December 1, 2023

It gives me no pleasure to delete a feed that I have been following off and on for more than a decade now, but the logorrhea combined with intentional scandal-seeking behavior has become too much. Screen after awful screen of gotchas and callouts in a single post. Whatever for?

In nicer news: I took the train (Acela) from DC to Philadelphia this week, and you know what? It wasn’t half bad! It was, in fact, surprisingly good, from the boarding experience to the service (both rides had the happiest conductors I’ve seen anywhere). Now if only the DC-Boston line didn’t take twice as long and cost twice as much as flying.

November 30, 2023

Chris Arnade’s preface to his latest post, Walking Fuji:

I am going to torture you by over using the word experience because that’s what my father did to us on these trips. Whenever we were in the middle of something arduous, dangerous, or especially weird— which happened a lot on these trips— and expressed any annoyance, fear, or confusion, he’d gleefully remind us, “It’s an experience!”

My wife and I are his parents in this regards! Not sure if I should hope — or worry — that our own kids may end up like him.

November 29, 2023

Stop the presses! Actually, don’t stop — please keep them running — there will be a new edition of Poor Charlie’s Almanack out next week. My pre-order is in. (ᔥDaring Fireball)

The next 24 hours will test the boundaries of not speaking ill of the dead. So it goes…

The word of the day (and it’s 11:45pm where I am, so it is the Word of the Day) is fecosystem, courtesy of Doc Searls:

Click on that link, wait for that whole graphic to load, and look around. You won’t recognize most of the names in that vast data river delta, but all of them play parts in a fecosystem that relies entirely on absent personal privacy online.

Minority Report takes place in 2054, but 30 years is way too long for us to reach those levels of privacy invasion when we are already nearly there.

November 28, 2023

Quote of the morning:

My view is that any theory of what is wrong with American health care is true because American health care is wrong in every possible way.

Very true! This is from Alex Tabarrok’s review of what seems to be quite a misguided book about America’s handling of covid. I’ll take Tyler’s side of that debate.

Rest in peace, Charlie Munger. If you are… were… are a fan of Charlie’s and haven’t heard of Poor Charlie’s Almanack, may this post correct the error.

November 27, 2023

There is both a science and an art to medicine. The “art” part usually comes into play when we talk about bedside manner and the doctor-patient relationship, but recognizing and naming diseases — diagnosis — is also up there. José Luis Ricón wrote recently about a fairly discrete entity, Alzheimer’s disease, and how several different paths may lead to a similar phenotype. This is true for most diseases.

But take something like “cytokine release syndrome”, or “HLH”, or any other syndromic disease that is more of a suitcase phrase than anything, and that can present as a spectrum of symptoms. Different paths to different phenotypes, with only a sleigh of molecular storytelling to tie them together. Yet somehow it (mostly) works. It’s quite an art.

November 26, 2023

Without even knowing it, a doctor played the blankface roulette each time he applied for a passport. This year, he lost:

The Northern Virginia doctor was born in D.C. and given a U.S. birth certificate. At 61, he learned his citizenship was granted by mistake.

I have been dealing with the Lovecraftian horror that goes by the name USCIS for 15 years now, and this is not surprising in the least. Not everyone gets to have their story told by the WaPo, so good for the doctor for making it happen — like a true American! Give the man his citizenship.