Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another animal tale

Did you know that animals who help humans during conflict are eligible for medals? Here is the story of Simon of the Amethyst, the only cat to have been awarded a Dickin Medal. 

If you love cats, it is an interesting read, and there are lots of pictures. Great procrastination and good dinner party material, as well as being historically educational.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feel-good story

I love this story. I grew up as an Air-Force brat, so I have a real soft-spot for forces personnel, and it is nice to hear a happy story about them. I know they do a lot of good work throughout the world (as do our own armed forces) so it is great to see one such story end up in the media.

It also happens to be medically-related. So enjoy a happy story about the US navy, a jungle track, a woman doing charity work, and a witch-doctor

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My theory is . . .

Introducing TGWTBS Hypotheses!
The stupidity of a question asked in class (S) is directly proportional to the volume at which the student asks it (V).
I.e., S is directly proportional to V.

My second hypothesis:
My respect for the speaker (R) is directly proportional to their ability to maintain facial neutrality (N) upon hearing the aforementioned question, multiplied by the question's stupidity (S). Further calculations to the total of R can be modified by the BS factor (being able to answer intelligently and amusingly), and subtracted from by the T factor (time - stupid questions should not take up more time than strictly necessary).

I would write out the formulae, but . . . well, I think it just isn't worth it.

Now to get published . . .

Trials of the easily distracted

Today's tea of the day is Chocolate-vanilla, from the delightful Eumun-tea at the Eumundi markets. It is the cutest tea stall I have been to. (I'm not sponsored by any particular tea store, but am open to offers. . . ;) )

One fascinating thing that I have noticed about myself at medical school is how one week I can loathe a subject during a tutorial, and the next week the tutorial can inspire me to go on and read a lot about the subject and (briefly) consider a change in career plans. The difference? A good tutor or lecturer.
I often wonder about the level of influence on career choice that results directly from how well the junior doctor or medical student gets along with the consultants/senior doctors that they are working with in an area. From what I hear, it is substantial.
If I am so easily swayed by having a good lecture, imagine how keen I will be if I have a good rotation in a particular area. :)
Thankfully, no matter what area of medicine you work in, you tend to interact with the other areas, so you can maintain a secondary interest without having to work in that area, too. For instance, I am sure that psychiatrists have to be aware of certain types of pathology, radiology and other specialties, at least enough to have a good idea about them if they need to refer to another specialist. GPs have to know a little about everything. As cynical as people are about this concept, in a good doctor it should probably be true.
I can still be a psychiatrist with a side interest in forensic pathology, right? ;)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The least offensive church sign ever

Just to balance out the earlier post, I thought I would add this sign that I saw today. I really liked this one:

The first duty of love
is to listen.

Who could argue with that? 
Of course, what you choose to do AFTER you listen may be entirely a different matter, but I think that life would be a lot brighter if we all actually loved and listened. 

The finer hot beverages in life . . .

I must confess to an attraction to the finer things in life. I don't mean expensive shoes or fast cars (at least not at my current level of remuneration), but am talking about doing the simple things well.
For instance, I love my coffee, and I love buying the beans freshly roasted from the place where they were roasted and ground specifically for my Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. It isn't an expensive vice, but the taste makes the time involved worthwhile. There is also something calming about the routine of having the little pot bubbling away every morning.
Lately I have also been getting into teas. This isn't a particularly new trend for anybody, but it is lovely to have a pot of herbal tea infusing away on the counter for a couple of hours while you study (providing it isn't the kind that goes very, very bad after too long). I need to lay off the caffeine a little bit, and it is nice to have a delicious alternative.
Today we went to T2 and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I bought a packet of their Botanica tisana (which is a fruity herbal blend) and it is amazing - it even has chunks of dried fruit in it. I spotted a couple of sultanas hiding under some dried apple!
I'm also a big fan of real chai tea. I had no idea what I was missing until I went to a cafe that served it properly, and when I opened the teapot to have a peek, there was an incredible mixture of herbs and spices all floating loose in the pot. I now have some at home and haven't looked back. 
You don't need much - just a bag of loose tea of whatever kind makes your taste buds happy, and a little mesh ball for your cup, or if you are wanting more than a cup, a little teapot with an infuser will do. It doesn't take much, and is very much worthwhile. 
I don't normally like ordering tea when I go out, because I think that serving somebody a pot of tea with a teabag in it is equivalent to bringing them a cup of hot water and a sachet of International Roast when they order a coffee. Sure, I have teabags and instant decaf at home, but I'm not making it and serving it to a paying customer. 
Anyway, I guess the point of this post is to say that it is nice to spoil yourself on occasion (i.e. most days), and you can do so in little ways that won't cost the earth, but will bring a little more fun to everyday activities. No matter who you are, we all need to get better at smelling the roses when we can. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome to the 21st century

We respect women enough on paper to allow them to become politicians but still make the most disgusting and misogynistic comments on public television, and part of the audience still thinks it is funny. (However, I like to think that I hear jeering when others work out what he has said.)
This is a great demonstration of a narcissistic personality with a God complex trying to cover his own backside on air once he realises that he has crossed the line, and failing miserably. (For those of you not in Australia, this fellow is just back on air after having been recently taken off for "counseling" due to earlier sexist and inappropriate behaviour.)
I love the fact that one of the male presenters tries to pull him up on it - watch the narcissist's reaction to him and the other men on the panel afterwards. He does not apologise - he just attacks those who don't believe his flimsy defence. 
The saddest part is that he may well get away with it. The action of the network in allowing him to still be on air says more about their attitudes to gender equality than any amount of spin ever could.
*Warning: adult language

You know you are in medical school when . . .

. . . you "enjoy" the excitement and unpredictability of databases. For some reason, the IT designed by the school of medicine seems to be less mac-friendly than PC-friendly. I love my mac, and think of it as my fourth child, after my cats.  Anybody who snubs my fourth child makes me a little sad. ;)
I am old enough to remember when uni research was done AT the university, manually searching through journals. Thankfully I am young enough that we had internet databases to find what articles to look for in the first place. While being more predictable, I will trade a little of the dependence of hard paper for the luxury of researching while my butt sits on my couch at home, paying the price of the occasional trip to the study to utilise the house PC.
You know you are at med school when you are at a party and the words, "Ask The Girl, she is a medical student!" make you bolt for the nearest exit, because chances are that the disease will be something completely obscure that you haven't covered yet, and potentially something somebody will think they know something about because they once watched an episode of Today Tonight/House/60 minutes. 
I have updated my links. Some blogs I just wasn't reading any more, and some I have added because they are very new and interesting. 
You know you are in medical school when the exam questions on drugs make the pharmacists cry. Captain Atopic has the pleasure of being both a pharmacist and a medical student.
You know you are in medical school when you are distracted from an autopsy by the inherent creepiness of the wannabe-pathologist in the same room as you, and wish that the glass was between you and the other student instead of being between you and the deceased. The Voice of Reason has decided to reveal how the psychological pathology being demonstrated several seats away can be more scary than the physical pathology that is being studied in the autopsy right in front of you. Fava beans and chianti, anyone?