Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Early Detection of Breast Cancer by Mammography Screening

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Isn’t it high time this kind of program is stopped?

Source Harding Center for Health Literacy

America

Friday, September 28th, 2018

America today is typically no longer the dream place it once was.

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Great Twitter thread by Anton Troynikov (@atroyn)

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union:

  • waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it’s of poor workmanship and quality
  • promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out
  • living five adults to a two room apartment
  • being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you
  • ‘totally not illegal taxi’ taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet
  • everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex
  • mandatory workplace political education
  • productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites
  • deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences
  • networked computers exist but they’re really bad
  • Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason
  • elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges
  • failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs
  • otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it’s the only way to get ahead
  • the plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work
  • the United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default
  • the currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless
  • the economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users

Welcome to America

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

To Try List

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Two sketchnotes by Dani DiPirro (@positivepresent).

Planet or Plastic?

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Entrepreneurship is not a job

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

A true must read by Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog


Entrepreneurship is not a job


You don’t apply. You don’t get a salary. No one picks you.


Bragging about how much money you’ve raised or what your valuation is a form of job thinking.


Entrepreneurship is a chance to trade a solution to someone who has a problem that needs solving.


Solve more problems, solve bigger problems, solve problems more widely and you’re an entrepreneur.


It’s tempting to industrialize this work, to make it something with rules and bosses and processes. But that’s not the heart of it.


The work is to solve problems in a way that you’re proud of.

Stormy

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

General Characteristics of Complex Systems

Monday, March 12th, 2018

In an article from march 2000 titled What can we learn from a theory of complexity?, Paul Cilliers enumerates the general characteristics of complex systems:

  1. Complex systems consist of a large number of elements that in themselves can be simple.
  2. The elements interact dynamically by exchanging energy or information. These interactions are rich. Even if specific elements only interact with a few others, the effects of these interactions are propagated throughout the system. The interactions are nonlinear.
  3. There are many direct and indirect feedback loops.
  4. Complex systems are open systems—they exchange energy or information with their environment—and operate at conditions far from equilibrium.
  5. Complex systems have memory, not located at a specific place, but distributed throughout the system. Any complex system thus has a history, and the history is of cardinal importance to the behavior of the system.
  6. The behavior of the system is determined by the nature of the interactions, not by what is contained within the components. Since the interactions are rich, dynamic, fed back, and, above all, nonlinear, the behavior of the system as a whole cannot be predicted from an inspection of its components. The notion of "emergence" is used to describe this aspect. The presence of emergent properties does not provide an argument against causality, only against deterministic forms of prediction.
  7. Complex systems are adaptive. They can (re)organize their internal structure without the intervention of an external agent.

Then he applies these characteristics to social organizations after stating that Complexity theory has important implications for the general framework we use to understand complex organizations, but within that (new) framework we must still be clear, as well as decisive.

