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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Med-School Note-Taking?

shrimppesto Re:Evernote (217 comments)

I've been using Evernote and it is pretty rich for setting a base hierarchy. Then, you can set all manner of tags and search on them. But, you have to be diligent to make the system really work for you.

You also have to learn not to be over-diligent. As a recent MD graduate and now third-year resident, I've found that it's all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "I'm going to build a database that contains ALL MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE." That database already exists: it is called PubMed, it's huge and unwieldy, and your Evernote will be too if you try to include everything in it. Worst of all, in a few short years, it'll be out of date. Blast.

The nice thing about M1/M2 year of medical school is that the knowledge base you are expected to acquire is (or should be) fairly well-defined. So Evernote (or any of the other database approaches discussed here) will probably work fine for that purpose. But as you move forward into your clinical training, you may want to clean out your Evernote and start over again, being rather more selective about how you curate it.

Nowadays, my personal rule is never to put anything clinical into my Evernote unless I've had to look it up 3-4 times. By that point, I know it's useful enough to have around (in a more easily accessible fashion than, say, UpToDate), but not so useful that I've already memorized it out of necessity.

about a year ago

Device Addresses Healthcare Language Barrier

shrimppesto Re:Single Languages (159 comments)

"Gee, I'm in your country, can't speak your language, and now I might die because I can't communicate with you - you should buy devices that translate my speech for you!". ... It's called natural selection, it's good for the human race. Stop fighting it, you're only encouraging the idiots...

um... you're an asshole. just sayin'.

more than 3 years ago

The Significant Decline of Spam

shrimppesto Re:So... (263 comments)

yes, but sadly, complying with all U.S. laws does not make you any less of a turd.

more than 3 years ago

TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old

shrimppesto Re:Profiling (1135 comments)

Of course it's important to protect us. But this goes far beyond "offending" a group of people. Let's not forget that it was within the 20th century that hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans -- most of them US citizens -- were forcibly removed from their jobs and educational endeavors and relocated to internment camps, on the basis of the same argument you supply. "Offending"? How about violating constitutional rights? How about violating human rights? The constitution does not only apply to white people. Human rights do not only apply to white people.

In addition to being morally reprehensible, profiling is also quite useless. Although 99% of terrorists may be Arabs or Muslims, the percentage of Arab Muslims who are actually terrorists is quite small. Thus, profiling expends an astronomical effort on an enormous number of subjects to try to catch a very small number of actual terrorists. You have to search/interrogate/whatever a bajillion Arabs and Muslims to find that one terrorist. The yield is terrible, and you're much better off finding much more specific ways to target your search. The vast majority of bank robbers might own ski hats, but you do not prevent bank robberies by interrogating all those buying hats at Dick's Sporting Goods. It is important not to interpret a measure of sensitivity as a measure of predictive value.

Furthermore, once the terrorists are onto your profiling tactics, they can easily circumvent them. It's not that hard to make yourself look non-Arab, and/or to obtain a false identity, or for that matter to recruit a red-blooded American into your fold.

Defending against the present threat is a situation in which profiling just makes no damned sense.

more than 3 years ago

Ideas For a Great Control Room?

shrimppesto Re:I've worked in a control room before (421 comments)

uhh, wouldn't you want a positive airflow system? a negative airflow system keeps bugs/toxins inside, not outside. it'd be good for the bathroom, but not the control room. unless your staff has really bad hygiene.

about 4 years ago

Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?

shrimppesto Re:dumb (319 comments)

"education activists" == "teachers who do not actually teach"

more than 4 years ago

Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?

shrimppesto Re:Writing code with pencil and paper... (319 comments)

Several years ago, when I was taking an intro CS course at Stanford (106X), our exams were on paper and we had to code our responses by hand. There would be a problem to solve at the top of an otherwise blank page, and the rest of the page was where you could "code." Certain caveats were allowed (no declaring variables, etc.), but apart from that it had to be functional code. The point was to test your understanding of the elementary concepts, and how to implement them in a non-hackish manner. It was hard, but it was also a great mental exercise in design. To be fair, I think we could have done something similar by computer (take away the compiler, or something). I have no idea what they are using now.

From time to time, I still pseudo-code on paper. Helps to sort out an overall approach to a problem.

more than 4 years ago

Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?

shrimppesto Re:Yes. (319 comments)

Because delivering information at the highest blazing speeds possible is inherently good teaching...? Seriously?

I have learned a lot more from talented teachers wielding a piece of chalk than from the drones who clicked through 90 packed slides in 50 minutes. PowerPoint is a great way to put your audience into information overload, ensuring that they learn nothing (google "Death by PowerPoint"). Good chalkboard management is much harder to do. I am not saying that PowerPoint can't be used effectively, and I do believe that all of these tech devices add to the learning experience when wielded skillfully and in the appropriate scenarios. But to suggest that teaching by PowerPoint is inherently better? No. No. NO.

It's not the technology that matters. It's the quality of the teaching. Good teachers remain good teachers even when the power goes out. Bad teachers remain bad teachers no matter how much tech (ppt, ARS, web stuff, whatever) they use.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs

shrimppesto Re:whats the point? (432 comments)

Also, why use a touchpad when you got a mouse? The magic mouse sure is very uncomfortable but regular mouses are much more pleasant to use than touchpads or trackpoints or whatever. And its not like they can't do gestures.

I used to be similarly convinced of the superiority of the mouse over the trackpad. When I bought my first laptop years ago, the first thing I did was hook up a mouse, even before I had booted it up. But over time, I became used to the trackpad, and I learned to control a trackpad just as well as a mouse. One fateful day, I noticed that my mouse had collected a layer of dust on it (because I had inadvertently become an exclusive trackpad user), so I unhooked it.

