Keep these trends in the back of your mind

It is easy to get distracted with today’s news, where “he said what about that” gets way too much press. Here are few other trends that we should keep in the back of our minds. Some are more pressing than others:

  • Drug companies make money by inventing a recurring need and marketing a drug you need to take the rest of your life. Mind you, there are plenty of good reasons to invent new drugs to help, but there are a series of runaway trains being advertised daily. One trend I noticed is the “add-on” drug. What I mean by this is you may be taking a recurring drug for a condition that works just fine. But, the company or even another company comes up with a supplemental drug that makes that drug a little better. Or, in the case of opioids causing constipation, there is a drug to help you with that. Suggestion: Speak with your doctor and do some research.
  • Your data will never be fully protected and safe online. We should do everything in our power to limit what is out there, but hackers are way too sophisticated and diligent. I applaud the security folks greatly, as they are tasked with a hard job. And, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, some apps like Facebook make money selling access to your information. Unless they change that model, your data will be exposed. Suggestion: Know what data you have out there and decide if you want to limit any of it. Do not use wi-fi in public places to do sensitive financial transactions (banking, credit cards, etc.). A security person said using a hotel’s wi-fi is like picking up a croissant off the floor and eating it. Change your passwords every so often, but make sure you can remember them.
  • Bottled water is a threat to our environment and your wallet. There are floating islands of plastic in the ocean as big as some states. If you must buy water, then recycle. Then there is that cost thing. Much cheaper is buying a filtered water pitcher and keeping it filled in the refrigerator. Some major named water sellers simple use purified tap water with additives. So, why not cut out the middle man. Suggestion: Check out how much you spend on bottled water or even soft drinks each month. Filtered refrigerated water (either from your door or pitcher) will save you money and the environment. Plus, if you reduce the number of soft drinks by drinking water, it will do the above, plus improve your health.
  • An authoritarian type leader tends to use a lot of false bravado. It is my view that the amount of bravado is highly correlated with the amount of lying. Think Trump, al Assad, Putin, Kim, Duterte, Maduro, etc. Suggestion:  Take everything said by these people with a grain of salt. I assume their comments are untrue and work back from there. Plus, do your homework and don’t be made out to be a fool. As Mark Twain said, “It is easier to fool someone than to convince them he has been fooled.”
  • Speaking of correlation, larger family sizes are highly correlated with a propensity toward poverty (this one is not just my impression). I read again this morning the solution to poverty is smaller family sizes, yet the source also denies the need for family planning funding. Another variation is there are too many single parent families. Again, family planning helps, but also marriage counseling with 1/2 of marriages ending in divorce. Suggestion: We need to avoid stating obvious problems as if that statement will solve them. We must do something about the problems. Data reveals states that have robust family planning funding have fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer healthcare costs, fewer STDs and less poverty.

What are some trends you are seeing? Please offer a suggestion as well.

23 thoughts on “Keep these trends in the back of your mind

  1. Wonderful post, Keith … you covered many important topics we need to remind ourselves of. A few comments:

    When you advise to consult with your doctor about new or ‘add-on’ drugs, beware that your doctor may be in cahoots with the drug reps. Daughter Chris works in a urology group and the drugs reps come in, wine & dine the docs, deals are made, and the doc is suddenly pushing that reps latest and greatest drug. When it comes to the medical profession today: Trust no one and question everything. Do your own research.

    I loved when you said to change your password, but remember the new one. Recently AOL forced me to change my password, and it didn’t like any of my choices … required x number of letters, plus a number, plus a ‘special’ character. Well, it was late, I was tired and not feeling well, and so finally, in frustration, I put in the worst curse word I could think of. The response from AOL? ‘Sorry, that password is already in use’!

    You are right about bottled water, and I am guilty as charge. Our tap water has such a horrible chemical taste that we drink only bottled water, and even use if for coffee. I will try to do better.

    You are right about the correlation between false bravado and lying. I would also add that there is a correlation between bravado/lying and intelligence. A wise man finds ways to accomplish his goals honestly and without being a bully. He communicates and engages others, he seeks to gain cooperation, not a stronghold.

    And as to your last topic … yep, more mouths to feed takes more money. This is why the “pro-life” movement is such an oxymoron. Oh, we must preserve the life of the fetus, force the mother to have that baby that she cannot possibly take care of, and then leave it to starve, for we do not want our tax dollars going to help support it. Bah, humbug.

    Okay, so I was chatty tonight … I am a night owl and when others sleep, I pontificate. Again … great post … thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    • Jill, I love it when you are chatty. You are right about the doctors being marketed to. I also believe too many doctors do not know what things cost. So, we must ask questions.

      You raise a good point when the tap water is not good. There are more Flints and coal ash seepage stories out there. So, we must recycle if we do use plastic bottles.

      Thanks for opining. Keith

      • You are right that many doctors don’t know what the drugs they prescribe cost. When I was going through my eye surgeries, the doctor prescribed 3 different eye drops. One of them alone was $260 after the insurance paid what it would. I called the doctors office and explained that I could not possibly afford that, and lo and behold, they sent me samples they had in the office! I would otherwise have simply done without.

