AMEN. Know what makes me uncomfortable when I get an email solicitation? The following:
"Dear Ms. Werker" from anyone a) younger than me; b) asking for something internet-related; c) not offering payment.
"I’m a HUGE fan!" I appreciate this. In fan-mail (which, no, I don’t regularly get), I love this. In a solicitation, though, not really. Don’t set me up to feel like if I turn you down, you’ll no longer enjoy my work. Also, don’t put yourself in the position of being somehow subordinate to me simply because you enjoy my work (I say this because oftentimes “I’m a HUGE fan!” is followed by “and I know you’re super busy and probably don’t have time for a wee thing like me, but…”). I’m a human, you’re a human, and I’d very much like to know what you want me to do for you.
"Your readers are sure to love…" I delete emails containing this before I even finish reading the sentence. I don’t even know what my readers are sure to love. They’re a delightfully enigmatic bunch. Sometimes they don’t seem to care about my profoundest thoughts and sometimes they think my spontaneous drivel is fascinating. So, you know, NO.
“This law didn’t just pop up because someone has interest in and sympathy for the fact we’ve always done our meetings in English,” he said. “What is a human’s greatest fear? It’s fear of whatever, of death, of terrorism, fear of what we don’t understand. We’re all afraid of the unknown. My opinion is that this is just adding to all that.”—
Alan Brown, Town Supervisor of Jackson, NY. He opposed the town’s recently passed English-only law.
“In its modern form, bottled water is a new phenomenon, growing from a niche mineral-water product with a few wealthy customers to a global commodity found almost everywhere. The recent expansion of bottled water sales has been extraordinary. In the late 1970s, around 350 million gallons of bottled water were sold in the United States — almost entirely sparkling mineral water and large bottles to supply office water coolers — or little more than a gallon and a half per person per year. As the figure below shows, between 1976 and 2008, sales of bottled water in the United States doubled, doubled again, doubled again, and then doubled again. In 2008, nearly 9 billion gallons (over 34 billion liters) of bottled water were packaged and sold in the United States and five times this amount was sold around the world, feeding a global business of water providers, bottlers, truckers, and retailers at a cost to consumers of over a hundred billion dollars.”—
At the population level, do C-Sections protect from bad outcomes for mom and baby?
Nope. According to the study authors in this month’s issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology who studied 845,651 patients from 401 hospitals in California and Pennsylvania:
“It likely reflects an overuse of medical care and the performance of unnecessary procedures.”
Obstetricians get paid more for C-sections and think doing them protects them from costly lawsuits when things go wrong with natural childbirth. When there’s no difference in outcome, who suffers? Women who undergo surgery. Who gains? Obstetrician’s wallets.
A couple of copyright-related things have come up this week, and instead of going down the rabbit hole like I usually do, I’m just going to dump a few thoughts into a list.
I very much appreciate this post by Rayna over at Radical Cross Stitch, but I think her strokes are far too broad. Creative Commons is not exactly the same as copyleft. More importantly, although many countries’ current copyright laws are horribly imbalanced, the actual purpose of copyright is to impose balance — balance between a creator’s need to make money from their work, a consumer’s need to use that work, and the public’s need to expand its culture as influenced by the work. Each of the points in that triangle is very important. Copyright in the English-speaking world right now is, in my opinion, horrifically imbalanced in the interests of creators (and more specifically, the corporate holders of creators’ copyrights). I think our culture ends up unnecessarily limited because of this, and I hate that consumers talk about their confusion about how they’re permitted to use creative works in terms of fear and imprisonment.
I love the balance Creative Commons licenses can effect, but they’re only used when a creator chooses to use them. Which means that creators (and the massive corporations that represent them) can choose not to use them and instead rely on on-the-books copyright laws that give them far too much control (and for far, far too long), against the interests of the other two parties. CC has led to far more people being educated about copyright than would be without it, and CC licenses are an important asset to the creative landscape, but on its own, CC is not institutional reform.