God, Darwin and My College Biology Class

David P. Barash is a professor of evolutionary biology, though, as he points out in this article in The New York Times, calling it that is a bit of a misnomer. After all, evolution is the founding principle of modern biology, and it would be silly to refer to one without the other. It's also a bit tough to reconcile biology and religion, apparently:

It's irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don't grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a "theory," but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of my students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material.

(Via Kottke.)

Jacket and Tie

Richard J. Anderson:

My outfit gives me super powers. Dressed up, I have the powers of confidence, of dependability and trust, of good first impressions. Plus, I look great. As long as I wear my jacket and tie, I feel like I can accomplish any task, surmount any hurdle, and deal with any unforeseen circumstance.

And that's all you need, folks. It's refreshing to see other guys give thought to their appearance—for whatever reason, there seems to be a stigma around men caring about such things. (Eyeroll.)

Dark Mode as an iOS Accessibility feature

CGP Grey makes some great points in this article as to why iOS should feature a system-wide toggle for a dark mode, and why the Invert Colors accessibility option isn't good enough.

I'm all for it. In just about every app that has the option, I have dark mode ("night mode") enabled by default. This is for a few reasons: for one, I just love the color black; second, as I use a Space Gray iPhone, the black backgrounds seems to make the app "flow" with my phone much more nicely; and, most importantly, it's just easier on the eyes and much easier to read.

Plus, black-on-white is just boring. (Yes, I realize that this very site is black-on-white. I'm working on it.)

(Via Marco.)

Men need an analog timepiece more than ever

I love Apple and technology, but I also love fashion. God, I love a nice watch. This article at GQ summarizes accurately why I probably won't be buying an Apple Watch.

Proper watches have an emotional significance that few other objects a man owns do. They should be timeless, to a certain extent. The Apple Watch is more of a tool, a very fancy tool, but not unlike the Suunto I have that pairs with a heart rate band. Offhand, I don't know which model it is because I choose not to remember. Who cares? Those watches are easily replaceable, so replaceable that new and improved models are released every few months.

(This tweet by Justin Blanton puts the same thought into 140 characters or less.)

My Sweet Mac Setup

Earlier today, my sweet Mac setup was published over at The Sweet Setup, a site founded by Shawn Blanc and headed by Stephen Hackett.

For the record: a lot has changed since I wrote it and sent it in. Most importantly, I'm no longer "days away" from finishing my music degree. That's come and gone. I've since announced some new plans.

Others include:

  • I finally got around to switching from Simplenote to Dropbox (using this article). I'm still a loyal nvAlt user; the only differences is the syncing mechanism. On the iPhone end, I've finally settled with Byword.
  • I've abandoned Atom for Sublime Text 3 once and for all. Atom is still my favorite in terms of customizability, but it was just too damn slow.
  • I've added Folding Text to the mix as a general note-taking / long-form markdown writing application. nvAlt stores the notes, and Folding Text is used to edit them.
  • Instead of Airmail, I've been using the Mailbox for Mac beta for a while and enjoy it, if only for its design.

Some changes to "my ideal setup" are probably warranted as well. For instance, the X-T1 is no longer my lustworthy camera of choice—instead, it's the X100T, which would replace my beloved X100S.

While I love things like this, one problem with once-posted sweet Mac setups is that they are in constant change. Looking back on it six months from now (or longer) would likely reveal even more changes. This is why I'm attempting to curate an up-to-date Recommended page (which you'll notice is coming along at turtle speed.) This way, my favorite setup is always available. In fact, I wish more people did this, as I'm a total setup geek at heart.

In any case, the rest of the article is pretty spot-on. Go read it if you haven't already.

Medical bills are unaffordable; try preventing them instead?

This article in The New York Times highlights a few issues in the modern healthcare system by relaying a story of a man in spinal surgery being billed $117,000+ for a surgeon who wasn't even in the room. One, the most obvious, is the profound cost of everything these days, making most restorative medical procedures completely untenable for normal people.

The author briefly touches on another key point:

Studies are limited but have generally concluded that after two years, patients who have surgery for disk problems do no better than those treated with painkillers and physical therapy — although the pain, which can be debilitating, resolves far more rapidly with surgery.

She also mentions that the "rate of spinal surgery in the United States is about twice that in Europe and Canada, and five times that in Britain" and also that "the United States has more neurosurgeons per capita than almost any other developed country" whose average salary is $590,000—perhaps we've simply skewed our own economy into favoring the get hurt + see a doctor + pay whatever they ask approach for everything? Now, I'm pursuing physical therapy as my profession, so maybe I'm biased, but I'm of the opinion that 90+% of common diseases and injuries are preventable.

It's absurd to pay a medical bill that could probably pay off half of your mortgage on an injury that could've been prevented if only you sat up straight in your office chair more often (or stood up instead.) America's real healthcare crisis has nothing to do with Obamacare or whatever the media wants to make you think; instead, it's that preventative medicine has no place in our modern-day society, and this is a multi-billion-dollar tragedy.