Author Archives: Neil Kurtzman

Chirp

If you listen to audiobooks, your choice has been mostly limited to Audible.Com. The book purveyor is owned by Amazon which seems in a race with China to possess the world. My money is on Amazon. Audible’s selection is very good and it’s not hard to find a good listen. The main problem is that…


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Heather Mac Donald on Medicine

The outstanding public intellectual, Heather Mac Donald has written a penetrating analysis of the current state of medical education, practice criteria, and organizational structure. Appropriately called the Corruption of Medicine, it details the horrible pit the profession has thrown itself into. Gone is first do no harm. In its place is the patient be damned…


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Finale 35 – Attila

I’ll start this one with the beginning rather than the end. Verdi’s 9th opera is one of his roughest. There’s a lot coarse music that nevertheless has a certain grainy impact. The title role is what keeps the opera around. Sam Ramey sang the role with astounding regularity. The work begins with a short prelude…


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Verdi’s Priests

Giuseppe Verdi as was typical of 19th century liberal intellectuals was distinctively and typically anti clerical. Accordingly, the priests in his operas are not usually sympathetically portrayed. Here are a few depicted in different ways. Verdi’s first success, Nabucco, was about the Babylonian Captivity of the Hebrews. It starts in the Temple of Solomon. The…


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Y Chromosome Loss and Heart Disease

Below is a release from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It summarizes a study published in the AAAS’s journal Science. It deals with the previous observation that loss the the Y chromosome in white blood cells with an increase in cardiovascular disease and death. Whether this loss of the male sex chromosome…


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I Don’t Want A Bone, I Want The Bone

Anyone who’s had two dogs understands the title. If you give each of them a bone, they’ll each want the one the other has. They also don’t want to relinquish the one they already have. The resultant conflict, the closest a dog can come to envy, will send them into a muddle of canine angst….


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Unsettled – Book review

Steven E Koonin has written a book Unsettled: What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters. The volume is not very long consisting of mostly data (yes data!) and endnotes. It is a sober analysis of a subject that has been a field of landmines maiming the facts that underpin an…


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The Tales of Hoffmann – The Septet

The renowned septet from Offenbach’s final work is of uncertain origin. It was not in the original score and its source remains a riddle. The opera was written for the Opéra-Comique and was to have spoken dialogues. It was incomplete at the composer’s death in 1860. Ernest Guiraud completed the piece and added the recitatives….


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Artificial Intelligence is Better Than No Intelligence at All

The press has covered the release by a Google engineer that the company has an AI that is sentient with a mix of fear, fascination, and foreboding. For the purposes of this article I will assume that everything Blake Lemoine (the Google engineer) has said about LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) is true. If…


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More on Symptomatic COVID and Vaccination

The New England Journal of Medicine has published online Effects of Previous Infection and Vaccination on Symptomatic Omicron Infections. The study by the Cornell Medicine–Qatar group of investigators has received some attention in the lay press and has even been interpreted as showing that under certain circumstances that vaccination increases the likelihood of contracting the…


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