Spotlighting an individual: My interview with a Medical Lab Technician

Once again, I’ve interviewed another person on Reddit. This time it is Medical Lab Technician.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, sex, what country you live in, what you do for a living?

I’m a 20 year old, female biologically. I live in America, in New York City. I am a Medical Lab Technician and I’m currently attending school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science.

My job is basically to collect and perform tests on blood, urine, or any other specimen that might come from a body. My job is a mix of microbiology (my personal favorite), chemistry, hematology, and immunohematology.  If you’ve ever gone to the doctor and gotten blood work done, people like me are the ones who test it and get the results. It’s a really fun job, and getting to use all the machinery and microscopes makes me feel like a mad scientist sometimes! Plus, it really helps people, and that is one of the most important things to me.

Very interesting! Yes, I can imagine that this helps people a lot!

What made you want to go into this field?

I actually didn’t know what lab science was until I went to college. I had to pick a program for financial aid to be valid when I started college. I was only 16 when I applied and didn’t know much about career choices. It sounded like something I’d enjoy, and I was right! I can’t imagine doing any other job now that I’ve gotten into it. It’s a perfect fit.

Who are your favorite scientists?

I don’t know that I have a favorite scientist. I don’t follow scientific journals or anything like a sports fan might follow a favorite team. I suppose if I had to choose one, I would say Nikola Tesla.

Wow! Only 16 years old when you applied to college? Do you ever feel different than other people?

I did feel a little different towards the end of my associates program when all my classmates wanted to go out and celebrate graduation but I wasn’t old enough to drink with them. Mostly it was sort of cool being the youngest in class because I felt like I had accomplished something uncommon. The reason I started college so young is because I was homeschooled my last year of high school and I did 11th and 12th grade in 6 months each.

Can you explain some of the process that needs to be done when doing your job?

hen I go into work, some of the things I do include cleaning and running maintenance on the automation and running quality control. This is one of the most important parts of my job because it ensures that my instruments are working correctly and that the results I get are accurate. One of my favorite things to do is identifying microorganisms in the microbiology lab. When we get a culture from a wound or body fluid, we use it to set up cultures on different types of media. The next day, we can use the media growth and perform different tests with various chemicals, and based on the many reactions, we can determine which bacteria we have. It’s pretty amazing considering there are hundreds of possibilities and we can narrow it down to the species level. Part of it is done by instruments, but a lot of it comes down to remembering my education about what germs grow where, what they look like, and even how they smell. I’m like a medical detective.

Now that we are so technologically advanced, most other tests are run on machines, although in order to be certified we have to be able to do them all manually. A lot of the day is spent interpreting and reporting results, refilling reagents and calibrators, and getting all the samples on the right machines at the right time. There is a lot of multitasking going on all day.

How were you able to complete two grades in one year exactly?

The way my school was laid out, you got most of the credits you needed by 10th grade. You took 7 classes a year, and your senior year was essentially two required classes and a bunch of silly courses just because you have to be at school. I didn’t like that, and felt it was a waste of time. I felt like that was just one more year of a school I didn’t like, one more year I could be working and saving money, and one more year I had to wait to retire. Because I had been doing advanced courses since 8th grade, I only needed 1 class my senior year and 3 my junior year, so my mom, who is a former teacher, taught me at home. It took some convincing to get her to agree, but it turned out to be very beneficial for me in the long run. I’d only recommend it to students who can get all heir work done without much help, because it’s easy to just give up and drop out, but I feel like the extra responsibility helped me mature a lot quicker than my peers did just out of necessity.

Have you ever thought that you want to do this your whole life or would you want to move onto something a little different in a while?

I honestly don’t know where I’ll be 35 years from now. Maybe I will still be working at a hospital. Maybe I’ll move up to a supervisor position, but that doesn’t seem like me. I prefer to be hands on and in the front lines. If my life goes the way I plan, I will always be doing lab science at it’s core, but maybe I will move on to research and development or something more revolutionary. A definite goal of mine is to spend some time with Doctors without Borders, volunteering so those without reliable healthcare can get the care they need for free. Even if I stay just where I am now, I would be okay with that. I try to think of every patient that comes in as if they were my parent or sibling or grandparent. That makes the work I do mean a lot to me, because it means a lot to them and their loved ones.

Well, that’s really cool that you want to spend time with an organization that helps people. What do you think is the main problem with people not getting proper care? What advances can we make to improve those situations for people?

