make it difficult/awkward to rate anyway). Plus I'd bet that much of the streaming viewing is series where rating kind of falls apart because you might watch a single show for a couple of weeks and you lose opportunities to rate many titles since series have a single rating.

It makes me wonder if the suggestion algorithm ever included the critical quality of the movie or if it just included the user ratings. If critical quality was never a factor, skewing the movie base with bad titles makes it seem less effective, especially to a user who may have already taken into account general critical reviews because they see Netflix just pushing bad direct to video titles.

If users are spending more time watching series, not rating due to streaming changing their interactions with the rating system and the recommendation engine not taking into account movie quality it's even easier to see how recommendations become increasingly useless.

Comment: Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (Score 3, Interesting) 85

by swb (#47400103) Attached to: Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

I thought they had a big contest where it was a big deal to beat the then-current suggestion engine by 10% because the current engine was supposed to be so good.

IMHO the bigger problem is that streaming has a huge amount of shit associated with it and they will suggest shit movies which makes it appear that the suggestion engine doesn't work.

My guess at this point given all they do to hide/obfuscate how crummy their streaming catalog is they don't really care about the suggestion engine anymore.

Comment: Re:How do you defeat dogs? (Score 1) 415

by swb (#47399383) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

I'm curious though how you would leach anything out of a container with a negative pressure. Wouldn't the atmospheric pressure on the container mitigate this somewhat? It results in continuous inward pressure into the container.

The consumer system works great for foods but I've had seals fail before so I don't think I'd personally trust it for criminal activity but the commercial systems seem pretty good, the bags are much thicker and they draw a pretty heavy vacuum.

Comment: Re:Fraud! (Score 1) 39

by swb (#47398363) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

It's funny what you say about Burger King, but one thing I notice commonly in McDonalds is people hanging out for a long time with their laptops.

A local coffee shop I used to frequent because it had decent wifi, good coffee and a lot of tables with outlets recently eliminated about 2/3s of their tables and replaced them with lounge chairs and couches. And this was long after you had to have the daily password from your receipt to even use the wifi.

I suspect this was done to minimize people using it as something of an office. You can casually use a laptop or a tablet on a couch, but doing anything serious is much harder without a table.

I'd bet fast food places with free wifi are getting some of the cheaper punters who would have normally camped in coffee shops. Most fast food employees around here are immigrants who don't care to enforce any kind of time limit and they won't soon eliminate tables in a restaurant.

Comment: Class conflict (Score 3, Insightful) 401

by swb (#47398335) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

I think there's an obvious class conflict when it comes to STEM fields. Wages are high enough that it challenges the corporate class structure that dictates what field should be paid more than other fields.

My wife works in marketing for a company that makes an engineered product and we had a fairly heated discussion about this once. Without thinking about the implications, she actually said that marketing was more important than engineering and marketing should always be paid more. Raising engineering salaries above some ceiling wasn't an option.

Now, my wife isn't a mean spirited snob but I think she genuinely meant this and I think it reflects the class consciousness in corporate thinking.

Strangely I never see this mentioned in articles about H1-Bs and STEM workers. It always seems to devolve into an unresolvable debate involving conflicting macoeconomic labor statistics.

Comment: How do you defeat dogs? (Score 4, Informative) 415

by swb (#47398307) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

There was a Mythbusters where they tried to fool a drug dog. I only caught the tail end of it (no pun intended) and the only attempt I saw was the target item inside a suitcase with dirty diapers in a room full of suitcases. If I remember the wrap-up scene the dog always found the target.

I'm curious what else they tried to trick the dogs with. The cynic in me believes the cops wouldn't have cooperated if they had actually come up with a technique that worked.

I wonder if vacuum sealing works -- presuming of course you wash the exterior of the vacuum sealed container and possibly double-bagged it. I use a FoodSaver model for food items and since the sealed bag holds a vacuum, presumably there's no way for the odor to migrate out.

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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