Fraud and counterfeiting in medical supplies

I’ve been looking into emergency medical products to control bleeding, following my recent spell in hospital and subsequent developments.  I’ve been very fortunate to have Kelly Grayson as a friend.  He’s not only a very experienced paramedic, he’s won national awards in that field, and is about as knowledgeable as you can get as to what works and what doesn’t.  He’s pointed me in the direction of what I need (tourniquets, larger hemostatic wound dressings, etc.), and I’m in the process of buying it now. What’s astonished me is the amount of fraud and counterfeiting going on in that field.  There are certain types of

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For boys needing cutting-edge toys

Being African born and bred, I’ve always had a high regard for a machete as a very useful all-round tool.  It can not only clear brush or chop up light wood;  it’s easier to carry than an axe, it’s a very viable weapon if push comes to shove, and it’s cheap enough that if you break one, it’s seldom a problem to replace it. That being said . . . Cold Steel is currently having a sale on many of their machete models.  Some are below $10!  They make good tools, and the prices they’re advertising are the lowest I’ve ever seen

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More about smatchets

I’ve had a few questions from readers about the World War II “smatchet” combat knife developed by William E. Fairbairn for Allied special forces, after I mentioned it in passing last week.  (You can read more about this remarkable man and his contribution to self-defense here.)  Here’s an authentic smatchet, issued to Corporal R. T. Petteit of the Z Special Unit, which was active in the Pacific theater of war.  It’s now in an Australian museum.  Click the image for a larger view.   (Image credit: Australian Military Knives) The smatchet is a very large, very specialized knife.  Its sole purpose is combat – it’s not easily

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A new favorite deep concealment pistol – Glock’s 43X

Over the years I’ve tested most of the smaller, more concealable pistols to reach the market, with particular emphasis on ease of handling and concealment by partly disabled shooters.  Almost all of them were comparable in terms of magazine capacity, available calibers and cartridges, accuracy, and so on.  My ultimate criteria was always ergonomics;  how well did the pistol fit the hands, grip and physical capabilities of the shooter?  Since there are so many variations in shooters, I couldn’t say that any one model was better than another across the board.  My personal choice for several years was Springfield’s XDS model, which fit

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A big plane for a highway to carry

Many countries practice operating military aircraft from civilian highways, often strengthening or adapting the latter during construction so that they can be used as emergency air bases in the event of hostilities.  However, most of the aircraft involved (that I’ve heard about, at least) have been standard fighter or strike aircraft;  not the largest or heaviest in a modern air force. Russia recently sent some of its Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft to practice operations from an improvised airstrip on a highway in Tatarstan.  The Su-34 is very large and heavy (comparable to the older US F-111), rather bigger than one would expect to operate

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Some 20-year-old pain medications still work

I’ve long been aware of studies suggesting that some prescription medications can retain their potency for several years past the expiration date shown on their labels (which is typically one year after they were issued to a customer).  I must admit, though, I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised by one prescription issued to me twenty years ago. I recently had a bout with severe, immobilizing back pain, which is slowly easing off (the inevitable result of a partially disabling injury back in 2004, which resulted in a spinal fusion and permanent nerve damage).  The doctor (not my usual one) initially prescribed

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Ebola is now a global health emergency – for the second time

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2013-16 was declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization, one of only five such events in history that have been officially given that title.  I don’t know that the declaration did much in practical terms, apart from give warm fuzzies to the bureaucrats who issued it;  but it did underline the seriousness of the outbreak, and the potential threat it posed.  The world avoided a major international health crisis by the skin of its collective teeth in that outbreak, by shutting down as much travel as possible from the

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Analyzing America’s future, and our place in it

Let me begin by saying that in my sixty-something years on the planet, I’ve seen and done a lot – far more than most people, relatively speaking.  (I’ve written about some of my experiences on this blog from time to time.)  That wasn’t of my choice;  it was forced on me by an accident of birth (location and time) and a series of circumstances far beyond my control.  I wish I hadn’t experienced many of those things/places/people, but nobody asked me for my input!  I learned a great deal the hard way, and learned also that the same issues very often result in the same

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Ebola, rampaging superstition, and a complete ignorance of fact

I’ve pointed out in the past that the reason the Ebola epidemic continues to spreadin Congo is largely due to the primitive, superstitious tribal culture in that part of the world.  Unfortunately, many First World readers have no conception of just how primitive and superstitious that culture really is.  It’s so far removed from our reality that it’s inconceivable to many of us. Now comes a report on child soldiers in the Congo that may help some readers understand the problem better. The potion was powerful stuff: the grown-up rebels who had given it to the boys, smearing it on their beanpole bodies every day

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Ebola: still no good news, but plenty of bad news

Those who’ve been following my previous articles about the Ebola virus outbreak in the Congo will understand how very dangerous this is for the rest of the world.  If you were in any doubt over how easily it could spread, consider this report just yesterday.  What if one of those people were a carrier? Aesop has written a long and very informative summary of the present situation.  I can’t improve on it (or on his usual acerbic, informative and authoritative style), so click over there and read the whole thing.  It’s so important a topic that I urge you to do so.  Here’s an

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