No. 220 May 2001

POSTAL INSPECTORS Postal Inspectors, like the FBI agents, get their man or woman, as the case may be. Do you need a postal inspector? The postal inspector(s) closest to you can be found by going to the Inspection Service Office Locator at and typing in your (zip code) or (city and state). If you go to ( ), you will find citations to news articles about the success stories of postal inspectors who "got their man/woman". Did you ever peel off an uncancelled postage stamp off an envelope just received in the mail, and use that stamp again? If so, you have committed a federal crime!!! Per the Postal Poster Warning! Reusing Postage (a pdf file), which cites U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 471and 1720 it is illegal to "Reuse a postage stamp whether cancelled or not". It is also a crime to attempt to remove cancellation marks from postage stamps ( ). This Poster is part of the "Postal Publications" link at the Postal Inspectors’ home page ( ). Postage stamp reuse is hurts the postal service revenue, but most people are concerned with electronic and paper mail fraud and problems which impact them. "How to get off mailing lists", Junk e-mail", Identity theft", "Didn’t get what you ordered" and "Senior sweepstakes victims" are some of the examples of mail fraud (links) found at the Inspection Service "Mail Fraud" web page .web page.

NATURAL DISASTER(S) STATISTICS: WEALTH OF INFORMATION How safe is talking on the phone or playing golf during a lightning storm? What is the state with the most campers deaths associated with flooding? What is the state with the most/least tornado fatalities and what is the location(s) of the victims? The U.S. National Weather Service, "Natural Hazard Statistics" website currently provides 10 divisions of 1995 through 2000 fatality, injury, property damage costs, and crop damage costs statistics for the nation and all 50 states (and DC). This table also presents national totals of the data for each of the 8 individual natural disaster categories. This "U.S. Summaries" also includes some topics such as Dust Devil, Drought, Avalanche, Mudslide, Fireweather, and Tsunami which are not included in the other 8 Disaster Categories. Categories include Lightning, Tornado, Tropical Cyclone, Heat, Flood, Cold, Winter Storm, and Wind. Each of the 8 databases have 1995 through 2000 State fatality and injury data broken down by age, gender, and (physical) location such as ball field, golf course, camping, mobile home, open field, permanent house, at telephone, etc. The "State Summaries" page includes "(Date) Summary of Hazardous Weather Fatalities, Injuries, and Damage Costs Listed by State" but this page does NOT summarize the content of each of the (other) 8 Natural Disaster Categories. This Natural Hazard Statistics site also has a "Latest weather" link to 15 related weather pages which include the Ultraviolet (UV) Index, Weekly Threats, El Nino/La Nina, Fireweather, Marine, Aviation, etc.

HOSPITAL PAYMENT SYSTEMS INFORMATION There are 15 listings under "Payment Systems" currently found at the Health Care Financing Administration web "Medicare Payments System" . Payment system are the bureaucratic structures through which the Federal Government makes MEDICARE payments to health care professionals, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Each health care facility, hospital etc. makes use of one or more payment systems which are reviewed, revised, and updated annually. The revisions, updates, and changes used to appear only in the Federal Register. Now there is HCFA web page for each payment system which includes the base file(s) and these annual updates in an electronic version. Proposed systems such as the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System, and the current Ambulance Fee Schedule, Physician Fee Schedule, the full Hospice Wage Index File, HCFA Common Procedure Coding System, etc. files can be downloaded at HCFA’s "Public Use Files (PUFs)" page at . HCFA also provides a "File Formats and Plugins" page to answer any software and downloading questions. Insofar as Medicare and other billings requirements use the International Classification of Diseases codes, HCFA also makes the ICD-9CM file available. Actually, the ICD-9CM (Clinical Modification) for morbidity, i.e. disease classification and IC-9 for (cause of death mortality) classification are two related free downloadable files from the National Center for Health Statistics "Classification of Diseases" web site at Note: Recently the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) became the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

