Profound: June 2009 Archives

Brits at their Best: The British Constitution

Magna Carta, the Coronation Oath, the Statute of Westminster, the Bill of Rights of 1689: Elements of the foundation of the Anglosphere's heritage of liberty.

Recalling the Apgar Score's Namesake -

A simple way to quantify a newborn's condition motivated vast improvements in neo-natal care:

"As simple as it was, the score transformed deliveries by requiring staffers to carefully observe and assess each baby, assigning a score of 0, 1 or 2 to each of the five categories. Then, as now, few babies get a perfect 10 one minute after birth, since most have bluish toes and fingers until oxygenated blood starts circulating fully. Some doctors became competitive about the scores, and many hospitals began repeating the test at five or 10 minutes to measure whether newborns had improved."

"Most importantly, babies who needed care started to get it, gradually spurring the development of newborn-size resuscitation tools, infant heart-rate monitors and neonatal intensive-care units. Thanks to all those efforts, and the philosophy that came with them, U.S. infant mortality dropped from 58 per 1,000 in the 1930s to 7 per 1,000 today. By the 1970s, it was said, 'every baby born in a hospital around the world is looked at first through the eyes of Virginia Apgar.'" - MythBuster Adam Savage's Colossal Failures

An hour-long program (speech plus Q&A) at Maker Faire: Adam Savage from MythBusters explains what he learned from a couple of disastrous projects early in his career. Great viewing for the gifted kid (or gifted former kid) who's afraid to try and fail. Some interesting background on how he got into the special effects business and why it's great for polymaths. (Via manasclerk.)

Transcript of the Magliozzis' commencement address - MIT News Office

In their 1999 commencement address, alumni Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, teach MIT graduates the mantra that leads to happiness: "Unencumbered by the thought process. Unencumbered by the thought process."

"And most of you will leave here today with a pretty good idea of where you're going and what you're going to do.... But others among you may have charted a course or had one charted for you that you know is wrong. And you may feel some creative energy coursing through your body. Don't ignore it. If you feel the urge to create and discover and do something that will bring you fulfillment and happiness, do it now while you're young. You will never have more energy or enthusiasm, hair, or brain cells than you have today."