Category Archives: Short piece

President Bans Vowels

A new presidential executive order that has been underreported by the press bans the use of vowels in all federal publications, by contractors who receive money from the US government, and by all US employees both in their private and official writings. The government printing office responded to the order by asking for a waiver…


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On Mediocrity

Some are born mediocre, others have it thrust upon them, while still others ooze into it. One does not have to be above average to recognize excellence in others. The honest mediocrity can define talent and make positive use of its products despite being ordinary himself. While there is an obvious price to near universal…


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The Ghost in the Machine – A Cautionary Tale

This article is almost a quarter of a century old. I wrote it for a print magazine and then published it here more than a decade ago. It’s buried in the site’s archives. I thought I’d give it fresh exposure and accordingly am resurrecting it. There’s a companion piece that I may also renew. It…


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The Case Against Children

Fertility rates are below replacement levels in every country in the developed world except Israel. While the leaders of these countries view this decline with alarm, it represents a logical response to the realities of the modern world. Below are a few reasons for this infertile phenomenon. My discussion is pertinent only to the modern…


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Happy New Year

A few thoughts to start the New Year. 2020 was an annus horribilis – the worst since 1968; a year that had riots, the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and a presidential election accompanied by civil unrest about as bad as the year just ended. COVID-19 appeared and kindled both the best…


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Brief Medical Updates

Three recent medical reports. The first is from Science. A conference held by Biogen in February of this year was a superspreader event. Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in Boston highlights the impact of superspreading events reports the spread of SARS-CoV-2 following an international business conference in at the Marriott Long Wharf on Feb 26-27. By…


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Lead Browser

Like much of humanity, I use Chrome as my internet browser. I started out using Netscape as did almost everybody in the 90s. Microsoft bullied Netscape out of existence by bundling its late to the game browser Internet Explorer with its operating systems which were included on OEMs. In a few years Netscape was fit…


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Confessions of an Inmate

For the past four years I have lived in a gated community. It’s a pleasant place with just one entrance. Spread over about 40 acres, it’s so spick and span that it looks like the village in The Prisoner. You have to be at least 55 years old to be incarcerated in residence here. Until…


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Why Nothing is Hardest

Nothing is harder than doing nothing, especially when it’s the best alternative among a pack of difficult choices. Medicine’s prime commandment – Primum non nocere – often requires that the physician refrain from treatment when the remedy is worse than the malady. While the maxim is endlessly preached, it is rarely observed. The urge to…


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How Many Doctors Are Needed to Run a Hospital?

When I was a resident physician the chief of cardiology often argued that there should only be two departments in a hospital – medicine and trauma. I’ve often thought about that view over the ensuing decades as the number of medical specialties proliferated like mushrooms after a downpour. How many specialties would be needed if…


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