Sunday, April 30, 2023
Funny How Time Slips Away
The robot can see you now. UCSD study shows that people preferred the advice of AI chatbot to doctors.
A new study led by researchers at UC San Diego explores how artificial intelligence compares to human expertise in the workaday task of dashing off quick responses to routine medical questions.
Published Friday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the paper finds that ChatGPT, the world-upending chatbot with a seemingly-infinite breadth of training, was able to more than hold its own when its responses were judged by a panel of experts against those made by flesh-and-blood physicians.
Evaluators found they “preferred the chatbot responses to the physician responses,” in 78 percent of evaluations made. What’s more, chatbot responses were found to be of a “significantly higher quality” than those from humans. And, in terms of empathy, an area where people would intuitively seem to have an edge, silicon again excelled.
“Chatbot responses were rated significantly more empathetic than physician responses,” the paper states.
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Chopin: Etude Op. 10 No. 5 in G flat major
Red tailed eyass
One of my true yearly joys watching this take place.
It is two o'clock in the morning but my sleep cycle is out of whack so I think I will try to stay up and write for a while, can always finish in the real morning, that time of day when the sun is up and not just a slivered moon.
It has been a hell of a week. Amazing what you can pack in when you don't really have another choice. I drove back from San Francisco on Monday, unpacked the van and put some money in the very depleted bank account on Tuesday, had surgery Wednesday, tried to chill out Thursday and then went back to see another specialist down in Hillcrest yesterday.
Sort of a whirlwind.
This procedure was easier to take than the one two weeks ago, less bleeding and no complications so far. I did wonder if I had developed a hernia, had a lot of pain in my right groin and abdomen. But I ran into my cancer doctor at the elevator yesterday and she told me that the tumor was in a really difficult position, high up in the bladder and an immediate right turn.
She told me that she really had to press and bang around hard down there in order to do whatever she did and wondered if I was hurting? So now I know why I hurt, would not have had a clue. By the way, I am really lucky and fortunate to have this doctor, she has bought me at least two years and saved my bladder and prostate, while everyone else had counted me out. Found me the BCG too, which is very hard to get.
Many people in San Diego owe a lot to Carol Salem and I am in awe of this hard working doctor. I am not out of the woods but she has given me a chance and I appreciate it very greatly.
I have been doing a lot of roasts, chops, shanks and the like and my wife told me she was ready for a bit more ethnic cooking. She loves Indian food and asked me to make her an Indian curry. I based my recipe on this one I found on YouTube with some minor tweaks. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this took over six or seven hours to prepare.
I tell people that I have never been a cook in our over thirty year marriage and there is a story there. Over thirty years ago I attempted to make a very complicated Chinese velvet chicken dish from Claiborne or the Joy of Cooking.
It was a disaster. The dish didn't turn out and there was oil literally splattered on the ceiling of the kitchen. And everywhere else. It all got away from me and I was effectively banished from the kitchen forever and rightly so. Total implosion.
As you know, for the last three or four months I have been slowly cooking my way back in, developing chops and confidence, not to mention better basic kitchen skills and habits, like clean as you go.
So back to my curry. I have never been a huge fan of Indian cuisine because so much of the food you find here is poorly made and I have had bad reactions to too much garam masala, the spice composite that is featured in so much of the fare. Fine, I would make it myself.
I bought organic thighs and drumsticks, washed them and patted them dry. I pulled out the ancient cuisinart and added half an onion, six cloves of garlic and ginger. I microplaned fresh turmeric root and added it to the mix and finally added a cup of whole plain yogurt. I boiled some raw cashews and added them to my processor.
I pureed it as fine as I could and made a paste.
Added oil, salt, pepper and some sugar to balance the heat.
Took my rings off, washed my hands and mixed it all together by hand.
Beautiful colors in this dish, satisfies my inner artist.
I pulled the ziplock out at the appointed time and placed the contents in my dutch oven on the stovetop, let it sit for about an hour at room temp.
I peeled potatoes and purple carrots to the pot and pre heated the oven.
She said that she has cooked for thirty two years and that now it is my turn.
Yesterday I bought aji amillo paste at Northgate. Hard to find. Soon I will attempt my favorite Peruvian dish, aji de gallina.
Friday, April 28, 2023
The wisdom of Marjorie Taylor Greene
“People are not affecting climate change. You’re not going to tell me that back in the ice age, how much (sic) taxes did people pay, and how many changes did governments make to melt the ice? The climate is going to continue to change.”
