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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, July 16, 2002. Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Carter Family: "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life." 

NY Times: "Prices of blue-chip stocks fell for the seventh consecutive session yesterday, as investors and traders ignored generally reassuring comments from the Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan." 

Press release: "Today launched its first version of Web Services, a platform for creating innovative Web solutions and services designed specifically for developers and web site owners." 

Peter Drayton looks into the Amazon API. 

Ben Brown: "What I'd really like to see is a book about how to stop blogging. With twelve steps." 

Jacob Reider: "I was teaching a class of medical students today and somehow we got onto the topic of physicians as decisionmakers. The best medical care, I argued. is provided by those who make the best decisions. This is why I'm so interested in medical informatics." 

Shelia's back behind the firewall, blogging for bucks, and has uncovered a new advocacy group for people like you and me. 

Today's movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. What to say. I read the book. The Quiddich match was cool. Tears at the end. Nice story, nice movie. Blah blah blah. 

Wired: "Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, with mild to moderate memory loss, are writing weblogs to help them make sense of their daily lives. And the activity, they say, is slowing the onset of their symptoms." 

Jon Udell: "Nobody is going to miss visiting O'Hare." 

Happy 31st birthday to Brian Buck. He is such an inspiration. Enjoy the tiramisu Brian.  

Two years ago today we had a TranceFest™ on Scripting News. It was a very interesting exercise. First I showed everyone a picture, and asked them to write stories explaining what the people were doing in the picture. Then I asked why there were no women in the picture. More stories. Then I showed another picture from the same event that had a woman in it. The interesting part is this. Everyone will see a different story given the same information. It's like Don's Amazing Puzzle, but personal. Basically you'll see the story of the house you grew up in. Someone in the story will play the role of your Mom, even if there's no woman in the picture. It's funny how the subconscious fills in detail, even when no information is present. 

John Robb recommends the Bay Area Futurists, meeting the third Friday of every month in San Mateo, starting this Friday. Meanwhile John is on a roll this morning. He says that almost everyone with a net worth of more than $2 million made their fortune by bending or breaking the rules. Of course I am the exception to that rule, assuming I still have a net worth in excess of $2 million, which is somewhat questionable. 

Journalism and blogging 

OK, let's deconstruct a myth. Someone says that weblogs aren't journalism. OK, suppose a journalist has a weblog. When that journalist writes something on the weblog, therefore, it must not be journalism. Suppose the journalist writes exactly the same words on her weblog that she writes in a column in the newspaper she writes for. In one place it's journalism and in the other it's not? Hmmm. OK, try this one out. Are weblogs medicine? Suppose a doctor is writing a weblog and the doctor writes something she learned in medical school. Then the same doctor writes the same text in a medical textbook. I guess it's not medicine when its written in a weblog? You see how silly these arguments are, how easy they are to deconstruct. If there is such a thing as journalism, it must be possible to practice it in a weblog. It's just a format. Nothing more. It's really not a mystery in 2002.

It also goes without saying that if an idiot writes a weblog, then you get idiocy in a weblog.

Smoking cessation 

I just got a pointer to QuitNet, operated by Boston University, it's a site that helps you quit smoking.

A picture named ballmerInMotion.gifWeird fact about smoking cessation. Health insurance (apparently) won't pay for it. What kind of sense does that make. The diseases caused by smoking are expensive, the cure -- not so expensive. Maybe they're owned by the tobacco industry? Next. Smoking is not as hard to quit as they tell you it is. The first week is relatively difficult, while your body is dealing with the physical addiction, and then it gets a lot easier. In a sense I was lucky, being hospitalized, with no way to get a cigarette, made the physical part easy. Now why can't people check into a nicotine detox resort for a month where you get pampered with vitamins, juices, exercise and massage, hot tubs, great scenery, and no way to get a cigarette. My doctor's advice was ridiculous. He told me to go cold turkey. Ehhh. That doesn't work for most people.

Postscript: A few emails say that smoking cessation is not covered under health insurance because most programs and treatments don't work. A few emails say that health insurance generally doesn't cover birth control either. And smokers are a better deal for insurance companies because they die a decade or two earlier than non-smokers, on average. That's a good point. Death is generally expensive. If it happens sooner that's a savings for the insurance company.

Final note for the day 

If you had told me a month ago that I could write a Scripting News like today's without a single cigarette, I would not have believed you. If anyone says you can't quit, don't believe them. I am the ultimate nicotine fiend. If I can do it, you can too.


Last update: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 at 7:39 PM Eastern.

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