Tuesday, March 26, 2013

87-year-old woman should be allowed to die in peace, but what if patient had had an expectation of many more years of life?

If an 87-year-old woman dying quickly at home is a "tragedy", then we need a new word to describe violent murders of young people.

It's possible that the facility in question actually prevented a tragedy: a painful, drawn-out death weeks later.

"First responders said that CPR often does not work on elderly patients, and even if they do survive, many end up suffering from severe health complications."

‘Mom wanted to die naturally’: Family of California woman denied CPR back nurse who did not intervene to save their mother’s life
By Sam Adams
Daily Mail
6 March 2013

Lorraine Bayless, an 87-year-old woman who was being cared for at the Glenwood Gardens retirement facility died after a nurse at the facility refused to perform CPR on her.

The family of an 87-year-old woman who died in a California retirement facility after being denied CPR - have said she would not have wanted to be revived.

Lorraine Bayless, collapsed in the dining room of the Glenwood Gardens independent senior living complex in Bakersfield on Tuesday.

The firm whose staff member refused to administer the CPR said the person involved - who is not a nurse - had wrongly interpreted its policy. But Ms Bayless's family have now revealed she would not have wanted life-prolonging aid, CBS News reports.

The family released a statement to the Associated Press absolving the staff member involved of blame.The move came shortly after the company involved issued its own statement saying the staff member's actions was the result of a misunderstanding of the company's emergency medical practices.

Ms Bayless is reported to have had no Do Not Resuscitate form on file, and it is against the policy of the retirement home to give CPR to residents of the independent living complex.

Following her collapse, a staffer who identified herself as a nurse quickly called 911 from her cell phone, but refused to administer CPR, citing it was against company policy. Ms Bayless was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

'Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die,' dispatcher Tracey Halvorson asked on a dramatic seven-minute 911 tape released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

'Not at this time,' said the woman, who didn't give her full name and said facility policy prevented her from giving the woman medical help.

Christopher Finn, a spokesman for Brookdale Senior Living, which owns the Glenwood Gardens facility, told the Los Angeles Times that the unnamed caller was 'serving in the capacity of a resident services director, not as a nurse.'

Finn would not say if the director was licensed as a nurse.

It was later revealed that Ms Bayless had no Do Not Resuscitate form on file. However, it is against the policy of the retirement home to give CPR to residents of the independent living complex.

Life choice: Ms Bayless's family have now revealed she would not have wanted to be resuscitated.

The executive director at Glenwood, Jeffrey Toomer, said in a statement: ‘In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives.

‘This is the protocol we followed,’ he said, adding that there would be an internal review of the incident.'

Unlike nursing homes, independent living facilities like the one where Ms Bayless had lived resemble senior apartment complexes and generally do not provide medical care. According to Toomer, all potential residents are informed about and agree to the facility's policy regarding CPR before they move in.

At the beginning of the Tuesday morning call, the woman asked for paramedics to come and help the 87-year-old who had collapsed in the home's dining room and was barely breathing.

Ms Halvorson pleaded for the caller to perform CPR, and after several refusals she started asking her to find a resident, or a gardener, or anyone not employed by the home to get on the phone, take her instructions and help the woman.

NBC affiliate KGET reported that Ms Bayless, a resident of Glenwood Gardens’ independent living facility, collapsed in the dining room on Tuesday morning.

Policy: The director for Glenwood Gardens said the woman had signed a DNR form, and that it was against policy to administer CPR in independent living facilities.

The staffer previously believed to be a nurse, who identified herself as Colleen, called 911 and was patched to the Bakersfield Fire Dispatcher.

The dispatcher begged for her to give the woman CPR. Ms Halvorson even requested the nurse to pass the phone to anyone else in the room – another senior citizen, or a gardener. The woman refused, saying: ‘I can’t do that.’

Obviously frustrated, the dispatcher said: ‘I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient… I understand if your boss is telling you, you can’t do it.

‘But…as a human being… you know…is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die,’ Ms Halvorson asked.

By the time EMT workers arrived on the scene about seven minutes after the 911 call was placed, Ms Bayless had no pulse and was not breathing. She was taken to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her daughter, who is a nurse, later told KGET that she was satisfied with the retirement home’s handling of the incident.

First responders said that CPR often does not work on elderly patients, and even if they do survive, many end up suffering from severe health complications.

