Monday, June 22, 2009

PR salutes “Web 2.0”: The Millionth Word in the English Language

As a public relations professional at a leading New York City-based PR firm, words are important to me. (For the record, words are also important to my boss, Ken Makovsky, who once devoted an entire entry in his “My Three Cents” blog to his distress over the challenge to the English language posed by texting shorthand.)

So I paid attention when The Global Language Monitor(GLM), announced that — on June 10 at 6:22 am EST — the English language had acquired its one millionth word: “Web 2.0” — defined as “the next generation of web products and services, coming soon to a browser near you.”

Among the finalists for the 1,000,000th word: “Jai Ho,” “N00b,” “slumdog,” cloud computing” and “carbon neutral.”

For the record, at its current rate, English generates about 14.7 words a day, or one every 98 minutes. Based in Austin, TX, GLM documents, analyzes and tracks language trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Technology Is Changing Patients’ Healthcare Experience

Patients who use the internet to find health-related information say it’s having a significant impact on the way they care for themselves and others, according to Navigating the New Health Care Delivery System, a study conducted by the Pew Internet Project in partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation.

While the final report is not out yet, Pew’s Susannah Fox has previewed some of the findings, including the following interesting tidbits:

• 8 out of 10 internet users — or 61% of U.S. adults — have looked online for health information.

• While the vast majority of people with a health question want to consult a health professional, the second most popular choice is friends and family. Third choice: the internet and books.

• 41% of “e-patients” have read someone else's commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website or blog.

• One-quarter of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers online.

• One-quarter of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews online of hospitals or other medical facilities.

• While online health research does not replace traditional sources of health information, the Pew Internet Project finds that e-patients are using the internet to reinforce and supplement traditional sources of care.

It’s not surprising then, that “the majority of consumers want to share decision-making with their doctor. In fact, only 20% are content to let their doctor control those decisions, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in its 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Geek Chic

Okay. I confess it. I’m a technophiliac. I’m a sucker for high-tech-gadgets gadgets … no matter how expensive or unnecessary they may be. Even defunct technology exerts a strange power over me. So I was delighted to find a great little gallery on Boing Boing: “Ten Beautiful Computers.” Featuring examples of some of the most whiz-bang technologies of all times, the list (compiled by Rob Beschizza) includes the:

• ZX Spectrum
• Cray 2
• PDP-10
• Antikythera Mechanism
• Sinclair ZX80
• Macintosh G4 Cube
• Ingraham
• CPC-464
• Difference Engine
• D-Wave Quantum Computer

My personal favorite: the Antikythera mechanism (seen in the image above, before reconstruction). Dating to about 150 BC, this gem of the collection is the oldest known complex mechanical computer.

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