ChittahChattah Quickies
By Steve Portigal at 11:14 am, Monday January 28 2013

Restaurants Turn Camera Shy [NYT] – While on one level this is a story about shifting norms, where an emerging behavior is deemed rude and disruptive. Where it is or not is another question, not really explored here. But there is at least one example of finding alternative ways to address the need rather than just banning what is considered wrong.

But rather than tell people they can’t shoot their food – the food they are so proud to eat that they need to share it immediately with everyone they know – he simply takes them back into his kitchen to shoot as the plates come out. “We’ll say, ‘That shot will look so much better on the marble table in our kitchen,’ ” Mr. Bouley said. “It’s like, here’s the sauce, here’s the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no.” Mr. Bouley is setting up a computer system so that diners can get digital images of what they’ve eaten before they even get the check.

‘Friends’ Will Be There For You At Beijing’s Central Perk [NPR] – While in the west the show might be a somewhat-beloved artifact of a decade past, in another part of the world, the possibility for a different meaning is ripe. Perhaps, as the article suggests, this somehow embodies freedom that young Chinese are yearning for?

Tucked away on the sixth floor of a Beijing apartment block is a mini replica of the cafe, orange couch and all, whose owner Du Xin introduces himself by saying, “Everyone calls me ‘Gunther’ here.” Indeed, he is a Chinese version of cafe owner Gunther from the show, down to his giddy passion for Rachel (the character played by Jennifer Aniston). “I’m crazy about Friends,” Du says. “For me, it’s like a religion. It’s my life.” The extent of Du’s Friends obsession is clear on entry to Beijing’s Central Perk. The level of detail is scary: same window, same doorway. People sitting on the orange sofa are watching TV – reruns of Friends, naturally. The cafe only serves snacks mentioned in Friends, and the menus are even annotated.

The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine – An imperfect but perhaps illustrative analogy to user research, about the relationship between stories and what some may call “proof.”

Here are two limiting factors in how anecdotes should be incorporated into medical evidence: The first is that anecdotes should be documented as carefully as possible. This is a common practice in scientific medicine, where anecdotes are called case reports (when reported individually) or a case series (when a few related anecdotes are reported). Case reports are anecdotal because they are retrospective and not controlled. But it can be helpful to relay a case where all the relevant information is carefully documented – the timeline of events, all treatments that were given, test results, exam findings, etc. This at least locks this information into place and prevents further distortion by memory. It also attempts to document as many confounding variables as possible. The second criterion for the proper use of anecdotes in scientific medicine is that they should be thought of as preliminary only – as a means of pointing the way to future research. They should never be considered as definitive or compelling by themselves. Any findings or conclusions suggested by anecdotal case reports need to be later verified by controlled prospective clinical studies.

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