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Sunday, October 30, 2005


I flew back to LA and USC's homecoming rout of WSU this weekend.

In six short months, half of those tucked away amongst med school books, I've forgotten how incredibly fun and free college is. I will probably never have so little responsibility ever again and I'm not sure what is sadder...that fact or the fact that I sort of long for those days.

Week 2 of the BCS

October 29th Upsets
Florida (AP:16, Coach: 18, Computer: 22) over Georgia (AP: 4, Coach: 4, Computer: 5)

Michigan (AP: 25, Coach: NR, Computer: 21) over Northwestern (AP: 21, Coach: 23, Computer: 19)

Current Upset Standings
AP: 15 + 16 = 31
Coach: 14 + 21 = 35
Computer: 0 + 19 = 19

Whoops...the Cal - Oregon game is Nov. 5th. That being said, I don't expect the computers to drop Oregon between this week and last and obviously with the Duck's starting QB down the computers vastly overestimate Oregon versus the human polls. That game is +/- 5 or 6 points for the computer versuses the human polls in either direction (i.e. a 10 or 12 point swing). That however is the biggest upset brewing and obviously the computer rankings have faired better by a margain larger than 12 points so far.

Games To Watch This Saturday

Colorado vs. Mizzou
Boston College vs. NC
Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech
Miami vs. Va Tech
Cal vs. Oregon

Monday, October 24, 2005


USC has dropped from the #1 spot in the BCS because of the computers.

I want to see how good the computers really are at picking winners. Although, so far it looks like they're better than the human polls. But that's merely one week...I am determined to prove that the computers SUCK.

From this point on I'll be keeping a record of upsets for the average computer ranking, the AP poll ranking, and the Coaches' poll ranking (but not the Harris Interactive).

Here's the way it works, the difference in the rankings is the points each poll is assigned for an upset. Here's where it gets a little sketchy, but I think it is relatively fair, an unranked team will be given a ranking of #30. That's not TOO big a penalty for an unranked team winning.

So, an example, if Texas was #2 in the AP poll and #1 in the BCS computers and was upset by unranked Nebraska then the AP poll would get 28 points added to it and the computers 29. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the worst predictor of future success.

There were two upsets last weekend:
Northwestern (AP: NR; Coach: NR; Computer: NR) over Michigan St. (AP: 22; Coach: 22; Computer: NR)
North Carolina(AP: NR; Coach: NR; Computer: NR) over Virginia (AP: 23; Coach: 24, Computer: NR)

Current Upset Standings
AP: 15
Coach: 14
Computer: 0

Games To Watch This Saturday

Michigan (AP: 25; Coach: NR; Computer: 21) at Northwestern (AP: 21; Coach: 23; Computer: 19)
Prediction: An upset hurts the human polls more than the computers

Other games are coming up in future weeks. Currently I think the BCS computers may be overly generous to...

Cal (AP: 24; Coach: 21; Computer: NR) at Oregon (AP: 14; Coach: 16; Computer: 9)
Prediction: Cal upset for all three polls (although the computers have Oregon way higher than the human polls at #9)

Colorado (#20) -- Lookout for Mizzou
West Virginia (#11) -- Cincy, Pitt, and South Florida don't strike fear into anyone's hearts

It is a little difficult of a task, for instance the team with the #24 computer average doesn't even appear in the BCS. I think it may be Missouri from going through the individual computer rankings, which would actually hurt my Mizzou over Colorado prediction 2 weeks from now.

A Cal upset of Oregon will be a huge mark against the computers (they have no clue Kellen is out for the year).

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I think Reggie Bush is the favorite for the Heisman and should be. However, I'm troubled by pundits touting Vince Young over Matt Leinart. Matt Leinart has proven to have more heart, more success, and better stats than Vince Young...

Through October 22nd: More yards (even with Vince's rushing), a better completion percentage, and more touchdowns (even with Vince's rushing TDs) to turnovers...

Matt Leinart
Total Yds: 2166
Comp %: 64.7
TD-to-TO Ratio: 3.8

Vince Young
Total Yds (including rushing): 2102
Comp. %: 61.9
TD - to - TO ratio (w/Rushing TDs): 2.85

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I heard Dr. Denton Cooley speak today; always an impressive opportunity especially since I'm extremely interested in ped cardiac surgery (I know all about the current troubles of CT surgery).

At the end of the talk he spoke about the future. He thought IRBs, Academic Councils, the FDA, etc. had stymied innovation in surgical techniques. He described his method, concerning the developments he pioneered (by trial and error) in cardiac surgery in the 50s, 60s, and 70s as, "Ready. Fire. Aim."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This is Football

And this little piggy cried all the way home...

