Wiki-Watchers

The New York Times posted a lengthy article about the Wikipedia by writer Jonathan Dee today. In “All the News That’s Fit to Print Out,” Dee catches up with some of the human administrators behind the massive site and explores the way Wikipedia has turned into a nearly instantly updated news source for breaking news. It is a profile of the cyber-encyclopedia’s watchful stewards and well worth the read.

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Video Gaming non-Addiction

Addiction specialists said yesterday that video gaming is not a mental addiction. Formally calling video game addiction an “addiction” would have paved the road for insurance coverage of the disorder. The full delegation of American Medical Association members will vote on the matter later in the week, but the committee’s recommendation has likely damned the issue. The American Psychological Association could take up the issue again when it revises its diagnostic manual in 2012.

On the farm

How much are eggs worth? About $2 per dozen? Or maybe $3 a dozen for farm-fresh eggs sold by a cute young boy? In this case, the cute young boy happens to have cystic fibrosis and happened to be selling the eggs at auction to help out others with the disease. His eggs also happened to raise more than $1,000 a dozen.

In fact, over the last two years, 6-year-old Carsten Manring has raised just over $15,000 by selling five dozen eggs at benefit auctions. Board members at Eagle Mount told me recently that they consider young Manring to be one of their biggest donors in the last two years (indirectly, of course).

I spent part of Monday at the Manring’s farm south of Three Forks. They live near the Madison River off a rough dirt road at the end of an even rougher driveway.  They have a small two-story house, a few outbuildings, and an assortment of animals. It is the epitome of modern country living, and not the kind of “country living” that you read about in magazines.

The Manrings, from my impression, are practical, hard-working people who spend more time outside doing the daily work of the farm rather than recreating inside. They are normal folks coping with a serious disease that, at the hardest times, threatens their son’s life and, the rest of the time, makes life difficult and expensive.

That’s what makes their son’s charitable spirit news. Rather than keep the money for himself–to pay for his medication or to buy the four-wheeler he dreams of–he donates half of what he earns selling his eggs each day to nonprofits around the county, and he offers his eggs at auction where they fetch more than some oil paintings and vacation packages.

Maybe in the long run Manring’s contribution won’t make a huge different in the search for a cure for CF, but it will make a difference in his family that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Monday Update

Finally finished the story on the Montana Center for International Visitors today. It’s been hell getting time to work on it over the past few weeks, but it will finally appear in the paper this week. It’s nice to have it finished, but what comes next? Panic!

Satellite Blues

Reuters reported Friday that the head of the U.S. Air Force intelligence and surveillance rued the advent of commercial satellite technology, such as the kind found in Google Earth. Lt. Gen. David Deptula told reporters in Washington, D.C., that the technology posed a security risk to the U.S., but at this point nothing can be done to turn back to the clock. The future, he hinted, was in camouflaging critical sites from the air.

Authorial Confusion

A New York jury found writer Laura Albert guilty of defrauding Antidote International Films after she sold them the rights to a book the film company believed was the autobiography of a male prostitute.

Albert wrote the book Sarah, a fictional autobiography of a teenaged male prostitute. The book was marketed as an autobiography, which is why Antidote optioned the book.

The AP reported today that Albert “went to strange lengths to hide her identity” from the film company. For example, she would have male friends go to book signings as the prostitute JT LeRoy and tell fictional tales to journalists.

She was ordered to pay more than $100,000 in damages for the work Antidote had already put into the film.

Here’s where the story gets weird(er): Albert has a history of assuming male personas, which she testified was compensating for sexual abuse she suffered as a child.

At one point, Albert made the argument that writers should be able to work under pseudonyms if they choose–a great idea and one I fully support. However, signing contracts under the false name without your business partners knowing…not smart.