Monday, February 22, 2010

"Op-Ed Contributor - Have Keyboard, Will Travel" -

What a discouraging picture this paints. This, too!

"European Press Links Israelis to Dubai Killing" - The Lede Blog -

As an Irishman, I look forward to a rapid and professional investigation of this matter. The apparent fraudulent use of an Irish passport by one of the alleged perpetrators is of huge concern, but the proper course of conduct is to await the results of a thorough investigation before blame can be directed properly.

"The Most Amazing Libraries In The World Part Two"

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Inside the Rings - Questions of Safety in High-Risk Sport" -

Why have we allowed - perhaps encouraged - the Olympics to become a kind of race car event with people more fascinated by who crashes or gets injures than by who wins and how they win? It seems to me that the high risk "sports" deserve a place on reality television or a NASCAR network if there is one, and not one at the Olympics.

This column does an especially good job of making the point.

"Michael Wolff: Not News (but Good to Be Reminded): The Internet Is for Wankers"

"Whistle-Blower Accuses JM Eagle of Deception" -

I am struck when I read this, and then this tragic tale, by how many problems there are around us that could be solved if there were more transparency, and if people used that transparency to stay on top of their own issues and cooperated with others.

Imagine if we could all inquire abot the origin and safey records of things used by our localities. I don't mean going on long, frustrating treasure hunts on the web - I mean simple pages that allow us to do for projects what Patagonia does for its merchandise.

And in the case of the ENCALADA family, imagine if they could have accessed more information in a more timely fashion. What price would we have been willing to pay to save Sr ENCALADA's life? Surely, a few keystrokes and clicks would have been a fair sum, no?

Think about all that we don't know about our world from local government to health to our food and just life around us. If we had easier and better - and more comprehensive access to all of it, I think we would all live qualitatively better lives.

Medical laboratory expenses

Every once in a while I am reminded how screwed up our health care system really is.

In our family, we pay for BC/BS health insurance.

Recently, we needed a test done and the charge for that test shows as $419 on the "Laboratory Bill" that I received. In the next column headed "Adjustments", it shows -343.39. There is nothing under "Insurance Paid" or "Patient Paid" and a resulting "You Pay" of 75.61.

Of course, we are grateful for our insurance, but what I am reminded here is that the insurance company paid nothing, as far as I know. All they did was to put the force of their size to work and got the fee reduced to barely 20% of what it would otherwise be.

I am sure LabCorp makes this up somewhere, and the first place - based on what I was told on the phone when I called them - they do so is in what they charge people without insurance. That's the full 419 dollars.

So, this means that someone who does not have insurance for any reason would pay that amount. Ok, there are some wealthy individuals who may pay their own way, but I bet the vast majorit as in 95% of their customers don't have health insurance because they either are not entitled to any or cannot afford what they might purchase.

These are people who may be out of work, with very limited means, or facing some other crisis, and so the net effect of our insurance is to shift LabCorp's profit potential to them.

There is something very morally wrong with that picture.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Creeping Costs of Connectivity Could Confound Pay Wall Strategies" - Poynter Online

Good point for the "free" mob thinkers.

"Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Pullover"

The information provided here is pretty impressive! Note the footprint and the origin tabs.

I picked this one just at random.

From reports I've heard recently, Walmart is even starting to do some of this, and I think there is a sourcing website of some sort at MIT as well, but I have not found it yet.

I'd really like to see this done for the food we eat!

"Ralph Fertig’s Case Pits Free Speech Against Terror Fight" -

This whole matter is repulsive - it is antithetical to my sense of our system of freedom of expression and equality of treatment before the law.

Labels should never be used to deny anyone's speech freedom. Period.

Everyone, including so-called "terrorist" organizations, are entitled to speak. Our "system" works best when everyone can say what they wish and responsible people from government and outside government respond.

And everyone, including "terrorists", are entitled to a presumption of innocence. We cannot pre-convict people by applying labels that try to make us think it's ok to do so. Calling someone a terrorist does not make that person so until or unless she/he is properly convicted of committing a crime under the laws of the United States or its states and local governments.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Taming Twitter’s Stream With an Automated Web Site" -

Newspapers as the local connecting medium

I looked through our two local newspapers today on food Wednesday. While there were preprints from supermarkets and a few display ads for restaurants and other food vendors, what was not there was any coherent food connection for me. What I mean is that the newspaper provided me only with a kind of anecdotal look at a few food-related subjects in our area; it did not help me make food decisions in any orderly way. Sure, this is a function of who buys advertising, but I think it is also a mentality issue. I simply don't think newspapers ever see themselves as the kind of community connector to something essential like food that they could be with just a little creative effort in print and online.

Monday, February 08, 2010

"Undercover Boss Places CEOs in Menial Jobs" -

Is there a newspaper version of this show, or others menitoned in the story? I don't think so.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"Reeves will challenge Miller" -

How awful it would be if REEVES were to win this contest.

"God speed Mark Steven Kirk!" - Weekly Blitz

Having met CHOUDHURY a couple of years ago, I find the relationship with KIRK - who now will be running for President OBAMA's old Senate seat - to be quite odd, if not weird. I hope some reporters will dig into this more carefully. There is a lot online to begin the research.

Monday, February 01, 2010

"10 Americans Arrested in Haiti Await Charges" -

How to do Haiti news better?

A lot of groups, including INSEAD, are devoting great effort to how humanitarian relief efforts, government assistance, and other organizations can use technology and good management to better respond to the needs of Haiti and Haitians. I don't sense much of that happening in the news word - how can the news media, and other media, do a better job of communicating news, information, opinion, perspective, etc. from Haiti to the rest of the world, from the rest of the world to Haiti and within Haiti? I don't see that being the subject of many meetings of bright people. 

"How Stars and Stripes Delivers Newspapers in Haiti" -