Health care industry reacting to overtesting, overtreatment

Carla Johnson’s lede:

The American health care system wastes an estimated $750 billion a year, according to the Institute of Medicine. At a recent AHCJ chapter event in Chicago, four panelists discussed one source of that waste: unnecessary tests and procedures.

Moderated and organized by AHCJ member Kevin B. O’Reilly, senior editor of CAP Today, the panel looked at the issue through the lenses of doctors, journalists, health system executives and academics.

Read the whole shebang at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ Covering Health blog.

I found my pen

At least for now. This one can seemingly do everything. It’s the Cross Tech 3+.

Simply twist the barrel to switch from black ink, to red ink, to mechanical pencil. Blue ink also is available.

And there’s the plus part, which is that the bottom end includes a nib that smoothly glides across the touch screen on any smartphone or tablet computer.

Which can be unscrewed to reveal an eraser for when the pencil is used. Of course!
















Update: Another thing this pen can do, apparently, is become useless fairly quickly. The coating on the stylus nub that made it glide smoothly across the screen started peeling off within a week or two of use. Soon enough, the nub started getting stuck when dragging across my phone’s screen, making it difficult to use. In addition, I had trouble getting the mechanical pencil to remain functional. Every other time I tried to use it, normal writing would push the lead back up into the barrel and I’d have to replace it. Alas, the search for my pen continues.

Summer weekend

While the weather dipped into unseasonable territory, it was nonetheless a great weekend for shooting.

First up is a set of pictures from our Saturday trip to rural Valparaiso, Ind., to visit old friends Jean and Judith for their “we’re still here” party. The couple had dozens of friends and relatives over to their wonderful country home to celebrate their 82nd and 86th birthdays, respectively. Here is just one shot of a nearby vista. Click the photo below to see that set of pictures.

Country life

And today, our friends Adam and Amy invited us to join their dog Gomez at the Praire Wolf Dog Park in Lake County. What a wonderful spot! Bob had loads of fun. Click the photo below for more.

Bob, his ball, and his shadow.

Photos from Midsommarfest

This is an annual street festival held in Andersonville. Despite the crush of people, it can be enjoyable for those interested in savoring a wide variety of overpriced comestibles, gewgaws and ear-splitting musical stylings. Anyhow, I took some pictures with my new camera. Click the photo below for the entire set.

A lot of face paint.

A note on language. One might think that Midsommarfest is a misnomer given that summer hasn’t even yet begun. Actually, midsommar is an important time in Sweden that does not happen in the middle of summer but at its start. (Andersonville was long home to a thriving Swedish population, but nowadays not so much.)

That having been said, Midsommarfest is still a misnomer because midsommar in Sweden is celebrated during the first week of summer — June 19-26. Midsommarfest in Andersonville, by contrast, takes place every year in early June. These pictures are from Saturday, June 8.

Photo play


Thanks to Elizabeth, I’m now the happy owner of a pretty powerful, yet compact, digital camera (read David Pogue’s review for more info). My sister-in-law Emily’s participation in the Soldier Field 10 Mile race on Saturday provided a good opportunity to give it a workout. Though I did not have a good enough view of the action to get any decent race photos, click here to see a few of the other shots I did get.

One neat feature is the in-camera effects. Below is the example of an effect where you take a photo and all the colors except blue are removed from the scene.

This camera setting spotlights the blue colors in a black-and-white photo.