Subscribe to me

Okay, I think I've got this figured out, at least for now...


I use five primary tools to post content and resources to the Web:

  1. Dangerously Irrelevant - where I put my longer, hopefully more thoughtful writing and have extended conversations with readers
  2. Twitter - where I share resources and converse with others in shorter snippets
  3. Delicious - where I bookmark sites that I want to use or revisit later (although I don't use this as much as I should)
  4. Mind Dump - where I put things that I want to capture (e.g., quotes, videos, images) for posterity; my personal archive for stuff that is too short or off-topic for Dangerously Irrelevant but also is too long for Twitter or Delicious (i.e., I want more than just the URL and a few keywords)
  5. Google Reader - where I share out items from my incoming RSS feeds that I think will be of interest to others
  6. I'm now using TwitterFeed to feed everything from Dangerously Irrelevant, Mind Dump, Delicious, and Google Reader to Twitter and Facebook. Everything that goes through Twitter also is sent automatically to LinkedIn and Google Buzz. So if you're following me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Google Buzz, you should see everything that I'm sharing out. And, of course, many of you have put Dangerously Irrelevant and/or Mind Dump in your RSS readers (thank you!).

    I could use Evernote for sharing publicly but instead I use it to archive things that need to be more private than Mind Dump (such as meeting notes, my highlights from Kindle books, and the HTML coding for my web sites). I also use other social media sites such as Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo but I share their content through my five main channels above.

    The Shareaholic extension for Google Chrome makes all of this much easier. It also allows me to post items to Digg, Yahoo Buzz, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Mixx, and other aggregation / sharing sites as desired.

    The feeds for Dangerously Irrelevant, Mind Dump, Delicious, and Google Reader all have been run through Feedburner so I can monitor RSS subscribers. I set up TwitterFeed to run everything through bit.ly so I can track how often items get retweeted. I also am using Google Analytics.

    For those of you who are interested, here are the URLs and RSS/email feeds for my five main channels:

    1. Dangerously Irrelevant (RSS / email) [you also can subscribe to any blog category]
    2. Mind Dump (RSS / email)
    3. Twitter (RSS)
    4. Delicious (RSS)
    5. Google Reader (RSS)
    6. And here are some of my other sites, including the folders that I share from Google Reader (so you can read what I do!):

      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Flickr (RSS)
      • YouTube (RSS)
      • Vimeo - personal (RSS)
      • Vimeo - CASTLE (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - 1:1 Schools (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Baseball (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Blogs for Busy Administrators (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Blogs That Deserve a Bigger Audience (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - CASTLE Blogs (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Education (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Educational Leadership (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Educational Technology (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Higher Education (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Iowa (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Law (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Marketing (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Miscellaneous (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Principal Blogs (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - School Law Blogs (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Superintendent Blogs (RSS)
      • Google Reader folder - Technology (RSS)
      • I think I've got all this set up so that there's no duplication in any one place. For a while there, for example, I was posting the same resource more than once in Facebook. If you notice any future duplication, please let me know.

        Is there anything I'm missing, forgetting, or also should be doing?

        Happy reading!

        [hat tip to Jose Vilson, who's apparently in the same mindset I am these days]

        'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

        Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

        Sponsored by Northwell Health
        • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
        • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
        • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
        Keep reading Show less
        Videos
        • A huge segment of America's population — the Baby Boom generation — is aging and will live longer than any American generation in history.
        • The story we read about in the news? Their drain on social services like Social Security and Medicare.
        • But increased longevity is a cause for celebration, says Ashton Applewhite, not doom and gloom.


        After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

        Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

        Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
        Surprising Science

        Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

        Keep reading Show less

        Yale scientists restore brain function to 32 clinically dead pigs

        Researchers hope the technology will further our understanding of the brain, but lawmakers may not be ready for the ethical challenges.

        Still from John Stephenson's 1999 rendition of Animal Farm.
        Surprising Science
        • Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine successfully restored some functions to pig brains that had been dead for hours.
        • They hope the technology will advance our understanding of the brain, potentially developing new treatments for debilitating diseases and disorders.
        • The research raises many ethical questions and puts to the test our current understanding of death.

        The image of an undead brain coming back to live again is the stuff of science fiction. Not just any science fiction, specifically B-grade sci fi. What instantly springs to mind is the black-and-white horrors of films like Fiend Without a Face. Bad acting. Plastic monstrosities. Visible strings. And a spinal cord that, for some reason, is also a tentacle?

