03 September 2010


KIDNEY IMPLANT. People who experience reduced kidney function due to renal failure, have limited choices. If they are lucky, they may secure a kidney transplant from a living or recently deceased donor. But the number of prospective recipients far exceeds the number of donors. For the remainder, dialysis provides the most common treatment enabling patients to maintain the body's internal equilibrium of water and minerals, and also to assist in voiding metabolic waste. But dialysis is an intrusive and debilitating procedure (see diagram of a dialysis machine above, click to enlarge), as well as being expensive. Each visit for dialysis treatment lasts for 1-3 hours, with tubes introducing cleansing fluids and removing fluid waste. Patients typically feel deeply chilled and weakened by the procedure, which often must be endured three times a week.

In one of the most important medical breakthroughs in recent history, dialysis may become a thing of the past. Yesterday researchers unveiled the world's first implantable artificial kidney. For 350,000 regular dialysis patients in the U.S. alone, this new device is a ray of hope. Here is a link to the full article describing the implant.

PENTAGON PROPAGANDA. It isn't news that the military carefully filters, spins and slants the information it presents not only to the President and Congress, but also to the American people. Every war has produced its own unique public relations apparatus. Most citizens don't stop to think that it is we, the taxpayers, who are footing the bill for information with is at best incomplete, frequently inaccurate, and often deliberately misleading. Why? To perpetuate the guerre de jour, the war of the moment.

Can you wrap your imagination around a number like half a billion? That's how many dollars (our dollars) are being squandered in the Pentagon's present Afghanistan propaganda blitz. This is money that could be channeled (depending on your own views and priorities) into enhanced weaponry and protection for troops on the ground, or (in my opinion) channeled into schools, water treatment facilities, roads, and employment for the people of Afghanistan. This is the only guaranteed and proven way to stabilize the region, the best possible expenditure to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It is scandalous that General David Petraeus sees fit to participate in a PR campaign which diverts so much funding from actually waging the war, or winning the peace.

A TOOL FOR THE GENTLE READER. You will notice among the features lining the right-hand side of this page, a chart labeled "Visitors" broken down by country. Each person who reads this blog is represented by his/her nation's flag, a two-letter designator identifying that nation, and the number of visits from that nation. To date 12,728 people from 126 countries have graced this page with their presence, averaging 54 visits per day since I initiated the sitemeter in March of 2009. If you would like to know the country to which each flag and two-letter designator belongs, simply click on this link, scroll down and then click on the appropriate square in the colored chart. If you ever needed an indication that we live in a global community, this is it -- a modest blog written by a modest writer in western Montana, reaching out around the planet. Very cool.

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