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January 23, 2018

Maps of Hidden Geographies

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From Atlas Obscura:

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When Robert Szucs sat down to make maps that illustrated the forest cover of countries all over the world, he had a past success to live up to.

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In 2016 he had started selling his river maps on Etsy, and people seemed to like them — a lot.

Szucs studied geography with a focus on GIS, the tools used to analyze and visualize geographic data.

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In his spare time, he started tinkering with making maps, thinking that he could create a more exciting and beautiful representation of these data than he often saw.

He would spend days to weeks tinkering with the colors, the width of the lines, and the harmony of the whole picture. The results: detailed maps of vein-like rivers and river basins, dividing familiar countries into usually hidden geographies.

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Now he moves to a new country every few months.

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He sometimes makes customized maps — a huge elevation map for a documentary about horses, a river map close to 13 feet wide for a university building in Louisiana.

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But most people want to have their state or country mapped, to see, perhaps, a familiar place in a new way.

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From top down: Forest cover of the U.S.; River basins of the U.S.; River basins of Australia; River basins of South America; River basins of the Iberian Peninsula; Forest cover of Russia.

January 23, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: "Why Doctors Die Differently

Ekg brugada

Dr. Ken Murray's 2012 essay in the Wall Street Journal is well worth reading but in the event you can't be bothered I'll provide some excerpts below.

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It's not something that we like to talk about, but doctors die, too. What's unusual about them is not how  much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care that they could want. But they tend to go serenely and gently.

Doctors don't want to die any more than anyone else does. But they usually have talked about the limits of modern medicine with their families. They want to make sure that, when the time comes, no heroic measures are taken. During their last moments, they know, for instance, that they don't want someone breaking their ribs by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which is what happens when CPR is done right).

Why such a large gap between the decisions of doctors and patients? The case of CPR is instructive. A  study by Susan Diem and others of how CPR is portrayed on TV found that it was successful in 75% of the cases and that 67% of the TV patients went home. In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life.

Unlike previous eras, when doctors simply did what they thought was best, our system is now based on what patients choose. Physicians really try to honor their patients' wishes, but when patients ask "What would you do?," we often avoid answering. We don't want to impose our views on the vulnerable.

The result is that more people receive futile "lifesaving" care, and fewer people die at home than did, say, 60 years ago. Nursing professor Karen Kehl, in an article called "Moving Toward Peace: An Analysis of the Concept of a Good Death," ranked the attributes of a graceful death, among them: being comfortable and in control, having a sense of closure, making the most of relationships and having family involved in care. Hospitals today provide few of these qualities.

Written directives can give patients far more control over how their lives end. But while most of us accept that taxes are inescapable, death is a much harder pill to swallow, which keeps the vast majority of Americans from making proper arrangements.

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I will now add a bit to Dr. Murray's observations.

Allow me to translate the numbers above regarding CPR and its real-life results.

"A 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than a month."

Let's stop there for a sec.

In other words, the 92% of the 95,000 patients who did not survive more than a month survived for less than a month.

Most of those did not survive the initial episode of CPR. 

But of those who did, you can be certain that none of them ever left the hospital during that month.

In other words, even if CPR was successful in restoring spontaneous heartbeat and cardiac function sufficient to maintain perfusion and blood pressure for up to 30 days, that time was spent in ICUs hooked up to all manner of monitors, intubated, on a ventilator, and for the most part with little or no spontaneous brain activity and function.

Now let's move on to the 8% of the 95,000 who did survive longer than a month.

That's 7,600 people.

"Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life."

3% of 7,600 = 228 people — out of 95,000 who received CPR.

Everyone who's not a doctor thinks they're going to be one of the 228 — that's less than 1/4 of 1%.

Me, I don't like those odds one bit.

[The piece as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal was adapted from an article originally published on Zócalo Public Square]

January 23, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Warped Space Cup

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 11.28.10 AM

Use

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your

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 11.32.30 AM

illusion.

$17.55.

Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?

January 23, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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