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Non-Profit Pharmaceuticals Non-Profit Business Models

This is a very inspiring talk on many levels. On the one hand Victoria and her organization are saving lives from diseases you and I have never even heard of. But the business model is non-profit. For a pharmaceutical company, that’s truly world changing.

Simply put, Victoria Hale’s organization has saved thousands of lives. Join the founder of OneWorld Health—the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the US—as she shares her vision of bringing an end to what she calls the “diseases of poverty.”

Victoria is founder and CEO of the Institute for OneWorld Health, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company with a mission to develop affordable drugs to treat diseases that plague the world’s poorest communities.The institute recently received approval for and brought to market its first drug, paromomycin, a low-cost antibiotic cure for visceral leishmaniasis, which afflicts approximately 1.5 million people worldwide, primarily in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sudan. Research to create paromomycin was largely funded by a grant of $10 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Treatments underway for malaria, diarrheal disease, and Chagas disease hold the potential to save the lives of millions more.

From PopTech (video too) or (right click to download or click the arrow to) listen

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Junk Mail Calendars From Conservation Groups? Conservation FAIL

Not something I’d normally write about in here, but this is ridiculous! In the last week I received two unsolicited calendars from conservation groups!

Your Free Nature Conservancy Calendar 2010
Your Free National Parks Conservation Association 2010 Calendar

Does sending bulk junk mail calendars send the wrong message?
I think so. I’m going to keep a list of the free calendars I receive (and throw away) here, just to remind me NEVER to support these clueless conservation groups.

Let’s add Carl Pope and the Sierra Club for this Free U.S. Wall Map.
And a bulky full-color guilt trip of a reminder letter from The Nature Conservancy that I still haven’t donated to them for the calendar I didn’t want or ask for.

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Juan Enriquez – The stars and stripes forever?

From PopTech.org

The stars and stripes forever? Futurist and author Juan Enriquez isn’t sure of that.
He cites a long history of borders, countries and flags that have changed, and warns
the United States isn’t immune.


Mp3 QTmov
This is a great talk and there are many more on the PopTech site. Juan mentions this MapsOfWar
movie–fascinating. More on the MapsOfWar.com site.

Rare Marshall McLuhan Audio Lecture

Great Marshall McLuhan at John Hopkins lecture
found over at StarLarvae. Thanks to Heresiarch for making it available.

Dance With Chance – Making Luck Work For You

dancewithchance

In a nutshell, Dance with Chance is all about knowing what you can and cannot predict and, therefore, what you can and cannot control.

Think about it. Every day human beings make decisions. Some are important: should you invest your life savings in the stock market? Others are trivial: should you take an umbrella today? But in both these cases you have no control. The stock market will go up or down, it will rain or it won’t… and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The problem comes when people seek to gain control by making predictions. By consulting an investment expert or a weather forecast, they think they can control the value of their investments or avoid getting wet.

But this is just an illusion. An illusion that psychologists call ‘the illusion of control’.

In many areas of life – the stock market and the weather are just two examples – accurate prediction just isn’t possible. There is always uncertainty about the future in most areas of our lives. Throw in some emotions, such as greed, fear and hope, and human beings’ predictions get even less accurate. So what are we to do?

Fortunately, Dance with Chance comes up with plenty of positive suggestions. Most importantly, it uncovers a ‘paradox of control’ that’s the antidote to the ‘illusion of control’. By knowing when to give up control, we can actually gain more control over many aspects of our lives than we had in the first place.

Dance with Chance: Making Luck Work for You

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Healthcare X PRIZE Releases Initial Design Guidelines

Personally I’m a little skeptical about a Healthcare X Prize that is sponsored by Wellpoint, (does it not follow that a giant for-profit healthcare provider would primarily be motivated to discover ways to become more profitable?) but after watching the Peter Diamandis “Why design a Healthcare X PRIZE?” video I’m at least convinced that the experiment could provide some very valuable information.
The idea is to pick five teams that will compete in providing healthcare to test groups of 10,000 people each over a period of three years. The ‘winner’ will have garnered the best quality-of-life score from their group. Let’s hope at least that there will be a Single-Payer team in the competition. Certainly the Healthcare X Prize provides an arena in which advocates of Single-Payer can show their stuff.