Well, obviously people not having medical care leads to poor quality of life and premature death when we are talking about it in a general sense. As it relates to my field, it is hard to provide anything more than general care without having test results to guide you toward a more specific health plan. In third world countries where people suffer from infections, diseases, etc. the difference in one result or another may be as large as completely different classes of medication. For example, just being able to tell whether someone has a typical Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA will tell you whether they can be treated with basic antibiotics or if they need IV aminoglycosides. In either scenario, the wrong treatment can easily result in death.

The best way to help people in these situations is to volunteer if you are able, and if not, a donation can go a long way. Even with volunteers offering their services for free, there is no way for us to get the equipment we need for tests or treatment without paying for it. A $10 donation could pay for a bottle of penicillin and save a life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlighting an individual: My interview with a wannabe computer scientist about computers, AI, how to get into this field, and more

This is my second post spotlighting an individual about pretty much anything whether it is about religion, politics, science, philosophy, etc. Again, these individuals are interviewed on Reddit.

computer science

photo by www.cdm.depaul.edu

 

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, sex, what country you live in, what you do for a living?

I’m a 18 years old male, living in Pennsylvania. And I am currently working on getting a degree in computer science.

What made you interested in computer science?

I’ve always been interested in engineering to a degree. When I was really young, my mother bought a giant container full of Legos. I went crazy with the Legos, and ever since, I’ve always been interested in engineering and science. When I went to my middle school/high school, that interest morphed into an interest in computers. I really enjoy problem solving with computer programs. There is something about it that I just find satisfying. Between the laptop that the school provided, and all the video games that I’ve played, I really got into that stuff.

What problems do you like to solve the most on computers?

I enjoy playing around, trying to get things to work the way I want them to work. For instance, one time I programmed a super simple AI for a small project. I really enjoyed putting myself in the computers shoes to figure out what the computer needed to know about its surroundings, and what to do from there. Video game programming would probably be my favorite, because there is a lot more interaction to experience.

That sounds like a lot of fun! If you could give any advice to kids or people in general who want to get into computer stuff, what would you say?

Figure out what about computers interests you. Try learning a computer language, even if it is something simple like Python. Computer science is a very broad field. If you enjoy pulling things apart, putting them back together, or even making things from scratch, the hardware side of it would be most appropriate. If you enjoy problem solving, and if you are good at math, then the software side may be best. Computer science is a two sided coin.

Interesting! What kinds of video games do you like to play the most? When you play video games, do you appreciate the developers a little more since you know the work that was put into making it?

I prefer strategy games, and building type games the most, all because of how I love to problem solve. Although, I do dabble in first person shooters here and there. I had an internship with a gaming company. I was able to experience exactly what a game designer does. It feels a little wired, because it takes hours upon hours to get things done. But in the end, for every hour you spend programming, there may be 50 hours worth of people playing the game. But I definitely appreciate what the developers go through, because it can get fairly infuriating when you don’t know what the problem is to begin with.

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Different people with various perspectives – spiritual person, anti-theist, and Catholic:Part 2

religions

 

This is my second post on this blog and series of “Different people with various perspectives” and I hope you enjoyed the first one and hopefully this one as well. I enjoyed interviewing these various folks as well who have different stories and thoughts on the world we live in. Perhaps you (my audience) might learn something new that you didn’t know or just find these people’s thoughts interesting. I can’t give up these people’s username on Reddit, which is where I interviewed them (read The Purpose of the Blog)  for security reasons .  I’ll copy the conversation.

If you want to see part 1 with the atheist, ordained minister, and Satanist, go here:  The atheist, ordained minister, and Satanist


Here is the spiritual person.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, what country you live in, what you do for a living.

I am 28, from the USA and I currently own a few internet business’s, group homes and I work for the Salvation Army.

What are your current views? Religious or not. How long have you been that way? Were you raised that way?

I am spiritual yet I do use religion. Occasionally although not for answers but use it to help others. My mom raised me to be spiritual, this means we went to many different types of churches and explored many religious views. From a young age I always seen the same message in most. That is love and oneness with the divine, and a personal relationship was more important than any theology to me.

Since you’re more spiritual, what do you get from being spiritual? Is it powering? What are the positives? Any details?

Spirituality removes boxes and allows you to see God in all things. This means his truths and love and wisdom can be expressed in many religions. The person who looks for the one way thinking his religion is above others will be disappointed. An awakened person sees God in all goodness and righteousness.

I would say that my awakening was in a deep meditation, before I studied religions from the ages of 15-18 day and night it was my only interests to know God personally, it was never enough to read about him in religion that would always be an unknown God.

