Monday, March 30, 2009

White Coat!

I did it! If anyone wants to watch the video in which I get my white coat (and get my last name slaughtered somehow), follow the link. Or better yet, skip to the end (about 35:20) to watch our class representative make her hilarious suggestion about how the clinicians in the teaching hospital can prevent having to face our class' notorious silence once we hit clinics...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Two days...

In two days, I get my white coat. It's a little anticlimactic because then I have two more weeks of class, but after that... Off to clinics!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Now that the snow is gone and the sun has some warmth to it again, I'm starting to think about... vegetables! I just finished reading Michael Pollan's newest book, which starts with the simple suggestion to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He goes on to describe how our industrialization of food has made us very confused about what's actually food and what's just "foodish". He also tracks the history of the science of nutrition, and how scientists love the reductionist approach to nutrition (e.g. the important parts of beef are the fats and proteins contained within it). But the nutrient's role in a food, or the food's role in a diet, or the diet's role in a lifestyle are nearly impossible to study, so nutrition science tends to overlook all that. The orange is healthy for you because of the vitamin C, or the fish is good because of omega-3 fatty acids. Never mind that epidemiologic studies have shown that a vitamin C pill doesn't provide the same benefits as eating an orange, and fish oil capsules don't provide the same benefits as eating a piece of salmon. We're finally realizing that food is more than just the sum of its parts (one of the main reasons that I think the "100% complete and balanced" claim on dog and cat foods is bunk).

But anyway, that quick summary doesn't do justice to the book- you'll have to read it yourself!

As summer is getting closer, I'm getting excited for the return of the farmer's market, but we're also considering joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture). To join a CSA, you purchase a share from a farm, who in turn delivers a weekly box of produce (or eggs, flowers, honey, or anything else the farm produces) to you. The downside- and upside- is that the contents of the box change depending on what's in season. You have to be a flexible cook to be able to take full advantage of what comes in your box, unlike going to the farmer's market where you can pick and choose what you want. You also don't get money back if pests or bad weather take out some of the farm's crops and you don't get a full box. The advantage is that you get to help support a local farm, and you provide a farm with a steady, reliable income throughout the growing season. CSA farms often open themselves to their supporters, encouraging members to come help with planting or harvesting and hosting events like corn roasts and pot lucks.

There's a huge list of Twin Cities-area CSAs at the Land Stewardship Project. Eener's Farm delivers to our local co-op... What do you think, should we go for it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why doesn't congress blog?

To keep up on the blogs vs. twitter debate, Ezra Klein again lays the hammer down, asking why congress is in love with twitter but doesn't blog:
But this is the problem with the public sphere's quick embrace of Twitter. It's intimacy without communication. McCaskill doesn't actually say anything in 140 characters or less. The illusion of transparency comes because in everyday life, we only hear about the dinner plans of people we actually have a relationship with. What's useful about intimacy, however, isn't the exchange of trivia but the access to different perspectives. And I'd really like to hear her perspective! It would be rather nice if senators and congressmen routinely wrote posts explaining their thinking on major issues. A public service, even. Instead, they've all embraced Twitter.
I started thinking of this when I read John McCain's twitter page and was interested how he never really has to explain anything, it is just political sound bites and trivial goings on. Which is fine, so long as they take the time to ever say anything. Otherwise it is just noise.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


All right, I'm in the Twitter game too... Follow my final thrilling month of lectures before I hit clinics- Ultrasound! Ethics! Urinary disorders! Cardiology!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Twitter is Twitterizeing all my Tweets

So I have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon with the ingenious handle "cschommer."

Ezra Klein said it best, "I sometimes feel about twitter the way old media types felt about blogs." 140 characters? No photos? I try and be very careful with this blog that everything I write is "published" and I would feel comfortable showing it to my co-workers, family, and future schools and employers. But i'm not sure how to deal with the tweets.

So here is what I am going to do - post almost entirely links. I read a lot on the internet and find some great stuff. And almost always, it whizzes by never to be seen again. So if I tweet it, I will one have a record of the event, and two be able to share it with others without having to expand on the topic.

It has to be said for twitter, that is creates some amazing forms of communication. For example, here is Claire McCaskill, Senator from Missouri asking a Question of Paul Krugman via twitter. Matthew Yglesias responds to her question on his blog, and Krugman links to it while responding to McCaskill's twitter on his blog.

Personally, I think that is amazing.

(by the way, this entire post clocks in at 1,186 characters, and one picture)

Friday, March 06, 2009


The sunshine... I loffs it.


Sunny class-free Friday afternoons are perfect for baking. These are chocolate chip cookies and the beginnings of a carrot cake, both recipes courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. Happy Friday, everyone!