The way that I see it, Viagra may help mountaineers breathe easier at higher altitudes, but any advantage this may afford them must be offset by their crushing desire to hump their Sherpas, right?

The New York Times has a great article about the huge effort that will be required to rebuild the subway tunnels underneath the World Trade Center site. More than a mile of tunnels need to be rebuilt, at a potential cost of $1 billion or more. Complicating things is the fact that the city is going to have to fill part of the tunnel system with concrete in order to short up the roads above for recovery equipment; construction crews will then have to wreck all that concrete out of the tunnels when the time comes.

New York has now banned amateur photography at the World Trade Center disaster scene, calling it a “crime scene.” I can’t see how they’re going to enforce this; likewise, I can’t see how they can legally justify it, seeing as they are still allowing news organizations to shoot pictures and video.

In what appears to be a pretty well-designed study, doctors at Columbia have demonstrated that prayer nearly doubles the success rate of in-vitro fertilization. Interestingly, the prayer that they studied was “intercessory prayer” — not the pregnant women themselves praying, but instead, groups of other people praying for them. Freeeeaky. (The entire paper is currently available on the Journal of Reproductive Medicine website, but it’ll disappear soon.)

If the concept of whales running around on land atop spindly ankle bones doesn’t freak you the hell out, then you’ve got way better of an imagination than I do.

Yesterday, I started back up in the neonatal ICU, which means two things to you, the faithful reader. First, it means that you’ll get a few more stories about the things that pediatricians and neonatologists do to save kids in the earliest hours of their lives — like when i just gave an immediately newborn little boy a few breaths from a mask, and he went from looking like death to crying and screaming and doing all those things that babies who’ve just come out of the womb do. (I love the incredible resilience of newborn babies.) Second, however, it means that there’s a good chance that I’ll be a little quieter than normal; the hours are grueling, and I get this feeling that sleep will be at a premium.

I’ve been meaning to point to this for a week now: Slate’s Daryl Cagle has been collecting all of the political cartoons that have come out of the World Trade Center horror. Some are heart-wrenching, others are insightful, and yet others are offensive; all of them contain the raw emotion that political cartoons are so good at capturing and conveying.

I’ve been feeling guilty this week. Shannon and I are both pretty much non-religious, but in light of the events here in New York last week, Shannon felt it was important to go to church last weekend. My extended family celebrates Rosh Hashanah every year, and the deal that Shannon and I made was this: she’d accompany me to the family dinner if I’d accompany her to church. What was the source of my guilt in this, you ask? Well, we made it to Rosh Hashanah without a problem, but… we didn’t make it to church.

The way I’m making it up to her, though, is that I managed to get us tickets to the memorial service that’s being held today at Yankee Stadium. Apparently, the security’s going to be tight (no bags, bottles, or umbrellas, and picture IDs required from everyone); there’s also going to be a wide no-fly zone over the Stadium. I’m hoping I’m allowed to bring my camera in.

For future reference, for me as well as everyone else out there who runs Windows 2000: a summary of every one of the approximately 100 services that run under Windows 2000 Server.

Yay! Diana Krall just released a new album, “The Look of Love.” Maybe it’s time to treat myself to a new CD…

For the past 15 years, Seattle has distributed a voter’s pamphlet, complete with statements from each candidate running for office explaining his or her position. One thing banned from those statements, however, is mention of any other person who is running for office. Grant Cogswell, candidate for City Council, took issue with this restriction, and this past week, won his case; the ban has been struck down as unconstitutional by U.S. District Court for the region. And why do I mention this at all? Because my brother was the attorney who argued this baby. Kick ass.

Brent’s put together a great list of ways that you, as an individual, can help stimulate the American economy.

Something I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about in New York right now is how, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, people are depending a lot on physical contact with each other — people hugging, couples clinging to one another, that sort of thing. Apparently, it goes one step beyond that, with the rise of terror sex in New York over the past week.

In the context of hunting down terrorists in the Middle East, Slate has a good, short explanation of the current U.S. spy satellite capabilities, as well as those of other nations and the private sector. I honestly hadn’t realized how advanced our satellites are, especially when compared to the others up in orbit.

Four more stories have been added to the Fray missing pieces collection, all from people who were a little too frazzled last week to get their entries in to Derek in time for the original publication. Of course, there’s also the user-submitted entries, many of which are more moving than the original stories.

In news of the overindulgent, a British mother spent over $200 chasing down her 11-year-old son so that she could give him the GameBoy that she forgot to pack into his suitcase. My favorite part of the story is the total irony involved — the boy was on a field trip to a remote island so that he could learn about living without modern amenities. (There’s now a silly MetaFilter thread about this.)

The governor of New York, George Pataki, announced today that the state will provide free college education for the spouses and children of everyone who was killed in the disaster last Tuesday. I couldn’t be more proud of my state right now; I have nothing but respect for the way that Giuliani and Pataki have handled everything here over the past week.

OK, people — if your Windows machine was hit with today’s outbreak of the Nimda worm, then that means one of two things: you’re either still vulnerable to a bug that was discovered in October of last year, or to one that was discovered in March of this year. In today’s environment of always-on Internet connections and viruses and worms flying around, there’s no excuse for not staying up-to-date with bug fixes. In this case, there are two important ones, one for Internet Information Server and one for Internet Explorer and Outlook. (Note that the second one is a superceding patch; all of the bulletins point to this patch, but it’s encompassed in the bulletin linked above.) Most importantly, though, sign up to receive future Microsoft bulletins automatically; it’s a no-lose proposition.