From there I started to explore the inner God to know it personally. So my focus was on how spirit and the minds of man work as one force. This is when I started meditating and I would simply still my mind and I would become one with spirit in a way that I could start manifesting things and even being filled with light and love and leave my body and this is when I discovered God as a part of my being. I knew God was spirit and I was a temple to bring its spirit through.

I understood teachers like Jesus and Buddha came to show the way and not be simply worshiped as man does but to follow them. They all made of themselves no reputation and lived in spirit as a means for God to manifest itself.

What books, articles, etc made the most difference in your difference to believe in whatever you believe?

I would say Edgar cayce has helped me the most understand the nature of spirit and mans relationship with God. I believe we are evolving spiritually more than ever now and it will start to pick up, we are living more as a collective and everything is out in the opening.


The atheist/anti-theist.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, what country you live in, what you do for a living.

24 year old married male living in the U.S.A. Have a degree in secondary (middle school/high school) group social studies. Love to run, read, care for reptiles, and learn!

What are your current views? Religious or not. Are you a strong atheist?

Strong atheist and anti-theist. I don’t hate or think religion is necessarily evil but I have a hard time standing it and the [negative] impact it has on society here in the U.S.A on both the political, cultural, and social spheres of life.

Since you’re an atheist, what is your atheist philosophy? Naturalism, Absurdism, Nihilism, Materialism, etc

Naturalism would be the most accurate.

How confident are you that you are correct?

As close to 100% as I can be without claiming I know for a fact.

What books, articles, etc made the most difference in your difference to believe in whatever you believe?

Reading the Bible, listening to various debates from the heavy hitters of atheism (Hitchens, Harris, etc.), and exploring the Christian apologetics of people such as W.L.C.

What are your views on how the world is today? Is it bad, good, etc? What needs to improve

The world is better now than it ever has been. It still sucks a lot but…that is life. What needs to improve in my eyes if people learning to fuck off and keep to themselves more often than not. That applies on the small scale when it comes to one’s neighbor or on the big scale when it comes to the governments of the world.


Here is interview I had with the Catholic.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, what country you live in, what you do for a living.

I’m 26, live in the U.S., and I coordinate and teach craft classes as well as teach religious Ed at my church.

What are your current views? Religious or not. Are you protestant, Catholic, etc? How long have you been that way? Were you raised that way? Are you more of a liberal or conservative kind of Christian theologically and politically?

I am happily religious. I was born and raised Catholic. I’m pretty conservative in my religious views, but go back and forth between liberal and conservative as far as politics go. I’m registered as independent.

How confident are you that you are correct?

I’m very confident that God exists and is watching over us. A lot of personal things that have happened in my life have led me to believe that. I do get into funks sometimes where I question things, but then I pray or think of other things that I’ve witnessed and I feel, I don’t know, complete again? It’s hard to put into words. My faith never really wavers but it’s hard to not question things when you live in such a secular world.

What books, articles, etc made the most difference in your difference to believe in whatever you believe?

Reading parts of the bible have had a huge effect on me, but a lot of other sources have helped as well. Reading about the saints and their struggles and triumphs and even defeats is unlike anything else. It’s amazing to see what they did in the name of God. The catechism has been helpful in answering questions when I didn’t know where else to look. Also, I absolutely LOVE our traditional prayers. I love hearing and praying the rosary, it includes a lot of them.

What are your views on how the world is today? Is it bad, good, etc? What needs to improve?

I don’t think the world is bad or good. I think there are extremes on both ends just like there are extremes of religion and lack thereof. I think instead of appreciating our differences, people dwell and see only those differences. Do I think more people need God? Of course. Do I think the only way to go about it is shoving it down their throats? Absolutely not. I think opening a line of communication would help tremendously, but no one wants to start it. And even then it’s so difficult because everyone thinks they’re right and everyone else is wrong.

We all have individual upbringings and experiences that have led our beliefs to where they are today. All of that has to be taken into consideration. Even within our own churches the interpretations can vary. But that’s why communication is the key to all of it. It’s good to be able to talk about what we believe and why.


Once again, pretty interesting! I plan on having at least 1 more part to this series as well.

Please like, share, comment, and follow if you want to see more content like this!

Steve

Different people with various perspectives – the atheist, ordained pastor, and satanist:Part 1

This is my first post on this blog and series of “Different people with various perspectives” and I hope you enjoy it! I enjoyed interviewing these various folks who have different stories and thoughts on the world we live in. Perhaps you (my audience) might learn something new that you didn’t know or just find these people’s thoughts interesting. I can’t give up these people’s username on Reddit, which is where I interviewed them (read The Purpose of the Blog)  for security reasons .  I’ll copy the conversation.

