Saturday, June 27, 2009

[Photo] The Darkroom, The Lightroom

Blackness (by changyang1230)
Just a random shot of my room with a cheapskate starburst lens filter :P


Michael Jackson - Man in the Mirror

Gotta make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I turned up the collar on
A favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer's disregard
A broken bottle top
And a one man's soul
They follow each other
On the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change, yey
Na na na, na na na, na na na na oh ho

I've been a victim of
A selfish kinda love
It's time that I realize
There are some with no home
Not a nickel to loan
Could it be really pretending that they're not alone

A willow deeply scarred
Somebody's broken heart
And a washed out dream
(Washed out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah)
I'm asking him to change his ways, yeah
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
'Cause when you close your heart
(You can't close your, your mind)
Then you close your mind

(That man, that man, that man)
(That man, that man, that man)
(With the man in the mirror, oh yeah)
(That man you know, that man you know)
(That man you know, that man you know)
I'm asking him to change his ways
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself then make that change

(Na na na, na na na, na na na na)
Oh yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
(Na na na, na na na, na na na na)

Oh no
Oh no, I'm gonna make a change
It's gonna feel real good
Sure mon
Just lift yourself
You know, you got to stop it yourself
Make that change
(I gotta make that change today, oh)
(Man in the mirror)
You got to, you got to not let yourself, brother oh
You know that
(Make that change)
(I gotta make that make me then make)
You got, you got to move
Sure mon, sure mon
You got to
(Stand up, stand up, stand up)
Make that change
Stand up and lift yourself, now
(Man in the mirror)
Make that change
(Gonna make that change, sure mon)
(Man in the mirror)
You know it, you know it, you know it, you know
Make that change


Please DON'T Call Cardiac Arrest A Cause of Death (3)

[Continued from here]

CNN has a good conversation between Anderson Cooper and Dr Sanjay Gupta about this topic:


Please DON'T Call Cardiac Arrest A Cause of Death (2)

Cardiac_Arrest_by_SuperKusoKao[Continued from here]

More about the cardiac arrest business.

When I say it's silly to say someone "died of cardiac arrest", I am not saying that it's *wrong* - in fact it's absolutely true that a lot of people die when their heart stops. What I am saying instead is that calling cardiac arrest "the cause of death" is quite meaningless. It's almost like asking "Why was TDM hospitalised?" only to hear the answer of "The doctor asked him to stay". Absolutely accurate, but absolutely not answering the question too. I want to hear what illness he had that made him stay in the hospital; not whether the doctor, the surgeon or the physiotherapist asked him to.

It's technically correct to say someone died of stopping of the heart, but we shouldn't call it "THE cause of death" without knowing what caused the heart to stop in the first place. Cardiac arrest, or "the stopping of the heart", can be due to thousands of reasons.

  • Being immersed under the arctic ice cap for one hour.
  • Being electrocuted.
  • Dumping shit load of potassium ion into one's circulation.
  • Being born with a heart with screwed-up wiring.
  • Being born with thickening of certain parts of the heart (how many young athletes have sudden death).
  • Getting overdosed on drugs (which is currently one of the top hypothesis in MJ's case because he has been getting opioids from his doctor).
  • Having a massive heart attack.
  • Having a sick heart from a previous heart attack.
  • Having a huge clot in the pulmonary aorta.
  • And the list goes on.

In fact, almost any disease process or injury would kill you by stopping the heart in the end, with the exception of brain death due to brain injury. In brain death, even though their heart might still be beating, we also consider them dead because there is no longer a person in that body.


What about calling it a heart attack, some might say. THIS is another peeve of mine in the whole media report. Yesterday all the Fairfax newspapers in Australia reported that MJ has died from a heart attack when the official sources said NOTHING about a heart attack. It appeared to me that the Fairfax journalists have equated a cardiac arrest with a heart attack, which is to me as atrocious as equating bacteria to virus.

And NOW you see why I am so worked up.

Heart attack is a specific entity, and we say someone's got heart attack when his coronary arteries (which are the arteries that supply the heart itself) got blocked off by clots. Heart attack can cause death, and when someone dies in a heart attack they often die via cardiac arrest (i.e. when their heart finally stops). But in the process a lot of things could happen, their heart wiring may run amok, their heart walls may rupture, their heart will beat out of synchrony. And so on. And all that could be the precipitant for the eventual cardiac arrest.

In MJ's case, the current official word is cardiac arrest, and no official word has said he's got a heart attack. But I can see that some Australian media has automatically translated cardiac arrest to heart attack, which is quite misleading. In the early hours BBC also used the word "heart failure", which was also another term with a specific meaning in medicine.

It's probably the public health educator's fault that many people are unable to tell the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. The difference might not be that crucial for laymen, you might argue, and you are probably right. However, in the case of journalism, I don't think it's acceptable for a journalist to substitute "cardiac arrest" with "heart attack" without any verification and disseminate the information to millions of people. This is a count of irresponsibility.

[Continued here]


Friday, June 26, 2009

Please DON'T Call Cardiac Arrest A Cause of Death

Cardiac_Arrest_by_SuperKusoKaoWhat would you think if you come across a conversation like this:

A: Hey do you know why Mr. Rockefeller was rich?
B: Oh of course, he's rich because he had earned lots of money.
A: Ahh thanks for telling, that's helpful!
Sounds dumb, no?

Well, what about this conversation.
A: How did he die?
B: He died because his heart stopped.
Sounds dumb, no?

Now time for some pseudo-medical-jargon 101:

Cardiac - adjective - related to the heart.
Arrest - noun - Stopping.

YES when you read a paper that says "Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest", they are telling you "Michael Jackson died of the stopping of his heart".

And they irk my nerd-sanity big time. Too tired to write more right now, I will update this post tomorrow.

[Continued here]


RIP Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died.

I am not really a huge fan of his but at various points of my life I have been touched by his music and inspired by his performance. Who amongst us have never been touched by some of the works like "we are the world", "heal the world", "man in the mirror", "strangers in moscow" or "you are not alone"? Who amongst us have never been electrified by or danced to "beat it", "black or white" or "remember the time" or "thriller"?

I know I have - and for that I mourn the loss. Yes he has his eccentricities and sins, but let's leave it for another day, or for someone above if it is there.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Hospital Sign

A Hospital Sign (by changyang1230)

The swine flu panic. Australia is now officially the limelight in this swine epidemic, and Victoria, the state I am in, has the world's highest swine-flu-per-capita ratio.

And my exams are two weeks away.


Monday, June 08, 2009

No Auto-Play Music Please

Sometimes I wonder whether people who put auto-play music in their blog actually visit their own blog at all. Because if they do, they would know how annoying it is. :P

Of course I have no right to ask people to remove their favourite musics. But at the very least, please make it play only on request, or give us an option to disable it. Thanks.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Just Like Crossing the Road

walk like an Egyptian (by shubhangi athalye)Learning medicine is not unlike learning to cross the road.

When we were little, our parents held our hands to cross the road. When we were young, our parents told us to always cross the road when the traffic light turns green. We should look right, left, and right again to make sure there's no car. And then we cross. After growing up, we learned to jaywalk when there's no car. We even learned to cross a busy road just before the speeding cars could hit us.

When we were a medical student, the doctors carry our hands to see patients. This is how it goes: First you inspect. Then you palpate. Then you percuss. And you auscultate. As we grow up to become doctors and become more experienced, we start to go for only the important stuff and skip the irrelevant bits. As for the consultants? They are the jaywalkers.

I don't mean they are haphazard or reckless, of course. They know where all the cars are.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Of Using Thesaurus Could be Dangerous

Note: This is again a collage of my posts in ReCom, so it might appear incoherent. This post is dedicated to my fellow juniors who are facing the struggle I once faced and is still trying to overcome.

Writing in English is a common struggle faced by most students from Chinese education background. Being unacquainted with the language, many of us have difficulty finding the right expression for our thoughts, and some people end up doing literal translation from Chinese language, often resulting in embarrassment.

In improving our language, one of the tactics often employed is to read thesaurus and do what I would call "find-and-replace". What happens is, instead of using simple words like "beautiful", "ugly" in our writing; we look up the fancier version of the adjectives in thesaurus and replace them with "idyllic" and "grotesque" instead.

While this tactic could work if we do it with care and complement it with improvements in other aspects of the language, I would like to remind people to resist the temptation of doing simple "bombastic-vocab substitution" without considering the context. I have seen many people who learn vocabs through thesaurus and end up writing sentences like,

  • Yeah I am trying to ameliorate my english
  • He is a bona fide guy
  • I reckon vehemently that you are of the right opinion;
when they actually mean
  • Yeah I am trying to improve my english
  • He is a genuine guy
  • I strongly agree with you
After some find-and-replace process, we end up with either sentences that sound awkward or are totally wrong. And worse of all, we don't even realise it, as some of us think that thesaurus means "the book of synonyms".

Just some explanations.

Ameliorate is "improve", but it's usually used in the context of "ameliorate the condition". I am not sure whether it's correct to say "ameliorate english", but the fact is that it's seldom used in this context, so when you simply use it this way it sounds awkward. It would be much better if you just say "improve my english" or "brush up my English".

Bona fide means genuine, but it only refers to the genuine in the sense that it's not counterfeit. E.g. a bona fide Malaysian, a bona fide van Gogh painting, a bona fide offer etc. However, it doesn't have the meaning of "genuine" in "a genuine guy". By a genuine guy we don't mean this is not a pirated-version of a guy, but we are referring to his sincere, truthful personality. And "bona fide" is not often used in this context.

Reckon means think, vehemently means with passion / emotion / zeal. That last sentence was simply improper and awkward. "Of the right opinion" is technically correct but it's not what you would say in daily conversation. It's a cumbersome phrase.

I hope that it's obvious from the examples above that if we simply learn our vocabs off thesaurus, thinking that we can substitute improve with ameliorate or genuine with bona fide indiscriminately, we will probably end up doing more harm than good to our writing.

At the end of the day, using good vocab per se is not a bad thing. Obviously all seasonal writers have a good repertoire of vocabulary, and the vocabulary fluorishes their writing. However, when the other aspects of our language is not as good as the vocab we are using, the whole thing will just feel absolutely awkward. For someone who is not too well-versed in the language, he or she might be "impressed" by our mastery of vocabs without picking up the other glaring errors; but for a native speaker, seeing improperly used vocab interspersed with glaring grammatical errors and non-flowing sentences is a major eyesore.

Or to put it the other way: vocabulary is to a language as icing is to a cake. If you put the icing on a great tasting cake, it's gonna make it even better; but if you simply put icing on a burnt cake or on a bowl of noodle, it's just yucky.