No. 192 January 1999
SOFT DOLLAR The soft dollar is a term related to securities/stock investors. Stock "brokers-dealers provide a bundle of services for their investor clients including research and execution of transactions. The research provided can either be proprietary (created and provided by the broker-dealer) or third party (created by a third party but provided by the broker-dealer). Because the stock broker's commission includes the dollars to pay for the research component, the practice of allocating certain of these dollars to pay for the research component has come to be called 'softing' or 'soft dollars'". This soft dollar practice can be abused in several ways. In some cases, the investment advisor uses client commissions to buy stock research from a broker-dealer and makes use of that research without having paid for it. More about these billion dollar, third party soft money practices are found in Inspection Report on the Soft Dollar Practices of Broker-Dealers, Investment Advisers and Mutual Funds, issued September 22, 1998 by the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations (SE 1.2:B78). This 60 paged text seems to be a good introduction to the soft dollar practice and problem.
U OF M AND FEDERAL FORMS The Government Publications Department (within the Library) at the University of Memphis has done the American people a great service in the creation of a website that provides "one-stop-access" to downloadable government electronic forms. Get out your floppy disks, check the space on your hard drive, and review the status of your Adobe (or similar) PDF file software. Then open your browser, type in the following URL, and hit "enter" or click "open" or click on: http://www.lib.memphis.edu/gpo/forms.htm and you will find a web page listing 23 agencies which (together) provide innumerable federal forms which could otherwise be hard to find. This website page of GPO forms merited inclusion in the FDA Consumer v. 32, no. 6, November-December 1998 page 31 as a FDA Website news item.
PHYSICIANS DESK REFERENCE (??) UPDATE ONLINE To quote the FDA Consumer, v. 32, no. 6, November-December 1998, page 31, "Drug information for Consumers: To help consumers sort out information about new drugs FDA has approved since January 1998, FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research offers an on-line index with easy-to-read summaries. By visiting http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/ , you can find the name of a drug's manufacturer, how the drug is administered and what strengths it comes in, patient precautions and possible side effects observed in clinical trials. Users also can search for drug information by keyword." I could not have put it more precisely!!
SUPERBUGS & MIRACLE DRUGS The bubonic plague appeared in the 1300's and again in 1995 Sometimes when an antibiotic is not properly taken, a human disease as the bubonic plague, or tuberculosis has been known to have a few microbes survive, mutate into a new strain, and reappear. Old bugs (human pathogens or disease microbes) which have reappeared in new strains are now called Superbugs. Superbugs include Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus, Streptococcus peneumoniae, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Salmonella, Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Penicillin is one of the older Miracle Drugs challenged by some of these Superbugs. New Miracle Drugs, such as the yet-to-be approved Synercid, are being developed, but the development of new Miracle Drugs is slow. The most expedient answer to the Superbug problem is to avoid the current overuse of antibiotics. Tamar Nordenberg's "Miracle Drugs vs. Superbugs, Preserving the Usefulness of Antibiotics" FDA Consumer, v. 32, no. 6, November-December 1998, pages 22-25 (HE 20.4010:32/6) explains the current overuse of antibiotics and the solution to the Superbug problem.
THE OPERATING ROOM: QUESTIONS & NEWS "Sizing Up Surgery" by Carol Lewis, FDA Consumer v. 32, no. 6, November-December 1998, pages 26-30 discusses why one should get a second opinion before surgery and what questions should be asked of the doctor(s). Lewis also presents four advances in surgical medicine start with the Bispectral Index (BIS). The BIS, first cleared by the FDA in October 1996, is a brain monitoring system used to monitor the state (depth of sedation) of the brain's activity. The Scopolamine Patch, approved by the FDA on October 27, 1997, is a 3-day single use patch worn behind the ear to prevent nausea and vomiting during and after surgery. Remifentanil, approved by the FDA in July 1996, is an analgesic for inducing and maintaining general anesthesia for surgery and provides for a faster and easier patient post-operative recovery. The last news is a new class of blood-derived fibrin sealant. These sealants can, in about five minutes, stop oozing and control bleeding from small blood vessels that are inaccessible by conventional surgical techniques. "Sizing Up Surgery" may be not be your primary concern today, but could be tomorrow.
INTERNET SERVICE AND FIBER OPTICS Do you have a telephone company as your Internet provider? Do you have any options when as to what telephone company will provide you with the best Internet or other telecommunications services? If you do, then it would be good to know to what extent each company is making use of fiber optical wiring in serving its subscribers. If you want to know about one company, or several for comparison and evaluation, you should check "The Telephone Industry Infrastructure" http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/Reports/FCC-State_Link/infra.html . There you will find "Fiber Deployment Update Report - End of Year 1997, released 9/98. This report presents fiber deployment data and associated information on interexchange carriers, local phone companies, and competitive access providers. Other local operating company data in the study include data on fiber rings, fiber trials and investment, as well as limited information on deployed subscriber copper and fiber." Older deployment reports go back to 1990 and there a re also Equal Access Reports and other fiber optics deployment and use data by the telephone industry. These reports are available in PDF and ZIP files whose downloading time to your computer may depend on whether your server's use of fiber optic cable.
DOT & O*NET DOT translates into Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), which was published in 1986, 1986, and 1991. It is the pending paper, Dept of Labor, Employment and Training Administration tool to identify and describe the components of specific occupations and help match occupational requirements and worker competencies. The O*NET 98 (Occupational Information Network) is a database in a beta version product which, in its final version, will formally replace the DOT 1991 in the 21st century. "The comprehensive information in O*NET is organized in a relational database, available on CD-ROM, diskettes, and Internet download. The O*NET 98 Suite of Products found on the web site order forms include a consists of (1) a Viewer, a software application to access the Database, (2) a Viewer User's Guide in print or PDF file (LC 37.25:OC1/GUIDE), (3) a Database on a disk (LC 37.25:OC 1/CD), and (4) a Data Dictionary in print or PDF file (LC 37.25:OC 1/DICTIO) will be in some depository libraries and are for sale through Superintendent of Documents. You will find background, full title, and order information at http://www.doleta.gov/programs/onet/ . O*NET 98 will be a unique online information source for the key components of modern occupations, occupational skills, job analysis, and counsel and employment requirements needed for the effective education and training of workers and prospective workers.
FARMS ARE DANGEROUS One split second of not paying attention when operating some farm machinery can cost the farmer some fingers. Working in a confined area such as a manure pit or grain silo, which is full of combustible gases, can be fatal. There are hazardous atmosphere sensors that exist which have potential use in agricultural settings. The development of sensor technology for agricultural equipment to reduce human risks is the concern of the National Farm Medicine Center. "Reports Available on Sensor Use to Reduce Farm Injuries" Agricultural Libraries Information Notes v. 23, no.7-8 July-August 1997 page 18 (A17.23: 23/7-8) is the brief new item which leads to an abstract and order information for: Using Sensors on Agricultural Equipment to Reduce Human Risks, (1997) (http://www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/industry/exsumm2.htm ) and Using sensors to Detect Potentially Hazardous Atmospheres in Production Agriculture, (http://www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/industry/exsumm1.htm ).
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February 15, 1999