“How much taxes and how much money did the people back in the ice age spend to warm up the Earth? Maybe, perhaps, we live on a ball that rotates around the sun, that flies through the universe, and maybe our climate just changes.” Marjorie Taylor Greene
[Ed. note: a learned person will understand that the last age started approximately 100,000 years ago and ended about 25,000 years ago. There was a brief period in the 1700's called the little ice age where there was widespread glacialization but somehow I doubt that is what she was referring to. There were no governments 25kya, to the best of our knowledge anyway and the concept of taxes was as yet, unknown. Governments were not paying to "melt the ice." Thankfully, she got the part about the earth revolving around the sun correctly.]
I took the first pictures of the young red tailed hawk chicks in the nest yesterday afternoon. It wasn't optimal light but I expect that there will be many more opportunities and I will eventually drag the prime lens and tripod out.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Back at the Senate hearings...
One of the Democrats’ witnesses, Amanda Zurawski, told senators how during her second trimester, her water prematurely broke, meaning that there was no way that her daughter, named Willow, would survive, and if she did not get access to an abortion she could die due to septic shock.
Because of Texas’ law, her doctors could only perform an abortion if there was no fetal heartbeat or unless her life was in danger.
Septic shock, known as blood poisoning, can kill a person within hours. Zurawski said the closest medical center that could have performed an abortion was eight hours away, and she and her husband didn’t want to risk her going into septic shock in a car ride or in an airplane.
“I cannot adequately put into words the trauma and despair that comes with waiting to either lose your own life, your child’s, or both,” she said. “Would Willow’s heart stop, or would I deteriorate to the brink of death?”She said three days later she went into septic shock. Zurawski said she was briefly stable and gave birth to her daughter, who was stillborn. She then spent several days in the ICU.
Fearing the draconian laws there that could lead to her doctors being prosecuted for murder, the doctors refused to help her and she went septic and almost died.
She may not be able to give birth again.
"We've heard a lot today about the mental trauma and the negative harmful effects on a person's psychological well-being after they have an abortion, supposedly, and I'm curious why that's not relevant for me as well," Zurawski said.
"Because I wasn't permitted to have an abortion and the trauma and the PTSD and the depression that I have dealt with in the eight months since this happened to me is paralyzing," she added. "On top of that, I am still struggling to have children."
She spoke at a Senate hearing yesterday. Neither Senators Cruz or Cornyn attended the hearing although they were in Washington. Cornyn says she has a good medical malpractice case, showing no compassion whatsoever to her physical and emotional trauma. The little weasel Cruz said nothing at all.
It is no wonder that obstetricians and maternal health professionals are leaving the red states in droves. Like this woman in Idaho.
Pamela Parker, an OB/GYN who worked for years in Texas along the Rio Grande, said she left the state following the enactment of its six-week abortion ban because she could no longer work in such a restrictive climate.
“As I seek jobs, I keep the Guttmacher map on my desktop,” Parker said, referring to the reproductive rights research organization that tracks state restrictions on abortion. “I get a lot of requests for temporary or permanent jobs from states with bans, and I let them know why I would not ever practice in their state.”
Not for astronauts
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
(There's a) Hole In the Bucket
The rain is gonna come, oh it surely looks like rain. Bob Weir/John Barlow
There were other curious things found in this picture, perhaps we will revisit them another day.
I needed to be at the hospital in Hillcrest at 8:30 a.m. for my surgery this morning.
Traffic was horrible, thank god for Leslie and the carpool lane. Got there in the nick of time.
She dropped me off in front of Scripps and I made my way to the now very familiar Surgery Center on the second floor.
Can do it with my eyes closed.
They had initially thought I could be there for six hours, ended up taking a little more than four.
I met my cancer doctor for a brief instant and then the anesthesiologist, who was a pretty chill dude.
We went over my allergies and contraindication history and decided on the cocktail to put me out. I had only one request, I needed to go to sleep listening to the Grateful Dead. He said not a problem.
My i.v in place in my left arm (the veins in the right elbow now full of scar tissue from too many pokes,) I was wheeled to the operating room. I talked a bit about Asian food with my nurse, who was of Chinese extraction but grew up in Arlington Heights. She went to Loyola. The anesthesiologist chimed in that he went to Northwestern.
This was a good sign, I have always got along exceedingly well with Chicago people. They found my station, channel 23 and soon I heard Bob Weir letting me know that it looks like rain. I was hoping for a Jerry song but it would do and soon I was entering my torpor accompanied by the dulcet guitar licks of Mr. Garcia. It is a long time habit of mine and all of my doctors to date have played along.
I told them that they could switch to polka for all I care while I was out.
I came to and felt pretty good considering. Made small talk with a burka'd Somali woman in the recovery room. Took a couple tylenol for discomfort and Leslie showed up right on time. A lot of people have balance issues waking up but I am an old hand and instantly had my sea legs.
It is my ultimate comfort food, beef brisket and fat hand ripped noodles.
Gets no better.
