lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Evolution Store: Natural History Collectibles for the Holidays?

evolution

Since the Evolution Store has become a favorite new place to screen shop, I’m dying to see the real deal in Soho. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for natural history curiosities. Your Articulated Sabertooth Cat Skeleton (Tarpit Finish) might be on aisle five, across from your usual assortment of homonids. Perhaps pick up a Cerebrospinal Fluid Circulation model to bone up on your reanimation techniques? or for the liberal arts major in your family, his or her very own Yorick to soliloquize with?

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Cyberchondria

Cyberchondria, the practice of leaping to dire conclusions while researching health matters online, is the subject of a recent study proviled in the New York Times’ Microsoft Examines Causes of ‘Cyberchondria’. Markoff elegantly sums it up thus:

If that headache plaguing you this morning led you first to a Web search and then to the conclusion that you must have a brain tumor, you may instead be suffering from cyberchondria.

Sites like WebMD contain the standard disclaimers one might expect. I gave the symptom checker a quick test drive and could see how easy it would be for someone to reach dire conclusions in the absence of information on likelihood of risks.

Consider the following scenario input at the Mayo Clinic’s symptom checker

Input under “Sore Throat – Adult” with (1) chills (2) cough (3) Difficult or painful swallowing and (4) raspy breathing yielded Epiglottitis as the first result:

Epiglottitis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis — a small cartilage “lid” that covers your windpipe — swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs.

Gee, I can’t imagine how I’d leap to dire conclusions from reading that. A fundamental assumption of the internet is that more information is a good thing. Here’s an instance where it’s not necessarily true. Less clear is what would solve this issue – less information or more.

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DNA Art

Josh Spear lays the Genepak x DNA-11 on us, artwork based on your own DNA from DNA-11.

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TED Conference – Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor’s brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness …

Fascinating…. see embedded below or click here.

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