        But like any good science fiction, it's only a matter of time before some manner of it seeps into our reality. This week's Nature published the findings of researchers who managed to restore function to pigs' brains that were clinically dead. At least, what we once thought of as dead.

        What's dead may never die, it seems

        The researchers did not hail from House Greyjoy — "What is dead may never die" — but came largely from the Yale School of Medicine. They connected 32 pig brains to a system called BrainEx. BrainEx is an artificial perfusion system — that is, a system that takes over the functions normally regulated by the organ. Think a dialysis machine for the mind. The pigs had been killed four hours earlier at a U.S. Department of Agriculture slaughterhouse; their brains completely removed from the skulls.

        BrainEx pumped an experiment solution into the brain that essentially mimic blood flow. It brought oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, giving brain cells the resources to begin many normal functions. The cells began consuming and metabolizing sugars. The brains' immune systems kicked in. Neuron samples could carry an electrical signal. Some brain cells even responded to drugs.

        The researchers have managed to keep some brains alive for up to 36 hours, and currently do not know if BrainEx can have sustained the brains longer. "It is conceivable we are just preventing the inevitable, and the brain won't be able to recover," said Nenad Sestan, Yale neuroscientist and the lead researcher.

        As a control, other brains received either a fake solution or no solution at all. None revived brain activity and deteriorated as normal.

        The researchers hope the technology can enhance our ability to study the brain and its cellular functions. One of the main avenues of such studies would be brain disorders and diseases. This could point the way to developing new of treatments for the likes of brain injuries, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and neurodegenerative conditions.

        "This is an extraordinary and very promising breakthrough for neuroscience. It immediately offers a much better model for studying the human brain, which is extraordinarily important, given the vast amount of human suffering from diseases of the mind [and] brain," Nita Farahany, the bioethicists at the Duke University School of Law who wrote the study's commentary, told National Geographic.

        An ethical gray matter

        Before anyone gets an Island of Dr. Moreau vibe, it's worth noting that the brains did not approach neural activity anywhere near consciousness.

        The BrainEx solution contained chemicals that prevented neurons from firing. To be extra cautious, the researchers also monitored the brains for any such activity and were prepared to administer an anesthetic should they have seen signs of consciousness.

        Even so, the research signals a massive debate to come regarding medical ethics and our definition of death.

        Most countries define death, clinically speaking, as the irreversible loss of brain or circulatory function. This definition was already at odds with some folk- and value-centric understandings, but where do we go if it becomes possible to reverse clinical death with artificial perfusion?

        "This is wild," Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the New York Times. "If ever there was an issue that merited big public deliberation on the ethics of science and medicine, this is one."

        One possible consequence involves organ donations. Some European countries require emergency responders to use a process that preserves organs when they cannot resuscitate a person. They continue to pump blood throughout the body, but use a "thoracic aortic occlusion balloon" to prevent that blood from reaching the brain.

        The system is already controversial because it raises concerns about what caused the patient's death. But what happens when brain death becomes readily reversible? Stuart Younger, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University, told Nature that if BrainEx were to become widely available, it could shrink the pool of eligible donors.

        "There's a potential conflict here between the interests of potential donors — who might not even be donors — and people who are waiting for organs," he said.

        It will be a while before such experiments go anywhere near human subjects. A more immediate ethical question relates to how such experiments harm animal subjects.

        Ethical review boards evaluate research protocols and can reject any that causes undue pain, suffering, or distress. Since dead animals feel no pain, suffer no trauma, they are typically approved as subjects. But how do such boards make a judgement regarding the suffering of a "cellularly active" brain? The distress of a partially alive brain?

        The dilemma is unprecedented.

        Setting new boundaries

        Another science fiction story that comes to mind when discussing this story is, of course, Frankenstein. As Farahany told National Geographic: "It is definitely has [sic] a good science-fiction element to it, and it is restoring cellular function where we previously thought impossible. But to have Frankenstein, you need some degree of consciousness, some 'there' there. [The researchers] did not recover any form of consciousness in this study, and it is still unclear if we ever could. But we are one step closer to that possibility."

        She's right. The researchers undertook their research for the betterment of humanity, and we may one day reap some unimaginable medical benefits from it. The ethical questions, however, remain as unsettling as the stories they remind us of.