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Monday, 2014 November 24, 09:59 — me!me!me!, medicine

hidden dragon

For years I’ve occasionally had a mysterious itch at my lowest left rib, nothing showing on the skin. Now it has spread rightward at the same altitude, making me think: could this be mild shingles?

Monday, 2009 September 7, 18:45 — medicine, politics

two links about medical policy

blogpost on medical licensing

surprisingly sane Atlantic article on the structure of the health biz

Wednesday, 2009 August 12, 15:21 — me!me!me!, medicine

I’m melting!

Without serious effort, I seem to have lost a tenth of my peak mass in three years. I think the main change is that I no longer eat rice most days.

Friday, 2009 May 1, 12:37 — me!me!me!, medicine

unexpected aspects of asymmetry

My left arm is very sore today, making me notice how many little things I habitually do with my ‘wrong’ hand. I wonder whether this says something about my brain.

They say women’s hemispheres are less specialized; maybe my partial ambidexterity, the weak dominance of my left eye, and the sparseness of my body hair are all related.

Sunday, 2008 November 16, 12:47 — economics, medicine

chaos and health

In a private forum, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:

I remember that one of my early epiphanies on the road to libertarianism came when I was reading about chaotic, scale-independent oscillations in heartbeat frequency. One might naively think that the healthier the heart, the more regular its beat – but actually the opposite is true. A healthy heart chaotically wanders around a setpoint, as a result of interactions of millions of locally coupled oscillators, the spontaneously spiking cells in the AV node. But as you press your heart harder and harder, as in heart failure, the chaotic rhythms are becoming simpler, until one last AV frequency remains, usually quite high, tachycardic, produced by an ever smaller set of cells. The next step may be fibrillation, or asystole, and death.

So, in our hearts health comes from chaos, the absence of a rhythm for every cell to dance by. Networked interactions can be made much more robust using multiple, locally interacting oscillators, rather than relying on a single one. The analogies to the society, the share of activities controlled by a single global decision-maker versus multiple local ones are in my mind crystal clear.

Friday, 2008 June 6, 12:00 — medicine, pets

what the cat did in the night-time

Whenever I get settled in my big chair, Pillow (the junior cat) is all over me; but when I’m in bed he almost never comes within reach. So I was surprised when, on waking in the night, I found him sitting on the bed, in the spot most convenient to my hand, waiting to be tickled.

Having spent the previous night in hospital (where many tests found no cause for my chest pain), I thought of Oscar.

Tuesday, 2008 March 4, 00:39 — medicine, neep-neep

how much is in there?

I reloaded MacOS, restored my home directory from backup, and was surprised to learn that I have 3e5 files. Most of the bulk is music, but that’s only 7e3 files. Is there a tool analogous to du that gives the number of files in each directory, rather than their aggregate size? —Later: When Apple Mail imported my Thunderbird archives, it made huge numbers of files, but I don’t know yet whether they’re enough to answer the question.

In other news, the medical jargon specimen of the week:

Infant is status post a negative rule out sepsis workup . . .

I guess that means sepsis was ruled out, rather than that it was not ruled out. The weird thing is that “rule out sepsis” is often listed as a diagnosis rather than a procedure.

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