I've heard more virulent coaches than Weis following a game; I've also seen classier coaches keep their mouths shut all together.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Sky Is Falling

Hours after posting on the overstating of the threat of Avian Flu the LA Times weighs in with an Op/Ed. As it says, the worst case scenario is not the only scenario or even the most likely! So why are public health officials scaring the public?

H/T to Kevin, M.D.


The greatest game ever played? A little short of that. I'll call it, the second greatest regular season game ever played after Boston College's 47 to 45 win over Miami on Flutie's pass. Even better than 'The Game' when the Stanford band ran on the field during Cal's remarkable kick off return to win the game. That is simply because of the stakes here. Two top 10 teams, in one of the greatest rivalries in college, slugging it out.

What incredible guts to decide that game on one overtime. I like it.

USC's Matt Leinart (11) is pushed into the endzone by his own teammate Reggie Bush (5) for the game winning touchdown with :03 to play. A field goal attempt would have tied the game and sent it into overtime.


I just got off shadowing the trauma team tonight. It was a full moon Saturday, I guess I got lucky. It was really busy. A junior resident commented she had never seen it as on the move as it was. I'm not sure what that opinion was worth. I saw a lot of cool stuff including a handful of penetrating trauma cases. As tragic as this case was, I will quote the funniest line of the night. A guy came in from out in the boonies, GSW to the head, resuscitation efforts have been going on for 40 minutes en route, and he's clearly gone.

One of the surgical residents:
"You know what the worst part is? I'm going to have to write up the M & M [Morbidity and mortality Conference] on this. Diagnosis: Dead. There is no evidence in the literature to support any cure from death. We tried various potions, incantations, and dances but nothing seemed to work."
Ah, maybe it just seemed funny at 2 am.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Disturbing Patent Rules

Here's an Indian company, anticipating an avian flu pandemic, and thus claiming a right to violate the patent of a Swiss company and their drug.

It is a terrible shame drug patents have a life. It is a shame that some people believe there is a right to cost effective drugs. The definition of when these patents should be able to be violated should be during a true health emergency.

I don't want to EVER hear anyone complain about how greedy pharmaceutical companies are or how they only develop only drugs targeting high yield conditions. I don't want to ever hear anyone say that changing the patent laws and enforcing these companies' rights wouldn't change these practices. The fact is, if you support undermining the rights of these companies then you don't complain.

I understand that the financial impact on the drug companies is not as big as you might imagine, at least that is what most studies find (i.e. marketing dollars keep patients demanding name brands even when generic become available). Still, it is a matter of what is right and wrong...

USC v. Notre Dame

A top five rivalry. The country's greatest non-conference rivalry.

Notre Dame is getting a lot of hype. It feels a lot like the attention paid to Oklahoma before last year's title game. Notre Dame cannot beat USC, only USC can beat USC. Notre Dame simply does not have USC's talent. USC has certainly shown they are capable of losing focus and intensity. However, I think all the hype over Notre Dame's chances by the pundits are actually a good thing. It will help focus USC...just like last year's BCS title game.

USC 45 -- ND 21

Benefits of Cannabis

This is certainly a novel study which says that a synthetic cannabis drug causes neurons to grow and helps with depression and anxiety.

No matter, I still think if you want to take marijuana or most other street drugs, in a medicinal capacity or just recreationaly, you should be able to.

Avian Flu

It's taking its hold on eastern Europe. However, I can't imagine a least in the Western World. I'm a big fan of human innovation and there's a very optimistic saying:

"Any catastrophe which can be predicted will be avoided."

I'll modify it a little bit, but I still believe in it:

"Any catastrophe which can grab the 6 o' clock headline will be avoided."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Complexity, Part Deux

Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Very rare.
A single base change in mitochondrial genes coding for subunits of complex I or cytochrome c [of the electron transport chain] results in decreased mitochondrial function and eventually bilateral vision loss in early adulthood.
So many of these biochemical disorders you learn about in first year involve tiny mutations, either inherited or unlucky enough to develop. Don't get me wrong, for these diseases to take effect requires a confluence of unlikely adverse events. The DNA repair mechanisms fail (unlikely), the cell's descendants proliferate and/or the same mutation occurs in multiple cells.

Still, it is amazing to think, I could run around changing nucleotides up and down the genome without any noticeable symptoms, but if I were to nail a base pair in the wrong region, just a single base, and it could be very bad news.