Saturday, October 21, 2006

Anglospherics and "medical refugees"

In times past I've researched getting various things medical from various places not-near-me.

Things such as LASIK/Visex-Wavefront (the latter being really cool) for my eyes, dental work, and so on. I've always thought mostly in terms of getting the work done in what has uncharitably been labeled "fly-over country" -- the Midwest of the U.S.; I've also considered getting prescriptions from Canada.

It would not occur to me to get elective / cosmetic surgery done in South America, say; and the idea of getting some very annoying floaters taken care of in the Former Soviet Union by having my vitreous humor removed, ultrafiltered, and returned, as was once advertised, gives me a frisson of fear. Ditto, if a bit less so, for getting the floaters zapped with a YAG laser in China. One trouble is the fundamental long-term outcomes of the exact practices used. Another is the difficulty and cost of followup or having the original doctor or team handle complications, if any.

Comes now word from of news from the NEJM that India is thinking of creating a new form of visa "specifically for medical refugees" -- such as one man who reportedly got a cardiac surgical procedure that goes for $200k here in the states. It's said the procedure cost $6700 there. No word on the ancillary transport, lodging and opportunity costs, but it's implied that he didn't have to sell his house. And it would appear it was a full-on standard procedure with adequate aftercare.

Expect more of this sort of thing, even if travel gets harder and harder. It might drive prices up in India.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

All our Bayesian are belong to them

This just forwarded from a friend (emphasis and added link(s) mine)... ...and no, he doesn't work for Google. I ...think... that this is just a coincidence...

Apparently, I offend their chief.

No, I'm not including the probably-a- poison-pill GIF that was attached.

What coder or designer among us doesn't thrill to recognize eternal verities such as:

"you want your boss told you support in your own code."

We've ALL been there, haven't we? I know that *I* always wanted my boss told me support in *my* own code.

Did I ever get? NO! I had no. I had to move every zig! For great justice.

The appended Bayesian word-salad evidently based on a stroll through the HeadFirst stuff made me laugh. I hope you get at least a smirk out of it, Kathy!

{Ed: "Kathy" here is Kathy Sierra, who blogs at "Creating Passionate Users"}


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: V____ W___ <nowayamigonnagivethisjerkafreelink@uh-uh.not>
Date: Oct 8, 2006 4:07 PM
Subject: you offend our chief

more complex. deep understanding of why someone struggles Design Patterns, you'll avoid science, and learning theory, to learn how those You'll easily counter with your
principles will help patterns look in Singleton isn't as simple as it sounds, how the Factory to learn how those You'll easily counter with your a design paddle pattern.
when to use them, how or on the real relationship (and impress cocktail party guests) be wrong (and what the embarrassment of thinking

that you can hold your to do instead). You want environment. In other support in your own code. Something more fun. used in the Java API
you have. You know
applications. You same problems. Singleton isn't as simple as it or on the real relationship them to work immediately.

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about inheritance might You want to learn the
better at solving software

Patterns--the lessons

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the patterns that with
own with your co-worker

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a book, you want your boss told you support in your own code. the latest research in
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you get to take

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sounds, how the Factory the next time you're matter--why to use them,

Head First Design Patterns them to work immediately. someone struggles somewhere in the world You want to learn the to use them (and when your boss told you
In a way that makes you
texts. If you've read a of the best practices
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brain in a way that sticks. , and how to exploit better at solving software of patterns with others the embarrassment of thinking
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Design Patterns, you'll avoid between Decorator, Facade You want to learn about design problems, and better want to see how

the embarrassment of thinking on your team. You're not

between Decorator, Facade of the best practices
environment. In other a design paddle pattern. , and how to exploit better at solving software
and experience of others, your time is too important
reinvent the wheel

brain in a way that sticks.

The problem is "The Problem Is..."

Quoth Dr Brin, recently:

The way to truly crush intolerance is the way parents deal with the hysterics of small children. By taking the small hammer-blows, absorbing the tantrum, firmly disallowing any larger harm, and wrapping the frenetic soul in an embrace of patient confidence.

"Calm down. The only way to attain freedom of action is if you learn not to hate."

I replied

In the abstract, you're right. But the parent-child presuppositions one needs to hold to believe this is the sure-fire strategy are vast. And human reactions being what they are, one person's "disallowing" is another person's overreaction / overreaching / warcrime.

Me, I'm only half-vast, and I suspect a sheaf of strategies is a better approach, though hedging the existential risks (as they eventually appear indisputable / too-clear-to-mistake) against one another might turn out to be impossible. Some say the world will end in ice, etc. If it gets too weird, maybe it's just Game Over for "us", whoever "us" is for you or me.

But I'm programmed, in a way similar to the general Western Civ orneriness you've pointed out, to be suspicious of anyone who says "the [P]roblem is..." where human nature and millions or billions of people are involved.

So, maybe, as I like to say,

"The problem is 'the problem is...'" :)

I.e., to circumscribe the situation quickly in order to name a fix quickly carries deep and frequently hidden risks.

But we're wired to want a Single Narrative. So it's always a tough call.

Thus the power of messy, quasi, hemisemidemicoalitions and sheaves of strategies. The hope is that a lot of "us" won't be very wrong for too long.

Somebody who used to post on the Extropy list used to have this sig, obviously influenced by you:

"I am not here to have an argument. I am here as part of a civilization. Sometimes I forget."


A few of the commenters on Winds of Change FREQUENTLY makes me forget. But that's their plan, and I've learned to adopt Dr Brin's suggested strategy with them. Smother them with parenting until they either grow up or ship out. Either one is OK with me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

QOTD: Reality and reliability

The reality and reliability of the human world rest primarily on the fact that we are surrounded by things more permanent than the activity by which they were produced, and potentially even more permanent than the lives of their authors.

--Hannah Arendt