Archive for July 2009

I had always wanted a small distiller that I could use to purify some of the substances that I have been collecting, but it was just hours ago that I came up with a simple working design. The distiller is pictured below. As you can see, it is simply a small plastic tube punched through a large plastic tube (poke a snug hole through the large cap), with a glass tube connected to the large plastic tube by a bent needle. Here’s what each part does.

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Medicine is not an overnight choice for me, but a decision formed over a lifetime. I am often asked why I have chosen to pursue medicine instead of technology, especially by friends. While so far I have done quite a bit of work in engineering and computer science, my interests lie ultimately in the human body. This most intricate meat machine is amazing especially from an engineer’s perspective, since it is both incredibly complex and highly resilient. Medicine is a selfish science, however: it concerns itself with the malfunction and repair of this machine. I say “selfish” not with regret: it is a very human property that we must proudly embrace. While pure science somehow serves a higher purpose, our selfishness gives us a tangible direction. Thus, medicine blends science with art.

I ran into an interesting guy in the park today. He had come all the way here from Nevada for a case of traumatic brain injury. I hadn’t known about Mount Sinai’s outstanding neurology program, or that people would even cross the U.S. to be treated here. He was a highly-functioning individual at first glance, but further interaction revealed a significant level of impairment. He would be crossing a two-way street, but forget to look the other way while crossing the midline; or he would lose focus as other conversations drifted into hearing range. While he was otherwise neurotypical, he had trouble working with numbers; before the injury, he had a job playing cards in Las Vegas. The structure and function of the brain, as well as behavior and psychology, have always caught my interest; but pathology of brain and mind is a topic that I would explore further if I had the opportunity.
* minor details modified to preserve anonymity

I ran into an interesting guy in the park today. He had come all the way here from Nevada for a case of traumatic brain injury. I hadn’t known about Mount Sinai’s outstanding neurology program, or that people would even cross the U.S. to be treated here. He was a highly-functioning individual at first glance, but further interaction revealed a significant level of impairment. He would be crossing a two-way street, but forget to look the other way while crossing the midline; or he would lose focus as other conversations drifted into hearing range. While he was otherwise neurotypical, he had trouble working with numbers and needed frequent rest; before the injury, he had a job playing cards in Las Vegas. The structure and function of the brain, as well as behavior and psychology, have always caught my interest; but pathology of brain and mind is a topic that I would explore further if I had the opportunity.

* minor details modified to preserve anonymity