July 22, 2018

BehindTheMedspeak: Doctors appear to have perfected the bum's rush when it comes to seeing patients


Back in the day, when I was an intern in the ER at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Hospital in 1974-75, "Five minutes or five problems — whichever comes first," was our guideline when it came to cutting patients off and beginning the physical examination.

It's now down to 11 seconds.

From StudyFinds:


Ever feel like your doctor is in a rush to get you out the door when you come in for a visit?

You're not just imagining things.

A new study finds physicians give a patient an average of just 11 seconds to describe their issue before cutting them off.

Researchers from the University of Florida determined that for all the waiting we do after we arrive at a medical practitioner’s office, its the doctors who seem to have the least amount of patience.

The study showed that just a third of physicians give patients adequate time to explain why they're there.

"Our results suggest that we are far from achieving patient-centered care," said study co-author Naykky Singh Ospina, adding specialists proved to be in the biggest hurry, compared to primary care physicians.

Ospina, who led the research team, sought to examine the flow of conversation between clinicians and patients and, more importantly, see how viable it was for the most important person in the room — the patient — to lead the discussion.

Her researchers secured videos of consultations that were filmed in clinics across the U.S. as training sessions for physicians between 2008 and 2015.

The team specifically analyzed the first few minutes of 112 consultations, looking to find out how frequently doctors let the patients dictate the conversation through inquiries such as "Tell me what brings you in today," or "What can I do for you today?"

If patients were given the opportunity to set the agenda, the researchers then timed the responses to see how long they could speak before the doctor interrupted them.

The results showed that just 36% of doctors ask questions that allowed patients to set the agenda, but two-thirds (67%) of those patients were interrupted after responding.

Researchers calculated the doctors cut patients off 11 seconds on average into a response.

"If done respectfully and with the patient's best interest in mind, interruptions to the patient's discourse may clarify or focus the conversation, and thus benefit patients," said Ospina. "Yet, it seems rather unlikely that an interruption, even to clarify or focus, could be beneficial at the early stage in the encounter."

The results also showed that only 20% of specialists give patients the opportunity to describe their issue at the onset of a consultation.

Conversely, half of primary care physicians reviewed in the study inquired about a patient's agenda off the bat.

Ospina notes the importance of physicians of allowing people to discuss their concerns right away.

"Even in a specialty visit concerning a specific matter, it is invaluable to understand why patients think they are at the appointment and what specific concerns they have related to the condition or its management," she said.

As for the reasons behind being in such a hurry, the authors suggest that "burnout" that many doctors experience could prevent them from adequately serving their patients needs. Other factors include time constraints or simply not receiving strong enough training on how to communicate properly with patients.


The original study was published earlier this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

July 22, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"The Life of Mary Baker Eddy" — Willa Cather


This biography was the first book written by the young Willa Cather, who would go on to become one of America's most distinguished writers.

Cather was the ghostwriter of most of the book, whose first edition showed Georgine Milmine to be the author.


In fact, Milmine was a freelance reporter who originally brought some of the book's material to McClure's magazine, where it was first published in 14 installments between January 1907 and June 1908.

The biography was published in 1909 when Cather was 36 and Eddy was 88, the highly critical account being the first major examination of Eddy's life and work.

Eddy's followers did all they could to suppress the book's publication and, according to Wikipedia, "Christian Scientists reacted strongly to it; there were reports of Scientists buying all available copies and stealing it from libraries. The Christian Science church purchased the manuscript, and soon the book was out out print."

It's now back in print and a copy is en route to me: can't wait to read it.

You can too: $5.49 and up on Amazon.

July 22, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iron Man Jet Suit

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From the Evening Standard:


Selfridges is stocking an Iron Man jet suit for £340,000

The 3D-printed suit weighs 27kg (60 lbs.) and uses five kerosene-fueled micro gas turbines — two attached to each arm and one at the back — and is controlled by body movement. 

A world first, it was created by former desk-bound City worker Richard Browning, a real-life British version of Marvel's Tony Stark.

He drew an on-the-spot $650,000 investment from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who watched him take off last year.

In November he set a Guinness World Record flying at 32mph above a lake in Reading, but in theory the suit can go as fast as the human body can withstand, about 180 mph.

It uses four liters of fuel per minute.

Fan Tom Cruise will have training next month, said Mr. Browning, who is in talks with stunt coordinators for the James Bond film series and "Mission Impossible."

The inventor also says he has a "really exciting" collaboration with the military.

Now nine wealthy buyers can claim a custom-made version and full flight training from Selfridges.