  1. Since the nature of a complex organization is determined by the interaction between its members, relationships are fundamental. This does not mean that everybody must be nice to each other; on the contrary. For example, for self-organization to take place, some form of competition is a requirement (Cilliers, 1998: 94-5). The point is merely that things happen during interaction, not in isolation.
  2. Complex organizations are open systems. This means that a great deal of energy and information flows through them, and that a stable state is not desirable. More importantly, it means that the boundaries of the organization are not clearly defined. Statements of "mission" and "vision" are often attempts to define the borders, and may work to the detriment of the organization if taken too literally. A vital organization interacts with the environment and other organizations. This may (or may not) lead to big changes in the way the organization understands itself. In short, no organization can be understood independently of its context.
  3. Along with the context, the history of an organization co-determines its nature. Two similar-looking organizations with different histories are not the same. Such histories do not consist of the recounting of a number of specific, significant events. The history of an organization is contained in all the individual little interactions that take place all the time, distributed throughout the system.
  4. Unpredictable and novel characteristics may emerge from an organization. These may or may not be desirable, but they are not by definition an indication of malfunctioning. For example, a totally unexpected loss of interest in a well-established product may emerge. Management may not understand what caused it, but it should not be surprising that such things are possible. Novel features can, on the other hand, be extremely beneficial. They should not be suppressed because they were not anticipated.
  5. Because of the nonlinearity of the interactions, small causes can have large effects. The reverse is, of course, also true. The point is that the magnitude of the outcome is not only determined by the size of the cause, but also by the context and by the history of the system. This is another way of saying that we should be prepared for the unexpected. It also implies that we have to be very careful. Something we may think to be insignificant (a casual remark, a joke, a tone of voice) may change everything. Conversely, the grand five-year plan, the result of huge effort, may retrospectively turn out to be meaningless. This is not an argument against proper planning; we have to plan. The point is just that we cannot predict the outcome of a certain cause with absolute clarity.
  6. We know that organizations can self-organize, but it appears that complex systems also organize themselves toward a critical state. This not only means that at any given point we can expect the system to respond to external events on all possible scales of magnitude, but also that the system will organize itself to be maximally sensitive to events that are critical to the system’s survival. Think of language as a complex system. If there is a desperate need for new terms to describe important events, the system will organize itself to be critically sensitive to those terms specifically, and not necessarily to other novel terms. The "need" is determined by the context and the history of the system, not by a specific "decision" by some component of the system. Similarly, an organization will self-organize to be critically sensitive to specific issues in the environment that may affect its wellbeing. The implications of self-organized criticality for organizational systems seems to be a subject that demands further investigation.
  7. Complex organizations cannot thrive when there is too much central control. This certainly does not imply that there should be no control, but rather that control should be distributed throughout the system. One should not go overboard with the notions of self-organization and distributed control. This can be an excuse not to accept the responsibility for decisions when firm decisions are demanded by the context. A good example here is the fact that managers are often keen to "distribute" the responsibility when there are unpopular decisions to be made—like retrenchments—but keen to centralize decisions when they are popular.
  8. Complex organizations work best with shallow structures. This does not mean that they should have no structure. This point requires a little elaboration. Complexity and chaos—whether in the technical or the colloquial sense—have little to do with each other. A complex system is not chaotic, it has a rich structure. One would certainly not describe the brain or language, prime examples of complex systems, as "chaotic." I certainly would not put my trust in a chaotic organization. A complex system does have structure, but not a strictly hierarchical structure; perhaps not even a shallow structure. Structure can be shallow, but still extremely hierarchical. Perhaps the best way to think of this would be to say that there should be structure on all scales, and much interaction between different structural components. This is another aspect of complex organizations that could be fleshed out with insights from self-organized criticality.

Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Nowadays, companies and organizations must take social media seriously. Few publish, as did the US Air Force, their "Rules of Engagement for Blogging". An inspiring material, even at the individual scope.

Source Joey deVilla’s blog

Current Reality of EBM

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

I’m troubled by the current reality of EBM We have correctly learned that reason can lead us astray, so we look to evidence We have correctly learned that most evidence is actually observational and hopelessly confounded, so we look to RCTs

We have correctly learned that RCTs can be crafted, misrepresented, accused of such, hotly debated amongst respected leaders (see #CastleAF, #Orbita, #Fame, #Affirm,etc ) and often later shown to be wrong, so we look to _validated_ RCTs.

But even as this journey into EBM began, we knew the sum total of available evidence only represented a sliver of what we do. If we correctly rely on validated RCTs, we are looking at a sliver of a sliver of a sliver.

When I walk into clinic *today* I’m fully aware that validated RCT data can advise on < 5% of what I’m asked. So I go back to using reason, while robotically touting the greatness and necessity of EBM. Cognitive dissonance abounds.

What Kids Enjoy In Life

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

For an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know. Here are some of the responses (Thread).

First:

NONE said they wished they’d watched more TV
NONE said they should’ve spent more time on Face Book
NONE said they enjoyed fighting with others
NONE enjoyed hospital

MANY mentioned their pets:
‘I love Rufus, his funny bark makes me laugh.’
‘I love when Ginny snuggles up to me at night and purrs’
‘I was happiest riding Jake on the beach.’

MANY mentioned their parents, often expressing worry or concern:
‘Hope mum will be ok. She seems sad.’
‘Dad mustn’t worry. He’ll see me again soon.’
‘God will take care of my mum and dad when I’m gone’

ALL of them loved ice-cream.

ALL of them loved books or being told stories, especially by their parents:
‘Harry Potter made me feel brave.’
‘I love stories in space!’
‘I want to be a great detective like Sherlock Holmes when I’m better!’

Folks, read to your kids! They love it.

MANY wished they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them, and valued people who just treated them ‘normally’.
‘My real friends didn’t care when my hair fell out.’
‘Jane came to visit after the surgery and didn’t even notice the scar!’

Many of them loved swimming, and the beach.
‘I made big sandcastles!’
‘Being in the sea with the waves was so exciting! My eyes didn’t even hurt!’

Almost ALL of them valued kindness above most other virtues:
‘My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.’
‘Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn’t eat mine. That was nice.’
‘I like it when that kind nurse is here. She’s gentle. And it hurts less’

Almost ALL of them loved people who made them laugh:
‘That magician is so silly! His pants fell down and I couldn’t stop laughing!’
‘My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!’
‘The boy in the next bed farted! Hahaha!’

Laughter relieves pain.

