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April 2008

Request for informed comment

For each of the last fifteen years I've had to have at least one blood draw or other medical need to puncture a vein. (Some years I've had many more than one.) I have had "bad veins" from the start. About once in three or four times, the person sticking me gains access on the first attempt. And most of those are almost painless. The rest of the time, I have to have multiple sticks, and they usually sting. (I understand there are far, far worse procedures; this is more a question than a complaint.)

My two, related questions are: why are my veins "bad" and why is tapping them sometimes extremely easy but most times quite difficult? This is prompted by my visit last week to Duke University Medical Center, generally a fine place, but at which I had four--four--people work for about 20 minutes trying to get an IV in.

Over the years, various folks have offered three theories about why I'm usually hard to stick: 1) I'm fat, 2) my blood sugar must be too high, and 3) I might not be sufficiently hydrated. But strong evidence against all three theories, at least to me, is that I've had several instances of one stick-er having difficulty, or failing completely, only to be followed by a different person, mere minutes later, succeeding.

I conclude that the skill levels of the people involved must vary substantially, but I would be interested in other theories or information. Also, if anybody can point me to a clear explanation of how best to stick a person with bad veins, I'd appreciate it. I've looked briefly on the Web, and to my surprise, I didn't find much.   

Arnold Kling zings academics

"My tip on becoming a successful academic is to be careful how you define success. Any tenured professor has a great life by most standards. However, the default sentiment in academia is bitter jealousy. The folks at lower-tier schools think they belong at top-20 schools, the folks at other top-20 schools think they belong at Harvard, and the folks at Harvard think that they deserve more recognition than the other folks at Harvard."

I say: it's good thing Mr. Kling has no need for a tenure-track position. That bridge has been burned.

Prediction that Microsoft Vista will go quietly

TechRepublic columnist argues--I think persuasively--that Microsoft will ". . . use smoke and mirrors to conjure up an early release of Windows 7, the next edition of the world’s most widely-used operating system. Then they will quietly and unofficially allow IT departments to migrate straight from Windows XP to Windows 7."

He says this move would echo Microsoft's recovery from the Windows ME/Windows 2000 debacle, and would aggressively address their current problem.

He says it will be around the end of 2009.

As Tricky Dick would have said, "You won't have Vista to kick around any more."