this week i

published instructions to analyze the american community survey with r.  translation: for examining public data, the expensive software is not any better than what's available for free.

started testing the official monetdb-to-r connector with a new friend in amsterdam.  translation: that expensive software will soon be laughably inferior to the free stuff.

live it, breathe it.

just saw a dog missing one of its hind legs.  impossible to know when he's about to pee.

might've spotted sam mcgee.

 walked through the garden..

..little miracles, even the ugly ones.

listened to indistinguishable indie-rock, an uncreative genre.

miss ya amy.  count the musicians i love on two hands, not many still alive.

woke up early each day to look out my window.

boarded the morning train to the end of the earth.  a group of happy young men jumped on a few stops later.  for twenty minutes, they fiddled with and passed some large handfuls of pot around between themselves - no attempt to be discreet - then took turns through the door between the moving train carriages to smoke.  who cares..

..after all, why not throw cigarette smokers in jail too?

saw african penguins, the boring species of penguin.  this picture might as well be video..

 ..the most interesting thing that happened in an hour of viewing.

hope that's the scar of a paintball match.  prolly not.  snore.

attended cape town flugtag - more flightless birds dumped into the sea.  a sillier, abbreviated version of the real deal.

 dunno what was going on here.

took in some south african art.

consider it an upgrade from 'pigs.'

can hear jon stewart say it.  nate silver!  the lord and god of the algorithm.  also insightful: "we tend to overweigh new information."

viewed the body worlds exhibition then the malay quarter..

..what a coat of paint can do.

exchanged with curtis, back from england:

me: i love that place and feel pretty un-american when i do.  we did kick and then save their asses, after all

him: it's like our doting old grand uncle who used to be an asshole and now he's mellow and nice but he talks funny and smells weird.

wasted thirty years fronting my soevers only with what.

failed to decipher the tree line.

wonder if sean connery could've escaped from mandela's prison, too.  less fortified, much longer swim.

don't remember when this became acceptable.  oh, it's still not acceptable?  yes, that's what i thought.

read gawande's checklist manifesto.  my subtitle: what doctors must learn from pilots and structural engineers.  either adapt, or kick and scream till the evidence washes you away.

no one remembered to ask the patient or the emergency medical technicians what the weapon was

the degree of difficulty in any one of these steps is substantial.  then you must add the difficulties of orchestrating them in the right sequence, with nothing dropped, leaving some room for improvisation, but not too much

the art of managing extreme complexity

patient care in the icus for twenty-four-hour stretches..the average patient required 178 individual actions per day..nurses and doctors were observed to make an error in just 1 percent of these actions - but that still amounted to an average of two errors a day with every patient

americans today undergo an average of seven operations in their lifetime

a pilot's checklist..too complicated to be left to the memory

the ten-day line-infection rate went from 11 percent to zero

all because of a stupid little checklist

he tried the usual surgical approach to remedy this - yelling at everyone to get their act together

master builders built notre dame, st. peter's basilica, and the united states capitol building.  but by the middle of the twentieth century the master builders were dead and gone.  the variety and sophistication of advancements in every stage of the construction process had overwhelmed the abilities of any individual to master them

pilots..learn from the beginning of flight school that their memory and judgment are unreliable and that lives depend on their recognizing that fact

autonomy..has the ring more of protectionism than of excellence

worked three years as an emt, only once saw something good in a nursing home: a plaque stating, "is the sunset not just as beautiful as the sunrise?"

have been given every advantage in this life, don't intend to let any of them go to waste.


this week i

checked in, worked hard.  published our annual examination of medicare plan availability then a how-to on the medicare claims public use files.

climbed the big mama..

 for the full moon

..see the shadow?  that's the top.

believe it.  cape town wins.  who cares what the category is.

spotted the greatest elevator company name possible.

miss you, george.  besides, this place is a fraud.  the city faces north.  they say "sshh"edule instead of the american "ske"dule.  and the dutch/afrikaans word for visitor: bezoeker.  ha.  okay also they sound like australians, maybe because it was on the way.

despise the term queue.  what a stupid word.  if you remove four-fifths of it, it doesn't change.

don't get south african humor, hope it's humor.

visited namibia for the weekend, on the highest recommendation from multiple friends.

started out well - no joke.  though i'd made a reservation for an automatic a month ago, the walvis bay rental car agency had only manual transmission vehicles - which i've never driven.  i took it into the parking lot, killed the engine a few times, then asked the rental car lady to give me some quick tips.  we got moving, and i might've made her fear for her life - she went back to her office to make some phone calls while i practiced a bit more.

slowly worked up to driving in circles while in second gear. she found me a chauffeur to drive us two hundred miles north, while a second company driver with an automatic vehicle would come from the capital and meet us.  meanwhile, i was getting pretty good at this whole stick-shift deal.  so the afternoon turned into a left side of the road driving lesson with my new buddy john here.

achieved fifth gear.

know who has two thumbs and can parallel park on the left?  this guy.  leo reincarnate.

mastered my new life-skill.  but then: nothing to do in a segregated country.  after all, what part of "cloudy desert" sounds like fun?  they say the last living organisms on earth will be a cockroach eating a lichen.  cockroaches, here's your mayan end-of-the-world buffet.

didn't see a damn thing.  plus every radio advertisement tricked me into expecting it would somehow morph into a debeers commercial, my heretofore only exposure to southern african english.

should re-iterate for you tough guys with your bug antennae fishing gear: driving that 4x4 nullifies tough guy credentials.  earn your stripes by spending time in the townships with your countrymen.  and if a sentence starts with, "i'm not a racist, but," re-consider opening your mouth.

learned a couple more life lessons..
see that phoenix residents?  you live in the desert, you don't get a green lawn.

bring a gps, even before sunscreen

you get a water tower!  you get a water tower!  every body gets a water tower!

might be terribly convenient, not terribly polite

umm why is the white woman fifteen years older than everyone else?  anyway.

 my father's favorite movie line: the atlantic ocean used to be a great ocean.

suppose it wasn't all bad..

they know how to paint

..and that wine only cost $2.25.

had enough.

returned to cape town..

..wouldn't you?