Boing Boing 

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

Over the past decade, pharma-fighting Dr Ben Goldacre has written more than 500,000 words of fearlessly combative science journalism.Read the rest

Lying down in bed desk


The kneeling desk led to the standing desk and thence to the treadmill desk, but I propose that we bring this full circle to the lying down in bed desk (instructions available in Japanese only). (via Sean Bonner)

This year's flu vaccine is not working as well as hoped

The CDC announced yesterday that this year's flu has officially become an epidemic. One reason: the vaccine being used is not working.

This year's most dominant strain is the H3N2, a type of flu that causes more hospitalizations and death. The CDC warned in early December that this year's flu season would be particularly bad because the vaccine it built for this season isn't tough enough to fight against the H3N2 strain.

The problem was caused by a "drift," when the flu mutates to something else that the vaccine wasn't built to protect against. Although these kinds of mutations are common, this year's drift wasn't detected until it was too late to make a new vaccine.

Medical experts like Trish Perl, who heads up the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, have told the Post that "the most concerning thing about the flu season this year there is a mismatch between the predominant strain that is circulating and what was put in the vaccine."

This Year's Flu Season Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions

Embroidered anatomical notebooks


Chara from Athens, Greece operates an amazing Etsy store full of hand-embroidered notebooks featuring anatomical, natural and historical themes: the circulatory system, the heart, a spider, Leonardo da Vinci's Apostle James, blood circulation of the head and many more. (via Geeky Merch)

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3D printed prosthetic leg


William Root's "Exo-Prosthetic" is a 3D printed artificial leg made from laser-sintered titanium, which uses a 3D scan of the wearer's truncated limb for fit, and a 3D scan of the intact limb for form.

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Pfizer threatens pharmacists, doctors if they take its name in vain


Pfizer's patent on pregabalin -- an anti-epilepsy med -- expires this year, but there's another patent on using the public domain drug to treat neuropathic pain; in a shocking letter to UK doctors, the pharma giant warns of dire consequences should medical professionals dare to prescribe the generic for the patented use.

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LISTEN: An uplifting lecture about death

The 2014 BBC Reith lecture with Dr Atul Gawande (previously) continue to amaze, delight and inform, and the third one, "The Problem of Hubris," fundamentally changed how I think about (and what I fear about) death.

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Calling out the doctors who abetted CIA torture


Dr Atul Gawande (whose Reith lecture on systems thinking I featured last week) took to Twitter to express his shock and disgust at the medical professionals who participated in the crimes documented in the CIA torture report.

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LISTEN: Systems thinking and medicine -- brilliant lecture on systemic problem-solving

The lecturer for the BBC's 2014 Reith lectures is Dr Atul Gawande, a celebrated author and MD whose book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is a classic on how to think about systemic problem solving (which pays attention to how different people and activities come together to make and solve problems).

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Detoxing is bullshit


It's true that people with substance abuse problems can "detox" when they get clean, but the kind of "detoxing" offered by stuff in the grocery store or pharmacy has no basis in science and is just a scammy way to scare you into opening your wallet (the companies that sell "detox" can't even say what "toxins" they're getting rid of).

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Bilious Alka-Seltzer shill, 1942


Hard to imagine a contemporary ad headed with a picture showing a man who's just vomited into his mouth.

Harmful aging considered


Charlie Stross lays out the state of aging: "cognitive functioning burdened by decades of memories to integrate, canalized by prior experiences, dominated by the complexity of long-term planning at the expense of real-time responsiveness...truck by intricate, esoteric cross-references to that which has gone before."

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Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague

In Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, "Ray" recounts his brave, quixotic, tragicomic adventures as an experimental AIDS drug smuggler who funded his operation by selling weed out of his New York apartment, during the early years of the "gay plague." It's a strangely fitting subject for a graphic novel, and Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli graphic novel make it work as a history book that'll make you laugh and cry. Cory Doctorow reviews. Read the rest

A neural "off-switch" for pain documented

In Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states, a paper in Brain by researchers led from the St Louis University Medical School, scientists document their work in switching off neural pain pathways by activating an adenosine receptor.

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Roca Labs sends abusive, unwarranted DMCA notices to banish negative reviews

What do you do if you sell a product on terms that legally bind your customers not to complain and they complain anyway? Pretend that the DMCA gives you the right to censor search results.

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Ambulance takes comatose, insured woman to "wrong" hospital, drives her to bankruptcy, too


If 29 year old Megan Rothbauer had been taken three more blocks to Madison, WI's, Meriter Hospital when she had a freak heart attack, she'd have owed $1500, but since the comatose woman was brought to St Mary's Hospital, which Blue Cross Blue Shield won't deal with, she owes $50K and is facing bankruptcy.

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Roca Labs sues unhappy customer who agreed to testify against it


This is the "non-surgical gastric bypass" company whose terms of service forbid complaining, and require you to let them use any kind of success you experience to publicly endorse the company, who are suing pissedconsumer.com for having a message board where its customers are complaining about its product.

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