Archive | October 2012

WMC reports lower charity costs to commission

Diamond said most, but not all, physicians use the service, though some that don’t can find themselves having to use it, because they may be part of a private doctor group that rotates hospital visitation responsibilities.

“Now what happened is that some of the internal medicine doctors, or primary care, wanted to keep seeing their patients, but their call group all signed up so … they felt they were forced [to use the hospitalists], not by us, but by their call group. We had nothing to do with their call group. So that’s the reason.”

The hospitalist programs are apparently becoming more common throughout the county.

“The family practice and internists came to us and said, ‘This is a better program.’ The quality of care goes up and … their length of stay goes down, which is positive. Costs go down, and it’s a system that nationwide is kind of best practices,” Claunch said. “The other thing is these family practice and internists will make more money in their office then they will in the hospital. It’s economics today. So they approached us.”

“Well, it’s coming down from the docs, and not from the patients,” Hendry remarked. “The patients kind of get lost in the shuffle, you know I understand it sitting here, but boy people just don’t get that.”

The commission also inquired about the future direction of WMC, in light of the failure of an anticipated merger with Cheyenne Medical Center when Cheyenne pulled back.

“The board is going to sit down and next month kind of say OK, where do we go from here? And if we want to do some type of a partnership, what does the partnership look like?” Diamond said. “So we’ll be making a decision. We’re actually, now, being actively pursued by organizations to partner with, and we’re willing to listen to what they have to offer. Then we are, the board is, going to make a decision related to what kind of partnership we want.”

“It’s a high priority for us to figure out what are we going to do when we grow up?” commented WMC board member Chris Muirhead. “We need to look at what’s going to happen in the next 25 years, and I would say it’s our number one priority to design a plan and set up a framework to function in, [to] keep this medical machine that we have, this economic machine, in our community, and keep it going, thriving and continuing. I don’t think we want to sell our hospital. I don’t think that’s in our best interests. I don’t think we want to become a railroad station or a support station, where you just treat and then you transport to a tertiary center. We want to be the tertiary center, and so we’re going to strive and look at what we can do.”

Muirhead also said they’ll be changing how they conduct their board meetings by eliminating the quarterly meeting to which the public is invited, and instead have one session per year where WMC will give a larger public presentation.

“The intent of that [quarterly meeting] was to allow members of the community to come forth and discuss issues that they had with the hospital board directly,” Muirhead explained. “The truth is, over the last five years, the participation of that is just abysmal. Our last public meeting last month we had zero participation from the public. We rarely have any … the truth is, we’re not really effectively communicating with the public by using this quarterly meeting.”

The WMC board initiated the once-a-quarter public meetings at 7 a.m. in 2006, following concerns over its relationship with the community and the county. The county commissioners at the time were displeased at the lack of meaningful and timely communication by the WMC board on such things as multi-million dollar additions to the hospital, and private, for-profit, ventures being started by the decidedly not-for-profit WMC.

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Encourage Making And Mending

If you own a sewing machine, chances are it’s now a) underneath the bed, b) at the back of the closet, or c) listed on eBay. That’s not a slight on your stitching skills, but a seeming reality of bulky, white sewing appliances: people buy them, yet don’t use them often.

A young British designer wants to change that. Sarah Dickins’ idea is to make a more attractive sewing device–-something you wouldn’t mind having in the living-room–and a more useable one: something even a child could handle.

“I wanted to encourage people to have fun recycling and customizing their clothes, rather than throwing them away. Lots of beginners suffer with things like threading the machine,” Dickins says.

“They also find it hard to control the movement of the foot on the pedal with the movement of the fabric through under the needle. They can’t co-ordinate their hands and their feet at the same time. It’s a bit like when you learn to drive [a stick-shift], and you’re trying to do the gear stick and steer at the same time.”

Dickins also notes that big column on standard machines creates a shadow over the working area, obscuring the eye-line, and reducing space to introduce fabric. With more than a napkin, you have to bunch or fold the fabric first.

In Dickins’ design, called the Alto, there is a metal line running from back to front, making threading easier. Instead of a foot-pedal, there’s a sensor on the bottom; you control the speed of the machine by leaning on it. Meanwhile, an arched drive-shaft frees up space in the business area.

The Alto is also a more attractive animal, made from wood and designed to be a style winner.

Dickins, who graduated last year, hopes to take the prototype to a manufacturer who can develop it further. She’s already got a patent for the sensor mechanism, and has been shortlisted for this year’s Dyson Award.

“It would be more expensive than a normal sewing machine, something high-end,” she says. “It’s not meant to be an economy product. It’s something you have in your lounge as a bit of a statement as well as a functional type thing.”

