Monday, May 28, 2012

Awaiting Venus

The countdown has begun as the world prepares to see Venus make its transit across the Sun, a rare event and the last of its kind this century. On June 5-6, 2012 we should be able to watch Venus appear as a black spot and glide slowly across the face of the Sun. Some quick facts about the Transits of Venus: 
  • They occur at gaps of 8,121.5, 8, and 105.5 years (the full pattern repeats every 243 years).
  • The last one occurred in 2004. After 2012, the next one is not due until 2117! 
  • Depending on where you are (see map below), you may be able to watch the full transit, only the entry (before sunset), only the exit (after sunrise), or neither. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Topol-logy 101: Healthcare for Homo Digitus

Cardiologist Eric Topol's recent book The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care was quite an eye-opening and thought-provoking read. We live in an age where our lives are heavily reliant on smartphones and other digital gadgets. Be it navigation, finding a nearby restaurant, or simple event reminders, digital practice has transformed our lives. Yet healthcare continues to be a different (and alarmingly primitive) experience. Some radical change is called for in this arena, be it in small matters like eliminating the annoying paperwork preceding a doctor appointment or getting your physician to respond to your emails quicker or bigger matters like conquering deadly diseases, saving lives, and reducing healthcare costs. This "transformation that accompanies radical innovation" is what Dr. Topol refers to as "creative destruction" in the title of his book. The key to it lies in the unified incorporation of four digital domains into healthcare: wireless physiological monitoring, genomics, imaging, and health information technology.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Discovering Madrid

It is a city teeming with life, an art-lover's paradise, and one of the greenest cities in the world. The official symbol of Madrid is an upright bear next to a Madroño tree, displayed in form of an almost 20 ton statue at Puerta del Sol, the city center.
The bear and the Madroño tree at Puerta del Sol. The Madroño tree is often referred to as a strawberry tree as it bears little red berries that look similar to strawberries.