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March 5, 2020

Getting subscribers is HARD!

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I was just reflecting on my $5/month subscription to The Browser, a daily email newsletter curated by Robert Cottrell and overseen by Uri Bram.

This article about Cottrell and how he reads 1,000 articles a day in order to create The Browser fascinated me.

I don't know how I happened on it, but sometime last year I think I got an out-of-the-blue invite to receive it free for a month and then decide if I wanted to continue as a paid subscriber.

Along with the subscription, which I purchased, came offers every couple days for me to have it sent free for a month to any three people I wanted.

I must've submitted 30-40 names and emails (only after first contacting the prospective recipients and asking if they were interested).

I asked all the peeps who got a free month: not a single one subscribed.

Makes my slow progress toward my goal of 1,000 YouTube subscribers so I can livestream from my phone understandable.

I can't even give it away.

FWIW I'm up to 627 (from 596 when I began my campaign a month or so ago).

Wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?

March 5, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

A nuclear explosion puts out a gas well blaze in Russia

They do things differently there.

March 5, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: Expired Drugs, Part 2

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Part 1 appeared on February 17, 2020.

Just in from reader Mark in a comment on that post, a link to a 2017 Digg article titled "The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates." 

Excerpts below.

Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital.

Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.

The term "expiration date" is a misnomer.

The dates on drug labels are simply the point up to which the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies guarantee their effectiveness, typically at two or three years.

But the dates don't necessarily mean they're ineffective immediately after they "expire" — just that there's no incentive for drugmakers to study whether they could still be usable.

The idea that drugs expire on specified dates goes back at least a half-century, when the FDA began requiring manufacturers to add this information to the label.

The time limits allow the agency to ensure medications work safely and effectively for patients.

To determine a new drug's shelf life, its maker zaps it with intense heat and soaks it with moisture to see how it degrades under stress.

It also checks how it breaks down over time.

The drug company then proposes an expiration date to the FDA, which reviews the data to ensure it supports the date and approves it.

Despite the difference in drugs' makeup, most "expire" after two or three years.

Once a drug is launched, the makers run tests to ensure it continues to be effective up to its labeled expiration date.

Since they are not required to check beyond it, most don't, largely because regulations make it expensive and time-consuming for manufacturers to extend expiration dates, says Yan Wu, an analytical chemist who is part of a focus group at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists that looks at the long-term stability of drugs.

Most companies, she says, would rather sell new drugs and develop additional products.

2006 study of 122 drugs tested by the FDA and Defense Department  Shelf Life Extension Program showed that two-thirds of the expired medications were stable every time a lot was tested.

Each of them had their expiration dates extended, on average, by more than four years, according to that research, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A 2012 piece from Pharmacy Times titled "Some medications last long past expiration date" has more; highlights follow.

Analysis of a cache of decades-old prescription medications discovered in a retail pharmacy has revealed that the potency of most of their ingredients was undiminished even though their expiration dates had passed years earlier.

The results of the analysis were published online on October 8, 2012, in Archives of Internal Medicine in a paper titled "Stability of Active Ingredients in Long-Expired Prescription Medications."

The researchers worked with samples of 8 medications that had expired 28 to 40 years earlier and contained 15 different active ingredients in all.

The researchers analyzed 3 tablets or capsules of each medication, and each sample was tested 3 times for each labeled active ingredient. (One active ingredient, homatropine, was not tested for as no analytical standard could be found for it.)

The active ingredients tested for were: aspirin, amphetamine, phenacetin, methaqualone, codeine, butalbital, caffeine, phenobarbital, meprobamate, pentobarbital, secobarbital, hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine, and acetaminophen.

The results showed that 11 (79%) of the 14 drug compounds were always present in concentrations of at least 90% of the amount indicated on the drug label, which is generally recognized as the minimum acceptable potency.

All samples of aspirin and amphetamine were present at less than 90% of the labeled content, and phenacetin was present at greater than 90% of the labeled amount in 1 medication, but less than 90% of the labeled amount in another medication.

In addition, 3 compounds were present at greater than 110% of the labeled content, which is generally seen as the maximum acceptable potency.

Expiration dates for drugs are generally set at 12 to 60 months after production, but the FDA does not require manufacturers to determine how long medications remain potent after their expiration date.

Given that almost all the compounds in the current study retained full potency under conditions that may not have been ideal for 28 to 40 years, the researchers suggest that expiration dates for many medications could be extended.

Doing so could potentially yield significant savings on prescription drug costs.

[via Mark]

March 5, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

All cats are black in silhouette

Gray Cat watching my northern perimeter at 5:21 a.m.

She may be a feral cat originally from Culpeper [sic], Virginia, but she stands on guard for me.

March 5, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Key Ring Shopping Bag

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Love it.

From the website:

Always have a shopping bag available and always have your keys within easy reach without having to put down your bag.
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Made of ripstop cloth, this bag will hold up to 50 pounds.
Say goodbye to the clutter of foldable bags.
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Integrated keychain clip.
Folded: 3" x 3.5"x 0.05"
Open: 13" x 13" x 4"

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$6 (shopping bag contents not included).

Note that in true Valley spirit, I eat my own dog food: I ordered one of these about two zeptoseconds after I happened on the item online.

March 5, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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