Wednesday, October 31, 2007

msb-0218 COBRA: A Snake in the Grass

msb-0218 COBRA: A Snake in the Grass


Feedback comes first, so...

I'm still waiting to hear from anybody on whether I should up the frequency on these shows.

My shows are up over 33,000 downloads and I am just about to see my ad in this quarter's "Momentum".

We'll see if I get any uptake in MSer membership/visitors over the next few months. (And maybe some MS advertisers too. That would be nice. :-)

Here some feedback on the last show, "msb-0217 Genetics and MS ... Who knows?":

"Hello [name omitted for privacy],

the problem is that while the data collection is extremely simple, (just long sequences of four letters: A, C, T & G, [very LONG sequences of letters,]) the manipulation required is of super computer caliber.

That's why it will have to occur in phases.

We have to start at the beginning, with the collection of people's genomic information.

While it doesn't have to hurt, a mouth swab will do, it results in the collection of five or so million DNA records, (one per MS sufferer on the planet) each of which is about, well, according to Wikipedia, its about "5,000 300 page volumes (the equivalent to 800 bibles long)" ( )

That works out to about 4,500,000,000 bytes per record with some compression.

That's way bigger than any other medical database and I suspect would bust almost any budget you would care to set up with almost any institution, including most governments.

While that might sound impossible, its is quite do-able is we break up the problem into five or so million sequencing acts, do the individual data collection on our own, letting the genomic sequencing facilities put the collected sequences on CD-ROM.

Then we need to compare each sequence to each other to find points of structural commonality, which express themselves in common ways to cause an exacerbation. (Which means that, to really be complete, we'd really want to have two samples, one taken 'at rest' and one taken during the exacerbation. [Its just two mouth swabs, so don't get excited, it doesn't hurt, {unlike some tests for MS, (like evoked potential.)}])

It might seem like an enormous pain-in-the-ass to go and collect all this data essentially for the benefit of somebody else, but some researcher out there WILL use it to look for a cure simply because we have the data.

Let me repeat this last point:"Simply because we have the data!"

No data, no discoveries.

Got data? You stand an infinitely greater chance of cracking the mysteries of MS at the genetic level.

Lets get the data... We can worry about somebody else putting it to use later.


---- "i believe" by: "simian mobile disco"

Feed Forward comes next, so...

This is "your" segment.

Say "your" piece on this segment.

Share with other MSers whatever "you" want to share.

Drop me an email: charles at

And I would apreciate if someone could write a review of this podcast on iTunes [ ] You can just select the link and, eventually, scroll down the iTunes page to "Customer Reviews"

---- "Believe in me" by: "Tommy Brown"

Feed Me comes third, so...

Do you have a therapy, product, good or service that is of interest to MSers?

Consider advertising on this podcast.

Reminders on this segment only cost $0.03 per reminder per download of an episode. (A $30CPM targeted at MSers.)

It can/should lead to a full ad, in text, audio or video, which costs $3.00 per download.

That sounds expensive until you do the math and realize that if nobody downloads it it costs you nothing, unlike print, where you often can't even get an ad in to the specialized journals, or radio or TV where you'd just be wasting your money with the 0.0833% MSers rate of return. (That's about six times "below" the level of "statistical noise".)

But MSBPodcast is 100% in your market, and you only pay per download of your material.

No play, no pay.

Reach the MSers who would buy your therapy, product, good or service, with-out having to waste your advertising money on anyone who is "not" interested...

Send me an email at: charles (at)

---- "I Believe" by: "Tremolo"


I am sitting here looking at the COBRA forms.

Holy crap!

Could it be more cornfoozelating?

Or come at a worse time?

---- "I Believe" by: "miggs"


COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is supposed to give health coverage for "all" terminated employees who can qualify. (But if you were "let go" for some criminal activity, well, you shouldn't have got caught before being fired. [But on the positive side, you do get some health benefits in prison. {Just don't "drop the soap".}])

It looks more complicated than it really is because anybody can apply under one of the myriad options.

The bitch is retracing the path that your now ex-employer took so that you can take the same path to keep some semblance of similar coverage.

I took a swipe at the forms, followed by my wife and, after going through them a second time each, we finally decided to opt, sorry to "elect", for the coverage.

(Yeah. Great going USA. Take a guy who's living off of his savings and saddle "him" with the health-care bills.

[Keeryst... If ever there was a reason for a single payer system in this God-forsaken country, being unemployed is it. I paid into the system for years and now that I need it, I'm looking up the gummints cloaca.

{Paying for health care should be the gummint's job, not blowing up some crap in some foreign sand.

(Why do you think everybody else is whooping our butts in trade. We saddle our employers with paying for all this shit and we end up paying the "maximum" that a hundred, nay a couple of thousand individual markets will allow

[instead of saying: "No more pricing games... This costs X everywhere now because there only "one" buyer: the gummint."

{I'm the medical profession's and their suppliers worst nightmare: somebody who's wise to their tricks.}])}])

---- "Believe" by: "Bill Janovitz & Crown Victoria"


COBRA comes at an unfortunate time, (you just got "let go",) to unfortunate people, ("MSers" who have to "take up arms" with confounded bodies, unresponsive nervous systems, little hope of getting better and even less hope of finding gainful employment "ever again." [Ain't being diseased wonderful? You get to watch everything you've managed to build up drain away like water on a beach... {I don't mind the capital gains "death tax" as much as I mind being alive and having to watch it all "go."}])

COBRA then cornfoozzles them with a stated need for information which comes from a source which is no longer available to them, their ex-employer.

I also love the fact that I am not expected to live longer than 18 months; that's when COBRA coverage dries up like the shriveled leaves of un-watered seedlings by a dry-wash in the desert.

I hope like hell that podcasting takes off before then, otherwise I going to go back to Canada where the have a single-payer system.

I can podcast from there just as well as here in the 'States.

---- "I Believe" by: "Peter Searcy"



Miss Chris said...

I think they make COBRA so confounding just because they can.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

Well, COBRA applications are so corfoozelating because they're meant for everybody who'd apply.

Everybody applies through one set of forms, whether they were a day labourer (good luck finding a job like that with health coverage, but there are some, if you're hoisting boxes in a warehouse) or a CEO of a multi-million dollar communications corporation.

You just know that that has got to be a broad based form.