Chased it down with their excellent salted and vinegar-ed cucumbers.
Not as good as Spicy City but close.
We drove home and I started to feel the surgery. I laid down and chilled for most of the afternoon.
It was miserable two weeks ago and I hope that I don't repeat that.
Doesn't feel good but I have felt worse.
I am not sure when I will get my biopsy results but will let those of you interested know.
It is the waiting stage right now, whatever will be, will be. If I can get through the next ten days without a UTI or complication I will feel very blessed.
I have an appointment with a different doctor down there on Friday but will cancel unless I feel a whole lot better. Need to chill.
I appreciate all your good wishes and the beautiful flowers from Blake, Kim and John.
The only real bummer, short of having my penis ported with a hard tubular object and my bladder scraped and burned like a piece of charred salmon skin stuck to the bottom of the cast iron pan, is that I saw what I weighed on the scale today.
My habit is not to look but I stupidly did today. Turns out that all this cooking I have been doing has pushed my payload up twelve lbs., now past the eighth of a ton mark. Jesus.
Will definitely leave this mortal coil with a gluttonous smile, if that is what is in the cards.
Thanks for following along at home.
Fingers still crossed.
Indiana kids must climb under or over a train to get to school - ProPublica
Boomers, don't expect a lot of affection from the millennials.
Race wokeness and organ transplants - Reason
Kentucky set to auction off AR - 15 used in Louisville mass shooting.
New Mexico races to save its acequias.
Third grade teacher in Texas reprimanded for teaching children about constitutional rights.
Kyrsten Sinema has a net favorability rating in her state of -23. As in minus. And boy does she have expensive tastes.
WaPo - One hundred years ago, the Mississippi state Senate voted to evict the state’s Black residents — the majority of its total population — not just out of Mississippi, but out of the country.
Tucker Carlson's mother left him one dollar in her will.
Bring it - A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to block former Vice President Mike Pence from testifying before a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former president’s role in the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Big trouble - Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking to remove a lawyer from representing 10 Georgia Republicans who served as fake 2020 electors for Donald Trump after several of them allegedly accused a fellow elector of breaking state law last week.
Tuesday's filing also alleged that attorney Kimberly Burroughs Debrow also failed to notify her clients of potential immunity deals that prosecutors offered last summer. The court filing also asked to have Debrow removed from the case after she and her co-counsel at the time, Holly Pierson, appeared to have ignored a July 2022 order from the judge overseeing the investigation to make clear to the fake electors that they could take immunity deals. But when prosecutors interviewed some of the fake electors last week, they were surprised to hear that no potential offer of immunity had ever been discussed with them, the court filing said.
suing the Mars Corporation for trying to bring more women into the workplace and leadership teams.
Gun death rates are consistently higher in rural areas than in big cities, two decades of data show.
From 2011 to 2020, the most rural counties in the U.S. had a 37% higher rate of gun deaths per capita than the most urban counties, according to research published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery. That's up from a 25% difference from 2000 to 2010.
Citing Mars' stated goal to "achieve gender balance across one hundred percent of its leadership teams" as well to ensure "leadership teams and Associate representation... reflect the race and ethnicities of the labor force in the markets in which it operates," AFL argued the company is effectively establishing quotas based on immutable characteristics in violation of Title VII.AFL also claimed the company's "Commitment to Inclusion & Diversity" statement "demonstrates how deeply unlawful discrimination is embedded in Mars’s employment and contracting practices."
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Tool - Chocolate Chip Trip
I am back from my week working up in San Francisco. The show went fairly well although my one large sale imploded unfortunately and came back. Man said the painting was too small.
I grinded it out all week, made a little money here, sold a few things for a loss, but stayed very focused and did what I had to do all in all, so I feel pretty good about my effort. Kept the dogs from the door for a month or two.
The first night up I stayed with one of my oldest and closest friends in Oakland, the best cook Leslie and I know, Melissa.
One lady comes up from Santa Cruz with them and Melissa had bought them at the Farmer's Market earlier that day.
Absolutely delicious meal.
I can't wait to try them in my own cooking, aji gallina, coming right up!
It took a day for the manager at the Bay Landing to return my call. He breathed a sigh of relief when I told him that I was not litigious but that I wanted him to get the sidewalk fixed.
I guess that is the way the cookie (or Robbie) crumbles. Nice hotel really, with the exception of the bad sidewalks.
I thought the meal was fantastic; the best sweet and sour pork I have ever had, vermicelli with clams, short ribs and braised duck with ginger and scallions.
I have read reviews that the service is bad, they were wonderful with us. We were practically the only non asians there. I had eaten at their sister hot pot place next door last time.
The manage said that if we were to ever return, he would stand outside and hold the door open for us.
