Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Articles

I try to read the news as much as possible. Too bad a lot of things don't really interest me, so I tend to read that which I personally find interesting. Here are three:

1. Essay - Eyes Bloodshot, Doctors Vent Their Discontent
An article I fully sympathize with. I shadowed a doctor last May, and this article brings up all the crap he had to put up with. And what I witnessed was only a fraction of what it must really be like. I mean, the current health care system does rather suck right now. Few understand how much paperwork doctors have, even with a secretary, and how restricted they are when dealing with insurance companies and reimbursements. On the one hand, you want the best medicine for the patient. On the other hand, you want the patient to be able to afford it by making sure it's covered by their insurance. And every insurance is different. So you need like, a chart with all the different medications on it. It's rather insane. Oh yeah, and malpractice insurance.

I hate it when people make the claim that a doctor always makes a good living or always makes money. That's simply not true for many doctors, particularly the primary care ones. And yeah, doctors don't get laid off, but one successful lawsuit could be the end of their entire career. And yeah, they do make a fair amount of money, but they have to pay back at least half a million dollars in debt, plus malpractice and such. As a result of the intense training and extensive time they must go through, doctors better damn earn what they deserve. I mean, how many people spend almost their entire 20s still in school and learning and such? Non-stop, without break.

At times like this, when I read such articles, I wonder why I ever really wanted to become a doctor. It would be easier if I just finished my Masters in public health (MPH) and just stop. But right now, I feel like that won't satisfy me. It doesn't feel like one of my end goals in life. So yeah, maybe I'm still hopelessly optimistic. But maybe, just maybe, there will be some amazing health care reforms by the time I'm a resident. When I'm 27. I'm going to be SO old when I start practicing medicine . . .

2. Why Gays Don't Go Extinct
To be perfectly honest, I take offense to this article a little. It doesn't seem to be very all-encompassing. It's an interesting theory, but it's a population study. They haven't located these genes, they can't test it. It also suggests this as one of many possibilities. I still hold out for sexuality to be an additive genes trait (explained in one of my early posts here).

Still, it's an interesting possibility. Too bad it doesn't apply when one's an only child, or most/all siblings are also male.

3. Spore
I want this game SO bad. You have no idea. I think the biology geek in me is showing. I mean, you get to create a unicellular organism, and have it evolve into a creature. And have that creature eventually evolve into a a society and such, and then launch into space.

So I downloaded the trial version to the Spore Creature Creator. I was hoping for something that'd allow me to do really interesting things. Sad to say, the trial version is pretty limiting. Of course there are tons of options that aren't available. Yet, judging from what I've seen, the full version has its limits too. And here is where my biology really starts to show.

You see, whatever you make has to be a vertebrate. There doesn't seem to be an option for a non-vertebrate creature. And this vertebrate can only have one vertebrate - that is, only one backbone. So I can't make an invertebrate like, for example, a land-based octopus or something. Or if I did, I'd have to "hide" the vertebrae of the creature I create. And I can't make like plant-animal hybrid things. So no photosynthetic creatures, I think. Then again, maybe all this IS an option in the full Spore Creature Creator (that I didn't buy).

Regardless, within the range of possibilities for vertebrates, this game allows for tons of creativity. And it has cute-ish graphics too. I think it's targeted for a younger audience, but it still looks like so much fun! I hope to get it when it comes out in the fall.

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