Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 8th, 2008

Once-a-week treatment for type 2 diabetes

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This will be helpful to many:

In a study published by the Lancet journal today, Toronto researcher Dr. Daniel Drucker reported that a new once-weekly treatment for type 2 diabetes could replace the more common twice-daily injection. “Over two million Canadians have diabetes,” said Dr. Daniel Drucker, clinician-scientist and Senior Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. “There is currently no available therapy for type 2 diabetes that patients can receive once a week.”

The new treatment, Exenatide once weekly is the first in a new class of long-acting medications that mimic the action of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide), a naturally occurring hormone that is produced in the gut after eating. The report compared outcomes for patients self-injecting Exenatide once weekly against results from the conventional 14 injections a week, as in the currently available version of the drug known as Exenatide (Byetta).

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Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:56 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

Palin the hunter

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Palin loves to kill animals, apparently, whether she can eat them or not. Salon has an interesting article by Mark Benjamin that begins:

Wildlife activists thought they had seen the worst in 2003 when Frank Murkowski, then the Republican governor of Alaska, signed a bill ramping up state programs to gun down wild wolves from airplanes, inviting average citizens to participate. Wolves, Murkowski believed, were clearly better than humans at killing elk and moose, and humans needed to even the playing field.

But that was before Sarah Palin took Murkowski’s job at the end of 2006. She went one step, or paw, further. Palin didn’t think Alaskans should be allowed to chase wolves from aircraft and shoot them — they should be encouraged to do so. Palin’s administration put a bounty on wolves’ heads, or to be more precise, on their mitts.

In early 2007, Palin’s administration approved an initiative to pay a $150 bounty to hunters who killed a wolf from an airplane in certain areas, hacked off the left foreleg, and brought in the appendage. Ruling that the Palin administration didn’t have the authority to offer payments, a state judge quickly put a halt to them but not to the shooting of wolves from aircraft.

Detractors consider the airborne shootings a savage business, conducted under the euphemism “predator control.” The airplanes appear in the winter, so the wolves show up like targets in a video game, sprinting across the white canvas below. Critics believe the practice violates the ethics of hunting, while supporters say the process is not hunting at all, but a deliberate cull.

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Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:51 am

Writing about Palin brought instant fame

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I blogged Anne Kilkenny’s letter earlier, and I see it’s become famous. S.J. Komarnitsky has the story at McClatchy:

WASILLA, Alaska — At 3 a.m. Thursday, Anne Kilkenny unglued herself from her computer and went to bed after spending hours answering an endless string of e-mails from strangers.

By 9:15 the next morning, she had 382 fresh ones in her inbox and her phone was steadily ringing with calls from news media from all around the world.

That’s how it’s been the past week for the Wasilla stay-at-home mom turned accidental celebrity. All because of a letter she wrote to friends and family about Sarah Palin.

The 2,400-word e-mail, circulated on blogs, Web sites and through e-mail chains, has become an Internet hit embraced by many Democrats and Palin critics and attacked by Palin supporters.

In all the coverage of Palin, Kilkenny’s e-mail offers something maybe unique: a critique from someone who has known Palin since 1992 and been observing her up close for many years, long before Palin became widely known even among Alaskans.

“Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis,” her e-mail begins. “Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.”

Kilkenny, a registered Democrat, sent the note the day after Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Palin to be his running. She said she sent it to 30 relatives and friends outside Alaska to answer the questions she was getting about Palin. She signed her name and asked that it not be posted, but it went viral across the Internet almost instantly.

Within a day, she was getting e-mails from strangers saying, “I saw your blog.”

“I was like, ‘Blog? What blog?’” Kilkenny said.

Over the past week, it’s been posted, re-posted and re-posted again — everywhere from the Atlantic Monthly to a blog called “earthymommies.”

By mid-week, Kilkenny had given up keeping up with her e-mails.

“I didn’t drink my morning cup of coffee until 3:20 in the afternoon,” she said.

A Google search for “Kilkenny Palin” on Saturday turned up 21,000 hits. She’s been interviewed by National Public Radio and the New York Times. TV news producers have been scrambling to find her.

Crosscut, a Seattle-based online journalism site, is among those who have picked up the e-mail. Publisher David Brewster, who was e-mailed the letter by a friend, said he was struck by Kilkenny’s tone and her first-hand experience from attending city council meetings while Palin was mayor.

“Here’s a person who didn’t just jet in and talk to three people on one day, but has been in the town and watched it very carefully,” he said.

The letter also lacked the strident tone many adopt, he said.

“It didn’t have a sort of prosecutorial throw everything at her (Palin) tone,” he said. “It was kind of an ordinary citizen activist trying to be fair and trying to be candid.”

Kilkenny said she tried hard to be factual and is careful in the letter to be upfront about what she knows and doesn’t know. Her experience comes from being a long-time Wasilla resident and from attending almost every council meeting the first year Palin was mayor. …

Continue reading. An anonymous commenter thought the letter was “character assassination”, though the only point raised to substantiate that was that Palin had banned a list of books—and the letter (and this blog) never said that she banned books. She didn’t. She just asked three times how to go about it, and when the librarian said that she wouldn’t ban books approved by the American Library Association, Palin fired her. When people became outraged at the firing, Palin backed down from the uproar. But she did show her colors: do it my way or I fire you.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:40 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

Winning hearts by killing civilians

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The Army and Air Force seem to have little notion that the way to fight an irregular war is NOT to kill civilians by the dozens in order to kill a few of the enemy. James Rosen has this discouraging report:

U.S. and NATO air bombings in Afghanistan have killed more than 500 civilians since 2006, fueling a public backlash against the coalition’s war effort, a prominent human rights group said Monday.

