Open Thread Friday 3-27-2020
My county is has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Testing is still very limited in Oregon and we are in a partial lock down. Some optimization if we follow the guidelines may not overrun our capacity of hospital beds. This will go on for several weeks and every few days there area a few more restrictive orders.
Technology is supposed to provide part of the answer to our overcoming the viruses impact. Some of the monitoring practices have been available ror some time, but hidden from the general public's awareness. This visual example of phone tracking is a little creepy. The publishers are very reassuring how they are not identifying personal info. It appears to be a choice they are making, not a feature of the data being used.
The pharmaceutical companies are concerned about maximizing profits. When the United States stopped giving them tax breaks manufacturing began moving around the world. To have domestic production the manufacturing of medications and all chemical required for the processes will need to be relocated.
Why Puerto Rican drug manufacturers moved to China
Until relatively recently, Puerto Rico was a dominant player in the manufacture of prescription drugs. The reason? Taxes.
In Gerald Ford’s last year as President, the Democratic Congress passed—and Ford signed—the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which exempted from taxation corporate income generated in U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This policy, combined with Puerto Rican tax law, meant that corporate subsidiaries based in Puerto Rico enjoyed a zero percent corporate tax rate, so long as they distributed their profits as dividends.
Pharmaceutical companies were well suited to take advantage of this tax break—contained in Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code—for drug manufacturing. Companies could base their manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, and thereby significantly reduce their U.S. tax burden. A 1993 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that pharmaceutical companies represented, by far, the largest beneficiaries of the Puerto Rican corporate tax system, benefiting to the tune of $86 million in 1985.
Over time, Congress whittled away at the Puerto Rican tax break. Finally, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which phased out Section 936, fully repealing the tax break in 2006. The measure was hailed at the time as “ending corporate welfare as we know it.”
The end of Section 936 dispersed the global pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to other parts of the globe. Many manufacturers of branded pharmaceuticals moved their factories to Ireland, which has a low 6.25 percent corporate tax rate for revenue tied to patents or other intellectual property. Ruthless price competition among manufacturers of older, generic medicines drove those supply chains to China and India. A U.S. Department of Commerce study found that 97 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. now come from China. 40 percent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs used in the U.S. now come from India.
Moving the pharmaceutical industry back to the United States would not completely remove the risk of supply disruptions. Hurricane Maria disrupted the pharmaceutical manufacturing in Puerto Rico.
The vulnerable points
Creating a safe space for employees was a crucial element to restoring drug manufacturing to normal levels, pharma site leaders readily admit. Executives were keenly aware of the need to get operations back up and running as quickly and with as much stability as possible, for the benefit of global drug supplies as well as Puerto Rico.
Of the top 20 medicines sold worldwide, components of 11 are manufactured on the island. The drug supply chain has some flexibility—companies can shift manufacturing to sites in other countries, for example—but the portion of the pipeline potentially affected by Maria risked bottom lines as well as the overall pharmaceutical supply chain.
The stakes were high for Puerto Rico itself too: As of 2016, the drug and devices industry represented nearly 30% of its overall gross domestic product, and some 38,000 people worked in the biosciences.
As media began to report the outages at plants on the island, and U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued statements on the issue, worries over drug shortages heightened.
I cut the cord to TV three years ago. Ironically with the fast changes in our society right now I had been thinking about getting an antenna for local stations. JekyllnHyde saved me some dollars when he posted his diary in February.
That said, it's still useful to watch the three cable news networks for political debates, analysis, and the like. If for whatever reason you don't have access to them, bookmark these websites. Some also include a few other news channels. Note that these are completely FREE!
4. planetnews.com - only has CNN and MSNBC.
5. https://pluto.tv/ - this is something like Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc. It has a couple of hundred channels and is FREE. At least for now. Look for the yellow circle at the lower right side of your pc screen. That's how you see the channel listings for movies, news, sports, etc.
When on travel, I can access and watch these news channels on my cell phone.
If you are interested in freelance work or spot projects Edg provided a great diary about Upwork earlier this month.
Work At Home. No, Really.