Sgt. Jason Matson, of the Bakersfield Police Department, told Fox News that an investigation into the incident so far had not revealed criminal wrongdoing, but the probe is continuing.

Reports of the tragedy have sparked outrage among advocates for the elderly, prompting calls for legislation to prevent this from happening in the future.

Innocent victim of defamaton--or total scumbag?

“Die, troll, die” goes to court
Prenda Law specializes in online pornography copyright infringement. Why does that make the Internet so mad?
By Andrew Leonard
Mar 4, 2013

Who hasn’t had the urge when reading Internet comments, at least once, to pull out a great big nail-studded mace and start whacking about at the idiots who gibber and froth online? Earlier this morning, when I saw Timothy Lee’s tweet referencing a case in which a law firm was suing some commenters for libel and defamation, my first thought was, I totally get it.

The complaint is worth quoting extensively. (Emphases mine).

Plaintiff files this action seeking monetary damages, injunctive relief and other damages arising from the egregious Internet-based conduct of a number of individuals, whom Plaintiff knows only by the anonymous, salacious, false and libelous comments they have made, and continue to make, about him on the Internet. Shielded by unconventional pseudonyms, [they] belong to a community of Internet “commentators,” fearful of being identified, and have falsely accused the law firm Prenda Law LLC,of which Plaintiff is the sole officer and employee, of, among other things, criminal offenses; want of integrity in the discharge of employment; lack of ability in its profession; and the commission of fornication and adultery….

The Defendants’ defamatory statements are made under the most cowardly of circumstances; plastered over centralized Internet communities and available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. The Defendants have libeled Plaintiff under the disguise of such childish and unsophisticated pseudonyms as “die troll die.” The defamatory statements that they have made about Plaintiff are the type that, if made under the light of day, would prompt loved ones to suggest (or intervene and force) intensive psychological therapy. But sheltered in a cloak of cowardly pseudonyms, emboldened by association [with] others apparently sharing the same affliction, Defendants have continued unabated in their conduct…

I have to say, based solely on the excerpts above, I was feeling Prenda Law’s pain. Nobody likes to be accused of “want of integrity” or “lack of ability” or get called “assclown” on a regular basis. I’ve been there, I know. I still have yet to be charged with the commission of fornication and adultery, but the week has barely gotten started.

Then I did some background research on Prenda.

This marvelous, bizarre story belongs to Timothy Lee, an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute who covers tech policy for Ars Technica. Lee’s series exploring the saga of what he routinely calls the “porn copyright trolling firm” Prenda Law defies easy description, but makes for riveting, and hilarious, reading.

I present, for example, the lead sentences to two stories Lee wrote in December and January.

Prenda Law, the ethically challenged law firm that specializes in mass pornographic copyright lawsuits, is facing growing pressure to answer questions about allegations of identity theft.

Prenda Law, a copyright litigation firm that has sued thousands of anonymous Internet users for sharing pornographic videos, has sought the dismissal of a California judge after the judge ordered the firm to answer charges that it engaged in identity theft.

The details of Prenda Law’s high jinks are beyond convoluted. If you’re interested, go straight to the source. But basically, Prenda’s primary business appears to be collecting damages from people accused of sharing copyrighted pornography via peer-to-peer sharing networks such as BitTorrent. Personally, I do not doubt that such lurid piracy is rampant. However, the exact methods by which Prenda has gone about this endeavor do not seem to be winning it any friends with judges, or Internet “commentators.”

The identity theft allegations emerged late last year, when a Minnesota man named Alan Cooper told a Minnesota court he suspected Prenda Law named him as the CEO of two litigious offshore holding companies without his permission. Worried about exposing himself to potential liability for the firms’ misconduct, Cooper asked the court to investigate the situation.

Judging by the details in a letter sent by Cooper’s lawyer to the Minnesota court, Cooper has reason to be concerned. And Prenda’s protestations of injury from the mean and nasty Internet ring hollow.

Who knew? In this case, the ranters and ravers might be right.

(Timothy Lee’s report on the lawsuit is here.)

Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women, Even If They're Better

Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women, Even If They're Better
PBS Newshour
March 20, 2013
Paul Solmon

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa discovers that the famed "meritocracy" of Silicon Valley is a myth and that women are systematically discriminated against there, despite the fact that they're more productive, on average, than their male counterparts. He has a plan to change the Valley.

