Ask Jermichael about quality audits in health care

John Torinus:

I ran this idea out about ten years ago and got no traction. Here we go again: how about about quality audits in health care?

Good quality information has been slow in coming in health care, mainly because not all the big players on the provider side of the equation are all that enthusiastic about having hard readings out there about mortality rates, infections, readmissions and outcomes.

Data and information is emerging, often from Medicare databases, but the pace has been anything but breath taking. Yet the growing army of consumers – estimated at more than 30 million people with personal health accounts and high deductibles – needs quality ratings on providers just as much as they need hard price information.

Social Seating

Professor Sabena:

Here are some examples of the comments I received:

On the positive side: Could not agree more!

On the negative side:
(Humour)The professor will get seated next to John Candy
(Professor) Unlikely …But if I do…. then does that mean I get Darryl Hannah as my girlfriend?

And then there was Angry. I won’t identify him.

How to Overcome Failure

Ken Bain:

Many people think of intelligence as static: you are born with lots of brains, very few, or somewhere in between, and that quantum of intelligence largely determines how well you do in school and in life.

The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has never liked this view. “I hardly ever use the word intelligence,” says Mr. Tyson, who directs the Hayden Planetarium in New York. “I think of people as either wanting to learn, ambivalent about learning or rejecting learning.” He speaks from experience: As a young man, he was booted from one doctoral program but managed to get into another and complete his Ph.D.

Krugmenistan vs. Estonia

Brendan Greeley:

Economists don’t get controlled experiments, so they have to take countries as they are. Right now, Estonia seems to show that monetary and fiscal restraint can, after pain, create growth. “If you look back, the crash is very good,” says Palmik.

Not surprisingly, Estonia, a country with 1.2 million people, has been offered as a model by advocates of austerity in Europe and elsewhere. On the far side of the Atlantic, however, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been arguing for years against this kind of restraint, saying it leads to pointless misery. The argument is central to the future of the U.S.—and most other countries, too.

On June 6, in a blog post titled “Estonian Rhapsody,” Krugman took on what he called “the poster child for austerity defenders.” In his post, he graphed real GDP from the height of the boom to the first quarter of this year to show that, even after a recovery, Estonia’s economy is still almost 10 percent below its peak in 2007. “This,” he wrote, “is what passes for economic triumph?”

The High Tech of Rural America: 9 Unusual Gadgets and Contraptions

Roberto Baldwin:

Hey, city slicker: Erase all preconceived notions about the technological competence of rural America. As you drive past all those rolling, pastoral fields during your summer road trips, you might be lulled into thinking our farmers and ranchers are stuck in the 1950s — or maybe even homogeneously Amish. But think again: The people who work the land are using technologies that rival what’s coming out of the world’s most advanced R&D labs.

Hell, they’re actually using technologies that come out of advanced R&D labs.

From autonomous tractors to robot fruit pickers to cow milking machinery of amazing complexity (see image above, and our explanation below), rural America is on the cutting edge. So throw away your twee, urban biases of country folk. They’re using the technology of the future to feed us all — and this holds true for the local produce, meat and poultry that you’re going to buy this weekend at the farmers market.

The Best Time to be Alive

Ed Wallace:

Think of it this way. During the Financial Panic of 1893, considered the worst depression to hit America since its birth, those involved in electric utilities systems suffered not a bit because electricity was a growth market. Henry Ford, working as the chief engineer for Detroit Edison at the time, never worried about losing his job or having enough spare money to build his first automobile. That was also the period in which electric trolleys and the interurban rails came to most cities; and those manufacturers, the rail systems’ owners and the workers who installed them also went through that Panic virtually unscathed. Thomas Edison built his first movie studio in New Jersey the year of the financial collapse; and he certainly didn’t go out of business for lack of demand for his short films.

Even when the dotcom bubble burst in the late 1990s, it didn’t affect the progress made in expanding the Internet – or in the improvement in high-speed connections, video streaming or the expansion of commerce online. All those things dramatically improved during that collapse.

An Open Letter to People Who Take Pictures of Food with Instagram

Katherine Markovich:

Dear People Who Take Pictures of Food With Instagram,

Just because the picture looks artsy doesn’t mean you are. I get it. We all went through our creative, experimental stages. There is a period in all of our lives where we think we can probably make money off our pseudo-artistic talent of choice. And now, you think you are a photographer because Instagram does the work for you. Do you have to focus anything? Do you have to worry about lighting? Do you have to think at all? Not really. You are part of a fast growing legion of people that have been duped into believing they are visionaries, auteurs, even.

“<3 <3 Gorgeous day for lunch outside <3 <3,” you post to the image of a set of railroad tracks behind a McDonald’s.

Thoughts on Paul Rand

John Maeda:

As a graduate student at MIT, I stumbled upon a thin, nondescript book called “Thoughts on Design” by Paul Rand. At the time I was building a reputation for myself as being a gifted graphical user interface designer. However, as I flipped through Rand’s book I was humbled by the power with which he manipulated space and at the same time struck by the clarity of his accompanying prose. I was immediately inspired to pursue the field of graphic design, not necessarily pertaining to the computer.

It is ironic that 8 years later, I would return to MITas a professor of design, and that I would host a lecture by Paul Rand at MIT, which I did on November 14 of last year. The time for the lecture was set at 10am. For those familiar with how an American university works, an early lecture is very rare because students usually study late into the night and are less apt to attend events in the morning. But Rand insisted that he speak in the morning. He said, “If someone isn’t willing to wake up to hear me to speak, I don’t want to speak to them!”

The 10 most common strategic blunders?

Thomas Ricks:

I’ll read anything by Andrew Krepinevich, the fine strategic thinker who bears a strong resemblance to Dwight Eisenhower circa 1939. Right now my subway reading is a new essay he has done with Barry Watts titled “Regaining Strategic Competence.”

I was especially intrigued by the list of 10 common strategic blunders they attribute to business strategy expert Richard Rumelt:

When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide: ‘People Staring at Computers’

Kyle McDonald:

Maybe an email, or a phone call from Apple. Instead, my first indication that something was “wrong” was a real-life visit from the organization best known for protecting the President of the United States of America.

They rang the doorbell a few times. It woke me up, and I tried to ignore it. There were always kids playing with the doorbells in our apartment building. But the kids don’t normally shout, “this is the Secret Service, open the door,” so I took that as my cue to get out of bed.

I cracked the door open a few inches, and an agent was already leaning into the frame. He explained that he was from the Electronic Crimes Task Force, and that they had a search warrant. Under different circumstances it could have been quite cinematic, but it was an incredibly hot summer morning in Brooklyn. I was tired, and wearing only gym shorts. I saw the two agents behind him look me up and down, and they relaxed.

I told them I’d be glad to help however I could, and invited them in.

“Are there any drugs or weapons in the house?”