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Single-Payer National Health Insurance

I’ve been through the death of two close relatives through the Canadian medical system. In both cases the illnesses were complicated. In both cases my relatives were treated expertly, without concern for expense–or profit– but with dignity and the loving care that befits all of us. All this talk currently about reforming the U.S. Health Care system, without Single-Payer Health Insurance even on the table?!! Could it be the 4 health care company lobbyists for each Congressperson in Washington? We need to get organized around this. A good place to start is Physicians For A National Health Plan.
I recommend listening to Ian Masters interview with PHNP’s Dr. David Himmelstein–on President Obama’s failure to include the proven success of the single-payer health care model among the possible solutions being considered for national heathcare reform. Dr. Himmelstein is co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates for a universal, single-payer national health program, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The author of numerous studies and books, he is recognized as a national leader in the movement for universal health care. Dr. Himmelstein’s interview is second of three interviews on this episode of Background Briefing.

Get it?

Update 061609
From LA Times:

…The documents show, for instance, that one Blue Cross employee earned a perfect score of “5″ for “exceptional performance” on an evaluation that noted the employee’s role in dropping thousands of policyholders and avoiding nearly $10 million worth of medical care.

WellPoint’s Blue Cross of California subsidiary and two other insurers saved more than $300 million in medical claims by canceling more than 20,000 sick policyholders over a five-year period, the House committee said.

Update 062709
From Rhonda Hackett of Castle Rock, a clinical psychologist. DenverPost.com, Debunking Canadian health care myths

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Nassim Taleb on the Financial Crisis

From EconTalk.org (Includes full transcript).
Direct link to mp3 interview
Nassim Taleb talks about the financial crisis, how we misunderstand rare events, the fragility of the banking system, the moral hazard of government bailouts, the unprecedented nature of really, really bad events, the contribution of human psychology to misinterpreting probability and the dangers of hubris. The conversation closes with a discussion of religion and probability.

Keep tabs on what Nassim Taleb is up to over at BlackSwanReport.com

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The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will)

priceofright1

Alicia Morgan is a musician friend with whom I’ve occasionally had the pleasure of working over the last decade or two. Her blog turned into a book, The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will). I’ve just read it and highly recommend it-that is-if you’re in good health and not worried about getting riled up. I come away from it “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”, and (after all the business-as-usual cabinet choices) Obama or no, there’s just too much wrong with America to sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen.

Alicia lays the groundwork with some psychology of types- Farmers vs. Hunters. From there we learn how Marketing Speak has become a major tool in the arsenal of the Conservative agenda. She goes on to trace the evolution of the wealthy, powerful and organized Conservative Right since Newt Gingrich. She documents the co-joining of the Conservative Right with the Christian Right. Following that she applies her insight to the issues of Iraq, the erosion of the Middle Class, Health Care, Worker’s Rights, and Corporate Media. Alicia tells her story with names and dates and quotes-who said what when-then adds her perspective, which for me is so compelling. A few examples, first, of the evidence she’s discovered.

Language: A Key Mechanism of Control
…”I wish I could speak like Newt.”

That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. that is why we have created this list of words and phrases…(From a pamphlet sent out by Newt Gingrich’s politcal action committee to Republicans across the country.)

The “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to require prisoners, as part of their humane treatment during detention, to be guaranteed the right to health care.

Currently prisoners are the only group who are specifically granted the right to health care. It is probable that the founders of our country, if they could have predicted the importance of health care, would have granted that the same standard of humane treatment be extended to every citizen. (Dr. Howard Haft, Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer at Conmed Healthcare Management, Inc., a provider of health care services for correctional institutions.)

