How One Spam Leads to Another

“If you want to be your own boss and make money working from home while increasing the size of your penis and shopping for cut-rate electronic products from China — you’re in luck.

The quantity of e-mailed advertising pitches for these and other fabulous opportunities is about to increase dramatically, according to research by Bob West, an anti-spam activist.” Wired

Sleep Late, Sleep Often…

“Power Nap” Prevents Burnout; Morning Sleep Perfects A Skill:

“Evidence is mounting that sleep – even a nap – appears to enhance information processing and learning. New experiments by NIMH grantee Alan Hobson, M.D., Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., and colleagues at Harvard University show that a midday snooze reverses information overload and that a 20 percent overnight improvement in learning a motor skill is largely traceable to a late stage of sleep that some early risers might be missing.” Science Daily

Sample Victimization

Woman sues over unsolicited Prozac mailing. In my continuing coverage of the pharmaceutical industry’s lack of scruples, this takes the cake (so far). This Florida woman, who took Prozac briefly seven years ago but not since, and from a different pharmacy (although part of the same national mega-chain; don’t get me started on that aspect of the story!), opened her mailbox to find a free, unsolicited sample box of the new once-a-week formulation of Prozac being pushed by Eli Lilly to hold on to market share as the patent on the original formulation expires. The pharmacy chain that did the mailing — funded by Lilly to the approximate tune of $63 wholesale for the four pills — says it was only responding to doctor’s orders, and indeed Lilly had apparently arranged for an area medical practice to provide prescriptions to the pharmacy. A form letter congratulated recipients of the samples on taking the first step toward their recovery, after instructing them to stop their daily Prozac one day before taking the first of the weekly pills. Obvious problems with this picture include the fact that someone accessed her confidential prescribing record for marketing purposes; the lack of control over who received and opened the mail (children?); the potential public exposure of the fact that she was, or had been, treated for depression if the delivered package was conspicuous; the lack of any medical decision-making about whether a switch to the weekly form was medically indicated, and whether it was safe in conjunction with whatever other medical conditions she had or other medications she was taking; and the scumsucking bottom-feeding behavior of the MDs who Lilly probably hired to sign bunches of these ‘prescriptions’ for their patients and former patients. My question — for every recipient of these samples who protests and/or files suit, how many simply start taking the freebies, with or without stopping their existing Prozac (if they’re on it) as instructed in the form letter? SJ Mercury News

On summer reading

A journey and a book are perfect companions: Alain de Botton explores the pleasures and quirks of summer reading, especially when travelling. He endorses ‘reading against the grain’ — that is, books ‘inappropriate’ to the locale to which we have travelled — which I love to do. He also finds it a ‘cherished illusion’ that we will have scads of time to read while travelling, but I actually do get a far greater density of reading for pure pleasure done while away than at home. [probably because I take a break from weblogging!] And 165 short book reviews from the 9th century, and one man’s view of ten top novels on campus, from a writer who teaches Shakespeare at a Montreal university. [links courtesy of Robot Wisdom]