Friday Four

Friday, October 16, 2015

1. I have been carrying around Little Man -- his blanket draped over my shoulder -- for over two years, now. But, suddenly, I am not to be trusted with his blanket. "Mine!" He shouts, and yanks it away so he can hold it himself, apparently oblivious to who is holding him.

On somewhat related note, I am looking forward to my first night of uninterrupted sleep in over four years during an upcoming trip. I'll fly out ahead of my family's house hunting trip for a professional conference. Thank you, wife and in-laws for the birthday presents! (I have, for a few years, joked about getting a full night's sleep as a gift. Watch me stay awake, wondering how the kids are...)

2. I had heard about a physician performing his own appendectomy in the Antarctic before, but had never read a detailed account. This one even has pictures. The one with the coffee cup in it makes me chuckle.

3. Lord, no, this isn't going to "kill" FedEx, but I do like the idea of Uber Rush:

If a restaurant is swamped with delivery orders during the lunch hour, it can sign on to the Uber Rush merchant platform and summon a courier to its doorstep to deliver the orders for it. If a small boutique wants to add same-day delivery for its clothing or books, it can add it as a delivery option (against the slower standard choices).

Where Uber becomes most efficient, and most like FedEx or UPS, is in its ability to pick up multiple packages from multiple businesses.
The usual Uber app will also allow its users to do such things as have a forgotten rain coat retrieved from one location to another.

4. Computation may solve a common diagnostic problem, inexperience. This obtains, at least, for up to 3,000 genetic disorders:
A group of researchers at Oxford University would, though, like to make dysmorphology work better. They want to bring it into the 21st-century world of face-recognition technology, and thus extend its range. Christoffer Nellaker and Andrew Zisserman began from three premises. First, of the 6,000 known developmental disorders, about half express themselves, in part, in the face. Second, most are so rare that a doctor is unlikely to come across any given one of them during his career, so he will have no chance to learn how to recognise them. Third, they are nevertheless, in aggregate, common enough that distinguishing them is important.
This diagnostic aid could spare many parents of special needs children the anxiety of not knowing what is wrong with their child, and make them better able to help much more quickly.

-- CAV


John Shepard said...

Hi Gus. I'm still regularly reading your daily posts. Really enjoy the mix: the cute stories about your life raising young children and your thoughtful comments on things political and cultural.

A few months ago I read a post by Jean Moroney that just might help to ensure that you do actually get a full night of uninterrupted sleep during your upcoming trip. Although I haven't used it exactly as she does, or as suggested, I have tried something related, after having read her article. When I lie down to sleep but cannot relax, I slowly and consciously move my eyes left and right a few times, with my eyes closed, and sure enough I can immediately relax. (If I can't, I keep moving my eyes left and right, eyelids shut.) I can still choose to think about things more, worry, etc. (by stopping the eye movement) if I want to (and I may have to repeat the exercise), but I realize that it's really up to me: Do I want to go to sleep or do I just want to lay there for awhile mulling something over.

She speculates, introspectively, as to why it works and I think she's right. Moving one's eyes is like trying to observe something now (in perception), following it with one's eyes, and that shuts down thinking or subconscious activity. One cannot do two things at once, track something perceptually that is moving and think, and the purposeful eye movements simulate the effort to track a moving object.

Here's her original article. This may make more sense if you read what she says:

"The Eye Movement Technique" (May 5, 2015):

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the kind words and the advice.

I recall reading the post you bring up, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.