Archive for January, 2014

Image: esenkartal/Getty

by Marcus Wohlsen

Google is on a shopping spree, buying startup after startup to push its business into the future. But these companies don’t run web services or sell ads or build smartphone software or dabble in other things that Google is best known for. The web’s most powerful company is filling its shopping cart with artificial intelligence algorithms, robots, and smart gadgets for the home. It’s on a mission to build an enormous digital brain that operates as much like the human mind as possible — and, in many ways, even better.

Yesterday, Google confirmed that it has purchased a stealthy artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind. According to reports, the company paid somewhere in the mid-hundreds of millions of dollars for the British outfit. Though Google didn’t discuss the price tag, that enormous figure is in line with the rest of its recent activity.

The DeepMind acquisition closely follows Google’s $3.2 billion (£1.9 billion) purchase of smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest, a slew of cutting-edge robotics companies, and another AI startup known as DNN research.

Google is looking to spread smart computer hardware into so many parts of our everyday lives — from our homes and our cars to our bodies — but perhaps more importantly, it’s developing a new type of artificial intelligence that can help operate these devices, as well as its many existing web and smartphone services.

Though Google is out in front of this AI arms race, others are moving in the same direction. Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are doubling down on artificial intelligence too, and are snapping up fresh AI talent. According to The Information, Mark Zuckerberg and company were also trying to acquire DeepMind.

The new AI

Google’s web search engine already uses a powerful type of artificial intelligence to find what you’re looking for in the chaos of the web, and it has built an insanely profitable ad business atop this engine. But recently, the company has been bulking up its roster of geniuses as it seeks to explore a new branch of artificial intelligence known as “deep learning.”…



By Susan Duclos

Quite the debate on Thursday over the “fake snow” issue where dozens of people conducted their own experiments on the snow outside their homes, in different states, with different results based on where they lived. Some claiming the “melting” process of snow melting with no water, no puddles was somehow “normal.”

Well folks, forget the lighters, forget the propane fire and forget about the snow turning black, just watch the video below where a man takes shavings from his very own freezer and a snowball from outside his home and holds both the same distance away from his wood burning stove…… guess which starts melting and which doesn’t in just 11 seconds…… then guess which hasn’t produced one drop of water after two whole minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The reasons can be debated all day long, but the fact that this snow doesn’t melt right while the same size ball made from freezer shavings does…… is indisputable.

Note- This isn’t to say the snow isn’t “snow”, or that it is fake….. but something is off, strange, weird, whatever descriptor you want to use, THAT is what is indisputable.

Debunk THIS folks!


Well, it’s true! The snow does not melt; rather, it disappears! There was a distinct chemical odor in the air, like burning syrup and plastic.  In fact, I have allergies, including to chemical smells/fumes.  My right eye began to get a strange achy feeling, and is just now starting to go away.

This is NOT snow! This obviously has ‘some’ water in it, but is majority HEAVY chemicals! Try it for yourself and see! What are they putting in our atmosphere? Is this the result of long-term use of chemtrails? Are they dumping something else into our atmosphere? Could it have to do with Fukushima? All of the above? What on earth are we getting wet with when it rains?

Now, if you let the snow sit, it will naturally melt. However, the purpose of heating it with a lighter is that chemicals will burn instantly whereas water takes a while to dissipate. Furthermore, if you let it melt naturally, you will not get as much water as you should given the amount of snow you started with. And, there are no smells or fumes created by heating water.

DO NOT let your kids eat or play in it! Watch my video demo below to see for yourself.

As a side note, I have not noticed hardly any birds around all winter, and there are always birds—blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, and even blackbirds.  I have seen one Robin the other day, who probably just returned from migration. Who knows! But that is really strange too! Where did they go? Did they die?





Real Madrid's new stadium looks like an alien mothership

There are very few stadiums in the world that leave you truly speechless when you walk in. Maracanã is one of them. The other one is Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu, the best club of the 20th century. The famous coliseum is getting a major remake. It looks like a spaceship about to start abducting people.

