Friday, August 25, 2006

Can You Hear It?

Do you know that as we grow older, the highest frequency of the sound we could hear actually decreases? We are always told that human can hear sounds from 20Hz to 25kHz, but the upper limit and the lower limit are not constant, and it changes throughout one's life.

Find out your hearing limit now! :)

* This website makes me feel good. I am still "young".

Or maybe you are a mosquito, you certainly can't be human.

The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 21.1kHz
Find out which ringtones you can hear!


How [Un]Malaysian are You?

The following quiz is for fellow Malaysians, and probably, Singaporeans. If you come from anywhere else in the world, you may not understand a single word in the quiz.

Congratulations Chang Yang, you are 13% not Malaysian.

That means you're as Malaysian as...

Abdullah Badawi !

How Un-Malaysian Are You?

I am quite a Malaysian!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

This is the video clip of John Carpenter, trying to answer his one million question in 1999. As a matter of fact, he became the first ever person in the world to win the one million in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game show. And what so spectacular was, discounting his joke call to his father, he breezed through 15 questions without a single life line! No 50:50, no audience help, and no phone call. Fantastic.

By the way, the way he called his father struck many as arrogant. Haha, what says you?


Friday, August 18, 2006

What's with the Doctors' Handwriting?

I guess we all have seen doctors' handwriting at one time in the past. Doctor's handwriting is sacred. You would know it, if you have ever had the chance to revere the prescription notes. Those curly, wriggly words which hardly resemble Latin alphabets, dancing around on a brownish note, staring at you as if yelling "Hey you can't recognize me!" - they are unforgettable.

In all my life, I have always wondered how in the world pharmacists manage to recognize those doctors' handwriting. You see, if they are just normal people like you and me, how do they do it? After years of searching and exploring in futile, this question has since been included in my list of all-time greatest mystery of the world. However, today, I finally know the answer... According to some of my friends, recognizing doctor's handwriting is actually part of the pharmacy course. Now that's the reason. No wonder why pharmacy is such a hard course.

I think that you, me and pharmacists would agree that doctor's crappy handwriting is kinda a universal, cultural thing. It turned out that most doctors' handwriting is crappy, regardless of the race, country or the university in which one studied medicine in. I have not much idea why a doctor has to write crappily, maybe they are just plain too lazy to write, after examining billions of patients throughout the day. Or perhaps, the handwriting just kinda manifests the identification of the profession, like how doctors like to pretend they are smart by using all those jargons and Latin phrases.

*** Off-topic rambling ***

Talking about Latin phrases, it's seriously the biggest enemy of medical students. Why would those people coin a cool name like "Internal Globus Pallidus", when it just really is the Latin word for "the inner part of that pale globe"? Or "Magnocellular", which means "regarding to big cells"? Did they have any idea how the cumbersome nomenclature has delayed the progress of science for more than 400 years, almost prevented discovery of Pluto and the landing of Apollo, and caused death of more than 2.3 million patients? *Oops, too much for my exaggeration* Haha, actually not so bad, but at least it turned me away from remembering a lot of details that I need to. Just because those names are professional looking. Or because Latin is the universal professional language.

*** End of off-topic rambling ***

Back to the handwriting... When we talk about doctors' handwriting, a thought that naturally follows is that what if something goes wrong? What if a doctor screwed up a drug's name and killed a patient? That was one of the questions posted by a ReCommer today:
One of my lecturers once told us that, sometimes doctors can just scribble away when they dont know the spelling for those drugs, disease, or parasites name .

So, hows that?
I was pretty amazed by my ability to come up with an explanation in my attempt to save the medical institution from disgrace. But I did include a story to make it sound, errr, you know, "fair".
Eerm, it's not as bad as you think, I guess. I understand what you mean, but it's not that a doctor would forget the name of your cough mixture and will simply scribble down things like "amelioraugmentin". More likely, say the doctor is supposed to prescribe Nifedipine (one of the drugs indicated for hypertension or angina patients)... The doctor may not be able to recall exactly whether it's nifedipine, nefidinpin, nefindiping etc; so in this case, he or she will tend to write thing like "N ..*jiggling*.. fid ..*zig-zags*.. pine" or something like that.

In any case, it's right to say that doing this may lead to disastrous consequences. In fact a few days ago, our tutor told us that there was one case, a nurse was supposed to inject a particular amount of a particular drug, and the amount written by a doctor / nurse (can't remember) was like this:

What do you think that is? 99? 44? 77? 49?

