Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rabi ul Awwal

This month is Rabi ul Awwal in the Islamic calendar and is significant because it is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born.  An excellent article on the meaning of this month is posted here:

Combine Demo Derby

Stuff you can't see anywhere else...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Certify This

Had to get up real early this morning to get certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.  The class was held at Northwestern's Memorial Hospital in Chicago - talk about a beautiful hospital! There are few hotels that look as nice, I've never seen such a big and luxurious hospital.  Someone told me each patient gets his/her own room and that there are something like 700 beds in the place...
The Northwestern medical students have got to be spoiled.  Can you imagine going to school at a place that is walking distance to both Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan? Shoulda worked harder in college...
The other thing I had time to reflect on, as I was zooming up I55 at 7:15am, was how cool it must be to be a morning person.  While it took every ounce of will power to drag myself out of bed for class, I thought about how much more productive people who rise and shine must really be.  The morning just feels so full of potential and opportunity, especially on a bright sunshiney day like today.  I've always been a nighthawk, staying up late to do what I do, but a part of me has always wished to be more of a morning person...
Well, these days I'm doing a rotation in orthopedic surgery with a surgeon who operates out of Christ and Little Company of Mary Hospitals. Had a nice little break since my preceptor was gone for a few days, but it'll be back to the operating room on Monday...
Orthopedics is like carpentry in a lot of ways, and if you have that kind of skill there are probably few jobs that are more rewarding.  [Honey, I fixed that cabinet up vs. Honey, I hammered someone's pelvis back into shape today ].  Plus, as my friend Ejaaz pointed out, there are some more elegant aspects to orthopedics in terms of the fellowships they can do in hand surgery or spine surgery.
I can also attest to the fact that the stereotype of orthopedic surgeons as jocks seems to hold largely true.  My doc had tried out for the US National Soccer team before injuries kept him from going on...
For me the main value of this rotation really is in learning a little bit about the clinic side of orthopedic surgery, learning how they manage their patients before and after surgery.  It's funny to think this is my second-to-last rotation of medical school...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Help me to Observe

Journalists who go abroad to bring us stories from the rest of the world offer us a great service.  From the comfort of our homes or offices, we can join them as they endure the extremes of climate, squallor of poverty or the tragedy of violence.  (Unless, of course, they are travel writers on assignment to Tahiti.  The yin and yang of the trade, I suppose...)
As a recent story in the Christian Science Monitor points out (which I first came across on Harvard's World Health News) many of these journalists are finding it difficult to simply observe difficult situations, and not do anything about it.  Their desire to help, however, sometimes conflicts with their goal to remain objective for the story.  
The article covers the spectrum of opinion on the subject, from quoting journalists who say they never get involved to those who can't help not being involved.  Personally, I don't think it hurts the story to help.  At the same time, one has to know how to help. 
Throwing money around in the middle of the street in a poor neighborhood isn't the answer, but refusing to buy someone a meal who you know is malnourished and hungry seems a little harsh.  In Islam, as in other religious traditions, feeding the hungry is a great act of worship.  Refusing small kindnesses to others only hardens one's own heart--one goes from being an objective observer to a callous one.  
As Kelly McBride, an ethics group leader at The Poynter Institute, says, "I don't think you have to separate being human from being a reporter."
I'd agree...  


     - Sarah Ismail

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The New Voyages

Okay, continuing on the Star Trek theme, I've discovered that some Trekkers are not content with the loss of all things Star Trek. No, they want new episodes and they're not sitting around waiting for Paramount to do it.

So, for your viewing pleasure, a group has started making Star Trek episodes called the "New Voyages" which features the original Star Trek crew in, well, new voyages. There are two episodes out so far, one in post-production and two more in pre-production.

The episodes are free to download and they apparently aren't making any money from their efforts, though one wonders where they are getting the time and money to do so. Of course, like most Trekkers, they're probably still living in their parents' home...

If you're too busy to watch them on your computer, you can always download them to your iPod. I've seen part of the first episode so far, and the acting is not the best, but the special effects are surprisingly good, especially in scenes where they show the Enterprise flying about. Just goes to show you how computer animation is becoming more accessible and giving more people a chance to make their own movies.