Buried Treasures

Lileks was in rare form with today's Bleat -- disclosing the secret Amazon customer service number (800-201-7575), wandering around renovated malls, and musing about Shakespeare's role in Psalm 46:
Count 46 words from the start, and you get "Shake." Then count 46 words from the end. You get "Spear." The KJV was published in 1611; Shakespeare turned 46 in 1610.

Like that man a hundred years ago, who discovered the (potential) Easter egg in the King James Bible, the question is not so much "who put it there?" but -- "how was it ever discovered?" Then again, if you look at a typical science grad student's day, it's spent poring over data, looking for trends in excel spreadsheets.

I guess the difference now is we generate our own data, rather than analyzing and re-analyzing the masters.

I think about this sometimes when I'm quickly scanning through slices of a head CT, looking for gross blood. How many megabytes am I skimming through? How many head CTs will I order tonight? How many will be done in this ED, in this city, just tonight?

These are images of the seat of consciousness, and I spend about twenty seconds scanning for particular patches. When I don't see them, I close the window and move on. After the radiologist confirms, that data is consigned to the dustbin, maybe never to be viewed again.

I'm confident we (almost never) miss anything that could affect the patient's short-term health. But maybe we're missing something else.