A virtual reality version — using content captured on a real flight — is on offer for Londoners to test.

Bosse Myhr, menswear and technology director at the store, said: "The Jet Suit is the equivalent to the launch of the very first airplane. We are on the cusp of an era where aeronautical technology can finally be in the hands of the consumer and we are proud to be the first to offer this."

Mr. Browning, 39, worked for BP in Canary Wharf for 16 years.

When he began testing engines two years ago with help from a software engineer and volunteers, he initially saw the experiments — inspired by his engineer and inventor father — as a hobby.

Today he runs a multi-million-pound start-up, Gravity, from a former U.S. military site in Salisbury and is on a "mission to reimagine the future of manned flight." 

He said: "It started out as an  exploration alongside a day job. We realized we were headed in a direction that had already been thought about — the Iron Man character. Part of what people find fun is I'm not a formally trained engineer, but I've always loved taking things apart and creating things."

He said he had done a show in Spain where  movie star Cruise was a guest. "He loved the horsepower and speed."

The suit is in the SmartTech concession in the Technology Hall in Selfridges.


I must say I'm rather surprised Larry Page didn't buy this company as part of his quest for consumer-level air superiority.

£340,000 = $446,742.

[via my Crack®© Pittsburgh Correspondent]

July 22, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 21, 2018

The Snow Artist


From the Huffington Post:


Sonja Hinrichsen is a snow artist.

Her sprawling designs, made by walking in snowshoes, look like abstract crop circles.


She creates her works primarily in Colorado, as well as in New York and the French Alps.


They can take up to a few days to complete, with the help of 50 or 60 volunteers.


"Snow drawings started out of play, during an artist residency in the Colorado Rockies in the winter of 2009," said Hinrichsen. "I had brought snowshoes mainly so I could go hiking in the mountains, and not get stuck in waist-deep snow. However, there were these amazing stretches of pristine snow, no footprints, not even animal tracks, as the snow was so deep. So I started walking into them and making all kinds of little patterns. I didn't think of it as an art project at all, it was just for fun. At some point I took my camera with me to photograph the patterns — and that's when it became interesting."


"My environmental interventions are temporary," she noted. "They are there only until the snow melts or the next snow storm — in some cases, they even disappear due to snow drifts that simply fill in the tracks with fine snow. Sometimes they are there barely long enough for me to be able to photograph them... sometimes it feels like magic."


[via Reality Carnival]

July 21, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

10 Warning Signs That You're in a Lousy Barber Shop


[via the Wall Street Journal]

July 21, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My other car is not the new Limited-Edition Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder

At least, not in this world.

From Barron's:


According to Alessandro Farmeschi, CEO of Lamborghini Automobili U.S., the company will produce fewer than 300 of these naturally aspirated V10 rockets, which offer 640 horsepower from 5.2 liters of displacement.

"We want to keep it exclusive," Farmeschi said at a Silver Oak Cellars dinner last week. "It’s not good to flood the market."

The Huracán Performante Spyder features permanent all-wheel drive. It's priced at $308,859, compared to a standard Huracán Spyder for $262,000.

The Performante version adds 30 more horsepower and a zero to 62 mph speed of just 3.1 seconds. Top speed is just over 200 mph.

Lamborghini expects about half of its Performante sales to be Spyders in the U.S., with sales concentrated in warm states such as California and Florida. Customers wanting to take their cars to the track will pick the coupe.

The car isn't strictly a lightweight at 3,322 pounds, but the extensive use of carbon fiber means a weight reduction of 77 pounds over the original Huracán Spyder.

The Spyder doesn’t have "launch mode," which holds the car in place until the engine is up to speed. "It doesn't need it," Lamborghini’s representative said. Indeed, stomping on the gas pedal will launch the car so fast it feels like you left your stomach back at the starting point.

With Sport mode selected, the Pirelli tires (on 20-inch rims) dig in, the engine pops and crackles like shotgun blasts, and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic starts spooling through the gears.

There are cars more expensive and faster than this one, but none more exciting to drive.

What's impressive about the mid-engined Spyder is how well it stays on the road. Power in a straight line—the strength of muscle cars—is only half the battle. The Lamborghini always feels solidly planted, and corners with no noticeable body lean.

It's aided, Farmeschi explained, by active aerodynamics through its big carbon fiber rear wing. Opening and closing a flap will produce higher downforce on the inner wheel, which improves cornering and reduces the steering angle.

The downside of flat cornering is often a rough ride, but the Spyder didn't exhibit that trait, even on fairly rough pavement in northern California.

