Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

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Scottish Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey ‘critically ill’ says Royal Free Hospital

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Royal Free Hospital in London yesterday said a nurse suffering with complications after Ebola, Pauline Cafferkey, is “critically ill” after her condition deteriorated. Cafferkey, 39, was readmitted to an isolation unit at the Royal Free on the night of October 8–9 where she had spent time earlier in the year after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone whilst treating patients with the infection.

The hospital said in a statement: “We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill. She is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital.”

Cafferkey visited an out of hours GP clinic on October 5 where her symptoms were not linked to Ebola, before deciding to go to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on October 6 where she was treated at the hospital’s infectious diseases unit. Two days later, she was flown by plane to the Royal Free. She is the only person known to suffer with Ebola in this way for a second time, which can remain in the body after an initial recovery.

Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham said he’d heard of nothing like this. “I am not aware from the scientific literature of a case where Ebola has been associated with what we can only assume as life-threatening complications after someone has initially recovered, and certainly not so many months after.”

Pauline’s sister Toni Cafferkey was critical of the wrong diagnosis, telling the Sunday Mail newspaper, “At that point me and my family believe they missed a big opportunity to give the right diagnosis and we feel she was let down. Instead of being taken into hospital, she spent the whole of Tuesday very ill”.

A spokesperson for NHS Glasgow and Clyde said Pauline Cafferkey did receive a diagnosis from an out of hours clinic and said: “Her management and the clinical decisions taken based on the symptoms she was displaying at the time were entirely appropriate. All appropriate infection control procedures were carried out as part of this episode of care.”

Experts say they do not believe the infection recurring within Pauline Cafferkey is contagious despite monitoring 58 people she has been in contact with. This is said to be a precaution as Ebola can only be spread through body fluids and the infection is not creating the same symptoms associated with a one-off diagnosis of Ebola.

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College Student Health Insurance What Is The Best

What is the best alternative when you desire to purchase medical insurance for a university student? Medical insurance may be available from your college, from a mother or father’s medical insurance policy and from a policy purchased individually.Contracts purchased from one’s university or university has the advantage of being very low-priced. These policies tend to be very cheap, but almost always have less coverage when compared to insurance plans bought from other sources.Health insurance contracts marketed specifically to college students will usually have significant limitations on the benefits that they pay for larger expenses. Often the benefits that are paid for smaller expenses are excellent, so most people’s experience with these policies is positive. However, the unfortunate few who have major expenses are often unhappy with their coverage.The annual limit on what many student medical insurance contracts pay is often one tenth of the limit on other plans. This can mean that a student who has a major illness starts their adult life with a massive debt.These plans are also temporary insurance. This can be a problem if a student has a major medical event while covered, but continues to have health expenses after they are too old to be insured by their student policy.The price advantage of contracts bought directly from one’s college or university is often more than offset by fact that the contracts almost always have much lower benefits for major expenses. For this reason, college students may fare much better with one of the other options.Insuring a student through their father or mother’s insurance policy is usually a better alternative but this too has its drawbacks. Policies available through a parent’s medical insurance policy will often have excellent benefits. However, these policies have the disadvantage of being temporary.You may be able to insurance a student on their mother or father’s contract until they are age 26. This works well for many college students. However, there are many students who are unable to get coverage after they become too old for their mother or father’s policy due to a pre-existing condition.Individual insurance contracts can be acquired from companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield are often best alternative. They can have the advantages of having robust benefits similar to a contract that one might get through their father or mother’s group insurance plan and also have the advantage of being permanent coverage. You may be able to find a contract from a major insurer that will provide several million dollars or more in benefits. There may also be plans with unlimited benefits available.You can easily find a policy that you can keep until age 65. At 65 one is eligible for Medicare. For most Americans, Medicare is available with no medical questions.Although these plans are often more expensive than policies available through one’s college or university, they are typically very affordable. In most places, the price for medical insurance is lower for young adults when compared to older ones. This means that the rate for most university students is generally quite low.Although there are many places where you can purchase insurance for a college student, each one has its drawbacks. The typical plan bought through one’s university is usually cheap, but will also have low benefits and is temporary. Policies offered through a mother or father’s policy will generally offer better coverage but is also temporary. Policies purchased in the individual market will often have excellent benefits and can be kept until age 65. These plans have the drawback of being more expensive. Many people make the decision to pay more for these plans for two reasons. They are often not much more expensive. plans will provide much better health insurance coverage.

