The Bullet and the Foot, Oct 27, 2009
Quote of the Day:
Today's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Hunter S. Thompson
Progress is funny. As a child, I had a learning disability that made handwriting difficult. Starting in the third grade, I was given a special dispensation to produce reports by typing them into the computer and printing them out. This was considered special education grade, really weird in 1983. By middle school, teachers started to appreciate typewritten material over handwritten material for legibility from all of their students. By high school, there was a computer center, and absolutely no excuse why you couldn't type your report!
Today, my daughter in kindergarden has a computer driven "smart board" in her classroom. She draws, writes, and does all sorts of things with it. And this is considered "cool", the future, etc, etc.
The march of progress...
Well there are some updates to the case of Eric Williamson, the Naked Coffee Guy of Springfield. The police are canvassing the neighborhood trying to find other witnesses. I'm talking Flyers, door to door knocking, etc, etc. A Police spokeswomen was on the news about how this happened across the street from a School Bus Stop, think of the children! It also turns out the "victim" was a) in fact cutting across the Dude's lawn and b) the wife of a Fairfax County Police officer.
No, that last factoid has absolutely no bearing on this case, whatsoever. (As I roll my eyes incredulously.) And having 5 officers respond to the call was completely reasonable. Just nod your head citizen.
My only hope is that McDonnell (the Republican Gubernatorial candidate down here) will open up his mouth about it saying what great job the Fairfax Cops are doing at keeping Sexual Predators off the streets in this case. Please... pretty please... with sugar on top...
In other news, health officials in Rhode Island are using E-Prescription data to track the spread of swine flu.
Sounds great, technology to the rescue? Um, no.
First, you are tracking people who have full blown symptoms of the disease. While it's good to know, in a real crisis you need to know where it will spread before it spreads. Second, you are tracking people that are getting treated as if they had swine flu, not people who actually have swine flu. Short of a genetic sequence, doctors really can't tell swine flu from regular flu. And odds are, most of these cases are people getting normal flu, panicking, and having their doctor write a script out for whatever nuclear grade anti-viral can be had on the open market. Third, we are talking about Rhode Island. The state only has 150 pharmacies. That's like bragging about repaving the highways of Lichtenstein. And the kicker is the final note about "now they can see where antiviral supplies are getting low, and order more." Um, I would just look at the shelf, personally.
IT will shovel bad data every bit as much as good data. I just wish reporters would read out load what they were writing. I can understand the excited spokesperson who thinks this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (That's their job, after all.) But... oh I could rant all day about reporters copying and pasting stories from press releases.
Have a panic free day!