Digital Exhaust #187
Friendly lymphocytes and the mystery of the disappearing ER doctors
Welcome back to Digital Exhaust. Here are a few things I found interesting this week.
I’m obsessed with my journal. So this post by Austin Kleon on the journaling habits of Charles Darwin resonated with me.
In 1831, at the age of 22, Charles Darwin learned to keep notebooks by emulating Captain Robert FitzRoy of the HMS Beagle. As I understand it, Darwin would take a pencil and a notebook off the ship, and then when he was back on board, he would use pen and ink. (He also switched in between notebooks a lot.)
My wife calls my journaling the ramblings of a lunatic. I can neither confirm nor deny this.
From the mind of XKCD.
Why Beethoven died
A Scientific American deep dive on what killed Beethoven. FWIW, I had no idea he was a heavy drinker.
The DNA extracted showed that Beethoven had two copies of a particular variant of the gene PNPLA3 that has been linked to liver cirrhosis. He also had single copies of two variants of the HFE gene that cause hereditary haemochromatosis, a condition that damages the liver. “Those are really significant,” says Begg, given that historical reports suggest Beethoven was a heavy drinker, especially in the year before his death, which would have further increased his risk of liver damage.
The findings are also covered here in Nature.
How GPT4 will impact work and the economy
I spend alot of time thinking about the future of work — especially healthcare professionals. So I found this MIT Technology Review piece interesting. Tapping into some of the greatest economic minds in the world, it covers the reality and hype surrounding large language models and the future of the economy.
+ I’m a subscriber to OpenAI’s GPTplus. Here are the arguments for and against it in case you’re considering.
The great Tik Tok sewer
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a 5 hour hearing to defend the right of TikTok to exist.covers the testimony beautifully. No surprise, Wired reports that TikTok paid influencers to be in DC for the event.
As an app designed specifically to get into our kid’s heads, TikTok's reach has metastasized like a social cancer. And as long as Byte Dance owns TikTok, Chinese intelligence will have the ability to vacuum up all the information they want about our kids. This company epitomizes extraction, “as all aspects of human experience are claimed as raw-material supplies and targeted for rendering into behavioral data - Shoshana Zuboff in Surveillance Capitalism.
It’s no wonder that the Chinese government won’t expose their own children to this rubbish.
Utah is the only state with any kind of spine….
Gov. Spencer J. Cox of Utah signed a sweeping social media bill on Thursday afternoon that could dramatically limit youth access to apps like TikTok and Instagram, potentially upending how many minors in the state use the internet.
Two out of three doctors are considering employment change
Doximity released its annual physician compensation report. It looks at changes in physician pay in the U.S. 36% of respondents said they were considering early retirement due to overwork. Compensation was down across many specialties in 2022, after rising across all specialties the prior year.
Apple files patent for selfie camera on Apple Watch
Apple seems looking at a patent for an appendage above the watch face for selfies, as reported by Gizmodo. Do we really need this?
+ I’m an Apple fanboy, as you may know. This is a great round up of the best MacBook accessories for 2023 as reported by Wired.
We have summoned an alien intelligence
Great AI techlash essay in the New York Times from Yuval Harari, Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin.
We can still choose which future we want with A.I. When godlike powers are matched with commensurate responsibility and control, we can realize the benefits that A.I. promises.
What Google has cooking in health
An update from Google. Health AI updates including progress on medical large language model (LLM) research, partnerships, and new ways AI can help with disease detection.
Chart of the week | The mystery of the missing ER doc
Emergency medicine training spots are on the rise — Interest in emergency medicine training is on the fritz. The cost:benefit of some of the hardest working docs in medicine may have finally tipped. The graph is via @jbcarmoody.
And in Stat, Will there be any emergency doctors to see you in the future?
Transfusion of animal blood
For your history fix, interesting stuff in very long form: During the 1600s in Paris, transfusing the blood of calves and lambs into human veins held the promise of renewed youth. Peter Sahlins explores controversial experiments driven by a belief in the moral superiority of animal blood: a substance that could help redeem the fallen state of humanity.
Great quote about stepping back from technology
So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. — Wendell Berry, The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Thanks for reading, again. As always, please pass this along to anyone who might be interested.