The nurse injected 44 units of drug into the patient, and the patient died. It turned out it was supposedly 4u, or 4 unit of drugs. Having been given 11 times therapeutic dose of drug, the patient was literally killed by the doctor, or whoever who came up with that crappy handwriting.

Perhaps this could show us just how important handwriting is to the healthcare profession. But luckily such mishap is rare, and perhaps will be even less likely to happen in the future following the implementation of electrical records.
Hail to the doctors' handwriting! Let's practice writing today!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast [Video]

I went to the world-famous Gold Coast when I was in Brisbane. This is a short video that I took in Surfer's Paradise - notice how the whole beach is lined with hundreds of high-rise building and flooded with thousands of sunbathers throughout the endless span. And the sand was so fine, you could literally feel the miniscule particles trickling between your feet.

Note: I am testing out YouTube video feature. It's fun! And the best thing is, while I can't download a lot of videos due to the exorbitant Internet price (AUD 30 / 500 MB), the upload bandwidth is not counted towards the Internet credit. :P Enjoy!!

Note 2: I have already uploaded some of my Brisbane pictures in my flickr account. It's still in progress, so stay tuned ya!

Note 3: The photo album is completed! If you haven't been there, quick! :P


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Neural Science and A Piece of Puzzle

I realize that I have been posting less and less of my life, and more and more of trivial online stuff... You may say that, "Right, this guy is indeed a geek, half of his life is spent online doing trivial stuff, and his blog just tells everything about his lifestyle." Well, I have to say that this is partly true. No rebuttal is going to refute the fact that I spend a lot of time online. But for the time being, the main reason for my trivial blog posts is because of a subject called Neural Science. Sometimes it's really getting on my nerves.

Principles of Neural ScienceNeural Science is not exactly the hardest thing on earth. Or to be precise, the Neural Science we are taught now is not the hardest thing. As always, if you only want to pass this subject, it's really not hard at all. The problem is, if you really want to get a good result, you have to sacrifice lots of time in the studies. I guess I am somewhere in between the two extremes. Sometimes I feel that I ought to study more than I currently do (which is little, relatively); but sometimes I feel that I ought to go out and socialize more. But whenever I don't know something but somebody else knows, and whenever I feel that I ought to have known the things people know had I spent an extra hour studying, kiasuism kicks in. I spur myself to study more.

It's not that Kiasuism is a bad thing or a good thing, it's just a dilemma a medical student (or rather, every student) faces. Yes, I told myself that education is not about scoring or beating others, and I always tried to light up when there are stressful tests around the corner. I have always told myself that whether you are successful or not doesn't depend on whether you score 81 or 85. But there is no veil to my emotion - when I came home after the first final paper last semester, Yong Chin asked if I was alright - I had muka tension. I couldn't get over things that I didn't do well in.

I started looking up on successful people, on how they become a success. In my random surfing, I stumbled upon the autobiography of Eric R. Kandel, the co-author of the ultimate 1400-page Principles of Neural Science. In year 2000, he was awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the relationship between memory and biochemical processes in neurons.

As I skimmed through the autobiography, I discovered this line about his opinions of note-taking and lecture notes:

I have loved teaching and have learned a great deal from lecturing to medical and graduate students. It was in the context of the neural science course at Columbia [University] that the idea arose of doing a textbook, Principles of Neural Science. In college and medical school I was never a good note-taker. I always preferred sitting back, enjoying the lecture, and just scribbling down a few words here and there. When I came to Columbia to develop the neural science course, I was struck by how much energy students were devoting to writing out every single word of lectures, and I wanted to help them get over that.

Eric R. Kandel
I was awestruck. That's the way Kandel jotted down his notes. That was so counter-intuitive to what I have been seeing... Kandel is absolutely right about the note-taking - medical students are definitely the most accomplished scribers in the world. In our lecture hall, in almost every instance there would be people writing down every single sentence the lecturer said. Furthermore, there are almost 20 state-of-the-art voice recorders at the lecturer's desk. Reading Kandel's thought leaves me wondering: Is Kandel such a genius, or our lecturers such bad teachers, or we have been doing it wrong all the time?

I am not sure. It might be a piece of puzzle as interesting as this one. Or as hard.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Free E-Books (until 11 August)

There is an ongoing World eBook Fair here, in which 200 thousands of eBooks will remain free for download until 11 August. Go grab some of the classics right now!

Note: You will only be able to find books which are out of copyright (classics) there, so don't expect to see Harry Potter... There are still thousands of great books, which I highly recommend to everyone. For example, Pride and Prejudice, Sun Tzu's Art of War etc. Yes, there are certainly places where you can find illegal Harry Potter or other eBooks, but I wouldn't dare to show the links here. :)