Posts tagged ‘politics’

Uninterruptible Concentration and Why Donald Knuth Should be President

My latest mental mash-up is about email and the presidency. Donald Knuth does work that “takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration” and thus chose to no longer use email. Now, if the White House had the same policy, then the White House CIO would not need to claim “that email messages from 2003 to 2005 either can’t be produced because they’re not missing, because the computers they were on have been destroyed, or because it’s too hard to find them.” Not only are tax dollars spent on controversies such as this, but government officials are spending time writing and reading emails instead of focusing on the country’s needs with uninterruptible concentration.

I don’t know what Knuth’s politics are, but his books are brilliant and I appreciate his stance on email. I spend too much time every day on email and, even then, it’s never enough. (Am I the only one who has ever started off an email with “Sorry I didn’t respond sooner but…”?)

Instead of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage“, Knuth can institute a moratorium on email. Benjamin Franklin said, “Time is money“, and Knuth’s platform can be “Email is time”. “Time is the only thing we have in our lives” and through email we allow strangers to take it away from us and destroy our concentration. How is this any different than a phone call from a telemarketer interrupting dinner (before the do not call registry)?

April 27, 2008 at 8:15 am 1 comment

Eliot Spitzer Would Be Better Off If He Practiced What He Preached

Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, is embroiled in a scandal and announced that he “failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself”. His alleged actions are more notable because of his anti-corruption stance. (I also heard that governor was his stepping stone to the White House, which may never happen now.)

Not ever wanting to be accused of not practicing what I preach, I went to my list of Ten Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes To Be a More Successful e-learning Professional and did #8, to contact an e-learning expert. Actually, it was my own spin on #8, but creativity and designing for our target audience are part of our profession!

Here’s what I did: I emailed Don Norman, who is an expert at many things, including e-learning, and is one of the people I most admire. I will add a caveat here that I know him and have asked him for advice before so I felt hopeful that he would respond. Don gave me brief feedback on the issue I asked him about, promising more since he was preparing for a trip, and detailed feedback on my blog, in particular, on my recent post on The Disconnect Between Patients and Doctors. As a result of this, I am writing a new post since I agree with his points.

Hence I have practiced what I preach and am better off for it since the insights I received will make me more successful. I bet Governor Spitzer wishes he had listened to his own advice.

March 11, 2008 at 11:29 pm 1 comment

What Programs Would the Presidential Candidates Write

In Presidential Programming Languages, Mike Gualtieri hypothesizes about what programming language the next President of the United States of America would use if he or she was an application developer. But what programs they would write?

Charles Simonyi, who Richard Dawkins calls a “combination of International Renaissance Man, Playboy of the Scientific World, Test Pilot of the Intellect, and Space-age Orbiter of the Mind as well as of the Planet,” said, “a computer program sets the processor on an inexorable future course,” which is what presidents do – set the country on a future course. Possibly even one that is related to their campaign platform.

Richard Dawkins (who can’t run for president since he wasn’t born in the U.S.) would clearly program the Game of Life. Barack Obama would write a social user-generated site for political issues. Hillary Clinton would write her own version of HealthVault. George Bush (not that he’s running) would write a single-serving site. And Michael Dukakis (not that he’s running either) would just do a formative evaluation of Amtrak’s web site.

Acknowledgments: thanks to my 16 year old son, I learned all about single-serving sites on such topical issues as Paris Hilton, Twitter, The Empire State Building, and Barack Obama.

March 2, 2008 at 2:26 am 2 comments

Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa:


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