Today is Match Day. In auditoriums across the United States, fourth-year medical students were handed envelopes which contained the name of a residency program, setting in stone their destiny for the next few years. Some were elated, and others horrified, but starting in a few months, they’ll all walk into hospitals across the country as the newest class of doctors. Congratulations to every one of them.

And in other medicine-related news, the Supreme Court ruled that emergency rooms cannot test pregnant women for drug use without their explicit consent. The crux of this case was that the South Carolina hospital did the testing with the explicit intent of turning any evidence over to the police; I’d agree that it is difficult to justify an invasion of privacy this large.

My work in the hospital has been all about consent lately. I have a patient, a victim of some of the most disturbing abuse I’ve seen, and every time I need to do any procedures on the child, I still have to try to obtain consent from the mother. What is shocking is that the mother has confessed to most of the abuse, and yet not only does she still retain the right to consent for the child, she also is no longer in jail. Welcome to the U.S., where children who imitate TV wrestling moves get life sentences but mothers who break seven of their child’s ribs and bite them repeatedly get out of jail in three weeks.

It appears that the original webcam, the University of Cambridge computer lab coffee cam, has finally bid farewell to the net. The Register had a story warning of this recently; it appears that the lab is moving to a new building, and the coffee cam wasn’t slated to travel along.

Salon has a reasonably good (if slightly overdramatized) account of what it’s like to be in an ER when you find out that a big trauma’s on its way in. The author, a trauma doc in Virginia, does a good job of capturing the frenetic pace, as well as the fact that everything’s a balance between what would be best to do and what you have time to do.

The XFL continues to put up wretched ratings numbers. Last Saturday’s game got a 1.6, which is not only the worst rating for any prime-time network sports broadcast, it’s thought to be the worst rating for any prime-time show, ever. Despite the sorry performance, NBC is sticking by its league… for now.

This could be, quite honestly, the worst security vulnerability alert I’ve ever read. Read it carefully, and try to envision a scenario in which anyone could succeed in exploiting the so-called vulnerability. My favorite is the fact that it would require the user to ignore a huge warning saying that they are about to do something dumb; the author of the alert dismisses this bluntly by saying that people just don’t read warning messages. These are the people securing the computer systems of the world?

Apparently, the maker of a log analysis tool decided that all the whois lookups done by the tool should be run through SamSpade (one of the best web-based DNS tools out there). The big problems with this were that (a) they didn’t ask if they could do this, and (b) the traffic brought SamSpade down a few times. It seems that all’s been fixed now.


Nice story on Match Day.

• Posted by: Dave Winer on Mar 22, 2001, 10:36 PM
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