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Showing posts from December, 2012

Green Homes and the Greenhouse Effect

A sustainable-energy house. (source)
   Climate change has integrated itself into our daily actions. It’s in the green recycle bins, marked with the immediately recognizable triangular arrow symbol, the paper versus plastic, the electric cars humming down the road and the grass-fed cows. Becoming environmentally-conscious has affected many communities, some more than others.      It’s still not enough. Ice caps are still making the news as they melt into the ocean, and this summer’s record-breaking temperatures have cast an ominous shadow onto the future. People are largely aware of this, but oftentimes brush the frantic cries of environmental scientists off. To many, global warming has faded into the background, a part of the ever-changing scenery and a doom so large and so distant there’s no point in actively searching for ways to slow it. ‘Going green’ is too unwieldy, too time-consuming, too costly or too much effort.
    However, global warming cannot be dismissed so easily. Ice caps…

More than a Surgeon's Sidekick: The Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist at work. (source)
      Dr. Art Wallace is a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative care at UCSF, and an attending anesthesiologist at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Hospital. He is a man of sharp wit, wry humor, and countless analogies to explain the complexities of anesthesia. He was also kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me over the phone.
What exactly is anesthesiology?       An anesthesiologist makes patients become compatible with surgery. They put patients in a state in which they can undergo painful operations and surgeries. Anesthesia requires the use of several powerful, lethal drugs and is extremely dangerous. Its cultivation over the last 150 years has been geared toward making it more effective, more efficient, and thus more safe.       Anesthesiology has helped reduce the risk of surgical care tremendously. Around the 1950s, the ratio of fatal to nonfatal procedures was 1:200 to 1:1500. The present day ratio of 1:100000 to 1:100000…