June 18, 2009

wedding food

when nini and i got married at the brooklyn botanical gardens, we had some nice food, of which i remember eating some pate and a tiger shrimp.

here, nytimes readers sent in their wedding foods, some standard (deviled eggs), some banal (sparkling wine in cans), some exciting (whole roast pig), and some simply overthought: corn husk consumme with jalapeno spheres?

murder stats + database + internet = nytimes nyc homicide map

murder: new york city, accompanying nytimes story.

June 14, 2009

why i (don't) twitter

when twitter came to be, i had already been living away from nyc, where its dynamic updates would have been useful to keep up with friends moving about the city (much like the original dodgeball intended).

nonetheless, i liked twitter's simple interface, and most importantly, ability to access it using sms, at a time when my phone was just that, a phone.

so, i used it primarily as a notebook, keeping reminders and notes. my life and interests moved at a slower pace, and i recorded them elsewhere, in more detailed form.

now, my phone is more than a phone, and powers more sophisticated ways of keeping notes and reminders, which raises the question: why twitter?

doctors and the cost of health care

a nytimes editorial on the contribution of over testing and over treatment to the high costs of health care, similar to recent atul gawande's essay in the newyorker, which has become an unofficial ethnography on the subject, even referenced by obama.

what's omitted is that while costs scale with the number of tests and treatments performed without affecting outcomes on average, for some patients, the extra care translates into substantial benefits.

these patients comprise a small fraction of the overall population, but the benefits they reap should not be understated. likewise, in some cases, the extra tests and treatments are essential, playing important diagnostic and learning roles, particularly in academic medical centers, where patients may be referred to receive specialized care, and doctors are working in training.

one hopes that remedying the high costs associated with superfluous tests and treatments, doctors will remain free to make decisions in the best interests of individual patients, and not aggregate statistics.

June 11, 2009

the largest physician organization makes the biggest mistake of its history

the american medical association, whose self defined mission is to "to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health," has instead engaged in a long effort to do just the opposite, including its opposition of medicare in the 1960s. now it has started a lobbying campaign against a government proposal to expand health care coverage using a single payer system. story in nytimes.

health care is fundamentally about public risk sharing for the betterment of the care of the ill and those who may become ill. it is not about competition, choice, or market forces. the physicians for national health care program has been a long standing advocate of this view, and has developed a detailed proposal on how to achieve an efficient and effective (single payer) system.