Adventures in Cholecystectomy Land – Part 1

Probably more than you wanted to know, but ...I promised myself I would blog about this, and so I am:I went to the hospital on Friday for my pre-admission session, in preparation for gallbladder surgery – by an actual robot! – next Friday. Before surgery, they want to make sure you’re up to it, so they do blood tests, EKG, etc.I aced the tests. One of the nurses even told me she really liked having people like me, because so many of her patients were, you know, smokers and such, and had mul … [Read more...]

A Study in Conflict Between Island Cultures (Repost)

It doesn’t get much play in the publicly-available cultural anthropology literature, but there’s an island in the Pacific where an interesting conflict has played out over generations.The island, which has an untranslatable name – generally rendered in English as  “Ryeezahn” –  is occupied by two tribes, the Kritsi and the Syenz, which have been at war for generations, a war temporarily restrained in an uneasy peace.The root of the conflict, as visiting anthropologists have documented, is une … [Read more...]

Dear Mr. President

Oh man, I am so glad you won. Whew! Mitt Romney just scared the hell out of me. And Ryan a heartbeat away from the presidency? No way!I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but ... I’m going to toss one more serving up there.“ABCD by 2023” is an ambitious scientific research project I’d like to see Americans undertake. Briefly, it’s a 10-year Apollo-style project against four diseases: Alzheimer’s. Birth defects. Cancer. Diabetes.For the rest of it, I hope you’ll forgive me for pres … [Read more...]

How the Wind Does Blow

I don't know why this intrigues me so much, but there's a place online where you can see close-to-realtime maps of the actual WIND — Wind Map — in motion!Click to zoom, mouse-hover to see the wind speed at any point, and look at some of the past maps to see weird and wonderful patterns of the river of atmosphere flowing over and around us. … [Read more...]

Balls Out at the Speed of Sound

There are a lot of "stunts" I don't care much for. David Blaine standing for 72 hours in a chamber with Tesla-coil lightning ... well, he might as well have stood there for 72 hours with a coin taped to his forehead.When I was about 5 years old I decided I would stay up all night by myself, just to see what it was like. The answer is: Boring.Ditto for David Blaine. Yes, it's sort of impressive that someone can stand on their feet for 72 hours without a bathroom break. But it's the standing … [Read more...]

October Is Flexagon Month. Wait … What?

Flexagons: Fun. I first got to play with them back in the 60s. I always wanted a flexagon business card.  … [Read more...]


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