Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2008



Personal 27 Jan 2008 06:58 pm

Ozark Mountain High Tech

Did I happen to mention my initial goal for January – what I reckon some might call a New Year’s Resolution — has been to clean up this dump and get organized? Well, consider yourself informed.

Only trouble is, I actually started the clean up and reorganization back in November, so I guess it doesn’t precisely qualify as a New Year motivated event.

Phase One:

Jethro Bodine

Well, Billy Bob and I run network cables everywhere ‘cept the shed out back… and he’s been eyeballing that since Tuesday. Wireless would be nice, but too expensive and not really secure. (Can’t exactly have Jethro piggybackin’ my network whenever he was to take a notion.)

Relocated my cable modem and router. That’s right, we got high-speed Interweb right here in Ozark nigh on last year. Now if we could just manage indoor plumbing we’d be in some tall cotton.

Also installed a new printer that almost works. It prints okay, but it would be nice if it didn’t take ten minutes to work up the gumption. (Cousin Goober thinks it’s the USB driver … and he should know … bein’ he’s a handy fellow and all.)

laptop puppy

Phase Two:

Monday spent the whole day trying to repair The Lock-up King. (Yeah, we’re getting serious here.) Unfortunately, the repair failed three times in a row, so I finally abandoned that plan. The good news is we had adequate back-ups.

I managed to crank ‘er back to square one so we’re riding that mule on the original configuration. It only locks up several times a day now, instead of once or twice a week. (Did I mention it took THE WHOLE DAY?)

Anybody got a sledgehammer?

Phase Three:

Yesterday did a fresh install of Windows on the above mentioned joy-of-my-life, so that problem is solved. I hope. Not holding my breath.

Navy Girl

Unfortunately now I have to re-install all of the drivers, software, files, settings, address book, email messages … some folder Billy Bob calls “pitchers” he won’t let nobody look at … and get the whole thing set-up and organized.

Side note: It’s only locked up three times now trying to copy my files back onto the drive. Who says we’re not makin’ progress?

Billy Bob and Cousin Goober say to tell you all, “Hey.” And, if you don’t hear from one of us by Spring, don’t you pay it no mind. No need to be sendin’ in the Forest Rangers or nothin’. A sympathy card will do.

Cheers,
Dean

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Stolen Joke of the Day: “You might be a redneck if…

Your new TV is sittin’ on top of your old TV.”

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Anti-Quackery 19 Jan 2008 05:34 pm

Acupuncture Cures a Ganglion Cyst

Or did it?

A while back I wrote an article entitled, Why We Fall for Alternative Medicine that among other things used acupuncture as a typical example. This of course was applauded by some and readily dismissed by others, namely, those who believe that acupuncture is a valid medical procedure.

One of these days I’m going to do an article on how we as humans form our belief systems, but for now suffice it to say that by-and-large we believe in what we want to believe in. Facts, evidence, truth, logic, reasoning… all have an uphill battle competing for our hearts and minds if we truly want to believe otherwise. It’s just human nature.

On that note, here’s what one commenter had to say about her experience with acupuncture…

There is a time and place for everything.

20 years ago I had debilitating RSI symptoms, and eventually I had a ganglion in my left wrist (like a hard pea under the surface). They are usually removed with surgery.

3 sessions at an acupuncturist got rid of it.

3 months ago, I got a ganglion in my right wrist. It was very hard and the local acupuncturist was hesitant to treat it as he says it can be quite painful, and he asked if I have ever had one before. I said yes, 20 years ago. I also let him know that how I handled childbirth labour and a few other life experiences has taught me I have a pretty good pain threshold, so I am willing for him to have a go. He said it was a very hard one. After 2 sessions it was gone.

Now, on the surface, this would seem to be a compelling testimonial for the power of acupuncture. Taken at face value, one could easily conclude that here is an example of how alternative medicine succeeded where western medicine supposedly failed.

That is until we consult the orthodox medical literature where we learn…

Ganglion cysts arise from the capsule of a joint or the sheath of a tendon. They can be found at different places on the wrist. A ganglion cyst that grows on the top of the wrist is called a dorsal ganglion. Others are found on the underside of the wrist between the thumb and your pulse point, at the end joint of a finger, or at the base of a finger. Most of the time, these are harmless and will often disappear in time.[1]

So we see – as is often the case – alternative medicine is brilliant at achieving miraculous cures for conditions that tend to disappear on their own.

If you read the entire AAOS article, you will learn that these cysts are not “usually removed with surgery” as the commenter mistakenly believed. Rather, ganglion cysts seldom require surgery because the doctors know they will most likely disappear if you just give them time.

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Now I don’t know where my commenter got her information or how she arrived at her conclusions, but her take on the story is obviously not in keeping with the facts. I suspect that she allowed her disdain for conventional medicine – coupled with her predilection for exotic alternatives — to cloud her judgment.

In other words, she let her casual observations trick her into believing what she wanted to believe. And the sad part is she is now going about spreading the word of how acupuncture performed a miraculous cure when she no doubt would have achieved the same results had she done nothing at all.

One can only wonder how many people will be misled by her faulty conclusions and her heartfelt testimonial.

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Do I think writing articles exposing the fallacies of alternative medicine will somehow convince these people that they’re wrong? Do I think I can persuade the acupuncture proponents they’re making a mistake? No, I have no such delusions. I fully expect them to cling to their beliefs regardless of the facts. I expect them to continue on as before, because that’s what people do. As I said at the beginning of this post, that’s just human nature.

They will continue to believe in acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and other forms of so-called alternative medicine because it’s what they want to believe. Facts and evidence will not persuade them to the contrary.

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Update: Upon reviewing the above post, I realized that I edited out one key point for the sake of brevity. I originally meant to point out that I am not dismissing acupuncture altogether. I find it to be interesting and worthy of further investigation. The purpose of this post is not to knock acupuncture, but to merely point out how easily we can fool ourselves if we don’t examine things in a scientific manner. I will have more on this in future posts, which I intend to group into a section specifically about alternative medicine.

References:

1. AAOS: Ganglion (Cyst) of the Wrist
2. Why We Fall For Alternative Medicine

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Med Bloggers 15 Jan 2008 12:08 pm

A Note on the Nursing Shortage

I knew there was a nursing shortage in this country, but here’s something I didn’t know…

Kim at Emergiblog wrote in her latest post, A Notice for the POTUS:

Oh, there is no dearth of potential nurses in the United States. There are so many applicants that nursing students are often chosen by lottery and many wait years to get into a program.

There is not enough space in our current nursing programs, because there aren’t enough nursing educators.

On the one hand, it is comforting to know that there are still young people seeking to enter this most noble of professions. I was under the impression that the lack of nurses was due solely to the fact that it is a difficult and challenging job… both physically and emotionally… and that not enough people were willing to go that route. I didn’t realize that the real problem was one of logistics.

(Oops, just got interrupted by a phone call and now I can’t remember what I was going to write next.) Oh well, suffice it to say…

Let’s hope that the powers that be will heed Kim’s message and take the necessary steps to attract more qualified nursing instructors to help fill this void.

All for now,
Dean

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