Monday, July 29, 2013

Lake Lanier Scientific Lab Analysis - Something Fishy Here but Not The Trout

I live within 15 miles of  Lake Lanier in the great State of Georgia.  Since moving here years ago there have been years of heavy rainfall and periods of drought and then there has been severe drought.  Unpredictable weather patterns bring rain or lack thereof over long periods of time. Yes it's the weather always changing as per God's will.  Recently, the lake has recovered water level from a record low level recorded in Dec. 2007. After several years of severe drought and mandated stringent water restrictions in surrounding counties supplied by the lake resources the lake recovery has been nothing short of astounding.  Following ample rainfall for the last two years the lake is now at full pool level and has been for some time now.  However, rain continues to fall from the heavens in ample fashion but the lake levels do not rise?  Why is that? One thing that is constant is the battle for control of the lakes resources and how much water is discharged down the river, the Chattahoochee that is.  The river and the prize possession that is Lake Lanier have been the center of hotly contentious court battles.  Using statistics easily available on-line I can show that something is fishy at the lake concerning lake level, rainfall, discharge at the Buford Dam, and the political football that is control of the lake resources by the surrounding states-Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  All three states have stakes in this resource and the downstream monetary benefits of Lake Lanier.

Lake Sidney Lanier was constructed by building a dam in Buford GA on the Chattahoochee River in 1956.  Currently the lake encompasses 59 sq. miles.  After passage of an act of congress, appropriations were made to pay for the construction of the dam and clear land for the lake.  Once complete, the lake efficiently filled and in April 1964, a record high level was set at 1077 ft. above sea level.  Over the years, Lake Lanier has supplied water to surrounding counties and industry under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Year after year lake water levels are monitored.  Records are easily available for rainfall, lake level, discharge amounts, various quantities, time schedules, etc.   Because of the financial implications surrounding release of water from the lake and the monetary benefits reaped by downstream states like Alabama and Florida the issue has been publicized heavily, battles have been won in court to determine who should have access to this resource.  Most recently an impartial judge declared that Georgians do have the right to drink the water from Lake Lanier opposing the views of Alabama and Florida plaintiffs stating GA Residents have no right to and should immediately stop using water from Lake Lanier.  How ridiculous! Why in the world would there be an argument of denying Georgia communities access to the drinking water resource that is Lake Lanier so that business downstream could benefit more from the lake being emptied to nearly critical and historical low levels?  Why MONEY of course.  It's always the money.  Under a subterfuge of wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species the lake was almost drained dry in latter 2007.  Those screaming for more water downstream to protect wildlife were also selling such wildlife at market for a premium.  Hardly what I would call "wildlife preservation and protecting endangered species indigenous to wildlife areas". While Georgians who rely on the lake for drinking water not only embraced tough legal restrictions on usage also surpassed expected conservation targets while doing so throughout the recent drought conditions plaguing the Atlanta Metro and surrounding counties.   What did the downstream states do for conservation?  They brought the State of Georgia to court with hopes of having a Federal Judge rule that Georgians don't have a right to drink a glass of water from Lake Lanier and that all consumption should stop so that the lake located in the middle of North Georgia would solely supply water to fish and game industry in Alabama and Florida.  Arguments and court action brought forward by the surrounding states of Georgia to force the Army Corps of Engineers to increase release amounts are nothing new and have been going on for decades.  In 2005 the Army Corps upgraded measuring devices at the lake to determine what and when gets released through Buford Dam.  After the equipment upgrades were completed startling amounts of water were being released from the lake and anyone familiar with those discharges knew the amount released was too much.  After months of complaints from local residents around the lake and attention to the matter given by then GA Governor Sonny Purdue that too much water was being released, the Army Corpse finally re-calibrated the equipment.  Low and behold, releases from the dam were verified as too much by the Army Corpse but all was too late.  The record low level of the lake attained on Dec.26th, 2007 at 1050.79 was officially declared a man-caused disaster courtesy of the mis-calibration of the newly installed equipment.  Why did it take so long for engineers to realize the discharges were dangerously high?  The lake was at its lowest level in history; drought conditions in the region were getting real scary. After this man-caused disaster the lake did not recover for about 30 months.  What I am afraid of now is with the recent elevated rates of rainfall in the Atlanta region, lake levels are not increasing like one would expect.  Lake levels are remaining constant and set at a full pool of 1072 ft. above sea level.  The water[rain] has to go somewhere.  Obviously, Downstream industry is benefiting immensely but there is no publicity about that.  Like the rat stealing the cheese the rat shuns away from publicity for fear other rats will catch on to the windfall or the controlling interests will regulate restriction on industry much like communities had access restricted during drought conditions.  More about the impending water grab later.  Why not raise the lake level?  Why not squirrel away water for when there are not plentiful rainy days like there are now?  The downstream industry has an insatiable apatite for the water resource that is Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee.  For the love of money, the lake could be drained dry and local residents would be bathing in FEMA supplied bottled water to the chagrin of the "endangered" Sturgeon and Muscle farmers downstream.  Lot's of rain and stable lake level are making for a tough denial of the fish farmers downstream.
Army Corps of Engineers? - Raise the lake level already! 
Here are my facts:
Rain fall in Atlanta Metro Region:
Time period: Jan. 2009 - June 2009

