Monday, September 22, 2008

Medical slang, courtesy of the NHS.

By no small coincidence, I begin my new job with the American Society of Clinical Oncology today. This BMJ article from 2003 is about how younger doctors were being told not to use medical slang in patient progress reports and treatment notes.

Love "cheerioma."

Medical slang at a glance

Assmosis: Promotion by "kissing ass"

Bash cash: Money paid for completing accident forms in emergency departments

Betty: Someone with diabetes

Cheerioma: Patient with a highly aggressive, malignant tumour

CLL: Chronic low life

Coffin dodger: Elderly patient

Departure lounge: Geriatric ward

Digging for worms: Varicose vein surgery

Flower sign: Fresh flowers at the bedside, implying that the patient has a supportive family

Freud squad: Psychiatrists

Gassers: Anaesthetists

GPO: Good for parts only

Guessing tube: Stethoscope

House red: Blood

LOBNH: Lights on but nobody home

Oligoneuronal: Of low intellect

Pest control: Term applied to psychiatrists by casualty officers

PFO: Pissed, fell over

PRATFO: Patient reassured and told to "go away"

Removal men: Department of care of elderly people

Rose cottage: Mortuary

Rule of five: If more than five orifices are obscured by plastic tubing, the patient's condition is deemed critical

Slashers: General surgeons

Treat 'n' street: Emergency department's term for quick patient turnaround

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oy vey.

This is about startups, but it strikes home:

Startup Disease 8: The Perfection Hallucination

All good product designers are perfectionists. The right kind of
graphic designer feels physically sick when the font is misaligned by
one pixel. The right kind of programmer will refactor the code even
when it’s working fine, because it’s just not right. However, if you
want to deliver a product of which you’re completely satisfied, then
perfection must be balanced with a good dose of pragmatism. Otherwise
you risk never launching your product at all.

This disease often hits later in the product development cycle, when
you’ve already built a startup that people have liked. The expectations
have been set, so you feel that every subsequent update must be perfect.


  • You plan to spend two months on a new feature before showing it to users.
  • Even though the basic functionality is there, you’re afraid that the new feature is going to fail if you release it now.
  • You’ve built a lot of new stuff recently, but none of it has been released to users because it’s not quite ready yet.


Users are more forgiving of progress in the wrong direction than of
a lack of progress. What you’ve built will never be perfect, but if
it’s close enough your users will tell you how to improve it. However,
they can only do that once they see the new changes and features.
Release early, release often. The only way to learn from your mistakes
is to accept that you will make them.

I hate it when people write about me. When they do it so openly. It doesn't matter that I'm not named, that the author doesn't know me and has never heard of me, and that I am not working on a startup. Somehow, they still do it.

Social networking and extraversion.

This article, while about how to use social networks for business, is also a guide to how to be extraverted online. What are the implications for Mensa, whose members supposedly identify themselves as introverts? Can Mensa join the social networking world?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

This may be one of the most brilliant adaptations ever.

World War II as played out in an MMORTS. Quit snickering and read it.

Awesome, AWESOME blogger on surveillance.

Here's just a tidbit from the beginning:

This clock got me thinking about what series of plausible events might
lead up to total surveillance. Unfortunately, such an exercise turned
out to be spooky because I quickly concluded that a total surveillance
society is not only possible but a certainty. It will happen through a
series of fairly quick small steps, it will be irreversible, and the
real shocker is that I suspect consumers will find it "irresistible!"

The comments are most excellent, too. Some commenters point out other aspects, while others talk about aggregate vs. individual data points.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Obama on science and research.

From a post by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomy guy, and so awesome. The following is a response given by Obama to one of a number of questions posed to both candidates by Science Debate 2008.

"Scientific and technological information is of growing importance to a range of issues. I believe such information must be expert and uncolored by ideology.

"I will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best- available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees."

I never, ever thought I would use the word "awesome" to describe Obama, to be honest. Sufficient things about him have me feeling uncertain. If he's this much behind scientific research, though, then that means the Enlightenment has him in its grip. Good.

Apparently McCain has yet to respond to the questions posed by the group.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Interesting Lacanian idea.

This is from Slavoj Zizek's faculty page at Ljubljana.

"Primarily the goal appears to be to demolish the coordinates of the liberal hegemony that permit excess and aberration insofar as it does not threaten the true coordinates. He suggests as well that the true coordinates are much better hidden than we realize. The production of cultural difference is to Zizek the production of the inoperative dream — a dream that recalls perhaps Orwell's 1984 or even Terry Gilliam's Brazil where a kind of generic pastoralism or a sexualized nature substitutes for authentic freedom — the flip side of this is film noir. Zizek has determined that late-modern capitalism has engendered a whole range of alternative seductions to keep the eye and brain off of the Real. The Real only exists as a fragment, fast receding on the horizon as fantasy and often phantasm intercede. These dreams and nightmares are systemic, structural neuroses, and they are part of the coordinates of the hegemonic. The hegemony — the prevailing set of coordinates — always seeks to 'take over' the Real, and, therefore, this contaminated Real must be periodically purged."

Someone I'm following on Twitter has started writing about film. This quote from Zizek reminded me of what that person was at least initially starting to address, i.e., how the dominant metaphor in a given film genre occludes the real issue, and how one finds that real issue.

YES, IT WAS ABOUT ZOMBIE FILMS. Aren't you in the least bit curious about why we have these horrors chasing our coeds?

Anyway, more about this as I mull it over.

Friday, September 05, 2008

House of Pancakes

A most excellent xkcd, as usual.

If I have to explain why I love this comic, especially this one strip, then please go read someone else's blog.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Purposeful retro.

Thinking about this. The linked article does not make sport of these women, which it easily could. It does a nice job of presenting their reasons for their choices and doesn't conclude with snark. Refreshing. Not sure I could do it myself, but I see the appeal.

Interesting that they're GenXers.

So much about their choices seems anathema to me; I'd feel as though I were giving up something essential in myself. I wonder how much of that would be the case, though. They each refer to "clearly defined roles" in their relationships. From what I can tell in reading articles about men that were written *by* men, it's not that men want to feel dominant so much as they want to feel important, consulted, and heard. Seems like that's too easily misread by women, and yes, I am a longtime misreader of it myself. Ick. Anyway, I don't think it's as simple as some people will dismiss it for being.

Trinidad has calypso, we've got YouTube.

Retweet: Conversation starter.

@robotchampion@sengseng the seven dwarfs and the seven sins are the best conversation starters (angel v devil)