Friday, May 30, 2014

Yes, The World is Sometimes a Little Crazy

There's always a way to make a buck, at taxpayers expense- While Medicare continues to be among the most costly federal services, and U.S. doctors continue to drop out of the program because of paltry fees for some procedures, other specialists are rewarded with such outsized compensation that almost 4,000 physicians were paid $1 million or more for 2012 and about 350 of those totaled nearly $1.5 billion, according to Medicare records released in April 2014. Ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen of West Palm Beach, Fla., took in more than $20 million and treated 645 Medicare patients with a total of 37,000 injectable doses of Lucentis (a much more expensive drug than the popularly regarded equivalent, Avastin), according to Business Insider. (In fact, taxpayers could have saved more than $11 million with Avastin on Melgen's billings alone, according to an April Washington Post analysis.)

In China, Liu Yougang, 23, finally had surgery to remove a whistle he had swallowed when he was 9. He had been experiencing worsened breathing -- and had been making "shrill whistle sounds" nightly after falling asleep. –Too bad, he might have made a great referee…

Three British companies are in competition to sell deodorant supposedly made especially for women's breasts. According to one, Fresh Body, "We're replacing 'swoobs' -- dreaded boob sweat -- with smiles. –No, I don’t have their phone number…

Haagen-Dazs announced it will introduce two new ice creams (thankfully, only in Japan): carrot orange (with bits of pulp and peel) and tomato cherry (made from tomato paste).

A South Wales ice cream maker ("Lick Me I'm Delicious") announced in April that it has perfected an ice cream containing about 25mg of Viagra per scoop (fortunately, it is not yet generally available).

Owner Christian Ingber recently opened a sandwich shop in Gothenburg, Sweden, named "A F***ing Awesome Sandwich." Apparently, Swedes think English "curse words" are "cute and charming."

A little too dedicated? Cornell University graduate student Michael Smith, disappointed at the paucity of research on the pain of honeybee stings, decided to evaluate the stings himself (but in line with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 on safe self-experimentation). Smith's protocols required five stings a day on various body locations for 38 days -- at least three on each of 25 body areas. The worst, according to his pain index, were the nostril (9.0) and the upper lip (8.7).

North Carolina's Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is well known for creating functional organs in the lab (most notably, perhaps, growing a human bladder and a rabbit's penis. No, really). In an April article in the Lancet, the program announced that it had implanted artificial vagina's in four women in the U.S. A functioning vagina, the director told BBC News, "is a very important thing." –Well, duh…
Today’s Reflection:
Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure.
Live Long and Prosper….

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