25.77" Rainfall
 Lake levels started recovery from record low level attained in 2007.

Lake Lanier water levels:
2009 Lake Level increased 12.88"
Jan. 2009  Lake Level = 1053.14 ft. (Above Sea Level)
June 2013  Lake Level = 1066.02 ft. (Above Sea Level)

Time period: Jan. 2013 - June 2103
 Rain fall in Atlanta Metro Region:
37.32 " Rainfall

 Lake Lanier water levels:
Jan. 2013 Lake Level = 1058.12 ft. (Above Sea Level)
June 2013 Lake Level = 1072.00 ft. (Above Sea Level - Full Pool)

Discharge Rates from Buford Dam:
Jan 2013 average discharge = 5,000 Cu Ft/Second
July 2013 Average discharge = 10,000 Cu Ft/Second
 Comparing Jan - June time period between years 2009 and 2013, 30.9% more rain fell in 2013 than in 2009.  Lake level increased 12.88" in 1st 6 months of 2009.  In 1st 6 months of 2013 the lake only gained 13.88"???  Full pool was achieved in June 2013 and has remained constant everyday since then.  This is possible because of one reason only.  With increased rainfall and same consumption usage by municipalities for drinking water, the only answer is increased release amounts on a daily basis as shown below.

Records show that Chattahoochee River level directly downstream from Buford Dam have increased dramatically in just three days from 4.6' on July 24 2013 to 5.5' on July 25 2013 remaining same and constant on July 26 2013. The graph below courtesy of http://waterdata.usgs.gov shows that for July 2013 steady elevated rate of release has been maintained throughout the month.
 Discharges done in Jan. 2013.
       Discharges were fewer and much less in quantity!


NOTE: Both graphs show the 57 year median discharge rate which is about 1,000 Cu Ft/Second.
For the month of July 2013, releases are daily and amount is >10,000 Cu Ft/Second (~74,800 gps) causing the downstream river level to increase to record high levels.

That is an alarming rate of discharge!  Why haven't anyone down stream complained that river levels are flooding surrounding areas and local wildlife?  More about that later...
Suppose with current rainfall levels the Army Corps decreased release rate by a miniscule 10%.  Roughly the 57 year median discharge rate. What would happen?  Release rate would drop to 9,000 Cu.Ft/second (~67,320 gps).  Lake level could then increase by approximately 2.54" per month under current rainfall level and conservation restrictions.   At that rate of discharge, Lake Lanier could attain the record high level set in April 1964 (1077 ft. Above Sea Level) in about 23.5 months.  Considering that the current rainfall levels remain constant or increase over the next 2-3 years and self imposed water use restrictions decrease consumption, the lake could attain that April 1964 level in under 18 months.
Why is this not happening?  Sturgeon and muscle Farming Industry has a hand in the turmoil.  Atlanta metro has its own major water waster that is sold to the public as entertainment.  Stone Mountain Park has attractions run by a private company.  That amusement company produces snow at the rate of ~60,000 gallons water from Lake Lanier per day to run an attraction called "Snow Mountain".  Boasting a 5 football field size hill of man-made snow the water waste is incredible running from Nov 25th - mid February every winter season.  All total about 5 million gallons of water  per season would be wasted to make snow.  All so people could pay >$40 to tube down a hill of snow in the middle of Georgia in February of 2013.  In the 2007-2008 Snow Mountain season, public outcry was so loud about the water waste that the attraction had its plug pulled.  Currently, there are heated legal battles going on for control of Florida water resources.   One current forefront battle being waged in Florida ( a recipient of Ga water resources) has a Canadian Company officially applying for a permit to suck 250,000 gallons per day of water for the use of a sturgeon farm which will produce caviar priced in excess of $3,500 USD per kG.  Another Florida legal battle is underway with a permit filed to suck 7.2 million gallons per day of water for another sturgeon farm.  This does not sound like activists fighting against the extinction of a rare fish that only survives on a farm for the sole purpose of producing a delicacy most people can't afford for the amount spread on a cracker, never the less who would want a kilo of that stuff.

