epidemiology from the bible

 Book of Daniel 1:11-15
New International Version (NIV)

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

empowering the future generation

Medical students should not just aim to become competent clinicians, but to see themselves as educators and social mobilizers as well.  Our group, the University of the Philippines College of Medicine Class 2015, together with the Department of Community Medicine, was given a unique chance to educate high school kids at the ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School in Pandacan, Manila.

We were told that these kids were truly intellectually gifted despite the various socioeconomic hardships they have to face; many of these kids depend on external financial aid.

Last September 13, 2012 was just the first leg of a series of workshops that UPCM2015 facilitated for ERDATech students. Our aim for that particular day was to increase the level of awareness about common vices that are pertinent to this vulnerable age group, such as smoking, alcohol drinking, illicit drugs, & internet addiction.

What followed was a very productive day of lectures, role-playing, games, and group discussions; we were very much surprised with their eagerness to participate in the activities.

We were also surprised with ourselves since this was our group's first collective effort to reach out to high school kids. It felt like we were the right people to give advice to these kids, after all, since we understood the peer pressures of youth. It was also our hope that they can tell their parents and relatives about the detrimental effects to health of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, drug abuse, and internet addiction, because these are important risk factors that we always encounter in our patients in the clinics.

 In empowering these kids the pertinent values of avoiding these vices, we feel that we have also empowered their individual families. We also feel that we have empowered ourselves somehow with an actualized sense of social responsibility.

We hope that these kids gained some useful insights through the knowledge, skills, & attitudes we've taught them. As this is only just the beginning of our year-long program, we can't wait to see them again this October, and certainly for the next few months in the future.

This post is dedicated to Global Action Day 2012, a global collaboration with this year's theme "The Power of We". Join the conversation using the hashtags #powerofwe, #blogactionday and #BAD12.

the birthday puzzle

how many people in a crowd do i need so that i have a 99% chance of finding at least a pair of individuals who shares the same birthday every year?

the answer, surprisingly, is 57.

read more about this classic birthday conundrum in this NYTimes post, as i can't fully explain to you the math behind it as succintly as that author did.

to fully test this theory, i got hold of UPCM 2015's class list, isolated the first 57 people on that list, and took note of their birthdays on a separate spreadsheet.

January 21, 1989
January 23, 1991
January 28, 1988
February 17, 1989
February 27, 1989
March 10, 1988
March 12, 1989
March 26, 1989
March 26, 1989
March 26, 1990
March 29, 1988
March 5, 1992
April 1, 1989
April 10, 1989
April 12, 1988
May 17, 1988
May 7, 1990
May 8, 1990
June 11, 1992
June 18, 1989
June 23, 1989
June 25, 1989
June 29, 1984
July 1, 1987
July 13, 1986
July 16, 1990
July 20, 1990
July 26, 1989
July 27, 1988
July 31, 1989
July 8, 1990
August 12, 1992
August 2, 1991
August 25, 1989
August 26, 1989
August 4, 1988
August 7, 1989
September 10, 1989
September 11, 1990
September 2, 1987
September 2, 1988
September 25, 1988
October 11, 1988
October 13, 1990
October 26, 1988
October 28, 1989
October 31, 1991
October 6, 1989
November 17, 1989
November 2, 1992
November 24, 1988
November 4, 1988
November 5
December 11, 1989
December 17, 1991
December 30, 1990
December 9, 1989

it turns out that the theory holds water!

coincidentally i was taking a module on probabilities and variances last week, and i only got 57.1% in that week's quiz. guess i need to review my math.

free translation course

The Department of Languages at the British Open University is planning the OT12 MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course on Open Translation tools and practices. The pilot course will run from the 15th October to 7th December 2012 for a total of 8 weeks. Read about the learning objectives of the course through their website.

It is for anyone involved in the translation profession, particularly for English & Spanish language learners. They are inviting professional linguists, translation students, and language enthusiasts to join. At the end of the modules, the participants are expected to:
  • appreciate open translation tools and generic translation skills
  • develop some useful employability skills in a global perspective
  • promote multilingualism and intercultural communication
  • appreciate well-established community translation projects such as Wikipedia, TED talks, and Global Voices
  • and develop translation skills in subject specific domains through translating Open University's OpenLearn content.

Visit the OT12 MOOC website to apply for a free slot.

free infographics course

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is launching its first ever online course, Introduction to Infographics & Data Visualization, which begins on October 28 and ends December 08.

you may register via the official web site.

you may read also the press release here.

Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization from Knight Center on Vimeo.

tedxdiliman 2012

the stage is set for tedxdiliman

urban graffiti defines a strange facet of the city.
photo by benjamin dela pena

the future of human rights according to atty ted te

former senator leticia ramos-shahani describes the differences in distance
of scarborough & spratlys from the philippines and from china

director jose javier reyes postulates that in man's struggle
to be at one with the world, he ends up being just one 

casa de san miguel stirs up the atmosphere with some
gut-wrenching music on strings

rick rocamora displays his knack for visual storytelling

tony oposa reminds us that we have only one earth

jaemark tordecilla explains how the azkals team easily got 1 million pesos
from manny v pangilinan

this was ermita near roxas boulevard during a foregone era

and these stuff are my take-home souvenirs from tedxdiliman 2012 (plushies not included):

tedxdiliman shirt

the cover reminds me of a psychedelic mc escher painting

my nametag is without a last name

forty-third TED translation

Ipinamalas ni Pattie Maes ang "Sixth Sense," ang teknolohiyang sinusuot na babago sa lahat
TED2009, filmed february 2009, postedmarch 2009
Translated into Filipino by Polimar Balatbat
Reviewed by Schubert Malbas

forty-second TED translation

Ang ninuno ng wika, ni Murray Gell-Mann
TED2007, filmed march 2007, postedjune 2008
Translated into Tagalog by Chris S
Reviewed by Schubert Malbas

seryoso na 'to

my spanish is getting rusty again, after 1 month of disuse. ugh

astrobiology & mims

the search for extraterrestrial life & life-saving drugs sit next to each other

i have to thank my pharma elective for teaching me to look at mims to list down the costs of each drug. it was my first time to appreciate such a neat book. looking back, the publishers of mims actually turned me down when i applied for a job at their company as mims researcher/writer.

as for my astrobiology book, it was another rescue sale i did at booksale for only 20 pesos; i consider that as rescuing because they'd rather stay with me and be read, rather than collect fungus on a shelf while no one bothers to purchase them. i've never got past chapter 1 because of the pharma reports last week; we'll see if my schedule this week, together with a bit of clinical work from ortho-rheuma-rehab, can accomodate some geek lovin'.

urban water art

This is pretty awesome... I'd say both  awesome and pretty.

Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau, created in the Digitalarti Artlab from Digitalarti on Vimeo.

The "Water Light Graffiti" is a surface made of thousands of LED illuminated by the contact of water. You can use a paintbrush, a water atomizer, your fingers or anything damp to sketch a brightness message or just to draw. Water Light Graffiti is a wall for ephemeral messages in the urban space without deterioration. A wall to communicate and share magically in the city.
The Water Light Graffiti project is a creation of Antonin Fourneau and his team. The art installation was done in Poitiers, France last July. I can imagine this LED board being installed on the seaside park behind the mall of asia. It's going to be a hit.

books on a long weekend

un mensaje de señor carl sagan

just months before he died in 1996, author & scientist Carl Sagan wrote a message to all the future colonists of the planet Mars. who knew that just about 16 years later, we're celebrating a major breakthrough towards colonizing our neighboring planet.

experimentar con los gatos

cats are fond of chasing lights aren't they

somebodies that i used to know

Taking a cue from Eric Whitacre and his fantastic TEDTalk A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong at TED2011, Belgian-Aussie singer and songwriter Gotye posted a similar video over last weekend, entitled “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra.”

Says Gotye from his official YouTube channel:
Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn't resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered. Thank you to everyone who has responded to Somebody That I Used To Know via YouTube. It's truly amazing!

The video is a mashup of his smash hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” that stitches together the many individuals who’ve posted covers of themselves playing the song. Take out the words from this song, and it's still music to my ears. Beautiful; just beautiful.

the geek zodiac

Well, apparently there is such a thing as Geek Zodiac! It comes with a cool poster and you can search your zodiac assignment by year of birth. There's also an ongoing comic series featuring the characters; you might as well check that out, since it's pretty neat.

the 12 signs of the geek zodiac

So, what's your sign? (It says that I am an undead/slayer, a soulful transcendental that appreciates the value of all life forms, whatever that means!)

français o español

written french is so much easier compared to spoken french. ugh. all o'them french words sound the same, at least to my untrained ears.

me thinks spanish is straightforward and easier to understand, whether it is written or spoken.

i will learn you both, in due time.

for now, good vibes muna! ;)

snowflakes, ferns & dragons

from snowflake, to fern, to dragon:

The interpolation here is made from Koch snowflake to Barnsley's fern, from Barnsley's fern to Heighway's dragon and finally from Heighway's dragon to Koch snowflake (made by jfrusciantetube).

how to make the dragon fractal:

why i translate

TED & Global Voices have starkly different themes: TED is generally a global venue for sharing cutting-edge ideas across scientific & artistic disciplines (it can pass off as elitist, truth be told), while Global Voices is a dynamic online citizen media outlet about current events & news stories that traditional media sometimes ignore (a grassroots community with a grassroots orientation).

