Book Review- What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School

What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School: 199 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career
by Paul Gray and David Drew, 2008

What They Didn't Teach You in Graduate School

I know there’s a version 2.0 out nowadays, but the library had this version. This book took me about 2-3 hours to read. It is highly recommended for graduate students.

Rule 158: No matter how long you think it will take to (do anything in academia), it will always take longer.

Paper Submitted!

Alex Mills and I submitted “Incentive-Compatible Prehospital Triage in Emergency Medical Services” to MSOM today! That project started in January 2014 and has evolved significantly since its start. I think the final paper turned out really well. I’ve updated my Current Projects page to be more relevant.

Abstract for submitted work: The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system is designed to handle life-threatening emergencies, but a large and growing number of non-emergency patients are accessing hospital-based healthcare through EMS. A recent national survey estimated that 17% of ambulance trips to hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) were medically unnecessary, and that medically unnecessary trips make up an increasing proportion of all EMS trips. These non-emergency patients are a controllable arrival stream that can be re-directed to an appropriate care provider, reducing congestion in EDs, reducing costs to patients and healthcare payers, and improving patient health, but prehospital triage to identify these patients is almost never implemented by EMS providers in the United States. Using a queueing model with economic costs and rewards, we find that prehospital triage is unlikely to occur with traditional fee-for-service reimbursements, regardless of how effective or accurate the triage process may be. However, offering bundled payments to EMS providers would provide them with an incentive to conduct prehospital triage, and, moreover, with incentive to improve their triage effectiveness.

Book Review- Free-Range Kids

Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry
by Lenore Skenazy, 2009

free range kids

Listened to this on tape. Pretty straightforward conclusion: the world is not more dangerous nowadays than it used to be, but the media is much better at making it seem like it is.

Book Review- Energy for the 21st Century

Energy for the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide to Conventional and Alternative Sources
by Roy L. Nersesian, 2007

energy for the 21st century

This textbook covers energy generation (from biomass, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, wave, hydrogen fuel cells) in depth. It has a good discussion of the deregulation of the US energy market. The chapter about biomass production was particularly interesting, though such an energy source will not play a large role in generation of developed countries. I did not read the two chapters about oil, as I imagine they are out of date (written in 2007) with the boom of shale oil nowadays. Recommended for people wanting a background in all things energy for research (i.e. me), but beware that it is a slow textbook-like read.

Book Review- Tiger of the Snows

Tiger of the Snows, the autobiography of Tenzing of Everest
by Tenzing Norgay, with James Ramsey Ullman, 1955

tiger of the snows

Very interesting throughout. The autobiography of the Sherpa who summited Everest with Hilary in 1953. Tenzing was born in Nepal and raised in India and went on lots of different expeditions with both Easterners and Westerners, so he learned to speak a lot of languages. He knew English well enough to dictate the book to the writer Ullman, which was necessary because, despite speaking many languages, Tenzing could not read or write. His native Sherpa language does not have a written form.

It took the work of hundreds of porters, Sherpas, and climbers and a lot of oxygen tanks to get two people to the top of Everest. Ambitious endeavor. I don’t think I would like being in such wind/cold for weeks at a time and having to climb ice tethered to other climbers. I’ll stick with the more reasonable peaks I’ve done in Colorado.

Interesting note about the copy of the book I have: I got it from my dad when everyone moved out of my childhood house a couple years ago. It’s a library copy from the Pikeville, KY High School Library, with a 14-day checkout occurring to Mike Webb on October 27, 1970. Oops. What’s the statute of limitations on that fine?

Book Review- Powering the Future

Powering the Future: How we will (eventually) solve the energy crisis and fuel the civilization of tomorrow
by Robert B. Laughlin, 2011

powering the future

An interesting little book full of tidbits that make you say “What?!”. Lots of best-guesses about what will happen when fossil fuels are exhausted in the coming centuries. Laughlin has a smart way to think about it: certain already developed technologies will provide a ceiling on energy/electricity costs that new technologies will have to beat to be competitive.

The book has 122 pages of text and 91 pages of notes, so you go in depth on a lot of the claims if you wanted. I did not do this.