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California High-Speed Rail—Some Views from the Valley

July 28, 2014 For those joining us late: California's controversial High-Speed Rail project is worth paying attention to, no matter where you live. While everyone moans about America's decaying infrastructure, this is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project anywhere in the country. Its outcome has a bearing on Jerry Brown's current campaign...

The FAA Warned Airlines Not to Fly Over Ukraine

July 17, 2014 Many crucial questions about the tragic/disastrous apparent shootdown of the Malaysia Airlines flight in Ukraine are still unanswerable. Who did it? Why? With what warning? Or repercussions? But at this point one question can be answered: Did aviation authorities know that this was a dangerous area? Yes, they most certainly...

Iron Dome—Savior, or Sales Job?

July 15, 2014 In its lead story this morning, the WaPo tells us that Israel's famous "Iron Dome" air defense system has been a huge technical success that has changed the realities of battle. The system, for the record, was developed in Israel, is produced by U.S. and Israeli contractors, and is mainly...

Smaller Towns as Talent Magnets — the Chance to Make Things Work

July 7, 2014 As we've spent time in smaller towns that are undertaking economic or cultural recoveries, my wife Deb and I have repeatedly been struck by a certain migration pattern. This is the presence, and importance, of ambitious people at the beginning of their careers who have chosen to fulfill those ambitions...

The Electronic-Medical-Records Email(s) of the Day, No. 2

April 21, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For background on the EMR saga, see this original article and previous installments one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Today, let's talk technical and business specifics of electronic-record software. First, from someone in this business, a vivid and specific illustration of the overall distortion of the medical marketplace....

The Electronic-Medical-Records Email of the Day, No. 1

April 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Background: In last month's issue of The Atlantic (subscribe!) I had a brief Q&A with Dr. David Blumenthal, who had kicked off the Obama Administration's effort to encourage use of electronic medical records. Since then, the mail has kept gushing in, as reported in previous as reported in in our...

Heartbleed Update: Sites That Tell You Which Passwords You Should Bother to Change

April 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For background, see this early Heartbleed dispatch on general principles of password hygiene, and this one on a range of test utilities to check whether possibly affected sites have yet been repaired. Your simple two-point checklist for today and the weekend: 1) In addition to some of the other test...

How to Check If a Site Is Safe From 'Heartbleed'

April 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This post follows one a few hours ago about the Heartbleed security failure, and for safety's sake it repeats information I have added to that post as an update. Point 1: If you would like to test to see whether a site is exposed to the loophole created (over the...

Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper

April 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The health-care system is one of the most technology-dependent parts of the American economy, and one of the most primitive. Every patient knows, and dreads, the first stage of any doctor visit: sitting down with a clipboard and filling out forms by hand. David Blumenthal, a physician and former Harvard...

When Will Genomics Cure Cancer?

January 2, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Since the beginning of this century, the most rapidly advancing field in the life sciences, and perhaps in human inquiry of any sort, has been genomics. In 2001, rival teams from the Human Genome Project and the private company Celera each announced a draft sequence of the human genome—a map,...

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