Wielding Weapons Against Cancer

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The June issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance profiles a handful of pharmaceutical companies poised to post healthy gains thanks to new drugs that could tip the scales in the battle against cancer.  I had the pleasure of reworking an old idea to fit the story.

21. April 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Big Data on Campus

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New work for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s big  look at the “big data” on campus. Being able to collect and analyze all sorts of information is reshaping colleges, sometimes for the better, but it comes with some limitations.

 

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One big problem, is the struggle to keep up with it. Data systems are overwhelming facutly and staff because no one is given time to test them before implementation.

 

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Another issue, the idea of ‘big data’ came down from another world–business. While business leaders think they’re doing those in the humanities a great favor by giving them this gift, they’re handing them a force that can be as destructive as it is creative.

19. April 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Egg-cellent Lighting

Chickens love LED lights. Created for Texas Co-op Power

Chickens love LED lights. Created for Texas Co-op Power

Chickens love LED lights—and not because they help lower their electric bills. New research shows that the energy efficient bulbs trick the birds into thinking it’s summer. That means no decrease in egg production in fall and winter. Read all about it in Texas Co-op Power.

18. April 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Invisible Employees

Attempting to unravel the regulations that protect absent employees

One thing you don’t have to worry about when you’re self-employed is absent employees. Larger organizations aren’t so lucky. There are lots of federal regulations that protect workers thanks to the EEOC, ADA, ADAAA and FAMLA.There are also state laws that provide additional protections. All of this can make compliance tricky. The current issue of Risk Management Magazine tries to make  sense of the red tape that surrounds this unseen part of the workforce.

04. April 2017 by John W. Tomac
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A Healing Economy

ealed by Monetary Policy..Now the bill is due

Here’s a quick-turnaround job for TIME. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates–and maybe that’s a good thing for the economy. The author says low rates and quantitative easing were the treatment for a sick economy. Now that we’re nearly back to health, er full employment, a rate hike is the equivalent of paying the doctor for his services.

17. March 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Stick to Sports

Conservative sports fans respond to a growing, vocally liberal sports writers.

Here’s a recent assignment for The Ringer. Since the run-up to last year’s election, a number of sportswriters have injected a healthy dose of political opinions in their columns and on social media. More often than not, these scribes have been extremely critical of the president and his party. Not all of their readers are thrilled by this development. Read the whole story here.

16. March 2017 by John W. Tomac
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Liberty’s Flameout

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Last Saturday, I was working in my the studio with the TV on in the background. In the middle of the afternoon, the news started reporting spontaneous protests at JFK and other airports around the country in response to the Executive Order banning residents of seven countries from entering the country. As the afternoon progressed, the crowds got larger. In the early evening word spread across twitter that a crowd was gathering outside the Federal Court House at Cadman Plaza. After the kids were in bed, I hopped on my bicycle and headed toward downtown Brooklyn. I felt that I had to do something.

I live in a neighborhood with a growing Arab population. My wife teaches at a school with a large immigrant population, primarily from Mexico. My brother married the daughter of Persian immigrants. I went to school with Muslims and refugees, they were my classmates and teammates. When people talk about building the wall, deporting all the ‘illegals’, banning Muslims and refugees they are talking about my neighbors, my friends and my family.  How can I ever hope to look any of these people in the eye if I stand on the sidelines and say or do nothing?

I reached the court house at the same moment Judge Donnelly’s decision reached the crowd. A roar went up and I hung around for a while taking in the celebration. Despite that victory and the others that followed last week, I’m still worried. We’re in a strange place. America has its warts, for sure, but right now it seems we’re being dragged somewhere dark, away from the ideals that we tell ourselves we’re striving for. The President’s autocratic and kleptocratic streaks are troubling. Couple them with cruel policies like building the wall, banning Muslims, repealing the ACA, gutting consumer and environmental protections–to say nothing of the threat of catastrophic climate change or war from all the idiotic saber-rattling and it’s hard not be afraid for the future.

Those are the things I thought about on the ride home, with the Statue of Liberty in full view for a good chunk of my trip. Are we still the to be beacon of freedom, that we like to tell ourselves that we are? Right now it feels like we’re turing off the lights and hiding in the dark.

06. February 2017 by John W. Tomac
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