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration, during its foaming frenzy of deregulation, raised the number of stations a company could own from seven to twelve. In 1983, most major media was controlled by fifty companies. It then went to twenty-six in 1987 to twenty-three in 1990, to ten in 1966, accelerated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed by Bill Clinton. Today almost all of the major media outlets in the U.S. are owned by five corporations.

And here’s an example of how Alicia turns these facts into hard-hitting truths.

It’s important to realize that the corporate media is granted (for free!) leases for their slice of the broadcast spectrum. This amounts to a gift from us-the American taxpayer-of billions and billions of dollars. In other words, we are paying the big corporations to be lied to, manipulated, and stolen from.

Hey Alicia! The last few years I’ve been hiding under a political rock. Your heartfelt perspective on our current situation has rekindled my desire to get back into the fray. Thanks for a great book.

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THC Cancer Cure?

Try it as a thought experiment.
What if an extract of Marijuana/Hemp DID cure cancer? Or some cancer. Or even 1% of skin cancers. Wouldn’t you want to try it on yours? Especially if it did no harm? Especially if you’d exhausted whatever treatments your Doctor had advised?
Well, here’s a little science:
Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows
Here’s a little history:
What is the history of medical marijuana and the US government?

And here’s the story of how a retired engineer from Nova Scotia is helping friends and neighbors become cancer-free using THC extracted from Hemp:
RUN FROM THE CURE – The Rick Simpson Story (Part 1 of 7)
Rick’s website: PheonixTears.ca

Related… I can recommend a couple of excellent podcasts. Especially the interviews with established and emerging psychedelic researchers. There seems to be a a lot of energy coming back into the psychedelic research area, most of it falling well below the radar. Podcasts are turning out to be an excellent way for me to build a knowledge base of alternative information. Search the iTunes store for whatever you’re interested in. Undoubtedly some Podcasts will show up. Click the See All. Subscribe to a few or download an episode to see if they’re what you’re looking for.

The Entheogenic Evolution
iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=272825477
Web http://entheogenic.podomatic.com/

Gnostic Media
iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=294157083
Web http://gnosticmedia.podomatic.com/

[Update 012610 "The Marijuana Cancer Cure Cult" Lots of great cancer/Mj background and more
on Simpson.]

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Saul Griffith, “Climate Change Recalculated”

According to Saul’s calculations, in order to reach a goal of 450 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide in time to limit a global rise in temperature to 2 degrees C., we’ll have to reduce the amount of burned fossil fuels to 3 terawatts (of power). That means we’ll need to replace 11.5 terawatts with new clean sources.

From Stewart Brand’s Long Now Blog:

That would mean the following. (Here I’m drawing on notes and extrapolations I’ve written up previously from discussion with Griffith):

“Two terawatts of photovoltaic would require installing 100 square meters of 15-percent-efficient solar cells every second, second after second, for the next 25 years. (That’s about 1,200 square miles of solar cells a year, times 25 equals 30,000 square miles of photovoltaic cells.) Two terawatts of solar thermal? If it’s 30 percent efficient all told, we’ll need 50 square meters of highly reflective mirrors every second. (Some 600 square miles a year, times 25.) Half a terawatt of biofuels? Something like one Olympic swimming pools of genetically engineered algae, installed every second. (About 15,250 square miles a year, times 25.) Two terawatts of wind? That’s a 300-foot-diameter wind turbine every 5 minutes. (Install 105,000 turbines a year in good wind locations, times 25.) Two terawatts of geothermal? Build 3 100-megawatt steam turbines every day-1,095 a year, times 25. Three terawatts of new nuclear? That’s a 3-reactor, 3-gigawatt plant every week-52 a year, times 25.”

All of it! Please listen to Saul’s Long Now Lecture to hear how, despite the odds, he remains an optimist.

Calculate and compare your own power consumption at WattzOn.com.

Check out the very cool 100 mpg, charge-overnight-from-a-wall-socket, ready-for-the-carpool-lane, 3-wheeled (California only) Aptera.
(As mentioned in Saul’s talk.)

See also: Google PowerMeter is currently being tested by employees and is not yet available to the public.