At the end of the day, however, their missions are one and the same: to spread worthy ideas across borders, including the barrier that is language, in which people are inherently varied.

coke, pop or soda

Edwin Chen posted this interesting post in his blog. Edwin Chen is a data scientist at Twitter.

Coke, soda, or pop? copyright Edwin Chen 2012

It shows which parts of the world use the word "coke", "soda", or "pop".

I think I'd like to suggest a corollary to this neat piece of geographical data. How about putting this data alongside a map of the prevalence of diabetes mellitus type 2 per country?  Notice how Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines are filled up with red dots? While most of Africa and China are spared? Would the prevalence of both disease and soft drink actually have a correlation? That'd be something awesome!

florence nightingale's pies

While researching about anesthesiology, I found out that Florence Nightingale was probably the pioneer in critical care medicine, having served as nurse in military camps in the Crimean War in the 1850's.

I also found out that Nightingale was an astute statistician! She was the first woman to be elected into the Royal Statistical Society (in UK) and she later became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.

If anything, she could very well be called the mother of graphical representation of data. One of her works is this pie chart known as the polar area diagram, the Nightingale rose diagram, or what we now call as the circular histogram.

florence nightingale's report on the causes of army morbidity circa 1854-1856 (source: Wikipedia)

An intensivist and a statistician at the same time! Wow.

lost and found

Marco Bagni's short 1-minute videographic on Getting Lost elegantly sums up the philosophy behind a purpose-driven life:

"Getting lost is the only way to find your own path".

I hope you like it as much as I do.

CERN finds Higgs boson

CERN has finally figured it out: the Higgs boson is real.

Higgs bos-whut? PhDComics lays it down.

The Higgs Boson Explained from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

Okay, let me quantify that a bit: with a certainty approaching almost 100% that it's not a fluke, CERN researchers have isolated a new particle with a mass of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV at 4.9 σ significance.

This is consistent with models predicting the so-called 'God particle', which gives some, but not all, of the mass of other elementary particles in the cosmos.

Two teams of scientists at CERN have confirmed the discovery of a new subatomic particle, which may well be the elusive Higgs boson.

"I can confirm that a particle has been discovered that is consistent with the Higgs boson theory," said John Womersley, chief executive of the UK's Science & Technology Facilities Council. The result is still preliminary, but "it's very strong and very solid," according to Joe Incandela, spokesman for one of the two teams hunting for the Higgs particle (from Russia Today on YouTube).

ten-thousandth at one

My sincerest thanks to a certain Google searcher from the town of Evanston, Illinois, where the main campus of the globally-ranked Northwestern University is located, who landed on this lowly weblog as my ten-thousandth visitor.

downtown Evanston, from wikipedia

Thanks to you, my lowly  med school chronicle has recently reached the five-digit audience mark, just four days shy from the first anniversary since my first blogpost on this domain. What a spectacular year it has been! 34% of visitors come from the Philippines, 29% from the United States, and 37% from the rest of the world. 85% of all viewers use Windows OS.

That certain awesome person used Chrome on a Mac while browsing through Google Images and presumably found the comic below interesting enough. He or she then presumably clicked the thumbnail, which lead to the July 2011 blog archive that contained the xkcd comic pertaining to this particularly difficult patient.

from xkcd.com

In that case, I should really thank xkcd for allowing the syndication.

Pati na rin sa lahat ng napapadpad sa aking website nang walang malamang dahilan. Kahit hindi ko mawari ang inyong pakay kung bakit kayo napadaan dito, hindi naman ako magsasawang magpapasalamat sa inyong lahat!

TEDGlobal 2012

Wow, TED just gave me a free pass for the webcast of TEDGlobal 2012 to be streamed live from Edinburgh! Thank you TED! Pure awesomeness.

TEDGlobal's theme for this year is Radical Openness, and I bet that there should be at least a couple of radical talks worth my time, which will be spent away from the medical texts that I have study for a written examination next week which is on infectious and systemic diseases. That means, it'd better be good.

the city of edinburgh. from wikipedia
Among the roster of speakers, I am keen on what Mr. Malte Spitz has got to say about data science. I am quite frustrated with data visualization techniques, and I've got to see his talk firsthand! Off the program teaser, it says that he has been tracking 5-months worth of mobile phone usage, twitter feeds, and blog entries tagged with geolocational vectors which he then made into a longitudinal infographic. It sounds really exciting, right?! I know...

