Saturday, December 18, 2010

When liver donations go wrong -

Our medical industry, which to me seems like just another labor union, is a bizzare collection of old school protectionist practices and it needs a serious overhaul.

Why is it that statistics on outcomes are unavailable, and mistakes are covered up or treated as if they are impossible?


When liver donations go wrong - "When a donor has a complication, the hospital is expected to do its own investigation and report to the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, which oversees transplants for the federal government.
'This isn't acceptable,' says Dr. Lloyd Ratner, director of renal and pancreatic transplant surgery at Columbia University.
'Never in a million years would we say to BP, 'Oh, you had an oil spill in the Gulf, why don't you do your own investigation and just tell us about it?' ' he said. 'That would be just crazy. It's not acceptable in other industries to do that, so why is it acceptable in ours?'"

Monday, November 22, 2010

The scanners are riskier than the terrorists

Check out the math in the article linked below, the quote coming from dosimetry expert Peter Rez.

Protests Mount Over Safety And Privacy Of Airport Scanners : Shots - Health News Blog : NPR:

"Rez agrees the individual risk is still negligible. 'It's a 1-in-20-million chance of dying from radiation for each scan,' he says. 'Your chances of being struck by lightning in the US in any year is 1 in 500,000. But the probability of being blown up in an airplane by a terrorist is around 1 in 30 million. So the risk from the scan is about the same as the thing you're trying to prevent.'"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Enable ping in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008

Working on a network with Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 is a pain when you just want to ping.  I'm sure there are swell reasons these operating systems have ping turned off, but I'm on a protected domain at work, and I'm not worried about a DOS attack or whatever MS is worried about.

Here is how you enable these operating systems to respond to a ping...

  1. Open a command prompt as an administrator.  Go to Start/Accessories/Command Prompt and right-click, selecting "run as administrator".
  2. At the command prompt, type (or paste) "netsh firewall set icmpsetting 8". 
  3. Hit enter.
  4. Read the bit scolding you about using a deprecatedcommand, then promptly ignore all that if the command returned "Ok."
  5. Enjoy pinging your machine.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Shift to Wealthier Clientele Puts Life Insurers in a Bind -

Shift to Wealthier Clientele Puts Life Insurers in a Bind -

As a country that prides itself on individual accomplishment and opportunity, we need to dismantle this tax shelter. All it does is reinforce our tragic income disparity.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cosmic Log - Alien planet looks 'just right' for life

Cosmic Log - Alien planet looks 'just right' for life

This is neato news, but when you read with any sort of critical eye, you have to see what a dork this astrophysicist Vogt is. He starts by saying there is a 100% chance the planet has life. That's just ridiculous. The planet has extremely unique properties that we've never examined before and a claim like that is just irresponsible.

Next, Vogt claims this planet, which does not rotate, so it has one side facing it's small sun, and one side pointing away, is "not too hot and not to cold, but just right for water to exist somewhere in liquid form." I'm no rocket scientist, but I would like to point out that any water on the hot side will automatically evaporate, and then migrate in gaseous form over to the cold side of the planet, where it will freeze hard and never be seen in liquid form again. He might want to think about the old, dinky ice cubes in his fridge, which got that way via sublimation, and how even water trapped in surface ice is going to migrate farther away from the sun and pile up high on the cold side, just like those dinky ice cubes disappear and the water migrates to the cooling element in his fridge.

Perhaps he visualizes a planet teeming with life that can live in solid ice, without the benefit of sunlight. Perhaps he detected lots of thermal vents on the ice side, ha.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Global CIO: Larry Ellison Swaps Cloud Rants For Cloud Love With Exalogic -- InformationWeek

Global CIO: Larry Ellison Swaps Cloud Rants For Cloud Love With Exalogic -- InformationWeek

I sympathize with Ellison. A web application is just not cloud computing. I think people get confused because the internet, in diagrams of yore, is depicted by a little picture of a cloud.

Cloud computing, in my mind, is building a computational task that can be distributed across multiple servers, with the precise number of servers changing in an elastic manner, as determined by the task load.

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says -

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says -

Interesting stats on religious knowledge among various faiths.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leonardo's Notebooks

Leonardo's Notebooks: "Vitruvius, the architect, says in his work on architecture that the measurements of the human body are distributed by Nature as follows: that is that 4 fingers make 1 palm and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit; 4 cubits make a man's height. And 4 cubits make one pace and 24 palms make a man; and these measures he used in his building. If you open your legs so much as to decrease your height 1/14 and spread and raise your arms till your middle fingers touch the level of the top of your head you must know that the centre of the outspread limbs will be in the navel and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle."

