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February 2, 2005

World Processor


An absolutely spectacular website.


Ingo Gunther, an artist and journalist, has fused interpretations of satellite data to freely distribute military and ecological information to the public, in projects like the amazing cartographic globes shown here.


Endless fascination.


I guarantee you the NSA and CIA are wondering how it is that some guy "sitting around in his pajamas," as Howell Raines might say, can produce work more penetrating and useful than all their high-priced, top-secretly-cleared analysts.



[via Eyebeam and Ishbadiddle]

February 2, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'A man with one sphygmomanometer always knows his blood pressure; a man with two is never sure'


Originally said of a guy with more than one watch or clock, it applies equally well to measuring anything: use one device, get a number, that's the result; use two devices, you'll almost always get two different numbers - sometimes varying by a lot - and then what do you do?

Who ya gonna believe - me, or your lying-eyes sphygmomanometer?

So let us explore for a moment home blood pressure measurement.

So-called "white coat hypertension" - the phenomenon whereby simply entering a doctor's office raises one's otherwise perfectly normal blood pressure to a level requiring treatment - is a real entity.

So what to do?

Obviously: take your blood pressure at home, where you're nice and relaxed.

But how can you be sure the numbers you get are valid?

Well, that's why you pay me the big bucks, isn't it?

I mean, if you didn't feel you were getting the best medical advice money can't buy you'd be outa here in a New York minute.

So I'm here to report that there is excellent - and for a change, relatively economical news - on the blood pressure front.

No $125,000 devices here today, no ma'am.

Rather, I present a most excellent, beautifully engineered wrist sphygmomanometer (top) from Panasonic ($60 list).

Their great engineers have taken the cumbersome apparatus used to measure blood pressure, shrunk it into a little box and made it easy to use by anyone who can push a button - that, to me, is wizardry.

You push the yellow button, the cuff squeezes your wrist and then deflates, showing your blood pressure in a nice, easy-to-read digital readout along with your heart rate.


It measures 2.5" x 2" x 1"; uses two AAA batteries.

It's model number EW3002W; Amazon sells it for $42.

But is it valid, the blood pressure you see?

Unequivocally, yes.

I took my little Panasonic into the OR last year and put it on the wrist of my patients, on the same arm on which I put my professional-grade anesthesia machine blood pressure cuff which, by the way, costs around $5,000 (that's for the cuff and the blood pressure machine, booboo; what, you thought the cuff alone was 5K? Hey, I know hospital charges are inflated, but that's a bit too rich).

As soon as the anesthesia machine value came up on my monitor screen, I pushed the little button on my Panasonic and then recorded both readings on a flow chart I'd created.

My conclusion after doing this informal study on six or seven patients was that the Panasonic is accurate, reliable and in fact better than the medical-grade equipment I use in two areas:

1) It's much easier to use: goes on in a couple seconds, as opposed to screwing around trying to get the blood pressure cuff and Velcro seal positioned just so, and then having to move the long rubber connecting tube to the anesthesia machine out of the way.

2) It's much faster: a reading from the Panasonic takes about 30 seconds from button push to obtaining a value; the anesthesia version takes 1-2 minutes, sometimes even longer.

I keep my little Panasonic in my fanny pack when I'm in the OR, 'cause you just never know when your monitor's gonna crash.

Panasonic's also recently come out with a more tricked-out version (below),


model number EW3032, with colored lights and all, for $80; same basic design.

I see where Oregon Scientific's gotten in the game as well with the device below ($80).


I can't speak to its quality or reliability.

However, I note that it measures 4" x 3.5" x 2", about twice the size of the Panasonic in every dimension.

That's a lot more bulk.

Especially if you use the device as I do at home, for playing around with biofeedback and seeing if by relaxing, I can lower lower my heart rate and blood pressure.

I sometimes lie comfortably in my best reading spot (below - indentation in red cushion is where my head goes)


with the Panasonic on my wrist and every now and then push the button to amuse myself.

Hey - everyone's got their own idea of fun, OK?

Live and let live, I say.

February 2, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sally and Ashley's Not-So-Excellent Adventure


Truly the most bizarre sports story of the year to date is what happened last Saturday night at Nashville's Allen Arena.

Co-owner and CEO Sally Anthony (left, above) of the ABA Nashville Rhythm attempted to fire her coach, Ashley McElhiney (looking at Anthony, above), during the third quarter of a game against the Kansas City Knights.

McElhiney, the first-ever female coach of a men's pro basketball team, continued to play former Vanderbilt star Matt Freije after Anthony instructed that he be benched.

The argument began during the third quarter and escalated until Anthony came down to the bench with the game in progress and started screaming at Coach McElhiney to put Freije - Vanderbilt's all-time leading scorer who had just been released by the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats - down on the pine.