  2. Good suggestions! I might also add that drugs frequently run their course and lose their effectiveness. The patient then needs to try another….and another. It’s a quagmire. And the drug companies get richer and richer. My advice would be to take no drugs unless absolutely necessary and if your doctor tends to solve every medical problem with a prescription, find another doctor! I have even heard of doctors who prescribe antibiotics for a virus — which isn’t a bacteria!

    • Thanks Hugh. Good additions. Some people want that script. The best example I have read about is a doctor who said “this should clear up on its own in a week, but if it does not, here is a prescription.” The patient left content and the Rx often was never filled. This doctor had lower Rx rates which is why she was highlighted. Keith

  3. Keith – Love the Mark Twain quote. While traveling recently, I watched a bit of regular television in motels – at home we don’t have commercial TV – and I was stunned at the drug ads. There is something wrong about attempting to convince through ads that viewers may need medication. Just seems like that should be handled through a medical center 😦

    • Susan, these Rx companies spend as much on marketing as research. I guess they want us to ask about the drugs or recognize what the doctor is prescribing. Keith

  4. On the Mark Twain quote.
    What never ceases to at one annoy and fascinate me is the desperate trend to assume that every official account or generally rational explanation of something is incorrect or part of a cover-up.
    This trend seems to spread across the political landscape like a virus.
    It is bad enough when courageous folk such as the Syrian White Hats are denigrated in neurotic obsession in some quarters to hold to the belief that the Syrian regime is blameless.
    It is tragic when after the Salisbury attack folk rush in a frenzy to explain why nobody from Russia could have been involved and it’s all a government plot.
    What is worse is when an administration buys into this by squawking the mantra ‘Fake News’ whenever they hear something they do not like (While we are on the subject what happened to more incisive and direct word ‘propaganda’? ‘Fake News’ sounds so very playground)

    • Roger, clearly the President of the US engages in a propaganda mission. Many things bother me, but why are not folks interested in what the quiet diligent folks, doing their job in the right way, have to say. Way too many are listening to a bombastic man who is unfamiliar with the truth. Keith

      • One undercurrent Keith which may be a factor is that a number of people are so unengaged with the political process. Thus they see politics as a sort of ‘reality’ show and Trump as one of the principal characters, but not something which affects them directly.
        Since the 1960s SF writers have been working with the theme of TV (and now social media) as being the dominant factor and arbiter in people’s lives, while trivialising important issues to entertainment.

      • Roger, you hit on three intertwined themes – lack of engagement, need to be entertained and intrusion of social media. The President has decided he can use these to get elected and alter messaging to reverse negatives or leverage positives.

        Just today in he has quadrupled down on this spygate story, which has been refuted by Republican Senators and Congresspeople who have seen the information. Yet, the truth does not matter to this President. And, the three issues you intertwined allow him to get away with it.

        If Nixon had this scenario, could he have gotten off the hook? Keith

    • Janis, it gets at cognitive dissonance. If one is convinced they have been fooled, the level of dissonance would be pronounced. That is why so many believe Trump, as the alternative is disharmony. Keith

  5. Dear Keith,

    All of the above suggestions are great. Your advice on drugs is very helpful.

    I do recycle my water bottles but I’ve been feeling guilty and so I am investing in a filter, one by a Japanese company Nikken-Alkaline water filter purifier.

    I avoid Facebook and I call companies when I want to buy something even though, I would rather do my business on line.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, we have one of those Brita pitchers for water, but what we start with is pretty good. I like that you are mindful of your transactions. Keith

  6. One huge difference that I note between the areas where I live vs the usa, is how many in the usa take rx for health problems ye t don’t try to fix why they are sick.. they just shrug and say, ‘it’s genetic’ and swallow the pills. so many people who relocate to ecuador say that later they no longer need blood pressure meds, they lose weight , etc etc. Lifestyle is a very important factor in maintaining one’s health…. ahhhhh!

    we also have an amazing abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices. that plays into choices as well – what’s available.

    \the price of bottled water continues to amaze me.. luckily for me, there’s a fresh spring-fed stream that supplies water to the five houses on this little coffee farm… i either boil it or use a portable water purifier —- many also use five-gallon returnable bottles for commercial options for water… but if there’s a crisis – having access to pure water is a huge concern for the world.

    • Lisa, an old nursing friend who works on global wellness plans, notes America’s greatest export is obesity. We are train wrecks waiting happen, as you note preferring to medicate than lose weight. I love your availability to fresh veggies and fruits and water. Keith

      • hi from ‘the city’ of portoviejo…. even i get off the wagon, esp when in the city.. am at a kfc, where there’s wifi, and i get a FREE serving of msg with my food! usually my stomach asks later, ‘what on earth are you trying to do to yourself?!’

        a few days ago i picked fresh red hibiscus flowers to add to my salad.. they’re a lot like buttercrunch lettuce, and add iron and other nutrients – plus color! yes, we’re lucky to have year=round abundance… the other bonus – besides pure air (in the country) is lack of utility bills.. lows mid 70;s and usually the highs are mid 80s… and yes, i know how lucky i am to live here!

      • KFC, one of our fatty exports. I try to minimize fried food, so when I have some, I have to clear my throat. Love the flower idea.

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