The Corpus Callosum

Archives for February, 2009

Leonard Cohen Poem

In The New Yorker Poetry A Street by Leonard Cohen [...] I see the Ghost of Culture With numbers on his wrist Salute some new conclusion Which all of us have missed [...] The ghost of culture is so much wiser than us all.

Psychiatrists of old, never gave advice.  But here’s some advice: And never trust with your money anyone making a potential bonus. From Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan; HT: Automatic Earth. How bank bonuses let us all down By Nassim Nicholas Taleb Published: February 24 2009 19:53

Tainted Syringes in US

When Bush announced the Global and Perpetual War on Terror, and shifted funding away from environmental, worker, and consumer safety functions, I speculated that “the terrorists” would not have to do anything to kill us: our own corporations would do the job for them.  This has turned out to be the case,  many times, and…

Why Did God Create Israel In 1948?

Folks, please help me understand this: Why did God create Israel in 1948? He did so, not for the Jews’ sake primarily, but to vindicate His holy name. I guess you have to read the whole thing to get the full effect.  Well, maybe not.  None of it is any more rational than the passage…

Clinical Research and its Discontents

The NEJM has published a provocative article about the ethics of the globalization of clinical trials.  (The article is openly accessible.)  The big issue is this: clinical trials are very expensive.  It is cheaper to do them overseas, but this raises questions of scientific integrity, as well as questions of ethical integrity. Ethical and Scientific…

Behind the Scenes in the Drug War

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime brings us this cheerful news: VIENNA: The United Nations’ crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday. Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria…

Washington D.C. to Obama: Change Back!

This is a photo of an embarrassing misattribution.  It features a quote often misattributed to Charles Darwin:  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.  photo by Colin Purrington One peculiar irony of the 2008 Presidential campaign is that McCain’s theme…

Secret Evils of EMR

A minor controversy has erupted over the health care provisions that were slipped in to the economic stimulus bill without discussion.  It has provisions such that.. Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system…One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is…

SCHIP Sails Again

The new Congress and new Administration passed a law already.  It was barely notied by the media.  It is a reauthorization and expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  Given the expected resistance to major changes in health care, it was astonishingly easy for Congress and the President to get this done. Details…

More Economic Graphs

Wouldn’t you know it?  Right after I post a compilation of graphical representations of the winter of our  hardship, out come some more (HT: DeLong, CR).  The first shows the absolute number of job losses in this recession, compared to all other post-WWII recessions.  It looks bad. But, to put this in perspective, recall that…