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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Future of local reporting in the Internet Age and the death of newspapers

political cartoon on newspapers going out of business, 'When I was a kid, I carried the . . . Minneapolis Star,' reminisces Jack Ohman, 'Paper Trails...,' Oregonian, Mar. 22, 2009, p. E2

PHOTO: (click to enlarge) a political cartoon about the death of newspapers. Similar to the above political cartoonist, I was also a Minneapolis Star evening newspaper boy and therefore amused to see his caption that reminisces, 'When I was a kid, I carried the . . . Minneapolis Star.' (Cartoon by Jack Ohman the Oregonian editorial cartoonist in "Paper Trails. . .," Oregonian, Mar. 22, 2009, p. E2. See and my previous posts Minneapolis Star newspaper boy Jack Ohman (3/24/09), Newspaper TV guides R.I.P. (9/25/10), Corvallis newspaper circulation (10/15/08) and Kim Kraemer auto mechanic 1980 (11/7/09))

Here is my letter to the editor commenting on the future of local newspaper reporting:

While collecting money each week from my older customers, in my first real job as a 12 year-old newspaper delivery boy, I recall them fretting that new-fangled TV technology would cause the demise of local newspapers. At that time, even small cities had multiple competing newspapers with morning and afternoon editions.

Indeed, the advent of TV led to the demise of evening newspapers, including the G-T, which to stay in business had to become a morning paper and convert from molten metal letterpress to computer typeset offset printing technology.

Today, older newspaper customers similarly fret new-fangled internet technology will cause the demise of local news reporting, both in print and online. One example was the discussion at a Corvallis City Club meeting led by the recently "retired" editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald, Hasso Hering. (See Nov. 13 article in the Democrat-Herald, "Panel looks at future of local media" or Gazette-Times, "Tomorrow's news today.")

Having spent decades managing and investing in high-tech businesses that literally go obsolete every few years, I am sympathetic to the plight of newspaper publishers.

Decades ago, a beleaguered publisher of the G-T blamed the disappearance of newspaper boys on the "lesser work ethic of the younger generation." On the contrary, I believe today's boys and girls, who would have probably delivered newspapers in the 20th Century, will invent a way to provide local news reporting for a profit in the 21st Century.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Kids still have initiative," Gazette-Times and Democrat-Herald, Nov. 25, 2012, p. C4)

See these links:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OSU vs. U of O and trans love

FTM female-to-male trangender Buck Angel. Too much woman for gay men? Village Voice 'Queer Issue' insert, June 18-24, 2008, p. 12, 14, 19 PHOTO: transgender FTM female-to-male Buck Angel featured in an article by Michael Lavers, "LGBT Without the T, As transgenders push for respect, a rift grows with traditional gay leadership," Village Voice "Queer Issue" insert, June 18-24, 2008, p. 12, 14, 19 published online as "Buck Angel, A Man With a Pussy: LGB Without the T". See previous post Transgender FTM female-to-male Buck Angel (7/3/08)

I was reminded of the above article when I read the Oregon State University student newspaper opinion column by Irene Drage, "Speak against transphobia," Barometer, posted November 18, 2012. She says, "You don't have to be queer to stand up for what you know is right; you just have to know what's wrong. In response to the question, "How can allies help to end discrimination?" on the OSU Pride Center's page, one of the answers is "They can interrupt gay jokes and derogatory comments." It's short, it's to the point, and it is absolutely correct." Also, Nov. 20 was the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I mentioned a century-old trans case in my OSU history: See Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010 available on the Web site -- "Corvallis, Oregon is located across the Willamette River from Albany, Oregon, the birthplace of "Alberta Lucille Hart" who lived as the man "Alan Hart" in the early part of the 20th century."

Coincidentally, another column by Megan Campbell, forum editor, "Corvallis doesn't mind stomping in the mud, smells better than Eugene," Barometer, posted Nov. 21, 2012 was primarily intended to be a humorous love letter to OSU and Corvallis, in preparation for the annual Civil War football game against the University of Oregon team from Eugene. However, I found it interesting that she freely confessed having a gender atypical major: "I once thought I was going to be a mechanical engineer. My career choices have changed, but my distaste for Eugene has not." She made this confession as an excuse for being an "artsy person" who should have logically attended the U of O.

