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JULY 2014
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Through Aug. 1; artist reception July 10, 6-8p. A group exhibition by the fine arts students of CSN, featuring new works that make use of a variety...   
Through Aug. 1, Mon-Fri, 9a-4p; Sat, 10a-2p. A solo exhibit of digitally manipulated photographs, video and animation by Kate Shannon, The Ohio...   
Aug. 2, 7:30p. When acclaimed saxophonists Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot hit the road together last summer in support...   
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The med school learning curve
by Heidi Kyser | posted July 30, 2014

For the August issue of Desert Companion, I checked in with the state’s higher ed officials to find out where they are in the ever-evolving effort to get a new public medical school in Southern Nevada. (Check back for that story, coming any moment to this very page.) You can’t talk medical education without talking graduate medical education — aka residencies and fellowships — since both are required to not only train doctors, but also keep them in the state. And getting more doctors is something this state desperately needs to do.

… as Congresswoman Dina Titus pointed out in her conversation with KNPR’s State of Nevada this morning. Titus, who is a member of the Veterans Administration committee in the House of Representatives, was on the program to explain a $17 billion VA overhaul that a bipartisan, House-Senate committee unveiled earlier this week. Turns out, the doctor shortage is a big part of the problem for the VA — particularly in Nevada, according to Titus.

“It doesn’t do any good to push vets into private practice for the care they need if there aren’t enough doctors to see them,” she said. “If you look at statistics for Nevada, we’re 46th in the country for primary care, 50th for psychiatry and 51st for surgeons. That’s why I want to create more residencies.”

She and recently appointed UNLV Medical School Dean Barbara Atkinson are thinking along the same lines. While I was reporting the public medical school story, Atkinson told me that she’s keen on working with the VA, both for possibly housing UNLV’s new medical students until a building gets built and for starting residencies to train those students after graduation. And, she specifically mentioned psychiatry as an area of great opportunity for medical residencies in Southern Nevada.

Meanwhile, the Reno-based University of Nevada School of Medicine and private, nonprofit Touro University Nevada are also working on getting more graduate medical education for their existing students — in primary care and surgery, among other areas.

It’s encouraging to see officials from various factions getting on the same page about how the state can solve its health care crisis. Now, they just have to convince the public to pony up its share of the dough.



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The Yucca Mountain hangover
by Andrew Kiraly | posted July 29, 2014
Hey! Want to have a nice chat about Yucca Mountain? Of course you don’t! You’re over it. You’ve had enough. You’re not ready yet. You’re still savoring your luxurious sigh of relief after the Obama administration wrenched the Yucca spigot to OFF, and you really, really just want to fast-forward through this nebulous, woozy denouement we’re living in now, the age of the Great Yucca Hangover. 
 
You may be done with Yucca Mountain, but, oh, it’s not done with us. Don’t worry (at least not yet!), this isn’t a blog post about some fresh and disheartening reversal in the decades-long saga that sees the high-level nuclear waste dump rearing its ugly half-life again. I’m referring instead to a more metaphorical kind of radioactivity: the ways in which the would-be Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, in all the troubling majesty of its thorny hypotheticals — an engineered underground nuclear graveyard expected to exist many millenia into and perhaps beyond human history — continues to force us to grapple with tricky questions about human language and culture. For instance, after we build a burial site capable of containing high-level nuclear waste, here or elsewhere, how do we warn the future? Indeed, the nuclear cemetery that never quite was has borne fascinating fruit. 
 
One of the latest entries is this academic paper slated to be published in Cornell University’s Science & Technology Studies journal, titled “Adjudicating Deep Time: Revisiting the United States’ High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository Project at Yucca Mountain.” Reams have been blogged and written about the challenges — some would say absurd, imagination-staggering challenges — of building a DANGER! KEEP OUT! sign that could last, both physically and semantically, through thousands of years of erosive weather, natural cataclysms, geopolitical upheaval, human evolution, morphing language and who knows what else (alien colonization? hyper-evolved cats? hostile global AI takeover by a sentient Facebook in the year 4039?).
 
This paper (warning: at times, it’s a dense, punishing bog of opaque academese) considers the superhuman intellectual acrobatics required to impose today’s accepted notions of personhood to tomorrow and beyond. Or, as the paper’s author Vincent F. Ialenti writes, “As such, an anthropologist might see the Yucca Mountain Project as just another site in which humans have drawn upon fragments of the past to reinvent them in the present to serve new purposes in new contexts.” In the legalistic regime of YuccaThink, today's person is bureaucratically recast into the future-flung unknown as a “reasonably maximally exposed individual.”
 
 The tenuousness of such constructions is laughable; you can almost read them as exasperated code words for a gasping admission of “We don’t know!” Well, it would be laughable if it weren’t utterly headache-inducing — another symptom of the Great Yucca Hangover. 


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You can call me al fresco
by Scott Dickensheets | posted July 25, 2014

Open air seating!

Just the place to take in a little warmth from the sun.



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