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Fido, your big day at the office is here

Fri, 2014-06-13 12:34

Here's an extended look at the Marketplace Datebook for the week of Jun 16:

We begin with Monday, everyone's favorite day of the week. In Washington, the Federal Reserve reports on industrial production for May.

The State Department hosts a two-day "Our Ocean" conference on protecting the vast bodies of water that cover almost three quarters of our planet.

And in Michigan on June 16th, 1903, Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

Start thinking about broccoli, beets and carrots. Tuesday is Eat Your Vegetables Day. Don't argue with me.

The Commerce Department tells us how many new homes were built in May.

On Wednesday, a Senate Committee holds a hearing on "Aggressive E-Cigarette Marketing and Potential Consequences for Youth."

The Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting on interest rates and the economy.

Then we slow down on Thursday ... maybe wear something fetching for World Sauntering Day.

Just in time to ruin your summer fun, "Jaws" was released to movie-going audiences June 20, 1975.

And finally, Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Yeah, do that. (And don't go into the water.)

"Ivory Tower" and the crippling cost of college

Fri, 2014-06-13 12:10

College tuition is more expensive than ever. In fact, the cost of tuition has risen 1,120 percent since 1978. That's higher than any other good or service during that time. Nevertheless, just under 70 percent of 2013 high school graduates started attending some form of college this past fall.  

Andrew Rossi is the director and producer of a new documentary called "Ivory Tower" that examines the cost of higher education in America. He says the reason college is so popular even though the sticker price keeps rising is that for now, it's keeping its financial promise.

"Higher education is still an engine of social mobility, even as it has grown so expensive. Those who have a college degree actually make in their median lifetime earnings about a million dollars more than those who just have a high school diploma. And that's a really powerful statistic that helps drive the continued demand."

But the average student now graduates with more than $25,000 in loans to pay off, and the nation's graduates owe a cumulative $1.2 trillion. Rossi says the cost is unsustainable, and its a symptom of the corporatization of higher education.

"In an effort to compensate for a reduction in state funding, in an effort to bring students and their student loan dollars to their campuses, many institutions are behaving like big businesses rather than treating their students as pupils. " 

Many of the subjects in Rossi's film argue that the system is unsustainable and headed for a crash, and it could bring down much more than colleges. 

"One of the most devastating consequences would be a sort of macroeconomic one. When young people are saddled with that kind of burden they decide not to form a family, not to buy a house, not to buy a car. It's not just about the constriction of life choices in terms of career and happiness, but it has broader macroeconomic effects on the country."

To hear the full, unedited interview, visit Marketplace's education page "Learning Curve."

How to pronounce 'GIF'

Fri, 2014-06-13 10:48

President Barack Obama, as you might have heard, did a town hall thing on Tumblr this week. In the process he met Tumblr founder David Karp and they, it seems, did a fist-bump of which a gif was created. Except when the president mentioned it, he did so mistakenly. 

Here at Marketplace, we've already settled the burning question of how you pronounce these three little letters: G I F.

The guy who invented the graphics interchange format, which lets images on your computer screen move, kind of like animation, got a Webby lifetime achievement award in May of 2013.

Steve Wilhite is his name. He's had a stroke, so he can't speak. But you can check out the video of his acceptance presentation last night, in which he laid down the law.

It's 'jif,' people, like the peanut butter.  Speaking of which, even the peanut butter maker got in on the debate.

Soccer stickers: "I have a lot of Greece but I need Nigeria."

Fri, 2014-06-13 10:37

Of the millions of fans around the world now glued to the World Cup, my favorite is an endlessly mischievous 4-year-old in Brooklyn. My godson. He and his equally impish 7-year-old brother have been so excited for the World Cup that a game of full-speed kids vs. grownups soccer (pardon me: football) nearly had me wobbling for days after.

The boys are American soccer nuts with a Colombian dad, a mother with Brazilian relatives and a grandmother who grew up in Messi's hometown in Argentina. So they could be loyal to any of those teams.

But the real object of their devotion is a book of stickers that lists all the players, stadiums and even mascots.  They are on a mad dash to collect all the stickers and fill their books. Every morning, almost the first thing that comes out of their mouths is what stickers they need, and whether there's any possibility to get them that day.

"See? I have a lot of Greece," the 7-year-old explains to me. "But I need Nigeria. Don't have a lot of them."

