Watching the news on KABC in Los Angeles is kind of funny. If you watch the closed-captioning, you see a zillion instances of two types of errors: transcription and internationalization.
I am assuming that they are using either bleeding edge voice-to-text software or a typist with very bad vocabulary. With a picture of a bus on the screen, the caption says "People run to the bust."
Worse yet, there are a zillion non-ASCII characters that usually appear at the beginning and end of words. It certainly looks like they go where quote marks would, but quote marks show up as well. There are at least four different non-ASCII characters that show up in unpredictable places.
I had a cold this week. I'm in New Jersey at Judy's parent's house, and we fortunately brought lots of the two common Chinese patent medicines that used for colds, gan mao ling and bi yan pian. I'm quite sure they helped relieve the symptoms, because about an hour after I dosed up, the symptoms subsided for a while, but then started to come back about five hours later. Laying in bed snorking and coughing the other morning, I got to thinking...
One of the big complaints about Chinese medicines is that they are unproven. There are only a small number of Western-style research studies on only a small number of chinese remedies, and these are not widely known in the Western medical community. In fact, they aren't well enough known in the TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) community, either. That is, TCM practitioners can't rattle off the names of the studies like many internists can rattle off the names of the important studies for well-known drugs and treatments.
The lack of Western-style studies on Chinese herbs is usually attributed to the lack of patentability on the formulas. If that is true, it is short-sighted for economic reasons. The cost of a bottle of the cold remedy that will last the duration of a typical three-day cold is about half what it costs for common over-the-counter Western remedies (you know, the ones that don't seem to work that well but have lots of negative side-effects).
From a purely economic standpoint, it would make sense for the US government (or any large national government) to compare the efficacy of the Chinese cold remedies against what is currently bought. Even if the Chinese remedies cut the length of the cold by half a day, the economic savings to the country of having fewer work days lost to colds, possibly at a lower cost per person, would probably pay for the study in under one year.
Why should we rely on the remedy market to supply the information on efficacy of remedies for common colds? The benefits accumulate to more than just the manufacturers. Increases in worker productivity (to say nothing of quality of life) benefit all of society. A government-run study should be nearly-trivial to run and can cover a wide variety of Western and Chinese remedies, and can include different types of placebos. As an extra bonus, the results should be very informative to the general public because they can see whether or not the $8 bottle of commercial over-the-counter remedy that they use year after year has any positive effect.
Judy and I went to a movie last night, which we do about three times a year. Given the rarity of that, we decided to see something that would be much better in a theater than on DVD. We certainly found it in The Motorcycle Diaries. (Well, that's the English title: it's really called "Diarios de motocicleta".) It was somewhat of a hit earlier this year, but is still playing in art houses, and for very good reason. The story is compelling, the acting is great (by all players, not just the two stars), and the wide shots of early spring in South America are stunningly gorgeous. The latter is a very good reason to see it in a theater; the fact that it is subtitled is another. Quite different than anything else in the normal xmas Hollywood holiday crush.
Dave Orchard has a great piece about how groups use version numbers as a marketing gimmick. He points out, quite rightly, that XML 1.1 should be called XML 2.0 because it is not forwards-compatible with XML 1.0. We see this all the time with other products that use completely wonky version numbering schemes, like having years' worth of releases numbered 0.something.
Counting isn't that hard, and neither are simple rules like "next integer if it's not forwards-compatible, and next tenth if there are any new features".