Everything else about the trip is sort of melting together.
Sunday I worked until four, then packed out for three hours and finally drove two hours to a "safe" hotel in the Central Valley to stay for the night.
I was worried about the East Bay, way too many break ins to press my luck another night with the truck on the street.
There were homeless people congregating around the front of my sanctuary hotel when I got there. Oh shit. This was my third night there and I was worried all night. Cops and screaming throughout my stay but I still had a van and a catalytic converter in the morning. Yippee!
I got home around five, after awful traffic on the 71.
Unloaded the van today. Felt good, body feels good.
It usually makes me feel like hell for about five days, hope it is not as bad as two weeks ago where I had some unusual bleeding for about ten days.
Not a lot of rest for the wicked. Pushin' too hard as the Seeds song goes but really no alternative.
We will see how it all shakes out.
I'll let you know.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
And remember to leave no turn unstoned!
I am staying at a nice hotel on the San Francisco Bay. When I checked in yesterday they gave me room 421.
I asked the guy if he could switch me next door to room 420 but it was occupied.
Would have been fun to celebrate 420 in room 420 but I was just a little bit off.
Monday, April 17, 2023
Curtains for McCurtain
The McCurtain County, Oklahoma story is flying under the national radar. Pretty sickening. Check it out. The FBI is now investigating. Sheriff and council members are secretly recording discussing how to murder an investigative reporter.
The FBI has launched an investigation in McCurtain County following a disturbing recording obtained by News 9. The recording, captured by Gazette reporter Bruce Willingham, revealed county officials discussing plans to beat, kill and bury two newspaper reporters in Idabel, including Willingham's son, Chris."I was completely appalled and frightened, quite frankly," said Willingham upon discovering the recording.
He says he left his recording device inside a McCurtain County commissioners' meeting, where he intended to prove the officials were holding secret meetings.
However, he ended up getting much more than he bargained for.The more than three hours of audio recordings include discussions about hiring hitmen to carry out the murders.
"I've known two or three hit men, they're very quiet guys, yeah, who would cut no f*** mercy, yeah, in Louisiana, cause it's all mafia around here," said one of the county officials.
The recordings also include discussions about where the reporters' bodies could be buried. Willingham identified Sheriff Kevin Clardy, commissioners Mark Jennings and Robert Beck, and Alecia Manning with the sheriff's department as some of the people heard in the recording.In the recording, Jennings also appears to complain about not being able to hang Black people, saying: “They got more rights than we got.”
The conversation also included complaints about District Attorney Mark Matloff, district judges and Black people. One of those present, reportedly Jennings', says he longed for the day when law officers could knock Blacks around, throw them jail and "take them down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a rope."
"I can see where they might try to spend that as being a joke that part, but then Alecia comes back later on and starts talking about my daughter-in-law and she starts getting worried about who would get the blame. I don't see how you spin that as a joke," Willingham said. Willingham has turned the full audio over to the FBI and the Oklahoma Attorney General's office. The investigation is ongoing.
The Governor has called for all of the officials to resign. More here.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
There was a good article online the other day about El Indio in San Diego. They claim that they invented the taquito and they very well may have.
El Indio was founded in 1940 on the corner of India and Grape Streets by a man named Ralph Pesqueira Sr. A worker at one of the local airplane factories at the time, he started El Indio as a tortilla factory alongside his parents.
“It was like a little tortilla factory where they were making tortillas by hand,” his granddaughter and third-generation owner of El Indio, Jennifer Pesqueira, said to FOX5SanDiego.com. “He worked in the local factory making airplanes during the night and then worked in El Indio during the day with his parents.”
El Indio has been a part of the San Diego landscape for a long time. My friend Tom did a lot of concrete work there for them. Amazing that they are responsible for something a ubiquitous as the taquito, or at least they brought it up from Sonora.
When I ran a construction crew we used to go to a place on Imperial Avenue that sold ten taquitos for a dollar and we would literally order hundreds of them to go for lunch. Can't remember the name, might have been Chueys.here.
Two places that are not mentioned on the list are Bea's Rancho Chico and the first fast food Mexican restaurant I can ever remember, Azteca Taco on Rosecrans.
Bea's was owned by a friend of my boss. Azteca was seemingly there forever but I don't believe exists any more. They were there late fifties or early sixties and up. That was the place we usually stopped.
Later Eden Gardens became the destination for Mex. Tony's Jacal, The Bluebird and Fidel's. Everybody had their favorite, mine was probably Tony's with their turkey offerings. Robertito's showed up finally and basically changed the taco landscape forever with its stores and their imitators.
Any of you long time San Diegans ever yearn for their old taco shop? Which one?
Sunday, April 16, 2023
Fat Man in the Bathtub