Name that pill

One look in the average medicine cabinet, and you might reasonably conclude that drugs can be named just about any damned thing. You would, of course, be just slightly in error:

Is there anything preventing a company from calling its active ingredient supercurol? Well, yes. The U.S. Adopted Names Council. It has some rules, including the following:

“Prefixes that imply ‘better,’ ‘newer,’ or ‘more effective;’ prefixes that evoke the name of the sponsor, dosage form, duration of action or rate of drug release should not be used.”

“Prefixes that refer to an anatomical connotation or medical condition are not acceptable.”

Certain letters or sets of letters also aren’t allowed at the beginning of new generic names. These include me, str, x, and z.

Then again, coiners of new brand names would be utterly desolate if they couldn’t start names with Z — even double or triple Z.

There are also suffixes: for example, -vir is used for antivirals. I’m trying to figure what I should do with the one drug I take that ends in -lol.

(Via this @fussfactory tweet.)

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A metric for our times

Especially if our times are warm.

The Instant Man has acquired a Lexus RX450h hybrid, which, he says, gets “around 27 or 28 in FKMPG (‘Fred Krause Miles Per Gallon,’ a measurement invented by a college friend; it’s what the car gets while going 80 with the air conditioning on ‘Max’).”

This is close to what my distinctly nonhybrid ride can do under those specific conditions. On the other hand, I’ll never see the thirtyish figures in town that he does.

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Don’t even ask about Moscow

I’ve long suspected that Nancy Grace was out of her depth, and this tells me that there wasn’t that much depth to begin with:

Headline News screenshot placing Morehead Lake in Oklahoma

Geography. Look into it.

(Via this Wendy Suares tweet.)

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Bag all you like

Bill Quick will not support a ban on baggy pants, period. And it’s not because he thinks the “style” has some sort of sartorial validity, either:

If you’re the sort of idiot who idolized gang-banging thugs to the point of wanting to emulate the way they dress, then I want you out and proud about it.

Mostly so I can see you coming from a long way away, and make whatever preparations seem appropriate for the situation.

First person who yells “Profiling!” gets a Virtual Wedgie.

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Sort of neat

I recently replaced the Live Comment Preview, which wasn’t working, with a Not-So-Live Preview, which requires you to push a button. I watched it work on one of my own comments, and noticed that it faked up a URL using comment number 55000. Great, thought I, but what happens when I get to actual comment number 55000, which is due Any Day Now?

I observed last night, and by gum, the plugin was now using 56000. So it’s checking the data before it commits itself. Would that all plugins had that much insight.

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Pettier avarice

Now any day can be Black Friday, and that’s not at all a good thing:

Twenty people were injured, with seven sent to hospital, when a promotional stunt in Seoul for LG’s G2 smartphone went wrong, the company has said.

LG has cancelled a series of events promoting the handset as a result of the incident in Seoul on Friday.

People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons.

Well, what did they expect?

Bayou Renaissance Man says this is not the way he was raised:

I was raised in an earlier, perhaps more civilized era, where such behavior would have earned me an instant thrashing from one or both parents, and where my peers were equally strictly disciplined by their parents. We’d never have dreamed of behaving like that! Scenes like this, or near-riots when new models of basketball shoes are released in the USA, would have had my parents snorting in disgusted disbelief, and reaching for horsewhips (or something stouter) to teach those involved a lesson!

Then again, he’s about my age.

You guys standing in line at Walmart at 9 pm on Thanksgiving? This is your legacy. Choke on it.

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An idea whose time will never come

Endless scrolling. Facebook does it; it’s an option on many Tumblr themes.

Browsers don’t seem to like it; people whose business it is to count page views don’t like it. Who actually likes this, and why?

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Joe called it

And Steve Sailer reminds us of it:

I’m always fascinated by how often Stalin is vindicated in his observation that something bad happening to one person is a tragedy while it happening to a million is a statistic. For example, 500,000 black and Latin young men getting stopped and frisked annually for the last decade in New York City is a statistic that has mildly troubled some of the more sensitive souls in the New York elite, but hasn’t really been much of a story even locally, much less nationally, while Oprah not getting shown a $38,000 handbag is Breaking Global News. It’s like the vast outpouring of sympathy that greets the President of the United States whenever he recounts how his grandmother wanted a ride to work one day. You might think that being black in America has, on net, been good for Obama or Oprah, but that’s not a widespread impression.

More generally, human beings feel sorrier for immensely privileged people than they do for nobodies like shopgirls and grandmas.

Lest you think this phenomenon is somehow ethnic in origin, look who’s on the cover of Vanity Fair this month: Princess Diana. Sixteen years gone, and she still commands a magazine cover. It’s time for Playboy to haul out more Marilyn Monroe pictures, I suppose.

In the meantime: Boo. Frickin. Hoo.

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One pill makes you [insert adjective here]

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand the motivation here:

Argentina has begun distributing a free state-produced version of the erection-boosting drug Viagra for the first time, in a move intended to curb its misuse, health authorities announced Thursday.

They said 200,000 doses of sildenafil, better known under the Viagra brand name, is to be distributed free of charge through the public health network of the province of Santa Fe.

The drug is being produced in Santa Fe by the state-owned pharmaceutical firm LIFSE, which plans to eventually distributed it nationally.

Drug can be misused. Solution: distribute free version. Why can’t they do this with meth? The tweakers will expire faster than a Pfizer patent, and we’ll be able to get proper cold medicine again.

If you’re thinking about flying down to Buenos Aires, though, Fausta has a word of caution:

Those of you interested in medical tourism will like to know that Santa Fe is 467 km from Buenos Aires.

