IlliniLoyalty's Good Journalism Book Club

#1
Well, rather than complaining about the problem, I want to be part of the solution. Let this thread be a place where good reporting and interesting stories can stand apart from the crap.

First, some ground rules:
-No op-ed pieces, no matter how on point.

-At the very most, a tangential relationship to the Obama/Romney race. Preferably no mention whatsoever.

-No HuffPo, no Daily Caller, preferably no blogs at all. If it's Reason magazine or the WSJ, fine, but look to professional mainstream journalists.

-Not something that directly relates to topics we've beaten to death. No immigration, no taxes, leave that stuff for the other threads.

-Preferably not schmaltz. This is a personal taste thing, and if you really like some heartwarming inspirational story, fine, but that stuff pushes the line of journalism for me.

-Procedurally, tell us what the article is, give a link, and a little quoted preview. And rant and rave if you feel like it, but keep it brief.


So let me get us started. I loved this article today, I have done a bit of study into local land use and zoning issues, and I just thought this was a really interesting, accessible piece that explores a lot of the issues you find there. This guy is a reclusive billionaire who never had any use for the political process, until all of the sudden he needs a sewer pipe to advance his philanthropy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/art-collector-mitchell-raless-grand-design-hangs-up-over-sewer-issue/2012/07/09/gJQAfWERZW_story.html

The full scope of his ambitions for Glenstone did not become clear until recently, when the obsessively secretive billionaire sent an e-mail to many of those who attended the party. In it, he revealed his grand vision for Glenstone, which would include a new museum that would rival the size of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.

But there was an obstacle in his way. Glenstone is seeking a hookup to the county’s sewer system.

And now he needed something from them.

“Please help,” the e-mail began.
 
#2
Try this out.

(Reuters) - In the mid-1980s, a small band of policy wonks began convening for lunch in the back corner of a dimly lit Italian bistro in the U.S. capital.

After ordering beers, they would get down to business: how to win independence for southern Sudan, a war-torn place most American politicians had never heard of.
 
#3
That was a good read Dayton, thanks. South Sudan is kind of in the same boat as Libya and Egypt right now, once the new power structure is in place, that's when the real work starts. The Horn of Africa is a pretty tough neighborhood to try and carve out a stable existence.

Here's one that I suspect might be put on the "beat to death" list eventually, but right now the story isn't getting much play in the US press. It should be, considering every loan we take out in the United States uses LIBOR as a benchmark. The dreaded "Wall Street Culture" isn't just limited to Wall Street, it would appear.

One trader posted diary notes to himself so that he wouldn’t forget to fiddle the numbers the next week. “Ask for High 6M Fix,” he entered in his calendar, as he might have put “Buy milk”.

What may still seem to many to be a parochial affair involving Barclays, a 300-year-old British bank, rigging an obscure number, is beginning to assume global significance. The number that the traders were toying with determines the prices that people and corporations around the world pay for loans or receive for their savings. It is used as a benchmark to set payments on about $800 trillion-worth of financial instruments, ranging from complex interest-rate derivatives to simple mortgages. The number determines the global flow of billions of dollars each year. Yet it turns out to have been flawed.
http://www.economist.com/node/21558281
 
#4
Here's today's entry. On a subject we've talked about a lot: education. This looks at Stanford University and how they've become so tied up in the tech sector. This piece really asks two questions, what's the proper role of a University between teaching their students, and getting them a job, and also, how should established schools feel about an online presence? Stanford has the resources to do whatever they want, the question is, what should they do?

If the Ivy League was the breeding ground for the élites of the American Century, Stanford is the farm system for Silicon Valley. When looking for engineers, Schmidt said, Google starts at Stanford. Five per cent of Google employees are Stanford graduates. The president of Stanford, John L. Hennessy, is a director of Google; he is also a director of Cisco Systems and a successful former entrepreneur. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing has licensed eight thousand campus-inspired inventions, and has generated $1.3 billion in royalties for the university.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/30/120430fa_fact_auletta
 
#5
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
Here's today's entry. On a subject we've talked about a lot: education. This looks at Stanford University and how they've become so tied up in the tech sector. This piece really asks two questions, what's the proper role of a University between teaching their students, and getting them a job, and also, how should established schools feel about an online presence? Stanford has the resources to do whatever they want, the question is, what should they do?



http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/30/120430fa_fact_auletta
I'm glad the end of the article mentioned Sebastian Thrun. I read this Forbes article (How Would You Like A Graduate Degree For $100?) on him last month. It discusses his new venture the changing landscape in education.

