FDA and Drug Approval Times

The Economist is one of my favorite magazines and I am quite happy I recently got subscriptions from both my mom and Jamuna.

This recent article just gave me an idea for reforming both the patent office and the FDA- tie approval/processing times to families of drugs or patents the government believes would benefit the nation.

In the case of the the FDA lifestyle drugs like Viagra, Allegra would take a back seat to drugs for the treatment of more pressing ills (Cancer, AIDS, ALS, etc.). I think this could reduce the appeal of blockbuster drugs and the cost of pursuing less profitable segments. The latter could be achieved by reducing drug approval time and thus lengthening the time the drug is on the market protected by patent.

For the patent office the I think the implementation is less clear. I would like to see some way to reduce the burden of frivolous and defensive patents. The feelings, at least as far as I can tell are, too many frivolous patents are being awarded. As for defensive patents I think they do nothing to foster innovation in and go a long way to stifle it- very much the opposite of the nations goals for the patent office. Perhaps patent applications proven to be under current development could be expedited over applications for patents not currently under development. Determining what counts as “currently under development” could be very problematic but multi year patent application approvals are also problematic.

Regulating the drugs industry | The merry go-round | Economist.com

BitTorrent Rocks

Tonight I used BitTorrent to download a Knoppix LiveCD. This protocol saved me more than seven hours of download time. BitTorrent took about 40 minutes. My ftp client predicted 8+ hours to download. I hope more organizations embrace this technology. I would love to see it built into a few browsers.

Are You Aware of Your Surroundings?

Kevin Kelly of Wired fame, posts 34 thought provoking questions that have inspired me to learn more about the geology, fauna, flora and hydrology of my new home in Ohio.



The Big Here Quiz: “You live in the big here. Wherever you live, your tiny spot is deeply intertwined within a larger place, imbedded fractal-like into a whole system called a watershed, which is itself integrated with other watersheds into a tightly interdependent biome. (See the world eco-region map ). At the ultimate level, your home is a cell in an organism called a planet. All these levels interconnect. What do you know about the dynamics of this larger system around you? Most of us are ignorant of this matrix. But it is the biggest interactive game there is. Hacking it is both fun and vital.

The following exercise in watershed awareness was hatched 30 years ago by Peter Warshall, naturalist extraordinaire. Variations of this list have appeared over the years with additions by Jim Dodge, Peter Berg, and Stephanie Mills among others. I have recently added new questions from Warshall and myself, and I have edited or altered most of the rest. It’s still a work in progress. If you have a universal question you think fits, submit it to me.


How many of Kelly’s questions can you answer? Check out his site for some recommendations on how to learn more about your home.

Local Road Work




Local Road Work

Originally uploaded by sebrenner.

Tonight around 7 o’clock I noticed these two kids pull up in front of our house in a plain pickup truck with a flashing light bar on the roof. They get out and set a few cones on the street and started directing traffic. I am thinking, “What is this all about?”

They set a 2×4 in the middle of the road with one of the kids standing on it. The other kid pulls a paint bucket and a paint roller from the truck and starts painting the dividing lines on the street.

I realize Madeira is a small town but I expected the road maintenance would be handled by a little bit large outfit than two teenager with a 2×4 and a roller.

I was especially surprised by their very casual one-hand, no-flag technique of controlling traffic.

A Simple Google Earth Hack

I saw this cool map of ancient Rome overlayed on Google Earth and I thought to myself I bet I could do that.


Rare-Maps.com Boulder 1910So I took a few minutes and looked around for an old map of Boulder, Colorado. Rare-Maps.com, a local Boulder gallery had a cool map from 1910. I then open Google Earth navigated to Boulder and used the Add Image Overlay function.


The overlay function is pretty straightforward. You can zoom in and out, resize the overlay, and skew it if you need to. It took me a few minutes to get the correct sizing and positioning on the map. I think it helps to align a feature that is on both Google Earth and the overlay. Once the feature is lined up I scaled the overlay until most of the features matched. I say most because I noticed I couldn’t get everything to lineup. I think the overlay may be a little off on scale and we are use a flat image to represent a curved surface.


Here is the Google Earth file if you are interested in taking a look.

Sea Kayaking in Baja

I spent one week paddling from Loredo down to Agua Verde with Outwardbound. It was a great time and a great way to learn to sea kayak. I was a little disappointed by the lack of challenges. I didn’t think the paddling was tough nor was the camping.

After the Outwardbound trip I traveled up the cost a little. Staying on various beaches and enjoying the sun, surf and Coronas.

I grew up in Boulder

And I can’t say enough good things about the city. It has great weather, great people, great activities and it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful city.