...Vivek Wadhwa: Visit any company in the Valley, and you'll see that it resembles the United Nations. At the Google cafeteria, they always serve Indian, Chinese and Mexican food; hamburgers and hot dogs are nowhere to be found. Indeed, my research team documented that 52 percent of startups in Silicon Valley during the recent tech boom were founded by immigrants -- like me. So I used to call Silicon Valley the world's greatest meritocracy.

This was before I moved to the Valley and my wife pointed out something strange: that practically all of the people at Silicon Valley's big networking events were male. They were mostly white, Indian, or Chinese. Women, blacks and Hispanics were nowhere to be found. When I analyzed company founder data from the Kauffman Foundation, I was shocked to learn that only 3 percent of the tech firms were founded by women. When I looked at the executive teams of the Valley's top tech firms, with a couple of notable exceptions, I couldn't find any women technology heads. Even the management team of Apple didn't have a single woman in it. And I learned that virtually all of Silicon Valley's venture-capital firms are male dominated -- the few women whom you find there are in either marketing or human resources. Indeed, of the 89 venture capitalists on the 2009 TheFunded list of top venture capitalists, only one was a woman.

So I was wrong; this is no meritocracy.

Since then, I have researched this topic in greater depth. When I analyzed data from my own studies on entrepreneurship, I was surprised to learn that there is virtually no difference in motivation between men and women entrepreneurs. Women start companies for the same reasons as men: because they want to build wealth and capitalize on business ideas, like the startup-company culture and are tired of working for others. Women entrepreneurs are as highly educated as their male counterparts, have the same early interest in starting their own business and learn the same valuable lessons from their work experience and from prior successes and failures.

This raised the question: Are women less competent as entrepreneurs than men? Are they not cut out for the rough-and-tumble world of entrepreneurship? The answer turned out to be none of this. An analysis performed by the Kauffman Foundation showed that women are more capital-efficient than men. Babson College's Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that women-led high-tech startups have lower failure rates than those led by men. Other research has shown that venture-backed companies run by women have annual revenues 12 percent higher than those by men and organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management positions achieve a 35 percent higher return on equity and 34 percent higher total return to shareholders.

Could the education of women be the problem? Not according to data from the National Science Foundation. Girls now match boys in mathematical achievement. In the U.S., 140 women enroll in higher education for every 100 men who do. Women earn more than 50 percent of all bachelor's and master's degrees, and nearly 50 percent of all doctorates. Women participation in business and MBA programs has grown more than five-fold since the 1970s, and the increase in the number of engineering degrees granted to women is almost tenfold.

This shows that there isn't a fundamental problem, and that things are moving in the right direction. I have also interviewed about 300 women in tech over the past three years, and my research team at Stanford University recently completed a survey of more than 500 women founders. We are still analyzing the complex findings (and will likely publish a paper in the summer). At a glance, though, the new research shows a distinct change in attitudes over time. Women are becoming more confident and assertive, and they are helping each other. Men are also beginning to mentor and coach women.

That's not all. Many technologies are now advancing exponentially. We all know how computing is advancing -- our computers get more powerful every year as prices drop. The same is happening in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, nanomaterials, medicine, and synthetic biology. This is making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve big problems. Starting exponential companies requires relatively small amounts of money, and entrepreneurs with cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills have the advantage. This plays to the strengths of women: they are in the catbird seat for the new era of innovation.

To encourage, inspire and educate women to become engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs -- and help solve humanity's grand challenges, I am myself taking advantage of an exponential technology: crowdsourcing. I plan to harness the genius of the crowd to produce a book about women at the frontier of technology. Along with journalist and author Farai Chediya and my lead researcher Neesha Bapat, we are planning to ask hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of women to co-author this book with us. We will presell the book on a crowdfunding site such as Indiegogo and donate all of the profits to fund the tuition of women through the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University and to support women-led startups coming out of this program. This is a 10-week program designed for leaders who want to build innovative solutions to global grand challenges.

So Silicon Valley may not have been the perfect meritocracy, but there is hope that it will soon be, and that our women may save the world.

Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Research and Innovation at Singularity University, a fellow at Stanford Law School, and Director of Research at Duke University. He is also the author of an Economist Book of the Year for 2012--Immigrant Exodus. You can follow him on Twitter: @wadhwa.

This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight.