The last time I had a free webcast from the awesome TED team was for the entire TED2012: Full Spectrum conference at Long Beach, California.

the city of long beach. from wikipedia
I was less busy during that time, since the Long Beach event was neatly sandwiched during the modules for ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology, which almost all students would say are the most benign subjects, in our school at least.

I can still remember a few stand-out speeches from the sessions. Indubitably the most memorable monologues from TED2012, at least in my mind, were done by the following people:

and this has got to be the funniest intermission to have been inserted in a very serious conference like TED:

So there! If anyone wants to watch this live, and you don't want to pay $$$, you can go to my house! Okay?

forty-first TED translation

Mga kamangha-manghang bagay sa ilalim ng dagat, hatid ni David Gallo
TED2007, filmed march 2007, posted january 2008
Translated into Filipino by Schubert Malbas
Reviewed by Polimar Balatbat

fortieth TED translation

Marco Tempest: Usa ka sugilanon nga katingalahan (nga naay augmented realty)
TED2012, filmed march 2012, posted march 2012
Translated into Cebuano by Aries Erioles
Reviewed by Schubert Malbas

thirty-ninth TED translation

Marco Tempest: Ang salamangka ng mga katotohanan at kasinungalingan (at mga iPod)
TEDGlobal2011, filmed july 2011, posted august 2011
Translated into Filipino by Schubert Malbas
Reviewed by Polimar Balatbat

thirty-eighth TED translation

Marco Tempest: Pinagyamang realidad, salamangka sa teknolohiya
TEDGlobal2011, filmed july 2011, posted november 2011
Translated into Filipino by Schubert Malbas
Reviewed by Polimar Balatbat

thirty-seventh TED translation

Arianna Huffington: Paano ba magtagumpay? Damihan ang tulog
TEDWomen, filmed december 2010, posted january 2011
Translated into Filipino by Schubert Malbas
Reviewed by Polimar Balatbat

thank you captain obvious

contrary to claims of this country's president, avoiding china as trading partner is almost impossible.

top importers 2011
china $1.326 trillion
united states $1.212 trillion
japan $752 billion
taiwan $510 billion
south korea $478 billion

top exporters 2011
china $1.639 trillion
japan $759 billion
saudi arabia $604 billion
united states $576 billion
south korea $461 billion

in the eyes of the global economy, china is more important than the philippines. duh.

global shipping network, fortune magazine, may 21, 2012 page 41

to view the full six-page graphic made by nicolas rapp for fortune magazine, go here.

hans rosling's 53-second talk

this was taken from the tedxsummit 2012 in the city of doha, qatar, attended by many tedx organizers from all over the planet. i've always wanted to be like him - a medical doctor and a statistician - and i still do, but this is wishful thinking from a man with so many numbers swimming inside his brilliant head.

at some point i want to disagree with him, because in my 2 and a half decades of existence the poorest in my province hasn't made much progress. they're still stuck beneath that thing you call the poverty line. multiply their numbers by 70x for the other provinces in this developing nation and by 100x for all other third world countries. easily that's more than 1 billion in the world who are not moving up the social ladder.

that's just something to think about. positive predictions are pretty and all, but when it comes down to facts needed in policy-making, scientists and politicians alike should get a grip at reality, because the truth will set us free.

la melodía de mayo

top five:

and i am telling you - jennifer holliday & jessica sanchez

*catapulted jessica sanchez to a level higher than all other american idol artists can only dream of

starships - alex newell and vocal adrenaline of glee

*hands down, alex newell could have, and should have, won the glee project

fantastic baby - big bang

*personally rediscovered big bang only now; 거짓말 or lies from 2007 still one of their best songs

payphone - maroon 5

*introduced last april on the voice, but only had an official live-action music video this may

back in time - pitbull

*embraced every ridiculous and fun thing about mib3


whistle - flo rida

*some kids actually get the subliminal message

gotta be you - one direction

*released in UK late 2011, but why only now in ph, i have no idea

dance again - jennifer lopez

*uh-oh, jlo is becoming more and more n-s-f-c, sayang lang dahil okay naman ang song na'to

season 11 much like season 4

american idol season four

from wikimedia commons
from wikimedia commons
do you still remember how the finale between ms. carrie underwood and mr. bo bice panned out?

