Category Archives: Society

CNN.com Ready for the TV Movie

No doubt about it: the story of the Este family, trapped in their attic while New Orleans flooded, is moving. But something seems slightly inappropriate about how CNN has photoshopped the images of these evacuees into a slick, Reader’s Digest-like promotional banner, while they’re still homeless and their dead grandmother lies unburied.

Yahoo’s Ethical Dilemma

Information Yahoo provided to Chinese authorities led to the essentially political arrest of journalist Shi Tao. Most of us would applaud Yahoo for providing information that led to the arrest of a murderer or a child-molester, in which cases Yahoo would similarly be helping local authorities enforce the law. However, what Yahoo did to Shi [...]

Think $3 a Gallon is Bad? Try Europe’s $6

How does Europe deal with enormous gas prices, such as the approximate $6.77 per gallon in Paris? Smaller cars and more public transportation. Of course Americans may not have the same options. European analysts said it was too simplistic to label Americans as addicted to cheap gas and big, lavish cars. In truth, they said, [...]

Flood Departments?

John Tierney has an interesting analysis of why Americans seem better able to handle fire than floods. In the early days of the Republic cities responded to the danger of fires in a two-fold manner: they started fire departments and their residents bought fire insurance. But urbanites learned to protect themselves through two innovations Benjamin [...]

Not Filling the Free Trade Quota

The U.S. government has imposed quotas on some categories of Chinese textiles, and it’s threatened to impose more in October, after failing to reach an agreement with the Chinese government to limit imports. Good economic policy seems to be taking a backseat to the political influence of the American textile industry. Similar actions by the [...]

Katrina Communication Cut-off

A colleague from New Orleans said yesterday that his sister’s cell phone from that area stopped working, even though she’s in New York. But her text-messaging does work, which apparently isn’t uncommon: Cellular phone providers said their service was severely limited, at best, in New Orleans and along the Mississippi coast, and they encouraged people [...]