Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kenyan elephants are 'smart'

Kimani the elepahant. Can you see his collar? It carries a SIM card.

I a country that largely depends on subsistence farming, it is devastating when your crops are destroyed, especially if the very crops take a year to mature. In regions bordering the game parks, elephants are known to wait till harvest time before they come and 'eat' the entire harvest in 'one seating'. Kenya is currently trying a new piece of technology where they insert a 'warning card' in elephant's collars such that it alerts the rangers when the elephants have gone near a geofence monitored by GPS. Read the story for yourself.

Apparently, you can track the elephants by GoogleEarth. I am going to try and do that sometime.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Anti Obama book launch in Kenya? How about NO!

Next time you think about launching an anti-obama book, think twice about it. Dont try to do it in a country where every single living thing, including plants and microscopic organisms love him. Yea, let me just tell you that if Obama really wants to be president and lets assume he doesnt win in the US, the Kenyan president might be willing to step aside and let him lead Kenya and all Kenyans will be receptive of that. Dont quote me on anything.
Who does this guy think he is? Trying to donate $1000 to Obama's brother? Does he have any idea how the justice system is in Kenya? Hopefuly his balls dont get squeezed at the famous Nyayo house like they did to detainees in the early '80's. I have a feeling that wasnt a good experience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Goat Condoms - Only in Kenya

Yup, only if we could control the people population like the Maasai control their bucks from impregnating the female goats, we wouldnt have an overpopulation problem. You see, there is a contraceptive that is made from cow skin and then slid down to the shoulder area of a male goat. This device is called an olor.

You hadnt heard of the olor before, had you? Now you have. The thing is, you have to kill a cow, then cut off a small piece of hide so you can tie it around a buck to prevent it from ummm ... humping female goats. Yea, it only makes sense to those who need to do it. But seriously, think about the desert ... dry, no vegetation, no water. Ok? Got the picture. Now think of a cow and a goat. Which is better suited to survive such harsh conditions? Wouldnt it make sense to sacrifice one cow to save many female goats from unwanted pregnancies? Man! Those maasai people are smart. 

Its only a matter of time, though, before the bucks figure out a way around this. You feel me?

The other option is to separate the males from females. But that requires fencing and more boys to heard the separated goats. You would also need money to buy fencing requirements. Well, if you are a maasai, money is probably not the most important thing to you. Your wealth is judged by how many cows and goats you have. So, why would you need money when you can make the best of what you own?

I am Kenyan and I approve this technology. It has worked for the maasai goats, it should work for everyone else!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Michael Phelps' Parade of Gold.

There was a parade yesterday in Towson, MD to honor the olympians from the area.  It was hyped more as a parade to honor Michael Phelps than all the olympians. Of course we all know that if the medal tally was ranked by gold, Phelps would have been  right there on 9th place with Italy. I say, he should buy his own country, be the president, the people, the athletes, the bank (he's got the $$$), the husband, the father, the thief, the good samaritan ... his mom will be the mother of the country and the country will need a first lady.

Here are some pictures for you.

Congressman John Sarbanes' office helped get me out of Mexico. So I got to yell out "Congressman Sarbanes, You are Awesome! Thank you!" I was wondering when that was going to happen, but at least I got it out of the way and in public!

I asked Jessica Long why she wasnt wearing her medals. I didnt hear her response, but she responded.

Katie Hoff. She was just chillin' ... 

I dont remember what I yelled out here, but I definitely yelled out something nice.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon were also in attendance.

Debbie and Hilary Phelps were signing autographs ...

but Michael Phelps wasnt.

Michael Phelps had more security and more throngs of people following than the gorvenor and the mayor.

"Michael Phillips" again.

He was wearing the same outfit that he wore in this commercial ...

 ... and this one 

So, a bear walks into a sandwitch shop ...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Conflict of Interests - Doctors, Patients and Money

A while back, NYTimes carried a story of a widely controversial practice involving some physicians at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Joseph Biederman, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens and Dr. Thomas Spencer had been caught red handed after receiving more than $1 million in consulting fees from drug makers without disclosing them to their employer. 

Today, the same congressman leading the inquiry into such behaviors, senator Charles E. Grassley, just uncovered another shady deal. One of the nations’ top psychiatrist Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University failed to report that he earned more than $2.8 million from drug companies despite having signed papers and repeatedly vowing to the University authorities that he wouldn’t take anything more that $10, 000. From reading the article, it appears that Dr. Nemeroff had an electronic altercation with one of the deans at the school and it seems to me that he didn’t care much about what the dean had to say. 

These articles appear in big time news agencies because they involve the big fish in the water. I wonder how many other such controversies are going on and not being caught by the mainstream networks because they involve the small fish in the ocean. 

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, are required to reveal any outside sources of incomes. The NIH strictly prohibits such dealings that could bring about conflicts of interest and usually relies on respective schools for oversight. Most schools (like mine) usually have their researchers sign paperwork promising that they will refrain from conflict of interest acts. 

I am sure these same doctors signed paperwork promising that they wouldn’t write favorable reviews about devices made by the same drug companies giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultation fees. They must have also promised (on several occasions during their career development) that they wouldn’t vouch for unapproved drugs to be used to treat the patients they should be standing up for. 

In reality, no one is really keeping an eye on any of these researchers. The schools usually expect their employees to follow a certain code of conduct and schools seldom check to verify voluntary disclosures when it comes to outside earnings. With current tight budgets and almost no grants being awarded by the government these days, drug companies are capitalizing on such with their bottomless resources. 

In the wake of these findings of the Grassley-led inquiry, some drug companies including Eli Lily & Company and Merck & Company have announced that they will be publicly disclosing fees paid to physicians. Some states already have such requirements and it also seems that in the near future, it may be a federal requirement.