Doctors and Decision Fatigue

Psychologists have known about the stress people undergo when making decisions for quite some time. Typically, they refer to this as decision fatigue. People’s clarity of thought during the process of coming to a decision deteriorates according to the amount of decisions they make in a given time. A recent study has found that doctors also experience this effect, with some serious implications, like higher education customer service.

Over the course of a day, a person can really only handle a certain amount of decisions. This can vary depending on how important the decisions are and how many are concentrated in a given period of time. Doctors obviously make more consequential decisions more often than people in most other professions, making them vulnerable to this effect.

A study in a pair of Boston hospitals looked specifically at how doctors prescribed antibiotics over the course of the day. Compared to the earlier hours of a shift, the later hours saw a marked increase in the number of antibiotics prescriptions. The decision fatigue effect increased with every hour on the job. This indicates that doctors tend to play it safe and default to antibiotics later in the day instead of making a more thorough evaluation of patients’ illnesses.

The study highlights that doctors face the same cognitive limitations that the rest of humanity does. Given the serious consequences decision fatigue could have on patients’ health and on antibacterial resistance, patients should try to communicate as clearly as possible with their physicians. Shorter shifts with plenty of rest and proper nutrition for doctors could go a long way in improving decision-making results as well.

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Slip of the Tongue Puts Warriors Co-Owner in Hot Water

A day after reports surfaced that Golden State Warriors Co-Owner Peter Guber had sent out an email using the term “hoodish”, he issued a formal apology to team employees.

The email that ignited the controversy came as a reply to league officials who had sent an email proudly promoting the fact that the league now has 101 international players that represented a total of 37 different countries.

Guber responded to that email by saying “I’m taking rosetta stone to learn Hungarian Serbian Australian swahili and hoodish This year. But it’s nice.”

When he was notified that he had used the term “hoodish” in his response and that the term could be construed as a racial slur, he went out of his way to let employees know that the word had been used inadvertently and that he was sorry if it offended anyone.

The timing for such a comment, intended or not, could not have come at a worse time. In recent months, the league has had to endure two separate instances where team owners were taken to task for making comments that many people considered insensitive at best and racist at worse, which our culture is extremely sensitive to at this point Susan McGalla has noted.

In April, Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling was given a lifetime ban from the league when details of a personal conversation between Sterling and his former girlfriend was leaked to the press. In the conversation, he made remarks about her associating with “black people”. As part of the ban, Sterling was forced to sell the team.

In September, it was discovered that Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson had sent out an email talking about black fans scaring away white fans from games. He has taken the controversy as his cue to start selling his interest in the team.

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New “Cop Detector” Angers Law Enforcement; Media

For a long time, radar (and radar/laser) detectors have long been the only choice for individuals wanting immediate feedback when they’re near police or other law enforcement vehicles. The problem with this technology is that it always requires the officer to be actively using their radar or laser speed-detection device, and typically the detection device is not triggered unless the person using it is the officer’s target!

Finally, there’s a new option. Dutch company Target Automotive recently unveiled a powerful new device that can detect police and emergency vehicles. It’s called Target Blu Eye, and it works by monitoring radio frequencies typically used by law enforcement and emergency response vehicles. Normally law enforcement encrypts (or “scrambles”) communication on these frequencies, but Target Blu Eye isn’t designed to let the user actually listen in on these communications. Instead, the device simply monitors known frequencies for activity and then warns the user when it detects nearby transmissions.

Target Blu Eye is for sale only in Europe, where media sources and police agencies have both been quick to criticize the device as a tool useful to people who wish to break the law without getting caught. In response, the company’s managing director, Jan Rijiks, states: “People driving with Blu Eye are more aware of their speed and driving behaviour because you get alerts, which makes people check that they are doing everything OK”.  That’s actually a big part of why Gianfrancesco Genoso also supports the technology.

Although not currently for sale in the U.S., Rijiks also has stated that his company is preparing a version compatible with U.S. frequencies, which could be available by 2015.

