True Knowledge - A logic based web question-answering platform

The world's first AI question-answering platform.

We are using our unique semantic technology to build the first internet-scale platform for directly answering the world's questions. As knowledge is added to the platform we understand and answer more and more.

The True Knowledge session at the Semantic Technologies Conference 2010 was where I first heard of this and tried to use their web-based interface during their presentation and was very impressed by the interface. It includes a justification trace of how answers are reached and handles things such as temporal reasoning as well.  Also includes a Google chrome extension to enhance google answers with results to the same questions.

-- Chimezie

Quotīdiē ❧ A gratifying week in poetry

Corium Magazine

Got people swaying like
Brown Grass. Mud sucking up
against our toes, horns blowing salt
Through our noses.
There’s a flower now.
Red like liquor in a brother’s heart,
Pushing through the joint
Like it’s about to break free.
But that can’t be your lipstick
Cause you wear no lipstick:
You’re a soul flame.

—from "Demoiselle," by Uche Ogbuji

I've had some pleasant rewards in the past week, wielding both purple pen, and red.  I learned this afternoon that my poem, "Demoiselle" was published in the latest edition of Corium Magazine.  A few notes later about some of the other work that appeared in the issue.

I wrote the poem on 31 March 1996 in Dallas, briefly possessed at the time by the spirit of the Deep Ellum district.  I always tell people visiting Dallas that they can go to The West End and Dealey Plaza during the day, to get their tourist camera allocation, but that they need to go to Deep Ellum at night for their dose of unadulterated soul.

It was also just over a week ago that I featured seven of my poems here on Copia.

The red pen event is hardly worthy of the name, considering the excellence and pedigree of its headliner.  I was thrilled to present to the world "John," a new poem by Lewis Turco, and an interview of Mr. Turco by his altar ego (read the piece to ravel that pun) Wesli Court.  In "John" Mr. Turco contemplates through the glasses (telescope and microscope) of a nephew the utterly grand and the utterly small. It includes a brilliant, poetic take on the standard model of physics.  It also includes a meditation of the universe, rising to the following.

The paltry gods of Earth

were never meant to handle such immense
   phantasmagoria as these, were
never meant to represent these Powers,
Thrones, Dominions, eidolons of the mind

   of man, these firefly mysteries.

The self-interview is a splendid mini-memoir tracing through the history of a too-often neglected branch of modern poetry, and it includes so much that inspires me as a poet and a student of poetry.  In one telling passage he describes how, sending poems out to periodicals in the middle-to-late 1970’s, he was amazed that magazines began accepting rhyming and metered poems more readily than syllabic poems.


What was going on? I thought I knew. The worm was beginning to turn again, and there was a big pile of younger poets who had been using The Book of Forms for almost a decade, writing in the old forms, experimenting with the Bardic forms, publishing in the little magazines, and even beginning new periodicals that published what they were interested in.


I've read Mr. Turco's poetry and criticism since I've been a teenager, and it has been an honor to work with such a creative, perceptive and hard-working gentleman.  I should also mention his Weblog, which is one of the best maintained and most interesting you'll find by a major contemporary poet.

Seven poems

As I've woken up a bit recently to get back to what I truly love, poetry, editing the genre for The Nervous Breakdown (TNB), and writing with a consistency I last remember from years ago, I've had some very kind requests for me to share some of my poetry.  I've decided to start with a small collection of poems that already appear on the 'net in one form or another, some of which were published in journals, and some of which I just put up myself.

"Growing up Misfit" (2010, published in TNB) I captioned this: "Uche writes a poem about his adventures constantly moving, and never fitting in." It was my debut poem on TNB, having done a lot of talking about poetry prior to publishing that.  I wrote it specially for a reading at the TNB New York live event to which Kimberley kindly invited me.  Look on the upper right hand of the page for an audio of my reading a somewhat older version of the poem.