This essay, on the other hand, is based on my personal work at home experience over the past several years. It includes actual screenshots from my freelancer account at Upwork.com and provides exhaustive, in-depth guidance on how to set up your own account and start pursuing your own work at home opportunities.
Warning: When I say exhaustive, I mean it. This is a very long essay.
There has been some very good discussions this week regarding COVID-19. I thought this video shared by out of left field has some good info. Video is a little rough, but worth the interruptions. (full 57 minutes)
Most common methods of COVID-19 and prevention 6:39 to 15:30
What to expect if get COVID-19 and when to seek treatment 15:30 to 29:00
Answering various questions 29:00-57:00
Dr. Price knows whereof he speaks: he has spent the past several weeks caring for Covid19 patients in NYC's Weill Cornell hospital. Below is a link to a video in which he talks about how you catch Covid19, how you can protect yourself from catching it, and what to do if you do catch it.
Continuing the Journey into Chinese Medicine
Qigong or energy work has been used in China for five main objectives: 1) maintaining health, 2) medical therapy, 3) prolonging life, 4) optimize martial arts and 5) spiritual enlightenment. An author I have been recently reading to better understand qigong is Dr Jwing-Ming Yang (doctorate is in mechanical engineering). He grew up in Taiwan, began his teaching career there and moved to the United States mid 1970's. He makes an effort to communicate the essence of the Chinese thoughts in English. Not an easy task.
Excerpt from his book Simple Qigong Exercises for Health.. A promotional pdf download with a few more sections of the book.
Chapter 3. Sitting Eight Pieces of Brocade
It has been nearly one thousand years since the Eight Pieces of Brocade were created. There are many versions, each one somewhat different from the others. However, it does not matter which version you are training, the basic principles and theory are the same, and the goal is consistent. Remember that the most important thing in the training is not the forms themselves, but rather the theory and principle of each form, which constitute the root. Once you understand these, you will be able to use your wisdom mind (yi, 意) to lead the qi to circulate and bring you to health. Therefore, when you practice you should try to understand the poetry or the “secret words.” They have been passed down for hundreds of years and are the root of the practice. Because of cultural and language differences, it is very difficult to translate into English all of the meaning of the Chinese. We will try to keep as close as possible to the Chinese and hope that you are able to get not just the meaning, but also the taste of the original. Sometimes, words that are not in the original will be added in parentheses to clarify the meaning. Each section of poetry will be discussed so that it is as clear as possible.
As the first chapter explains, The Eight Pieces of Brocade is an external elixir (wai dan, 外丹) exercise. It includes both types of wai dan qigong practice theory: not only does it build up qi in the limbs and then allow this qi to flow into the organs, but it also uses the motion of the limbs to move the muscles around the organs and increase the qi circulation there.
There are two sets of The Eight Pieces of Brocade. One set is sitting and the other is standing. The sitting set discussed in this chapter focuses on exercising the upper limbs and benefits the six organs that are related to the six qi channels in the arms. The sitting set is a good way to wake up in the morning, and it is usually practiced before noon. The sitting set is also good for people who are bedridden or cannot stand easily.
You may wonder about the number of repetitions given for the different exercises. Chinese people consider twelve to be the number of a cycle; for example, twelve months comprise a year. Therefore, you will often see twelve or its multiples listed as the recommended numbers of repetitions. Square numbers such as nine, sixteen, forty-nine, or sixty-four are also popular. Such numbers are only a guide, and you don’t need to follow them precisely. If you have only a limited amount of time and cannot do the recommended number of repetitions, simply use a smaller number. Do not, however, omit any of the exercises.
You may have noticed that in the discussion of the training theory and in the training instructions there is very little about coordinating your breathing with the movements. This is simply because the set was designed for the beginning qigong practitioner. For the beginner, the most important element of the practice is relaxation. Only when you have mastered the set and learned how to regulate your body should you start to coordinate
your breath with the movements. The general rule in breathing is that when you extend your limbs you exhale and lead the qi to the extremities, and when you withdraw your limbs you inhale and lead the qi to your spine.
15.23 minutes Sitting Set of Eight Piece Brocade