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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

In which @BobbyGvegas gets blocked on Twitter

I just got blocked in the wake of an escalating exchange on Twitter.

Having been summarily blocked, her replies are now unavailable to me, or I'd have included them in the thread. You can look her up and see for yourself whether I went off on her "personal flaws" (you won't find anything) or that I was resorting to being a "bully" (neither will you find that).

Senior Research Analyst McCarthy came to my attention last June. See here.

Whatever. I'm not gonna respond in kind by blocking her.

New book on the radar:

Nice review over at Once I clear the 5 or 6 books still on my docket, I'll have to get this one and study it. This one looks to be more a critique of slop in the basic applied scientific method. Its relevance to the practice of medicine is tightly coupled, though.

PS: Don't forget, on deck, WinterTech 2018 in San Francisco.


Speaking of "bullies."

"Mine's Bigger..."

It'd be funny were it existentially not. My NSFW tweet.

Objects at rest, Newton told us, remain at rest until acted on by outside forces. Newton’s universe was governed by inertia and motion, a clockwork cosmos run by inviolable laws. Bodies put into motion streaked toward oblivion, until acted on by other forces that would make them stop their motion.

But living beings, Cannon realized, were not Newtonian abstractions. To make warm biology out of cold physics, organisms had to evolve their own laws to counter the inevitabilities of inertia and decay. In the long run, Cannon knew, we’ll all turn into objects at rest. The Red Queen will stop running and be hurtled away; the chilled penguin will eventually cool its heels to zero. The standing body will fall down, fall ill. Yet we keep saying, Look, it’s nothing, until we become nothing. It’s as if nature were built to defy the most natural of all laws: that all of us, in the end, will cool, die, diffuse, dissipate.

Yet maintenance defies measurement; it’s the glass pane that’s visible only when it cracks. In the several months of my father’s decline, hospitalization, and death, we recorded the values of hundreds of things in his body: potassium, temperature, breathing rate, creatinine, bicarbonate, chloride, the oxygen saturation of his blood, the output of his urine. What we didn’t measure—couldn’t measure—was how hard his body was working to bestill these values, how much “unnatural vigilance” was required to keep things steady, and how deeply his physiology must have collapsed when the numbers finally dipped into abnormalcy. We had, in short, no real measure of homeostatic resilience, of physiological reserve.

Look, I wanted to shout each day that I tended to my father in the hospital, it’s really something. These conserving, self-correcting, decay-resisting forces that contend invisibly within us—in our bodies, our cities, our planetary ecosystem, even—are the opposite of nothing. The hospitals that work, the ambulances that lift patients smoothly off the ground: we neglect the small revolutions that maintain these functions, but when things fall apart we are suddenly alert to the chasms left behind. If we could measure homeostatic stamina—if we could somehow capture and quantify resilience—we might find a way to conserve things worth keeping before they failed, or, for that matter, learn to break things that we wanted broken. It is easy to notice the kind of activity that drives change; stasis, on the other hand, requires a more vigilant reckoning...
From an eloquent, touching long-read at The New Yorker by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

More to come...

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