David Bailey


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Attending European Universities as an International Student

18 September 2016 | 0 Comments | Tags: Education

Munich, Germany is home to several world-class universities.


  1. Europeans often use bank transfers for payment. Schools, apartments, health insurance providers, etc. may ask you to transfer money to their International Bank Account Number (IBAN). Services such as TransferWise perform these transfers faster, easier, and cheaper than your bank.

Dodger Stadium Aerial Tramway

2 September 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: Transportation

Dodger Stadium

Traffic, parking, and Dodgers: three hallmarks of Los Angeles. How can we address the first two to make a Dodger's game better? Lots of folks have suggested public transit to Dodger Stadium. One of the more reasonable suggestions is an aerial tram between the Gold Line and Dodger Stadium. Let's see how the numbers stack up agains two similar, recently constructed aerial trams, the Portland Aerial Tram to Oregon Health & Science University and the Emirates Air Line in London. Obviously, the Dodger's airline sponsor, United, should buy naming rights to the United Air Line.

Porland Aerial Tram

Emirates Air Line (London)

Dodger Stadium (estimated)

An example route

How big is 1000 parking spaces?

Creating a Medical Record Exchange for Research

20 August 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: Healthcare

Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page recently dismissed healthcare research in America:

Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It's just a painful business to be in. It's just not necessarily how I want to spend my time. Even though we do have some health projects, and we'll be doing that to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs. -- Sergey Brin

I am really excited about the possibility of data also, to improve health. But that's-- I think what Sergey's saying, it's so heavily regulated. It's a difficult area. I can give you an example. Imagine you had the ability to search people's medical records in the U.S.. Any medical researcher can do it. Maybe they have the names removed. Maybe when the medical researcher searches your data, you get to see which researcher searched it and why. I imagine that would save 10,000 lives in the first year. Just that. That's almost impossible to do because of HIPAA. I do worry that we regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities that are certainly on the data-mining end. -- Larry Page

However, creating an exchange like the one described by Larry is possible. Let's start by evaluating the interests of the different parties involved:

Both patients and researchers understand they fundamentally need each other to succeed.

Next, as with any project, let's look a how research currently works. Large university medical centers treat lots (millions) of patients per year. These patients' medical records are just now being stored electronically. Researchers at the university can create studies and request medical records. These studies have to first be approved by the university's Institutional Review Board (IRB) before the researcher is allowed access to the medical records. The researcher then performs his or her study and can publish the results.

So, what are the problems with the current system? Like Sergey and Larry said, there is a lot of red tape. Any changes to a study have to be approved by the IRB again. Most universities are limited to just one hospital or a few hospitals. This means they have a limited number of patients, a limited geographic sampling of patients, a limited set of standard treatments, etc. These limits hinder research studies. Also, typically only researchers at universities have access to the university's medical records. A brilliant private practice doctor would have to partner with a university. Multi-university studies require a sponsor at each university and a review by each university's IRB. As you can see, large scale research projects don't happen easily.

So... How do we fix the problem?

We need to create an exchange (data warehouse) for patient records. But where will those records come from? They can't come from the doctors, hospitals, or universities. Those are all regulated by HIPAA. The records must come from the patients themselves. Here's how:

  1. As mentioned above, everyone's medical record is becoming an electronic record. Patients have a right (under HIPAA!) to request a copy of their medical record from their doctor or hospital.
  2. Patients can then take their medical records and upload them into the exchange. The exchange shows them everything they are uploading. It requires the patient to remove some identifiers (name, social security number, etc.) and allows substitutions for other identifiers (home address will be converted into just a zip code). However, the patient has the ultimate approval for what information is uploaded. They can also enter information not in their medical record. For example: How often do you exercise? What do you eat? What do you do for work?
  3. The warehouse stores this information in a consistent, secure manner.
  4. Researchers create accounts with the exchange. They have to provide their medical license information and go through a training program.
  5. Researchers can then create studies, provide a description of the study, and request data. Patients can auto-accept requests for their data, or they can require their approval for each study. The exchange might impose a limit on the amount of data a researcher could request in a time period. Each request is logged in the researcher's account and the patient's account.

Patients can delete their accounts at any time. However, once a researcher has accessed their data, it cannot be revoked. The exchange could charge researchers for each study and pay patients for their records. The exchange could be created as a for-profit company,but patients would be more willing to upload their records to a non-profit. The exchange could also be used by researchers to recruit patients for their clinical studies.

This framework still needs a few tweaks, but it has huge potential. There are issues, technical and legal, to overcome, but they are not impossible.

List of Redeye Flights in the Lower 48 States

12 November 2012 | 0 Comments | Tags: Transportation Travel

An early morning in Chicago

Flying for 1/3 the Price on Delta

17 October 2011 | 0 Comments | Tags: Transportation Travel

Want to get from Albuquerque to Atlanta on the cheap? Don't buy a ticket from ABQ to ATL; get one to CLT (Charlotte). The flight to Charlotte is $212, but a ticket to Atlanta costs $601. The New York Times reported on this phenomenon a while back, but this is the first time I've seen such a drastic difference in fares myself. Buying the ticket with an extra leg to Charlotte results in a 65% savings! Digging deeper into the fares, the trip to Atlanta has the code M while the trip to Charlotte has the code U on both legs. The Fare Chart at cwsi.net/delta lists both codes as discounted coach fares.

If you'd like to take advantage of this unadvertised sale for Atlanta tickets, just buy a ticket to Charlotte. Be aware that you cannot check bags on this flight because those bags would end up in Charlotte. You could also be rerouted if your original flight is cancelled.

It is possible to find other deals such as this one on different routes. It is easiest to find cheaper flights to a major airline hub by looking for a ticket to a close-by city that would require a connection through the hub.

Happy Trails!

background: Yankee Stadium
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