Which, actually, is not far from the truth, figuratively speaking. I still remember the first time I walked in as a kid and was physically pushed back by the wall of sound from what seemed to be a billion souls screaming at the same time. I still get goosebumps from that sound and the impressive view every time I go to watch a game. I guess similar experiences is what “abduct” people, making them fans of the different teams—the communal experience, the sensory overload.

The new Santiago Bernabéu will retain that crazy experience and even increase it. Inside, there will be even more seats. As you can see in this video, it’ll have a crazy 360-degree LED display that will surround the top of the stadium, making it look like the interior of an alien mothership too.

Outside, it will have a completely new skin. Real Madrid says it’s a smart skin, which will dynamically change to protect the interior from the elements. Images would be projected on this surface too.

Real Madrid's new stadium looks like an alien mothership


By Gilad Atzmon

Since the 1968 Student Revolution, the European and American Left, together with a herd of Jewish progressive intellectuals, have invested enormous effort in attempting to break society down into multiple segments of identities.

The Left adopted this peculiar approach because it could never cope with its own failure to bond with working people.

The Jewish intellectuals, who led the campaign, realized that fragmented and divided nations are far less dangerous for Jews. As we know, Jews are threatened by cohesive, patriotic nationalism, and for a good reason. After all, they were amongst the prime victims of such an ideology.

Bizarrely enough, dazzled by the emerging false prophecy of post-68 ‘identity politics,’ the Left was quick to drop its universal ethos. While in the past it aimed to cross the divide and unite the working people, the post-68 Left actually split and ghettoized the Western subjects by means of identification.

Instead of being and celebrating who and what we are, we’ve learned to identify with ready-made soundbites. Rather than simply being Jill, Joseph, Abe or Youssef, we are now identified ‘as a woman’, ‘as a gay’, ‘as a Jew’, ‘as a Muslim’, and so on. In practice, the New Left has been erecting walls around us in an attempt to separate us into infinitesimally small, marginal identity groups. Peculiarly, it is the post-68 Left, rather than the capitalists, that drove us into segregation, isolation and political paralysis.

But then, pretty much out of the blue, Dieudonné, a black French comedian, has managed to re-unite the working people: the migrant communities, the Black, the Muslim, the North African as well as the White proletarian and at the same time, to deliver a universal message.

Dieudonné has reminded us what the Left stood for in the first place, before it was conquered by Marcuse and his Frankfurt Yeshiva’s pals. It is the French entertainer who brings to light the most instinctive Left insight – we are actually united and identified in opposition to our oppressors, namely, the establishment.

The ‘quenelle’ — a salute that was initially introduced by Dieudonné — embodies a modest and graceful openness of true resistance. It is a simple, restrained and poetic take on the crude Anglo-American ‘up yours’. The gesture is obviously universal and an open call — everyone, including Jews, are welcome in, as opposed to the post-68 identity discourses that are largely defined by biology and race. Being an emblem of an ethically driven and universalist standpoint the quenelle also symbolizes an opposition to the primacy of Jewish suffering and the tyranny of political correctness.

Dieudonné is the definitive hero of genuine socialist thinking in the spirit of the Paris Commune, and as such, he indeed poses a great danger to fake New Leftists and their paymasters at CRIF. The kosher Frankfurt graduate sees the French masses gathering momentum and the people marching in the streets of Paris shouting ‘the emperor has no clothes’. In fact, there is not much to be concealed or suppressed anymore. Once meaning-of-dieudonne again, the bare truth reveals itself and against all odds.



Poster on a classroom wall. Do our children need this?

By Dr Lasha Darkmoon

A recent pamphlet published by the German government contains these chilling words:

“Fathers do not devote enough attention to the clitoris and vagina of their daughters. The child touches all parts of their father’s body, sometimes arousing him. The father should do the same.” [2]

Toddlers are encouraged to indulge in “unlimited masturbation.” Their parents are expected to offer practical demonstrations if need be — the better to produce sexual precocity in their offspring. “Children should learn there is no such thing as shameful parts of the body,” the booklet advises. “The body is a home you should be proud of.”

