Posts by: Mark Follman

Vancouver’s Bold War on Drugs

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For many years Vancouver has had a serious heroin addiction.

So it’s heartening to see that one of the city’s boldest strategies for confronting the problem, launched eight years ago, is continuing to meet with serious success: Vancouver’s government-backed “supervised injection site” — the first of its kind in North America — has helped reduce the number of fatal drug overdoses in the city by 35 percent, according to a new scientific report detailed in the Vancouver Sun.

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How USA Today Tiptoed Away From the GE Tax Hoax

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Last Wednesday, USA Today editor Doug Stanglin reported about the Associated Press’s hugely embarrassing misfire-of-a-story on General Electric.

In a blog post headlined “AP falls for prank report that GE is giving back a $3.2B tax refund,” Stanglin quoted from AP’s correction, included the full text of the retracted AP story on GE, and cited a report from Reuters about the activists behind the hoax.

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Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s War on Labor

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The showdown continues in Wisconsin pitting public-sector labor unions against Republican governor Scott Walker, who aims to eviscerate collective bargaining rights.

As of this writing the state’s Democratic lawmakers apparently are still MIA. Days of large protests in Madison and even the involvement of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers have indicated the high stakes.

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Love in the Time of Terror Babies

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“My parents, with admirable foresight, had their first child while they were on fellowships in the United States. My mother was in public health, and my father in a library-science program. Having an American baby was, my mother once said, like putting money in the bank.”

So begins Daniel Alarcón (who is reading at the next Monthly Rumpus)’s recently published short story “Second Lives,” whose narrator is a Latin American man with a potent longing for a First World life.

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The Deep Dark Shades of BP’s Gulf Oil Spill

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The oil-drenched marine life preparing to testify on Barry Blitt’s June 7 New Yorker cover did not make me smile in the slightest. (I doubt humor, even the dark kind, was Blitt’s core intent.) It’s an effectively painful riff on the slow-motion horror story continuing to seep from the Gulf region.

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The spirit of Haida Gwaii

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img_1454(Editor’s note, all photos in this post are the author’s and are copyrighted)

In late August I returned to the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, a place whose ancient, complex culture and astonishing natural beauty are inextricable. Earlier this week, in the village of Old Massett, the renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson hosted an epic two-day celebration commemorating the totem pole he carved here 40 years ago.

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Google, Kindle, and The Library of Babel

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visualofbabel

Technological innovation seems almost strangely commonplace these days, from say, contact lenses that could layer data directly onto your view of the world to robots fighting far-flung wars to computer systems perhaps smart enough to compete on “Jeopardy!” All astonishing developments in their own right, and yet the most profound change of our times may yet be purely informative in nature: The digitization of all that we read.

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