No Food for Thought

Food is something you should provide to your brain long before coming to this blog. You will find no food recipes here, only raw, serious, non-fake news for mature minds.

Linus Torvalds awarded the Millennium Technology Prize

admin Wednesday June 13, 2012

So, for the first time, the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize was awarded to both laureates, among which Linus Torvalds, for creating "the Linux kernel, a new open source operating system".

It is certainly sad to notice that even Technology Academy Finland still has such a poor understanding of what Linux is and how free software development works (at least, I honestly didn't expect the academy to call Linux "new").
Thankfully, the feeling of sadness is definitely neutralized by the thought of how Stallman must be reacting lol

ADHD = Young?

admin Thursday March 1, 2012

Have you ever read on a mental disorder and found its description to be incredibly vague? Some diagnosis procedures look so relative that it's hard to believe diagnostic opinions can be trusted. If you ever wondered whether some diagnoses were handed out because something's wrong, or simply because some parameter was above some arbitrary threshold, you need to read ADHD may be overdiagnosed in youngest classmates.

Thankfully, even though I was born in August, I haven't been diagnosed with ADHD (so far, but then if the study is right, that's getting less likely at 26). As the study brilliantly analyses:

Although the alternative interpretations that underdiagnosis takes place in older children or that the social pressures on younger children amplify the symptoms of the disorder must also be considered, the evidence of a relative-age effect in our study raises the concern of overdiagnosis and overtreatment of ADHD in younger children within a grade. [...] Inappropriate diagnosis of ADHD in a child born late in the year might lead parents and teachers to treat the child differently or adversely change the child’s self-perceptions.
[...] Our data underscore the dimensional and developmental nature of the symptoms of ADHD and the impact of contextual expectations on the likelihood of the diagnosis being made. Age-corrected rating scales and developmentally appropriate evaluation are therefore essential, but such a strategy may not be enough to fully eliminate the relative-age effect. Confounding influences may still exist, such as the expectations of parents and teachers, or the child’s self-perception in the classroom. For example, inadvertent reinforcement may magnify the apparently inattentive, distracting or impulsive behaviours of the youngest children in a class, such as escaping from a difficult academic task (negative reinforcement) or receiving attention from teachers and peers for disruptive behaviour (positive reinforcement). A previous study found that teachers’ perceptions of child behaviour were more strongly related to a child’s age within a grade than were parental perceptions, suggesting that
[T]eachers’ opinions of children are the key mechanisms driving the relationship between school starting age and ADHD diagnoses.

Either ADHD needs to be seriously revisited, or the impact of classes on children has been seriously underestimated. Whatever the issue(s) is/are, let's actively prevent a defect of attention from this disorderly state of affairs.

How Doctors Die

admin Friday December 30, 2011

From Slashdot:

Dr. Ken Murray, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC, writes that doctors don't die like the rest of us. What's unusual about doctors is not how much treatment they get when faced with death themselves, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves because they know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. 'Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call "futile care" being performed on people,' writes Murray. 'What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, "Promise me if you find me like this that you'll kill me."' Feeding into the problem are unrealistic expectations of what doctors can accomplish. Many people think of CPR as a reliable lifesaver when, in fact, the results are usually poor. If a patient suffers from severe illness, old age, or a terminal disease, the odds of a good outcome from CPR are infinitesimal, while the odds of suffering are overwhelming.

Why Walking through a Doorway Makes You Forget

admin Wednesday December 14, 2011
You're sitting at your desk in your office at home. Digging for something under a stack of papers, you find a dirty coffee mug that’s been there so long it’s eligible for carbon dating. Better wash it. You pick up the mug, walk out the door of your office, and head toward the kitchen. By the time you get to the kitchen, though, you've forgotten why you stood up in the first place, and you wander back to your office, feeling a little confused—until you look down and see the cup.

For the curious, here's an interesting article about our beloved but faulty brains which would explain this common situation.

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