Children, it is suggested, should be taught the movements of copulation as soon as they reach the age of four, giving them what virtually amounts to a crash course in the Kama Sutra as soon as they have learned to walk.

Depravity, it seems, cannot be taught too early.

In Holland, things have gone further. Here a political party, set up by convicted pedophiles, clamors for the legalization of child pornography and intergenerational sex between children of twelve and adults old enough to be their grandparents. I forgot to mention bestiality. They want to legalize that too. [3]

Who is to blame for the sex addictions we see suppurating all round us? This licentiousness, growing by the day, thanks to the internet and the mass media, is far deadlier and more destructive than it was half a century ago, before the sexual revolution.

Those who are responsible for this sickening depravity are clearly the people who started the sexual revolution. They are the people, moreover, who control the mass media.

Who controls the media?

Who determines the imagery and attitudes drip-feeding steadily into the minds of the public? Who runs Hollywood? Who contaminates mass consciousness? Who defiles the collective mind? Who pulls the puppet strings of marionette man? Who are the Bad Shepherds leading the sheeple astray?

Who are to blame, in short, for letting the world go to hell in a handcart?

I won’t bother to answer these questions. More to the point, I dare not. If you don’t know who owns the media — lock, stock and barrel — you’re wasting your time reading this article.

Art and Sexual Subversion: The Vaginocentric Female Artist

Let me resume here my discussion of sexual depravity which formed the basis of my recent article Secret Sex Life of the Jews; and let me begin by saying a few words on art, a subject I know something about.[4] And then let me proceed to the subject of pornography and consider its deployment in the systematic demoralization of the masses. [5]

First, ask yourself this question: is there anything intrinsically admirable or aesthetically pleasing about British painter Tracey Emin’s attention-seeking leg-and-vagina paintings? When other artists offer us self-portraits, they usually show us their faces. Not Ms Emin. Her idea of a “self-portrait” is to show us her uterus…





Big pharma uses celebrities and other sneaky ways to sell diseases that may not exist.

By Martha Rosenberg

Most of us have our guard up when it comes to direct-to-consumer drug advertising. We know the butterflies, sunsets and puppies in the TV ads are designed to distract us from terms like “blood clot,” “heart attack,” “stroke,” “seizure,” “life-threatening allergic reaction” and “death.” We are aware that more than half the ads tell us why we don’t actually want to ask our doctor about the new wonder drug.

Unbranded advertising, however, is much more insidious. Instead of selling a drug, it sells the disease driving the drug sales and sometimes doesn’t mention the drug at all.

Unbranded advertising often appears to be from the CDC and can even run free as a public service announcement thanks to its apparently altruistic message. The hallmark of unbranded advertising is it calls the disease it’s hawking (whether depression, bipolar disorder or restless legs) “under-diagnosed,” and “underreported” and cites “barriers” and “stigmas to treatment” which of course means sales. Sometimes it calls the disease a “silent killer” to scare people who think they’re fine. (Before drug advertising it was the opposite the medical establishment said you were probably fine despite how you felt.)

Do You Have Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism?

From Joan Lunden and Mike Piazza selling Claritin, to Dorothy Hamill and Bruce Jenner selling Vioxx, celebrity drug advertising is often phenomenally successful. No wonder the drug company AbbVie has selected actress Sofia Vergara to lead its hypothyroidism campaign.

“Emmy-nominated actress Sofia Vergara is helping to raise awareness about the importance of diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism,” read a press release last spring, “a thyroid condition that affects millions of Americans.” Her campaign, called “Follow the Script,” funded by AbbVie, “aims to educate individuals with hypothyroidism about the importance of being consistent with the treatment their doctor prescribes, and provides a ‘script’ to ensure they consistently receive the medication prescribed by their doctor when they visit the pharmacy.” Ka-ching.

While hypothyroidism certainly exists (as do other kinds of thyroid disorders) Vergara’s campaign capitalizes on the gray areas in its diagnosis and the well-documented human tendency to self-diagnosis, by planting fear and doubt. For example, the AbbVie press release says, “Thyroid conditions affect an estimated 30 million individuals in the U.S.” and “one in every eight women will develop a thyroid condition in her lifetime.” Yet Harvard Health Publications at Harvard Medical School places the figure at 12 million.