Kids love their toys, and their superheroes.
‘My Princess Sophia doll is my favourite!’
‘I love Batman!’ (All the boys love Batman)
‘I like cuddling my teddy’

Finally, they ALL valued time with their family. Nothing was more important.
‘Mum and dad are the best!’
‘My sister always hugs me tight’
‘No one loves me like mummy loves me!’

Take home message:
Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them.

These are the things these kids wished they could’ve done more. The rest is details.

Oh… and eat ice-cream.

Davos

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Where People Go To Get Better

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

"Where people go to get better" could be the best definition ever for the Ligne de vie… and it is pretty good news that it is obviously still missing ;-)

Picture by Panh Rithy (RPanh)

Austin Brexit

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The unfair advantage

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Yet another great post by Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog)


Here’s a sign I’ve never seen hanging in a corporate office, a mechanic’s garage or a politician’s headquarters:

WE HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE:

We care more.


It’s easy to promise and difficult to do. But if you did it, it would work. More than any other skill or attitude, this is what keeps me (and people like me) coming back.

Should You Use Blockchain?

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

A tweeted argument by @gravislizard on November 6, 2017

Almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983

Amber-screen library computer in 1998: type in two words and hit F3. search results appear instantly.
Now: type in two words, wait for an AJAX popup. get a throbber for five seconds. oops you pressed a key, your results are erased
One of the things that makes me steaming mad is how the entire field of web apps ignores 100% of learned lessons from desktop apps

Data in webpages in 2017 is distressingly fragile. go to google maps and try and find an action that *doesn’t* erase what you’re doing
Drag the map even a pixel? it erases all your results and closes the infobox you were looking at.

You have a list of interesting locations on the screen but you want to figure out how far they are from the center of town? you can’t.
You can open a new tab, do the search there, then flip back and forth manually in the browser. there’s no other way.
That is to say, once the data’s up on the screen, you *can’t add to it*. which is one of the core functions of computers, generally.
One of the primary reasons computers were *created* was to cross reference data. that is nearly impossible in most software now.

Maps are a particularly hot item for this. christ, what about looking at a map ISN’T about cross ref’ing data? it’s the WHOLE POINT
You have a start and a finish and need to integrate that with geography and roads. and gmaps, bing, etc. are all the worst choice for this.
You are, literally, better off taking a screenshot of the map, dropping it in ms paint and manually plotting there.
Gmaps wildly thrashes the map around every time you do anything. Any time you search, almost any time you click on anything it’s a bewildering whirl of colors and shapes that has gotten worse every six months for 15 years and in doing so it has made humans worse and worse and worse at doing things that computers were created to replace and improve
In 1998 if you were planning a trip you might have gotten out a paper road map and put marks on it for interesting locations along the way
With online maps you CAN do that, but the entire process is built assuming you already know everywhere you’re going
It APPEARS to be what you want – you can keep putting in locations and it’ll keep plotting them – but in truth it’s not at all
The process you WANT: pick your start and end. now start searching for places in between. Your start and end are saved.
When you find someplace interesting, add it to your list. Keep doing that, keep searching and adding.
Search far and wide. Search for cities and then click around inside them. Read reviews. Do street view.
When you’re all done, you go back to your plotted trip and start laying out the chosen locations and optimizing your path.
You can do this with a paper map. You can’t do this with gmaps. So you just don’t do it.
You do something halfass and unsatisfying instead, using multiple tabs or a text file you save addresses in or some shit

You don’t even realize why the process is frustrating because it’s just The Way It Is.
And everything on computers is like this. It’s just How It Is now. You can’t fail quickly and iterate.
On the library computer in 1998 I could retry searches over and over and over until I found what I was looking for because it was quick
Now I have to wait for a huge page to load, wait while the page elements shift all over, GOD FORBID i click on anything while its loading
how many times have i typed in a search box, seen what i wanted pop up as i was typing, go to click on it, then have it disappear

I make no secret of hating the mouse. I think it’s a crime. I think it’s stifling humanitys progress, a gimmick we can’t get over.
The mouse is the CueCat except it didn’t get ridiculed and reviled as it should have been. It’s inappropriate for almost everything we do.
There’s no reason for Twitter to use a mouse. There’s nothing mousey about this website, not a damn thing
Mice are for rapidly navigating through a complex and unstructured set of objects, like an app with dozens of options and input types

The Elephant In The Room

Friday, October 6th, 2017

This "Elephant in the room" is the perfect model to explain why the hierarchy is a wrong answer to complex issues. Imagine that all these "experts" will go and make their report to a minister who, while not having been confronted with field realities, will have to build a synthesis, then make a decision for the whole community.

AI Myths

Sunday, September 24th, 2017


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