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Moved… May 23, 2006

Posted by scan man in random noise.
comments closed

scan man has moved his notes to a new domain….


All the existing posts on this site will hopefully remain here as permanent archives.

This, sadly, shall be scan man's last post here at WordPress.com…

Since he likes it, scan man's new blog will continue to run on WordPress.


On Blogging… May 19, 2006

Posted by scan man in random noise.

I've been blogging, intermittently, over three months now.

I started out with some vague ideas about doing 'something creative'.

Question: Does the full stop – period for the Americans – come before or after the quote?… I never would have thought of something like this if it were not for Umberto Eco and his 'Foucault's Pendulum' (pedants please refer page 51 of the Vintage 2001 edition paperback).

I don't think I have been too creative these past weeks. In fact I don't think I have even crawled out of the primordial swamp. The peaks of creativity are not even on my horizon.

But that has not deterred me from taking what with hindsight looks like an imprudent decision…I have taken the plunge…

….that was my not-so-direct way of trying to say that I have decided to move my blog to my own domain.

Fret not, Gentle Reader, you will probably have to wait till you edit your bookmarks. Of course, I'm assuming that there are some gentle readers out there..

I had some help from the resident computer geeks in the hospital in setting up a domain and uploading WordPress on it. So I now have an empty homepage with few pathetic typed lines and a blog page loaded with the WordPress Default Theme. The geeks have now abandoned me. They claim it is all easy-peasy after this. I feel marooned.

I spent most of last night pulling out what remains of my hair. Now I'm reduced to a blubbering wreck with bitten-down nails..

I don't have the faintest idea what to do next. Its a confusing alphabet soup of html, php, css, rss,…… out there.

I feel like the village idiot who has entered the Big City Hospital for the first time and is getting an earful from Big Consultant about what is wrong with him….

I admit. I was reckless. I just did it out of a misguided notion that I wanted a unique blog. I wanted it customizable. I wanted all the 'bells & whistles', to quote a friend. It also looks like I will have to retain this blog as a permanent archive. WordPress does not allow exports. Though I can import posts from Blogger or Movable Type, WP does not allow imports from an existing WP blog. How dumb can that be? Don't answer that. It was rhetorical. I guess I should ask myself the same..

Now I don't know what to do…

Any help on setting up and customizing a good WP theme will be gratefully acknowledged and appreciated.

Curtains come down on scan man, kneeling center stage, hands outstretched, pleading…..

New Blogger.. May 18, 2006

Posted by scan man in medical blogs.

We have a new blogger, a fellow dotor from Tamil Nadu.

OrthoDoc is an Orthopaedic Surgeon based in India.

He would still call himself a student. Learning is a process that continues throughout life for a student of Medicine. He hopes to express, discuss and learn more through this blog. His range of discussion will not be limited to ortho only. As the time slowly goes by, he hopes to discover …unearth more from the web.

He has been blogging for two weeks now. I highly recommend the following posts:

Language as a Barrier – where he explores the pros and cons of having English as the language of the Medical profession and higher studies in a multilingual society such as India.

Fall from Grace – where he laments the poor portrayal of the Medical Profession in popular media and worries if it is justified.

Mid-day Meal – where he writes about the Nutritious Noon Meal Scheme in which a free freshly cooked lunch is provided free for all school children in the Government-run schools of Tamil Nadu.

It feels good to have a fellow Tamilian on the medical blogosphere..

The CAGE Questions. May 17, 2006

Posted by scan man in medical blogs, random noise.

Do I have an alcohol problem?

A question that I have been afraid of even thinking out loud.

Because I believe, as does Dr. Crippen, that the very fact that I am asking myself the question is proof that I believe there is a problem.

Dr. Crippen goes on in this excellent, thought-provoking post

If you are asking yourself that question, you probably do have one. But if in doubt, ask yourself the four CAGE questions.

  1. Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

Two positives and you are in trouble.

Well, here are my answers

  1. Yes.
  2. Only my wife. I don’t think that counts as a full positive, because she also nags me about a lot of other stuff, like my weight, or the shape of my abdomen (I keep telling her that round is a good shape).
  3. No. I wonder if it counts as more than one positive for this question if I have felt guilty about not drinking!
  4. Never.


One definite positive and a partial. I guess I don’t have a problem (yet).

Humour aside, I think Dr. Crippen’s post is great.

The question that bugs me is…

Just how big is the Silent Alcohol Abuse problem in the world?

Is it as big as the Obesity problem? or Bigger?

I am sure we would be shocked by the numbers if some epidemiologists collect the data from different countries just based on responses to the CAGE questions.

Gospel Music & the Gurukul system of Medical Education May 16, 2006

Posted by scan man in medical blogs, Medicine.

Bloglines alerted me to a new post by Dr. Hebert a few days ago. I read a few lines and thinking that it was about Jazz and Gospel Music, something that I don't know anything about, I quit.

I came across the post again in Grand Rounds (hosted by Dr. iBear at Doc Around the Clock) today…

Dr. Hebert of Michael Hebert's Medical Gumbo talks about apprenticeships in medical education and eloquently contrasts that with the gospel group the Zion Harmonizers in Med Ed and the Zion Harmonizers. Where is the future of medicine headed unless we take a little tip from the Zion Harmonizers?

Curiosity aroused, I went back and read through the entire post.

To echo Dr. Flea, I'm Speechless.

This is the best thing that I have read about medical education in the sixteen years that I have been a medical student and a doctor.

Dr. Hebert has quoted the Hippocratic oath to make a point about apprenticeship as a way to learn medicine..

It was not always thus. The history of medicine is rich with preceptor-apprentice relationships. At one time, this was the expected method of medical education. The Oath of Hippocrates, written 2,400 years ago, gives more than a passing nod to apprenticeship:

I swear . . . . To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone the precepts and the instruction.

If we look further east (and a few centuries earlier), we find an obvious parallel in the haloed Gurukul system of education in ancient India with its Guru-Shishya tradition.

Knowledge passed on thus to generations of students in the ancient Greek and Hindu civilizations are at the core of most modern science and philosophy. The reason why we still remember them and their methods.

Medical educaiton, which was essentially an apprenticeship until the nineteenth century, has become, over the past century, more 'scientific' and 'professional'.

I wonder if anyone will remember this 'information assembly line' system of 'education by committee' two thousand years hence when, presumably, the chief medical officer would be assisted by computers, robots, medical droids and holograms.