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Ivan Gayton on geeks and primitive fieldworkers: a tale of two cultures

21 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

IvanAs a project manager for MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders), a medical emergency humanitarian agency, I attended this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, in the company of a friend and collaborator from Google who is involved in crisis mapping. We gave a presentation on some mapping work we had done together, and inevitably we discussed the differences and similarities in our geek (high-technology) and primitive fieldworker (humanitarian) cultures.

The two cultures are, on the face of it, rather distinct. more…

Andrew Jones: Transforming patient care using technology

24 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

A search on one fantastic piece of technology, the internet, suggests that technology can be defined as “…the application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives.” When I think about it, other than talking to our patients, most of what we do in medicine involves some use of technology. In fact, increasingly communicating with patients is even beginning to rely on it as well. As clinicians we have become highly skilled in the selection, development, and implementation of a variety of different technologies. These combine biomedical sciences with chemistry, physics, and engineering to create medicines, devices and systems which change the way in which we manage disease and treat patients. more…

David Kerr: TV dinners

20 Jan, 12 | by BMJ Group

David KerrAlmost every home in the country has one and unlike the background population they have tended to become slimmer and slimmer over recent years. The television set has managed to hold onto its place as the epicentre of home entertainment, despite the assault from the personal computer and the ubiquitous iPod, iPhone, and iPads. One of the endearing attractions of television is the high quality picture resolution and the performance of the device without the need for multiple usernames and passwords, or without being affected by the variable performance of the local broadband network. In contrast to the choice available on the internet, the acceptance of the rigid nature of programme scheduling on television remains somewhat surprising, but endearing as a template around which the week’s other activities are planned. more…

David Kerr: 2012, technology and all that

4 Jan, 12 | by BMJ Group

David KerrJanuary is the month that heralds the end of procrastination. The New Year is traditionally the time that individuals and organisations look ahead and plan for the future. Among the usual resolutions to do more, eat less, and be more productive, there is also the ubiquitous past-time of predicting the near future. For healthcare the future seems to be focused increasingly on the development and application of technology with a blurring of the distinction between consumer electronics and medical devices.


David Kerr: Consumerism and the lost tribe in diabetes

19 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

David KerrBad news makes good press. Last week the main medical news item was the release of the National Diabetes Audit figures for England and it made grim reading. The audit collected data from 152 Primary Care Trusts covering almost 70% of the population of people living with diabetes. The bottom line was that there are an estimated 24,000 excess (i.e. premature) deaths each year associated with diabetes and many of these are preventable. The news was especially bad for people with type 1 diabetes where the excess risk of an early death was increased 2.6 fold compared to the background population and was even higher for young people with the condition. These mortality data follow on from the more general findings highlighting the fact that achieved levels of blood glucose control have not improved for a number of years and are particularly bad for the lost tribe of young people aged 16-24 years with type 1 diabetes. more…

Tony Delamothe: TED Day One: The Return of the Human

3 Mar, 11 | by BMJ Group

The night before the TED conference began, “The King’s Speech” beat “The Social Network,” four Oscars to three. A friend with a stake in the outcome had argued that a story revolving around  21st century technology (Facebook) should have had an advantage over a story revolving around a 20th century one (radio). more…

Richard Smith: Will we follow Easter Islanders into extinction?

4 Jan, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithWhat contrary creatures we humans are. I begin the year convinced that our civilisation will collapse soon but at the same time enjoying the continuous Mozart on Radio 3, abandoning alcohol for the month with enthusiasm, and committing myself to three runs and 70 000 steps a week. As my wife, who also thinks that our civilisation is approaching its end, says: “Nothing matters, but everything matters.” I didn’t know I’d married a mystic. more…

Trish Groves: More from TED 2009

11 Feb, 09 | by BMJ

Trish GrovesBill Gates’ talk on the first day of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference got huge coverage, and within just a few hours some wag had turned Gates’ stunt of releasing mosquitoes into the audience into a Terry Gilliamesque game. more…

Trish Groves at TED 2009 – 4 February

6 Feb, 09 | by BMJ

Trish Groves

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a movement as much as conference. It started 25 years ago with a couple of hundred technology experts and enthusiasts. Last year it attracted more than 1000 people and outgrew its home in Monterey, so it’s moved to Long Beach, California. Long term TEDsters say it’s broadened in the past few years and become more about policy, global strategies, and green issues. But it’s still TED. more…

Julian Sheather on paying attention to art, science and nature

23 Sep, 08 | by BMJ Group

It is a long time since I studied art history, but if I remember rightly the invention of photography is said to have contributed to the exhaustion of the realist impulse in the visual arts. It sounds plausible: the documentary impulse, the desire faithfully to record what is actually there, which has always been close to the heart of realism, is just so much more efficiently done by photography. Darkroom trickery excepted, a photograph feels like evidence, something taken from the scene. A drawing or painting, however gifted the artist, puts the human being in the way, with all of a human being’s fallibility. more…

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