There is something fishy at the lake and it is not the trout I am talking about.  It is the big money interests hiding behind a veil of "conservation" while producing high dollar snacks for the rich and famous.  I am afraid that Georgia, Florida, and Alabama Governments, Army Corps of Engineers, and big business are in a love triangle.  For the love of water is the love of money.  This has nothing to do with fish and game conservation or endangered species.  It is the river of money and we the people who depend on the lake for drinking water are up the creek without a paddle.

I implore those with the powers to do so to tell the sturgeon and muscle farm industries to take a hike.  They have nothing else in their concern but to drain all natural resource for financial gain while near disaster lurks in the delicate balance between rainfall, lake levels, consumption, and conservation.  To date, there are still restrictions in place with fines and penalties imposed for residents using water for non-sanctioned uses such as spraying kids with water in 90* heat and washing cars.  Yet, big business is filing permits to draw millions of gallons per day to cultivate a fish producing roe that sells for  $110 per oz.

Something is fishy and it stinks.

Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

Special thanks to the following websites for resource material:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Lanier
http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=K502200
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/
http://www.nps.gov/chat/planyourvisit/downstream-flow-rate-buford-dam.htm
http://ga.water.usgs.gov/
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/public-heat-melts-stone-mountain-snow-making-plans/nJRzZ/
http://www.jcfloridan.com/news/article_59fe4b56-e429-11e2-9150-001a4bcf6878.html
http://www.stonemountainpark.com/events/Snow-Mountain.aspx
http://www.davidbeede.com/proposedsturgeonfarm.htm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clinical Laboratory Scientist - What is that, what kind of career is that?



Clinical Laboratory Science - Medical Technology - Medical Laboratory Technology
The field of Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) is a diverse realm of disciplines encompassing the health care service industry.  Some areas represented in the lab field are Hematology, Microbiology, Immunology, Clinical Chemistry, Urinalysis, Coagulation, Serology, BloodBank, Histology and then there are some of the more recent exciting departments like Flow Cytometry, PCR, Histocytology, LIS Manager, and Point of Care Testing. Classically, this field was called Allied Health Professions and still that is an important term to describe the laboratory professional in the clinical setting working along side other health care professionals such as nurses, respiratory care techs, pharmacy, and radiology.

This field of science officially has a long history dating back to early 1900's when the profession was listed on U.S. Census forms.  Explosive growth in college curriculum and jobs occurred through the 70's and early 80's.  After mid 1980's demand for BS MT college programs declined as students opted for the computer science field and thus a rapid decline in available MT programs was experienced nation wide.  The college program I graduated from closed two years after I completed school.  Today, Med Tech BS college programs are few by number scattered across the country.  There are however many MS degree programs for Health Care Management and other related fields for the BS MT wishing to continue on with studies. If contemplating this field of study don't fool yourself by enrolling in a quick 15 month to 2 yr program without a complete investigation of the program or even worse a certificate program.  Without accreditation, the diploma or certificate will not gain you employment in certain demanding states.  Be careful and do your diligence to vet out prospective education programs.  There are some great two year programs of which the most bang for the buck can be had in the specialty of Histotechnology.  There are other programs that offer certificates of completion for Lab Assistant and Phlebotomist. While supporting the clinical laboratory as a lab assistant or Phlebotomist is a position in demand today and is a vital part of the laboratory, monetary rewards escalate with BS MT credentials after your name.  Several specialties are available for the established seasoned Med Tech with years of experience.  Computer sciences being on of them is a niche environment in the laboratory.  Interfacing laboratory instruments with the many computer systems that operate a health care facility is an arduous, demanding task.  Med Techs are uniquely suited for managing the laboratory computer systems.  The task requires knowledge of medicine, lab protocol and procedures, lab instrumentation, computer operation, and technology.  It is easier to train a Med Tech to build and operate/manage the computer system than it is to train an Information Technology type person Lab Medicine so he or she could successfully build the system from ground up or interface an analyzer with the system.  Laboratory Information System Manager is my current position and turns out to be the most difficult but interesting position I have ever held and succeeded in.

