Friday, January 15, 2010

So this happened

Sleep studies completed: 0

Vasovagal episodes: 1 (Probably. A bit embarrassing, but it happens)

Emergency responders: 4 or 5 (I think. It was kind of like this)

Emergency vehicles: 3 (ambulance, police car, and fire truck - why?)

Tubes of "cherry goo" consumed in record time: 1 (yes, the EMT remarked about this and yes, I am strangely proud)

Tests: infinity plus one (chest x-ray, ekg, eeg, echo, countless blood tests, etc.)

Consulting physicians: 5* (ER, Telemetry, Neurologist, Cardiologist, Endocrinologist)

Finally saying enough is enough and checking myself out AMA: priceless

. . .

* I didn't wait for the endocrinologist, but I actually saw two cardiologists and I think more than one doc in the ER, so it was probably more than five total. Not to mention all the nurses, assistants, etc. It felt like overkill but I have to admit the quality of care was excellent.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

False sense of security

Superhacker Max Butler Pleads Guilty

When Max Butler was 25, curiosity led him to hack into Pentagon computers, where he promptly closed security holes he found, effectively making the network more secure. The Pentagon immediately hired Butler as their new head of network security. No wait, they actually put him in jail, where he met real criminals and taught them how to steal credit card numbers.

What have we learned from this story?
  1. Not only does our justice system fail to deter criminal activity, it actually creates more sophisticated criminals

  2. The Federal Government is not interested in improving security, only in prosecuting offenders (that they know about) long after the breach occurs
This is one of my biggest pet peeves: security by threat of prosecution. I would say this is the bureaucratic equivalent of closing the barn door after the horses have gone, but all they're really doing is scolding the horses.

Bad horse! See that barn door? I'm going to leave it wide open. Do not run through it again, or else!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

As governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has a proven track record of bringing about change swiftly. Which is great, so long as you agree with her changes.

From Bristol's Body, Sarah's Choice on
Palin made her position clear last fall, when she denounced and sought to reverse an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that upheld the rights of teenage girls. "It is outrageous that a minor girl can get an abortion without parental consent," said the governor.
The court affirmed that minors often needed guidance, that parents were entitled to provide that guidance, and that states could facilitate this role by notifying parents whose daughters sought abortions. But the law in question, the Alaska Parental Consent Act, went further.
The justices concluded that the law "allows parents to refuse to consent not only where their judgment is better informed and considered than that of their daughter, but also where it is colored by personal religious belief, whim, or even hostility to her best interests."
[Palin] says Bristol will "realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child."
Palin claims the decision was Bristol's. But had Bristol faced the same predicament a year ago, and had she chosen not to bear the child, her mother would have demanded the right to force that result. As governor, Palin fought for this authority. Two weeks after the Alaska court's 3-2 ruling against her, she replaced one of the justices in the majority. She called for a state constitutional amendment to reverse the ruling. This year, with the court stacked in her favor, she endorsed a bill that would send the court an even tougher parental consent law. She even proposed a special session to pass the bill.
Watch the video of Palin answering abortion questions during a 2006 gubernatorial debate. "If your daughter were pregnant … what would be your reaction and advice?" asks a reporter. "I would choose life," she answers, smiling. The reporter persists: What if your daughter had been raped? "Again, I would choose life," she replies. Not she would choose. I would choose.
John McCain is no different. Eight years ago, after initially saying that his daughter, in the event of pregnancy, would make her own decision with parental counsel, McCain corrected himself. It would be "a family decision, not her decision," he told reporters. "Cindy and I will make that decision."
McCain and Palin want more justices like Samuel Alito, who voted to uphold a law requiring women to notify their husbands before getting abortions. In fact, they want a constitutional amendment to ban nearly all abortions.

The idea of letting minors, even maturing ones, make abortion decisions may sound radical. But that's how autonomy for blacks and women used to sound, too. It's hard to recognize the injustices of your own era. One reason to try is that paternalists may have targeted people like you in the past. The other reason is that if you don't speak up, they'll come for you again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How do you say "Unintentional Comedy" in Chinese?

Everything about this story is oddly hilarious to me. I mean, you
know, except for the dead people.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stating the obvious in 4200 words or less

At least, it seems obvious to me. But still an interesting read.

Where are they?
Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing.
Such a discovery would be of tremendous scientific significance. What could be more fascinating than discovering life that had evolved entirely independently of life here on Earth? Many people would also find it heartening to learn that we are not entirely alone in this vast, cold cosmos.

But I hope that our Mars probes discover nothing. It would be good news if we find Mars to be sterile. Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my spirit.

Conversely, if we discovered traces of some simple, extinct life-form--some bacteria, some algae--it would be bad news. If we found fossils of something more advanced, perhaps something that looked like the remnants of a trilobite or even the skeleton of a small mammal, it would be very bad news. The more complex the life-form we found, the more depressing the news would be. I would find it interesting, certainly--but a bad omen for the future of the human race.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Define genius

Trying to Design a Truly Entertaining Game Can Defeat Even a Certified Genius
Ted Castronova, a social scientist and professor at Indiana University, made a name for himself studying the economies of online games, going so far as to calculate the exchange rate between US dollars and EverQuest platinum. But he wanted to do more than study virtual worlds - he wanted to create one. So in 2006, armed with a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant, Castronova and a team of grad students got to work designing Arden: The World of William Shakespeare. The aim was to have players explore an Elizabethan environment, interact with characters from the Bard's plays, or just go to a tavern and wager a few farthings on card games like One-and-Thirty.

The game was released last fall - to little fanfare. It seems something was rotten in the state of Arden.

"It's no fun," Castronova says ruefully. "We failed to design a gripping experience."
Really? It took a purported genius and $250,000 to figure out that a game called "The World of William Shakespeare" might not be a smash hit?

Shouldn't these grants come with a stipulation that if you use the money to prove that you are in fact not a genius, you have to give it back?

KingHenryMMV: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
LilRomeo69: Shakespeare is teh suck. U R all gei