Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who put the damn wind up the doctors' offices?!

Have your doctors' offices gotten on the bandwagon yet? There is this new trend to have Patient Gateways. The gateway keeps increasing its security. Now, it's like trying to get into Fort Knox. 2-factor security, where I have to include not just a password, but also a security question.

And all they use the damned things for is to send reminders that I have a freaking appointment!

I am sorry, folks, but if that's all you are putting on the Patient Gateway, I am here to tell you that it's not HIPAA applicable info. A few, I will say, actually use these gateways to post my medical records and images, for which I am grateful. And those, yes, that stuff, I DO want secure, and HIPAA DOES require it to be kept confidential. But....

Nobody cares what day my appointment is with you! If that's what you are making me jump through 10 hoops to find out, that is stoopud!

If YOU want ME to KNOW when the damned appointment is, YOU had damned sight better set up a better reminder system, bunky!

This is security run amok.

The illustration for this story, another example of security run amok, is from a 2010 Salon essay on airport security at http://www.salon.com/2010/08/06/airport_security_4/.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Google Master Class MOOC

A while ago, Marie posted here about teaching her students better Google searching skills. I was looking at what Google makes available and was thrilled to locate the excellent MOOC they developed on Power Searching and Advanced Power Searching. Visit that one link to enter, and choose either course. There is a nice intro that tells you what they teach in an outline format. I like the course a lot and have used a piece of it in my Advanced Legal Research class.

A student recently sent me another link, from Time online that shows readers 11 Google Tips and Tricks. Similar sites:

BoyGenius http://bgr.com/2014/08/13/top-25-google-search-tips-tricks/.
Distractify http://news.distractify.com/geek/google-tips/
Digital Trends http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/the-35-best-google-search-tips-and-tricks/
Lifehacker Student list http://lifehacker.com/google-tips-and-tricks-every-student-should-know-1508121671 (this one has less overlap; but is brief.)
Lifehacker Top 10 list http://lifehacker.com/top-10-clever-google-search-tricks-1450186165
Techradar http://www.techradar.com/us/news/internet/25-handy-google-search-tips-and-tricks-1260823
Teachhub 100 Tricks for Teachers http://www.teachhub.com/google-teachers-100-tricks

There is a lot of overlap among these various sites. But each of them adds something new and different. All add illustrations to the classic Google Tips and Tricks. From this page, you can also reach a number of other entertaining Google pages such as Google Doodles, and Google Playground.

The decoration for this post came from the Google Doodles collection, and is the Doodle for Loy Krathong Day, which turns out to be a "picturesque" festival in Thailand "...when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water." It sort of celebrates the end of the rice harvest, thanking for bountiful water needed for rice and also floating away anger and grudges. (Explanation from http://www.bangkok.com/whats-on-events/loy-krathong.htm) This year, the festival fell on November 6. In case you want to fly to Bangkok for what looks like a perfectly magical celebration, the celebration falls on the night of the first full moon at the end of the rainy season. And between the moonlight and the little candle lotus rafts, it sounds lovely.

Exam Time Stress

Ah, to be a law student in December! (or April)


This is a terrible time of year for our students, and they need our compassion and kindness. Exam time is stressful for all kinds of students, but law students experience a special kind of stress. Most law school courses, even today, put all or nearly all of the course final grade into one final exam!

This is pedagogical madness, of course. But it's Tradition! (as the Fiddler of the Roof guy sings.) Also, it enables a single professor to teach 100+ students a semester in some schools! This is why law schools have for so many years been profit centers in universities, and made them attractive enough that many for-profit law schools began to open. Of course, that all came to a skidding halt with the 2008 economic crash, and the collapse of the legal job market, that finally trickled into law schools' admissions. But in the meantime, too many law schools have not changed their teaching methods.

However, I see current students handling the stress much better than we did in my law school days (when the most popular methods were to become a slob, stop sleeping and drink to excess or live on caffeine). Many students these days take a much wiser course:

* Eat healthy foods, in moderation, and at regular meals

* Keep exercising -- exercise reduces stress, improves sleep, and helps combat depression, as well as keeping you fit!

* Sleep regularly -- don't pull "all nighters." If you don't have it in your head by now, it's too damned late to try to learn it all now, bubby. You should have been working on this stuff throughout the semester.

* Stress-reducers:
* Yoga
* Tai-chi
* Beating the crap out of a speed-bag (not everybody is a yoga type)
* Laugh a LOT with friends

It's still a terrible time. You will undoubtedly lose sleep and stress out. But maybe you won't wreck yourself entirely, and at least you will have laughed a lot in the meantime.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping the best for you. And remember that law school exams DO NOT measure the quality of you as a human being. The most they do is measure how much you managed to write down that day of what you learned in that class.

The decoration is The Scream, the famous painting by Edward Munch.