Why should you choose Clinical Laboratory Science as a career choice?  You must be satisfied with the answers of several key questions to head down the hallway to the laboratory.
1. Are you willing to work evening or night hours?  Although jobs are available for trained and credentialed MT's often lab vacancies occur on these off shifts as night and evening techs move to days after 1-3 years of service.
2. Are you willing to work weekends, holidays, and double shifts on the fly?  Health care never stops.  At least for general laboratory.  Sacrifices for the health care job and saving lives is part of the field.  Histology departments commonly operate a Monday-Saturday schedule day shift only.  So, histology as a specialty is enticing with a different work schedule. 
3. Do you have compassion for those that are sick, unable to care for themselves, and be able to dedicate your service to those in need?  Patients are important.  They depend on health care professionals to heal them back to good health.  Also, patients are revenue.  Patients have choices as to where they go for their health care so quality service is just as important as the service one would expect going to a mechanic to fix automobiles.
4. Do you have the ability to to work with body fluids of all kinds and not just blood and urine.  If you are "squeamish" at the site of blood then this job is not for you.
5. Can you handle stressful situations with tact and discipline while maintaining a high level of attention to detail and critical thinking skills?  This is a tough job.  Peoples lives depend on the work done in the clinical laboratory.  Correctly analyzed specimens lead to good outcomes.  Incorrect data from the laboratory can lead to all kinds of bad things from blood transfusion incompatibilities, drug dosage errors, and misdiagnosis and errant treatment or surgeries.
6. Are you patient when it comes to waiting for promotions, awards, recognition, and raises.  Generally, the health care field provides great job security with some advancement.  With tightening restrictions from government, the lab business is suffering just as many other businesses are in this present stifled economy.  Patience my friends and nice things will come.  You can expect 1-3% raises annually on average.  Probably less than that under a union controlled environment.

While CLS is a tough job there is much enjoyment and reward to be had.  Jobs are always in demand.  Career advancement is possible with education and training.  There is a great amount of job security with the health care field in general.  Typical hospital labs perform over one million lab tests per year. In 2010, median pay for a Medical Technologist was $22.44/hour with 330,600 jobs available.  If you are willing to work, pay attention, do a fair share of the work, success will abound. If working turns your stomach, blood and guts makes you ill and gives you nightmares then turn and run down the hall away from the direction of the laboratory.  If interested, most laboratories have programs were visitors can get a glimpse of the laboratory, the technology, and make staff available to answer questions about the field.  Call your local hospital and ask to speak with a supervisor or manager.  They will be more than happy to host a visit.

How does one go about getting started?  Look on-line for college programs specifically for Medical Technology or Clinical Laboratory Science.   There may be incentive or assistance offered by your state Dept. of Education, US Govt.,  or large teaching hospital facilities which would require a promise of employment once graduated.  Here is a list of resources for more information about careers in CLS.

http://www.ascls.org/
http://www.americanmedtech.org
http://www.phlebotomycertificationzone.com
http://www.ascp.org/
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-8
http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/invitrodiagnostics/labtest/default.htm

Think about it.  Steady work in an interesting ever changing environment.   Sounds OK right?
Take care my friends,
Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS
hematech@yahoo.com



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Clinical Laboratory and other miscellaneous Proverbs by Scott Mayorga

Hey! These are free.

Lies are the truth. Deception is noble. Lack of integrity is character. Incompetence is charm. Stealing is working. BHO~Scott Mayorga

Steeling content from websites and re-posting on your own is bad~Scott Mayorga

 A bible in a church is sacred. Man enters the building and the book is defiled~Scott Mayorga

The grass may be greener on the other side of the street but it is alot harder to mow~Scott Mayorga

 The talent that is mistreated and forced out will haunt the establishment for years to come; treat staff fairly, keep the loyal~Scott Mayorga

The way to the top is by stepping on the heads of those below you-but you will ultimately slip on the bald guy~Scott Mayorga

Jealousy will turn you green anytime of the day~Scott Mayorga


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

KIA SOUL Driving Experience - Not minivan, not truck but what fun!

 2013 KIA SOUL - My driving Experience

Ever drive a mini-van?  Some people like them.  I think a mini-van is OK if you need to haul around large items or items of a large family.  The latter of which conjures up memories of screaming and arguing children, spilled juice drinks staining the seats RED, items being tossed by siblings at each other, hitting the driver and winding up on top of the dash board. So many antics from the back seat you just want to swing your fist blindly behind you as you negotiate turns hoping to hit something yapping~anything yapping to get some peace and quiet.  Ugh! the life in a minivan - horrendous.   And, the driving quality of a minivan?  Like an over-sized doghouse on thin wheels, bouncing and rolling in rather dangerous manner.  I am surprised not more of these vehicles flip on the road or 360 out of control.  Well, minivans be gone. A new age of transportation has commenced from the horizon; born out of automobile design boards at KIA Motors Corporation.  Hence, the KIA SOUL was released in 2010 and has just gotten better with age.

