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Noted with Interest, June 2008

Jul 01, 2008
Here are a few items encountered over the past month which, though enlightening, didn't rise to the level of demanding a full entry in All Together Now:

Reducing work-life conflict: What works? What doesn't?
When a people take responsibility for their mutual health care, it is incumbent upon them to take responsibility for their mutual health. In 2001, Health Canada conducted a major public health survey on work-life conflict. This is the fifth in a series of six reports summarizing findings and recommendations from that survey.
Bridging the global digital divide, one laptop at a time
This article from the Knowledge@Wharton: The Wharton [School of Business] Experience: Online summarizes the state of the One Laptop Per Child program, including emerging competitors (Intel, Microsoft), and raises some good questions regarding the use and usefulness of the program.
Is Google making us stupid?
Are we losing our ability for “deep reading,” thanks to the quickness and convenience of the Internet? This essay by Nicholas Carr from the Atlantic Monthly explores the way new technologies (from the invention of writing through the Internet) affect our mental processes.
Proposed “business activity tax nexus” legislation would seriously undermine state taxes on corporate profits and harm the economy
This report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) came to my attention just after I'd produced the July 2 entry. Both relate to current legislation that will deny taxation powers to states and localities which they have long enjoyed. There is a full court press in this nation to starve government, not for ideological reasons, but for reasons of pure greed. We are facing corporate gangsterism in this country, and anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration had better wake up. Incomes are down over the past generation, our constitutional rights are in the tank, we're at endless war, fuel prices are affecting our mobility, millions are losing their homes. Where will it end? And when will it end? Where and when we say it will.
ACM elects new leaders committed to international initiatives
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has just elected its new leaders and we're gratified to see such a mix. Britain, Canada, and the U.S. are represented at the top (pres, vp, and sec/treas), two of whom are women. Italy, the U.S., Canada, and India have members-at-large. They are all committed to reaching out to the four corners of the world to involve as large a body as possible in the development of this still-new but ubiquitous and vital industry.
Federal wildlife report censored
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reports that “a large portion of an Inspector General evaluation of federal wildlife programs has been blacked out prior to publication,” rendering the report “virtually unreadable.”
Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April of 2008 than in April 2007 while fuel prices and transit ridership are both on the rise
This report, from the Department of Transportation shows a 1.8 percent decline in miles driven on public roads between April 2007 and 2008. Midsize SUV sales were also down 38 percent in May 2008, as compared to May 2007.
Network designed to help health care professionals
If you remember the June 28 ATN entry (click the "Health" tag if it has expired), it concerned physicians and their reluctance to incorporate technology into their practices. The Europeans are not nearly so far behind, as this article from the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) relates. Doc@Hand, a software application funded by the European Union, helps physicians by integrating search engines, databases, and patient information in an easy-to-use package aimed at improving cancer care.
Green investing gains traction in 2007 (.pdf)
From investment consultants Capgemini and Merrill Lynch comes this report on where the richest folks are putting their money—and it's increasingly into green investments. Worldwide, 13% of the “high net worth investors” are allocating part of their portfolios to alternative energy sources, mostly in wind and solar. Europe and the Middle East lead the way, where about 20% of high rollers are investing in green technology. Guess who's dead last. Right. North America, at about 6%.

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