Long pause with studied, plaintive gaze directed at his mother, "When can we get more?"

The Panini sticker book album has become the must-have item for kids (and a LOT of adults) who are following the World Cup. With spots for players, stadiums and mascots, it would take 640 stickers to complete your album… if you magically bought packs of stickers with every player you needed. But of course it never works that way (as my godson with multiple Lionel Messi stickers can attest).

In the U.S., a pack costs $0.99, but of course, you probably need somewhere close to 1,400 packs to get a complete set. Why?

Well, The Economist broke down the amazing "stickernomics" recently, explaining just how nuts people can get about securing the ones they need (a note to that correspondent: I know a child who will trade you a Messi).

There's a rapid sticker trade on the internet, and in stores that sell Panini stickers, too.

Upper 90, a store in Brooklyn devoted to soccer, is sticker central. You can bring in your "extras" – that is, the players you already have – and trade them for the extras they have on hand. My two favorite fans have done it twice, "with great success," reports their mother.

The stickers are such a hot item that the Guardian reported a heist of 300,000 stickers in Brazil.

Mind-boggling, when you think about all the other economic stories around the World Cup.

But I can assure you, that to two small boys I know, a complete set would be absolutely priceless.

LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

A peddler shows Panini's collectible stickers for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 album, in Bogota, on April 28, 2014.

 

Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq

Fri, 2014-06-13 10:31

Following a series of attacks in which the radical Islamist group "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," seized major cities in Iraq and threatened the country's capital of Baghdad, President Obama aknowledged in an address Friday that the situation demanded U.S. assistance for the Iraqi government.

In light of the situation, we are reminded of our 2013 interview with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw military operations for the Bush Administration for much of the Iraq War.

Original interview posted May 16, 2013:

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld published his memoir, “Known and Unknown” in 2011. His latest book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules” suggests he still has lessons to share after a lifetime in politics and business.

The book is a collection of advice that he started collecting through a habit taught to him by his schoolteacher mother. He has about 300 or so in the book.

“If I didn’t know a word she’d say, 'Well write it down and look it up,'" he says. "Then I started writing down various other thoughts and rules and anecdotes.”

The anecdotes Rumsfeld recounts are pulled from his time in office with the Bush, Reagan and Nixon administrations.

Here are three of many Rumsfeld Rules you can find in the book, and the stories behind them:

It’s easier to get into something than it is to get out.

“I thought of that when I was President Reagan’s Middle East envoy and we had 241 Marines killed in Beirut, at the airport. And I concluded then that the United States has to be careful about putting ground forces in because we’re such a big target. And I also, over the years, came to the conclusion over the years that the United States really wasn't* organized, trained and equipped to do nation-building.”

Rumsfeld says this was on his mind as the United States entered Afghanistan and Iraq, but there was "mission creep."

“When you do something, then someone wants you to do something else and then something else and over time, the mission, historically, creeps into something else that was initiated at the outset.”

But in the end, “it’s not easy for countries to evolve and grow, but I think that both of those countries are a whale of a lot better off today than they were before.”

“I’ve been mistaken so many times, I don’t even blush for it anymore.” – Napoleon 

“You see things that don’t turn out the way you hoped.”

Monitor progress through metrics.

“I think that history over time will probably be a better judge than you or I, but I’ve been struck by the amount of criticism that the Bush administration has received and President Bush personally and the attempts to assign blame to him and I think it’s probably not going to sort out that way.”

He says President Bush’s decision to enter Iraq is “something that over time will be better understood.”

 

AUDIO EXTRA: Kai Ryssdal asks Donald Rumsfeld about a reputation for not tolerating dissent.

Marriage and money: Tips before you walk down the aisle

Fri, 2014-06-13 09:05

We often hear about how money issues in a marriage can be a major catalyst for divorce. Whether it's differences in spending habits, debt loads or credit scores, diverging beliefs and habits can be a huge red flag in a relationship.

A 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, found that couples who argue about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to  divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances just a few times per month.

"The best time [to talk about money] is when you're getting along, when you're in the romantic stage, " says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash "[That's] the very time when you should broach it because you'll probably be more open to listening to each other."

Skirting the issues is a big no-no according to Syrtash.