I recently had the pleasure of driving the 2013 KIA SOUL Exclaim supplied by STI - The Driving Experience people.  The Soul is neither a truck nor a minivan.  It is classified as an automobile e.g. small passenger vehicle, but has the utility of a minivan, the drive of a nimble truck, and the coolness of something everyone wants.  The KIA SOUL is cool, in demand, fun, and very comfortable.  Most of all the SOUL is entertaining.

What is cooler than a vehicle with two hamsters be-bopping their heads to tunes driving down the road with flashy colors and graphics.  No - Me and Mrs. did not feel like a hamsters driving this vehicle but we did be-bop heads to the tunes coming out of the excellent powerful Infinity sound system with multi-speaker sound including sub-woofer.  This vehicle is a compact car, efficient on gas, but comfortable to enter and exit, and great to listen to whatever music is enjoyed.  I have never heard a better sounding audio system in a vehicle than with what I experienced in the 2013 KIA SOUL Exclaim.

The SOUL this guy drove was the loaded SOUL Exclaim model and still was very affordable.  Power sun-roof, power windows, Leather heated seats, Infinity Sound System, Cruise control, Power Folding Mirrors, Auto-dimming rear view mirror, back up camera!, 2.0 ltr. engine, Serious Satellite Radio, Navigation, Blue tooth w/information display, 6 spd. select shift automatic transmission, and chock full of airbags.  In Alien Green paint scheme, this car was flashy and caught the attention of many on-lookers and some questions at parking lots.  LED lights front and back make this vehicle flashy, great looking, and hip.  The vehicle shape is square sort of boxy but in this vehicle it is hip to be square.

One last fun factor to mention in this vehicle was the circular neon like LED lights around the large door speakers that can be set to a color changing MOOD setting or to a beat reactive mode pulsating light to the music played on the stereo.  There is a manual control on the dash board to control the "Lighting Effects". You too will be-bop your head like the hamsters on TV in this vehicle with outrageous lighting effects.

OK- enough of the fun stuff...

The SOUL is a stable platform especially with the equipped 18x235 wheels on solid cast rims.  Road noise was minimal and with the windows closed, virtually all outside noise was blocked; this vehicle is well insulated.  Chatter, vibration, rattles are non-existent on bumpy rough surfaces.  Fuel mileage averaged 27-28 MPG driving many short 8-20 mile trips around town.  The SOUL is what I would call unexpectedly ZIPPY for the weight, size, and boxy stature of this vehicle.  The 2.0 ltr 4 cylinder engine ran smooth and supplied more than enough power (164 hp) and torque (148 ft. Lbs.) to move up through highway speed effortlessly without reaching above 3800 rpm.  If all this is not enough to persuade a perspective buyer how about this; The KIA SOUL was just named safest vehicle for transporting pets.  The SOUL earns 2013 Top Safety Pick by IIHS.  Anyway, this vehicle i.s extremely enjoyable, versatile, and rides comfortably nimble handling.   The SOUL gives a confident driving experience with ample power, strong braking capability and traction control.  Inside, the driver has visual access to a full set of gauges and controls on the steering wheel for radio, blue tooth, etc.  Lighting convenience was also a strong presence with auto-dimming dome light and automatic headlight function.

What did I not like about the SOUL?  Ah, let me ponder...That is a hard question to answer. There is much to like about the SOUL.  Can I fault the vehicle for not having a spare tire, no not really.  Most vehicles do not come with a spare tire or "donut", they come with roadside assistance as does the SOUL.  Oh yes, there is one thing.  There is a power window lock accessible to the driver.  With my 3 year old grandson in the vehicle he found entertainment in opening and closing his window.  I set the window lock and then found I was unable to control any of the windows unless I unlocked.  I expected the driver side window controls to be active with the window lock on as other vehicles do this as well including my Celica GTS.  A minor inconvenience at most.  In all, the KIA SOUL is a solid driving  machine that will meet the need of many tasks; chiefly enjoyment.

Thanks STI - The Driving Experience people, for the opportunity to drive and enjoy the KIA SOUL!
Scott Mayorga


Thanks STI for the opportunity to experience the Kia Forte
Scott Mayorga - See more at: http://hematechstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2013/06/kia-forte-driving-experience-review.html#sthash.Lr2RPC7k.dpuf
Thanks STI for the opportunity to experience the Kia Forte
Scott Mayorga - See more at: http://hematechstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2013/06/kia-forte-driving-experience-review.html#sthash.Lr2RPC7k.dpuf


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