Day: June 4, 2012

Monday, 4 June 2012

08:00 – We made up 120 packets each of various OTC medications for the forensics kits yesterday. Things like acetaminophen, aspirin, diphenhydramine, and so on. They’re used as proxies for illegal drugs in the forensic drug testing lab sessions.

I almost choked when I started designing the labels for these. Here’s an example of the safety warnings for one of the drugs, 25 mg diphenhydramine tablets, AKA Benedryl.

Health: 3 (serious)
Fire: 1 (slight)
Reactivity: 0 (minimal)

WARNING! Extremely hazardous (eye contact). Very hazardous (ingestion, inhalation). Hazardous (skin contact).

Wear gloves and splash goggles.

This is for a Benedryl tablet! Talk about the boy crying wolf. If a Benedryl tablet presents a “serious” health hazard, why would anyone take seriously the same level of hazard specified for another chemical that actually is hazardous, such as concentrated hydrochloric acid? (Yes, both concentrated hydrochloric acid and diphenhydramine tablets are assigned a 3 (serious) for Health.) In reality, these tablets should be listed as non-hazardous, as any reasonable person would expect.

This month the euro chickens are coming home to roost. Even the eurocrats have stopped pretending that the euro can be saved. They are now talking openly about the collapse of the euro and the EMU. Spain is beyond salvage, and will be forced to seek a bailout. The problem is, Spain needs more than half a trillion dollars to carry it through the next 12 to 18 months, and the bailout cupboard is bare. Cyprus has collapsed, Spain is next, and Italy isn’t far behind.

12:58 – Here’s an interesting article from Business Insider: Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, But The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse. The author compares the newspaper business–which as little as a decade ago was still fat, dumb, and happy–with the television business, which doesn’t seem to realize that it’s in the same desperate straits now as the newspaper industry was then. At the turn of the century, the newspaper industry had its all-time highest advertising sales revenues, about $63 billion a year. Then newspaper advertising fell off a cliff, declining by two-thirds to about $20 billion last year. Meanwhile TV executives are currently enjoying record ad revenues, and seem not to realize that those revenues are about to fall off the same cliff.

Barbara and I were early adopters and early cable cutters, but now it seems that an increasingly large percentage of cable TV and satellite TV subscribers are following our lead. We haven’t watched even one network TV episode in a decade, other than on Netflix streaming or on DVD. Barbara watches golf on weekends, and sometimes ACC basketball in season. We’ll sometimes watch the local cable news/weather channel for a few minutes. That’s it. Nothing else we watch has commercials, and we watch nothing else live.

And it’s not just us. Nearly everyone we know would immediately give up cable TV if only they could get live sports otherwise. One has to wonder how much longer the NFL, NBA, and MLB will continue to in effect subsidize TV networks by selling them their programming. Each of those leagues is fully capable of going it alone, selling season subscriptions directly to their fan bases, for delivery via broadband. And there’s no question that they could make more money doing it that way. Sports fans would love it. Rather than getting whatever game the network decided to broadcast, they could pick and choose among several or many feeds and follow their favorite teams every week. Smaller sports like golf, tennis, and auto racing could make arrangements with companies like Netflix (Sportsflix?) to use their delivery infrastructure. Everyone except the TV networks would be better off.

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