"Mountain Summer" and "Fever Pitch Tent" (1995, published in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum)  Soon after I graduated I took a road trip with friends, flying into Ft. Collins, Colorado, and driving to San Francisco. It is on that trip that I fell in love with Colorado and resolved to move here as soon as I could.  It was a trip full of marvelous memories of friendship and adventure, which I captured in a few poems, three of which were published in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, my favorite poetic journal, and sadly long defunct.  (BTW if anyone knows of an current journal with similar aesthetics to those established by ELF's Cynthia Erbes, please let me know).

"Supermarket Perimeter"  (2007, published in Fiera Lingue)  As I recall I happened to be flipping channels one day and caught a bit of a reality TV show where a fitness guru was teaching a slovenly youth about eating well.  She told him "the trick to supermarkets is that all the healthy food is on the outside..." That's probably a commonplace, but nothing I'd really thought of before.  I was immediately struck by the idea that a modern lesson about healthy eating might be packaged so completely into the boundary of a supermarket.  I was inspired to have a little fun with the phenomenon.

"Carotid"  (2005, unpublished) Not much really to say about this one.  It just sprang from one of those magical moments.

"Eliot"  (2005, published in Fiera Lingue) I've written several poems about major influences in my poetical career, and one of these concerns T.S. Eliot, who is a most ambiguous figure for me, as reflected in this poem, and as I've often mentioned here on Copia. I've put a lot into study of his impeccable craft, but as a Humanist I find myself appalled by his misanthropy (and its apparent wellspring in misogyny and other bigotries).

"Sappho and Old Age"  (2010, published in TNB) We have weekly features in the TNB poetry section. One week we learned that our scheduled feature had fallen through. I'm not sure what possessed me (rimshot) but I decided to build a feature around my translation of Sappho's Tithonus poem, which I squeezed into the two days prior to deadline. Here are some more notes on the effort.

I have a few more poems coming out here and there in a month or two, and I'll post links in comments as they emerge.  I really haven't been submitting my poems about (it's just so much work to pile upon everything else I juggle), and this year's opportunities have pretty much fallen in my lap.  I guess I should get around to finding at least a little time for the submissions grind.

Quotīdiē ❧ Tincture of tigritude

Who Fears DeathOne of my favorite quotes is from one of my greatest idols, Nigeria's great writer and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka: "A tiger does not proclaim its tigritude. It pounces." This tiger of a story [Who Fears Death] definitely pounced on me without proclamation or warning. I'm glad I was ready for it.

—Nnedi Okorafor—"The Tigritude of a Story"

Soyinka's famous quote, made in response to the Négritude movement of Senghor, Césaire, and other Francophone African writers has always resonated with me as well.  Afrocentrism that spends most of its time contemplating its own plumage was perhaps inevitable in those early days, so soon after the colonial yokes had been thrown off.  But having been immersed in our own reality, having, as Nnedi also mentions, endured wars of desperation such as the Biafran, having lived to see our resources squandered and the legacy of revolutionary leaders turned despots, we're past time for preening.  If we plan to survive, it's well past mealtime.  We'd better pounce.

To be fair, Négritude never really took off in Anglophone Africa.  In "Christopher Okigbo," Sunday Anozie quotes a letter sent to him by the great Nigerian poet.  In 1966 Okigbo had been invited to the Negro Festival of Arts in Dakar, where his poem Limits was awarded first prize.  Okigbo wrote:

About Dakar.  I did not go... I found the whole idea of a negro arts festival based on colour quite absurd.  I did not enter any work either for the competition, and was most surprised when I heard a prize had been awarded to Limits.  I have written to reject it.

As Anozie says, "This sums up Okigbo's whole attitude to the color stress in Négritude."  Soyinka's reaction was of the same kind.  Anozie does actually surprise me by going on to claim that Okigbo's objections are ultimately shallow, and Soyinka's "cynical."  To be honest, I find a lot that annoys me in Anozie's book, overall, but he also does more to plumb Okigbo's depths than anyone else I've seen, so it's still well worth a read.

But I do think Okigbo and Soyinka are right to shrug off the totems of tigritude, I think we're seeing a generation of African writers come into their own through the urgency of the modern African reality I describe above.  I look forward to reading Nnedi's own testament, which UPS delivered yesterday.

