Oliver Sacks has died

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

–Oliver Sacks

The man himself has died.

Don’t go under Duntsch’s knife!

duntsch

If this man is your doctor, run away. Christopher Duntsch is terrifyingly incompetent.

Duntsch arrived in Dallas in 2010 to start a neurosurgery practice. In the course of the next three years he would work at several different hospitals, earning infamy for his haphazard surgical technique wherever he went, according to the Texas Observer. His colleagues described him in the harshest superlatives: “worst surgeon I’ve ever seen,” “sociopath.”

“I couldn’t believe a trained surgeon could do this,” Robert Henderson, another surgeon at Dallas Medical Center, where Duntsch performed several operations, told the Observer. “He just had no recognition of the proper anatomy. He had no idea what he was doing. At every step of the way, you would have to know the right thing to do so you could do the wrong thing, because he did all the wrong things.”

In one case, authorities allege, Duntsch operated on his roommate and friend after a night of using cocaine. The man emerged from the operation a quadriplegic. In another, he purposefully left a surgical sponge inside a man’s body. During that surgery, a fellow doctor forced Duntsch to stop operating because of his “unacceptable” technique, the Dallas Morning News reported, citing a search warrant affidavit.

[Read more…]

No, I’m not even tempted by this one

myfarog

I haven’t played a role-playing game in decades. I enjoyed them, but…no time, and as you all know, I have no friends and am universally despised, so no one to play them with. And now I have another reason to not play at least one of them: it sucks. There’s a new RPG out called Myfarog, which looks unplayable, and is written by a proud racist who sees RPGs as a rehearsal for the coming collapse of Western Civilization. At least it gets away from the tired old stereotype of evil Orcs, and instead has you facing hordes of evil Jews.

It’s strange how half the internet seems to be complaining about “political correctness”, yet there doesn’t seem to be any significant suppression of some of the foulest crap, from Myfarog to Donald Trump, anywhere. In fact, it’s like a golden age of shit everywhere!

Not quite there yet

I was sent this list of 10 “biblical” beliefs that poison Christians, hosted on a site that opposes ‘spiritual abuse’. It’s a weirdly twisty look into the views of a fairly liberal but clearly fervent Christian — I actually agree with them that a lot of these beliefs are actively harmful, but the reasoning they use to reach that same conclusion is odd, to me. That makes it interesting to read, because it provides a peculiar perspective on concerns that are familiar to atheists.

[Read more…]

It would give me pause if my causes required lies to be persuasive

standwithpp

It’s unfortunate that that doesn’t seem to be the case for abortion opponents. Even if I were sympathetic to their cause, I’d recoil from the dishonesty.

This has always been the case. There is no argument against abortion that doesn’t rely on misrepresentation and dodgy associations. Every one of those signs plastered all over my region that declares “My heart started beating at 28 days!” is fundamentally dishonest, relying on a false association between a heart beat and humanity. My zebrafish embryos’ hearts start beating at about 22 hours, does that make them human?

[Read more…]

Friday Cephalopod: Hairy & slimy

Allonautilus scrobiculatus is a rare species that can be distinguishes from the natty Nautilus pompilius by its hairy, slimy shell. That doesn’t seem like a distinction to be proud of, but I guess it takes all types to fill an ocean.

Nautilus pompilius (left) swimming next to a rare Allonautilus scrobiculatus (right) off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.Peter Ward

Nautilus pompilius (left) swimming next to a rare Allonautilus scrobiculatus (right) off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.Peter Ward

I’ve heard of not-pologies…

chupacabra

But not-lawsuits? You know that Rebecca was asking for help to deal with a not-threat of not-censorship and a not-suit from the non-litigious non-jerk Ben Radford. Now she has posted her amusing response to Radford’s non-demands. So many contradictions! He keeps insisting he has no intention of suing in a cease-and-desist letter that demands that she take down posts she has written.

The biggest contradiction, though, is that this is all after Radford hounded Karen Stollznow into retracting and promising to never ever mention their disagreements ever again…an agreement that Stollznow has been honoring, while Radford keeps stirring the pot and reminding everyone what an asshole he can be.

I don’t think he wanted to bring this affair to a close at all.