Commensurate with unbranded advertising—aka “disease mongering”—Vergara’s “Follow the Script” campaign website features “interactive polls, symptom and treatment information,” “stories and videos from other individuals with hypothyroidism,” and a chance for visitors to “share their own experiences.” In classic unbranded pill marketing, the site also provides “helpful ‘scripts’ for speaking with your doctor and pharmacist” — so patients don’t go all the way to the doctor and fail to ring the cash register.

AbbVie was formed in early 2013 when Abbott, located near Chicago, split into two companies, with AbbVie to concentrate on the blockbuster Humira, which made it $2 billion in one quarter of 2013. But Synthroid, the thyroid supplement drug behind Vergara’s campaign, enjoyed almost 25 percent growth last year and accounted for $153 million during the same quarter. Synthroid is the nation’s leading thyroid supplement drug despite going off patent decade ago, because it is widely perceived as more stable than competitor and generic versions of the drug.

Lest no potential customers miss the fact that hypothyroidism is an under-diagnosed, underreported major health problem with barriers and stigmas to treatment, Abbvie has also set up the “National Academy of Hypothyroidism.” The first thing visitors to the site will see is a slide of an overweight woman on a scale with the brazen headline “Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?” Visitors will also learn that hypothyroidism could be causing their stress, depression and chronic pain just as lack of hormones or antidepressants caused them problems 10 years ago. There is even a perk for sufferers of hypothyroidism. The Academy tells them how to apply for disability benefits for their hypothyroidism. Just trying to help!…




Bilan Lula : « Un social-libéralisme à la brésilienne »

O fenômeno dos centenas de rolezinhos que ocuparam shoppings centers no Rio e em São Paulo suscitou as mais disparatadas interpretações. Algumas, dos acólitos da sociedade neoliberal do consumo que identificam cidadania com capacidade de consumir, geralmente nos jornalões da mídia comercial, nem merecem consideração.

São de uma indigência analítica de fazer vergonha.
Mas houve outras análises que foram ao cerne da questão como a do jornalista Mauro Santayana do JB on-line e as de três especialistas que avaliaram a irrupção dos rolês na visibilidade pública e o elemento explosivo que contém.

Refiro-me à Valquíria Padilha, professora de sociologia na USP de Ribeirão Preto:”Shopping Center: a catedral das mercadorias”(Boitempo 2006), ao sociólogo da Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Jessé Souza,”Ralé brasileira: quem é e como vive (UFMG 2009) e de Rosa Pinheiro Machado, cientista social com um artigo”Etnografia do Rolezinho”no Zero Hora de 18/1/2014. Os três deram entrevistas esclarecedoras.

Eu por minha parte interpreto da seguinte forma tal irrupção:

Em primeiro lugar, são jovens pobres, das grandes periferias, sem espaços de lazer e de cultura, penalizados por serviços públicos ausentes ou muito ruins como saúde, escola, infra-estrutura sanitária, transporte, lazer e segurança. Veem televisão cujas propagandas os seduzem para um consumo que nunca vão poder realizar.

E sabem manejar computadores e entrar nas redes sociais para articular encontros. Seria ridículo exigir deles que teoricamente tematizem sua insatisfação. Mas sentem na pele o quanto nossa sociedade é malvada porque exclui, despreza e mantém os filhos e filhas da pobreza na invisibilidade forçada. O que se esconde por trás de sua irrupção? O fato de não serem incluidos no contrato social.

Não adianta termos uma “constituição cidadã” que neste aspecto é apenas retórica, pois implementou muito pouco do que prometeu em vista da inclusão social. Eles estão fora, não contam, nem sequer servem de carvão para o consumo de nossa fábrica social (Darcy Ribeiro). Estar incluído no contrato social significa ver garantidos os serviços básicos: saúde, educação, moradia, transporte, cultura, lazer e segurança.