The coach ignored Anthony's order and the owner/CEO had to be restrained by security guards, finally being forcibly taken off the floor.

McElhiney continued coaching and her team won, 110-109.

After the game, Anthony insisted McElhiney had been fired, even though she had continued to coach.

It turned out that Anthony shares ownership of the team with two other people, who haven't yet weighed in.

As a result, McElhiney's status remains unknown, even to her.

After the game, Anthony addressed the team and gave them 24 hours to decide whether they would side with her or the coach.

But there's more.

After the game, Anthony fell and hit her head: she was taken to the Vanderbilt University Hospital on Sunday morning.

She was asked about a 911 call related to the incident and said, "I was picked up last night. That's all I'm going to say about that."

Somewhere Marge Schott is smiling.

February 2, 2005 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cap Curver


"No curve, no cool!"

That's the slogan - catchy, what? - for this device, which offers a "foolproof way of maintaining your curve."

I've been looking for something that could do this for years.

Yes, it really is about time.

The Cap Curver ($4.99) has three settings so you can curve it just so, depending on your particular preference or mood.

"Great for storing, transporting, and washing your caps."

Keep it on your cap anytime you're not wearing it.

"Can be used in the top rack of the dishwasher while keeping the curve!"


What's not to like?

February 2, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kid Rock links to bookofjoe


Who would've thunk it?

But there's bookofjoe among the 14 links on Kid Rock's official website.

I'm right above Steven Seagal Show and under Detroit Bros. - fast company for this boy.


Kid Rock is hereby declared Official Rock Star of bookofjoe.

I'm lovin' it.

Ya think maybe I can get an "All Access" backstage pass if I ask nicely?


Sure hope so - that'd be fun.

Wait a minute - I've got an idea: who better to be on call as the Official Kid Rock Tour Anesthesiologist than moi?


I mean, you don't think he already has one, do you?

Me neither.


I'm stoked.

Better update my resume.

Oh, you don't think that's going to be the determining factor as to whether or not I'm offered the position.


Well, OK then, I'll leave the resume as it is.

Where was I?


Oh, yeah, Kid Rock's site.

It's got some cool features that I just might add to bookofjoe.

For example, this page devoted to his upcoming shows and performances and travels; might be just the thing for those joeheads who want - or need - a lot of advance notice before my World Tour comes to their town or city.


We'll come into your town,
We'll help you party down,
We're an American blog.

February 2, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Is it art or is it crap?


You decide.


Take the quiz - if you dare - and find out if you're a connoisseur or merely a poseur.


"Do you know your Dada from your MOMA?"

"Everyone has got their opinions, but they won't help you here!"


"For the purposes of this quiz, 'art' is something that has been exhibited as such by an artist."


Rather generous definition, I'd say, but we'll let it pass.

[via AW]

February 2, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Suction Digital Thermometer


I like it.

I've had a little analog one that's got the red stuff in it for some time, right outside my patio window: it drives me nuts, though, having to bend my neck and trying to see the red and the black ruled scale at the same time; even when I succeed, I then have to interpolate to arrive at the temperature, since the scale's only marked every 10°.

No more, once this cool little puppy arrives.

For $11.99, I can simply look and see.


What took 'em so long?

Taking it down to 1/10°F increments is probably more information than I want or need, not to mention that it undoubtedly exceeds the accuracy of the instrument: hey, this isn't NOAA.

But it's easy enough to look at it from far enough away that all I see are the big numbers I want.

Weatherproof, which is good, since it's gonna be right out there.

Button battery included, which is also good.

Measures from –4°F to +158°F.

That ought to cover things around here: I don't recall it ever being below 0° since I've lived in Charlottesville.

Nor has it been above 158°.

February 2, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What's your I[CT]Q?


The Educational Testing Service (ETS), the very same people who bring us the SAT, GRE, and other scourges of educational existence, has taken a page from Steve Jobs' book iPod Shuffle book.

Out of nowhere - not even whole cloth - they've created a need, and they know just how to fill it.

Now available, at a testing center near you - in fact, it was just released last week - is the new Information and Communications Technology Test (ICT).

Basically, it's to see if you can use a computer.

All tricked-out, no doubt, with the usual Type K questions and suchlike.

It's meant to be used, at least initially, by colleges, who are supposed to give the Web-based exam in classrooms or instruction labs, with students logging on with access codes purchased by their schools.

The test costs colleges $25 a student, discounted to $20 if they sign up during the first testing period, which ends March 31.

Teresa Egan, the project manager, said in a January 17 New York Times article that "the test is fun."

Tom Zeller, Jr., who wrote the story, then asked her if she'd taken it.

"What a cruel question," Egan responded.


Here's the story.

February 2, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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