One-celled animal is randomly assigned one of seven different sexes

Single-cell Tetrahymena mate

Stephanie Pappas
Live Science
March 26, 2013

With seven different sexes to choose from, the single-celled organism Tetrahymena thermophila determines its biological mating type in a game of molecular chance, new research finds.

Tetrahymena are oval-shaped protozoa that live in freshwater. These microscopic organisms come in seven different "sexes," or mating types. Any Tetrahymena sex can mate with any other mating type except its own.

Even more intriguing to biologists is that it doesn't matter what mating types two Tetrahymena parents are. In fact, their offspring can be any one of the seven. That observation had some strange genetic implications, as parents typically would pass on their own mating-type genes to their progeny.

But even though scientists have known about Tetrahymena's seven mating varieties for 60 years, they have only now discovered how the individuals select their type.

"Finally, we had the resources to get at the molecular basis of it ― to actually discover the mating-type genes, what their sequence is, and how it is that the cells have the potential for many mating types and only end up expressing one ― a random one," study researcher Eduardo Orias, a biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience.

By peering into the Tetrahymena genome, the researchers found the equivalent of a cellular roulette wheel. The organisms have two nuclei apiece. One, the somatic nucleus, contains the DNA that does the daily work of the cell. The other, the germline nucleus, acts like the cells in the ovaries or testes of humans. The DNA in the germline passes along traits to offspring. [Sex Quiz: How Animals Really Do It]

When two Tetrahymena fuse in their version of single-cell sex, they produce a gamete nucleus, which is the protozoan equivalent of a fertilized egg in humans. This fertilization nucleus starts making copies of itself, some of which are destined to become germline nuclei and some of which are somatic.

It is during this step that the mating type is chosen, the researchers found. Each germline nucleus holds an array of incomplete gene pairs ― one for each of the organism's seven sexes. The cell joins and completes one of these gene pairs randomly, thus setting the cell's mating type. The rest of the incomplete gene pairs are thrown out, said the report, released by Orias and his colleagues today (March 26) in the journal PLOS Biology.

"We had no idea what a beautifully organized system this turned out to be," Orias said. "It's very modularly organized and very symmetrical in some ways and very ― to us ― aesthetically exciting."

Having seven mating types, instead of only two, may make it more likely for Tetrahymena to run into a cell they can reproduce with when they meet and greet in a pond, Orias said.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Republican Party chair in Florida avoids trial with guilty plea for theft and money laundering

Corruption in politics? Say it ain't so!

Jim Greer Pleads Guilty To Theft And Money Laundering Before Trial Begins
Huff Post

ORLANDO, Fla. — The criminal trial of former Republican Party of Florida chair Jim Greer had promised to be embarrassing for party leaders, rising Republican star Marco Rubio and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is contemplating a new political future as a Democrat.

But Greer's guilty pleas on Monday to four counts of theft and a single count of money laundering ended the trial before it even started and ensured that some state GOP secrets will remain confidential, at least for the time-being.

"There were a number of people who did not want this trial to go forward and the trial isn't going forward," Damon Chase, Greer's attorney, said after the former chair entered his pleas in court. "Once again, Jim Greer is falling on his sword for a lot of other folks."

Greer, 50, could face a prison sentence of 3 1/2 to 35 years when he is sentenced March 27. Assistant statewide prosecutor Michael Williams wouldn't say how many years prosecutors would seek.

The trial had threatened to expose the underbelly of Florida's dominant political party and its formerly high-spending ways. Party officials took heat three years ago from revelations of excessive spending at restaurants and luxury hotels on party-issued American Express cards by Republican leaders, including Rubio. Testimony about those expenditures had been expected at the trial.

Topics also covered in pretrial depositions included allegations of prostitutes at a state GOP fundraiser in the Bahamas, the drinking habits of Crist and intraparty strife. Some of Florida's most powerful politicians were scheduled as witnesses, including Crist, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and several state House and state Senate leaders.

Greer's acknowledgment of guilt was what the party wanted all along, party attorney Stephen Dobson said, and they weren't worried about potentially embarrassing testimony at trial.

"There was absolutely no concern. In fact, a lot of people were looking forward to clearing a lot of these allegations that had been made up," Dobson said outside the courtroom. "Today the truth came out."

Greer was vice mayor of the small central Florida town of Oviedo when Crist surprisingly picked him to be the state party chairman after he led local efforts to help Crist get elected governor in 2006. He previously was the president and CEO of a company that provides training to the hospitality industry on how to comply with alcohol laws.