November 24, 2011
As a kid I had lots of dogs, serially, as pets. I don't as an adult because I never learned to raise dogs or any four legged animal as an animal with all its shortcomings. I want them to act like a human (although I'm not sure we've shown ourselves as anything too great through the ages). But I ran across this story in the NYTimes about the bulldog, a big brutish looking pussy cat of an animal. I had an history with what we called in my kid days an English Bull. My neighbor guy was a former marine who I remember fondly. This was after the big war WWII. He was the first man on the block to have a television. He would allow me to spend as much time as I wanted, along with his daughters, watching Super Circus, Howdy Doody and other kid shows. But I remember the dog. He was a big strong looking animal who drooled. But he would allow me to pretend to ride him like a horse. He never made a protest. But it looks like the breed is in trouble. I'm sorry to hear it.
November 20, 2011
From Architectural Digest comes this home library. There's a saying we poorer folks use as consolation for being poor. It's that money won't bring you happiness. Well when I need some new space for my books, I search around for a build it yourself with maybe 3 to 6 shelves, and slap a coat of varnish on it, and repeat that mantra about money won't bring me happiness. Sure.
November 19, 2011
Shorpy, the exhibitor of all those old, old photos has now come up with shorpy tv. This one about driving around in NYC in 1928 will get your heart pumping. Babe Ruth shows up as a passenger in the taxi.
tip: click on full screen, you'll enjoy it more. ESC to return it to original size.
November 11, 2011
November 9, 2011
George Copeland Ault (October 11, 1891 – December 30, 1948) was an American painter. He was loosely grouped with the Precisionist movement and, though influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, his most lasting work is of a realist nature.
Ault was born in Cleveland, Ohio into a wealthy family and spent his youth in London, where he studied at the Slade School of Art and St. John's Wood School of Art. Returning to the United States in 1911, he spent the rest of his life in New York and New Jersey. His personal life henceforth was very troubled. He became alcoholic during the 1920s, after the death of his mother in a mental institution (Schwartz, 301). Each of his three brothers committed suicide, two after the loss of the family fortune in the 1929 stock market crash (Lubowsky, 7).
Although he had exhibited his works with some success, by the early 1930s his neurotic behavior and reclusiveness had alienated him from the gallery world (Lubowsky, 24–26). In 1937, Ault moved to Woodstock, New York with Louise Jonas, who would become his second wife, and tried to put his difficulties in the past. In Woodstock the couple lived a penurious existence in a small rented cottage that had no electricity or indoor plumbing (Lubowsky, 28). Depending on Louise for income, Ault created some of his finest paintings during this time, but had difficulty selling them (Schwartz, 302). In 1948, he apparently committed suicide by drowning. In his lifetime, his works were displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Addison Gallery of American Art (in Andover, Massachusetts), among others.
Ault worked in oil, watercolor and pencil. He is often grouped with Precisionist painters such as Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford because of his unadorned representations of architecture and urban landscapes. However, the ideological aspects of Precisionism and the unabashed modernism of his influences are not so apparent in his work—for instance, he once referred to skyscrapers as the "tombstones of capitalism" and considered the industrialized American city "the Inferno without the fire" (Fryd, 57). Ault painted what he saw around him, simplifying detail slightly into flat shapes and planes, and portraying the underlying geometric patterns of structures. An analytical painter and ultimately a realist, he was especially noted for his realistic portrayal of light—especially the light of darkness—for he commonly painted nighttime scenes (Schwartz, 300). Of his later paintings, such as January, Full Moon; Black Night; August Night; and Bright Light at Russell's Corners (pictured), The New York Times wrote:
“ The setting is the same in each case—a solitary streetlight, the same bend in the road, the same collection of barns and sheds—but seen from different vantage points. In them, Ault has summoned up the poetry of darkness in an unforgettable way—the implacable solitude and strangeness that night bestows upon once-familiar forms and places.
November 2, 2011
Once your family is touched by cancer you can't pass articles like this without reading it and saying to yourself..Yes this makes sense, which it does. Accumulating all the diagnoses and treatments and applying those facts combined with the doctors good hands will give everyone more faith in a good outcome battling this terrible disease.