As well as ensuring the necessary authorisation is in place for the machine, there is also a requirement for each dutiable machine to have a duty licence (the Amusement Machine Licensing Duty or AMLD). Penalties for failing to have such a licence are severe. The licence should be displayed on site. It is renewable annually. This licence is often dealt with by the Machine Supplier, but remember that the duty to ensure that it is in force etc is down to the operator.

AMLD will be replaced by MGD with effect from 1 February 2013. If you have not already done so, you should ensure with your supplier how payment of the more complex MGD is going to work, as it will be based on the machine’s gross profits. Especially those machines with mixed cash and non-monetary prizes will require some attention to the calculations of MGD.

The standard rate of duty will be 20%, unless you operate the lower rate Category D machine when it will be 5%. There are some exemptions, but these are unlikely to be available to most Premises Licence holders (although check if you are holding a genuine charity event). Non-dutiable machines may be subject to VAT.

York County sheriff, crime commander

A statewide battle over whether some gaming machines assumed illegal by authorities do not violate the state’s ban on video gambling has made its way to York County.

Two lawsuits filed against Sheriff Bruce Bryant and Marvin Brown, the commander of a countywide drug enforcement unit, challenge recent police actions against the owners and operators of such machines.

In one lawsuit, video game company GM Co. claims officers with York County’s Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit confiscated four of its Palmetto Gold machines from two York County businesses despite knowing a judge had declared them legal.

In another, a Rock Hill business owner on Porter Road alleges Brown and deputies came in and threatened arrest in an attempt to stop him from operating the machines, which had been declared legal.

“Unless you’ve got probable cause to believe that somebody’s done something wrong, you don’t have the right to seize his property” or threaten prosecution, said Jahue Moore, a Columbia attorney representing both plaintiffs.

“The question then becomes, what conceivable fact did you have that these machines were operated any differently than the ones that had been already ruled upon as legal?”

Brown and Bryant reject the allegations, saying that in confiscating the machines the officers were following the lead of the State Law Enforcement Division and the state attorney general’s office, which told them the Palmetto Golds were illegal.

The lawsuits are among many in a statewide battle between the gaming industry and law enforcement and prosecutors over the legality of gaming devices.

The state outlawed video poker in 2000, shutting down a nearly $3 billion industry. But in recent years, the video gaming industry has introduced new machines and is challenging authorities when they seize them, claiming the machines are legal.

The difficulty of defining the difference between legal games and illegal gambling machines also complicates matters.

While state law prohibits any slot machines or coin-operated devices “pertaining to games of chance,” the law allows skill-based games – a definition Moore applies to the Palmetto Gold machines and police reject.

Proponents of another type of video gaming machine offering sweepstakes or products say they’re also legal under a section of state law that allows beer and wine permit holders to offer games of chance. The games must be offered in connection to the sale of a product or sweepstakes, the rules must be clearly advertised and offer free participation.

But while gaming interests say the exception allows for their machines, police and a state prosecutor say Moore and other advocates of the gaming industry are misreading the law.

The exception for beer and wine permit holders, which says nothing about gaming machines, doesn’t negate the ban on video gambling and make the machines legal, said state assistant attorney general Jared Libet. It’s intent is to allow, for example, a soft-drink company to offer a bottle cap promotion or sweepstakes.

Man and machine opened patients’ hearts

The procedure was made possible by the newly-developed heart-lung machine, before the advent of which there was no means of cutting into the heart without killing the patient. Operations had thus been limited to procedures on the intact beating heart, for example widening the mitral valve with a dilator.

In the early 1950s Professor Ian Aird, under whom Bentall worked at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, had the idea of creating an artificial heart and lung that would operate as a bypass outside the body and take over the vital job of pumping and oxygenating the blood. With his support Denis Melrose, a lecturer (later Professor) at the school, set about designing a machine that would enable the surgeon to operate on a bloodless (though still beating) organ and repair defects such as holes in the heart. In collaboration with the medical instrument firm New Electronic Products (NEP), Melrose developed a machine which became known as the Melrose-NEP heart-lung machine.

Bentall and Cleland carried out the first operation using the machine on a human in Britain. It was a complete success; 25 years later the patient was still in good health. Within four years Bentall and his colleagues were routinely carrying out open-heart surgery on a variety of patients, and the apparatus was being introduced into other hospitals across the country and around the world.

Bentall’s first post was in general surgery under Ivor Lewis at the North Middlesex Hospital, where he assisted with the first successful pulmonary embolectomy (the surgical removal of clotted blood blocking blood circulation to the lungs) and the first anatomical correction of oesophageal atresia (a congenital defect affecting the alimentary tract) in Britain. He then became Chief Resident at the London Chest Hospital, doing thoracic surgery, until he joined the Royal Navy in 1945. He served in a naval hospital and then in Empire Clyde — the only hospital ship in the British Pacific Fleet during the war.