By the way, Nnedi says:

Amongst the Igbos, back in the day, girls who were believed to be ogbanjes were often circumcised (a.k.a. genital mutilated) as a way to cure their evil ogbanje tendencies.

I had heard of female circumstances in parts of Igbo land, but I hadn't heard of its use as a counter to Ogbanje.  I wonder whether that custom was widespread in Igbo land (as for example destruction of twins was a custom more in the far south than elsewhere).  Time to ask our elders some straight questions.

Uploaded Presentations

I’ve updated a bunch of extant presentations I’ve given (including the one I will give at this year’s Semantic Technologies Conference: Characteristics of a RESTful Semantic Web and Why They Are Important) to my Slideshare account. I was updating my LinkedIn profile and discovered you can add applications for tools such as TripIt and Slideshare, which is very useful. While I was there I uploaded the 8 presentations I could find. Web-based, professional networking and profile tools have come a long way.

Quotīdiē ❧ Modernism, 16th century style

Her face       Her tongue       Her wytt
So faier       So sweete        So sharpe
first bent     then drewe       then hitt
myne eye       myne eare        my harte

Myn eye        Myne eare        My harte
to lyke        to learne        to love
her face       her tongue       her wytt
doth leade     doth teache      doth move

Her face       Her tongue       Her wytt
with beames    with sounde      with arte
doth blynd     doth charm       doth knitt
myne eye       myne eare        my harte

Myne eye       Myne eare        My harte
with lyfe      with hope        with skill
her face       her tongue       her witt
doth feede     doth feaste      doth fyll

O face         O tongue         O wytt
with frownes   with checks      with smarte
wronge not     vex nott         wounde not
myne eye       myne eare        my harte

This eye       This eare        This harte
shall Joye     shall yeald      shall swear
her face       her tongue       her witt
to serve       to truste        to feare.

—Sir Arthur Gorges—"Her Face"

To start where credit is due, I first read this 16th century love lyric on Hypsarrythmia's LiveJournal page, linked from discussion of The Guardian's poem of the week selection, Sir Philip Sidney's "Certain Sonnets #30" AKA "Ring Out Your Belles."  And Bravo! to The Guardian.  Now and then they really fall flat with their choices, but for the most part, their "Poem of the Week" series is a fine, ongoing discussion of poetry on the Web, with very intelligent discussion, and some real discoveries to be found on the comment boards.  I'm hoping to provide another such, aimed at a somewhat different audience in my "Poetry for the Nervous" series.

It's long annoyed me to hear so many of modernisms's characteristics treated as 19th or 20th century inventions.  No disrespect intended to Whitman or Dickinson, but whether it's Whitman's list-making or Dickinson's occasional fragmentation, you find the traces well before them in the past.  British critics often look to Hardy and Hopkins and The Rhymer's Clubbers in charting the course to modernism, and Americans and Brits both look towards the movements of French poets that heaved off the "strait-jacket  of the French Classical alexandrine," in Robert Graves's words.  Graves goes on to say "English has worn no strait-jacket since the Age of Obsequiousness," by which he meant the age dominated by Alexander Pope.  Graves is right, but he forgets that the French tradition was also shanghied into their straits, as anyone can tell with reference to no less obscure example than Villon.  It always strikes me that neither set of critic tends to give non-European influence the credit it deserves.  Many are all keen to rave about "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," but they forget how much attention Fitzgerald's translation focused back on "exotic" sources.  That's all topic for another day.

In Britain, it's a nonce of effort to find modernist characteristics from Chaucer to Dryden, the influence of whose massive body of work was the main strap in the subsequent strait-jacket.  Lewis Turco points out the line from Skelton to Hopkins (that Weblog is another wonderful and well-maintained resource for lovers of poetry.)  Anyone who's seen carmina figurata, e.g. the visual experiments of Herbert and company will recognize that, barring the limits of Renaissance typesetting, they were heading straight for Concrete Poetry.  Imagism can be traced all the way back to Sappho, for example, or the extravagant tropes of Provençal troubador poets, never mind the Metaphysical poets.  I've heard that the checkmate of supposed 20th-century innovation is the collage style: the use of fragmentation itself as a device to complete expression and fuel emotional immediacy.  I've heard that cinema and discoveries in psychology from archetypes to gestalt were prerequisites of this collage style.  I've never really credited this, and I'm always pleased to find classic examples of poems squarely in recognized traditions of modernist critics which demonstrate precedence.