The Spyder's cabin is stylish. Access is easy through the big doors, but the car is so low (with just a few inches of ground clearance) that the driver drops into it.

The seats, otherwise comfortable and good at holding the driver in place, are up against the engine compartment and don't have much back adjustment for tall people. Storage is also at a premium, with only a small "frunk" in front.

Controls are quite cool, from the red safety latch over the start-stop button and the wheel-mounted drive-mode selector (Strada, Sport, Corsa) to the generous helpings of black suede trim held together with red stitching.

The drive modes are useful. Strada ("road") is for pottering around town, if that’s possible with such an extroverted sports car. Select Sport and the exhaust note deepens into a snarl, and the dual-clutch transmission snicks the car through the gears. Corsa ("race") is for the track, and best experienced with ear protectors. There are paddle shifters on the column, but the automatic is very competent.

The tiny but well-padded canvas top will open or fully close in 17 seconds, at speeds of up to 30 mph. The car feels snug with it up, but hardly isolated from the road.

Even without a roof, the car exhibited hardly any chassis flex, and creaks and groans were absent. The car has an infotainment system, but drivers will likely listen to the exhaust music instead.

The Spyder is not quite as "civilized" as the McLaren 720S recently sampled on the other coast. It's harder to imagine using this high-performance GT every day. This Lamborghini is no commuter vehicle.



Apply within.

Note: Ship delivery will cost you an additional $3,695; air shipment adds $9,695.

I'm thinking someone who'd buy one and then opt for having it brought over by sea has a disconnect somewhere.

What say you?





July 21, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2018

The New Academy Prize in Literature


Long story short: the Nobel Prize in Literature will not be awarded this year as a result of dark and sordid goings on behind the selection committee curtain.


An ad hoc Swedish group called The New Academy has decided to take things into its own hands and award a "People's Nobel."


Above and below, the nominees.

Voting is now open.

You can too!


As they used to say in Chicago back in the days of the Daley Machine, "Vote early and often."

July 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Don't worry, be happy

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"Artist's concept of the carbonized Earth 7.9 billion years from now, after the Sun has entered the red giant stage."

[via Wikipedia]

July 20, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mobile Surge Protector with 360° Rotating Outlets


Bonus: 2 USB ports along with blue and green LED indicator lights.

Wonderful tool, beautifully designed and enjoyable to use. 

The wall plug folds flat into the back of the device so you can easily put it your pocket or bag.

Is that a surge protector in your pocket...?

Never mind.

All curves and smoothness, and the ratchety clickity-click sound and feel of the rotating outlets as you find just the right orientation is reminiscent of that little wooden dog with wheels you used to pull behind you when you were about two years old.

Nothing wrong with a little nostalgia along with your electrical solutions.

From the website:



Features and Details:

• Green grounded light lets you know if the outlet you're using is grounded, blue light indicates that your device is properly protected

• Two USB outlets to charge smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, etc. with 5V and 10W total output

• Easy fold plug lays flat for travel convenience and no bulk in a backpack, briefcase or carry-on

• 360° rotating outlets for flexibility with giant plugs — insert the plug and turn to fit

• Advanced surge protection of 306 Joules and maximum spike current of 36000A

• 4.5" x 1.75" x 1.75"

• 6.08 oz.




July 20, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 19, 2018

When Francis Bacon met a Twitter bot called @youtubeartifact

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From The Verge:



"The bot uses my own variation on an old glitch art technique called 'datamoshing,' 


which basically generates a specific kind of h264 compression glitch which creates the smeared, pixelated, sometimes painterly artifacts you see in the output,"


said David Kraftsow, the artist behind @youtubeartifact.

July 19, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goth McDonald's

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It's on Delancey Street in New York City.

[via dave]

July 19, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: plastic + metal.

A third: moving parts.

July 19, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 18, 2018

BehindTheMedspeak: "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"


It's the dirty little secret of so-called "Evidence-Based Medicine" (EBM): half the evidence is wrong.

Worse: we don't know which half.


Read the 2005 paper that blew the medical establishment's mind and continues to rankle and vex.


Me, I love trouble, so you know it just tickles me to death to point this classic out to peeps who get on their high horses.

July 18, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"Look at Me" — Anita Brookner

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This wonderful novel, originally published in 1982, enchanted me from the first sentence.


Above and below,


the first






July 18, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Damascus Steel Bottle Opener

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From the website:


No stubborn bottle cap can resist the Böker hand-forged Damascus steel bottle opener.

Made from 300 layers of tank steel.

Weight: 0.9 oz.




July 18, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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