Quase nada disso funciona nas periferias. O que eles estão dizendo com suas penetrações nos bunkers do consumo? “Oia nóis na fita”; “nois não tamo parado”;”nóis tamo aqui para zoar”(incomodar). Eles estão com seu comportamento rompendo as barreiras do aparheid social. É uma denúncia de um país altamente injusto (eticamente), dos mais desiguais do mundo (socialmente), organizado sobre um grave pecado social pois contradiz o projeto de Deus (teologicamente).

Nossa sociedade é conservadora e nossas elites altamente insensíveis à paixão de seus semelhantes e por isso cínicas. Continuamos uma Belíndia: uma Bélgica rica dentro de uma India pobre. Tudo isso os rolezinhos denunciam, por atos e menos por palavras.

Em segundo lugar, eles denunciam a nossa maior chaga: a desigualdade social cujo verdadeiro nome é injustiça histórica e social. Releva, no entanto, constatar que com as políticas sociais do governo do PT a desigualdade diminiui, pois segundo o IPEA os 10% mais pobres tiveram entre 2001-2011 um crescimento de renda acumulado de 91,2% enquanto a parte mais rica cresceu 16,6%.

Mas esta diferença não atingiu a raíz do problema pois o que supera a desigualdade é uma infraestrutura social de saúde, escola, transporte, cultura e lazer que funcione e acessível a todos. Não é suficiente transferir renda; tem que criar oportunidades e oferecer serviços, coisa que não foi o foco principal no Ministério de Desenvolvimento Social. O “Atlas da Exclusão Social” de Márcio Poschmann (Cortez 2004) nos mostra que há cerca de 60 milhões de famílias, das quais cinco mil famílias extensas detém 45% da riqueza nacional. Democracia sem igualdade, que é seu pressupsto, é farsa e retórica.

Os rolezinhos denunciam essa contradição. Eles entram no “paraíso das mercadorias” vistas virtualmente na TV para ve-lasrealmente e senti-las nas mãos. Eis o sacrilégio insuportável pelos donos do shoppings. Eles não sabem dialogar, chamam logo a polícia para bater e fecham as portas a esses bárbaros.

Sim, bem o viu T.Todorov em seu livro “Os novos bárbaros”: os marginalizados do mundo inteiro estão saindo da margem e indo rumo ao centro para suscitar a má consciência dos “consumidores felizes” e lhes dizer: esta ordem é ordem na desordem. Ela os faz frustrados e infelizes, tomados de medo, medo dos próprios semelhantes que somos nós.

Por fim, os rolezinhos não querem apenas consumir. Não são animaizinhos famintos. Eles tem fome sim, mas fome de reconhecimento, de acolhida na sociedade, de lazer, de cultura e de mostrar o que sabem: cantar, dançar, criar poemas críticos, celebrar a convivência humana. E querem trabalhar para ganhar sua vida.

Tudo isso lhes é negado, porque, por serem pobres, negros, mestiços sem olhos azuis e cabelos loiros, são desperezados e mantidos longe, na margem.
Esse tipo de sociedade pode ser chamada ainda de humana e civilizada? Ou é uma forma travestida de barbárie? Esta última lhe convem mais. Os rolezinhos mexeram numa pedra que começou a rolar. Só parará se houver mudanças.

Artigo escrito primeiramente para o JB on-line



Friday, January 31, 2014

America is being suffocated to death by red tape. You are about to read about an 11-year-old girl in Illinois that had her cupcake business brutally shut down by government bureaucrats. Her name is Chloe Stirling and her crime was doing something that we used to applaud young people in America for doing. Instead of sitting on her sofa and watching television all day, she actually started her own business. And it turned out there her little business started thriving. In fact, it started doing so well that a local newspaper took notice of it. Well, that is when the control freaks swooped in and took her business away and banned her from selling any more cupcakes. The really sad thing is that people are being paid to do this with our tax dollars. All over America, little entrepreneurs are having their lemonade stands shut down and are being banned from selling Girl Scout cookies, and our tax dollars are paying the people that are doing it. As I wrote about earlier this month, the level of economic freedom in the United States is at an all-time low, and it gets worse with each passing year. The country that so many of us love is dying, and it is being replaced with something that I like to call “the USSA”.