"Her face" prefigures collage style in its fashion, including the use of layout to enhance the sense of fragmentation.  Of course, since this is in the hands of a fairly skilled versifier, the layout becomes not just a visual device but an aural one as well.  When I read it, the spacing has the effect of slightly promoting the iambs to spondees.  I find myself struck by the sense of rhythmic incantation, and it truly heightens the tone of supplication to the lover, enhancing the literal sense.

I've never had a problem with the fact that whether of ancient or truly new origins, modernism has focused unprecedented critical attention on such techniques.  My problem is that so many people have taken this to mean that modernist devices should replace traditional ones, rather than complementing them.  I'm hopeful that some of the 21st century reactions to modernism that I'm seeing as an editor will eventually work us towards embracing the importance of traditional technique as well as modernist consciousness.

One final note on Sydney's CS #30 is that The Guardian prints it without the indentation I've seen for it.  I prefer the indented version.

Ring out your belles, let mourning shewes be spread,
   For love is dead:
      All Love is dead, infected
      With plague of deepe disdaine:
      Worth as naught worth rejected,
      And Faith faire scorne doth gaine.
          From so ungratefull fancie,
          From such a femall franzie,
          From them that use men thus
          Good Lord deliver us.

And thus in the remaining stanzas.

SNOMED-CT Management via Semantic Web Open Source Tools Committed to Google Code

[by Chimezie Ogbuji]

I just committed my working copy of the set of tools I use to manipulate and serialize SNOMED-CT (the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine) and the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) as OWL/RDF for use in the clinical terminology research I’ve been doing lately. It is still in a very rough form and probably not usable by anyone other than a Python / Semantic Web hacker such as myself. However, I’m hoping to get it to a shape where it can be used by others. I had hesitated to release it mostly because of my concerns around the SNOMED-CT license, but I’ve been assured that as long the hosting web site is based in the united states and (most importantly) the software is not released with the SNOMED distribution it should be okay.

I have a (mostly empty) Wiki describing the command-line invocation. It leverages InfixOWL and rdflib to manipulate the OWL/RDF. Basically, once you have loaded the delimited distribution into MySQL (the library also requires MySQLdb and an instance of MySQL to work with), you can run the command-line, giving it one or more list of SNOMED-CT terms (by their identifiers) and it will return an OWL/RDF representation of an extract from SNOMED-CT around those terms.

So, below is an example of running the command-line to extract a section around the term Diastolic Hypertension and piping the result to the FuXi commandline in order to select a single class (sno:HypertensiveDisorderSystemicArterial) and render it using (my preferred syntax for OWL: the Manchester OWL syntax):

$python -e 48146000 -n short -s localhost -u ..mysql username.. --password=..mysql password.. -d snomed-ct | FuXi,2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT# --output=man-owl --class=sno:HypertensiveDisorderSystemicArterial --stdin
Class: sno:HypertensiveDisorderSystemicArterial
    ## Primitive Type (Hypertensive disorder) ##
    SNOMED-CT Code: 38341003 (a primitive concept)
              Clinical finding
              ( sno:findingSite some Systemic arterial structure )

Which renders an expression that can be paraphrased as

‘Hypertensive Disorder Systemic Arterial’ is a clinical finding and disease whose finding site is some structure of the systemic artery.

