Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pharmaceutical Giants

Pharmaceutical giants are growing exceedingly more corruptive. Today it seems that everyone relating to drugs are on their payroll. 75% of the world's prescription drug usage takes place among Americans, despite accounting for only 5% of the world's population. So why do we digest so many medications? It's because 9 out of 10 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies spend more money on marketing than research and development. That's what drugs are about to these companies: getting you to take as much as possible. They are not as concerned with working well once you have purchased them.
The drug companies do everything they can to keep regulations in their field down and doctors prescribing drugs. On Jon Oliver's show, there is an interview with a former sales representative for a pharmaceutical in which he says that reps bring in free lunch for the doctors everyday. It's pretty hard not to recommend a drug to a patient when you're eating lunch paid for by the sale of that very drug. Drug companies even pay doctors to market their drugs to other doctors giving them the title, "thought leader", which is an incredibly vague term. They clearly are not the leader in any thought if they are saying to other doctors whatever the pharmaceutical giants are telling them to say.
The aloof and immoral spending of drug companies' money do not end there. The organization mainly responsible for the health of the general, the CDC, received over $12 million dollars in funding in 2014 from corporations. Genentech used their donation of $600,000 to sway the CDC's decision into allowing looser testing and treatment guidelines for viral hepatitis. Genentech manufactures testing and treatment kits for Hepatitis C. Coincidence? I think not. The CDC is just as responsible for receiving money as Genentech is for essentially bribing them. The CDC is even forbid to conduct research that would cut a company's profits. This specific law was lobbied in congress by congressmen on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies.
These loopholes allowing pharmaceutical companies to buy doctor's opinions and bribe health organizations are results of the larger issue of lobbying, which allows companies with the most spending money to fight for favorable laws and fight against disadvantageous ones, essentially allowing them to control and play a part in government using their sellout puppet congressmen.Image result for cdc

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stigma Becoming Less of an Issue

Image result for mental illness stigma
The stigma towards mental illness is experienced in 3 out of 4 people with one. It is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. Those who experience the stigma of mental illness, also experience shame, hopeless, distress and most importantly reluctance to seek and accept help. Stigma is the reason why so many keep their secret locked up tight from their friends and family. It is also why they often go untreated and sometimes end up attempting suicide, completely blind siding their family. Previously, kids with a mental illness must have their parents informed leading to the said stigma from their parents. However, a new law in New Jersey allows children to consent to psychiatric or psychological treatment and diagnosis. Their parents could have no idea that their child is depressed or has bipolar disorder, yet they could still be treated for their illness. This removes the stigma a child faces when he must admit to having a mental illness before he/she is treated for one. It will greatly decrease the number of kids who go untreated for mental illness.
However, there are downfalls to this bill. Every parent wants to know if their child is mentally ill, even if it isn't the best for them. The bill also includes confidentiality in venereal diseases and substance abuse a child is receiving, both of which should be information provided to the parent. However, in the long run, a parent not knowing about an issue a teenager is having is a great way for the kid to become independent and shake the problem off on their own terms and in their own way. It's more rewarding when they finally do.

Friday, May 15, 2015

How far will they drive?

There is now a car, coming to streets near you, that runs on air. The Indian motor giant Tata Motors is taking alternatives to fossil fuels to a whole new level. The car doesn't just take air from the atmosphere and use that to move a car, but instead has a tank filled with compressed air. The car is nearly finished being produced and we could see the release by the American chain, Zero Pollution Motors, by the end of 2015. The car is called the Airpod and is truly a pod considering its peculiar body.
Tata Motors' Air Car - Airpod - Might Launch in 2015
It would appear the car only has three wheels, but its irregularities don't stop there. The doors to enter the car are in the front and back only and is driven, not by a steering wheel, but by a joystick.
The strange perks of the the car don't end at the structure. The car is only able to go 43 mph on compressed air. Any speed higher, the car will have to run on its gas tank. A car frequently has to travel above 43 mph and it's for this reason the Airpod won't be successful. Compressed air doesn't store much energy in comparison, "Modern electric batteries, imperfect as they are, store more, and petroleum fuels vastly more." Despite being cleaner than the other two alternatives, it just isn't efficient enough of an energy source to become a legitimate fuel source. Perhaps when the technology has been perfected or perhaps it has reached its limit and won't evolve at all. Do you think this technology and car will be successful? Is being 'clean' the most important part of a fuel source?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Horror Films: Exceedingly more Distasteful

While first viewing the Unfriended trailer in a movie theater, I felt sympathy. I truly thought the trailer was an anti-cyber-bullying PSA, but a few moments later, it left a horrible taste in my mouth or eyes, I guess, in this case. It wasn't a PSA at all, but rather more of a horror film with a social media/bulling aspect to it. The premise is about a group of friends and one of them posts a video (we don't know which one) that ultimately leads to their classmate, Laura, killing them self. The friends are all Skyping each other when an unknown user calls them. As you have probably guessed by now, the anonymous user is the 'paranormal force' that haunts these 6 teenagers until they reveal who posted the video.
The premise of a horror movie over social media is very unique and, if done well, could become a great movie. However, when cyber-bullying is added to the mix, it seems disrespectful to the families of the victims of suicide. It depicts the 'killer' in the movie as an entity of the girl who committed suicide. No family wants their dearly departed child depicted as a ghostly killer taking revenge on his or her wrong-doers. There is a link to the trailer below for reference.
 Unfriended movie trailer