"Put everything on the table because so much of effective relationships is about managing expectations. You need to go in with your eyes wide open," she says. She says, adding that addressing financial differences also means not skimping on the details. "That doesn't just mean learning about your partner's history and partner's finances.  It's about exposing your own vulnerabilities around this."

Once you have gone through the exercise of coming clean, you may find that you and your partner think differently about money. But, she says that compromise is key.

"That's what partnership is about. You come in with different perspectives and you find common ground," she says. "And where you don't find common ground, the hope is that you'll have ultimately the same core values."

As far as protecting oneself from financial ruin caused be a future spouse, there's always a prenuptial agreement. Syrtash says that while they're not for everyone, prenups are not reserved for the rich and famous.

"For many people, if you earn wildly different salaries [or] if you come from a broken home and marriage feels a little bit overwhelming, they feel more secure having this practical approach should, god forbid, things not work out," she says.

In the end, as with most things concerning love and money, it all comes down to communication and cooperation.

Sweeping the World Cup office pool

Fri, 2014-06-13 08:52

No one won the $1 billion offered by Warren Buffett and mortgage company Quicken Loans during this year’s March Madness, but that’s not going to stop hopeful American workers from throwing a few bucks into their World Cup office pool.

The tournament is underway and the fate of your bracket is likely sealed, but what are the odds that you actually chose that elusive perfect pick?

It turns out that choosing brackets for the World Cup is a lot more complicated than most other matches.

Josh Levin, the executive editor of Slate and host of their sports podcast Hang Up And Listen, says building a perfect bracket for the World Cup is more challenging than the NCAA for one big reason.

“The bracket transmogrifies based on who wins in the group stage,” he says. “In the NCAA bracket, you know that if Duke wins in the first round, then they're going to play a certain team in the second round. In the World Cup, if Brazil wins first in its group then it’s on the left side of the bracket. If they finish second in the group they'll be on the right side of the bracket.”

Yes, he just used the word transmogrifies in a sentence. “So you kind of need to predict how teams are going to do in space and in time,” Levin says.

The hands down favorite to win the competition, with backing from FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, is the home team of Brazil. Silver’s Soccer Power Index developed for ESPN puts Brazil at a 45 percent chance of winning.

“There is an algorithm based on past performance, he looks at how teams have done in the World Cup on home soil,” says Levin.

“It considers the fact that Brazil has not lost a competitive game at home since 1975, which is something you'd probably want to factor in. And also Brazil just has a really, really strong team.”

So if you, Josh Levin, and the rest of your office pick the Brazilians to sweep the World Cup then your decisions in the earlier rounds are really going to matter.

“It could come down to the person who picked Columbia to get out of Group C as opposed to Ivory Coast or the prescient prognosticator who had Uruguay making it to the semifinals,” says Levin.

“So you've got to pay close attention to those early round picks.”

Don't have cable and want to watch the World Cup?

Fri, 2014-06-13 08:34

While only about 3 percent of Americans claim men’s soccer as their favorite sport, the 2014 World Cup seems to have compelled some non-fans to pay attention.

For the next month, as 32 soccer teams face off in Brazil, people from around the globe will be glued to their TV screens. Most of them will be able to watch the games for free. But if you're part of an ever growing contingency of Americans known as "cord cutters," those who have boldly cancelled their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming content on the internet, you’re going to have to get a little more creative.

Four years ago, over 24 million Americans tuned in to watch the World Cup. (No small potatoes, but still a paltry figure when compared to the 111.5 million people who tuned in to watch this year's Super Bowl.) Since then, cord-cutting has increased by 44 percent, from 5.1 million to 7.6 million households.

If you live in one of those homes, the bad news is ABC is only broadcasting a handful of the matches for free on broadcast TV, and won't be putting any of them online. Most of the games will be shown on ESPN, meaning you'll need a cable subscription if you want to watch. (If you do have cable, you can use the WatchESPN digital video service to stream games.)

That is -- if you want to watch in English.

Spanish language broadcast network Univision may be your saving grace. Univision is streaming the first 56 matches at its website (Google's Chrome browser can translate the site if you can't read Spanish) and Univision will broadcast games after the quarterfinals on TV. Univision pulled in two times the number of viewers as ESPN during the 2010 Cup.