I can also take the Burn of skin example from the Wikipedia page on SNOMED and demonstrate the same thing, rendering it in its full (verbose) OWL/RDF/XML form:

<owl:Class rdf:about=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#BurnOfSkin">
  <owl:intersectionOf rdf:parseType="Collection">
        <owl:ObjectProperty rdf:about=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#findingSite"/>
      <owl:someValuesFrom rdf:resource=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#SkinStructure"/>
    <rdf:Description rdf:about=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#ClinicalFinding"/>
        <owl:ObjectProperty rdf:about=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#associatedMorphology"/>
      <owl:someValuesFrom rdf:resource=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#BurnInjury"/>
    <rdf:Description rdf:about=",2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT#Disease"/>
  <rdfs:label>Burn of skin</rdfs:label>

And then in its more palatable Manchester OWL form:

$ python -e 284196006 -n short -s localhost -u ..username.. --password= -d snomed-ct | FuXi,2007-07-31:SNOMED-CT# --output=man-owl --class=sno:BurnOfSkin --stdin
Class: sno:BurnOfSkin
    ## A Defined Class (Burn of skin) ##
    SNOMED-CT Code: 284196006
      ( sno:ClinicalFinding and sno:Disease ) that
      ( sno:findingSite some Skin structure ) and (sno:associatedMorphology some Burn injury )

Which can be paraphrased as:

A clinical finding or disease whose finding site is some skin structure and whose associated morphology is injury via burn

The examples above use the ‘-n short’ option, which renders extracts in OWL via the short normal form which uses a procedure described in the SNOMED-CT manuals that produces a more canonical representation, eliminating redundancy in the process. It currently only works with the 2007-07-31 distribution of SNOMED-CT but I’m in the process of updating it to use the latest distribution. The latest distribution comes with its own OWL representation and I’m still trying to wrap my head around some quirks in it involving role groups and whether or not this library would need to change so it works directly off this OWL representation instead of the primary relational distribution format. Enjoy,  

Some Words about Meditation (The Matrix Analogy)

I've found this spot near shaker lakes where I can do my Tai Chi Wu forms. it is isolated from people, virtually untouched wooded parks. We seem to have quite a lot of those in the greater Cleveland area and I'm coming to appreciate them. This one is perfect because it is overlooking open water right below where the sun sets (as you can see in the picture) and all the best Tai Chi (QiQong) practitioners I have had suggest doing it outside. So, I did at 9am this morning because I needed to make some decisions and noticed my thoughts were getting cloudy and overrun with emotion.

Tai Chi, the philosophy underlying it, and meditation used to be just anecdotally interesting to me (some time in University of Illinois during a Non-western Literature class, I was introduced to the poetry of Lei Tzu and became interested) and then recently my hypertension has gotten to the point where it needs to be managed by medication and I have some difficulty doing so because I believe (at a purely intuitive level) much of high blood pressure (mine at least) has to do with the cumulative effect of living in an industrialized, modern society. Everything is fast paced, on the go. There is always some (mostly material) milestone we are always chasing.


I was never consciously aware of this state of mind. The idea of the Matrix (the movie plot) is where I was first able to concretely able to articulate it. The mind state of just being plugged in, living out a meaningless life (because the life is basically software simulating modern industrialized society in order to preoccupy our minds as our bodies are being used as an energy source unwittingly). Back around the time called 'The Warring States period' (about 600 years before Before Christ) there was a flourish of philosophical literature in Ancient China about the same idea and practitioners of meditation honed their art by making a science of describing the mental process of unleashing yourself from the mundane (they even actually called it 'the Matrix' which makes me wonder if that is where the Wachowski brothers got the idea or at least the term ). They formulated the state of hurried mind, overrun with the 'ten thousand things' as they called them. If you pay attention to how people obsessively text, chase polls, plug into the 24 hour news cycle you might see a pattern of society consumed by self-indulgence, accelerated chatter, and enslaved by technology. Even me, I'm guilty of obsessively scanning Facebook, posting short nothings about something I saw or reading about some other nothing someone else saw or heard about. Reminds me of when I used to play Counter Strike.