Colombian military spy plane crashes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

According to media reports, a Colombian air force AC-47 (registration FAC1670) spy plane carrying five people has crashed near the Colombian city of La Dorada, in the department of Caldas.

All on board the plane are believed to have been killed, according to Colombia Reports. Among the dead, according to Monsters and Critics, are two technicians, a major and two second lieutenants. ABS-CBN News reports that the dead included three high ranking officials and two lower ranking ones.

Jorge Ballesteros, a Colombian air force official, says that the plane took off from an air force base in the city of Puerto Salgar and was on an exercise mission when it crashed. He also states that although it was on a training exercise, the plane was carrying bombs and machine guns.

A military team has been dispatched to the area to investigate the incident, but they have already put the blame on mechanical failure. Ballestero noted that investigators have ruled out a rebel attack and terrorism as possible causes.

AC-47’s have been used by the Colombian air force for nearly 20 years, most of which were donated from the United States. They were provided to the country in an attempt to fight the illegal drug market and to defend citizens and the military against rebel attacks. They are also used to gather intelligence and come equipped with a state-of-the-art communications system, radar and infrared detection systems.

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

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Russia expelled from Council of Europe

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Yesterday, the Council of Europe voted to formally expel Russia after 26 years of membership, having been suspended since February 25, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began the day before.

Russia had already announced its intention to withdraw from the Council on Tuesday. The Council of Europe is an international organization promoting human rights and democracy.

In a joint statement by the 46 remaining Council members, the organization said: “We expressed on several occasions our firm condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.” The statement called the invasion of Ukraine “unjustified and unprovoked aggression,” adding that “through their actions in Ukraine the Russian authorities deprive the Russian people of the benefit of the most advanced human rights protection system in the world.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the Council “a tool for anti-Russian policy.” Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said there is “no place for Russia in European bodies as it wages a barbaric war of aggression against Ukraine and commits multiple war crimes.”

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The Advantages Of Buying Used Auto Parts In Tampa Fl

byAlma Abell

Owning a vehicle is a necessity for many people, but it can also be a necessary evil. They are not only expensive to buy, they can also be expensive to run and maintain. When it comes time for repairs, parts can be extremely expensive, and many people end up not getting the vehicle repairs they need because they can’t afford to. Even those who do their own vehicle repairs have to pay a lot for parts. In fact, because they are not able to buy parts wholesale, they have to pay higher retail prices. This is why so many people visit junk yards to get the parts they need for their vehicles.When one buys Used Auto Parts in Tampa FL, they are getting quality parts for a fraction of what it would cost to buy new parts. Many parts that are found at junk yards are just like new. Often, vehicles that are considered write-offs after auto accidents have plenty of parts that are still in excellent condition, such as motors, transmissions, and alternators. These parts are some of the more expensive ones when they are purchased new, but when one buys used auto parts they can save a lot of money.

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Often, when people need certain parts that are difficult to find, they can get what they need from their local junk yard. Sometimes, especially when one has an older model vehicle, it can be hard to get parts that are in near-new condition. Because junk yards have hundreds of cars and thousands of parts at any given time, it is often much easier to find these rarer used parts. Even newer models may have parts that are hard to find, but are available at junk yards.

Another benefit of buying used auto parts is that it is environmentally friendly. Parts get used more than once, so they don’t end up sitting in landfills. Plus, when people buy used parts, they are helping to lessen the need for new parts to be made. The resources used to make auto parts can be put to other uses.

Wikinews interviews 2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor Candidate Wayne Tseng

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor candidate Wayne Tseng answered some questions about his campaign for the upcoming election from Wikinews. The Lord Mayor election in the Australian city is scheduled to take place this week.

Tseng runs a firm called eTranslate, which helps software developers to make the software available to the users. In the candidate’s questionnaire, Tseng said eTranslate had led to him working with all three tiers of the government. He previously belonged to the Australian Liberal Party, but has left since then, to run for mayorship as an independent candidate.

Tseng is of Chinese descent, having moved to Australia with his parents from Vietnam. Graduated in Brisbane, Tseng received his PhD in Melbourne and has been living in the city, he told Wikinews. Tseng also formed Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce, an organisation responsible for many “community bond building initiatives”, the Lord Mayor candidate told Wikinews.