“It’s pretty obvious that degrees will go away,” Thrun says. “The idea of a degree is that you spend a fixed time right after high school to educate yourself for the rest of your career. But careers change so much over a lifetime now that this model isn’t valid anymore.”

Thanks to a global boom in cheap, high-speed Internet connectivity, such courses can be beamed around the world for just 50 cents to $1 per student. That makes mass teaching much more affordable than it was a few years ago. Just as important, the rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks means that today’s students are comfortable forming multihour study groups with online acquaintances they’ve never met in the physical world.
 
#6
I appreciate the link, but my god, Forbes' website is terrible isn't it? It's like hacking through a jungle with a machete trying to read a simple two-page article.

Online college is a really interesting thing. I love reading about it because to be honest, while I fully grasp the issues involved, I have no idea what my opinion is. On the one hand, our ability to really substantively teach people things over the internet has been radically transformed in only a few years and keeps getting better. On the other hand, college is so much more than just class. Can online ever truly replace that experience? Do we want it to? Is the modern American college experience inherently unsustainable? Because we're certainly seeing the limits of its scalability.

A lot to think about.
 
#7
I appreciate the link, but my god, Forbes' website is terrible isn't it? It's like hacking through a jungle with a machete trying to read a simple two-page article.

Online college is a really interesting thing. I love reading about it because to be honest, while I fully grasp the issues involved, I have no idea what my opinion is. On the one hand, our ability to really substantively teach people things over the internet has been radically transformed in only a few years and keeps getting better. On the other hand, college is so much more than just class. Can online ever truly replace that experience? Do we want it to? Is the modern American college experience inherently unsustainable? Because we're certainly seeing the limits of its scalability.

A lot to think about.
It depends on the field. Surely you can learn History or Economics over the internet, but can you learn physics, chemistry, biology and engineering? I'd say no. So much of your education in the sciences is dependent on hands-on laboratory experience.
 
#8
It depends on the field. Surely you can learn History or Economics over the internet, but can you learn physics, chemistry, biology and engineering? I'd say no. So much of your education in the sciences is dependent on hands-on laboratory experience.
I kinda agree. I think at the end of the day, online comes to supplement traditional college education, rather than replace it. In one of those articles they talk about "teaching in reverse" where the students watch the lecture portion outside of class, and do the "homework" part in-class, allowing class time to be about collaborative problem-solving. That sound like a good idea.

Okay. Today's entry: A journey into a parallel universe in which we don't have a First Amendment. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/world/europe/trial-of-soccer-star-terry-revolves-around-foul-language.html?hp

If it was an odd spectacle, hearing such language in a sober British courtroom full of sober British lawyers, so was this an odd case, one seemingly without precedent in British soccer history. Mr. Terry, captain of the Premier League team Chelsea, and captain of the England national team before his arrest, is charged with committing a racially aggravated public order offense — using a racial slur — against Mr. Ferdinand, a defender for Queens Park Rangers, in a game last October.
Now, as a follower of English soccer, I think it's necessary to add that John Terry, for many reasons totally separate from this incident, is a world-class a-hole and he deserves whatever he gets. He's also a great, great player.
 
#9
A Legend in My Own Mind
Montgomery, IL
Now, as a follower of English soccer, I think it's necessary to add that John Terry, for many reasons totally separate from this incident, is a world-class a-hole and he deserves whatever he gets. He's also a great, great player.
For this to play out in the courtroom seems a bit silly to me. I just hope the FA throws the book at him and he receives a nice suspension like Luis Suarez last year.
 
#11
This is a freakishly good article. A fairly detailed example of a disaster. I saw such things and detailed one on hear a year or two ago when I was a medical student. My residency and my current hospitals allow far less autonomy to medical residents and students but the lesson should be stark to anyone.

NEVER GO TO A TEACHING HOSPITAL IN JULY. IT IS AKIN TO COMMITTING SUICIDE.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20101113-Parkland-knee-surgery-done-by-doctor-4288.ece
 
#12
A friend of mine starts her residency here pretty soon. (Might have already started now that I think about it). I wish her luck!
 
#14
Well, I can't let this thread drop off the first page, can I?

I'm not sure what the hell this is, but I enjoyed it:

Now, Park has succeeded where the K-Pop entertainment-industrial-complex and its superstars have failed so many times before: he's made it in America. The opening track on his sixth album, "Gangnam Style" (watch it at right), has earned 49 million hits on YouTube since its mid-July release, but the viral spread was just the start.
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/gangnam-style-dissected-the-subversive-message-within-south-koreas-music-video-sensation/261462/

Be sure to watch the video. It's ridiculous.