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Doctors Must Take Women Seriously

What if you went to the doctor with a serious problem and you were ignored, or even accused of making up your condition? This is, unfortunately, the reality for many women: they go to the doctor with a medical complaint, and are ignored, have their concerns minimized, or get accused of lying. What prompted me to write about this today is that just an incident happened to a friend of mine yesterday.

Out of the Crisis

We are living in a world in crisis. But it’s not too late to save it–and ourselves. It would be difficult to summarize with any accuracy the problems we currently face, as a species. Even just narrowing down to a specific culture or country, the complexities are too numerous to faithfully generalize. But there are definitely trends we can examine, and those trends tell us a lot about where we may be headed if we don’t change course.

The Future of Infosec

With the spread of Internet connectivity to everything from smartphones to refrigerators and toaster ovens, the security implications are out of this world. Let’s be honest: hardly anyone thinks about Internet security, and it’s a tale as old as technology. We want things that are convenient, easy to use, and don’t stand in the way of us doing what we want. When I pull out my phone, I don’t want to type a password every time I go to access my email.

The Normalization of Deviance

Why do companies, institutions, or even whole societies not do what is best or most optimal for themselves? Why is it so hard to change? I recently came across an interesting piece by software engineer and blogger Dan Luu, in which he discusses the “normalization of deviance.” The phrase itself seems like a contradiction in terms: if something has been normalized, it’s no longer deviant, is it? What’s really being described is deviation from the optimum–the best or most efficient course of action.

Spotting Junk "News"

You just saw this interesting link on social media. It makes very surprising claims–it might even promise to turn your world upside-down. But think before you click “Share”! I’m going to assume that, if you’re taking the time to read this, you are someone who cares about truth and accuracy. You don’t want to share fabricated nonsense. You want the links you share on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to be meaningful, informative, and truthful.

Evidence-Based Policy: Prove It

One of the most curious aspects of politics is our refusal to see reality, to demand policies regardless of how well they work or even whether they work at all. Why do we damage ourselves with counterproductive approaches? I like to start with the big questions. Why do we have a government at all? When you get right down to it, governments exist to solve problems that cannot be effectively addressed at a lower level.

Drug Addiction as a Public Health Issue

After decades of failed policy, we may finally be seeing drug addiction as the complex health issue it really is, rather than treating it as a law enforcement problem. The height of the War on Drugs is well past at this point. The ‘80s and ‘90s remain the high water mark of that particular joint federal-state effort. Countless lives have been lost or destroyed in the meantime, civil rights violated on a large scale, and for what?

The Red Bead Experiment

What can we learn about life and work from a bunch of little white and red beads mixed together? Quite a bit, actually. If you’ve never heard of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, you’re hardly alone. He’s been dead for over 20 years, and had already passed away before I’d first heard of him. What he will likely be most remembered for is being instrumental in Japan’s economic revitalization following World War II.

Are We Too Specialized?

Today’s economy is based on ever narrower specialization–people who know their specific domains inside and out, even if they don’t know much else. But this might be leading to greater problems in the future. Specialization only became possible as technology advanced, requiring workers with special knowledge in order to do their jobs. In the past, certain trades were also specialized, and such knowledge was kept within that profession. Apprentices learned from experienced tradesmen, and so it was in many kinds of work for hundreds of years.

The Problem with Batteries

Unlike other electronics-related technologies, batteries don’t seem to advance that quickly. What gives? First off, it helps to know what a battery is and how it works. How Stuff Works has a great article on this, but I can also give you the short version. All batteries consist of positive and negative terminals, which are attached to cathodes and anodes (collectively known as electrodes), respectively, within the battery. Some medium must exist between the two to transmit energy, and this is the electrolyte.