Tseng discussed his plans for leading Melbourne, recovering from COVID-19, and “Democracy 2.0” to ensure concerns of minorities in the city were also heard. Tseng also focused on the importance of the multi-culture aspect and talked about making Melbourne the capital of the aboriginals. Tseng also explained why he thinks Melbourne is poised to be a world city by 2030.

Tseng’s deputy Lord Mayor candidate Gricol Yang is a Commercial Banker and works for ANZ Banking Group.

Currently, Sally Capp is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Victorian capital. Capp was elected as an interim Lord Mayor in mid-2018 after the former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle resigned from his position after sexual assault allegations. Doyle served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for almost a decade since 2008.

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Disabled U.S. spy satellite to fall to Earth

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An unresponsive United States reconnaissance satellite is in an uncontrolled, decaying orbit and will re-enter Earth‘s atmosphere in late February or early March.

According to Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, “Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation.”

The satellite is out-of-control, and therefore there is no possibility to guide it to re-entry over an ocean or unpopulated area. On the one hand, since most of the earth’s surface is water or unpopulated, death or property loss due to any falling fragments, which may result from the satellite entering the atmosphere, is statistically unlikely. On the other hand, it cannot be ruled out entirely. According to General Gene Renuart, of the United States Air Force, there is a chance that the satellite may re-enter over North America. After entering the atmosphere, some debris could possibly fall on land.

“Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause,” said Johndroe.

Concerns have also been raised that some materials used in the satellite’s construction could be hazardous if they reach the ground. The satellite contains quantities of toxic hydrazine fuel, which is used for maneuvering, although this is likely to burn up on re-entry. Some of the optics aboard the satellite may contain beryllium, which is also toxic.

As the satellite was part of a classified U.S. military program, no other details, including its name, have been made public. The satellite is publicly identified by the codenames USA-193 and NRO L-21. It was launched in December 2006, by a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Ground controllers lost contact with the satellite shortly after it reached orbit. Amateur observers had been tracking USA-193 for some time, and believed that its orbit was decaying.

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Fat Binders: Is Proactol Your Answer?

By Pratim D

Are you struggling with your bulging belly? Have you given up your favorite dessert in a bid to lose weight? If your answer is yes you need to know that you are not the only one. There are loads of people fighting weighty issue and have given up many things they love. However do you know that you can actually eat as much as you want without having to worry about your weight? Yes, a fat binder allows you to dig into the yummy chocolate mousse without having to worry about the calories. There are several fat binder pills in the market that will come to your aid.

So, what exactly is a fat binder? It is basically an easy and natural way to lose weight. Just as the name suggests the fat binders bind the fat and therefore it becomes impossible for your body to digest it. And since your body cannot digest it, it is eliminated from your body. And this means you do not gain extra weight. Moreover the fat binders reduce your hunger pangs and therefore make sure you eat less. This helps in weight loss. There are many pills available in the market. If you want to know about a few of them just read on.

1. Proactol

Proactol is considered the best the industry has ever seen. Proactol is 100% effective and natural. The non soluble fiber is these pills bind the fat and a fluid gel is formed around the fat. And the soluble fat binds with the bile forming a solution that decreases the speed of digestion. So you feel fuller for a longer period and therefore eat less. Therefore it not only stops you from gaining extra weight but also aids in weight loss. Proactol is without any side effects.

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2. Liposinol

Liposinol is one of the most popular pills available in the market. It consists of Litramine- a fiber complex found in nutritious cactus leaves. It binds the fat sans any pharmacological action. Liposinol consists of an array of products that help you to keep your weight in check and also lose extra weight. Though Liposinol aids in weight loss it is not as effective as the manufacturer claims. And it might prove counter effective for people with kidney ailments.

3. Lipobind

Lipobind is quite similar to Liposinol. Lipobind also consists of Litramine that binds the fat. However it also has vitamin A, D and E as its ingredients. The Litramine is released before the release of the vitamins. This makes sure the pill functions effectively. Apart from keeping the weight in check and reducing weight Lipobind also keeps the sugar spikes in check. Lipobind is relatively effective. Its efficacy is marred by the side effects like headache, pain, bloating and diarrhea. However it is undoubtedly one of the most popular fat binder pills today.

Fat binders are products that help you lose weight without having to give up on your favorite food. There are several fat binders available in the market and you need to know about them in details to make the right choice.

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