Archive for June, 2012

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Daphne Koller from Stanford informatics and Coursera gave a really interesting talk in Edinburgh earlier this week. For those of you who have been somewhere else over the last year,  Coursera have started to run large scale courses online. They are of course not the first to do this, but that is another issue. What […]

Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won’t survive. It’s as large a change as when we first got the printed book. Do you realize that the cost of higher education has risen as fast as the cost of health care? And for the middle-class family, college education for their […]

Jun 20, 2012

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miscellaneous

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A post from Philip Greenspun. A friend of his got a new job as a doctor and, as part of his employment paperwork, he had to fill in the following. To those of us working in the NHS there is nothing surprising about this.

Jun 20, 2012

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learning

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Physics envy is a little bit of a disease for biologists. It is just that  in so many circumstances the Queen of sciences seems so powerful: a few powerful ideas and you can build a whole edifice of understanding of the natural world. Biology is so much messier. Leo Szilard the great physicist and biologist, […]

Jun 14, 2012

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universities

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Well, it is from an academic economist, so perhaps given recent world events, we cannot expect any better. Is everything up for sale? I do not want to suggest that helping underprivileged students attend college is bad. A true free-market system equalizes opportunities, if not for fairness, at least for efficiency: talent should not be […]

Jun 08, 2012

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medicine

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Thinking about John’s cases as a small sample of the difficulties we face an early-21st-century medicine, I was struck by how greatly the balance of ignorance and ineptitude has shifted. For nearly all of history, people’s lives have been governed primarily by ignorance. This was nowhere more clear than with the illnesses that befell us. […]

Jun 04, 2012

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medicine

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Discuss: We train, hire, and pay doctors to be cowboys. But it’s pit crews people need. Atul Gawande in the New Yorker (as sharp with the metaphors as with the knife)

Jun 03, 2012

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medicine

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These are 2 slides from a sobering talk by David Healy. They summarise trials of antidepressants.  Boxes above the red lines refer to studies with a positive outcome, and those below the line reflect studies with a negative outcome. The top slide  summarises the subset of studies considered for a Lancet systematic review. The bottom […]

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