I’ll start with the atheist who I had a very good conversation with.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, what country you live in, what you do for a living.

I am a 25 year old engineer living in the United States.

What are your current views? Religious or not. Are you a strong atheist?

While I don’t outright reject the notion of gods existing entirely, as I don’t believe we can know anything for certain, I am a strong atheist with regards to all of the proposed god concepts I have heard. To paraphrase Laplace, I have no need for said hypothesis.

Since you’re an atheist, what is your atheist philosophy? Naturalism, Absurdism, Nihilism, Materialism, etc

It seems odd to me to call it my “atheist philosophy.” For me atheism only deals with one portion of my world view, i.e. the rejection of the existence of any proposed god concepts. With that out of the way my philosophy is an amalgamation of those examples you’ve proposed and more. Too many to name off the top of my head.

With respect to naturalism, I’ve yet to come across anything that falls outside its purview and thus have no reason to posit otherwise. I would say I am slowly phasing absurdism out of my views as I find it more a result of the vein attempt of others looking for meaning, influencing my pursuits, rather than being an innate tendency of my own. This realization being brought about my nihilism, seeing meaning as a meaningless concept outside of the meanings we assign ourselves. Materialism works into my views in the same way as naturalism.

How confident are you that you are correct?

Correct with respect to what? That the Christian god does not exist? I am 100% confident. That no gods exist? Let’s say 99.9%.

What books, articles, etc made the most difference in your difference to believe in whatever you believe?

With regards to Christianity, the book that had the biggest influence in causing me to reject it was the Bible. It paints a picture I find not only incompatible with reality as I perceive it, but incompatible with itself.

As for my world view, it has been shaped greatly by my incessant curiosity. From a young age I couldn’t get ask enough questions nor accumulate enough data. I’ve always seen myself as being an observer first and a participant second in this world. I would spend my days taking in as much as I could of the world around me, be it writings in all fields of academia, with a heavy leaning towards math, science, and history, or listening to my father and sister describe the various plants and animals we’d encounter on our family vacations to the various state and national parks of the US. By night I would have the hardest time falling asleep, which allotted me plenty of time to process all the data I had accumulated. I’ve always taken great joy in working things out in my mind, creating dialogues between myself to consider as many sides of a concept as I could.

What are your views on how the world is today? Is it bad, good, etc? What needs to improve?

I see the world today as quite bad, and yet, it is better than it’s ever been. For me the biggest thing that needs to improve is a cessation of the imposition of one’s beliefs on others, without justification. People need to spend more time critically examining themselves and refine their own beliefs before releasing them unto the world.


The ordained minister was great from a Christian perspective.

Tell me a bit about yourself? Age, what country you live in, what you do for a living. Remember: Nothing specific or long!

I’m 36 years old, and live in the United States. I am a full-time Pastor of a family sized congregation.

What are your current views? Religious or not. Are you protestant, Catholic, etc? How long have you been that way? Were you raised that way?

I am a religious person. My faith is very important to me and it colors the way I see the world. I am a Protestant, and have been a Christian since I was about 12 years old. I was raised in the church on and off in many different traditions (Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Charismatic, Quaker, etc…)

Are you more of a liberal or conservative kind of Christian theologically and politically?

I am theologically orthodox for the most part. That means that while I can affirm the classic creeds of the Christian faith. While this is the case, I believe that God is more concerned about how we live our lives than whether or not we can check all of the “correct” theological boxes. Are we showing love, compassion and empathy to others? Are we living out our devotion to God in concrete ways (e.g.: by caring for the earth that God gave us to manage; by advocating for justice, freedom and peace; by caring for the poor, the outcast, the orphan, widow and stranger; by compassionately providing help to the ones our society considers “the least of these”).

How confident are you that you are correct?

Any theological answer I have come to is one I find to be both provisional and intellectually satisfying. My answers are provisional because I know that I could always be wrong, and because all of the answers theology provides must be scrutinized in light of what other disciplines (science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc…) tell us to be true. I find my answers to be intellectually satisfying (otherwise I wouldn’t hold them) in that they are consistent with my experience and my understanding of the larger world.

What books, articles, etc made the most difference in your difference to believe in whatever you believe?