It’s inappropriate to tell someone they’re not being patriotic because they’re not reacting to the crisis in the same way you are. It’s inappropriate to tell someone they’re “un-American” or “unpatriotic” because their house or car happens not to be festooned with flags. It’s inappropriate to say awful things to somebody because you disagree with their peaceful yet honest reactions.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks, Chuck Taggart has something to say about people who proclaim to know the right way to demonstrate patriotism. (That link now reflects Chuck’s permanent URL for the entry.)

As a New Yorker and a cat owner, I’m incredibly glad to see that there is a concerted pet rescue effort underway in the area affected by the World Trade Center attacks. I’ve already heard from some that this seems like a silly little thing, but (in addition to the fact that I disagree with that assessment) in times like this, we grasp onto silly little things as proof that we can help life start back up again.

Has anyone installed and used Microsoft’s URLScan Security Tool? It’s billed as an IIS filter that pre-scans all incoming URL requests for potential security compromises (e.g., characters that don’t belong requested address, and that sort of thing), but I wonder if it works, and what kind of impact it has on the web server. If you’ve used it, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know what your experience has been.

new york times magazine cover

Will someone please remind me to pick up a copy of the New York Times next Sunday? The NYT Magazine, which is already available online, will be devoted to the events of this week, and it looks like it’ll be something I’ll want to archive and get back to every now and again. Something I particularly like is the cover (the picture to the right), which is a proposed light sculpture to occupy the space of the Towers until something is rebuilt there.

I apologize for not saying more around here. In my head, I keep returning to what happened on Tuesday, but I can’t get myself to log a lot of what I’m feeling, or the things that I find on the web about the terrorist acts; I’m leaving those activities in the hands of those who have already proven themselves capable of performing them. I promise, I’ll return to my near-normal self this week, although it struck me today that there probably won’t be a return to total normalcy here any time soon.

There’s a new Fray, Missing Pieces, about the abhorrent acts of this past Tuesday, and the way that we’re all coping with the changes in our lives wrought by them.

remember the victims

Happy birthday, Noah; I’m sorry that you couldn’t be here, celebrating at First Wok with us and at Grove tomorrow night. I’ll see you soon.

Shannon is OK (thank GOD). Anil is OK. Karen is OK (happy birthday). Phil is OK. James is OK. Cam is OK. Damien is OK. Mike and Dineen are OK. Steven is OK. Grant is OK. Jenifer is OK. Pixi is OK. Jeffrey is OK. Bob is OK. Gus is OK. Joel is OK.

“After several minutes of describing the scene, Jeremy and several other passengers decided there was nothing to lose by rushing the hijackers. Although United Flight 93 crashed outside of Pittsburgh, with the loss of all souls. Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the Arab terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission.”

In all of the terror, confusion, and sadness yesterday, patriotism reared its head on board United Flight 93 yesterday.

Amazon has set up a quick micropayment system that allows you to donate as little as one dollar (or as much as you want) to the Red Cross disaster relief effort. Think about the money you spend each week on coffee, bagels, whatever; now, think about giving that money to the work going into helping those affected most by this.

As a New York site, I feel it’s important that I open things up here to people who can’t communicate because of the telecommunications problems that we’re having here. So please, feel free to click on the little Discuss link, and post whatever you need to; use it for messages to each other, words of inspiration, whatever. Fill up my hard disk; I don’t care. Spread the word, too.

My heart goes out to all those who have loved ones who have been hurt or killed today; words cannot convey how I am feeling right now.

If you’re in Manhattan, think about something seriously for me — there was already a major blood shortage, and there will be an immense need for blood. Most hospitals have set up ways for you to walk in and donate blood today; please, if you’re OK, and your family is OK, and you are just glued to your television, think about ungluing yourself, walking to your nearest hospital, and donating.

I cannot stress how important this is right now.

For everyone who’s emailed or tried to call/page, I’m OK, Shannon’s OK, and so is everyone in my family. I’m in clinic today, and things have been hectic; they’re going to use our hospital, obviously, for this, so things are going to be hectic for a while. Thank you for your kind words and worries; more as I know it.

In the mean time, Dave Winer seems to be on top of the news sites, so go there.

I spent a little time today putting the photos up from my trip to Seattle, if you’re interested in taking a look. (If you’re just looking for the hiking pictures, you can start the show here instead.) They include shots from wandering around Fremont and Seattle, visiting the Experience Music Project, hiking the Hoh River Trail on the Olympic Peninsula, and watching the Mariners win their 100th game this season.

So, today was a sad day — I learned that my absolute favorite patient, a 3 year-old to whom I had become more of a brother/friend than a doctor, died overnight. He had leukemia, had received a stem-cell transplant nearly a year ago, and had been struggling with numerous complications since; he had spent only about three or four weeks at home since his transplant. It’s not hard to see the death-isn’t-always-the-worst-option perspective in this, but I’m going to miss him immensely.

So, Noah and I have returned from our hike along the Hoh River Trail, and I have to say that while it kicked our asses — nine miles on day one, 20 miles on day two (including 4,100 feet of elevation over six miles), and then nine miles on day three — it was amazing. Ten miles into the second day, the view below is what we were treated to… definitely worth the work. When I get back to NYC, there’ll be more pictures; I’m on dialup here and without my trusty, rusty Photoshop.

meAboveBlueGlacier: Me sitting above the Blue Glacier, at the end of the Hoh River trail on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.