Sophont
Saturday, April 30, 2005
 
The Doctor Is In » EMR Blues
The Doctor Is In » EMR Blues: "This is a subject with which I have a more than a passing familiarity, having designed and developed an EMR software application for my practice over the past 12 years. Using an obscure but wonderful database application platform called 4th Dimension, I began in the early 1990’s to seek a solution for the repetitive mindlessness of dictating or hand-writing charts. Needless to say, a small project to create a database of chart notes and templates got wildly out of hand, and has now grown to well over 100,000 lines of code. Don’t try this at home, folks — at least if you want a life. I became so engrossed in this project that I even considered abandoning medicine and doing it full-time — a delusion which by God’s grace has since passed. But the logical-sequential perfectionistic obsessive-compulsive in me found a natural home in software development.


Now, apart from the huge black hole of time and effort in its development, my EMR is about as good as it gets. The software is designed specifically for the way I practice, right down to the dictation, data entry, templates and formatting style. I know exactly how it works; no training or familiarization necessary (my staff begs to differ, of course). I can — at least in theory — make it perform any task, exactly the way I want. And don’t get me wrong: it’s my baby, and I love it, and couldn’t get by without it. But it largely disproves many of the purported benefits of an EMR. So where’s the problem? What happened to Nirvana? Hmm, where to begin — here’s a few thorns in the flesh for starters:"

 
Tularemia Associated with a Hamster Bite
Brief Report: Tularemia Associated with a Hamster Bite
--- Colorado, 2004
: "In April 2004, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) was notified about a boy aged 3 years with diagnosed tularemia associated with a hamster bite. Tularemia has not been associated previously with pet hamsters. CDPHE conducted an investigation to determine whether other owners of hamsters were at risk. Clinicians and public health officials should be aware that pet hamsters are a potential source of tularemia.

During January 2--February 8, the boy was exposed to six hamsters that his family had purchased from a pet store in the Denver metropolitan area. Each hamster reportedly died from 'wet tail disease' (i.e., diarrhea) within 1 week of purchase. One hamster bit the child on the left ring finger shortly before it died. Seven days later, the child had fever, malaise, painful left axillary lymphadenopathy, and skin sloughing at the bite site. After treatment with amoxicillin clavulanate failed, the patient underwent excisional biopsy of a left axillary lymph node 49 days after symptom onset for persistent painful lymphadenopathy and intermittent fever. Tissue culture yielded a suspected Francisella tularensis isolate, which was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction and timed-release fluorescence at the CDPHE laboratory.

Although tularemia has been associated with hamster hunting in Russia (2), it has not been associated previously with pet hamsters in the United States.
(2) Munnich D, Lakatos M. Clinical, epidemiological, and therapeutical experience with human tularemia. Infection 1979;7:61--3.

jaynote: There's Russian Hamster Hunters?? they must be pretty busy since it takes a hundred to make a coat.

Monday, April 25, 2005
 
Good Morning America and Simon & Schuster screw over amputee teenager
GMA and Simon & Schuster Present The Story of My Life - A Powerful Platform with Paltry Compensation : " Last fall, Good Morning America and Simon & Schuster recruited America’s aspiring solipsists for a contest called “The Story of My Life.” Some 6,000 people submitted everything from UFO-abduction accounts to recipes. A panel of “celebrity authors”—including Mary Karr and James McBride—selected three finalists, who worked with ghostwriters on their entries. Then last Friday, Charles Gibson announced the grand-prize winner: Farah Ahmedi, a teenager from Afghanistan who—having lost a leg and most of her family there—fled with her mother and is now an Illinois high-school student. Viewers voted for her online, and she’ll get a fairly massive 175,000-copy first printing.

.... Because, unlike the winner of, say, America’s Next Top Model, Ahmedi doesn’t get a contract. The rules state that she holds no rights to the book and will not receive any royalties. She gets a flat $10,000 for what Fischer-Harbage predicts will be a book-club favorite and all-around blockbuster. That’s a fifth of what Fear Factor winners get for eating larvae."

