Archive for the Nerd Stuff Category

Quote of the Week – June 30th

Posted in Nerd Stuff, Quote of the Week with tags , , , on June 30, 2010 by The Beaver Medic

Since the time of the French Revolution, ideological opinions have been classified most often in terms of a single left-right dimension. This usage derives from the fact that late-eighteenth century supporters of the status quo sat on the right side of the French Assembly hall and its opponents sat on the left.

This little tidbit is more trivia than EMS/fire service knowledge. It was from an Annual review of Psychology article I had to read for a social psychology class. The article was incredibly boring (as I find most social psychology articles) but this little gem stood out. I, previously, had no idea why liberal and conservatives were referred to as left and right wing. You really do learning something every day!

The article was Jost et al (2009). Political ideology: Its structure, functions, and elective affinities. Annual review of psychology, 60. 307-337. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163600

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My names is Brendan and I am an…

Posted in Nerd Stuff, Smarty pants with tags , , , on April 8, 2010 by The Beaver Medic

… by this point I had lost all semblance of control or balance in my life. I stopped caring about school, work, even my friends and family. All I thought about was when I was going to get my next fix. It was the only thing on my mind. This is my first AA meeting, my name is Brendan and I am an Article’aholic.

I am addicted to Journal Articles. I meet all of the DSM-IV-TR’s framework on addiction criteria. My addiction is socially, emotionally and occupationally maladaptive. If I am sitting in a lecture or discussing certain topics I will attempt to pay attention in earnest. After awhile, from some comment, an errant thought will stand up from the rest.

And it begins.

I wonder, “Could those two things be related? Hrmm, I thi-iink I remember seeing a citation on {insert random topic, on literally anything, medical/psychological or not}.” Next thing you know I have four PDF articles open and am searching for a fifth because I know I remember seeing pre-1930 Lancet back issues somewhere.

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“Medicalese”

Posted in Nerd Stuff with tags , , on April 1, 2010 by The Beaver Medic
…last blood draw was at 6am, serum levels never rose above 120
So glucose was normal. Means you were wrong about diabetes.
Its the endocrine system, maybe I just got the wrong gland.
So you’re going from thyroid to pancreas…

What does this diagnostic conversation mean? That I watch far too much House? Perhaps, although if you recognized it as a discussion with Talb that means you are just as guilty. But why the jargon? Why does medical and biological science operate with such esoteric terms? Especially given that many of these terms have commonplace synonyms available. Why say humerus when you can say arm bone? Why encephalon instead of the brain? Is it like the raised platform at the pharmacy or the white physician’s coat? Are terms such as renal arterial stenosis really necessary?

Unlike many of my fellow Fire Medic nerds I entered my very first one-day St. John’s ambulance course with no previous education in biology. Over the past three years I have often felt left out listening to all the cool kids speak in a secret language I never learned in shop class. My EMP-III instructor mentioned a significant part of the learning curve for OFA certification was “having to use the big boy words”. I have struggled with the additional workload of not only recognizing shock in a Px but having to remember to call it hypoperfusion. That is until I took (see: forced to take) a course in Western Civilization.

It is just big words!

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Free Stuff – Wolfram Alpha

Posted in Free Free Free, Nerd Stuff on March 27, 2010 by The Beaver Medic

You know, I really sympathize with the Ted Kaczynski types. Technology has become the scourge of our earth. We would all be well advised to abandon our computers and smart phones to make retreat to the bush. Instead of blogging we can concern ourselves with matters of consequence, like food or not having antibiotics.

Have you heard of Wolfram Alpha? Regardless of its mathematical ability I enjoy the site just by attempting to stump it. Check out this introductory video narrated by the site’s director Steven Wolfram.

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Day One

Posted in Nerd Stuff with tags , , , on January 5, 2010 by The Beaver Medic

The requisite first post.

For those of you linked from my Facebook page this blog will serve as an extension of the The Wild West Adventure Blog I published. The focus of that blog was to document my farcical transition from business guy to fire service/coal miner guy. I wanted to keep in touch with the Ontarioans and found a surprising interest in my nomadic transgressions and so I kept the focus of the Wild West blog to mainly autobiographical topics. Any topics including a high level of shop-talk and esoteric jargon I usually reserved for wing night at the Lamp.

I am though, or have become, a keener. A Fire Service and EMS/OFA (Occupational First Aid) nerd. I have read the IFSTA, the Jone’s and Bartlett Fire Service text and both 3″ EMP-III binders from cover to cover. I manage to get in four to five peer-reviewed Journal articles a week and have dived head-long into preparatory study of Anatomy and Physiology. The problem is since moving back to Ontario I have lost my outlet! People here look at you funny when you point out the person with jaundice or follow fire trucks around. Similarly I understand not why people get mad when you symptom-mine their sickness bitching and snort when it is anything beyond your BLS capabilities.

And so, fellow Fire Service, Medic/EMS and Mine Rescue geeks we shall discuss our plight here away from the bored rolling eyes of our friends. I have spoken to quite a few of you friends who have expressed an interest in this little slice of life and learned an immense amount in less than three years. To accommodate the diverse backgrounds of all four of you I will follow the APA guidelines and introduce each acronym first, utilize more common terms whenever possible, etc. I will also stay true to my Psychology reference or suffer the hammer education and include references wherever possible.

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