Now that's someone who knows how to observe. Thanks for changing the direction of the western world Leonardo!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gates ask billionaires to give away wealth

Buffett, Gates ask billionaires to give away wealth Reuters

Wow, this is pretty incredible. It's pretty obvious the capitalist system has serious flaws, all you need for proof is to look at the increasing disparity between the upper and lower economic strata, but perhaps, if rich people can do things like this, the world isn't a place where all that matters is money?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tom Coburn Knocks Fox News, Says Nancy Pelosi is a "Nice Person" - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Tom Coburn Knocks Fox News, Says Nancy Pelosi is a "Nice Person" - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Here is someone who disagrees with the current administration but also disagrees with the nutcases at Fox News. I applaud his courage for speaking out like this, and I'm sad that such behavior is unusual.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mozilla Stops Development of Firefox for Windows Mobile - PCWorld

Mozilla Stops Development of Firefox for Windows Mobile - PCWorld

Microsoft, I thought you were leaving this silly anti-competitive behavior behind you. All you're doing is strengthening your competition. This was truly a bad play.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This just in: Twitter still sucks

Puppy! - Joel on Software:

Thanks for all the great articles Joel, and thanks for this jem:

"Although I appreciate that many people find Twitter to be valuable, I find it a truly awful way to exchange thoughts and ideas. It creates a mentally stunted world in which the most complicated thought you can think is one sentence long. It’s a cacophony of people shouting their thoughts into the abyss without listening to what anyone else is saying. Logging on gives you a page full of little hand grenades: impossible-to-understand, context-free sentences that take five minutes of research to unravel and which then turn out to be stupid, irrelevant, or pertaining to the television series Battlestar Galactica. I would write an essay describing why Twitter gives me a headache and makes me fear for the future of humanity, but it doesn’t deserve more than 140 characters of explanation, and I’ve already spent 820."

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Frank Ahrens: Why it's so hard for Toyota to find out what's wrong -

Frank Ahrens: Why it's so hard for Toyota to find out what's wrong - "'It is well-known in our community that there is no scientific, firm way of actually completely verifying and validating software.'"

A lot of people don't know or understand this. Finding bugs is a statistical game, and the definition of "bug" changes with environmental conditions.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Chicxulub Impact Effects

Chicxulub Impact Effects

This website is pretty cool, it shows the effects on our planet of the asteroid stike that killed the dinosaurs.

You'll need to have Google Earth installed, along with a plugin, in order to see the maps, which are impressive. The asteroid was 7.45 miles wide and hit at 44,460 miles per hour, far in excess of the Mexican speed limit.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Good riddance to YOU - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Good riddance to YOU - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Even though I blog, I have to say I appreciate this guy's perspective quite a bit. There really is a lot of garbage out there, and what I generate is probably no exception.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

'Spygate' teenager demands webcam pix from Pa. school

'Spygate' teenager demands webcam pix from Pa. school

This guy, 16 year old Blake Robbins, and his supportive parents, are heroes in the battle for personal privacy.

His parents are heroes for letting him represent himself in front of the media, and he's a hero for not backing down to the over the top emotional display Lindy Matsko, his assistant vice principal, recently engaged in.

From Blake: "This case is not about Ms. Matsko or us.  It is about the decision of the Lower Marion School District to put cameras in our homes."

Video of Matsko:

Video of Blake's response:

Neither are great public speakers, but Blake is 16!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let me Google that for you

If you use to search for the text "Let me Google that for you," do you cause a vortex that makes the universe implode?

Let's find out! Click here*.

*Disclaimer: and it's affiliates are not responsible for unintentional merge with universal singularity. Also not responsible if, in that singularity, you experience the rest of eternity within the scalding husk of a robot in hell, or get bored sitting in heaven, an endless hall-of-mirrors ride where you are forced to listen to Roddy McDowall forever.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New England Journal of Medicine Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients -

New England Journal of Medicine Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients -
"Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients"

This is amazing and, I think, reinforces what I said about pattern matching and sentience a couple of posts ago.

It's also tragic and horrifying, being trapped in your own body all this time, aware but unable to communicate.

Reader, you have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Transparent, nanowire based touch screen

Sensitive enough to detect your breath? That's sensitive. (More)

And look, it's made in Portugal.

Pattern matching and sentience

We are pattern matching machines, like all creatures that hunt or evade. That's a big group. In fact, I can't think of a creature that doesn't engage in one of those two activities. Even a significant number of plants hunt or evade, and while those behaviors are simplistic and devoid of neural activity, they still involve pattern matching at the chemical level.

So, the activity is out there, and it's a major part of the business of being alive. We humans are exceptionally adept pattern matchers. We love the activity. When you look at stars and see the shapes of animals or Greek gods, you're engaged in pattern matching, and your appreciation of art and music are based on it as well.

As sentient creatures, we are isolated, having little or no contact with similarly gifted creatures as we poke about our planet and the surrounding area. Sure, there are gorillas that can use sign language and some other mammals may approach self awareness, but those cases are not clear cut. The isolation we therefore suffer makes it easy for us to distort our perception of ourselves until we think pattern matching is a sentient only behavior. We need to be mindful of this mistake, as it only strengthens the gulf we already feel between ourselves and the rest of nature, and reinforces our overall smug attitude as a species.

Monday, January 18, 2010

China, Freedom, and Google

When I see articles like this one about Google's potential decision to lift the censorship of search results in China, I get a feeling of real hope. It almost makes one believe all the dreams we bandied about during the goofy days when the internet was young and anything seemed possible.

What I really like is the idea that Chinese people are gathering at Google's offices in Beijing to demostrate support. That's fantastic!

Could it be that totalitarianism is actually impractical in an age of information?