If your trip exceeds four hours, consult a physician. Or a travel agent.

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Tech distort

I was working on a sound-card problem last night when I stumbled across this page, which offered me a “repair tool.”

I am deeply suspicious of the “tool” offered, since the nominal home page looks exactly the same, and since the site is running an old WordPress (3.5.1) with one obvious plug-in: one of those SEO things. No tech site worth a damn runs obsolete software unless it’s a custom job that would take a room full of coders to fix. I suspect that their major goal in life is to get you to download malware. Not that I’m going to try any of their links.

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Rock erosion

The new, pitifully shrunken KRXO, sandwiched in at 104.5 between Magic 104.1 and Wild(ish) 104.9, is delivering, at least at my location, the sort of reception I’d expect. The Cambridge 88s have no problems pulling it in. The Big Receiver, now 39 years old, awards it a 4 on its arbitrarily calibrated signal-strength meter; the maximum realizable in practice is about 4.8. (Minimum bearable stereo signal is about 2, which is what I get from Power 103.5, a 100-kilowatt stick stuck out in Anadarko for the usual spacing reasons.) The little portable I keep on the fridge for emergency purposes couldn’t find it at all.

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Eyeballs are cheap

But television producers are cheaper:

When National Geographic was a magazine produced by the National Geographic Society, it was a valuable resource for people who wanted to learn about the world and see things in it that they might never see otherwise. Once it became a TV channel, it quickly turned into the same exploitative trash signaling our downward cultural spiral as every other piece of reality show ordure.

It occurs to me that we’re long overdue for the Scientific American channel.

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Groovy glasses

In this case, literally so:

Vinylize began because we wanted to make eyewear on a recyclable basis. We experimented by making old vinyl records into frames. The process has been refined over a number of years into a stylish and sophisticated product. We have our own special method of joining vinyl with cellulose acetate which took many years of trial and error to perfect.

Oh, and they have their own record label, too. Though those records don’t get turned into glasses. (Not all of them, anyway.)

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Even under the lights

When Karen Black lost her battle with cancer last week, what everyone wanted to talk about was either Five Easy Pieces or that damn Zuni doll. The last thing I remember seeing her in, circa 1988, was the low-budget comedy The Invisible Kid, playing said kid’s mom. But the one memory that stood out was this bit of Seventies advertising:

Karen Black for Hanes

Hanes ran, so to speak, with this campaign for a couple of years, with results I, at least, found memorable. If only I’d remembered that tagline before I dug around in the archives.

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Commemorating evil

Tulsa, says Michael Bates, is planning to rename Brady Street and the associated Brady District to something else starting with a B — why not “Bates”? — because of Tate Brady’s involvement with, among other things, the Ku Klux Klan. Certainly no one wants to honor those dumb Klux, but Bates says that the measure doesn’t go far enough to clean up the city map:

Rather than handle these renamings piecemeal, with the potential of a new renaming (and a four-hour long public hearing) at every week’s City Council meeting, the City Council should appoint a diverse commission of historically minded citizens to research the histories of all names under the control of the City of Tulsa and its boards and commissions.

This commission — perhaps to be called the Commission for the Sanitation of Politically Incorrect Names (C-SPIN) — would report back with a comprehensive recommendation to rename certain streets, an estimate of the cost to rename, and a revenue proposal (sales tax or general obligation bond issue) for funding the recommended renamings, including city expenses like street signage and grants to affected businesses and residents to cover signage, business cards, letterhead, and other street renaming expenses.

The commission would have to consider whether a person’s misdeeds rises to the level of deserving the removal of his or her name from a public place. They might wish to set criteria that would be applied consistently to decide thumbs up or down.

A commission like this would strike fear into the hearts of Oklahoma City historians, who have for years been sitting on stories like that one time Harvey Everest kicked a cat, or that Delos Walker actually sat on the school board, and we all know about school boards, don’t we?

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Text CARBS to 511

With the guys over in Food and Medical issuing New Truths to replace the Old Truths on a regular basis, I can’t say I’m surprised to see this assertion being challenged:

For almost 20 years, it has been a wide-held belief that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous and leads to more accidents. However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a cellphone while driving does not increase crash risk. Published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the study uses data from a major cellphone provider and accident reports to contradict previous findings that connected cellphone use to increased crash risk. Such findings include the influential 1997 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, which concluded that cellphone use by drivers increased crash risk by a factor of 4.3 — effectively equating its danger to that of illicit levels of alcohol. The findings also raise doubts about the traditional cost-benefit analyses used by states that have, or are, implementing cellphone-driving bans as a way to promote safety.

“Using a cellphone while driving may be distracting, but it does not lead to higher crash risk in the setting we examined,” said Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor of social and decision sciences in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “While our findings may strike many as counterintuitive, our results are precise enough to statistically call into question the effects typically found in the academic literature. Our study differs from most prior work in that it leverages a naturally occurring experiment in a real-world context.”

Keep in mind that this is just talking: stuff like texting or Google Maps or Facebook has not been shown to be anything but hazardous. And I consider just talking too much of a distraction for myself, so I seldom (as distinguished from “never”) pick up if someone calls while I’m on the road.

Meanwhile, Jack Baruth explains the furor:

This is government in the modern (and perhaps any) age: create a fear that shouldn’t really exist, manipulate the public into hysterics, extract cash from the public and divert it to the most favored recipients. It’s a tactic with an exceptional success rate and an appeal that spans the entire spectrum of political beliefs.

I mean, there were laws against distracted driving long before there were mobile phones, and the attention span of J. Random Driver has never been exemplary.

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