Daily Debriefing

by Naomi Sosner | 10/30/06 6:00am

Professor James Weinstein, chairman of orthopedics at Dartmouth, co-authored a study examining the number of spine surgeries performed on Medicare patients. The topic of back surgery is a subject of debate among health care experts, with some arguing that the number of surgeries is unnecessarily high. The study found that in high-surgery regions of the United States almost five in 1,000 Medicare patients underwent surgery, while as low as 0.6 out of every 1,000 did in low-surgery areas. According to Weinstein, there are not a high number of back problems in high-surgery areas, but a lack of consensus among doctors on what cases require surgery. "I'm not against spine surgery, I'm a spine surgeon," Weinstein said. "But we need to find out what works and make sure people who have those problems get it. We don't do that well."

"Conventioneers," a newly-released movie set in New York City in 2004 during the Republican National Convention, stars Woodwyn Jones and Matthew Mabe as former Dartmouth classmates who reunite only to discover they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Jones plays Democrat activist Lea Jones, who becomes enraged when she discovers David Massey (Mabe), is an attendee of the Republican convention, or a conventioneer. "Conventioneers" was directed by Mora Stephens and co-written by Stephens and Joel Viertel -- it opened in Manhattan on Oct. 20.

"The Perfection of Wisdom: A Seminar Joining Buddhist Scholarship and Practice" discussed the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom), a Buddhist text on Saturday Oct. 28 in the Tindle Lounge. The seminar was led by three scholarship/practitioners representing the Western academic, Zen and Tibetan traditions--Jay Garfield, a Buddhist translator and professor of philosophy associated with Smith College, University of Massachusets, Melbourne University, and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Gentei Sandy Stewart, a Zen Buddhist teacher and Abbot of the North Carolina Zen Institute, and Geshi Jigme Rapten, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Gelug tradition affiliated with the Gaden Jangtse monastery in India. The seminar included optional meditations and examinations of different Buddhist texts. "The seminar completely elucidated aspects of Buddhism, which I had always found murky and abstract, and which nobody had ever been able to explain to me," Benjamin Gifford '10 said. "Professor J. Garfield is brilliant." The Department of Religion, the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Tucker Foundation and the Zen practice group at Dartmouth sponsored the event.