COUGHIN', SMOKER’S MATH, AND THE COFFIN NAIL REPORT Smokers, how many nails are in a coffin? Your coffin? Smokers are you coughing more, and enjoying your cigarette less? Every cigarette smoker can now do coffin nail math. He/she can calculate how many cigarettes were smoked per day, for how many years? What was your intake of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide? For those who may die of lung cancer, or some other disease, after smoking for 40 years, 50 years, how many cigarettes have been smoked? How many cigarettes are required to inhale that crucial volume of tar, carbon monoxide, and nicotine to get (various forms of) cancer, heart disease, or emphysema? How many cigarettes are required to kill a person? To prevent a death, it would be necessary to know the crucial threshold to stop smoking, if one can. To avoid practicing medicine without a license or being pedantic, what follows are just suggested uses of the data found in the Coffin Nail Report, which is this author's title for "Tar," Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide of the Smoke of 1294 Varieties of Domestic Cigarettes for the Year 1998: A Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress, issued July, 2000. This report, issued since 1967, has appeared annually as a Federal Trade Commission Notice in the Federal Register. This report shows the amount of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide emitted by each the different brands listed. The amount of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, coming from the specific cigarette you smoked (each year) is the first factor in our math calculations. The FTC Notice announcing the 1998 Report is found at Federal Register, V. 65, No. 134 July 12, 2000, page 43019 leads to . This FTC web page provides a two-page introduction and two links a WP text and a PDF file version of this Report. The earlier reports found in (specific issues of) the 1963 through 1999 Federal Register, will be found through the annual Federal Register Indexes 1963 - 1999 [AE 2.106: (YR)/INDEX]. Then check the data for that brand or cigarette, or whatever cigarette(s) you smoked each year from 1967 to 1998. Next, calculate factors two and three, the number of cigarettes you smoked per day and the number per year. Then, combine the total amounts of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide you have inhaled, per day and per year, for those years. Now the answer(s) show how much tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide one has inhaled over a period of years. Your answers should be most enlightening and possibly fatal, don’t you think?

THE REAL ALIEN SPECIES Have you seen the Alien (series) movies? How about the 1953 War of the Worlds or the 1956 (or 1978 remake of the) Invasion of the Body Snatchers? So much for Hollywood! To see the real aliens, i.e. the invasive species "that is (1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and (2) [the alien] whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health", go to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS web site) "From Microbes to Mammals – Invasive Species, A Threat to America’s Biological Heritage" . Next, go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA web site) " The Nation’s Invasive Information System" . The USGS website has a picture of a real alien species and links to People, Land & Water (SuDoc class No. I 1.116: ) magazine articles about these real aliens and their impact on the world. Invasive Species Threaten America’s Biological Heritage reads more factually but is less dramatic than the Sigourney Weaver’s encounter with aliens. The USDA web site has about 20 links to the species profiles, economic impacts, laws, databases, news and events, managers tools, etc. The last statement on the USDA page states that "Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions" into the United States. Yet, most Hollywood aliens arrive via their own transportation.

PEDESTRIAN CRASH STATISTICS: THEORY Since the first use of horses, buckboards, stagecoaches, automobiles, and similar land vehicles, there have been other people (pedestrians), not in vehicles, who were, in a variety of ways injured or killed by vehicles. Someone could be walking along the road, getting of a bus, a highway construction worker, or crossing the interstate and get injured or killed. There are 37 different types of Pedestrian – Motor Vehicle Crashes in which someone gets injured or killed and becomes a crash statistic. Some victims are j-walkers, some walk into cars, and some are "midblock dashers". Pedestrian Crash Types: A 1990’s Informational Guide is an April 1997 report issued by the Federal Highway Administration as Publication No. FHWA-RD-96-163 is 93 page report sent to Depository Libraries in microfiche (TD 2.30:96-163). These are the statistical categories for many of the people who make the news. Do you know how many kids dart out from between cars? The number of people injured or killed near mailboxes, or buying ice cream from mobile vendors? What are the statistics on the "Intersection Dash(er)"?

