Thursday, August 27, 2009

US Healthcare Debate

One of my friends on Facebook recently posted a note on her profile that has created an utter shit-storm of comments (55 at last count), so I thought I’d just mention the article I pointed everyone towards:

David Goldhill’s “How American Health Care Killed My Father”

The title’s pretty sensationalist, but it’s a long article and it deals with pretty much every argument from all sides of the debate. It is, for me, the best article on the subject so far, even if I’m not well-enough informed to comment properly on his suggestions at the end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Someone sat on a Mini…


Not sure if I like it, but I am intrigued.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Words to ease a troubled, paranoid PhD student

An excerpt from my supervisor’s feedback for the latest PhD chapter I’ve submitted, on US foreign policy and the media:

“this was very interesting and enjoyable. The standard of citation is exceptional; and you have overcome the problems of balance: there is now an appropriate distribution between your own words and other people’s. Structurally it is also sound: indeed if it were a think-tank report then it would be nearly complete.” [emphasis obviously mine]

Certainly picked up my mood and made me feel a little better – when I submitted it, I was ready to put my fist through my computer screen, and my concerns over referencing and quotations and so forth (here, here, here, and here) turned out to be mostly over-compensation. Feel a lot better, now. Onwards to the next chapter!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Just a little something for all those people who think the Republican/Right-Wing hysteria over ‘death panels’ is getting just a little bit silly, if not totally, criminally dishonest:

“In some knock-out reporting, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow showed Thursday night that not long ago Rush Limbaugh promoted death panels on his own radio show, Newt Gingrich sung their praises in the pages of the Washington Post, and, as the half-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin actually proclaimed an official Death Panel Day for her state!”

- Leslie Savan, The Nation

Could these people be more hypocritical? It’s just such bald-face lying! (Go to the link for video.)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Palin opens her mouth again. (On Facebook, no less…)

This time, she’s talking about the Obama health-care plan, “reinforcing” the euthanasia, death-to-old-people fantasies of the extreme wing-nuts and ditto-heads. On her Facebook profile (way to be hip with the kids, yo), The Daily Beast reports, Sarah Palin stated on Friday “that health-care reform, or what Palin calls Obama's ‘death panel,’ may kill her infant son, Trig”. Here’s what she had to say:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil”

She’s referring to page 425 of the House Democrats’ bill, which has nothing to do with euthanasia, just what voluntary options will be available to the elderly to help them decide what to do about their care, should they require certain procedures or help if they become too infirm to care for themselves. The Daily Beast again:

“As for Palin's description of mandatory Sparta-style murder of Down Syndrome babies, the paranoid vision doesn't match up with any component of any health care plan being discussed.”

Once again, Palin is using her children for political gain – despite slamming the Media for talking about her children, as well as warning them against bothering the new Alaskan governor’s family. By bringing Trig into things, he’s going to be referred to again and again as people try to (once again) figure out what planet Palin’s actually from.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sony eReaders, & Why they might win the “war”

From an article by Larry Dignan, forZDNet, on Sony’s devices reading multiple eBook formats:

Does Sony need a partnership with other e-book stores? Mullin said Sony’s plan is to support multiple stores and be wherever consumers buy and use books. Sony sees beyond its stores to libraries and other outlets. However, Sony’s store supports its own format while Google features PDFs and e-books on the ePub standard. Mullin said Sony will support them all. “Sony Reader supports ePub and plenty of stores support that format,” said Mullin. “We’re agnostic and encourage the bookstores in the market to provide content in an open format.”

Also, on the subject of colour screens, Mullin (Dignan’s source at Sony) had the following to say:

“When color is brought to market it has to be brought in a way that meets consumer expectations. There’s a tradeoff between readability and color. It’s also a tradeoff we’re not willing to make at this point.”

I’m with Mullin. A lot of people are asking where the colour is in eBooks. Well, it’s not necessary at the moment (in my opinion, because of what I read, it probably won’t be a deciding factor for me). If all you’re reading is text, then why do you need colour? So the cover images aren’t in colour, so what? Doesn’t ruin reading the book. If they could improve the focus of the text (resolution?), though, that would be nice.

On the PlasticLogic front, I’m disappointed to learn that they are going to be licensed exclusively through Barnes & Noble – another reason I think Sony’s got more of a chance in winning the “eBook Wars” (quite why everything has to be a “war” and not just competition is beyond me, and rather too martial and melodramatic for my taste) – by accepting/running most formats (or at least more than others), they have the greater potential. I’ve get eBooks from the Sony eBookstore and also Waterstone’s, and they are different formats and work perfectly. I’ve not bought any eBooks from B&N, but I’m going to check to see if they would work, first.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Twitter’s Benefits for Reviewers

Been catching up on my internet things since coming back from Cusco, and I found this on my review-site’s Twitter feed:


It’s the second two that are of most interest. I reviewed Mark Charan Newton’s Nights of Villjamur on my site. Emma reviewed Alan Campbell’s Iron Angel (which is the 1st tweet up there), and the person who found that also found the review of Nights of Villjamur and passed it on to the author.

It’s wonderful how connected the world has become…

Saturday, August 01, 2009

“Monsieur pot…

… you are black”, said the Republican kettle. From this week’s Weekly Standard (p.22):

“Eric Holder’s Justice Department: It’s all politics, all the time” [emphasis mine]

Ironic, given this article in the Washington Post. For the Republicans to berate the Democrats for pursuing politics at all times is perhaps the most hypocritical thing they can do – anyone remember Rove and his “permanent campaign”? Or, like the real culprit(s) for the current US recession, has this faded into the unknowable (trans. inconvenient) mists of the past? I don’t condone the Democrats pursuing politics all the time, at all costs, but this is just too hypocritical of the Weekly Standard.