Well, first I would say the Bible, but that feels like a cop out. I have also enjoyed the works of Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, Jurgen Moltmann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, John of the Cross, John Polkinghorne (Particularly “Faith, Science, and Understanding” and “Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity”), Stanley Grenz, Dorothy Soellee, Daniel Miglore, and Katie Cannon.

What are your views on how the world is today? Is it bad, good, etc? What needs to improve?

It could always be better (though historically speaking it is in an amazing place in terms of scientific discovery, global peace [fewer people dying violent deaths per capita than at any other time in known history] etc…). I see income inequality, access to resources (medicine, food, water, sanitation, and technology), treatment of the environment, and global human rights to be our largest looming issues at the moment.


 

Here is the interview I had with the Theist Satanist and it was very interesting as well. Warning: There is some language.

Tell me a little about yourself? Age, country, what you do for a living? Remember, nothing long or specific.

I am 19 years and live in Germany.  I am a a college student as well. I am a theistic Satanist and have been that way for 2 years. I  was raised Protestant.

Hmm…so why do you believe it. Why do you believe it to be correct? How certain are you that you are correct compared to other people?

 

Because in my mind it just makes sense. If there is a god, then there must be another being of immense power. In this case, HaSatan (The Adversary). I have done satanic rituals and prayers before and found them to geniunely improve my body both physically and mentally.

Because unlike other religions, we have had no strays from the practice nor teachings of our religion. We do not restrict sin, but instead welcome it in healthy way. We do not harm unless we’re needed to, and at no point has there been murders commited in the name of Satan. “If a religion is true, those who follow it need not concern themselves with slander.”

The fact that I do not need to harm anyone to prove it. Every single religion has commited violence as a response to offensive drawings and statements. If their religion is true, why do they need to worry? I have no doubt, nor do I inflixt pain in order to prove anything.

There is a lot of bad stigma about satanism but many of us might not be too knowledgeable about what it really is? So give me some details and do you really worship the devil?

Bad stigma. Yes, satanism has a great deal of bad stigma since (Ha)Satan has been the “evil” counterpart to almost every god. It isn’t true though. We do not sacrifice people or animals in rituals, but instead use certain types of what other religions would call sinful energies for our practises. We do not have constant orgies, but instead satanism encourages monogamy or atleast sticking to the amount of partners you are comfortable with.

Do I worship the Devil? Yes. I do. I believe he is a powerful entity, outmatching even the Abrahamic god in terms of power. Even in the christian bible, he is able to challenge and even remove himself from god’s rule. I believe that of the two, the devil is the better man. He embraces humanity and its flaws, and carries no punishment for those who do not believe strongly enough. Nor has he commited genocide, started wars in his name, and countless other crimes that god has commited.

Have you ever read the Bible and saw how negative it is about him? What do you think about that?

I have read the bible from cover to cover several times back when i was foolish enough to believe fully. With every read, I found myself agreeing and feeling sympathy for Satan. When I did finally convert, I read through the bible again incase anyone challenged me in my faith, then I would challenge theirs.

What is said in the bible about the devil is simply lies. Hell, it is even outright stated that he encourages sin, not crimes. He tempts with basic human needs, and if you believe in Adam and Eve, he gave us knowledge and free will. He dares challenge god and then scrub his hands off of the pathetic god.

What are your views of how today is? Is it bad, good, or what? How do we improve it? A Christian might say that you have no sense of right or wrong, so you can’t answer this question…how do you silence the critics?

What do I think of it? It is one sided of an argument. The devil has no works that is said to be directly written by him, and nor does he slander god. He is the better man, no matter what the biased bible says. And it has been done for everyone who seems evil. We make up shit to make them look bad.

The world today? We’re fucked. We got a virgin telling others how to live their lives both in and outside of the bedroom. We have religious fanatics trying to prove they are better by force while a silent majority of the “moderate” believers agree, to a certain extent. There is too much war and religious idiocy. How do we improve the world? Demand payment from the countries in debt, or do what Britain and France did with the colonies. Split them up and take it from there. We need to bring down harder on those who commit crime, and we need to take more extreme measures to kill off those in the middle east who are literally a extremist death trap.

I have a sense of right or wrong by heart. I do not need a book written 1700 years ago by ignoramuses who lived in desert caves. If you need a book to tell you what is right or wrong, you are the one who is unable to answer this question.

 


Well, there you go! Very interesting and insightful answers from those people. I’m glad for the three folks who took the time to answer my questions and if you have any questions about this interview, please leave a comment on what you thought! There will be a part 2 coming up soon with other people answering the questions.

Please like, share, comment, and follow if you want to see more content like this!

Steve