Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 11th, 2007

The Great Leap Backward: Chinese healthcare Americanizes

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2007

Jonathan Watts in The Guardian:

China unveiled plans yesterday to deploy police in hospital wards and outpatient clinics to protect medical staff from the public, amid growing instances of physical violence meted out by patients furious at charges and dubious treatment… as the healthcare system becomes the focus of resentment about the gap between rich and poor.

According to the China Daily, 5,500 medical workers were injured last year in assaults and protests, causing more than 200m yuan (£13m) damage.

One of the most prominent disputes was sparked in November by reports that an infant in Sichuan province was denied life-saving treatment because his guardians could not afford the £50 fee.

Posted in health care, privatization, world news | 4 Comments »

TILT! Google starts psychoprofiling gamers.

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2007

David Adam and Bobbie Johnson in The Guardian:

Internet giant Google has drawn up plans to compile psychological profiles of millions of web users by covertly monitoring the way they play online games.

The company thinks it can glean information about an individual’s preferences and personality type by tracking their online behaviour, which could then be sold to advertisers. Details such as whether a person is more likely to be aggressive, hostile or dishonest could be obtained and stored for future use, it says….

The plans are detailed in a patent filed by Google in Europe and the US last month. It says people playing online role playing games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft would be particularly good to target, because they interact with other players and make decisions that probably reflect their behaviour in real life.

The patent says: “User dialogue (eg from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterise the user (eg literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (eg cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc).”

This is the sort of lunacy data mining leads to. In the hands of government, it leads to arresting people for having a No Blood for Oil bumpersticker. In the hands of corporations, it can lead to denying people employment because their dees slouch, or whatever. 

Posted in abuse of power, eedjits, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on May 11, 2007

Alex is in his happy place.


Lightfoot is keeping an eye on me.


And Special Guest Cats Sophie and Angus are taking life easy.


Their catstaff is polargal of Salon’s Table Talk.

Posted in Alexander the Great, cats, Friday Cat Blogging, Just for fun, Lady Lightfoot, Table Talk | 5 Comments »

They Lie Without Consequence: Lou Dobbs Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2007


(Image from Over the Hegemon.)

Moral leper Lou Dobbs refuses to back down from, much less apologize for, promoting racist garbage lies as fact.

Now remember, when Paul Krugman — an opinion columnist, not a reporter — cited in good faith a Jason Leopold story on Thomas “Enron” White that it turned out Leopold couldn’t prove to everyone’s satisfaction, Krugman apologized.  (Leopold’s account of events is here.)

Bear in mind that opinion columnists are supposed to be held to lower standards of “truthiness” than the folks in the news room.  But for Krugman and the other non-conservative writers out there, the bar is set on top of Mount Everest — whereas for conservative pundits like Lou “I Lie And You Can’t Stop Me” Dobbs, former Nixon Administration speechwriter William “Saddam-Atta-Prague” Safire (who from 1995 until he retired from the New York Times  in 2005 was the co-chair of the freaking Pulitzer Board), Debra J. “Patrick Fitzgerald is EEEEVILLL!!!” Saunders, Glenn “Mexican immigrants are dirtbags” Beck,  and pretty much any other Con you can name, the bar’s long ago been dropped and lost in the Marianas Trench.  In fact, Krugman is held to a higher standard than fellow NYT employee, and alleged journalist, Jeff Gerth, who has never been made to apologize for his bogus Whitewater and Wen Ho Lee “reporting”.

And let’s not even mention former NYT alleged reporter Judith Miller, who is a big fat liar.  Otherwise, we’ll be here all day.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex | 13 Comments »

Public Service Announcement

Posted by MEC on May 11, 2007

If you have a pacemaker, maybe you shouldn’t use an iPod:

IPods can cause cardiac implantable pacemakers to malfunction by interfering with the electromagnetic equipment monitoring the heart, according to a study presented by a 17-year-old Okemos High School student to a meeting of heart specialists on Thursday.

Reuters reported that the study tested the effect of the portable music devices on 100 patients, whose mean age was 77, outfitted with pacemakers. Electrical interference was detected half of the time when the IPod was held just 2 inches from the patient’s chest for 5 to 10 seconds.

The study did not examine any portable music devices other than IPods, which are made by Apple Inc.

In some cases, the IPods caused interference when held 18 inches from the chest. Interfering with the telemetry equipment caused the device to misread the heart’s pacing and in one case caused the pacemaker to stop functioning altogether.

The study was held at the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University.

Did Apple test its iPod for interaction with heart devices? Just wondering.

Posted in health care | 2 Comments »

They Lie Without Consequence: XM/Quinn Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2007


The GOP/Media Complex, always ready to shove nonsense down our throats:

On the May 10 broadcast of Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show, radio hosts Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent repeated baseless allegations that they had reportedly made on their own XM Radio show that Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean was behind Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ assertion that equipment shortages due to the war in Iraq had impaired the Kansas National Guard’s ability to respond quickly after a tornado leveled the town of Greensburg, Kansas.


The DNC has issued a cease-and-desist letter to XM Radio stating that the allegations are “false and defamatory [and] libelous and slanderous” and demanding that Quinn and Tennent broadcast “an express and specific retraction of these statements” on their show.

In fact, if Quinn had bothered to look at the facts instead of whatever talking points his Republican buddies were feeding him, he’d know that Sebelius’ concern about the depletion of the National Guard forces — a concern shared by many if not most of her fellow governors — is of long standing:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 8 Comments »

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