After demobilisation in 1947 he taught anatomy at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School until 1950, when he joined the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital as chief assistant to Aird, doing general and thoracic surgery and research to develop cardiac surgery.

The development of open-heart surgery excited interest around the world, and in April 1959, with Denis Melrose, Bill Cleland and other members of the Hammersmith cardiac team, he accepted an invitation to travel to Moscow to demonstrate the new technique to Russian surgeons at the Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery in Leninsky Prospekt.

After travelling on the Soviet Ship Baltika with half a ton of equipment, the team carried out five open-heart operations, on adults and children, watched by more than 200 surgeons from across the Soviet Union. This was probably the first time that a group of foreign doctors had actually worked in the Soviet Union, and the visit was well covered in the British press, making the front page of The Daily Telegraph.

In 1962 Bentall and his team appeared in the first episode of the classic BBC documentary series, Your Life in Their Hands, in which he performed an operation to repair a hole in the heart. Three years later Bentall was appointed the first Professor of Cardiac Surgery in Britain, at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School.

Next-Gen LT1 6.2-Liter V-8 for 2014 Corvette Revealed with 450 HP, New Tech

For years, car enthusiasts have debated what would come of Chevrolet’s iconic small block V-8. Would there be a next-generation engine? Would it get smaller? Would it still have pushrods? Would it have direct injection? Today, all of those questions have been answered.

Billed as the biggest change to the venerable small block V-8 engine in its 57-year history, the Gen-5 edition retains the trademark bore spacing, overhead-valve/cam-in-block valvetrain, and a few other key details, but the engine bristles with high-tech features. Direct fuel injection? Check.

Variable valve timing? Got-it. The above was widely leaked common knowledge, but now we can tell you the rest of the story. Some 99.9 percent of the engine is new, with  the engine’s carryover parts fitting in a Ziploc bag. Two starter bolts, a piston pin and a retainer bolt or two are all that remain of the LS3. Zero-to-60 mph performance for the new base Corvette is expected to be under 4 seconds. Efficiency is increased, making this one of the most fuel efficient 450-hp vehicles available. That’s right, an estimated 450 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Displacement is indeed 6.2 liters, not 5.5 liters as rumored, and the RPO number is LT1, a designation well-known to the Corvette faithful. The key enabling feature of the new small block is cylinder deactivation. The Corvette was to be first with that technology, but the layout of the car was unsuited because of the rear transmission and various mounting solutions, it was an NVH nightmare in 4-cylinder mode.

Those problems have been overcome now, and the system has been optimized to allow a wide operating range in the 3.1-liter V-4 mode. As it turns out, fuel economy is BETTER with a 6.2-liter engine, because smaller displacements reduce the amount of time the engine can operate in 4-cylinder mode, so bigger displacement saves more fuel. Counterintuitive, but true. Active Fuel Management applied to a performance valvetrain is unique, Chevy says. With its 6600-rpm engine speed fuel cutoff, this is the highest-speed valvetrain with cylinder deactivation. Cylinders 1, 7, 6, and 4 get deactivated.

Next-gen technologies have been key to improving performance and efficiency, while maintaining the compact size and high power density while preserving oiling under very high g loads. Direct injection, Active Fuel Management (GM-speak for cylinder deactivation), and continuously variable valve timing are the key enablers. Also on that list, according to Jordan Lee, the chief engineer and program manager for small block engines, is a “radically new combustion system with 11.5:1 compression ratio.” That compression ratio improves both power and efficiency. In addition to the estimated 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, Chevy is also predicting 26 mpg.

According to Lee, direct fuel injection and the extensive air-fuel mixing dynamics in the cylinder combine to provide maximum in-cylinder cooling, so that the engine can tolerate a higher compression ratio. The advanced combustion system he spoke of is meant to burn every molecule of fuel, extracting all the energy possible. Millions of hours of computer processing time was spent developing the top surface of the piston to optimize air-fuel mixture flow and combustion dynamics.

Hundreds of combustion systems were analyzed. Over 6 million hours of computer processing time was dedicated to combustion system optimization while reducing knock sensitivity even under extreme climatic conditions.

Hiding a Neocon Agenda

Mitt Romney tried to appear last night as if he and President Obama were not much different on foreign policy matters.

As with almost anything about Mitt Romney, nothing could be further from the truth.

Even more than the economy, war and peace is the most critical issue any country faces.

Mitt Romney and President Obama have widely divergent views on war and peace. Obama’s is thoughtful, nuanced and sees war as a last resort, and only then in concert with key allies unless the U.S. or a very close ally is directly attacked or is faced with a very high likelihood of being attacked. Witness, for example, how the president skillfully managed to protect Libyan civilians from a bloodbath, employing the tools of supportive military power, engaging the Arab league and our allies, and not costing the life of a single American to oust Gaddafi.

