TO DUCK AND COVER FOR DISEASE, NOT WEATHER

A number of years back, when the Weather Channel captured the crises/entertainment value of dangerous storms, I joked to a friend that it wouldn’t be long until someone launched the Sick Channel, where the same kind of entertainment values would be applied to contagions and epidemics.  Well it didn’t take long at all because now you can tap into a disease tracking system called Sickweather that monitors social networks for mentions of 24 different symptoms of illnesses, including “whooping cough,” “hand foot and mouth,” and “eczema.” And a system like this is to be expected, considering many peoples’ job titles include interpreting Big Data. (more…)

LIFE VS. LIVING – WHICH IS THE BEST PATH TO DEATH?

A number of years ago, my dad and I joined a few friends up in Alaska for salmon fishing. Salmon are amazing creatures. Born in river streams, they swim out to the ocean for several years and then come back to the very same river to spawn a new generation. They enter the river shiny and beautiful, lay or inseminate eggs, and then they begin to die. They become disfigured, their colors change and they literally rot to the bone.  One of my new-to-salmon-fishing friends looked at this with horror and asked our guide what was wrong with the fish.  Our guide chuckled and said, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with them.  They have lived their lives and now having produced another generation and they are dying. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with them.” (more…)

NAKED CIVICS TERMINOLOGY

When it comes to new concepts like civic design, where we align interests for common good outcomes rather than meet adversarially in capitols alone, it’s helpful to use and understand a certain set of terminology. New ways of thinking require new ways of describing those thoughts, right? (more…)