In the Union of Soviet Socialist Americans, you have to have a government “license” or “permit” to do just about anything. If the government does not give you permission, you can get into a whole lot of trouble.

Little 11-year-old Chloe Stirling must have thought that this was still the nation that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once founded, because she dared to actually start a business and sell cupcakes to the public. Little did she know that she would soon make national news…

An 11-year-old girl from Illinois got a dose of regulation American-style this week when local government officials shut down her cupcake business.

Chloe Stirling, from Troy, got the front-page treatment from her local newspaper, which featured how well her business, Hey, Cupcake, was doing. By all accounts, it was a successful little enterprise. Chloe was getting $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake. She even donated her cupcakes when a boy in her school fighting cancer held a fundraiser.

So why did they shut her down?

Well, it turns out that she didn’t have a “permit” to sell cupcakes and her kitchen was not “licensed”.

Like I said, you have to have permission from the government to do just about anything these days.

Another example of this phenomenon that is absolutely infuriating took place out in Fauquier County, Virginia. When a mother held a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls and posted the photos on Facebook, she never imagined that she would soon be hit with $15,000 in fines…

Martha Boneta owns a small farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, where she recently hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls. They wore hats, picked veggies, and made goat’s milk soap. The county says she should have obtain a license before hosting such an event and hit her with a $5,000 fine.

Boneta also got slammed with two more fines for $5,000 each, one for advertising a pumpkin carving and another for violations in the small shop on her property. Boneta sells produce from her farm, as well as eggs, yarn, birdhouses, and local crafts. She sought and received a license for the shop in 2011, but the county now says she can’t sell handiwork or produce from her neighbors under that license.

Stuff like this just makes me want to scream sometimes.

What is happening to this country???????????????????

A few years ago, my wife used to take old pieces of furniture, sand them down, repaint them and sell them to others. It was something that she really enjoyed doing and she made some extra money along the way.

But if you try doing that in some areas of the country today, the EPA could potentially hit you with a fine of $30,000 for a single incident in which you do not follow the proper procedures. The following is an excerpt from a discussion that some furniture painters were having on Facebook. It is a little technical, but it is worth reading. In this excerpt the identity of the business has been removed to protect the business from overzealous regulators…

As a painter in PA, I am required by law to test everything that I disturb and I must charge the customer $60 for every test I perform which adds up. What the law states in my area is that if I disturb more than 6 square inches on anything made prior to Jan 1 1979 I must test it. Disturbing means, sanding, scraping, or even using a sponge/scuff pad (like you use on your pots) if I disturb more than 6 inches, I must take photographs, document in 4 different logs, I have local, county, state, and federal log books. If I find lead then I must suit up. Originally, the law stated that if there were no children around then you didn’t have to do that however some lame brained legislator decided that if a child enters the premises for more than one hour a day, we must assume they will be in contact with the lead and therefore will contract lead poisoning. Then the legislators decided that if you were over the age of 60 then it didn’t matter, you didn’t have to test who cares if you get poisoned. Lo and behold OSHA stepped in and joined forces with the EPA, they decided that all were at risk including your pets and the leaves on your trees can hold the lead dust and …..well, that’s a whole other issue.

What is happening now is that so many painters decided they weren’t going to follow the lead law, that OSHA and EPA send out secret shoppers. A lot of us don’t even put our logo’s on our vehicles because that invites these shoppers to investigate. If you come to the **** ********, you won’t see signage on the building, you have to get to the actual door of the workroom to know we are there. We no longer have logo’s on our vehicles either as the fines are too stiff. There isn’t one of us that can afford a find of $30,000.00 A DAY, not a year, A DAY.

The government bureaucrats are running wild and the rest of us are just sitting back and letting it happen.

Things have gotten so bad in this country that the federal government even requires small-time magicians to submit “disaster plans” for the rabbits that they use in their acts. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…

Central planning in this country is getting completely and totally out of control. These days, you can hardly do anything without running into a suffocating web of red tape. For example, a small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows. Yes, this is actually true…




Photo by China Daily/Reuters

by Ilana Yurkiewicz

Bullying doctors are not just unpleasant they are dangerous. Can we change the culture of intimidation in our hospitals?