For the more savvy internet users among you, the thing all the cool kids are doing to watch this World Cup is to use a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs essentially fool a streaming service that is restricted to a certain country into thinking you live there. Tunnelbear, VyprVPN, and Unotelly are all popular and easy to use VPNs.

And, of course, there’s always the old fashioned way: Knock off work early, head to your local bar, plop down on a stool, order a drink, look up at the TV and enjoy. This might not be the most healthy or economical way, but it could be the most fun. But as they say in the commercials, please drink responsibly.

Still not satisfied? Deadspin has put together an exhaustive list, game-by-game, or where you can watch each match online.

Things your dad likes: Tools, electronics, crackers

Fri, 2014-06-13 08:06

Father's Day is coming up, and while your dad probably said that all he wants is a pair of socks or a new tie for a gift, he's really got his eye on that awesome chainsaw or that shiny new smartphone, that is, if you go off of the findings from research organization YouGov, which has a survey of the best perceived brands by fathers. Power-tool maker Craftsman took the top spot, among other home improvement and technology brands.

According to YouGov's BrandIndex survey, household brand Clorox made the biggest leap in positive perception, taking the sixth place on the list, which is possibly indicative of the more active role fathers are taking in household responsibilites. Also moving up into the top 10 was cracker brand Ritz, reminding us of or dads' continued snacking needs as it joins on the list tech companies like Samsung, Sony and Amazon, and the media brands YouTube and the History Channel.

Moving out of the list compared to last year were Cheerios, Johnson & Johnson and M & Ms.

YouGov on their survey methods:

YouGov BrandIndex filtered their entire 1,100+ brand universe for respondents who identified themselves as men age 18 and over with children under 18 years old. The firm then ranked them using their flagship Index score, which measures brand health by averaging sub-scores on quality, satisfaction, impression, value, reputation and willingness to recommend. The scores reflect surveying over the past 30 days.

See the full list in the graphic below.

 

PODCAST: Open sourced electric cars

Fri, 2014-06-13 03:00

Elon Musk announced that Tesla would be opening up its patents for other companies to use. This open source policy could be a shrewd move for the company -- the more there is a culture around electric cars, the better chance they have of actually selling electric vehicles. Plus, President Obama makes his first visit to a Native American reservation as president. Also, with the U.S. market for fish being made up of 90 percent imports, its problematic that one third of that fish is caught illegally. More on the issues involved in combating illegal fishing.

Tesla's move to open source may be good for business

Fri, 2014-06-13 03:00

Tesla Motors is going open source. Its CEO, Elon Musk, says the electric car company will no longer enforce its patents, in effect allowing competitors not only to peek at the technology Tesla has pioneered, but to copy it.

“Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters,” Musk said in a statement. “That is no longer the case. They have been removed in the spirit of the open source movement for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”

“It is important to understand that, in many ways, patents are a tradeoff,” says R. Polk Wagner, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. “Just because you have patents doesn’t mean you get anything out of them, necessarily.”

Sure, they can be valuable, but getting them and enforcing them is expensive.

According to Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co., the reason Tesla is doing this is “to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and innovation.”

“Tesla is really far ahead, and I think they just want to grow the overall market,” she says.

To succeed, Tesla needs more Americans to feel comfortable driving and buying electric cars. If more companies were to make them, that would help.

“It’s not a charity move,” says Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with AutoTrader.com. “It’s a very smart business move.”

Competitors could use the network of charging stations Tesla is installing, or they could buy Tesla batteries.

Other car companies have charted a similar course in the past.  Volvo decided not to enforce its patent for the three-point safety belt. GM shared the technology behind its catalytic converter.

Tesla says the move is in good faith. The company will still apply for patents, and if necessary, Musk says the carmaker won’t be afraid to fight back.

 

Obama will see problems on reservations first hand

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:47

President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota Friday will let him get a first-hand look at the challenges facing Native Americans. And there are many.

The Census Bureau says 27 percent of Native Americans are poor. Helen Oliff of National Relief Charities says on the reservations her organization serves, the poverty rate is actually higher, which exacerbates another problem: many Native Americans have little access to fresh, healthy food.

“You have a lot of convenience stores on the reservations," Oliff explains. "Many people are 30 to 60 miles away from the nearest regular grocery store.”

That leads many people to eat the pre-packed foods the convenience stores sell. 

