Since I’ve discovered the website called Information is Beautiful, I’m afraid that all my available free time for at least the next year or so will be consumed by pouring over this fascinating time-sucker of a site. The book of the same name has been published across the world in nine languages. All of it was conceived and designed by David McCandless, a London-based author, information designer and data journalist. As he explains:
“I’m into anything strange and interesting. A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words. Love pie – hate pie-charts.” Continue reading
Generally speaking, news editors rarely accept for publication any letters to the editor that are submitted anonymously. To do so would merely encourage the trolls to spew forth. Discouraging anonymity is a good thing, I believe, because the jerk-to-normal person ratio out there is already perilously high even without encouragement. For example, the Toronto Star – unless agreeing to specific requests to protect confidentiality for valid reasons - is just one of many that advise readers:
“Letters to the editor must include the writer’s full name – anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters.”
And imagine what would happen if The Star or other media outlets let us just willy-nilly vent publicly under fake names whenever we like.
Oh. Wait a minute. That’s already allowed, and it’s called social media. Continue reading
In November 2003, psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota used the threat of involuntary commitment to force a mentally ill young man named Dan Markingson into a profitable, industry-funded study of antipsychotic drugs. Dan, who was mentally incapable of giving informed consent to participate in this research, was recruited into the study over the objections of his mother, Mary Weiss.
For months Mary tried desperately to get him out of the clinical trials, warning the psychiatrists in writing that Dan’s condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself.
The psychiatrists refused to listen to her.
On May 8, 2004, Dan committed suicide, and Mary Weiss lost her only child. Continue reading
This guest post by Dr. Jessie Gruman was originally published on the Center for Advancing Health’s Prepared Patient blog in February. CFAH was founded by Jessie, who is the author of AfterShock, a book that helps patients navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis.
As a patient, writer and respected advocate, she sends this open letter to the techmeisters of Silicon Valley.
I hope they’re paying attention.
◊ ◊ ◊ Continue reading