I don't know if it's the whole not-having-to-move-your-hand thing, or if it's the not-having-to-use-your-elbow, or what. I just know that when I'm on a system that has a good trackpad and a good mouse, I always end up using the former. I'm not saying mice (or trackpoints, or touchscreens, or whatever) don't have their utility, because they definitely do. But I can definitely see why people would be interested in getting a trackpad for their desktop.

more than 4 years ago

Why Designers Hate Crowdsourcing

shrimppesto Re:Crowdsourcing is iffy at best. (569 comments)

... and is designed by "e-lancers" from India and China who didn't understand all of your requirements and in most cases, didn't have time to care ...

Because no one from India or China could possibly understand all of your requirements, or care about them.

more than 4 years ago

A Windows Phone 7 For Every Microsoftie

shrimppesto Re:It'll be interesting... (298 comments)

And even after thousands of people started mocking the iPhone for not having [cut and paste], Apple continued to ignore the complaints.

Apple continued to ignore the complaints ... by implementing it?

more than 4 years ago

The Hobby of Energy Secretary Steven Chu

shrimppesto Re:He should continue doing useful work... (177 comments)

The Chinese population has nearly doubled since the One Child Policy started.

uhh, [citation needed]? i'm not debating the merits of the policy, but that's a bogus claim.

Population 1979: 965005000
Population 2008: 1324655000

Source: World Bank,

more than 4 years ago

The Safari Reader Arms Race

shrimppesto Re:Force? (210 comments)


Quote from his first Safari Reader bashing article:
"To build a feature like this into their browser and then arrogantly dismiss web advertising as “visual distractions” shows a serious insensitivity to the business model of web publishers."

Riiiiight. And, to build a web page that looks like and then arrogantly dismissing my reading experience shows a serious insensitivity to your reader.

Hey Jim -- your business model fucking sucks. Adapt or GTFO. I guess I should turn off my popup blocker too, for the sake of your precious revenue.

more than 4 years ago

Toyota Acceleration and Embedded System Bugs

shrimppesto Re:Infallible fail. (499 comments)

i'd feel much better with drivers who know they should pop the car into NEUTRAL if it starts accelerating out of control for any reason, rather than trying to stand on the brake pedals while dialing 911 ...

more than 4 years ago

Texas Approves Conservative Curriculum

shrimppesto Re:Hey Dumbass... (999 comments)

"hey dumbass..." abe lincoln was president in the 1860s. that was 150 years ago. do today's republicans remind you of abe lincoln? do you consider rick santorum a champion of civil rights?

LBJ and JFK also made enormous contributions to civil rights. i really don't think you can attribute modern civil rights to any single political party.

more than 4 years ago

Texas Approves Conservative Curriculum

shrimppesto Re:OXYMORON ALERT (999 comments)

i don't think they are idiots. i just think they are bad people. is that okay?

more than 4 years ago

Health Insurance When Leaving the Corporate World?

shrimppesto Re:Step 1. (1197 comments)

well, i'm glad your 26 year old uninsured son just had a broken ankle, for which he could afford the appropriate care.

now consider someone in similar circumstances, except instead of a broken ankle, they have septic shock. or type 1 diabetes. or a congenital heart defect. or appendicitis. or crohns disease. or schizophrenia (~1% of the population). or got hit by a car that shattered their pelvis/skull/spine/etc.

i suppose those people should also call around and get estimates from area hospitals, so that they can make sure to go somewhere where they can afford to pay for their care.

not everyone is as lucky as your son.

more than 4 years ago

How Norway Fought Staph Infections

shrimppesto Re:This article is so RIGHT (595 comments)

Ethics is now included in the medical curriculum in most schools. Most curricula focus on medical ethics, but professional ethics are also discussed (e.g. relationships with drug companies). Whether this has an effect on the student is something that remains to be seen. Is ethical behavior teachable at this stage, or is it a reflection of the way you were raised (or even the way you were born)? I personally suspect it is the latter.

A part of the problem is that the pharmaceutical companies are incredibly effective at "teaching" doctors through their aggressive marketing. They present themselves as an information source, and not marketers. Their reps are trained to cite the evidence that supports their drug in a scientific-sounding manner. The result is that a lot of doctors are moving those drugs in the belief that it is the best thing to do for the patient. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not, but the drug reps won't tell you about that second part. It calls to question why we allow drug reps access to physicians' offices, and whether we need to bolster the scope of continuing medical education.

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) is urging medical schools to develop more strict policies governing their relationships with pharmaceutical companies, and banning prescribing perks, etc. This movement is starting to gain serious ground in academic medical centers. It is hopeful that similar changes will be seen in private practice, although I suspect some legislation will be necessary in the long run.

On a side note, a lot of doctors trained in an era when you were -supposed- to prescribe antibiotics "to prevent secondary bacterial infections." It's only in more recent times that the evidence has shown this to be an unnecessary and potentially harmful practice. So, a lot of doctors are prescribing these antibiotics in good faith.

more than 4 years ago

How Norway Fought Staph Infections

shrimppesto Re:The People Problem (595 comments)

Contrary to what you stated, MRSA -is- a huge problem outside of the hospital and nursing home environments. Most urban locales now have high enough rates of MRSA floating around in the community (i.e. community-acquired MRSA, or CA-MRSA) that it has required some level of empiric MRSA coverage for skin infections.

more than 4 years ago


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