Category Archives: Caught my Interest

Physician, heal thyself

I thought this was an interesting read: a fairly straightforward-sounding Q&A session with five doctors about (among other things) the state of their profession.

The health-care debate is something I know very, very little about, so I generally refrain from commenting. (And don’t worry, that’s not what the article is really about, although one can’t get through the article without getting the strong impression that there’s a lot that’s horribly screwed up about our medical system.) But the doctors’ comments towards the very end of the article about the prospect of universal health care caught my interest, because they echo what a doctor friend of ours has mentioned once or twice: that a very great deal of money and interest in the current American system is focused on helping people with extremely serious health problems of the sort that other health-care systems might (reasonably?) write off as terminal. That’s great if you’ve got such a problem and have access to good insurance; I know of more than one person in my circle of family and friends whose life has been literally saved by this system, no doubt at hugely disproportionate cost to the health-care/insurance system as a whole. But is that the best way to do things from the perspective of broader society? Probably not, but who knows? I sure don’t, so I’ll just stop talking for now.

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House of horror

Got a few minutes to spare? This online tale is absolutely brilliant, both in concept and execution. It’s the sort of idea I really wish I’d thought of first. Read through the emails, then be sure to go through the “updates” page, following the links and reading everything.
Kudos to the writer(s) behind this project. It reminds me on several different levels of Mark Danielewski’s amazing novel House of Leaves, which also features both a creepy house and a wonderfully Nabakovian playfulness with regards to narrative and medium. (That last sentence sounded kinda pretentious. My apologies.)

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Read between the lines of this story. If that’s not a perfect setup for the creation of a supervillain (mad scientist flouts safety in his ambition for fame, something goes Horribly Wrong!), I don’t know what is. We’ve got an “accident” with a laser, the disappearance of classified nuclear materials, and a frantic shutdown of the facility.
I’m just saying, when Dr. Nucleo makes national news next week demanding ransom money or he’ll destroy California with his Class 4 Laser, you heard it here first.

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Color me biased

I thought this was a thought-provoking essay on the general topic of our biases and how we should go about choosing them. Lots of interesting ideas in there, but what particularly struck me was the idea that since we all apply biases to our understanding and relaying of information, we ought to be able to clearly identify the ultimate goal towards which that bias is working.
The essay does talk about Abu Ghraib and related issues, though, so if (like me) you suspect your head might explode if you read one more take on that, approach with caution.

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Fairly free

Interesting post about the different ways Europeans and Americans approach the concepts of freedom and fairness.
As a not-terribly-related side note, I’m pretty sure the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” pre-dates the Spiderman movie, but I can’t hear that sentence these days without conjuring up the sound clip from said film.

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Literary theory redux

Here’s another good piece on literary theory, this one discussing how Marxism (among other systems) is falling from favor in some academic circles.
This article prompted me to bring up the topic of Marxist theory at lunch with Michele, and we had a great discussion. I wish I could transcribe it all for you, but here’s the Cliff Notes version:

Andy: Marxism is a failure, and is a worthless system with which to understand history or anything else.
Michele: Your first statement is pretty much true, but your second betrays a lack of understanding of what Marxist theory really is.

I should’ve known better than to discuss this with somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about. Anyway, interesting article.

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