 
'I wasn't teaching - my role was just one of crowd control. I felt useless'
The Observer: "Sylvia Thomas taught in many rough schools throughout the Seventies without ever needing to raise her voice to keep control.

....But then, last autumn, she returned to education as a supply teacher. She was so shocked by what she saw that she joined forces with the award-winning veteran documentary maker, Roger Graef, to expose it. 'Most people are talking about low-level disruption in schools but very few get to see it,' she said. 'In only two schools out of the 18 at which I taught was there anything even resembling the acceptable level of disruption a supply teacher would expect. Every other school I taught at reduced me to tears,' she added. 'I would be hoarse with shouting and desperate not to go back the next day.'

Thomas spent six months recording the chaos of classrooms in state schools across the country using hidden cameras without the knowledge of the schools, parents or students involved. The result, Classroom Chaos, will be shown on Channel Five on Wednesday. The channel will tell the schools they have appeared in the controversial programme the day after it is screened.

Graef, whose 1982 documentary, Police, transformed the way in which rape cases were investigated by capturing a complainant being bullied and intimidated by male officers on film, believes Classroom Chaos is one of the most powerful films he has made. 'There are very few programmes that really change things but this is one of the few that really could - and should,' he said.

'One of the most important things about Classroom Chaos is that the schools were chosen randomly by Thomas's supply teacher agencies, and most had been identified by Ofsted as being average or better than average.

'The situation was so constant that we can confidently say anti-social behaviour is an everyday reality in classrooms across Britain,' he added. 'It is an appaling situation and one which must not be allowed to continue: education is being strangled.'"

Saturday, April 23, 2005
 
SWAT Monkey
My Way News: "MESA, Ariz. (AP) - The Mesa Police Department is looking to add some primal instinct to its SWAT team. And to do that, it's looking to a monkey.

'Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it,' said Mesa Officer Sean Truelove, who builds and operates tactical robots for the suburban Phoenix SWAT team. 'It would change the way we do business.'

Truelove is spearheading the department's request to purchase and train a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. The department is seeking about $100,000 in federal grant money to put the idea to use in Mesa SWAT operations.

The monkey, which costs $15,000, is what Truelove envisions as the ultimate SWAT reconnaissance tool.

Since 1979, capuchin monkeys have been trained to be companions for people who are quadriplegics by performing daily tasks, such as serving food, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving objects and brushing hair.

Truelove hopes the same training could prepare a monkey for special-ops intelligence.

Weighing only 3 to 8 pounds with tiny humanlike hands and puzzle-solving skills, Truelove said it could unlock doors, search buildings and find suicide victims on command. Dressed in a Kevlar vest, video camera and two-way radio, the small monkey would be able to get into places no officer or robot could go.

It has been a little over a year since Truelove filed a grant proposal with the U.S. Department of Defense under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and he is still waiting for word.

If the grant goes through, Truelove plans on learning how to train the monkey himself and keeping the sociable monkey at home, just like a K-9 officer would. He projects that $85,000 in grant money would outfit the monkey with gear and pay for veterinarian care, food and habitat for three years."

Monday, April 18, 2005
 
Mad Max fans' convoy ends with arrests
HoustonChronicle.com: "Mad Max SAN ANTONIO  — Eleven 'Mad Max' fans were arrested after alarming motorists as they made their way to a movie marathon in a theatrical convoy in which they surrounded a tanker truck armed with fake machine guns.

As the group was headed to San Antonio from nearby Boerne Saturday morning, police received several calls from motorists who reported a 'militia' surrounding a tanker truck, a police report states.

Police charged nine people with obstruction of a highway and two others with possession of prohibited knives in addition to obstruction of a highway.

One of the organizers of the convoy, Chris Fenner, said the arrests were unfair. He said he didn't know why anyone would have confused the costumed crew recreating a scene from 'Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior' — set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland — with a real threat.

'I honestly don't know how that could be, because 'Road Warrior' was so over the top,' he said.

About 25 people participated in the convoy and more than twice that number were expected to attend the movie marathon, which was canceled after the arrests."

Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
Combine Solicitation
76 -- Comic Book: General Information

Document Type: Combine Solicitation
Solicitation Number: H92239-05-T-0026
Posted Date: Mar 28, 2005
Original Response Date: Apr 08, 2005
Current Response Date: Apr 12, 2005
Original Archive Date: Apr 23, 2005
Current Archive Date: Apr 23, 2005
Classification Code: 76 -- Books, maps & other publications
Set Aside: Total Small Business
Naics Code: 511120 -- Periodical Publishers
Contracting Office Address

Other Defense Agencies, U.S. Special Operations Command, USASOC, ATTN:E-2929, Fort Bragg, NC, 28310

1.1. BACKGROUND.     In order to achieve long-term peace and stability in the Middle East, the youth need to be reached.     One effective means of influencing youth is through the use of comic books.     A series of comic books provides the opportunity for youth to learn lessons, develop role models and improve their education.    

2.     Qualifications, Experience and Requirements.    

2.1.     Contractor must demonstrate qualifications and experience in design and production of four-color comic books.    

2.2.     Knowledge of Arab language and cultures, law enforcement and small unit military operations is desired.    

2.3.     The comic books will be produced in Arabic so the boxes will have to follow a sequence of right to left and top to bottom.     Although knowledge of Arabic is not required, the contractor must have the capability to incorporate Arabic text into the final product and also provide a copy with blank bubbles and void of all printed text ?sound effects.?

2.4.     The series will be based on the security forces, military and police, in the near future in the Middle East in cooperation with the Ministries of Interior of some of those countries.     The comic series will be subject to change based on initial focus group testing of a prototype comic.     If the subject matter for a specific comic does not do well in its intended focus group then it may be dropped and/or a new basis for the comic will be selected.     There may be opportunities for this series to continue and additional comic series to be developed next year based on feedback from the first series.          

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
 
Local Politician Unknowingly Funky, Freaky
FOXNews.com: "Rick James (search) is the name of both a Hattiesburg City Council candidate and the flamboyant singer of the 1981 hit 'Super Freak,' who died last August just as he was poised to make a comeback.

The self-described 'king of punk funk,' jailed later in his career for drug abuse and violence against women, is the subject of a recurring skit on the Comedy Central cable-TV hit 'Chappelle's Show,' in which host Dave Chappelle (search), dressed as the singer, acts bizarrely and randomly shouts out 'I'm Rick James, b*tch!'

According to the New York Post, people in Hattiesburg have been stealing 'Vote Rick James' signs at such a rate that the aspiring city councilman's wife has asked Comedy Central for compensation.

'We would appreciate a small campaign donation for more signs, as we are working-class people and financing this campaign out of our own pockets,' wrote Diane James to the cable channel. 'Each time a sign is stolen, it costs us $4.75!'

The Mississippi Rick James ran in 2003 for the state house but apparently had no trouble from sign-stealers then.

'Every time a 'Rick James' piece runs on your show, we stand to lose dozens of signs overnight, which end up decorating people's front yards and dorm rooms,' Diane James added, not specifying whether the relocated placards remained in the relevant electoral district.

Not only are the signs costing a bundle, says Mrs. Rick James, but there's a degree of public humiliation involved.

'Young children on bikes scream, 'I'm Rick James, b*tch!' as we drive by in our car with our 'Rick James' car signs,' she states. 'People even drive by our home and scream, 'Super Freak.''

According to the Post, Comedy Central has not yet responded to James' letter."

Friday, April 08, 2005
 
What are Amazon.com Statistically Improbable Phrases?
Amazon.com:: "Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases, or 'SIPs', show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book."

 
Nearly half of teachers have suffered from mental illness
Education: "By Richard Garner, Education Editor
23 March 2005

Nearly half of the country's secondary school teachers have suffered mental health problems due to worsening pupil behaviour, a survey has revealed.

The research, by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, on 300 secondary school teachers, showed that abuse at the hands of pupils had left 46 per cent taking antidepressants or facing long lay-offs from school through stress.