The basic idea of the particular kind of philosophy of meditation that I've been studying is to stop thinking (rather than to focus on a particular thing on its own). I told this to my son once, and he didn't understand what it meant to 'stop thinking'. Sounds impossible, right? It isn't. When you are able to become aware of this 'matrix' state of mind and pay attention to your breathing, you can *maneuver* your thought process until it comes to stop completely. There is a specific way you are supposed to breath. I'm not as good as describing it as the people who became practitioners of this, but - as I understand it - you breath like a fetus does; so the air goes to your lower abdomen and not your chest. You breath slowly, with your tongue in a special way (at the roof of your mouth) and your head suspends like you are a marionette and there is a string attached to the top of your head up to the ceiling. When you control the breathing and it is soft in that way, you start to 'turn the light around' - i.e., turn the focus of your perception on to yourself and your thoughts - by becoming aware of your thoughts, where they come from, and what they are - dismissing them one at a time as you do so.

You continue to extinguish your thoughts by becoming aware of them until you are no longer thinking and everything you do is done from pure intuition rather than from your 'conscious' mind, the one that is like Neo before he realized he was just plugged in. From what I understand, there are ways you can empirically verify you are in this state by seeing if you have a buoyant (intoxicated) feeling. Similar - in some sense - to how you might feel if you were hyperventilating and your pores are wide open (or you are on a narcotic or some other illegal drug). The other effect (and this is *my* conjecture) is that you aren't anxious and cease to remain a slave to the gossipy, text messaging, twittering state of mind that modern day society wires us to have (a sort of *de facto* Matrix).

Usually, when I have done it properly, my blood pressure easy drops from 140 over 90, to 110 over 70. I have to measure my BP periodically to determine if the water pill (essentially) I take is working and don't need to try something else (in some ways, my friend who is a Physician has told me, Hypertension is a Syndrome in the sense that it's etiology is not fully understood).

Tai Chi is the perfect calisthenic exercise for me because it is a completely coordinated physical exercise engineered to maintain a meditative state of mind, while strengthening and stretching the body, providing all the benefits you would get from a similar calisthenic exercise: Yoga. This might sound naive, but I'm confident if I am diligent in Tai Chi, meditation, physical activity, disciplined etc. I might get to the point where I don't need to take a water pill to manage my particular chronic disease. So, I have a legitimate motivation, despite the fact that I get the idea that my family members - who are devout Christians in the same evangelic manner that many First, Second generation Nigerians are - often subtly suggest that I'm spiritually 'lost' and obsessed with Chinese culture and in desperate need for 'God to take over my life and for me to give myself to Christ', etc. I have this conversation with people who love me frequently and more often than I can count. I'm always polite and never try to dig to deep into it, because to explain takes too long. But I wanted to try to explain it here for a change.

Meditation has changed my life and *my* testimony (I use the word in the same evangelic sense as they) is how I've been able to maintain after having to bury children after unspeakable tragedy (so much so that I have yet to talk about it on a blog where my brother and I write a ridiculous amount about alot of things). It is something you can't explain but can only experience. But meditation, and my interest in the writings during the period of the warring states period also has to do with the similarities between the times we live in and the times the authors and practitioners lived in. There is alot of chaos, confusion, false ideology and vast power struggles; some visible, most not. The philosophy underlying the calisthenic exercise of Tai Chi was born in a time of chaos when people were trying to understand how a people living subject to violent forces were able to maintain an ethos that made sense, gave them tools to live healthy, gave them a moral framework that required some amount of spiritual discipline, and steeled them against turbulent times.

As I've gotten better in understanding how to adapt to change, doing the fetal, meditative breathing thing, and become more intuitive about the Tai Chi core forms, I've been trying to find local places where I can practice the 'right way'. So, I found this spot that is perfect for it. I think I'm going to go back frequently.

Health Care Technology @ O'Reilly's Open Source Convention

Andy Oram has recently written about O'Reilly's Open Source convention which contains a track on health care IT. As he discusses in that article, the potential value proposition of open source software and open data initiatives (and royalty-free standards) in making a difference in how electronic medical records are stored and shared is significant. I have seen it first hand, having worked on a patient registry that is mostly composed of open source components. 

