Quick Roundup 444

Thursday, July 02, 2009

There and Back Again

Objectivist Summer Conference 2009 will be starting in Boston tomorrow, but as chance would have it, I'll be out of the country for the first half of it. However, I will be around from as early as noon to late in the day/early evening for the last three weekdays of it. If you'll be there and you'd like to meet up on one of those days, drop me a line. I may not be able to reply until about the sixth or seventh, though.

And, most likely, there won't be a post here tomorrow.

Objectivist Roundup

Rational Jenn will be hosting it this week.

Lord of the Files

I see that, by coincidence, Rational Jenn has also decided to improve her implementation of David Allen's Getting Things Done productivity system. I'm not sure whether I'll blog it beyond taking the occasion to toot my own horn, but I just made a huge improvement in my own implementation: Until today, the year-long stint Mrs. Van Horn and I did in separate cites had kept me from getting all of the clutter -- I mean filing -- under control.

That had, in fact, been the one thing I had never fully implemented, and it has occasionally driven me nuts over the past two years. When? Any time I needed something that was still "outside the system." One of those times, it was a car title.


Of course, the camera, not being made of paper, is apparently "outside the system" and doubtless hiding in some still not-quite unpacked corner of our place. That's a shame, because I came up with a really clever way to convert a hanging file drawer to one that can hold manila folders properly.

Nonetheless... What a load off! Especially given how small the new place is.

They're Going after NyQuil!?!?!

Not only are some idiots hoping to run the financial sector as brilliantly as the FDA oversees pharmaceuticals, but others, not content with it preventing new drugs from hitting the shelves, are trying to get it to take what we do have away!

The drugs that could be pulled off shelves are combination medications, such as Procter & Gamble's NyQuil or Novartis' Theraflu, which combine acetaminophen with other ingredients that treat cough and runny nose.
So since some people choose to take too much acetaminophen, I might be forced to be even more miserable every time I get a cold in the future.

Just Because...

I just had this perverse thought -- I get this way when I stay up all night -- "There is nothing so stupid that someone, somewhere doesn't take it seriously." So I throw the most idiotic thing ("ban flushing toilets") that immediately comes to mind into a search engine and get this:
It's a subtle difference in emphasis: from an optimistic vision in which simple technological innovation was used to reshape the planet for human happiness, innovation is now qualified in terms of environmental damage. It becomes a question of "balance", with human health now a factor in a trade-off.

Non-flushing loos are a feature of Britain's "Eco Towns", the harshly regulated and monitored new settlements proposed by the government. Here, where water is in abundance, they're needed to raise "awareness" of resource consumption. But the argument has now become entrenched in development, illustrated by a new documentary Flush It!
No, I'm not watching the clip that follows.

"Prepare for the War on Toilets," the article warns, and ends with an African woman hitting the nail on the head: "It's not only money that's stopping development any more, it's ideas and organisations telling us we need to consume less, and we don't need what the west has." [bold added]

More here, and the date line isn't April 1.

Back to OCON, and Boston

And ideas, as the paternalists of the FDA show us, can reverse development. Boston is steeped in such ideas, but it's still alive and kicking, so why not enjoy it?

If you're going to OCON and had to pinch pennies to do so -- or you just want more money left over to give to ARI in the vein of helping save Boston from itself-- here's a list of 25 Free Things to Do in and around Boston. I will do #6 sooner or later, perhaps on one of those afternoons. And here's an article about Boston pizza, which I haven't tried yet. Last but not least, I was in the area where OCON will occur a few weeks ago and saw that my favorite Boston restaurant chain so far, Legal Seafood, has a test kitchen there. Nice.

Happy Independence Day!

I'll be in America only in spirit this July Fourth, but I, like Joseph Kellard, can thank one of its immigrants for helping me appreciate it much more fully than I might have otherwise.

-- CAV

This post was composed in advance and scheduled for publication at 5:00 A.M. on July 2, 2009.


: Changed a hypertext anchor.


Joseph Kellard said...


Thank you for linking to my column about Ayn Rand and American patriotism.

Have a very, merry Independence Day.

Joseph Kellard

Jenn Casey said...

Re: NyQuil. I'm not surprised (though dismayed) that the FDA is considering going in this direction. Combination cold and flu meds have been banned for children under 4 years of age for the last year or so. First, the FDA pulled the meds for kids 2 and under--then they revised the guideline for 4 and under, and I've seen (I'll have to dig up the link) that they are considering pulling them for kids 6 and under.

Why? In any article I've read about this, two reasons are typically given. First, there is a claim that these kinds of meds "don't work" for children. Studies are mentioned but never cited.

The second reason is that sometimes parents don't read the information on these meds and unintentionally overdose their kids--giving a combo med that contains Tylenol plus regular Tylenol, for example. (Many people don't realize this, but Tylenol can be very dangerous in high amounts.)

A third reason occasionally given is that parents are too quick to give their kids meds rather than try other ways to manage cold symptoms first.

This removal ALL cold meds for younger children has been irksome, to say the least. I read the directions and follow them whenever I choose to give my kids (or myself) medicine, and don't like being punished because some people do not. (I'm not unsympathetic to the children who have been given the wrong doses.)

As far as the claim that the drugs do not work--I'd love to see the studies upon which this claim is based (if anyone has a citation, please let me know). Because my firsthand experience is that when I've given a congested child a decongestant (back in the days before the ban), he becomes less congested.

Also, there is talk of banning Benadryl for all kids under 6 or 8--an antihistamine that has been safely used for decades. The same rationale is used for this ban.

Hm....I seem to have gone on for a while here. Anyway, not surprised that this is yet another area in which our government feels the need to protect us from ourselves.

Gus Van Horn said...


You're welcome, and same to you!


The fact that few people know about the danger of the danger using acetaminophen in high doses illustrates the pernicious effect of government warnings.

People should be vigilant at all times about the drugs they use (and, conversely, companies should make such information almost impossible NOT to know in such cases. But too many people apparently operates on the premise that "If drugs are dangerous, the government will regulate/ban them."

This makes people more ignorant on the whole about what they're using, LESS safe, and MORE prone to scare-mongering.

This possible ban has blindsided me so far. I take the fact that this has been bandied about for some time as a bad sign.