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June 16, 2005

Thursday Brain Spew

Twin Otter Realtime Synthetic Aperature Radar
I don't particularly feel like killing any homies in San Andreas tonight so I decided to go googling instead. My endless fascination with our nation's nuclear infrastructure took me to find our gaseous diffusion plants and a few national labs. Brookhaven seems to be in the nicest neighborhood, but Sandia has the monster computers. Or at least they always used to back in the days I used to monitor the supercomputer showdowns.

But the cool thing I found at the Sandia site was a description that makes be believe that I could understand radar imaging. Awesome stuff that. Plus, I needed to be reminded that there are people who do have computers that actually crunch huge datasets without going off into zombieland - which is the current state of affairs on the crappy segmented IBM Regatta I'm babysitting (without enough access to run 'top').

Curse of the Obstetric Fistula
The other day's NYT had a fascinating story about a medical condition, known as an obstetric fistula, that in every way seems to fit the curse of women throughout history. How many times have I come across the concept that menstruating women were considered unclean in ancient cultures, or that a 'barren' woman was unfit and cast out of the village? There's no doubt in my mind that this condition could be the source of a great deal of pain as well as a cultural disposition to exile women from society. It's not hard to imagine a time when the underlying cause of such horrid symptoms was not understood. I never heard of such a thing until this week. Yike.

Posted by mbowen at June 16, 2005 07:01 AM

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yikes indeed! I had never heard of this before. :(

Posted by: matt at June 17, 2005 01:46 PM