One teacher told researchers he had been assaulted 10 times during 18 years in the profession and had suffered two breakdowns. He said he had been on antidepressants for more than three years as a result.

The survey also revealed that 72 per cent of teachers had considered quitting their jobs because they were worn out by some pupils' persistent disruptive behaviour, such as threats, swearing, locking teachers out of classrooms, vandalising school property, letting down car tyres, stealing keys, throwing eggs at staff and spitting at them. One in seven (14 per cent) said they had suffered actually bodily harm from pupils.

However, in many of the cases, the school had turned a blind eye to abuse and failed to exclude the pupils involved.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the 160,000-strong union, will raise teachers' alarm over discipline with Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, when she addresses the ATL annual conference in Torquay today.

She said it was not enough to talk about 'zero tolerance' for disruptive behaviour as Ms Kelly had done. 'There needs to be a reflection about what zero tolerance means,' she added.

'It should mean much better support for teachers and more pupil referral units - 'sin-bins'. These youngsters have to go somewhere. What we can't do as a society is leave them to roam the streets.'

Yesterday the conference demanded a code of conduct to outline acceptable pupil behaviour and called for risk assessments to be prepared on all pupils with a history of aggression.

Doctor Bousted said: 'Teaching is a highly intensive, highly stressful job. Teachers need to understand there are forms of help available to them and when they are feeling stressed they need to know this is not something that's shameful and they should seek help.'

Meanwhile, delegates voted unanimously to urge the Government to abandon its plans to set up a network of 200 privately sponsored academies to replace struggling secondary schools in inner-city areas.

Phil Baker, from Swindon, claimed they were a 'Trojan Horse', pioneering the way for privatisation of the entire education system. He said many of the sponsors - who included top independent schools - had little experience of tackling pupil disruption. 'Top public schools could run them [the academies],'' he said. 'The only experience they've had of managing challenging behaviour is dealing with Hooray Henrys.'

Dr Bousted said many of the academies adopted a banding system - taking 20 per cent of its pupils from each of five different ability bands. 'In some areas the academies cover, 20 per cent of the most able is hoovering up the vast majority of able pupils in that area,' she said, adding that other schools suffered as a result."

jaynote: only half?

 
SUV vs Tree
Philip Greenspun's Weblog: : Note: The traffic accident was an interesting example of Mutually Assured Destruction via SUV.  The driver of a GMC SUV had lost control of his vehicle and spun it around, ending up by smashing into a tree. Because his vehicle was so ponderously bulky the impact had knocked the tree out of the ground.  Sadly, in a Coyote v. Road Runner-esque turn of events, the tree proceeded to fall on the SUV's roof.  In an effort to keep SUVs from rolling over there apparently isn't much structure up there.  So the entire roof of the SUV had been flattened by the tree.

Thursday, April 07, 2005
 
Foreclosure suit moves forward
UnionDemocrat.com: "A Copperopolis couple who lost their house in 2003 after failing to pay homeowners association dues will be in court tomorrow afternoon to face the Alameda man who bought it at a foreclosure sale.

If the parties involved and their attorneys do not settle their dispute at the Calaveras County Superior Court-mandated conference, they will head to trial May 12.

Retirees Thomas and Anita Radcliff made national news when the $289,000 home they'd built in Copper Cove subdivision was sold for $70,000 to an Alameda man because the Radcliffs failed to pay their $120 annual homeowner's assessment."

Sunday, April 03, 2005
 
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
CodeBlueBlog:...I've watched a steady stream of neurologists, bioethicists, and neurologist/bioethicists from Columbia, Cornell, and NYU interviewed all week on Fox and CNN and MSNBC. They all said about the same thing, that Terri's CT scan was "the worst they'd ever seen"or "as bad as they've ever seen."

Here's the problem with these experts: THEY DON'T INTERPRET CT SCANS OF THE BRAIN. RADIOLOGISTS DO.