going into the finale, everybody thought that carrie was the underdog, while bo was deemed frontrunner? then carrie won, and everybody said hurray for the underdog? (sources: wiki, google)

guess we were wrong. history tells us that she was never in the bottom three ever. bo was in the bottom two once. ms. vonzell solomon, season 4's frontrunner, ended up in third place.

american idol season eleven

guess again. we are seeing the same ridiculousness with season 11, with the genders in reverse.
phillip has never been in bottom three ever. jessica was in the bottom once.
mr. joshua ledet, season 11's ordained frontrunner, ended up in third place.

fox seems to tell people that mr. phillips is an underdog onscreen, but may well in fact had the most number of votes this season.

meanwhile, a lot of people seem to think that ms. sanchez already has the title in the bag, but for all we know she may have been struggling with the votes each week.

learn from history people. will american idol season 11 look like american idol season 4? we will never know, until the 24th of may.

* * * * * * * *  

update: Yes Phillip did win, no surprises there (see previous post: Twitter predicts idol winner).

twitter predicts idol winner

final update: Phillip won! Twitter wanted us to ready ourselves for this news.

* * * * *
update: so far, our prediction holds!

So who do you root for? Is it Mr. Phillips or Ms. Sanchez? What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

* * * * *

in the run-up to the finale, three idol contestants remain: Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, and Jessica Sanchez.

Now, we don't know the voting tally every week, except that Mr. Ledet was in the bottom three twice, and Ms. Sanchez had it once. We can only surmise that Mr. Phillips has always had a huge loving from his voting followers, a belief that hasn't been proven... until now.

light bulb: predict who will win american idol season 11 using their AI11 twitter accounts

rationale: twitter activity of followers are an indirect manifestation of bequeathing sincere love, concern and affection for the contestant they support the most

methodology: Using Twitter, Visual.ly Labs dashboard, and a tiny bit of imagination, we can imagine the finale going in any of three ways:

  • @jsanchezAI11 versus @jledetAI11
  • @pphillipsAI11 versus @jsanchezAI11
  • @jledetAI11 versus @pphillipsAI11

Period covered is April 16 to May 16, or roughly the time after Ms. Sanchez was saved by the judges from being eliminated from the Top 7, up to the present Top 3.

dim the lights. here are your results:

All rights reserved by Visually, Inc.

All rights reserved by Visually, Inc.

All rights reserved by Visually, Inc.
  • Jessica has the most number of followers (331,000) compared to Phillip (281,000) or Joshua (99,000). She also gets the most number of mentions every week for the last 28 days; Phillips is in distant second, while Joshua lags in third place. If you also check their Klout scores, Jessica has 82, Phillips has 80, and Joshua has 75.
  • while Jessica enjoys worldwide attention, Phillips easily dominates North America with 115,000 followers, more than double either Joshua's (41,000) or Jessica' (38,000). this is the stat that matters the most, easily because the United States turns in almost 99% of the tally, aside from the few Skype calls outside US, if ever those votes come through. this means that Phillips enjoy a distinctly wide margin from the two competitors.

right here i'm introducing my idol twitter index (imaginary intellectual property right pending). by definition, it measures the estimated level of twitter engagement a particular contestant has with the portion of followers coming from North America.

           contestant: idol twitter index
 Phillips 350.52984
Sanchez    57.87756
Ledet 47.21196
Cavanagh 27.88416 

just to prove this point, let me add a Jessica Sanchez vs. Hollie Cavanagh scenario, as illustrated below, with the idol twitter index already calculated for the Top 4 contestants. it becomes obvious that among the Top 4, Ms. Cavanagh lagged behind in terms of twitter engagement with North Americans.

All rights reserved by Visually, Inc.

conclusions: this model predicts that Phillips will win the entire thing, which you can agree or disagree with. at least that's what the twitter numbers are saying: Phillips's followers easily outnumber either Ledet's or Sanchez's roughly 3:1.

now, the other slot in the finale is a toss-up between Joshua or Jessica, but based on this analysis, Jessica may get to the Top 2 because of a higher twitter engagement index and a higher Klout score, which could well translate a few more votes for her.

in the event that either Ledet or Sanchez has exited, we can statistically predict a 50%-50% split of the third placer's followers: 50% will go to Phillips, while 50% will go to the other finalist.

recommendations: if North Americans want Jessica or Joshua to win this thing, they have to double or even triple the amount of effort that Phillips's fans are currently doing. That's not even a guarantee, since his fanatics would might as well step up their game where it matters the most: the finale.

and that's my scientific take on american idol season 11 *bow*