PEDESTRIAN STATISTICS Safe time and place to walk: Vermont and North Dakota (each) had only had only 4 pedestrian fatalities in 1999. New Hampshire had 5 and Montana had 7. California was highest with 665 fatalities, followed by Florida with 487. Weekend evenings between 8 PM and 11:59 PM are when most pedestrians are killed. Pedestrian crash data also includes a "Pedestrian Alcohol Involvement" category. People aged 70+ account for 18% of the fatalities and are the age group with the highest death rate. The 37 types of pedestrian accidents plus rollover, crash severity, and ejection vs. non-ejection, EMS response times, and more are found in Traffic Safety Facts 1999, A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the General Estimates System. Issued in December 2000 as NHTSA Report No. DOT HS 809 100, the paper edition will be under SuDoc class number TD 2.27:999 and on the NHTSA web site as Traffic Safety Facts 1999 Annual Report . This annual also cumulates the data provided in the 1999 Facts Sheets which include Alcohol, Children, Large Trucks, Motorcycles, Occupant Protection, Older Populations, Traffic Safety Facts Overview, pedalcyclists, Pedestrians, School Buses, Speeding, State Alcohol Estimates, State Traffic Data, and Young Drivers. These 2000 and early years of these volumes are in the NHTSA National Center for Statistics and Analysis at as PDF files.

AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS Quite simply, that is when you supply your own blood for an upcoming surgical procedure. "Autologous blood transfusion is the collection and reinfusion of the patient’s own blood or blood components. Allogeneic blood, on the other hand, is collected from someone other than the patient." It is safer to provide your own blood, than receive someone else’s. However, not every operation requires a transfusion, but there are some which allow for a patient to provide his/her own blood supply. There are four different Autologous Techniques: Preoperative Autologous Blood Donation, Perioperative Blood Salvage, (Intraoperative and Postoperative Blood Salvage), and Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution. Some patients are capable of donating blood before their operation and of the 18 "Selected Surgical Procedures" in Table 1 on page 2, autologous blood donation is shown as appropriate for about nine surgical procedures and inappropriate for nine others. There are many advantages to this the autologous blood transfusion vs. getting blood from donors or the blood bank, but there are many risks. Transfusion Alert, Use of Autologous Blood issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in (revised edition) 1994, is 20 pages found in depository libraries under HE 20.3202:AU8/994 and at the NHLBI web site

MIDAIR (AIRPLANE) COLLISIONS Usually called Midairs, FAA statistics show there have been only 329 midair collisions from 1983 to August 2000. Of the 658 aircraft involved, there were 14 balloons, 25 gliders, nine military aircraft, and four helicopters. 40 percent of the aircraft involved a total of 570 fatalities for this 18-year period, and 60 percent of aircraft involved in midairs were able to land safely. The aircraft were all general aviation (GA) and not commercial airplanes. "In the airline world, midairs in U.S. airspace appear to have virtually disappeared. Fatal midairs in large commercial aircraft (over 30 seats) were a fairly common event for more than 30 years (1946-1978) with a steady average of about one fatal airline midair per year. However, following the 1978 midair collision in San Diego the once common accident scenario has disappeared." Midairs usually occur at airports without traffic control towers. About 88 percent of the midairs occur because the pilot had "inadequate visual lookout – failure to see and avoid" the other aircraft. The second most common factor was the pilot’s failure to follow the landing procedures at the small airports which lack traffic control towers. This accident analysis, some aircraft collision history, and statistics for 1983-2000 are brought out by Robert C. Matthews, (of the FAA’s Office of Accident Investigation, Safety Analysis Branch) in "Characteristics of U.S. Midairs" FAA Aviation News, V. 40, No. 4 May/June, 2001, pages 1-4 (Paper copy: TD 4.9:40/4 and FAA website ).

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July 27, 2001