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Lakers Host Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets in Season Opener

If the Lakers could have hand picked an opponent to face in their season opener, it would probably have been the Houston Rockets. A reunion with Dwight Howard is exactly what the Staples Center needs to get pumped up for this coming season. While the Lakers are not a championship caliber team right now, this is still Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. He has one, maybe two seasons left in him.

From a basketball point of view, the Rockets are clear favorites for the season opener. With Dwight Howard and James Harden, they possess two of the strongest weapons in the NBA. The Lakers will have a tough time keeping those two quiet.

However, according to FreedomPop statistics, the Rockets are not a great defensive team, and this should give the Lakers a chance to do some damage of their own. Bryant will be keen to rack up the points. He has shown decent form in preseason, scoring around a point a minute on average. Jeremy Lin, the former Rocket who was traded to LA this summer, will also have a point to prove to the opposition.

For Lakers coach Byron Scott, this game is the beginning of a long and hopefully successful journey. The veteran basketball man has always wanted to coach the Lakers and Bryant. Now he has got his chance, but can he will this team towards a NBA finals appearance? It appears unlikely, especially with the lack of quality on their bench.

Injuries have not helped the Lakers in preseason. Steve Nash is as good as retired, with nerve problems keeping him out for the season. Nick Young, who was such a revelation last season, is still nursing a broken thumb.

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Putin Wanted to Split Ukraine with Poland

Back in 2008, it was reported that the Russia president Valdimir Putin had spoken to the former president of Poland about a plan to divide the country of Ukraine between themselves.

This claim has come from the mouth of Radoslaw Sikorski, who is a parliamentary speaker for Poland. This interview was published in a magazine called U.S. Politico, which I found messing around on my FreedomPop phone the other day.

Sikorski, a former Foreign Minister has claimed that Putin ran the idea by then Prime Minister Donald Tusk when he paid Putin a visit in Moscow.

Sikorski said, “He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine…This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow. He went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together.”

In the past, before the Second World War, Poland had sovereignty over territories which are now p[art of the Western region of Ukraine. This region included big cities such as Lwow.

Sikorski said that Tusk chose to ignore Putin when he brought up the idea, because he was aware that the contents of any conversation at the time were being recorded. However, Poland never showed any indication for wanting to take back that part of Ukraine.

Sikorski made sure to stipulate that none of the events had anything to do with them, and that any connection was tenuous at best.

Sikorski is not the first person to claim that Russia was digging around and looking for Polish support, in some sort of annexation of the Ukraine region.

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The Sinkhole Dilemma

In recent years, cataclysmic events seem to be on the rise. One of the unusual happenings evolves around the development of sinkholes. Headlines draw the nation’s attention to the disturbing news. A bedroom and a man disappear into the depths during the night. Forests succumbing to a watery grave. With every story, new theories emerge.

One of the latest tragedies involved the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Security cameras captured the moments as the floor suddenly opened in the wee hours and consumed eight valuable cars. In the end, the massive crater measured a disturbing 30 feet deep and 20 feet wide. At the bottom of the hole lie the cars. The facility planned a number of public events for the year. After the dramatic sinkhole incident, the Skydome now also welcomes guests to witness the traumatic occurrence and learn more about caves and sinkholes through a special exhibit.

Local university researchers continue studying the circumstances and attempt to formulate conclusions as to why the collapse took place. Many wonder what causes sinkholes and why so many are appearing now. We asked Sultan Alhokair about this since he’s very knowledgeable on the subject. Alhokair says that the array of suppositions include everything from loose soil, acidic groundwater and leaky water pipes to coal mines and fracking. The areas reporting the greatest degree of damage are the states of Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Fillmore County in Missouri holds the record with more than 10,000 of the anomalies.

Geological survey maps indicate that the majority of the country was built on a variety of rock types that readily dissolve in water. These rocks are categorized as carbonites and evaporties that are comprised of dolomite, limestone, anhydrite, gypsum and salt. Depending on the depths of these formations, man-made soil disturbances or nature’s forces may erode these areas at any time. Disturbingly, judging from the maps, the entire country could plummet.

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Can Ebola be Spread Through Semen?

