Thursday, February 3, 2011

Was I unfair

to Twitter?

I use Twitter fairly regularly.  Sometimes, it is a good way to find out what's going on around you.  Of course, for this to work, we all have to use it and update it with new info - so I try to do that some, too.  I've also found it useful in connecting internationally - makes for a cheap text message.  

I've seen some pretty innovative uses of it.  In DC, the streets department had a potholepalooza based on twitter, in which you could tweet the location of a pothole and they would come fix it.  I once saw a pedestrian indicator that had been twisted around to the wrong way - I took a photo of it and tweeted it @ddot.  They responded an hour later and the next day, it was fixed.

On Sad Songs

A good sad song is good because it leaves you stronger and more joyful.  The song's power to do this rests in its sweetness, or bittersweetness.  The song has to be sweet and sad.  Then and only then, the song can be a thing you stand upon and can depend upon as a source of strength.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mine explosion at Montcoal - a safely repeatable tragedy

This is a terrible tragedy.  And it will happen again.  And again. 

And no one will be held accountable.  We read in story after story, the same line - "Massey Energy ... ranks among the industry's most profitable.  It also has a spotty safety record." 

That safety record earned it a whopping $382,000 in fines last year.  Gee I wonder if that even shows up on the financials of a company that takes in $2.5 billion in revenue per year.  Ahem, $2,500,000,000 > $382,000.  Shit.  The CEO could have paid that fine with the change that fell out of this pocket on payday ($11 million for Mr. Blankenship last year).

No one will be held accountable.  Nothing will change.  Oh, perhaps the company will be fined again, even sued, but I bet if we watch the stock price... nothing will change.

My thoughts are to massively increase fines for safety violations and to consider Sarbanes-Oxley type criminal penalties for management in cases where an accident is linked to safety violations.  Because that's the only thing that's going to make Mr. Blankenship, et al, give a damn.  Further, the annual report to shareholders should be required to have a description of the independent safety inspections performed (including context so the reader can understand the extent to which company operations were examined), any findings, and any fines.  I think this should be on page 2 (we'll let them keep the CEO's letter on page 1).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fragmentation of the Discussion

While it's cool to build new tools and enable people to drill down to just what they like and are looking for.... it's problematic as well.   Google Reader Play is a tool that will learn from your preferences and display items of interest to you, to you (of interest i.e. for which you clicked "Like").  It's becoming easier and easier to bury your head in the sand of your own ideas.