On the same theme of "I love OSU better than U of O," was the editorial by Don Iler, "Even without the flash, OSU still better than U of O," Barometer, posted Nov. 21, 2012. Here are some selected quotes:

You'd think I should be at the University of Oregon right now.

I am a journalist. The University of Oregon has the state's sole journalism school.

. .

Yes, we have a College of Agriculture. And that does mean that sometimes campus smells like agriculture. But that college also happens to be one of the best agriculture schools in the country. Does your school have its own sheep herd, meat processing facility, brewery, vineyard or cheese? No, it doesn't. We also invented the Marischino cherry. You're welcome.

We have our own forest, north of Corvallis, where the College of Forestry performs research. Matthew Knight Arena may have the outline of trees on its floorboards, but it sure as heck does not have a forest. Also our College of Forestry is the best in the country. Are the Ducks the best at anything? No, Stanford showed them that.

Our campus has a covered bridge, a wave laboratory and a nuclear reactor. You don't.

. . .

We have a College of Engineering and a College of Pharmacy. I guess you have a Law School, but which is cooler, drugs and building things, or some dusty law books?

. . .

And then there is the question of school newspapers. Our newspaper won the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award last year for best all-around daily student newspaper in the region. You didn't. We get no training, we get paid less than you and we still make a better paper. And we do it five days a week.

Don Iler is a senior in history.

(Quoted from Don Iler, "Even without the flash, OSU still better than U of O," Barometer, posted Nov. 21, 2012)

Listed below is some other loosely rleated things of interest I've read recently:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

OSU Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez and OSU Pride Center building

PHOTO: Oregon State University vice provost of student affairs, Larry Roper, spoke at the ground breaking for new home of OSU Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez, which celebrated over 30-years of being on campus. It is one of several cultural centers at OSU, including the Oregon State University Pride Center for gay students. See article by Don Iler, "Breaking ground for a new cultural center," Barometer, Nov. 2, 2012, p. 1 and the previous story by Jaclyn Caballero, "Cultural center unfazed by the weight of looming construction, Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez working with UHDS to maintain the center's prime location near the new parking structure," Barometer, March 8, 2005. Cultural Centers at OSU have played an important role in supporting diversity over the last 4 decades. For more on the history of cultural centers at OSU see the history by Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Neither Bush-care nor Obama-care solves healthcare demand dilemma

Cover of paperback book Medicare and You 2013

PHOTO: cover of paperback book, which was mailed to all Medicare recipients, "Medicare & You 2013" from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2013 edition accessed Nov. 1, 2012 (PDF). Also see

The partisan bickering over healthcare frustrates me because nobody seems to be accepting the fact that there is an unlimited demand for healthcare and no magic potion will provide it for everyone at a reasonable. Although it was probably a waste of my time, I nonetheless wrote the following letter to the editor as a way of venting my frustration:

The Democrats' Obama-care health insurance plan appears certain given the election results. A prototype of how it will probably be implemented is the Republicans' Bush-care Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance.

Anybody curious about how the completely privatized Part D works can download from the 140 page book "Medicare & You 2013." This PDF is identical to the paperback book mailed to every Medicare recipient, except for missing the price list of plans available in Oregon during the open enrollment period ending Dec. 7, 2012.

For 2013, in Oregon there are 30 Part D plans costing an extra 15 to 122 dollars per month in addition to the "Original Medicare" health insurance premium of approximately 100 dollars per month (for most people). Alternately, Part D is included in the price of some privately run "Medicare Advantage" plans.

The Bush-care legislation promised lower taxes due to the "free market competition" of "Medicare Advantage" and Part D. Republicans said it would justify privatizing all of Medicare.

In fact, Bush-care failed. The Original Medicare program is still more efficient while maintaining a competitive approval rating.

