Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP Ted Kennedy

Quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face. Every American should be able to get the same treatment that U.S. senators are entitled to.
- Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy has died of brain cancer at the age of 77. Sadly, "the liberal lion of the Senate" never saw the universal healthcare he fought so hard for come to fruition.

May the Senator's fight not have be in vain.


New York Times: "Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Dies"

Los Angeles Times: "Ted Kennedy is making a final press for universal healthcare, from his sickbed"

Newsweek: "The Cause of my Life" by Ted Kennedy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5 Links

Time: Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin - Exercise makes many people gain weight. That's because the eat more because they exercised. Simple really. You have to eat less. And if you drink a bottle of Gatorade after you worked out, you may as well no thave worked out. Also, rats process fat better than we humans do and consequently stay slimmer more easily. Rats. If many people read this article, it could shut down thousands of gyms.

Wired: Why Craigslist Is Such a Mess - Fascinating insight into Craig Newmark and the evolution of Craiglist, a company with 30 employees, which draws more traffic than eBay (16,000 employees) and Amazon (20,0000). Also, seems a measure of their success is due to the fact that they don't give a rip about profits.

ReadWriteWeb: Google Maps Gets Smarter: Crowdsources Live Traffic Data - Google enables social driving.

Rob Report: Safety First: The Mercedes-Benz ESF 2009 - Mercedes enables social driving, too, relaying data to other cars, so they get a heads-up about upcoming road conditions.

Mother Jones: Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle - Some delicate details on the Fuji Water company and the nature of its operations in a country under a military junta. Be careful what you sip!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Mirth Day

We have Independence day in July, Labor Day coming up in September, but my good friend Jack Dillard - writer, poet, photographer extraordinairre, points out the sad fact: we don't have a holiday in August. Therefore, he's suggesting one. And if you're going to have a holiday between two such serious ones, why not something more frivilous, something fun. He's suggesting Mirth Day.As any 21st-century advocate worth his salt would do, Jack has set up a site with more info, including an exhortation to petition your elected officials.

Says Jack, "Join me in observing Mirth Day, a celebration of laughter and levity on the last Friday in August, the birth month of great American humorists, comedians, actors, and cartoonists, including Garrison Keillor, Steve Martin, Lucille Ball, Gary Larson, Ogden Nash, Dorothy Parker, Walt Kelly, Martin Mull, Buddy Hackett, Dave Chappelle, R. Crumb, Pee Wee Herman, and Chris Tucker." That's a whole lotta humor.

For more information, contact Jack Dillard at or 704-301-4317.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hero of the Moment: Barney Frank

I often enjoy Barney Frank's unguarded and incisive way of getting to the point. But this moment when he responds abruptly to a heckling protestor, who doesn't have her facts straight, seems destined to go down in political history. It may even prove to be a watershed moment in the fight for universal healthcare.
"My question to you is, why do you continue to support a Nazi policy?" the woman asked Frank.

"On what planet do you spend most of your time?" an incredulous Frank rhetorically replied, indignantly adding "You stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis....Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."
Of course, the fact that Mr. Frank has a Jewish heritage and may take allegations of nazism quite seriously seemed entirely lost on the woman.
A couple more great Barney Frank moments:
After the Senate aprroved a 105.9 billion wartime spending bill a couple of months ago, Frank chastised both sides and expressed his dismay with social networking:
The left and the right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet.
A couple of months before that, Frank accused Republicans of not supporting a bill because if it passed, they'd miss something to be outraged about:
They appear to have become so attached to their outrage that they are even more outraged that they won't be able to be outraged anymore.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Subway Poem 8

When two trains follow each other
beneath the ground,
the impact for a moment is such that
We are each human fish in an aquarium
staring across the few scant feet
to the human fish in the aquarium
just beyond our group
but eternally out of touch
before slipping up and away into the darkness.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Trust but Verify

I have a new essay up on Razorfish's content strategy blog Scatter/Gather, entitled "Blinded by Content Bliss." In it, I argue for more care in verifying the authenticity of user-generated content before incorporating it into a site. The national media showed us how not to this recently when covering the election in Iran. Since that country's government keeps a tight reign on information, the media had to resort to broadcasting a lot of user-created content in the form of Flickr images, tweets and blog entries. Of course, some of this material did prove excellent, but all too often we started seeing the media backpeddling on content they'd already aired. Not a good for journalism. And not a good practice for any of us as content disseminators either. I offer some simple principles in how to avoid reproducing poorly-sourced content - and plain old fabrications.

You'd think these principles would be common sense, but with 28% of Republicans still believing Obama may not have born in the United States--due to the spread of this very sort of poorly sourced information--well, you'd be wrong.

Two more of my recent pieces:

"Cultivating Effective User-Generated Content," With Bob Maynard,, July 2009 [pdf]

"Crowdsourcing Content," Scatter/Gather, April 22, 2009