Unemployment is also problematic, partly because it's hard to reach jobs from remote reservations.

“When our reservation area was created, back in the day, it really put us in a box, literally," says Scott Davis, a Lakota Sioux and head of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

Davis says the Obama administration has given tribes more autonomy, and President Obama has included the Choctaw Nation in his Promise Zone program, which helps impoverished communities access federal resources. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data on our data: 100,000 malware implants

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:30

This month marks the first anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks that changed our understanding of online privacy. Just like the subject matter of the leaks, the reporting over the last year has offered a deluge of information. So this week, we're posting a short series about all that data. Every day we'll bring you another number that reminds us how much we have learned in the last year about online surveillance and the reach of the NSA.

85,000-100,000

malware implants

This number refers to the bits of malicious software that the National Security Agency has put onto computers around the world. The software allows the government to conduct surveillance, but it's also essentially building a network of weaknesses in our vast system of computing devices.

“This often introduces vulnerabilities to computer systems, and can have far-reaching effects if criminals are able to learn from some of this highly advanced code being deployed by the government,” says Chester Wisniewski of the cybersecurity firm Sophos.

I think this last data point is really profound. No matter how we conduct war, it’s important to remember that when we build new weapons, we run the risk, and the threat, of those weapons being used against us. The question is when and if it's worth it.

Silicon Tally: NSA my name

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week we're joined by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Intercept, and the author of "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State".

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Obama will see problems on reservations first hand

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota Friday will let him get a first-hand look at the challenges facing Native Americans. And there are many.

The Census Bureau says 27 percent of Native Americans are poor. Helen Oliff of National Relief Charities says on the reservations her organization serves, the poverty rate is actually higher, which exacerbates another problem: many Native Americans have little access to fresh, healthy food.

“You have a lot of convenience stores on the reservations," Oliff explains. "Many people are 30 to 60 miles away from the nearest regular grocery store.”

That leads many people to eat the pre-packed foods the convenience stores sell. 

Unemployment is also problematic, partly because it's hard to reach jobs from remote reservations.

“When our reservation area was created, back in the day, it really put us in a box, literally," says Scott Davis, a Lakota Sioux and head of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

Davis says the Obama administration has given tribes more autonomy, and President Obama has included the Choctaw Nation in his Promise Zone program, which helps impoverished communities access federal resources. 

Is Friday 13th an economic drag? Probably not

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

When Friday the 13th rolls around, we often hear reports that the date is unlucky for the economy. Superstitious employees, we're told, call out sick from work, frightened flyers cancel plane tickets and more than a few of us won't leave the house to go shopping. So, is it true? 

Dan Ilves, senior vice president of leisure at Travel Store, is inclined to call it bunk.

"I've never heard of a client or had a client tell me they will absolutely not fly on Friday the 13th," Ilves said. 

Lisa Hale, who directs the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment, says that while 25 percent of the population cops to being superstitious, only about 1 percent identify as "very superstitious." Those folks might avoid the workplace on Friday the 13th, but, Hale points out,  superstitious people help pump money into the economy, too. Someone, after all, is buying all those lucky rabbit foot keychains. 

Illegal catches hurt fishermen and fish populations

Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

Almost all the seafood Americans eat -- 90 percent, to be exact -- is imported. A new study from the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia found that as much of a third of wild-caught, imported seafood is caught illegally or without proper documentation.

The United States has one of the largest seafood markets in the world with these illegal imports potentially adding up to $2 billion dollars; a huge bite out of the pockets of American fishermen.

To understand why illegal catches are such a big deal just ask a fishermen.

“Well, it’s a lot harder because of the damage done to the stock,” says Willy Hatch, who runs a charter and commercial fishing boat in Falmouth, Mass. Hatch fishes for tuna and says a combination of fewer fish to catch, and cheap, illegal tuna imported from countries like Thailand and the Philippines drives the price down for fishermen like him.

“America is an expensive country to live in and operate and we’re held to the highest levels of conservation and we have to compete against other countries where they’re pretty much allowed to go hog wild,” he says.

“It's hugely more expensive,” says Logan Kock, vice president of strategic purchasing & responsible sourcing for Santa Monica Seafood, a distributor. He says limits on fishermen are important but the restrictions can cut into their profits. Kock points to one local fishery in particular.