As a result of the ARRA act (the stimulus bill), there is a significant incentive for healthcare professionals to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs. This criteria is comprised of 3 requirements:

  1. Use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner 
  2. Utilize certified EHR technology connected for health information exchange 
  3. Use of certified EHR technology to submit information on clinical 
    quality measures

These are very broad requirements, but the way they can be achieved
and the role of open data / source and royalty-free standards and
helping achieve these requirements can be seen by looking at some of
the challenges [1] that currently limit the meaningful use of Health
Information Technology (HIT):

  1. Clinical information systems from disparate hospitals do not communicate with each other automatically because implementation of existing standards is lacking 
  2. Data standards for medical specialities need further development to 
    accurately communicate intricacies of care 
  3. Database architectures are often designed to support single 
    clinical applications and are not easily modified 
  4. HIT increases the cost of doing business: cost of technology, 
    training, maintenance, system optimization, and skilled personnel
  5. Healthcare organizations have little recourse if a vendor fails to 
    deliver once the vendor's system becomes embedded into the 
    organization (vendor lock-in) 
  6. Decisions on technology acquisitions and implementations are often 
    made by people that lack clinical informatics expertise 

Promulgation of royalty-free standards address the lack of standards and cost of using such standards. Involvement of multiple member organizations in developing such standards build some amount of serendipity into the systems that use them, given the rigor that typically goes into creating these standards.

Open source software similarly addresses the cost of technology as well, and in addition tend to expand the pool of skilled personnel available to use them by virtue of the communities that are built around them. From these communities often come a significant resource to tap in maintaining and optimizing such systems. For example, the informatics team I work with at the Cleveland Clinic's Heart and Vascular Institute (on SemanticDB) currently use MySQL as the backend for our RDF triple store and none of the developers who maintain and optimize this aspect of our software ever needed to travel to a site to learn MySQL as most of what we needed to know was widely available on various internet sites.

Much of these benefits are turned on their head when healthcare organizations find themselves in the proverbial position of "vendor lock in". Vendors of HIT, like most other capitalist entities, seek to perpetuate their grip on a market via steady incline to a platform built entirely on their goods. An information technology market based on royalty-free standards and open source is a counter weight to this insofar as vendor lock in is much harder to achieve if the platforms are built to standards that were developed in concert with various industry players and thus diffusing the competition.

This potential bodes well for a future HIT landscape that looks quite different from the one we have today and the impetus of the new incentives put in place by this administration might accelerate this change. For those interested in this topic, you might want to also take a look at Andy's most recent summary of the health care OSCon technology track.

[1] Kadry, B. and Sanderson, I.C. and Macario, A., Challenges that limit meaningful use of health information technology, Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, volume 23, 2010.

"Poetry for the Nervous, Vol 1"

Love poetry?  Hate poetry?  Just don't get what it's about?  Come join the discussion, "Poetry for the Nervous, Vol 1."

Beside the Stanley Kunitz and Lenrie Peters pieces I lead with in the original post, there have been numerous others listed, discussed and quoted in the comments. Just in the first couple of days we have Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Kipling, Edward Lear, Stevie Smith, Lewis Carroll, Plath, Pound, Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Marianne Moore, G.M. Hopkins, Louis MacNeice, W.D. Snodgrass, Auden, Opie & Opie, C. Day Lewis, Spender, Leopold Senghor, Aimé Césaire, Christopher Okigbo, James Reeves, Yeats, Lionel Johnson, Ernest Dowson, Whitman, Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Mallarmé, Symons, Hulme, H.D., Aldington, cummings, Meera Bai, Tony Hoagland, Philip Levine, John Clare, Sydney, Shelley, Donne, Hass, Bukowski, Siegfried Sassoon, Vera Pavlova and Geoff Kagan Trenchard.

Also, mentions of personalities connected to poetry such as Artistotle, Peter Levi, Marjorie Perloff and Garrison Keillor, a shot out to New Zealand poets Allen Curnow, Bill Manhire, Janet Frame and James K. Baxter, and even musicians including Bob Dylan and Jefferson Airplane, Talib Kweli and M.F. Doom.