Romney really does not have any views of his own. He has absolutely zero experience, and, it appears, zero knowledge of the world. Thus far, his only foreign policy achievement has been to unite all of Britain’s political parties, including the Conservatives, around one belief — for President Obama’s re-election.

And, in the shadows, waiting to take the reins of the U.S. military machine again, are the neocons, the Bush advisers who lied us into Iraq. They formed a “government-in-exile” during the Clinton Administration, forming an organization called “Project for The New American Century” in 1997. It’s primary thrust: that the U.S. should employ its military power to change regimes it did not like, especially in the Middle East (so long as they and their own children were not doing the fighting).

In particular the Project for the New American Century people, like chickenhawks William Kristol (who turned red and blew his top at me in 2005 when, after claiming that he was in school during the Vietnam War as his reason for not volunteering, I pointed out that, when he graduated, the war still had several years to run) and Douglas Feith, have mythologized the Reagan presidency as a paradigm for U.S. foreign policy: huge military build-up, chest-thumping your values, and taking preemptory military actions to reshape the world in America’s image.

Of course, Reagan never exercised the third leg of this so-called strategy, unless the Caribbean island of Grenada is supposed to be an object lesson in how this works in countries with enormous land masses, large populations, and — sorry to say — their own cultures. The U.S. kept its hands clean publicly, and even the weaponry supplied to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan that was organized primarily by Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-TX) and the CIA, could not have any U.S. origin. Reagan allowed Pakistan in exchange for funneling our support through that country a blind eye so that it could develop its nuclear weapon, aka the “Islamic Bomb,” thus violating the Solarz Amendment.

Like George W. before him, Romney is an empty vessel, in psychological need of proving his manhood, that makes him the perfect puppet to fulfill the unfinished neocon agenda.

Romney may not know where the straits of Hormuz are on a map. The neocons do, they know that a large fraction of the world’s oil supply passes through them and they know that creating an “incident” in such a narrow strait is child’s play, and the best way of teaching Romney where they are.

There are those such as The Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins who believe Romney would conduct a foreign policy similar to President Obama’s, and Middle East expert MJ Rosenberg who opined that Romney’s refusal in the debate to give Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “green light” to bomb Iran meant that we can all rest comfortably.

Complete automotive part traceability with Cognex DataMan barcode readers

Marks Pryor, founded in 1998, specialises in providing solutions and overall marking tools such as Pryor Steel Types, Punches, Automatic Numbering Heads, Engraved Packaging Types, Logotype Marking Dies and Dot Marking Machines. Headquartered in Pune, India, its worldwide presence widely caters to diverse industry segments such as automotive, general engineering, defence and aerospace.

The automotive industry requires complete traceability of each part, for which safety and quality control has an integral part to play. One of the valued customers of Marks Pryor needed a promising and effective traceability solution to guarantee the quality of a new value added component as well as be able to trace the product from cradle to grave.

Marks Pryor’s need to ensure accurate identification led them toward Cognex image-based ID readers. The DataMan fixed-position reader could not only cope with their high-volume production but also ensured the whole installation process during the specified time. The technical support by Cognex provided them on time installation with no time wasted.

DataMan offers flexible features like automated variable focus technology, C-Mount lens options, various trigger modes and custom data formatting. The DataMan achieves high read rates, due to patented decoding algorithms, to perfectly meet the needed requirements of 6 Sigma read rates or 99.997%. The decoding time of a scanned image is as fast as two milliseconds.

DataMan is self-contained with decoding, power, communication and I/O capabilities all in a small form; making it capable of expanding the entire system’s capacity. Moreover, it is also easy to integrate DataMan ID readers directly to the factory network with the Cognex Connect suite of supported Industrial Protocols, which means there is no need for a PC between the reader and the factory network. This communication allows for complete traceability of the part throughout its supply chain.

At a marking station, the operator loads the cam shaft onto the fixture. After giving a print command, the cam shaft housing moves beneath the marking head. The machine then marks the Data Matrix code on the face of the part. Once marked, the housing is moved under the fixed-mount image-based code reader where the code is read by the DataMan reader and the data is sent directly to the server via Ethernet.

The main goal is to achieve highest standard of quality and reduce costs, which is possible by using the DataMan ID reader. Reliable reading also ensures complete traceability of the product’s lifecycle from its inception till the end of its life.

The VoiceBase API extends the company’s low-cost, high-speed voice indexing service to telecom and conferencing service providers, making it easy for providers to securely upload recordings and receive time-aligned, machine-generated transcripts with high-value keywords automatically identified.

The company’s patent-pending algorithm used to deliver extracted knowledge from any meeting or event serves to facilitate the exploration of the content, while effectively providing users with a personal note taker.

“Self-learning and predictive services are the future. One of the first steps to creating that vision is being able to search, discover and categorize content efficiently,” according to Maribel Lopez, Founder and Principal Analyst of Lopez Research.