Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Water fiction

In another example of science meets received wisdom, the New York Times is reporting no basis for the belief that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is good for you. For that matter, the scientists could find little evidence to support the belief that drinking "extra water" is of benefit to pretty much anyone.

Numerous claims have been made about water — that it prevents headaches, removes dangerous “poisons,” improves the function of various organs and is associated with reduced risk for various diseases. But none of these is supported by scientific evidence. The authors were not even able to find a study leading to the “eight glasses a day” rule, whose origin remains unknown.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Women Outnumber Men in Spain's New Cabinet

This, you have to love:
For the first time ever, women outnumber men in Spain's cabinet. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero chose nine women and eight men to lead the country, including a highly pregnant 37-year-old defense minister.,2144,3264813,00.html

News layers on Google Earth

Loving the new feature on Google Earth, which adds links to New York Times articles based on location. This is a new direction for news that will have significant impact.

You need to download the latest version of Google Earth (4.3) and make sure you download the version for the U.S.A. The New York Times option will not show up if you download the "other" options. (In my own troubleshooting efforts, I also noticed comments that the layer was not visible if the language was set to Italian. I guess this caveat my apply to other languages as well.)

To activate the layers for New York Times news (or other layers), you need to activate the option in the "Gallery" section. PR from Google and NYT suggest news articles shown on Google Earth will be updated every 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

bring on the future

I saw an article yesterday quoting Bill Gates as saying the new Microsoft operating system, the one to replace Vista, should be out in beta form next year. AND that this new operating system would incorporate, or perhaps would begin to incorporate, the new touch screens coming to computing. Bring it on. :-)

My dream is to be able to compute as though my screen were a tilted desk or even a walk into (roll into?) realm were I can reach out and do as I need to (or talk and grunt my way through the OS); without all these restrictions we currently live with. Can you imagine the freedom?

There is a youtube video of the two guys who brought this technology to fruition, that hints at the possibilities. I'll have to search for the link, meanwhile this link is not a bad example.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Is this a better way of looking at news? states it "helps people find good news online". It uses a series of quality review tools to allow "citizen journalists" [not sure I like that phrase] to rate the "best" journalism on the net.

The free website features daily feeds of quality news and opinions, which are carefully rated by our members, using our unique review tools. We rate the news based on quality, not just popularity. NewsTrust reviewers evaluate each article against core journalistic principles such as fairness, evidence, sourcing and context.

The group is aiming for a full launch in the "fall of 2008". It may work.

Although, what of Japan?

As you may know, I created Japan Today (an online news site) back in 2000 based on the very clear need for quality journalism on the real Japan, out of Japan. The site has since significantly deteriorated (its goals have long since been lost in the mire of grubby self-servicing so prevalent in the foreign community in Japan [but you will have to read my book for more on that, including the full 'reportage']) and nothing has appeared to fill that gap.

Worldwide sites that look for the best reporting will have trouble filling that gap too. For if the articles aren't being written, or are not being published (or are being mangled in the publishing process) what will there be to rate?

Monday, April 7, 2008

China is not Japan

All too often, I see people who have made a business out of "exoticising" Japan, attempt to do the same for China. As I have said on more than one occasion, Japan can take a fair amount of the "blame" for perpetuating its own "enigma" but I doubt very much that China will do the same.
One stark difference between the two cultures is the clear dependence on rational thought* exhibited by nearly every Chinese person I have met compared to the easy acquiescence to "emotionalism" so rampant in Japan.

*(This is not to say Chinese society as a whole is always rational, but that is another discussion.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

those silly old men

Seriously, who wouldn't recognise the spin?

A bunch of silly old codgers make fools of themselves. Instead of 'fessing up, they try to spin their way out of it.

Australia - in the eyes of The Australian

The Online Journalism Blog has some great "tag pictures" depicting how a range of newspapers worldwide view the world.