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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Using Mathematical Functions to Describe Everyday Phenomena

**footnote:Thanks to James from U. Wisconsin-Madison



Update from Haiti on Cholera Crisis: >200 Deaths

Partners In Health - Crisis in Haiti

As Haiti grapples with the worst health crisis since the earthquake, the cholera situation remains uncertain, with the death toll topping 200, according to Haitian health officials on Saturday. Partners In Health is providing urgent care to the ill and mounting a massive community campaign to distribute soap and rehydration salts, and educate people about prevention. Our community health workers are traveling to the most affected areas in search of patients who need immediate treatment.

The outbreak is concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region northwest of Port-au-Prince, where Partners In Health operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population.

Click below for images from the outbreak and to read a full update from our staff in the field:

Click here to watch a slideshow of PIH's response to the cholera epidemic

A large concern is the geographic spread of the outbreak, and particularly the possibility of its spread to Port-au-Prince. In a call with reporters yesterday, PIH Chief Medical Officer Joia Mukherjee warned, "There's no reason to anticipate [cholera] wouldn't spread widely within Haiti.'' Thus far no confirmed cases have been reported in the capital city, and Haitian health officials and international groups are working desperately to contain the epidemic. We are posting news and media coverage to our website continuously and will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Click below to see images from the Cholera outbreak in Haiti and read a full update:

Our profound thanks to the many of you who have already made a contribution. Your support provides PIH with the resources needed to respond immediately to the cholera outbreak.

If you are interested in making a donation to help PIH and ZL respond to this crisis, please click here.

In solidarity,
Partners In Health

Donate to Partners In Health

Partners In Health
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Boston, MA 02215

Voting on November 2nd

I'm an American; my vote is FAR more scrupulously studied than most, so I hope to bring UP the average LEVEL of 'vote predigestion' when I vote on November 2nd.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New evidence contradicts notion that early humans were largely hunters

New Evidence that Early Humans Were Plant-Eaters

New evidence contradicts the notion that early humans were mainly hunters. Archeological findings recently unearthed in Italy, Russia, and the Czech Republic show evidence that grains were ground into flour as far back as 30,000 years ago. The findings were presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Revedin A, Aranguren B, Becattini R, et al. Thirty thousand-year-old evidence of plant food processing. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2010. Published ahead of print October 19, 2010: doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006993107.

For information about nutrition and health, please visit

Breaking Medical News is a service of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
5100 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20016.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Are universities 'greedy' for money?

I'd be interested in hearing any of you opine more on that topic than Jennifer Washburn has written of it in her recent University, Inc: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education.

MY spin on the topic HAS BEEN that the universities were nudged into that role when the Fed had ramped up military (war) research during the World Wars (mostly WWII, after Vannevar Bush, originally from MIT, who went to DC - and there's a book in the making, if someone who could DO the investigative research wanted to do it), then after WWII was over, the infrastructure had been built for a working relationship between the federal government and the universities, and the New Deal economy wanted work to be done to improve the quality of life in America (against some opposition), so, since the universities were better 'incubators' than private industry, they were tapped, then a long discussion proceeded about 'indirect costs' (paying for the costs of keeping the universities POISED to do the government's research, on the government's timetables and according to Federal agendas.

We got much out of all that, and it's not wrong for universities to get some 'piece of the pie' for hosting the work (and securing the Faculty appointments based upon their research promise AND for teaching - it's the nature of US thinktanks to have some based in universities/academia), since universtieis do NOT recover ALL Their costs for hosting the research (paid as 'direct costs'); they lose about 20% of their 'hosting costs' because the Fed caps (puts a ceiling on) 'cost recovery' at about "70%" (of what the actual direct cost of the research is).

Most schools have an indirect cost rate of about 50%; a few schools have indirect cost rates of closer to 65-70%, and a very few have indirect cost rates of over 100% - BUT the Fed caps them at around 66-69% (unofficially ~70%), so tuition streams, endowments, program income, etc. must make up the rest.