Mr Fusion

I am a big fan of the Back to the Future movie series, having seen the first one in a theater on opening night. One of my favorite scenes in when Doc comes back to get Marty at the end of the first movie and goes rummaging for trash to put into his “Mr Fusion” appliance. This trash into energy thing always seemed to me like a cool idea.

It’s here.

The US Army commissioned this project at Purdue University. The result is this device which takes trash of all sorts and reduces it, in the process, producing 90% more energy than it consumes. The resulting energy is used to power a generator. That sounds a bit like old Doc Brown’s Mr Fusion to me. 2015 here we come! Now, who is working on the Hover Board?

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Vivi, Come Home!

Last year, a Whippet named Vivi, got loose and ran away after the Westminster Dog Show while getting ready to board a plane at Kennedy Airport. She had won an Award of Merit at the show. She, presumably, was in desperation mode trying to avoid the plane flight home as these can be very stressful to dogs. She succeeded, but in the process was lost. Vivi was last seen doing 25mph down runway 16. She was wearing a sweater, and many people looked, but no one has found her. The reward is up to $20,000.

I remember being sad about this last year. The fact that there is still no resolution is even worse. At least we know what happened to Barbaro.
Here’s the kicker: In my mind, Vivi is in western PA right now, on her way home to her owner’s place in Claremont, CA. Unfortunately, the owner is moving to Montana. Someone please get Vivi this message, I would hate for her to have an incredible journey only to find her family left!

New Blog Purpose and a Load!

The Purpose:

Astute readers will notice, the Tag Line for NPA Think Tank has changed. I decided to change this in order to truly reflect my purpose in writing. I hope you enjoy!

And…The Load: The BackTpack.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) sent a press release telling all about their endorsement of this oddly designed and named backpack. I went to the homepage to look into what sort of research this backpack went through to gain the endorsement of a professional organization such as the APTA. Obviously, not much. In fact, the designer even included a personally conducted survey that is not published anywhere but her own site in the “research” list.

I’m sure the design is fine, and indeed seems to make sense biomechanically. However, at a time when the Physical Therapy profession is striving for autonomy and basing the argument largely on our ability to practice based off solid scientific evidence, an endorsement by the APTA of this product seems out of place. I do think children should not be required to carry ANY heavy loads, especially home-work.

Finally, I pretty sure no kid I know would wear this.

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More Birds…

Since bird conservation has unintentionally become the story of the day, here is a good one.

I love the underdogs. Most interesting about this article is than in less than 1 week, hatchling #15 was able to find safety in a flock of similarly behaved birds. Quite intelligent and very different from the human tendency to hide and become recluse when on your own. Which brings me to tomorrow’s topic…

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Be Nice to Vultures.

A group of researchers anounced today that a rare vulture species, the Slender-Billed Vulture, (which is a particularly pleasant name for a vulture) has been found in Cambodia. This sounds cool, but a little research will lead you to find out that as few as 10 years ago, this species was not rare at all. In the past 10 years 95% of scavenger raptors have disappeared from Indochina. Yikes!
The drug Diclofenac, part of the NSAID family, is often given to cattle in India and Pakistan to treat lameness or fever. This drug is not used in the United States, or Cambodia…thankfully. Diclofenac can be found in the dead bodies of cattle…by the vultures, and it kills them.
A good overview of the situation can be found here.
Those interested can visit the hapily-acronymed, GRIN, or Global Raptor Information Database.
Incidentally, this area in Cambodia is very remote and home to many other globally endangered species, including the often overlooked Dhole. Another Dhole page.
Did you know the Dhole was once the focus of an X-files episode?


Mirror Post from Metro Spirit Blog: Caring for your back…

Of course back pain is a complex issue and there really is no golden egg of knowledge that can cure everyone’s back pain. But, since most of us have it at some point in our lives, it seems a good subject to get rolling on.

Fact: Most Back Pain gets better on its own. Really.

Fact: Almost 20% of spinal fusion surgeries, a rather common procedure aimed at reducing back pain, need to be re-done. This is 1 in 5. This is according to a study recently released in a leading peer reviewed journal, Spine. Read the abstract here.

The recommendation of the authors of this study, which looked retrospectively at more than 24,000 cases is that surgeons must tell their patients the high likelihood of needing a second surgery in the next 11 years (random time frame, I know). It seems spinal surgery may not be the fix it is made out to be.

So, the one thing you need to know is this: Back pain often gets better on its own and aggressive interventions like surgery are not always the solution. Explore less invasive treatments for your back pain and learn what your options are.

Part II: Less Invasive treatments for low back pain…coming soon!

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A recent survey found that:
“Men drink more per day than women, while people in the Northeast consume more than those in any other region.

One in five would swap lunch for coffee.

Twelve percent would give up three hours of sleep and one in 10 would skip brushing their teeth.”

What would you give up for coffee?

I would glady never eat breakfast again to preserve my coffee, then again, I am a male hailing from the Northeast…what do you expect?

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Value-Based Insurance Design

This, from the Evidence in Motion Blog…really nerdy article , but fun for me…

I agree, this would never go over, but the idea is great!

Value-Based Insurance Design:
” I read with great interest an article [2 week access] in Health Affairs written in part by Michael Chernew professor of health care policy at Harvard.

One feature of this design has co-pays varying inversely to the ‘benefit’ of the service. This would encourage those to seek out services whose benefit exceeds the cost of the service while discourag…”

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