Human Rights Watch, an international organization based in New York, blamed some of the civilian deaths on Taliban and al Qaida insurgents who create “human shields” by blending into populated areas.

But the group also criticized mainly U.S. commanders for launching bombing raids under looser military “rules of engagement” than those followed by other NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan.

“The United States needs to end the mistakes that are killing so many civilians,” said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “While Taliban shielding is a factor in some civilian deaths, the United States shouldn’t use this as an excuse when it could have taken better precautions.”

Though suicide bombings and other insurgent attacks have killed about twice as many civilians as U.S. and NATO missions, the air strikes launched mainly by Americans have caused deep resentment, the group said in a report released Monday.

Blair Jones, a White House spokesman, said U.S. military commanders exercise caution in Afghanistan.

“The United States takes steps to avoid civilian casualties in all its operations,” Jones said. “As the report notes, the Taliban often use civilians as human shields to cover their activities against the Afghan people and Afghan government.”

Jones added, “We grieve for every loss of life and will continue to take measures to avoid the deaths of innocent civilians.”

A U.S. air strike July 6 killed 47 Afghans at a wedding in Nangahar province, and nine Afghan national police offices died in a U.S. bombing raid in Farah province two weeks later.

In response to an air strike two weeks ago, the Afghan government began a review of foreign troops’ presence in the South Asia country.

“In winning the tactical battle quickly on the ground with bombs, U.S. and NATO forces risk losing the strategic battle for the support of the population, essential in counter-insurgency operations,” the report said.

The U.S. willingness to employ air strikes when its troops aren’t under direct attack prompt concerns that Washington is snubbing its obligations under the Geneva Conventions and other international laws of war, Human Rights Watch said. …

Continue reading. It’s very much like Lucy van Pelt and Charlie Brown: regardless of how many times she snatches away the football at the last minute so Charlie kicks air and lands on his back, he falls for it again. And regardless of how many times the enemy uses a human shield, the Air Force falls for it and kills a dozen civilians to get a few of the enemy and thus turns hundreds against the US once more. Inability to learn, I calls it.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:31 am

Free entertainment and education

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UPDATE: See also this article.

The good old public library, with which I’ve been in love since I first started using it—when I was 13 or so. My home town didn’t have a public library, though I used the school library a lot. But the county seat had a library, and that summer, when I worked at my uncle Choc’s farm, we would go into town once a week for him to attend his weekly Army Reserve meeting. He would drop me at the library, where I would return the previous week’s books and get a batch for the coming week, and then I would go have a hamburger at my uncle Woody’s grill and go to a movie. Then to the pickup to start reading and wait for Choc.

Many people are like me at 13: just now discovering the amazing resources the public library offers. Kevin Valine has a good story in the Modesto Bee. The sidebar:

A slumping economy has resulted in more people using the library. The American Library Association says use nationwide was 10 percent higher in the past year than during the 2001 economic downturn, when it tracked a similar spike in visits and circulation. And patrons aren’t just looking for books and DVDs, they also want help in finding a job, polishing their résumés or upgrading their skills.

The story itself begins:

Check it out.

That’s what users of public libraries are doing these days. In an effort to stay entertained and informed without breaking the family budget, people across the country increasingly are taking advantage of the best deal in town: everything — books, CDs, DVDs — is free.

“That’s pretty typical,” Stanislaus County Librarian Vanessa Czopek said. “When the economy goes in a slump, libraries see more usage.”

The American Library Association says use nationwide was 10 percent higher in the past year than during the 2001 economic downturn, when it tracked a similar spike in visits and circulation. Libraries recorded 1.3 billion visits and patrons checked out more than 2 billion items from April 2007 to April 2008.

Czopek said the number of books, CDs, DVDs and other materials checked out at Stanislaus County’s 13 branch libraries grew by 1.5 percent to 2.3 million items during the budget year that ended June 30 compared with the previous year.

She said the library also saw increases in the number of sessions on its 243 public computers, higher attendance at its children’s programs and a spike in new library cards, with the number of new cards issued up by nearly 10 percent.

Cheri Bye, 49, stood in line with her son Matt Truby, 29, at the main library in downtown Modesto last week as they waited to check out several books and a DVD.

“Books are too expensive on top of everything else,” said Bye, who got a library card about a month ago. “Gas and food are so high, and we can barely afford them.”

Gains noted across the U.S.

Some librarians around the country say the recent bump in visits may be the largest in memory.

In Highland Park, Ill., the library recorded 60,700 items checked out in June, its highest total and nearly 4 percent higher than a year earlier.

Visits to the six branches of the Howard County Library in Maryland have increased by 26 percent over last year.

The Nancy Carson library in North Augusta, S.C., ran out of cards this summer after issuing more than 100 in two weeks.

A growing population of book borrowers comes at a bad time for retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, whose sales and profits are falling as consumers’ discretionary spending shrinks in the face of rising food and fuel prices.

Continue reading, and get a library card. If your library has an online catalog, you will be amazed at all you can do, including downloadable courses and books.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:22 am

Valobra and Pitralon

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A two-day stubble calls for a shave stick, right? So the Valobra shave stick did its duty this morning—it’s quite a good shave stick, BTW. With the Rooney Style 1 Size 1 Super Silvertip I had abundant lather, and the Apollo Mikron holding a previously used blade (I believe a Treet Classic) swept through the stubble, smoothing all in its path. Swiss Pitralon was the aftershave, and I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee since Saturday—somehow skipped the coffee on Sunday, which turned out to be a slow albeit productive day.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 8:14 am

Posted in Shaving

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