7 Quick Takes (1/6/12)

— 1 —

Tomorrow is Christmas in the Orthodox calendar and it looks like the British Heart Foundation people are aware of that fact and got me an early present!

Send this video around.  TV has given everyone some really terrible CPR training.

— 2 —

And speaking of useful and exciting science, check out this one-way tube, designed by Nikola Tesla (yes, that Tesla).

The little side spurs in Fig 1 redirect air or liquids back in the only direction of flow the tube permits.  (I have no idea what’s in the other figures).  I found Tesla’s design on the Make blog, which is highlighting a real-life version built using a 3D printer.

— 3 —

In statistical news, social scientists have not found any evidence of doctor assisted suicide launching us down a slippery slope.  The rates of people electing medically-assisted suicide has stayed flat in Oregon and the Netherlands (and in the Netherlands, there’s about 15 years worth of data).

These data aren’t a rebuttal to anyone who opposes doctor-assisted suicide for all people, but, if I’ve got any readers who were concerned the procedure would pressure the elderly to choose death rather than be a burden, how long would this trend need to last for you to consider it persuasive?


— 4 —

Here comes another TYWKIWDBI link.  I recently finished (and loved!) Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President. And, like the writer at TYWKIWDBI, I now find that Garfield is my favorite president.  He grew up very poor, but when he made it to college:

So vigorously did Garfield apply himself during his first year at the Eclectic that, by his second year, the school had promoted him from janitor to assistant professor. Along with the subjects he was taking as a student, he was given a full roster of classes to teach, including literature, mathematics, and ancient languages. He taught six classes, which were so popular that he was asked to add two more – one on penmanship and the other on Virgil.

TYWKIWDBI has highlighted many of the reasons I loved this book, so follow the link and consider getting it. I’ll just add that I had no idea that Alexander Graham Bell invented a metal detector for the purpose of trying to locate Guiteau’s bullet in Garfield’s body.

— 5 —

I’m not a hundred percent sure about the reliability of this source, and since they’re citing an article in translation, I can’t double check.  But, according to Israpundit, Talmudic study is increasingly popular in South Korea.  No one’s converting, there’s just an assumption that Jews study Talmud and also perform well academically, so maybe you can take a short cut around the covenant.

As a former New Yorker, I found this story particularly hilarious, because, in the city, a lot of non-Asian kids get enrolled in the Asian cram schools to try and get ready for their high school applications.  The grass is always greener, I guess.

— 6 —

This coming week, I’m very much looking forward to an all-tweed party at my house to welcome back the BBC’s Sherlock.  (The first season is streaming on Netflix, and it’s spectacular).  I’ll probably have a picture of me in my grandmother’s tweed suit next week, but, for now, you can enjoy the year’s best cosplay video below.

I don’t plan to have a sword taller than my entire body at the viewing party, but we’ll see if anyone turns up with a high-powered airgun.

— 7 —

Finally, what kinda has to be my favorite story of the week.  In Sweden, file sharing has been certified as a religion. According to the LA Times:

Swedish authorities have granted official religious status to the Church of Kopimism, which claims it considers CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) to be sacred symbols, and that information is holy and copying is a sacrament…

“The community of kopimi requires no formal membership,” he writes. “You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy.”

(For those who are unaware, kopimi is pronounced “copy me.”)

According to the Church of Kopimism website, church services consist of “kopyactings,” whereby the “kopimists” share information with each other through copying and remixing.

As gonzo moves to keep hackers a step ahead of the law goes, this doesn’t hold a candle to the decision of Sweden’s Pirate Party to move the Pirate Bay’s servers into the parliament, so they’d have immunity from most lawsuits.



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  • With regard to point 3, is that your true acceptance? In other words if you became aware of evidence of the Peter Singer’s article quoted by TYWKIWDBI relying on statistical mistakes or tricks and of the actual data supporting the slippery-slope story, would that make you reject legalized Euthanasia?

    • Brandon

      When Leah said

      These data aren’t a rebuttal to anyone who opposes doctor-assisted suicide for all people

      I think that made it pretty clear that this wasn’t the end of discussion on the matter. Perhaps you should read #3 over again if you’re under the impression that she thinks the entire argument hinges on a single study.

      • I don’t see the connection between the sentence you quoted and the conclusion you seem to draw from it.

        As far as I get it, Leah is in favor of legalized assisted suicide. The sentence you quoted acknowledges other reasons to oppose her position if the result she cites is true. It doesn’t tell us anything about other reasons to support her position if the result is false. There is no necessary symmetry here; the existence of other opposing reasons neither necessitates nor precludes the existence of other supporting reasons.

        Following your suggestion, I actually have carefully reread #3 several times. To the best of my understanding it is simply silent on the question I asked. It is, of course, quite possible that her support of assisted suicide doesn’t hinge on this result. But it is equally possible that it does. I’m not under any impression either way. I simply don’t know, which is why I asked in the first place.

  • Dear Mrs,

    To promote skepticism/critical thinking I wrote some questions for the Christian believer. Are you able to put the link to these questions at your blog.

    Thank you very much,

    Piet – Rotterdam – Netherlands.

    The original questions

    The translation

  • deiseach

    What concerned me about the situation in the Netherlands was not so much voluntary euthanasia (patients requesting their doctors to help them end their lives) as anecdotes that seemed to indicate some doctors were a bit too enthusiastic in interpreting the ‘good of their patients’.

    I know, anecdotes are not data, but I do remember one account where under anonymity, a doctor admitted to hastening the end of life for certain patients who had not requested it on the grounds – in one case, an elderly nun – that “her religion prevents her from asking me” and in another that if the person were competent, they would request it.

    Again, I don’t know how true these kinds of stories are, but that is the attitude that worries me: not so much that John and Jane Citizen will suddenly demand living wills and power to end their lives, but that hospitals and nursing homes will consider the drain on resources and under the aegis of compassion shuffle people off faster than nature.

    Stories like this one in the “Guardian” newspaper and reports in “Private Eye” magazine in England, where care workers or social workers in a home issued “Do not resuscitate” orders for a Down’s Syndrome teenager in care, without either the knowledge or consent of the family. Or questions that the Liverpool Care Pathway (a protocol for end-of-life management in hospitals) in some instances is misused , particularly when decisions are being made not by medical personnel but by “ethics officers” or hospital management.