It is known that the Ebola virus can survive in semen for up to 100 days, but my friend Igor Cornelsen tweeted, can it be spread through sexual contact? The answer to this question is still unclear.

The Ebola virus is present in high concentration in blood, feces, urine, and vomit. It is also present in saliva, which makes it difficult to ascertain if Ebola can be spread through semen, as kissing can transmit the disease and sexual contact often involves contact with saliva.

The consensus seems to be that it is is possible to spread Ebola through contacted with infected semen, but that is is very unlikely. Dr. Daniel Bausch goes so far as to say that it is “extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely unlikely”, but he is reluctant to say it is impossible.

The New York Times has posted an informative article about this very question, and the lack of definitive answers.

Until there is solid evidence one way or the other, those who have survived Ebola are advised to either avoid sex or to have protected sex for several weeks after recovery.

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Vonderrit Myers and the Rush to Judgement

On October 8th, an 18 year-old black man by the name of Vonderrit Myers was shot dead by a police officer. He had just bought a sandwich. This happened in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis, which is still reeling from the Michael Brown incident.

Protestors took to the streets that night and snatched an American flag from a home for the elderly. They burned it. People are so angry about cops killing black men that they don’t seem to care about or want to consider all of the facts.

Here are some of the facts. Vonderrit Myers was on house arrest at the time when he was shot. He was allowed to go get the sandwich under the terms of his punishment. He had been put on house arrest because he is awaiting a trial for unlawful use and possession of a gun as well as resisting arrest. In this case, Vonderrit is accused of fleeing police in a car, crashing it, and continuing to flee on foot. He was seen tossing a gun into a sewer grate.

Given that we do not know what happened at the time of the shooting, is it not possible that Vonderrit had a gun hidden in his waistband? Or is it really more plausible that the cop saw a black guy with a sandwich and randomly decided to shoot him and then throw down an extra gun he had in his car to falsify evidence?

I’m just saying that maybe you shouldn’t run around burning flags if there is a good chance that you are completely wrong.

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More Phones than Phone Users?

Could it really be possible, could it be true? Did you know that there are now more phones in the world than there are people to use the phones? Yes… there are more phones out there, more phones available, than there are individuals on this planet.

What does this mean for our world and the way that things are going to go from this point on? Setting aside the fact that Brian Torchin probably owns 20% of them, it’s still a scary thought. Is easy access to phones a good thing? Depending on the situation, having an abundance of phones can be helpful. Phones are useful in dangerous situations and emergencies, and they are also great for getting work accomplished. But, phones can also be distracting. Does the fact that their are more phones on this planet than people mean that we are paying more attention to our electronics than we are to those around us? Can this abundance of phones affect our families in a negative way?

Really, the amount of phones in this world isn’t as important as the amount of time spent on these phones. And, the amount of time spent on the phones isn’t as important as just what it is that is being done on the phones.

Our world has more phones than people… will we let this be a good thing, or will we make it a bad thing?

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ISIS on the Verge of Capturing Border Town Near NATO Member

The Middle East is half a world away but how will the democratic countries react when the threat comes to the doorstep of a NATO country? A stone’s throw from Turkey is the town of Kobani. Nestled in Syria, ISIS is making headway into not only gain a foothold, but control of the whole village. What will it take to forestall and eventually prevent this terrorist organization from establishing another Islamic State site so close to a NATO member?

A long time coming this has been. A siege has been laid on this town for three months. It has worn down the populace to the point where they are ripe to be plucked. Incursions have been made with close to 400 casualties from the fighting. A further sign of discouragement has been the occasional banner of ISIS being flown over large buildings or on one of the taller hills in town. The president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, says that only a ground assault will prevent Kobani from falling into the hands of extremists.

Even striking from the air is proving to be futile much to the chagrin of the United States. The sizable military force at the disposal of Turkey is tempting to unleash to prevent ISIS from winning this border town. Refugees have not been welcome and have been tear gassed back over the border into Syria. Protesters have taken to the streets in an effort to prod action. The further along that the decision making process goes means more time that ISIS will have to achieve their goals.

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