Obama-care similarly fails to solve the dilemma of how to equitably allocate limited healthcare resources because Republicans rejected any solution as being a "death Panel." Despite this, nearly everyone, someday, will have an infinite demand for healthcare because they want to stay alive forever at any cost.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Medicare Part D is failed prototype of Obama health care," Gazette-Times, posted Nov. 14, 2012)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

OSU Barometer gay marriage editorial shows 40 years of progress

Barometer editorial 'Legalize gay marriage here too' Nov. 8, 2012, p. 3

PHOTO: Oregon State University's student newspaper Staff, "Editorial: Legalize gay marriage here too," Barometer, Nov. 6, 2012, p. 3 shows the progress made since 40 years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Jack Baker's gay marriage case. The history of Baker and his connection to Oregon State University is documented in the history by Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010 on This editorial adds to a previous pro-gay marriage opinion printed this year in "The Barometer," See my previous post OSU students support drag, gay marriage and anti-gay newspapers (10/25/12).

Photo of story about gay women on page 7 of Jan. 9, 1976 Corvallis Gazette-Times

PHOTO: Jan. 9, 1976 feature article by Anne Wood, "Gay women: Coming out of the closet in Corvallis, 'Now I want to marry this woman,' " on p. 7-8 of (Corvallis, Oregon) Gazette-Times. One of the women profiled in the article came out in a letter to the editor of her student newspaper and she was active in early gay women's groups at Oregon State University. See previous post Gay 1976 newspaper controversy (5/3/06) on gay women in Corvallis wanting to get married. Also see Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010 on

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gay dot com snot stars in Silicon Valley Start-ups reality TV show

Gay David Murray in Speedo and boyfriend Dave in Bravo reality TV show Start-ups Silicon Valley 20121105

PHOTO: the openly gay "Silicon Valley Start-ups" reality TV cast member David Murray (top left) shows off his painted body spray tan in a Speedo next to his boyfriend Dave. See "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley," Season 1 premiered Nov. 5, 2012 (I watched the show on Comcast Cable TV Bravo Channel 779 10:01-10-31PM PT) Show description: Get a glimpse inside the high-stakes worlds of tech makers in Silicon Valley.. The David Murray biography at says, "Age 29, Hometown, Albuquerque, NM, Profession, Entrepreneur and CEO, Goalsponsors, Inc. -- David Murray is one missed mortgage payment away from losing everything. Still, he's setting his sights on creating the next big app without funding. His positive attitude makes him everyone's best friend, but when those friends force him to pick sides, David is reluctantly stuck in the middle." Also see David Murray photos and articles by Boonsri Dickinson, "Meet The 7 Stars Of The New Silicon Valley Reality Show" posted April 5, 2012 and Brock Keeling, "Meet The Cast Of Bravo's New Silicon Valley Reality Show," posted April 5, 2012.

Perhaps it is because I am too blind to recognize faces anymore, but I found watching this show to be tedious despite the fact that I could reminisce about my years working in Silicon Valley. It was interesting to see that the city of Palo Alto, California now has an elegant Four Seasons Silicon Valley Hotel, which is light years from the rat trap I had to stay at when I first visited the valley. Of course, this is probably a sign of the end when things get that comfortable.

The executive producer of the "Startups" program is Randi Zuckerberg, who is the sister of FaceBook Founder Mark Zuckerberg. I can guess where some of the money came from to produce this show. I suspect she likes reality TV because, despite what many critics say, this show does have some interesting moments, but I still find it hard to watch young dot com snots that are arrogantly optimistic about their new and better mouse trap idea will take over the world. I can't criticize them, however, because I've been guilty of having this kind of arrogance of youth when I was younger and I bet this type of arrogance is required to get past the hurdles facing all new things. However, as the TV show admitted, very few individual actually achieve making anything of lasting value in Silicon Valley. It is hard to get excited about yet another Web site to help you live life.

