Articles Posted in Uncategorized

Economics-300x200Economics was once viewed as the most valuable intellectual training for determining the health of the world’s financial system, now those truths are being challenged by hard to predict leaders and nations. After the Cold War, economics rose to the top of the sciences and was seen as a powerful force “that could make and unmake nations,” according to Fareed Zakaria in his essay, The End of Economics? So, what’s changed?

Fareed said, “modern-day economics had been built on certain assumptions: that countries, companies, and people seek to maximize their income above all else, that human beings are rational actors, and that the system works efficiently.”  However, he concludes behavioral economics showed that markets, people, and even nations don’t always behave rationally, he says, “As we try to understand the world of the next three decades, we will desperately need economics but also political science, sociology, psychology, and perhaps even literature and philosophy.”

Fast Moving Example

The French data protection authority fined Google 50 million Euros or about $57 million, for not properly disclosing to users how data is collected across its services, including its search engine, Google Maps and YouTube, in order to present personalized advertisements. This is the largest penalty  to date under the European Union privacy law, The General Data Protection Regulation, that went into effect last May.  Facebook is also the subject of a number of investigations by the data protection authorities in Europe.

Google said it was determining whether to appeal the decision.

In July of last year, Google was fined a record 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion/£3.8 billion) on Wednesday by the European Union’s competition watchdog, which accused it of using its dominant position in the marketplace to quash competition. That fine was appealed.

Millions of elderly immigrants, mainly Spanish speakers cannot participate in clinical trials because they cannot speak English.  The reason is that clinicians and researchers do not believe that using interpreters can properly accomplish the neuropsych testing, according to a study published in Clinical Neuropsychology.

Dr. Benjamin Sommers, who studies health policy for vulnerable populations at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the problem goes beyond clinical trials and affects diagnosing as well. He recently had trouble arranging for neuropsychological testing to diagnose a Spanish-speaking patient who did not speak English fluently. Under-representation of ethnic minorities in neuropsychology is a realistic concern that has garnered increased attention over the past few years. The problem is one that is difficult to answer. Neuropsychologists who work with interpreters may be  erroneously interpreting an individual’s performance as “normal” (false negative) or impaired (false positive) for some neuropsychological tests because of the language barriers and there aren’t enough Spanish speaking neuropsychologists to run the tests. Scientists are trying to find new ways of administering the tests which will allow for competent results with interpreters.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked a drug-resistant salmonella outbreak, which has affected 100 people in 29 states, back to certain raw chicken products. 

The Salmonella infections have been linked to raw chicken products, but regulators have not identified any one specific source, product, or common supplier.

So far, 92 people have become sick across 29 states, including California, Washington, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine. There have been no reported deaths, but at least 21 people have been hospitalized form food poisoning.

Marijuana may be legal in some states in the United States, but it is federally prohibited. This means it is illegal to bring marijuana bought in Canada across the border into the United States.
This is the case even if you are flying into a state where it is legal, such as Colorado.  Crossing international borders with cannabis is illegal.
Flying with pot from Vancouver to Montreal, on the other hand, is perfectly legal so long as you meet the age requirement and carry no more than 30 grams of cannabis.

Harmful drugs are commonly found in dietary supplements people take for weight loss, or muscle building, sexual enhancement or general health according to a new analysis. When California health department researchers took a closer look at more than 700 supplements subject to warnings from the FDA over a 10-year span, they often found drugs like sildenafil (Viagra), the heart drug sibutramine, and synthetic steroids, all of which could be harmful.

50% of adults in the U.S.  consume dietary supplements, which is now a $35 billion industry. These supplements include vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes that according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are not intended to treat or prevent disease.  In the recent study, c ertain drug ingredients were commonly detected across products marketed for the same purposes . Overall, 287 of 353 adulterated sexual enhancement supplements (81.3%) contained sildenafil (166 of 353 [47.0%]) and/or at least 1 of its structural analogues (134 of 353 [38.0%]). Sildenafil is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Viagra, which is a prescription medication manufactured by Pfizer Inc for erectile dysfunction. Analogues are metabolized in the body into active pharmaceutical ingredients. In the beginning of the 10-year period from 2007 through 2016, analogues of sildenafil were detected in a majority of adulterated sexual enhancement supplements (Figure 2). In 2012, however, the proportion of products containing sildenafil began to increase.

Harvard’s Dr. Pieter Cohen — who penned a commentary that accompanies the study — says the FDA’s “dereliction of duty” is to blame for tainted supplements still on the market. He says that the FDA plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of vitamins.  He also suggests that there are major deficiencies in the FDA’s regulation of supplements.

A Chinese-led coalition threatens to further tighten control of the rare earths trade with the purchase of the only operational rare earth metals mine in America. The Mountain Pass Mine in the California desert south of Las Vegas was a powerhouse producer of REEs from 1965 to 1985, at which point China took over global production and never looked back. Mountain Pass was shuttered from 2002 to 2012 because it couldn’t compete with the low prices coming out of China. After a brief revival from 2012 to 2015, Mountain Pass closed for good in 2016 and its owner, Molycorp, filed for bankruptcy. This past June, an investor group with alleged ties to the Chinese government bought the mine for $20.5 million, beating out American bidders including entrepreneur Tom Clarke of ERP Strategic Minerals.

The Complaint alleges that  Musk met for less than an hour with three representatives of Public Investment Fund, at Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant on July 31 during which the lead representative for the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund expressed interest in taking Tesla private if the terms were “reasonable.”

On Aug. 24, Musk stated that Tesla would remain public, citing investor resistance.

The United States filed a civil complaint against Foo Yuan Food Products Company, Inc. (Foo Yuan) of Long Island City, New York, its Owner and President Hsing Chang, and its Secretary Susan Chang, to stop them from preparing and distributing adulterated seafood products in violation of federal law. The FDA inspected Foo Yuan’s facility in 2014, 2016 and from December 2017 to January 2018.  According to the complaint, at each inspection, FDA documented significant deficiencies.  For example, as alleged in the complaint, during the most recent inspection, FDA observed a failure to maintain the cleanliness of food contact sources, and a failure to ensure that all persons working in direct contact with food, food contact surfaces and food-packing materials conform to hygienic practices to protect against food contamination.

The complaint notes that, following the October 2014 inspection, FDA issued a warning letter notifying Foo Yuan and Hsing Chang that they were in violation of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, causing their products to be adulterated under the law.

The complaint notes that, following the October 2014 inspection, FDA issued a warning letter notifying Foo Yuan and Hsing Chang that they were in violation of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, causing their products to be adulterated under the law.

Some legal authorities are commenting that Elon Musks public mention of taking Tesla private may have violated Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 14e-8. This prohibits publicly traded companies from announcing plans to buy or sell securities if executives don’t intend to follow through within a reasonable time.  The purpose of the rule is to prevent manipulation of the  stock price. Musk tweeted “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”  This tweet resulted in a stock price spike of Tesla to $387.49 closing price. At $420 per share, this would mean Tesla would need to come up with $71 billion to take the company private. I don’t think there is a violation despite the unusual nature of Musks tweet.

Here is the language of the regulation at issue

Sec 240.14e-8 Prohibited conduct in connection with pre-commencement communications.