Experts Exchange – please go fuck-off and die already!

As a programmer, my number one tool for getting out of a tough bind is a quick google search.

Developers are chatty, and we have about a million different forums, blogs, wikis, example sites, source projects, etc. When I’m having a problem with my code, chances are that there have been many other programmers that have already found a solution, and some of them probably posted answers online somewhere.

But, in any given search, you are bound to get at least a few links to this place called “Experts Exchange”.

Note: I’m not linking to Experts Exchange… this is deliberate…

Nothing about the text of the google result will stand out as being an Experts Exchange related site… it’ll just have a reasonable title and an excerpt that suggests it as a good place to look.

So I click the link.

And then I see the Experts Exchange page.

…  and then I just want to fucking KILL the bastards that run this fucking sham of a site!!!

The idea of Experts Exchange itself isn’t so bad. A subscription based community of IT professionals working together to create a database of answers to IT related issues.

No problem in theory…

In practice though, they gimmick the big search engines like Google into returning their pages knowing that those answers are NOT going to be on the page when the user follows the link. This technique is called ‘cloaking’, and I am annoyed that Google doesn’t remove experts exchange from their indexes for such a blatantly deceptive tactic.

The trick is against Google’s own guidelines even.

My second problem is that the quality of the actual answers on experts exchange is retardedly bad. Certainly not worth paying a monthly subscription fee.

But what annoys me most is just how much of my time I’ve wasted having to back-track after falling for yet another worthless experts exchange link. It happens at least two or three times a day… sometimes more.

And it gets old… really old…

If I ever do finally go postal, then I’ll be stopping by the offices of Experts Exchange pretty early in the tour…

FDA – Information Terrorism for Epileptics

Caress (who posted about this too) and I came across this report on CNN yesterday. Since then I’ve seen it reported at least a dozen other places on TV and around the net.

The FDA has issued an advisory designed to needlessly scare the shit out of epileptics and healthcare professionals treating epileptics.

According to the FDA advisory, epileptic treatment drugs cause people to commit suicide!

Check this shit out:

Data from 199 placebo-controlled clinical studies covering eleven different antiepileptic drugs were reviewed and analyzed for reports of suicidal behavior (completed suicides, suicide attempts and preparatory acts) and suicidal ideation…

The analysis included a total of 43,892 patients ages five and older (27,863 in drug treatment groups and 16,029 in placebo groups).

In the FDA’s analysis, patients receiving antiepileptic drugs had approximately twice the risk of suicidal behavior or ideation (0.43%) compared to patients receiving placebo (0.22%)….

Four of the patients who were taking one of the antiepileptic drugs committed suicide, whereas none of the patients in the placebo group did.

That’s right… 0.2% more suicidal behaviors were reported among people taking a brain chemical altering drug to treat a debilitating brain disorder.

Holy shit!

Warn everyone about the pending health apocalypse before its too late!

Epileptics must stop taking their drugs immediately or they might die!!!

I know several epileptics, including my own sister, and one thing I can say for certain is that having epilepsy sucks ass!

In ANY study of epilepsy, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find suicidal behavior to be a real problem.

What surprises me about this particular study is the unbelievably low number of “reported suicidal behavior” incidents overall.  Oddly enough, the number of reported suicidal behaviors in the FDA’s study is lower than the National Institute of Mental Health’s reported rate of suicidal behaviors in the general population.

That should be a big clue as to just how unreliable the FDA study’s conclusion is!

Even with so many subjects being analyzed, a number like 0.2% is beyond ridiculously small…it is irrelevant.

Come-the-fuck-on!

0.2% ?

WTF!?!?

It isn’t as if healthcare professionals don’t already KNOW that suicidal behavior is something to watch for in epileptics… telling them that treating epileptics with drugs makes them “twice as likely” to commit suicide is just plain irresponsible.

But what pisses me off more than the FDA wasting my tax dollars pointlessly making a big deal out of nothing, is that the major news outlets are also picking it up and presenting it as news.

The news outlets certainly haven’t bothered to use common sense in reading the report. Nope… they just see the “twice as likely” part and report that part!

The reason this is such a problem in my opinion is that  one of the worst problems related to epilepsy is that so many epileptics don’t take their medication.

Ask any police officer or EMS worker how they feel about epileptics!

They fucking HATE epileptics.

That’s because so many of them don’t take their meds and end up killing or injuring themselves or someone else. Often untreated epileptics are scraped off the road after a car wrecks… and often others get hurt in the process too.

This really is a BIG problem that doesn’t get near enough attention… instead everyone is too busy talking about titty-cancer and buying autism awareness ribbons.

There are lots of reasons epileptics stop taking their drugs, and most of them I can’t blame them for. I am pretty sure that if I were epileptic I’d probably consider going off my treatment too.

The medications have side effects that are often worse than the epilepsy itself. Some turn you into a zombie, some make you groggy, some make it hard to concentrate, and some fuck your memory up worse than Alzheimer’s.

The medications are also very expensive and many epileptics just can’t afford them, especially the better drugs that have fewer side-effects. This problem is made worse due to the limited employment options for epileptics and their resulting lower incomes. And that doesn’t get into the fact that many insurances don’t cover the drugs for pre-existing conditions like this one.

Some just refuse their meds because they don’t want to admit they have epilepsy because it estranges them from friends and family. I’ve known at least a couple of closet epileptics that refused to even get medical tests because they knew they’d lose their drivers license. I even knew one that drove race-cars and if they got diagnosed they’d get booted out of the race circuit… better to just gamble that you wont have a major seizure when anyone is looking.

But now, thanks to the FDA’s crack research team, epileptics have one more reason to refuse their drugs… the false assertion that the drugs will make them kill themselves.

Fucking good job FDA!