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« Top Headline Comments 11-21-13 | Main | Thursday Morning News Dump »
November 21, 2013

Sewage doesn’t lie

A small diversion from the never ending Obamacare debacle...enjoy.

Icky, but fascinating...

...People, however, are less than honest when asked about things like their illicit drug use. Each year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health knocks on the doors of some 70,000 Americans asking them detailed questions about their drug use. The data are undoubtedly valuable, but even the survey’s director admits they’re not capturing the complete picture. “The more sensitive and deviant the behavior, the more likely it is to be underreported,” ...

...An analysis of sewage samples at an Oslo ski resort, for example, found three times as much cocaine the Friday night of a season-closing party compared to a normal weekend. According to a separate week-long sampling of 19 European cities done last year, cocaine and ecstasy spiked during weekends. If that all sounds obvious enough, here’s something else: The same European researchers found ecstasy levels on Utrecht to be off the charts, more than 10 times higher than previously measured in that city. Two days before the study, it turns out, police had raided an illegal ecstasy manufacturing facility in Utrecht. Sewer epidemiology may be able to detect drug busts, too, due to the frantic disposal of incriminating evidence...

...A 2005 Italian study of the river Po, the country’s longest, found levels of cocaine consistent with twice the estimated national usage...

Suppose some boffins were to create a robotic sewer crawling drug detector? It could sniff its way along down a street's sewer line looking for high concentration traces at the inlet pipes for each address. That data would likely be deemed just as "public" by the courts as garbage is now and could wind up being enough probable cause for a some sort of raid.

Flushing your stash may not work in the future. There may be a robot in the sewer sitting there before the raid even happens waiting to catch more than your morning deuce.

On the plus side, it may be possible at some point in the future for a sewer crawling robot to sense various cancers and diseases that are detectable in urine. ex. Now there's a urine test for prostate cancer that's apparently quite specific.

... "The evidence shows that if TMPRSS2:ERG RNA is detectable at high levels in urine, a man likely has prostate cancer, whether or not his biopsy is positive for cancer," said Tomlins. (Because biopsies typically sample less than 1 percent of the prostate gland, cancers can be missed, even high-grade cancers.)...
Obama talked about "bending the curve", which was all bullshit, but an army of cheap sewer crawling screen-bots really could bend the cost curve down on some things by catching bad stuff very very early.

Its a brave (and stinky) new world

digg this
posted by Purp at 09:13 AM

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