May, 2011

My father, who was trained in engineering at M.I.T. in the slide-rule era, often lamented the way the pocket calculator, for all its convenience, diminished my generation’s math skills. Many of us have discovered that navigating by G.P.S. has undermined our mastery of city streets and perhaps even impaired our innate sense of direction. Typing pretty much killed penmanship. Twitter and YouTube are nibbling away at our attention spans. And what little memory we had not already surrendered to Gutenberg we have relinquished to Google. Why remember what you can look up in seconds?

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, is afraid of the Internet (via soupsoup)

May, 2011


“Scientists find the cure for cancer, but pharma companies don’t care because they can’t patent it.”

This is going around Tumblr like an out-of-control wildfire. Well consider this the bucket brigade sent to put out the flames. If you see the post I reference, send someone a (polite) message to their “Ask” box and direct them here. Let’s spread the Word of Science, friends. If you don’t read any further, let me just get right to the point:

  1. No one has “cured cancer” and dichloroacetate is not (yet, or maybe ever) a miracle drug.
  2. Pharma companies are not big soft teddy bears, but they are not conspiring against your health and well-being.

This whole saga seems to be linked to a Hubpages post from approximately four years ago. So it isn’t even new. HubPages is an interesting website, because you can say essentially anything you want and no one will fact-check any of it. That’s pretty much the only reason the original post exists. But like any great deception, this one is based in some truth. So what is true about it? (click through … )

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