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Archive: November 12, 2008

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more from Rio

Wednesday,  11/12/08  05:31 PM

This is coming to you from Rio de Janeiro, my second day here, and I still haven't slept very well.  The effort of concentrating on Portuguese conversations while tired is significant, whew...

So today was amazing; we spent most of the day at the INCA (Instituto Nacional de Cancer).  The INCA has a long history – commemorated in various Brazilian stamps...

Rio de Janeiro - INCA (Instituto Nacional de Cancer)
INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cancer

I must say INCA is in a horrible section of Rio, right near the commercial port.  The taxi ride over was like entering a war zone.  There is an armed guard at the entrance, covering a bulletproof front door.  You begin to realize that Rio is like a movie set; the beaches and the tourist hotels are amazing, but behind the scenes there is a lot of poverty and strife.  There are 6M people in Rio - it is, for example much larger than Los Angeles - and a significant number of them are literally dirt poor; they live in the favelas, the Brazilian slums, which are shanty towns of corregated steel shacks and dirt floors.  Everyone warns you not to get near them, they are rife with drug dealing and gang warfare.

Rio de Janeiro - Ole presents!
I present Aperio's image analysis solutions to a room full of pathologists...

Anyway my presentation went well, attended by 45 people (as with São Paulo, more than expected), and afterward we walked to lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall nearby.  I must tell you I was pretty uncomfortable with that area and would not walk through it again.  Wow.  For the first time I transitioned to thinking of Brazil as “third-world” instead of pseudo-European.  The restaurant featured an interesting innovation, apparently common throughout Brazil; a buffet where you pay by the pound.  My total for a surprisingly good meal was R$5.50, a little over $2.  Seems like an idea that would work in the U.S.; no food is wasted, and you pay according to how hungry you are…

After lunch we had a nice tour of the pathology lab; pretty cool, an interesting mix of old and new technology, e.g. human cover slippers and a spiffy new German tissue processor.  The lab processes about 1,000 slides per day, all [suspected] cancer cases.  The highlight for me was the basement where they store slides; the warehouse in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark was vividly brought to mind.  Check out all the slides and tissue blocks spread out on tables for sorting...

Sorting slides preparatory to filing them in the archive…

Later we returned from the “war zone” back to our first-class hotel in the middle of Copacabana Beach; a pretty weird transition.  And still later we walked down the beach to a wonderful seafood restaurant.  Yet another meal which will require a weeks’ riding to work off, sigh, but it might possibly have been worth it :)

Rio de Janeiro - seafood buffet!
Yes, that is Sevruga, and yes, I ate a lot of it :)

So ends day three!  Tomorrow we travel to Salvador, Brazil's third-largest city...


Wednesday,  11/12/08  06:19 PM

Today's filter pass on the blogosphere, again from Rio, and still without enough sleep...

Dave Winer wonders Is Obama truly world-wide?  As someone presently in Brazil, the fifth largest country, I can unequivocally answer Yes.  It is amazing to see how many Brazilians followed the U.S. elections, and how glad they are that Obama won.  And how much they expect from him and the U.S. as a result.

Ronald Bailey argues No New Energy Czar (we've been down this policy dead-end before).  [ via Glenn Reynolds, who asks "have we ever solved a problem by appointing a 'czar'?"  No. ]

high-speed trainInhabitat: Californians vote yes on 800 miles of high speed rail.  Yes we did.  "According to the High Speed Rail Authority, California is the 12th largest source of greenhouse gas emission on earth, 41% of which come from transportation. Traveling at 220 miles per hour, the trains will reduce greenhouse gases by up to 12.7 billion pounds annually, the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road each year."  So that's all very exciting, and I would ordinarily be very excited, but in these times we have to ask, can we pay for it?

Sprint Now dashboardSprint's Now dashboard...  OMG how cool.  Really you must click through and see this for yourself...  [ via Daring Fireball ]

Tim Oren has some questions for Jerry Yang's successor at Yahoo.  "If the Yahoo board is evenly vaguely doing their job on behalf of shareholders, they are searching for a successor.  So here's a gratis list of questions they ought to asking a CEO candidate, who should either have defensible answers walking in, or develop them as part of his or her diligence process, before agreeing to take the hot seat."  They're good questions...

unexpected buildingPhotos of unexpected buildings - which don't actually exist.  But they should...  Belgian photographer Filip Dujardin makes images of unexpected buildings; he "combines photographs of parts of buildings into new, fictional, architectonic structures."  I love it.

Eric Raymond has more on 'moogly', his Google G1 phone.  "My more considered verdict is this: HELL YEAH!  The iPhone should be feeling teeth in its ass right…about…now.  It’s not any one feature that makes me say this.  It’s that the gestalt, the entire experience, is so comfortable and pleasant. I enjoy using my phone."  Not to mention (and he doesn't), it has a real keyboard.  Some people say it has a crummy real keyboard, but still...

RAID explained!RAID explained!  Thanks to these guys for this excellent explanation
(For RAID 6, simply add one more bottle to the RAID 5 example :)

The Cleveland Clinic have unveiled their annual list of top 10 innovations in medicine; interestingly, #4 is multispectral imaging in pathology...

Brazilian leaf-house (outside Rio)Apropos my current location, the Breezy, Beautiful Brazilian leaf-house.  This house is outside Rio, can't be that far from where I am! 

Pretty different to the favelas (Brazilian slums) I passed today...  wow, what a study in contrasts.

Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) finds his voice.  "Here's an update on my voice, in case anyone is curious.  Thanks to surgery in July to correct my exotic voice problem (Spasmodic Dysphonia), I now have a virtually normal voice...  This is a life changing event for me...  However unpleasant you imagine it is to be unable to speak, I can assure you it was worse.  But thanks to one surgeon, Dr. Berke at UCLA, apparently my problem is solved."  How excellent.



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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained