Friday, June 11, 2004

Mistakes were made

i miss the tard blog (link courtesy of the way back machine). i read the whole thing a few months ago, but it seems like the good material is all pretty old. the stories are realistic and cynical and heartbreaking and hilarious. and in that vein, i offer you a special tard entry here: i was looking at my data, wondering why i didn't have a particular subset of it. i'm looking at recordings of electrical activity in monkey brains. the recordings were made while the monkeys reached in various directions and other variables were changed as well. for one of the changes, i only had data for reaches in some of the directions. my first thought was that those experiments hadn't been done. after some searching, it turned out to be the simplest possible error on my part - i hadn't moved the data with those codes into my working dataset. lovely. as i write it out, i see that my description doesn't convey the headsmack-deserving idiocy involved.

in other news, holly c had a nightmare health care experience today. she's stressed but physically fine. it reminds me how important it is to explicitly ask your doctor how many times she/he has performed this exact procedure before. often doctors who are not regularly in teaching hospitals (and maybe some who are?) may only observe a new procedure before trying it; they may not have the chance or make the opportunity to try it first while supervised by someone experienced. someone has to be the first, but it should be an informed decision.

thanks to billmon for this item, paraphrased here (except the quotes which were lifted directly): Mary L. Walker is the leader of the team that authored of the torture memo that's been getting press recently. In an interview, she said "Making moral decisions in the workplace where it is easy to go along and get along takes courage. It takes moral strength and courage to say, 'I'm not going to do this because I don't think it's the right thing to do.' " In the report, she wrote, "Officials could escape torture convictions by arguing that they were following superior orders, since such orders 'may be inferred to be lawful' and are 'disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate.'"

I saw Saved! last night, and it was wonderful. A strong recommend. As art, it was pretty good. The acting was great. The ending and exposition were a little too emphatic. Still, it was very enjoyable.

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