....I have seen several neurologists -- in the printed media and on television -- put up a Representative CT of the brain of a normal 25 year old female and contrast this with Terri Schiavo's CT. This is a totally spurious comparison.
........What I'm saying is that Terri Schiavo's CT could be the brain of an eighty or ninety year old person who is not in a vegetative state. THOSE are the CT scans we should be showing next to Schiavo's, because in THAT case you would see similar atrophy and a brain much closer to Schiavo's.

..... To prove my point I am offering $100,000 on a $25,000 wager for ANY neurologist (and $125,000 for any neurologist/bioethicist) involved in Terri Schiavo's case--including all the neurologists reviewed on television and in the newspapers who can accurately single out PVS patients from functioning patients with better than 60% accuracy on CT scans.

I will provide 100 single cuts from 100 different patient's brain CT's. All the neurologist has to do is say which ones represent patients with PVS and which do not.

If the neurologist can be right 6 out of 10 times he wins the $100,000.

I Said What I Meant, And I Meant What I Said
My points are what I first said about the image from Terri Schiavo's CT scan:

1) It is NOT as bad as the neurologists and bioethicists play it up to be; and,

2) There are many elderly patients with various levels of mental functioning who have severe atrophy that is difficult to distinguish from Terri Schiavo's atrophy

I stand by what I said. And I'm putting my money where my mouth is."

Saturday, April 02, 2005
 
Ultracolour Software
www.colour-affects.co.uk: "The concept of UltraColour is the pairing of the physics of colour with the psychology of colour to produce a consistently reproducible psychological response in the vast majority of people.

The UltraColour software integrates two new factors: first the most recent work in colour physics by the Colour & Imaging Institute at the University of Derby, notably in the mathematical correlation between colours, which demonstrates that objective colour harmony is a reality; second a theory of colour psychology that identifies links between patterns of colour and patterns of human behaviour, developed by colour psychologist Angela Wright and tested empirically since 1985.

With UltraColour, it becomes possible for anyone to put colours together with confidence, without necessarily having any training or experience in colour theory or the physics of light. The software will enable them to achieve objective and consistent colour harmony and the desired psychological impact, whatever their design objectives.

Overview
The program, developed jointly by the Colour & Imaging Institute at the University of Derby and Angela Wright, uniquely blends colour physics and psychology, constituting a breakthrough in colour science on several fronts; it benefits anyone using colour for any purpose.

This working computer system comprises:

1. A means of producing colour palettes that will consistently communicate an intended message and evoke a desired behavioural response.

A means of reliably producing harmonious colour palettes.

A means of producing secondary palettes to reinforce a message already established in a primary palette, or to promote a particular behaviour within the desired response.

A means of displaying colours truthfully on different monitors or media.

It should be noted that the UltraColour system is not a colour defining system, or a colour matching system; rather it works with all colour systems to enable anyone to put together powerfully effective palettes from within the colour system they are already using. It works with any colour system, is independent of ambience and works across all media. Colour choices need no longer be guesswork."

 
Singleton uses freedom of information laws to find a man in uniform
DeHavilland: 19/03/2005

A Hampshire woman has used new freedom of information laws to try and find herself an unattached man in uniform, the Guardian reports.

Angela Wright e-mailed her local police headquarters in Winchester, asking for details of 'eligible bachelors within the Hampshire constabulary between the ages of 35 and 49 and details of their email addresses, salary details and pension values'.

Ms Wright even made her request for information under the pseudonym 'ilikemeninuniform', in accordance with laws that permit people to preserve their anonymity when making freedom of information requests.

The singleton says she made the request because she wanted to 'amuse' the police (freedom of information) team and was curious to see what response she would get.

Sadly, Ms Wright's bizarre hunt for a man in uniform ended in failure.

Police were happy to confirm that there are 266 eligible bachelors within the Hampshire constabulary, of whom 201 are in uniform.

But officials said they could not reveal their names and addresses, as such information is personal and exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

'I was amazed that I was told that the information could not be practically released,' said Ms Wright.

© 1998-2004 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights reserved."

 
List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm
The New York Times: "The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

'These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri,' says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "


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