ID and Health Information

I asked whether the dentist’s x-ray machine could provide digital images.

“No. Such machines are very expensive.”

So I kicked the camera in to macro mode and shot images of the images. Here’s one.

X-rays of teeth

Now, when I’m in a plane crash, my body can be identified.

I like to get images from medical places – images of the retina from the optical guys, for instance.

The dentist tracks these x-rays in pairs over time. The same thing can be done with other images. I want to do so, myself.

Digitizing health information is a hot subject now. Oddly enough, the restrictions medical machines live under discourage such actions. It’s a whole ‘nother level of engineering to hook a medical machine to the net.

That’s frustrating.

If you are building a medical machine, why not make it able to spin out its data in real time so that a remote expert can help with evaluations? Or so that someone who cares about the patient can keep track of what’s happening in real time from a distance? Or so that a database of real experience can be automatically built from all uses of a machine?

Images like this raise other questions. Why should every dental office in the country have x-ray machines? Why can’t you buzz in to an x-ray office and simply get the images? Specialized x-ray offices would shoot higher quality images. And cheaper. Heck, in the case of teeth, it would make a lot of sense for software to evaluate the shots and annotate them for the dentist and patient. That wouldn’t stop the dentist from doing his own evaluation. But, we sure know how such a facility would play out in the political world. If most people paid their own dental bills, as I do, such businesses would have been around a long time ago.

But, for now, I side with the idea that digitizing and collecting health information should be done by the owner/patient. Let the systems to enable such collections be built from the bottom, up – need and interest driven – rather than from the top, down.

How to calculate the truth

Through Fark I saw this article: The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

The sum of the article is that there have apparently been lots of media stories saying that 90% of the drug war guns in Mexico come from the U.S. But the article claims that the 90% number is bogus and should be 17%.

Let’s run with that.

You can calculate the 17% pretty accurately by noting that if there’s a repeated, repeated, repeated number under-pinning a story, story, story that matches the media’s core beliefs, then you must multiply the number by the 80% chance that the number is BS, that is, a 20% chance the number is accurate.

90% * .20 = 18%

Which is pretty close to 17%, is it not?

This method of calculating the truth says that Madoff swindled not 60 billion, but 12 billion.


When kids weren’t driven from one adult-controlled activity to another

When I play morning volleyball with the fogies at Mercer Island the other half of the gym is used by tiny tots, 2-5 years, with their nannies watching and with play directed by young, athletic guys. Rubber balls and cones fill the floor. The kids are shepherded from one thing to the next, learning to follow orders. The toys and tubes look like a whale of fun. And the little boys do spend as much time as they can sliding to the floor. Good for them.

But it gives me the creeps.

With that in mind, I scanned the rest of the “rb” box of old pictures.

Since the page is arranged alphabetically, the new scans are interspersed among the previous scans.

Here’s an example:

Paperboy Bruce 1959 Click to see pictures.

The pictures include a shot of the really cold winter of ’57 in Astoria – the winter the river froze – back before global warming.

Bruce in front of frozen wall - 1957

And this one illustrates perfectly the hopefulness of youth:

Just a *little* more snow. Please. Please. Please.