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The Internet

Internet Tax Approved By Louisiana House 305

Stinky Litter Box writes "WWL-TV in New Orleans reports that the Louisiana House voted 81-9 on Thursday to propose that a '15-cent monthly surcharge should be levied on Internet access across Louisiana to fight online criminal activity.' Can you say 'slippery slope?' The good news is that Gov. Jindal opposes such a tax. Full disclosure: I grew up in south Louisiana and worked for WWL-TV in the late '70s."
Medicine

Believing In Medical Treatments That Don't Work 467

Hugh Pickens writes "David H. Newman, M.D. has an interesting article in the NY Times where he discusses common medical treatments that aren't supported by the best available evidence. For example, doctors have administered 'beta-blockers' for decades to heart attack victims, although studies show that the early administration of beta-blockers does not save lives; patients with ear infections are more likely to be harmed by antibiotics than helped — the infections typically recede within days regardless of treatment and the same is true for bronchitis, sinusitis, and sore throats; no cough remedies have ever been proven better than a placebo. Back surgeries to relieve pain are, in the majority of cases, no better than nonsurgical treatment, and knee surgery is no better than sham knee surgery where surgeons 'pretend' to do surgery while the patient is under light anesthesia. Newman says that treatment based on ideology is alluring, 'but the uncomfortable truth is that many expensive, invasive interventions are of little or no benefit and cause potentially uncomfortable, costly, and dangerous side effects and complications.' The Obama administration's plan for reform includes identifying health care measures that work and those that don't, and there are signs of hope for evidence-based medicine: earlier this year hospital administrators were informed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that beta-blocker treatment will be retired as a government indicator of quality care, beginning April 1, 2009. 'After years of advocacy that cemented immediate beta-blockers in the treatment protocols of virtually every hospital in the country,' writes Newman, 'the agency has demonstrated that minds can be changed.'"

Comment Re:Article summary (Score 3, Interesting) 785

Yeah, it's quite amazing really, even more so when the Firehose had 4-5 different submissions all based upon this story, and they chose the worst (poorly worded, factual errors, "Micro$oft", inflammatory headline) of them all!

I do like a good MS bash every so often (stress relief from dealing with their products) but I do prefer it to be at least semi-intellectual, rather than just throwing around silly insults...

Oh yeah, and my cheap Chinese £20 Ipod knockoff is still functioning well... plays .ogg too..

Space

Experimental Magnetic Shield Against Cosmic Rays 199

stiller writes "British scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have developed an experimental set-up in which a $20 magnet is used to deflect solar-wind-like radiation." Reader Dersaidin points out a slightly more enthusiastic article at Universe Today which emphasizes the possibilities of systems based on this phenomenon to protect astronauts during solar storms, writing "It's a good start. Hopefully, later versions will be able to protect spaceships from energy weapons. A beam from the LHC can melt a 500kg block of copper. Shields, check. Energy weapons, check. Now we just need a viable interstellar drive, and an energy source to power it all."

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