He comes to the operating room late, greets no one, and berates the nurse for not setting up the stepstools the way he likes. He tells the resident she doesn’t know the anatomy and sighs when she adjusts her grip on a surgical tool. He slaps the hand of the medical student when she reaches for the retractor to pull back skin for a clearer view. The operating room is tense for hours. ‘I need a different clamp,’ he says at one point, ‘this one is too dull.’ ‘I’m on it,’ says the scrub nurse. ‘You’re not,’ he retorts, ‘or else it would already be in my hand.’ All of us adorned in blue scrubs and surgical caps stand on edge, braced against the next wrathful outburst. ‘I want to see the tip of my blades,’ the resident explains, staring intently at the monitors where her laparoscopic instruments have not quite come into view. ‘Just cut,’ the lead surgeon barks at her. By the end of the operation, the intern’s hand shakes as he sutures the wounds closed, to the beat of the running condescending commentary on his halting speed and less-than-perfect stitches.

One doesn’t have to work in a hospital long to experience or observe some form of disrespect. This is hardly a secret. The bullying culture of medicine has been widely written about and portrayed in popular media. In one study, published in 2012 and conducted over the course of 13 years at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, more than 50 per cent of medical students across the US said they experienced some form of mistreatment. Behind closed doors, we share advice on whom to hang around and whom to avoid.

At the start of my third year of medical school, when we would finally enter the hospital wards, we had an orientation: ‘Wear a raincoat,’ the doctor standing at the podium advised. I could expect to get rained on.

For the most part, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The majority of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals I’ve worked with have been courteous and respectful: strong teachers and compassionate caregivers. I have met colleagues whom I would feel honoured to work alongside in the future and mentors whom I’d want to treat my own family should they become ill. I’ve been amazed by residents who work 24-hour shifts and somehow still have the energy to teach those who do not yet know as much as they do. I both admire them and am grateful for them.

But there is a reason those orientation warnings exist. The surgeon who chides the nurse for her inability to be in two places at once? The nurse who snaps at the medical student for reading the patient’s chart the same moment she wants to write it in? They are a substantial, troubling minority, and they can set the mood for the rest.

Most of my friends in medicine have witnessed flagrant episodes of hospital bullying and have juicy tales to tell. But medical disrespect is usually far less dramatic, dished out in the form of ‘micro-aggressions’: exasperated sighs, a sarcastic tone, the dismissal of alternative ideas. It’s the subtle put-downs about a trainee’s competence that erode confidence; the public shaming for an incorrect answer on rounds; or the denial of simple privileges such as taking a chair or reading a chart. It’s the psychological effect of being called by your rank instead of your name, or having it made clear that your presence is a burden instead of a help. It’s being ignored. It’s other team members looking on when the disrespect occurs, afraid to challenge it and defend those lower on the totem pole. These are the acts that affect our state of mind in small but cumulative ways. This is the stuff that creates a culture.

You learn to deal. This is how it is. That’s the system. It’s ingrained. You excuse bad behaviour with the platitude: ‘That’s just the way (s)he is.’ You appreciate from your elders that it could be much worse – at least they can’t throw scalpels at you anymore. You make allies and whisper in solidarity with those in the trenches alongside you. You train yourself, just as they advised you on your very first day, to wear a raincoat. You start to wear it, and it becomes thicker as your training progresses. You add boots and an umbrella. Then, as you get better and more confident, perhaps you become impatient with the inevitable lack of expertise in the new trainees. Maybe in a few years, you start to rain on others.

We’ve known for years that entering the ranks of medicine means developing a thick skin to criticism and being made to feel small. For a long time there was a mystique that this culture held everyone to high standards, and it was the price we paid for the care we got. What is disturbing is the increasing recognition that bullies are not only bad people to be around – they’re bad doctors, too…

Ilana Yurkiewicz is a third-year student at Harvard Medical School and a blogger for Scientific American. She does bioethics research at Harvard, and her work has appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine. She lives in Boston.




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