Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA all over T&A

With all the traveling for residency interviews, the ever-increasing invasion of privacy that is the TSA is starting to become more than just an annoyance. They either get to get to look at you naked (via a body scan) or perform a "heavy" pat down (i.e. grope your genitals... or in some cases, cause your urostomy bag to spill urine all over you). A lot of people are afraid of radiation exposure with the body scans, but (based on how little radiation is emitted by X-rays that can actually see your bones) I'm not so worried about that (though I wouldn't go through them if I were pregnant or had any chance of being pregnant). It's more the invasion of privacy. The government has no right looking under everyone's clothes. It's humiliating and unnecessary. The other option (being groped) is no better. But, if someone is going to take away my dignity, I may as well make them do some work. I'm a little disappointed that the planned pre-thanksgiving protest of refusing to be scanned (and thus, backing up the security line) didn't pan out, but I plan on getting to the airport early just so I could make those useless TSA agents get off their asses and work. Also, I plan on getting them to change to new gloves (who knows how many other people's genitals they've groped with the same glove?).
This is even more upsetting because it really doesn't do much to prevent a terrorist. It's all a show that isn't impressing anyone. It's much easier to do all the work behind the scenes from the moment a passenger books a ticket, but I'm sure the government is afraid that people will think that they aren't doing anything to keep them safe. I'm glad that people are finally starting to protest, but, like with all other steps TSA has introduced, (take your shoes off, no water, etc.), I have a feeling people will fall in line, because it's just easier to.

Friday, November 12, 2010

First interview and rash of rejections

I recently had my first interview. I had a great time, residents and faculty were both very nice. The interview was pretty low stress. One thing, though, surprised me. The institution that I interviewed at is well known for its research, but I had no comments made about my research and when I asked about research opportunities, each faculty member replied with a quick "yeah, we've got research" and seemed to not be so interested. The tone of the response of one faculty member almost made me feel like I asked an inappropriate question. I understand that in residency it's fairly difficult to work on a real research project and I have no intentions of working on a PhD level project, but I expected at least some acknowledgment of their research strengths.
I feel that most residency programs want a token amount of research in your background, but would rather not have your clinical training soiled with research. As such, someone with a background like mine actually has a big disadvantage. With average grades and boards scores my strength is in my productive research (and recommendations). This leads to a strange situation in which some mid-/lower- tier programs decide not to offer me an interview (I assume because they think I will go to a research heavy institution) and many upper-tier programs decide not to offer me an interview (I assume because of less than stellar grades/boards score). I end up with a small number of fairly random interviews with some of the best and some mediocre programs. Of course, maybe I'm just trying to rationalize a (essentially) random process. Anyway, another week or two of potential interview invitations, but I'm feeling a bit more pessimistic now than I did a few months ago.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

People are stupid

It amazes me how millions of people can be convinced to vote against their self interest. Healthcare? Who needs that? What America needs is a tax cut for the rich. Also, get rid of the estate tax (even though it only applies to people who make millions and I only make $20,000 a year). Oh, and extending unemployment benefits is unamerican (even though I'm unemployed and collecting unemployment right now).