"They had to design nets where the top edge is down about 30 feet -- that's to allow marine mammals and turtles to go above it. It has to have pingers on it, in case at night marine mammals come by, they'll be able to sense the presence of a net. Those guys can't fish within three miles because that's where young threshers are growing -- it's a nursery. They can't fish offshore at other times of the year because that's when other fish are breeding. They can't fish in the non-marine protected areas. There's an abundance of restrictions that are on them, that not only restrict the areas where they can fish but it also drives the cost of their fishing practices way up."

Kock notes illegal imports squeeze fishermen the most -- those working under the table drop prices to unload their catches, so law-abiding fishermen are often forced to drop their prices to compete. But he says the practice creates ripples.

“There’s the collateral fix because that fisherman has a boat, the boat needs ice, the boat needs fuel, the boat needs repairs. And so it's a community thing.”

Megahn Brosnan, manager of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Ending Illegal Fishing project, says this is neither a problem for the United States to fix on its own, nor one that other countries should tackle independently.

“This is a global problem -- it really is," she says.

Brosnan notes that almost a third of all fish populations in the world have been overfished. She says the supply chain needs more oversight, all fishing vessels should receive unique identification numbers, and ports should have more inspectors. Otherwise, resources will continue to be depleted:

“If at a certain point, if you take too many mom and dad fish, then there’s just not going to be enough to go around.”

Brosnan says that with big oceans where even aircraft carriers look tiny, trying to stop illegal fishing needs to be an international effort.

Data opens doors in healthcare, but then what?

Fri, 2014-06-13 01:00

In healthcare these days, data is king. The primary care offices in Camden, N.J., have access to some of the most sophisticated patient data in the country.

They can track many of their sickest and most expensive patients across the city’s healthcare system, which gives them a better handle on the kind of primary care that will keep them out of the hospital. 

But the efforts of the Urban Health Institute – one primary care office in the city – show why for all of data’s promise there are real world limits. 

Every morning, a team of nurses, social workers, and healthcare coordinators reviews the patient data that pours in from the city’s three hospitals. If one of their patients has been admitted, they’ll go to that patient’s bedside to set up a primary care appointment.

To do list

Jessica Kourkounis

Studies show hospital readmissions drop if a patient gets primary care follow-up within seven days of discharge. One of the biggest tests for the healthcare system is how well doctors and hospitals find ways to respond to the lives the data reveals.

UHI’s Amy Kaplan says while the data leads right where she needs do go, she doesn’t know who she’ll find in that room.

“A majority of the encounters [with patients] are not simply: you go in, the phone number is correct, you make the appointment, you leave.”

Often, she says, “it takes digging around, and that takes time.”

Many patients are what are called “poor historians": folks who aren’t sure which medications they are taking, the name of their doctor, or even their home address. Other patients don’t have phones or are only able to occasionally borrow a neighbor’s phone.

Marcia Johnson (left) and her team of nurses and health workers at the Urban Health Institute

Jessica Kourkounis

One morning a few weeks ago, the team discussed the case of a patient with a leg wound that required a refrigerated antibiotic. The problem: he’s homeless, so he has no refrigerator.

The solution was to send a homecare nurse to meet him on a street corner a few times a week.

The nurses in the meeting agreed that solution only delayed the inevitable: the guy back in the hospital.

Social worker Marcia Johnson, who oversees the UHI team, knows no amount of data or well-meaning efforts from her staff gets this patient a stable life so he can recover.

“We sit and have these conversations and just kind of think through it,” says Johnson. “Healthcare doesn’t know how to solve some of these problems.”

And while the efforts to help the nearly homeless patient are wholly inadequate to solve all of his problems, it’s a start. It used to be the case that these kinds of patients would just disappear after leaving the hospital.

Thanks to the data they’ve gone from invisible to visible.

This ongoing series on healthcare and data is produced in partnership with Healthy States

Filtering out online education

Thu, 2014-06-12 13:59
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Tesla shows their car-ds

Thu, 2014-06-12 13:34

Elon Musk, founder of the electric car company Tesla, said today he's basically going open source.

He's going to let anyone who wants to, in good faith, use Tesla's patents in the hopes of getting more electric cars on the road faster.

As excited as he was back in the day by his first patent, now Musk says more often than not it's just an invitation to a lawsuit.

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