Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's toxin

Today's scary headline,
"Scientists find 'baffling' link between autism and vinyl floors"
sent me running back in time to my son's room in 1996.
Did we have vinyl? When was the Pergo installed?
Does it matter now? Did it matter then?
Probably not, says Dr. Phillip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Landrigan has "no doubt that environmental exposures are involved in causation of autism," but he suspects the most significant exposures occur not in childhood, but early in pregnancy, "when the basic architecture of the brain is still being established."

There were no vinyl floors here in 1995. But the range of toxins we are exposed to is so broad, there's no telling what triggered the autism in my son.

There's nothing I could have done personally to prevent it. In a world as contaminated as ours, you can't shop your way to safety. Buy all the organic produce you can. You're still exposed to pesticides in the air you breathe and the water you drink. Drink from a stainless steel bottle. You're still exposed to phthalates from carpeting in the doctor's office. Or brominated fire retardants in the couch. Chlorine in the pool. Mercury in your dinner.

Or the vinyl blinds, which hung in our home even before he was born.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blogging Through History

Watch CBS Videos Online
Everything old is new again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No defense

ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 13:  (FILE) A Minneapolis...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Asperger's Syndrome does not make someone a murderer.

So a big fat razzberry to Twin Cities attorney Alan Margoles who claims his client Michael John Anderson committed murder because he has Asperger's. People with Asperger's are characterized by many traits, including, as the Star Tribune relates, "clumsiness and eccentric speech and behavior". But murder? That's not in the DSM.

So Margoles, thanks for sending our efforts for understanding back to the dark ages; for tagging everyone with AS as a potential killer; for undoing all the work we've done to build acceptance for AS kids. The neighbors will never be comfortable now. Our kids will never get jobs.

I don't know why Anderson committed murder. Maybe because he was male. Or Christian. Left handed or a Taurus. But please. Not because he has Asperger's.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

From print to ?

Great article on Gawker about what really killed print media.  And more importantly, what comes next.  The answer:  Nobody knows.  Because this is a revolution, and in a revolution, "the old stuff gets broken before the new stuff gets put in its place."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Don't Stop the Presses

Francis Scott Street (1831-1883) obituary in t...Image via Wikipedia

Many People Wouldn't Care if Local Papers folded says a survey from the Pew Organization.

People don't know what they'd miss. I no longer subscribe to daily papers, but when I pick up a copy at the gym, I get a glimpse of a world I'd forgotten about.

The most poignant, heart-stopping moment is when I turn to the obituaries: a little slice of Grover's Corners, where time stops. Where we take a collective breath as we see who has left us, too soon, too late; who mourns, who struggled. Our little/big human stories as they came to the place where we all exit.

There's no web substitute for that.

R.I.P obits.

What would you miss?
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Content is King

Enough form. After three months learning new web tools, its time to move on to content.
After all, what's Web 2.0 all about? Content

S - Searching for content
L - Linking to content
A - Authoring content
T - Tagging content
E - Extensions to content
S - Signaling new content (RSS)

Sharing, authoring, tagging content. Useful, usable, enjoyable content.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three month anniversary

Three months ago, adrift in a sea of new media, I began blogging. Struggling to keep my head above water, I stumbled upon (not in the 2.0 sense) Phil Wilson's list of 20 things journalists should know now or learn very, very soon on his aptly named website, RemainComm.  (Good advice when you feel overwhelmed.) The list became my roadmap.    Blog?  Check.  Embed pix and videos?  Check.  Domain name?  Check.  RSS reader?  Check.  Advanced searches, wikis, blog conversations, Facebook, LinkedIn, recording audio, finding experts, keeping personal info safe online, securing laptop, limiting access for kid, All done.   Being honest and real online?  Trying hard.  Shooting video?  Not done.  I don't even have a camcorder...although my little camera shoots video, doesn't it.  Better try that next.

Onward.  In the meantime, mazel tov to me on my three month anniversary.     

Israeli Defense Bollywood

What's more newsworthy: a) for the first time I have embedded video
b) this Bollywood-style video by an Israeli Defense contractor trying to impress an Indian client.

Either way, enjoy the film, as I enjoy my new embedding triumph.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Snark is a lonely hunter

Peace thru Vandalism album coverImage via Wikipedia

Roger Ebert writes:
Snarking is cultural vandalism. I have arrived at this conclusion belatedly. I have been guilty of snarking, and of enjoying snarks. In the matter of snarking, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But it has grown entirely out of hand. It is time to put away childish things. I must restore my balance, view the world in a fair way, hope to inspire more appreciation than ridicule. No doubt there will always be a role for snarking, given the proper target and an appropriate venue, and I reserve the right to snark when it is deserved, as in certain movie reviews. But in general I must become more well-behaved.

I snarked. I, who claim to JumpTheSnark, snarked. Ebert is right; snarking is cultural vandalism. He is right that there will always be a role for snarking, and right again when he says it has grown entirely out of hand. I'm giving it up for lent.

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Careless and Snarky

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:   David Brooks of the N...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Should Michelle cover up? asks Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.In a burqua? What are we, Iran? It's bad enough that so much media attention has been devoted to Michelle Obama's appearance (toned arms, sleeveless dresses). ......... But when a Sunday columnist in the New York Times asks if a woman should "cover up," something is very wrong.Susan Berkson, Jump the Snark, Mar 2009No. No. No. No. Yes. Yes.

No, Michelle Obama shouldn't cover up. No, Maureen Dowd didn't ask; it was David Brooks. No burqua. No Iran. Yes, too much attention to arms. Yes, wrong for a Sunday New York Times columnist to suggest a woman "cover up." Dowd was reporting on Brooks' suggestion in her rambling cocktail chatter and I misunderstood. Hat tip to Mo MoDo of the DowdReport for pointing this out and following Dowd so closely. Dowd's off the hook for this one, but Brooks? No. When a Sunday columnist in the New York Times asks if a woman should cover up, something is very wrong.
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Day, Another Network

I just joined Plaxo.  Why?  How many networks are enough?

Cover Up NYTimes' Maureen Dowd

CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 11:  Michelle Obama, the wi...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Should Michelle cover up? asks Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.

In a burqua? What are we, Iran?

It's bad enough that so much media attention has been devoted to Michelle Obama's appearance (toned arms, sleeveless dresses). But now Maureen Dowd, the only woman with a regular OpEd column in the newspaper of record, devotes her Sunday platform to an analysis of these arms and their meaning. How absurd that she would even ask about whether Obama should "cover" her arms. Oh, for the days of Anna Quindlen, who went directly to the heart of matters with humor and heart. Mind you, women have the right to be shallow; in fact, I've always thought the triumph of mediocre women was a measure of success. But when a Sunday columnist in the New York Times asks if a woman should "cover up," something is very wrong.
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Saturday, March 7, 2009


U R not.

I M here at the unsummit.  Does this raise what Joseph Reuter calls my "social capital" score? 

What is your social capital score?  How do you tally it?  Facebook friends?  Google searches?  Number of networks?  

Steve Borsch says the new paradigm is about making associations.  That's what I do. 

Reuter says its getting the right brain people to talk to the left brain people. To take the big idea and implement it. 

But, says me, part of the best creative process is knowing how to use the tools-knowing what the tools are, how to use them.   So the best brain is the one who is left brain/right brain balanced.  Which is not to say that the world would not run with the idea, because they would.  But the best brain factors that wild card in.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Widgets and gadgets and badges

Merit BadgesImage by sarahbest via Flickr

Oh my!

I just added another badge to this page for a total of seven? Eight? Who knows? I add a badge (or widget or gadget) every couple of days. I feel like a scout collecting merit badges, although there's little merit involved in these badges. There was the initial thrill of learning how and where to paste in html code, but that's gone, and none of these badges had to be earned. Some pages have so many badges, widgets and gadgets they look like a web version of DSW - a badge warehouse. So when I've got x number of badges, do I fly up? Get a flaming arrow? Eagle scout status?
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Mo' List

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

Ten of this, seven of that; web 2.0 is bursting with lists. Making lists is touted as one of the cardinal rules of blogging. There are so many lists that there are lists outlining how to deal with lists. Today's lists included How to be more productive with social media; another list of things to do with social media, many of them lists.
I'm listing, already. I'm sinking. The web has more lists then women's magazines. Anybody done a list of the lists?
And this isn't to mention all the lists I'm on. Woe to those are listless. Maybe not. Maybe they're the lucky ones.

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