Thursday, November 29, 2007

This web site closed during non-business hours

Imagine my surprise when I tried to conduct some insurance business with DeltaCare to find that their website was not only undergoing maintenance, but also appeared to be reliably available only from Monday through Friday 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time. Happily, they "apologize for any inconvenience," which really changes things, I can tell you.

Medical Hubris

from a New York Times article about a feud between two top heart surgeons (thanks cranky):

Dr. Cooley recalled that a lawyer had once asked him during a trial if he considered himself the best heart surgeon in the world.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Don’t you think that’s being rather immodest?” the lawyer asked.

“Perhaps,” Dr. Cooley responded. “But remember I’m under oath.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Red Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese


Half cup of uncooked couscous
Half cup of goat cheese
Coarse ground black pepper
Handful of shelled edamame
Three red peppers (try to pick ones with symmetrical bottoms, it makes them stand up better)
2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto

Cut off the tops of three red peppers about 1/2" down; set aside. Remove the seeds and pith from inside the peppers. Put them in a pot of gently boiling water, first tipping them to fill them with hot water, and then setting them upright. Boil for three minutes.

Cut and dice the yummy parts of the tops of the peppers away from the stem and pith.

Use tongs to take the peppers out of the boiling water and drain them. Set them upright in an oven-proof container just large enough to hold them and keep them in place.

Mix half a cup of couscous with a half cup of the water the peppers were boiled in. Add in the diced peppers. Cover and let it sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of sun-dried red tomato pesto to half a cup of goat cheese. Mix well, add pepper to taste. Mix with couscous.

Fill the peppers with the couscous and goat cheese mix. Sprinkle edamame on top. Cook at 400 for 5 minutes, or maybe longer. It's nice to have them a little brown on top, but I wouldn't want the goat cheese to melt too much.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The pluses and minuses of ratings

This is from an editorial in the Stanford paper in response to the new US News and World Report ratings. They discuss pluses and minuses of evaluation schemes. The below example is the plus. The minus is Leave No Child Behind.
Building a Better Legal Profession is a national grassroots movement of law students who hope to create market pressures that will stimulate workplace reform in the nation’s largest private law firms. Although the students of Stanford Law School who spearheaded this movement are a force to be reckoned with, in the litigious environment of modern America, anyone who takes on the task of reforming “big law” is taking on Goliath. So what was the weapon of choice for this organization’s struggle to improve diversity, increase pro bono work and restore a sliver of humanity to the lives of entry-level corporate lawyers? The group created a simple system of arranging available online data about firms. They ranked the firms against one another based on factors such as diversity, and then graded each firm with a letter A through F. Copy, paste and rank. It seems like a simple formula, and it is, yet it has won Building a Better Legal Profession press and praise across the nation. Creating a grading system that ranks law firms based on something other than profits is a neat way of capitalizing on America’s passion for rankings while changing traditional paradigms of prestige.
It would be very hard to do something like this for biology labs because the small numbers of people who work in each lab would reduce the possibility of anonymity. But I like the idea.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Overheard at neuroscience conference:

I do mostly heroin.

He certainly meant that he does heroin research, but I liked the unintended implication. There are lots of addiction researchers here. My personal (very limited) experience is that cannabinoid researchers tend to have an experiential knowledge of their subject. I don't particularly expect the cocaine and opiate researchers to have experience, but I don't know.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bicycle Parking at the San Diego Convention Center

I called the main number. A woman hears the word "parking" in my request and says, let me give you the number for our parking garage. I said, usually there are bicycle racks outside of the parking garage, is there anyone who would know about those? She says, let me ask. Later, she says nope, but I'll give you the parking number. I call parking and a really helpful woman says they don't have bicycle parking, but she thinks she's seen some around. Can I hold? You bet.

When she comes back, she says she talked with the same lady I did, and then she also called security. Security said there are bike racks (or maybe just one?) at building A on the way to the reception or administrative offices. Facing the center, it's all the way to the right. Good luck to me.