Tintin in America: Advice for Librarians

by Harry on October 29, 2007

Tintin is apparently set to appear in a movie at some time in the unspecified future. I’m indifferent to this myself — the black and white cartoon from the 60’s was good enough for me, and the BBC radio drama adaptations are unsurpassable. But it should not be a matter of indifference to school librarians, for whom it is will create some major headaches.

Why? Tintin will suddenly be popular in America, and there’ll be lots of enthusiasm about the books. Librarians will buy them in job lots, without looking at them carefully, and will be especially attracted by the title Tintin in America. When it arrives, they’ll see the cover, and have to figure out what to do.

Now, having got into trouble myself for giving Tintin books to the child of right-wing Republican gun-toting conservatives, who accused me of being politically incorrect (me? I ask you), I’m aware both that I have a tin-ear with respect to certain cultural values, and that a cover like this might cause offense across the board.

[click to continue…]

AMERICANS FLEE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: The Daily Ezra Klein reports:

Record numbers of Americans are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the American healthcare system – with 100,000 patients expected to fly out this year _for cosmetic surgery alone_, more than the sum total of “Britons seeking any type of services in foreign lands.” And by the end of the decade 200,000 American “health tourists” will fly to one hospital in Thailand alone on current trends to avoid extortionate costs, according to a “new report”:http://abcnews.go.com/Business/IndustryInfo/story?id=2320839&page=1.

_und so weiter_.

For original, see “here”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_10_28-2007_11_03.shtml#1193675968.

Loafing with LaRouche

by Scott McLemee on October 29, 2007

As you may recall, the economy was supposed to have collapsed as of two weeks ago today. Right now, you should not be able to afford a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of $1000 bills.

I understand that bread baskets have been sent to headquarters in Virginia by ex-members. The sarcasm is tinged with philanthropy. LaRouche’s true believers are in serious trouble; their economy is collapsing, anyway. The group is being forced to come up with money for the IRS, and facing renewed investigation by the FEC, in the wake of events described by Avi Klein in a major article appearing in the new issue of Washington Monthly.
[click to continue…]

A good recipe for cookies?

by Eszter Hargittai on October 29, 2007

A few weeks ago the Berkman Center for Internet and Society posted an interesting contest: create a short informative video about Web cookies and have the chance to win up to $5,000 and a trip to DC where the video would then be shown at the FTC’s Town Hall workshop on “Ehavioral Advertising“.

I’m afraid we’re past the deadline for submissions and I apologize for posting about this so late (life intervened and I got behind on a bunch of things). I wanted to post about it nonetheless, because I think it’s an interesting initiative and the resulting videos are available for viewing.

I was very intrigued by this contest given my interest in improving people’s Internet user skills. What would be a good way to communicate the concept of a Web cookie to folks who have little technical background? I haven’t looked at all of the submissions, but the ones I’ve seen I find are still too technical and are likely only comprehensible to those who already know at least a few things about Internet cookies. Alternatively, the clips are too vague and so likely have limited utility for that reason. I was a bit surprised and disappointed that people didn’t do more with the cookie analogy. Some of the videos have related cute/amusing components, but not incorporated in a particularly effective way. However, note that I have not watched all of the submitted videos so I may have missed some gems. Feel free to post links to ones you think are especially informative. I think the timeline for submissions was a bit short (I know there were particular logistical reasons for this), which may have prevented more people from getting involved and may have limited the amount of effort that could go into creation of the entries.

An interesting aside about how YouTube posts videos (assuming I understand this correctly, but I haven’t explored this aspect in depth so feel free to correct me): it seems that the creator of the video has little say over what becomes the thumbnail image for the clip. As far as I can tell, the frame is taken from the middle of the video, which is not always ideal as it’s not necessarily the most informative segment.

Prins and Rayner on Kyoto

by John Quiggin on October 29, 2007

Not surprisingly, this Nature article by Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner entitled Time to ditch Kyoto, has attracted plenty of attention. I’m responding quickly and therefore somewhat brusquely. I’ll try to write something more considered a bit later.

Before giving a detailed response, let me observe that a reader with limited time need only look at the following few sentences

In September, the United States convened the top 16 polluters. Such initiatives are summarily dismissed by Kyoto’s true believers, who see them as diversions rather than necessary first steps. However, these approaches begin to recognize the reality that fewer than 20 countries are responsible for about 80% of the world’s emissions.

This argument is premised on the assumption that the Bush Administration, representing the world’s largest source of emissions (though China is catching up fast), sincerely wants to do something about climate change and called the September meeting with this purpose in mind. If anyone believes this, I have just become aware of a business opportunity from Nigeria in which they may be interested.
[click to continue…]