FDA + CPSC news

From the latest Conformity Magazine newsletter:

Save a few bucks and get electrocuted or burn the house down, what a bargain. CPSC Warns Against Counterfeit Electrical Products

“The CPSC says that it has recalled more than one million counterfeit electrical products in recent years, including defective circuit breakers, cell phone batteries, and extension cords. Many of the recalled products were manufactured in China, where they are not tested [for] compliance with relevant safety standards.”

Read the full article for good tips to help spot the counterfeits.

Here’s the most dangerous manufacturing problems I’ve heard of in a long time, FDA Seizes Implantable Medical Devices, Initiates Recall

“In a dramatic action that underscored the severity of the risk to consumers, investigators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Marshals seized all implantable medical devices from a New Jersey-based manufacturer after identifying significant deficiencies in the company¬ís manufacturing process.”

The FDA press release on the problem with Shelhigh, Inc. medical devices states:

“Physicians should consider using alternative devices. Physicians should also monitor patients with a Shelhigh implant for infections and proper device functioning over the expected lifetime of the device. Patients who think they may have received a Shelhigh device during surgery should contact their physician for more information.”

Also see the official FDA Preliminary Public Health Notification.

Some good advice to anyone using life supporting electrical devices. FDA Cautions User of Implantable Devices About RFIDs

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning consumers with pacemakers and other implantable medical devices about the potential for interference from radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.”

The FDA notice makes it clear that there have been no field reports of problems but lab testing has shown potential for problems. They want Doctors to include RFID systems in the list of potential problem sources that they warn their patients about. The current list of potential interference sources includes, portable radio transmitters, cell phones, anti-theft systems, and metal detectors.

Lord Kelvin's Birthday

On this day in 1824 (June 26th) William Thomson was born in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. He was the younger brother of James who was the first Giant Birthday I celebrated on this blog. In recognition of his important work on an absolute temperature scale the SI base unit for temperature is named the Kelvin. For more information see the links below.

Eric Weisstein’s World of Scientific Biography
Physics World – PhysicsWeb
University of Glasgow – Lord Kelvin Online
Lord Kelvin: An Account of His Scientific Life … – Google Books

Publications by Lord Kelvin:
The Second Law of Thermodynamics: Memoirs by … – Google Books
Many papers from the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh are available from Google Books. Here are a few samples:
On the Electrification of Air – Royal Society of London
Leakage from electrified Metal Plates … – Royal Society of Edinburgh
Electrification of Air and other Gases … – Royal Society of London

H1-B visa problems

Industry has long maintained that they don’t use the H1-B visa program to drive down wages for technical professionals. There have been many allegations but until recently I hadn’t seen good evidence of an organized effort to avoid hiring American tech workers.

That was until earlier this week when GrrlScientist posted about this issue complete with a damming video courtesy of The Programmers Guild. In the post is this comment from “Human Resources Rep” who gives further details of this disgusting practice. I suspect there are many people in this country who have knowledge of this abuse of the system but blowing the whistle is a sure way to cause you and your family financial ruin. That’s why the people who know can’t say so publicly and leaking documents can also cause legal problems.

A few days later she posted again about this and included a video clip from Lou Dobbs CNN show. It is nice to see this issue getting some press again. I think Congress should launch a formal investigation into the bad practices of H1-B visa abusers. There will need to be extraordinarily good guarantees of anonymity and immunity from prosecution for whistle blowers who can provide evidence.

Final Joost update for me

Well I’ve been playing around with the newest Joost version, it rarely ever plays for more than a minute or two. Also the multi-monitor support has not improved and the image quality is not very exciting compared to downloadable video or cable TV, so I’m giving up on it. For now I’ll just keep using Instant Media for IPTV.

If anyone wants an invite to try out Joost for themselves let me know and I’ll get you one ASAP.

DDT update

Bug Girl has another excellent post on the DDT and Malaria control issue. It is written so that even a non-biologist like me can grasp the situation easily. Great job again Bug Girl, I encourage everyone to read it and become informed about this pseudo-controversial issue.

(pseudo-controversial = tiny to no controversy among scientists, yet pushed by conspiracy theorists and politicians)

Maxwell's Birthday

Today June 13th is another Giant Birthday, James Clerk Maxwell was born in 1831 at Edinburgh, Scotland. There are number of good biographies on the web (see list below) so I will not bother writing a summary biography for this post.

Maxwell’s greatest contribution is his grouping and independent derivation of equations originally developed by Gauss, Ampere, Faraday and others into what is commonly referred to as Maxwell’s Equations. This and his other work in physics has been so instrumental in the advancement of our understanding that I feel he ranks right up with Newton and Einstein in importance to science overall. In the now nearly obsolete CGS system, the derived unit of magnetic flux was named the maxwell in his honor.

James Clerk Maxwell’s importance to physics is highlighted by these quotations from other giants in science.

Albert Einstein –
“The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field”
“The work of James Clerk Maxwell changed the world forever”

Max Planck –
“He achieved greatness unequalled.”

Carl Sagan –
“Maxwell’s equations have had a greater impact on human history than any ten presidents.”

Richard Feynman –
“From a long view of the history of mankind – seen from, say, ten thousand years from now – there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade.”

National University of Singapore
University of St Andrews
James Clerk Maxwell Foundation
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica