A series of Scientific Coolnesses

A few weeks back I read about a number of very cool things from the world of science, however it has taken me a little while to get around to writing about them.

Without further ado here they are:

Methanol Powered artificial muscles:

Optic nerve regrowth on a nanofibre scaffold:

Big new reservoir of water ice suspected under Mars:

Advances in coagulation:

New insights into the “Spokes” in Saturn’s rings:

There. Wasn’t that both varied and fascinating.

Soft tissue adjustment disorder

One of the things I’m finding quite amusing going from orthopedics to general surgery is that whenever someone puts up a CT scan for me to look at I start looking for the fracture, and almost completely ignore the all the other soft tissues (which in general surgery are bits we are actually interested in).
Its a habbit that’s quite hard to break, not least of all because generally it’s an awful lot easier to spot fractures on CT that the generally rather vague and ambiguous soft tissie changes which constitute general surgical diseases.

New Tobacco

Have you noticed recently how pervasive the whole mobile phone marketing apparatus has become?

It’s everywhere.

There are phone shops by the dozen in any shopping mall you walk into. Almost every sporting team or event has some sort of mobile phone sponsorship. Ads for plans and handsets are everywhere and seem to be constituting larger and larger segments of TV ad breaks.

In my mind I can’t help think that the other industries that have been able to employ these kinds of mega budget advertising campaigns have been the likes of alcohol and tobacco, and as a result I keep on wondering what skeleton is going to eventually come out of mobile phones’ cupboard…

After all, anything that lucrative cannot be entirely healthy or wholesome, can it?

They don’t build ’em like they used to

In an amusing story out earlier this week, it turns out that one of the NASA’s Mars Rovers has finally broken (somewhat).

The rovers, each designed to last 6 months, have been going for 2 years, and are still happily trunding around their landing sites doing really good science. The other day however one of the rovers broke a wheel. 1 of the 6 it has. And so with one wheel trailing it’s just continuing to roll around on it’s remaining 5 wheels. Now that’s what I call solid.

That new computer smell

I have finally gotten my new computer. Yay. It’s so fast and shiny!!!

I picked it up friday afternoon, missed out on playing with it yesterday as I ended up doing an unexpected additional ED shift until 10pm, and plan on spending almost all today ensconsed infront of it’s softly glowing screen happily emersed in mindless tinkering.

I have to copy all my files and settings from my old computer onto my new computer, then copy all simone’s stuff from her computer onto my old one so that she can have it, and then set up Simone’s old computer for her parents to have. I don’t remember the last time I’ve gotten to do this much under the hood computer tinkering, and I certainly don’t remember when I last (if ever) set up 3 computers in one day.

I’m going to be like a pig in mud!!!

Strugling against the machines

We have recently started using a new computer system at work, which allows (to a limited extent) electronic record keeping and note taking for patient charts.

Old chart entries are scanned in, so that you can pull up old charts from any computer in the hospital, and things like xray reports and blood test results are all accessible through it.

I personally find this a godsend, as it allows me to do a fair bit of my work without writing, and from anywhere I want to do it, rather than being tediously paper based from wherever the charts are kept (on the ward, in medical records, etc).

Recently however they added a new feature which allows you to directly add notes into the online charts, with the idea that in certain situations (especially outpatient clinics) doctors would simply type in notes, rather than writing things and having them scanned later.

Brilliant, I thought, and promptly started entering notes left right and centre, and taking to it like I’m sure the IT people were hoping everyone would, however I have been quite bewildered by the fierce resistance I have seen in my fellow doctors to the system.

Even the relatively tech literate and young (comparatively speaking) doctors seem to resist using it, not because they can’t, but seemingly because they don’t want to, and it is new technology. They want to keep on writing illegibly. They want to sort through piles of crusty old paper charts. They like being able to winge about the system, even though it really is quite a good piece of software, and both an improvement on the previous version that was in use last year, and a monumental improvement (in my opinion at least) on the paper systems of old.

I suppose that that is just the way the world works. Some day it will be me being tech illiterate, and some other young upstart winging at my intransigence.


I have been at home sick today (which I think may actually be my first ever paid-to-be-unwell day, which is kind of momentous in it’s own little way) and have been being closely looked after.

Jack obviously loves having company around, and he hung around all day making sure that I paid him lots of attention (between blowing my nose of course).

When we were kids my mother used to refer to our cats Tabitha and Tigger as being Supervisory P’s (P for Puss) when they would come and watch us hanging out the washing, cooking dinner, and so on, and I think that Jack is developing similar habits, which I can’t say I’m displeased about :-).

Wombat wombling

I was watching this thing on the ABC this afternoon all about a couple of guys who were doing PhDs in the alpine ecology of the Kosciusko National Park area, and they had some really cool footage of all sorts of animals running around in the snow. Kangaroos, Emus, Wombats.

Now wombats look cool enough at the best of times, with their cute little trundling and wombling around, but they really look cute running around in the snow, chewing on the patches of grass sticking through, and drinking from melt streams.

So that’s what 1200 donuts looks like…

Penny arcade has a bloody funny little story going at the moment.

It all started when they posted a comic where they were giving Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) a hard time and comparing SOE’s games to some rather unorthadox pastry products.

In reply to this Sony sent the boys at Penny Arcade 1200 Krispy Kreme donuts. Gabe and Tycho simply didn’t have any comeback. The photos are on the site at the link above. It’s quite priceless.

It’s a jungle out there

Our house’s lawns are begining to look distinctly jungle-ish – almost like something out of Jumanji*, just without the elephants and the homocidal gentleman with a pith helmet and a blunderbuss.

For various reasons we have not had it mowed in about 4 or 5 weeks, and with all the recent rainfall here the grass has somewhat taken off.

Jack of course finds this a wonderful development, as it gives him plenty of cover for sneaking and stalking in (I got to watch him hunt a skink under the house the other day – it was very cute), but as for us humans it tends to be a little irritating as the long grass gets us wet when we leave early in the morning, and offends our sense of tidyness and order.

Still, I suppose that as long as rhinos don’t start stampeding out of it, and we get around to cutting it eventually, it will all be ok.

* I saw the other day that they are releasing a semi-sequel to Jumanji called Zathura: A space adventure, which while not being about any of the original Jumanji characters revolves around the same premise of a game that alters the reality of the players until the game is finished. I can’t decide if I want to see it, but given that I have relatively little time for movies at the moment I will probably wait until it comes out on DVD.