The "Startups" show highlights the casual attire tradition in Silicon Valley, even showing a close-up of the thongs or flip-flops sandals being worn by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. The granddaddy of Silicon Valley was the Hewlett-Packard company where co-founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard rejected the back east suit and tie tradition for a shirt sleeve attire, albeit dress shirts, as the dress code for their company. See my previous posts Bill & Dave by Michael S. Malone (5/22/07) and Obama and Facebook founder take off jackets in Silicon Valley fashion tradition (4/20/11).

Openly gay Silicon Valley company founders are not new. For example, Chris Hughes is mentioned in my previous post Openly gay Facebook founder in old HP building 17 Palo Alto (1/8/11). I don't know if it is a coincidence, but it seems to me that gay software engineers and computer scientists are more common than hardcore engineers, electrical, chemical or mechanical. Software writers always consider themselves to be creative like an artist or theater arts person, whereas most hardcore engineers view themselves as analytical nerds like the character Spock in Star Trek. Although there may be a difference, I believe gay hardcore engineers are just as numerous as the more expressive and creative software engineers.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Government time standard via Web clock display

The above internet Web time clock display is provided by the U.S. Government National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a public service using the Flash Widget (See description page). It is a web clock showing the official time of day from NIST, displayed as a 12 or 24-hour clock, in a user-selectable time zone. The default time zone comes from the time zone setting on the client's computer, and it re-synchronizes with NIST every 10 minutes. It is very accurate, but is intended as a service only because it is not a traceable time standard, which is required for certain legal or scientific measurements and experiments. Note that links to a widget that works with more secure browser settings and the other government time service at will work with less secure browser security settings.

Everyone gets to change their clocks tonight by falling back one hour tonight. I have never understood Daylight Savings time and I know that dairy farmers in Minnesota have always hated it because cows don't change their schedules. Fortunately, this year I own some battery powered digital clocks that automatically receive the radio time signal from the U.S. government. They will reset themselves automatically.

Decades ago, the only time of day services available to the general public for setting their watches and clocks was wither the phone company's audio time of day message service, which could be listened to by calling a special phone number with any standard telephone, or by listening to the over-the-air radio signal broadcast by U.S. government's WWV station on the short wave radio band.

For some unknown reason, as a child I enjoyed calling the time of day phone number and later using by father's short wave radio to set my mechanical wind-up watch to the exact time. This is how I first discovered that my mechanical watch drifted by a minute per day whereas the wall clocks in my house, which were plugged into a 120V wall socket, would keep perfect time. My dad, being an old military radio technician, was able to explain to me the reason -- the electric power company, for various technical reasons, must keep the 60 cycles per second alternating current they generate exactly at 60 Hertz or suffer possible catastrophic failures of the power grid. As a result, electric clocks can be very accurate by using a gear driven synchronous motor that electro-mechanically counts the number of AC power cycles.

When electronic digital LED clocks first appeared in the 1970s, they were also able to count the power line cycles to generate very accurate time, assuming there were no power outages or noise on the power line. Of course, some of these problems can be solved with various circuit designs that also use battery backup, which can maintain the time during a power outage by courting the cycles generated by a small vibrating crystal in the clock.

Of course, keeping time by counting power line cycles requires the clock to be plugged into a known frequency, such as 60 Hertz AC power, which is standard in America. However, in Europe 50 Hertz is common and so digital clock makers must modify their clock for each country. In addition, other country's voltage standards range from 100 Volts AC to 240 Volts and more.

As a result, it can be an engineering challenge to design a wall plug that can be safely connected to and counted by low voltage digital clock circuitry. Meeting every country's safety regulations is an expensive process. To cut corners and cheapen things, too many digital clock makers today no longer count the AC power line frequency and instead use a cheap digital watch crystal to keep time, which is not very accurate.

I recently bought a Sony digital clock that plugs into the wall, but it drifts off time in a few months, probably because it is not counting power line frequency, but using a watch crystal.

I guess I'll see tonight if the above clock Widget resets itself correctly, which I assume it will.

On an unrelated note, I appear to have had more vision loss in the last few weeks and some other physical signs that are not good according to doctors -- I might become even less able to blog in the future. All I hope and pray for is that I have a peaceful death.