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Racial Violence Strikes in South Carolina

         Walter Scott was shot at eight times and hit five in North Charleston, South Carolina recently. The officer claimed that Scott had taken his stun gun in a scuffle, but video evidence concludes that this most certainly was not the case. He plants the stun gun near where the initial minor scuffle occurred and comes back to pick it up later. After shooting Scott, officer Michael Slager proceeds to handcuff the lifeless body. Obviously, there are a number of things the officer did wrong. He first plants the taser to make it appear as though the 'scuffle' was bigger than it actually was, obscuring the truth. Then he proceeded to use 'Deadly Force', a term defined as a maneuver that causes death or serious bodily injury to a felon. A felon is not a man who has neglected to pay childcare bills. Thus, deadly force isn't justified in this situation. Scott posed no immediate threat to civilians and it wasn't necessary to take him down in this way.
         We've seen often in the past year. Too often. Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice are all names that resonate in our brains for one specific reason: racism. Now I can't tell you that the officers who killed these men belong in prison, but I can tell you that if these men were white they wouldn't have been shot in the first place. The problem lies mainly in the officers' decision making. Did you know that police in Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand don't even carry guns? That may in part say something about the difference between our two nations, but the article linked above talks about how officers, "have saved lives -- exactly because they were unable to shoot." There is talk about officers being forced to wear cameras on their uniforms, but that will only increase conviction of officers when the real problem lies in the death of citizens. No one can know for sure the solution. Perhaps the removal of fire arms will help, perhaps only some should be removed and perhaps the solution is completely different.
If you look closely you are able to see the taser on the ground, planted there by Slager, as he reaches for his weapon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In our Future: Auto-automobiles

It's weird to think that one day everyone will have their own chaperone, their car. I just hope we don't end up like the people in Wall-E, all chubbed out and living in a mobile wheelchair, which is a few giant steps up from this, but the technology is there. This technology is just a few months away according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.  The new update includes technology making Tesla cars unable to travel out of range  of a tesla charging station intentionally. The technology is revolutionary. Not even the visionaries at ABC could of seen this one coming to put in their futuristic television show, The Jetsons. Though thus technology is street-safe and has been tested over and over, there remain dangers in this technology. The car is unable to detect pedestrians stepping in front of the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time and has a lower chance of stopping in time than the average driver. This isn't a fixable aspect in current situations. So, pedestrians must keep a more weary eye out for driverless cars when crossing the street.

Another company has also expressed interest and development in the technology. Uber would like to remove the driver from the equation of their taxi-app, the main cost of their service. Though ths may destroy the taxi industry by creating a low cost taxi without a driver, Uber wouldn't care with profits through the roof. There are instances of significantly less taxi trips since Uber has come to a city. In San Francisco, taxi cab average monthly trips per cab decreased from 1,378 in March 2013 to 768 in July of the same year. Uber came to San Francisco in 2012 and became immensely popular right around this time. Thus, if Uber were to take jobs and fares away from taxi drivers and then remove their drivers, the American job market would lose thousands of jobs. Even when my family visited the city this winter, we traveled by Uber to tour the city. Didn't take a single cab the entire vacation.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March Mad-slavery

       Didn't expect that, did you? You probably expected a fun post about the seedings of the NCAA March Madness or something like I did for the NCAA football playoffs. Not at all, this post is about the exploitation of NCAA's "student athletes". The NCAA brings in over 1 billion dollars ad television ad revenue, but the men and women that are being viewed from across the nation for most of the broadcast aren't paid a penny. Mark Emmert, the CEO of NCAA, uses the excuse for not paying them, "they're not employees, they're students." This statement is counter intuitive in itself and reminds me of reasoning behind the witch trials in The Crucible because the definition of employee is a person employed for wages or salary. Its a bit like saying, "we don't pay them because they are not hired to be payed" despite bringing in millions of dollars of revenue for schools.
       Now let's take a look from a moral perspective. Sure, many players may not need the money, but in a shocking case with Shabazz Napier, a player who was on the NCAA tournament's winning team two times, he did need money. He says in an interview,"There are hungry nights, when I go to bed and I'm starving." Shabazz was even expected to play the next day with searing pains in his stomach. The league forces players to sign a waver forfeiting any pay for the 1 in 83 chance that they'd get to play in the NBA. Many of them only receive a four-year degree, that is unless they get seriously injured. In some cases, they lose their entire scholarship and aren't able to pay the bills and consequently must drop out. The schools have the money to pay for necessary meals and medical care as well schooling for seriously injured players, but lack the moral responsibility, too. Instead they spend it on a buffalo-shaped pool with a hot tub for a hoof like at Colorado Boulder.