Tag Archives: Economics

How To Find A Good Physician

Here’s something that no-one wants to talk about: physicians are regular people. We like to put doctors on a pedestal because they are in charge of our health, and we’re like to feel that our health is in the hands of the best, but the best are very few, and it’s improbable that you’ll be assigned even a good doctor on chance alone.

As is the case of most professions, physician quality follows a normal distribution. A few are very bad at their job, some are merely bad, most are average doctors, some are good doctors, and again, a few are very good at what they do. 

Bell Curve
Example of a normal distribution, AKA “Bell Curve”

By merely showing up to the hospital or clinical practice, the law of averages will assign you an average physician. You might like to think it is otherwise, that your doctor is the best, but that is just you being delusional. And average is fine in most situations. You don’t need Hugh Laurie to prescribe you a flu shot or mend a broken arm. 

But if you’re in a situation where something is wrong with you, and you’re not quite sure what it is, average doctors will either not know what’s wrong with you, or will default to the most statistically probable diagnosis. That’s not a great system for health care.

You can identify a good doctor by:

  1. Time spent on your appointment. This is especially relevant on the first appointment, or the first appointment about a new situation. Anything less than 30 minutes is not acceptable. Good physicians will regularly spend a full hour with their patients. They will make thorough examinations and ask a lot of questions.
  2. Ability to answer questions and explain things. A good doctor will tell you the why’s and the systems behind what’s happening. If a physician can’t explain why it’s important that you get a specific blood marker under control, for example, but merely states that you should, that’s a sign that he doesn’t understand what it’s for, he’s just following a cheat sheet with average values. Most doctors will tell you that you should lower your cholesterol, but they are stumped if you ask them what cholesterol does.

To Get The Right Diagnosis, Look For a Third Opinion

People are still not used to asking for a second opinion. Again, they mistakenly believe that they were assigned the best person available. As I pointed out above, this is statistically incorrect. 

Depending on the severity of your situation ( and a good way to judge it is the level of discomfort it causes) or the level of violence of the proposed treatment, you might want to get a second opinion from another doctor.

If the second doctor concurs with the first one, that’s pretty decent. You can probably go ahead with a modicum of safety.

If not, then you need a tie-breaker. Yes, you need a third doctor, a third opinion. I mean, you have little other way of making an educated guess about which of the previous two doctors knows best.

I understand this is very annoying. Doctors are expensive, and appointments are time-consuming. What about people who don’t have the money to go to a private practice?! Yeah, I don’t have a good answer to that. I’m giving you the info because I believe that it’s better to know than to not know, but I realize it’s difficult to act upon.

Good luck!


Going to space is hard. The main reason is that it takes a lot of energy (read: fuel) to take us off the planet. The more fuel you need to pack, the heavier you are, so the more fuel you need to fight gravity. It’s a self-defeating cycle. 

The answer is, of course, more efficient fuel – fuel that packs more energy per mass.

Why should we care about going to space? It’s not like we don’t have enough problems down here, right?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. This planet has limited resources. We’re in a pretty good place right now, regardless of what the scaremongers would have you believe. But as resources get depleted, getting into space gets harder, not easier.
  2. As stated above, the key to getting us into space is energy efficiency – more power through fewer resources. If we figure that out, a lot of our other problems will go away, too.
  3. As a species, we are getting restless. Our history is a history of exploration and conquest. We’ve (mostly) run out of places to explore and contest, so we’re stewing in our internal, petty conflicts. Off-planet exploration could work as a way to positively channel our energy as a species.

People are working on this, right now. But not nearly enough.

Photo Credit: miikajom Flickr via Compfight cc

A Podcast About The Other Side of Remote Work

If someone woke me up in the middle of the night, shaking me while asking “What’s your job?!”, I’de say “I’m a writer!” The irony that my most famous work is not in the written form, but in the spoken medium, is not lost on me.

I’ve had the immense privilege of having had hundreds of people listen to me, my brother Pedro and my good friend Daniel talk about our passion for video games. It was a wild ride that spawned several years until we went on a break earlier this year. After several months without new content, hundreds of people still download previous episodes of ene3cast.

Listener beware: the show is in Portuguese.

Now I’m starting a new, different journey. I believe that remote work is the answer to one of the great challenges of western civilization – the uneven distribution of work and value. But I also think that we’re selling it wrong. We’re reaching the people who want to work remotely, but we’re not communicating the benefits to the employers, to the decision-makers who create the jobs that people need. We’re not showing them how they can make it work, and prosper from it.

That’s why, at DistantJob, I’ve worked to create a new show, one where I interview people who have been building and managing remote teams for years. 

It’s called StaffITright, and I hope you’ll give it a listen.