22 January 2011

Central Market's Carrot Orange juice

This some hella good shit. 

But costs an arm and a leg ($3.99 for a pint, ~12x orange juice at Costco)

Time to add 'juicer' to the list of things I will eventually get.

19 January 2011

Sometimes I feel...

like this world prides itself on anti-intellectualism. Not knowing is the new fad and ignorance, their new creed. That's why it's so crucial to adhere to a sense of conduct and not get carried away with words. 

Of course I'm going to comment on science journalism, because I don't know* enough to comment on anything else. I'm not comfortable

Let's look an article from Slate.com - in the Science section, from this morning. Which, as you know, the way science works, with data and prose and conclusions and statistics and references - these methods are much more systematic than an opinion piece. Or a general news story. 

"How did Steve Jobs get his liver?" 

Being in the field, I'm already beginning to ask questions about the byline - "Should it [his liver] have gone to somebody else?" Maybe it should have. I want to see some data. Not an unreasonable request from an article in the Science section.

So then you start reading, and you notice all the links point to news stories. OK, that's fine. Except for... (commentary in italics)

  • Different parts of the country have different waiting lists, and the wait in Northern California was three times longer than the wait in Tennessee. Linking to AMA-ASSN.org (and not UNOS).
  • One expert notes that the kind of cancer Jobs had in 2004 commonly spreads to another organ. Linking to WSJ. What the hell does 'commonly' mean? I did a quick google scholar search on islet cell neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. Took me 15 seconds. Results (http://www.joplink.net/prev/200601/200601_41.pdf and http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/10/1727.full.pdf). No need to cite an expert when you can get peer-reviewed data. Data > one opinion. 
  • And doctors sometimes try a liver transplant when the cancer has migrated there. Again, find a case study. Actually, there is a good amount of data concerning liver transplants in metastasized neuroendocrine tumors. 
  • Half the time, the cancer comes backAgain. Same problem. Stop fucking quoting news stories and get a pubmed abstract/citation to look at. Really, this is the link that got me going. How can you even think about linking the blue to something besides a paper?

Mr. Saletan does quote a Dr. Caplan - a professor of bioethics at UPenn (Ph.D in history/philosophy of science**) who raises the question - "Is this the best use of a liver?" Our illustrious author sprinkles in some more speculation about Jobs' unexplained medical leave and hypothesizes (because he's ever so qualified to do so) that it's probably cancer recurrence. 

Perhaps the most egregious statement is in his last paragraph - that the liver "wasn't his" and Jobs "owes us some answers". What is this, a fucking opinion piece? Even the professor of bioethics didn't dare throw down the gauntlet and make a judgement call on who that liver should have gone to. 

Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. Maybe you think Saletan can make commentary on various things. Of course he can postulate on Jobs' current diagnosis (without citing proper sources). Of course he can throw his own opinions into an article (and with highly charged words, might I add). But keep that drivel out of the Science column. 

For the record, Jobs doesn't owe anyone an explanation, unless you're approaching it from a shareholder perspective, which this article does not. UNOS made that call and you're free to question the system, but assuming you can make a better decision is reckless and foolish. 

It really feels like all of this violates responsible scientific reporting. 

I feel responsible scientific writers - 

1) Cite their sources appropriately (wsj/business week/reuters is not a scientific source)
2) Refrain from using emotionally loaded language
3) Don't believe they can make better decisions than the experts

(among other things)

If you're going to violate any one of these (I'm sure there are more), you can leave your writings in the circlejerk that is the opinion section and away from the Science section. 

I read another article - much better, well cited sources, same website. http://www.slate.com/id/2281280/pagenum/all/#p2

*: Sort of ironic.
**: I haven't the slightest clue what this entails. 

18 January 2011

Timer done

Last night when I went to bed, I had a full 24oz of Red Bull (Two 12oz canisters for $4!) swimming around in my veins, wreaking havoc. I set my alarm and went to bed at midnight. However, there were cymbals in my head until 3am. I got very little good sleep last night, that's for sure.

I woke up to a phone call from "Timer done." Picked it up.

Hello? HELLO? ... HELLO?!

No response. I hate it when that happens. Fucking assholes.

Went back to bed for another 10 minutes (exactly), and he called again. I was awake by then and figured it out. However, I learned I can guage how well I slept last night to my reaction to this daily brute.

1. Wake up before my phone goes off. Ah. Well rested. Let me hit up my Zojirushi for some kickass morning rice.

2. Force another 20 minutes of horribly shitty sleep where the guilt is mounting.

3. Occasionally scream into the phone like a delirious insomniac.

14 January 2011

It's that time again

New Year. I'm turning 25 this year. (< 2 months).

Already in the 2nd bracket. Years away from a real job. Woohoo.