Money (that’s what they want)

I’ve rounded the corner of my third year of medical school, where students have to start thinking about their future since we will begin applying for residency this summer/fall.  3rd year is a chance to try out a lot of the specialties, and hopefully find your niche.  You decide what you like or dislike about each area (internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, neurology, etc) and decide how that fits into your needs or desires.

Some students are lucky – they knew, for example, that they wanted to be a neurologist right from the beginning of med school, they were fortunate to love it during their 3rd year rotation, and can now focus on arranging their 4th year electives to reflect this choice.  Maybe they weren’t sure what they wanted to do, but they loved pediatrics and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Other students thought they knew what they wanted to do, rotated in the specialty and hated it, and are now completely clueless and a bit panicked as to how they will approach their last year of medical school. (a lot of my future-surgeon friends seem to fall into this category)

Then there are students such as the one currently rotating with me on pediatrics.  Read the rest of this entry »


Prelude to Poetic Justice

By now, we’ve all read the NYT article describing the seemingly inappropriate relationship between John McCain and a female lobbyist. However, the bigger story in my opinion is the one appearing on the Washington Post’s website this morning: FEC Warns McCain on Campaing Spending. McCain is a belligerent statist who openly denigrates the first amendment. It would only be appropriate if he were to be hoisted by his own petard, so to speak, and had his campaign for the presidency significantly damaged by his own ill-conceived legislation.

For those that don’t wish to read the entire article, the gist of the situation is this, when McCain was struggling to raise cash a few months back he attempted to take out a loan using as collateral his ability to draw on public matching funds. The idea was that if he secured the loan, won a few primaries, and gained additional support, he could pay back the principle and interest without tapping public money and so avoiding the spending restrictions that entails. If he failed to win the primaries and couldn’t raise any more money he would have to use the public money and abide by the restrictions, but it wouldn’t matter because his campaign would have been hopeless by that point anyway. It was a clever but disingenuous strategy, spend now, decide on the rules later, especially coming from someone who claims to be opposing big money interests in Washington. Regardless of how this turns out, keep it in mind when you hear someone talking about John McCain the “maverick.” He is as much establishment as Hillary, and if he is unpredictable, it is only because he is hypocritical, not because he is an independent thinker.


Want to diversify your portfolio? Try violins…

That’s the word from a recent Reuters article discussing how well these musical instruments hold their value. They won’t give you huge returns, but apparently are pretty consistent with a long-term return after inflation of 3-4%:

CEPR calculated that over the period 1980-2006, violins gave a real return — after allowing for inflation — of 3.97 percent.

That compared with 9.18 percent on the U.S. S&P 500 stock index, 6.63 percent on U.S. Treasury bonds and 7.74 percent on works of art.

Over the longer term of 1850-2006, however, violins gave a real return of 3.3 percent, beating U.S. Treasury bonds which yielded only 2.19 percent.

I’m not sure if this will convince anyone to go out and get a violin – after all, without knowledge of musical instruments and specific violin makers you’d be relying mostly on the word of a violin broker to make sure you’re paying an appropriate price (all of the ones I’ve dealt with have been very honest, but you never know…). It’s a bit easier if you already play the violin and can physically pick it up and try it out, distinguishing between a higher or lower quality instrument based on sound and playability. For anyone out there who already owns a violin, congratulations – you’ve made a good investment. For me, I can only hope that my musical-investment will at least partially offset the money I am currently losing on my home as the housing bubble continues its downward trajectory. 🙂

~ Lily