Sunday Morning Reading: September 23, 2012
One of my great pleasures is waking up early on a Sunday morning, sitting in my favorite big comfy chair, with a hot cup of café-con-leche, café-au-lait, latté, cappuccino, or plain old “coffee with cream and sugar”, and reading an eclectic collection of articles from all kinds of magazines and newspapers. (And if you can throw in some soft skies on a drizzly cool day, with a warm fire in the fireplace, I am in heaven.) Whatever your rituals may be, here is my Sunday morning’s reading list. I hope you find these articles informative, interesting or entertaining. Enjoy! -Martie
Sunday Morning Reading: September 23, 2012
(Click on the Article’s Title)
- “THE CLOUD FACTORIES: Power, Pollution and the Internet” | By JAMES GLANZ, The New York Times, September 22, 2012 | Data centers are filled with servers, which are like bulked-up desktop computers, minus screens and keyboards, that contain chips to process data. …thousands of data centers… support the overall explosion of digital information. Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants… In addition to generators, most large data centers contain banks of huge, spinning flywheels or thousands of lead-acid batteries — many of them similar to automobile batteries — to power the computers in case of a grid failure… Improving or even assessing the field is complicated by the secretive nature of an industry that is largely built around accessing other people’s personal data. For security reasons, companies typically do not even reveal the locations of their data centers, which are housed in anonymous buildings and vigilantly protected.
- “America’s Hidden Unemployed: Too Discouraged to Count” | By REUTERS, The New York Times, September 23, 2012 | Economists, analyzing government data, estimate about 4 million fewer people are in the labor force than in December 2007, primarily due to a lack of jobs rather than the normal aging of America’s population. The size of the shift underscores the severity of the jobs crisis. If all those so-called discouraged jobseekers had remained in the labor force, August’s jobless rate of 8.1 percent would have been 10.5 percent.
- “Study Divides Breast Cancer Into Four Distinct Types” | By GINA KOLATA, The New York Times, September 23, 2012 | The study is the first comprehensive genetic analysis of breast cancer, which kills more than 35,000 women a year in the United States. The new paper, and several smaller recent studies, are electrifying the field… “This is the road map for how we might cure breast cancer in the future,” said Dr. Matthew Ellis of Washington University, a researcher for the study.
- “Failed Efforts and Challenges of America’s Last Months in Iraq” | By MICHAEL R. GORDON, The New York Times, September 22, 2012 | The attempt by Mr. Obama and his senior aides to fashion an extraordinary power-sharing arrangement between Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi never materialized. Neither did an agreement that would have kept a small American force in Iraq to train the Iraqi military and patrol the country’s skies. A plan to use American civilians to train the Iraqi police has been severely cut back. The result is an Iraq that is less stable domestically and less reliable internationally than the United States had envisioned.
- “When GPS Tracking Violates Privacy Rights” | EDITORIAL, The New York Times, September 23, 2012 | For the right to personal privacy to survive in America in this digital age, courts must be meticulous in applying longstanding privacy protections to new technology. This did not happen in an unfortunate ruling last month by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
- “AMERICAN CHRONICLES| THE LIE FACTORY: How politics became a business. ” | BY JILL LEPORE, The New Yorker, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 | Political consulting is often thought of as an offshoot of the advertising industry, but closer to the truth is that the advertising industry began as a form of political consulting. As the political scientist Stanley Kelley once explained, when modern advertising began, the big clients were just as interested in advancing a political agenda as a commercial one. Monopolies like Standard Oil and DuPont looked bad: they looked greedy and ruthless and, in the case of DuPont, which made munitions, sinister. They therefore hired advertising firms to sell the public on the idea of the large corporation, and, not incidentally, to advance pro-business legislation. It’s this kind of thing that Sinclair was talking about when he said that American history was a battle between business and democracy, and, “So far,” he wrote, “Big Business has won every skirmish.”
- “Guns ‘R Us” | BY JEANNE MARIE LASKAS, GQ, September 2012 | I had come to Arizona, the most gun-friendly state, to listen to the conversation the rest of America was apparently having. One in three Americans owns a gun. About 59 million handguns, 46 million rifles, and 28 million shotguns—nearly 135 million new firearms for sale in the U.S. since 1986. We are the most heavily armed society in the world. If an armed citizenry is a piece of our national identity, how is it that I’d never even met it?
- “Wall Street Rolling Back Another Key Piece of Financial Reform” | by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine, September 20, 2012 | Wall Street lobbyists are awesome. I’m beginning to develop a begrudging respect not just for their body of work as a whole, but also for their sense of humor. They always go right to the edge of outrageous, and then wittily take one baby-step beyond it. And they did so again last night, with the passage of a new House bill (HR 2827), which rolls back a portion of Dodd-Frank designed to protect cities and towns from the next Jefferson County disaster. [Dodd-Frank] required the financial advisors of municipalities to do two things: register with the SEC, and accept a fiduciary duty to respect the best interests of the taxpayers they are advising. Sounds simple, right? But Wall Street couldn’t have that. After all, if companies are required to have a fiduciary responsibility to cities and towns, how in the world can they screw cities and towns?
- “How Big Coal Keeps America Stupid” | By JEFF GOODELL, Rolling Stone Magazine, September 14, 2012 | …Big Oil and Big Coal have always been as skilled at propaganda as they are at mining and drilling. Like the tobacco industry before them, their success depends on keeping Americans stupid. Over the years, they have become masters at distorting science, dodging innovation, and predicting economic mayhem if anyone or anything gets in the way of their divine right to mine, burn, and profit off America’s natural resources.
- “Obama’s Way” | By Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair Magazine, October 2012 | At nine o’clock one Saturday morning I made my way to the Diplomatic Reception Room, on the ground floor of the White House. I’d asked to play in the president’s regular basketball game, in part because I wondered how and why a 50-year-old still played a game designed for a 25-year-old body, in part because a good way to get to know someone is to do something with him. I hadn’t the slightest idea what kind of a game it was. The first hint came when a valet passed through bearing, as if they were sacred objects, a pair of slick red-white-and-blue Under Armour high-tops with the president’s number (44) on the side. Then came the president, looking like a boxer before a fight, in sweats and slightly incongruous black rubber shower shoes. As he climbed into the back of a black S.U.V., a worried expression crossed his face. “I forgot my mouth guard,” he said. Your mouth guard? I think. Why would you need a mouth guard?
- “Who Wants to Be a Billionaire?” | By Randall Stross, Vanity Fair Magazine, October 2012 | Twice a year, close to 200 teams of aspiring tech entrepreneurs, most in their 20s, converge on Mountain View, in Silicon Valley, vying for a spot at Y Combinator, the seven-year-old seed-funding firm–cum–accelerator co-founded by venture investor Paul Graham. Their dream: becoming the next Y.C.-backed sensation, like Dropbox, Airbnb, or OMGPOP. In an adaptation from his new book, Randall Stross follows one of the summer 2011 start-ups from tryout to “Demo Day,” to see what it takes.
- “The Next Establishment” | By Max Chafkin, Peter Kafka, John Koblin, Cat Buckley AND Jack Deligter, Vanity Fair Magazine, September 7, 2012 | While many of last year’s members have graduated to the New Establishment, 2012’s Next Establishment crop introduces a new wave of bi-coastal trailblazers who are upping the ante in their fields. A sports blogger, an actress turned online mompreneur, and a statistician who moonlights as a poker player are among the host of featured personalities in the worlds of tech, philanthropy, and beyond.
Happy reading and I hope you enjoy the articles. -Martie
Martie Hevia (c) 2012 – All Rights Reserved