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Early Warning Systems – Larry Brilliant

A thread over at the neXtPrize blog got me thinking about Early Warning systems–how mobile technologies like SMS can allow Twitter-like real-time monitoring of data for the purpose of discovering emerging disasters. Pragzz pointed me to a couple of non-profs that are already supporting this. Ushahadi (Swahili for ‘testimony’) is an Open Source platform that anyone can use to set up and manage monitoring campaigns.

The core engine is built on the premise that gathering crisis information from the general public provides new insights into events happening in near real-time. It is being developed by a group of volunteer developers and designers, hailing primarily from Africa.

MobileActive.org is a community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact.

We are committed to increasing the effectiveness of NGOs around the world who recognize that the 3.5 billion mobile phones provide unprecedented opportunities for organizing, communications, and service and information delivery.

Their site also features a directory of NGOs who are using mobile phones to make a social impact.

Researching this reminded me of a Ted talk I’d heard by Larry Brilliant on the occasion of his winning a 2006 Ted Wish prize. Larry’s wish was to build a better early warning system for monitoring the outbreak of dangerous disease. Larry knows of what he speaks- he led the WHO team that eradicated Smallpox. He also was a founding member of the Seva Foundation which has restored sight to hundreds of thousands. Based on the work previously done by GPHIN Larry launched InSTEDD which plans to amplify the data collection and monitoring capabilities of GPHIN a hundredfold. You can watch Larry’s amazing Ted Talk and read a short history of the INSTEDD project here. Larry launched InSTEDD with the $100,000 Ted prize. It will be interesting to see what he can do with $1 billion as head of Google.org. Go Larry!

Larry Brilliant photo by JD Lasica

Larry Brilliant photo by JD Lasica

See Also: HealthMap.org
Update 022309: Larry departs Google.org to become “Google’s Chief Philanthropy Evangelist“.

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E. Howard Hunt names the men who killed Kennedy

On November 23, 1963 I was a grade two student. I sat in the desk in the front row next to my friend Bruce. I remember that it was very unusual that the Sister who taught us rolled a television set into the classroom. She seemed to be very upset. There was the sense of something being very wrong. She turned on the black and white television and explained to us that the President had been killed. Today is the 45th anniversary (do you call it an anniversary if it was a tragedy?) of the murder of JFK
The following is a re-post of an article from May of 2007.
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I’m not familiar with prisonplanet.com, but they tell the story of a recording E. Howard Hunt made on his deathbed. The tape was recently made public by Howard Hunt’s son, Saint John Hunt. On the tape Howard Hunt describes a bitter LBJ and his involvement with the murder of JFK. Hunt names others who were involved in the conspiracy. Five minutes of the tape were aired recently on CoastToCoastAM.com
There is a direct link to the mp3 file here.

What’s been bugging me about it is, what if it’s true? I mean – just for a minute – inhabit a world where the Kennedy assassination has been solved- We know who did it, who helped who and why.
Now what?
How is justice served over 40 years later? Who’s going to pay?
What does it mean? What would change?
How do I heal, or why, or who cares?
Is it just miscellaneous information?

Dean Kamen’s Electric/Stirling Hybrid

Dean Kamen's DEKA Rebel

Dean Kamen, inventor and entrepreneur, has pieced together a hybrid that uses electric battery power for the drive train, and a Stirling engine for heat and defogging. In a pinch, the Stirling engine can also be used to recharge the battery. Read the whole story at UnionLeader.com (See Also: Dean Kamen’s Deka Revolt Electric Car Runs on Any Fuel.

And check out this TedTalk from 2002. Kamen discusses the Stirling engine and it’s applications for water purifying and power production in poverty zones.
Dean Kamen: Rolling along, helping students and the third world.mp3

And here’s a Kamen TedTalk video where he discusses development of a prosthetic arm/hand that can pick up a raisin.

See Also: Esquire’s How Dean Kamen’s Magical Water Machine Could Save the World.
See Also: Telegraph’s Dean Kamen: part man, part machine.

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