IBM's Watson supercomputer to diagnose patients
Watson will initially be used to help treat cancer patients
September 12, 2011 (Computerworld)
Watson, IBM's game-show-playing supercomputer, will soon be used to help physicians diagnose and treat cancer patients.
IBM announced earlier this year that healthcare would be the first commercial application for the computer, which defeated two human champions on the popular television game show Jeopardy!in February.
IBM and WellPoint, which is Blue Cross, Blue Shield's largest health plan, have agreed to develop Watson-based applications that can improve patient care through the use of evidence-based medicine, which is designed to standardize patient treatments by identifying proven best practices. A simple example of evidence-based medicine in action would be when a provider automatically places someone who has suffered a heart attack on an aspirin regimen upon leaving the hospital.
The Watson supercomputer is made up of 90 IBM Power 750 Express servers powered by eight-core processors -- four in each machine for a total of 32 processors per machine. The servers are virtualized using a kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) implementation, creating a server cluster with a total processing capacity of 80 teraflops. A teraflop is one trillion operations per second.
Working with speech and imaging recognition software provider Nuance Communications, IBM said the supercomputer can assist healthcare professionals in culling through gigabytes or terabytes of patient healthcare information to determine how to best treat specific illnesses.
For example, Watson's analytics technology, used with Nuance's voice and clinical language understanding software, could help a physician consider all related texts, reference materials, prior cases, and latest knowledge in journals and medical literature when treating an illness. The analysis could quickly help physicians determine the best options for diagnosis and treatment.
"There are breathtaking advances in medical science and clinical knowledge [but] this clinical information is not always used in the care of patients," said Dr. Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint's Chief Medical Officer, in a statement.
"Imagine having the ability to take in all the information around a patient's medical care -- symptoms, findings, patient interviews and diagnostic studies. Then, imagine using Watson analytic capabilities to consider all of the prior cases, the state-of-the-art clinical knowledge in the medical literature and clinical best practices to help a physician advance a diagnosis and guide a course of treatment. We believe this will be an invaluable resource for our partnering physicians and will dramatically enhance the quality and effectiveness of medical care they deliver to our members," Nussbaum added.
Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas Watson, can rifle through 200 million pages of data and provide precise responses in just seconds.
WellPoint said it expects to begin employing Watson technology in early 2012 in clinical pilots with selected physician groups.
"The implications for healthcare are extraordinary," said Lori Beer, WellPoint's executive vice president of Enterprise Business Services. "We believe new solutions built on the IBM Watson technology will be valuable for our provider partners, and more importantly, give us new tools to help ensure our members are receiving the best possible care."
Manoj Saxena, Global Solutions Leader for IBM Global Business Services, said Watson will initially be piloted by Wellpoint's community of oncologists, who will access its capabilities through a Web-based platform.
The computer used for the pilot will be somewhat smaller than the model used in Jeopardy!, but because of optimization since that time, it will have the same processing power, Saxena said.
Saxena said that much like travel sites Expedia and Travelocity, physicians will be able to input certain criteria to get back the best options for diagnoses and treatment. The results will come after Watson sifts through online clinical research and best practices, patient information in electronic health records (EHR), as well as historical insurance claim information related to specific patients, Saxena added.
The computer will reside in Wellpoint's core data center in Richmond, Va., but as the system develops, IBM said it will also be offering its capabilities to caregivers through a Web-based cloud service.
Lori Beer, executive vice president of Enterprise Business Services at WellPoint, said that while the healthcare provider has its own homegrown EHR system, many of its caregivers use platforms from a variety of vendors, so Watson's interface will need to adapt to different workflows.
Beer said that the program is starting in the oncology unit because cancer care and treatment research costs are growing faster than other areas.
"If you think about the power of [combining] all our information along with all that comparative research and medical knowledge ... that's what really creates this game changing capability for healthcare," Beer said. "Watson can present the physician with the most likely diagnosis ... and the probability that it's accurate, as well as presenting all the evidence that supports that diagnosis."
"Even more important is the course of treatment that follows that diagnosis. Through that whole continuity of care, from diagnosis through the whole course of treatment - that's really how we envision Watson being a game changers in terms of driving better quality healthcare," she added.