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Ruth Lafler
Works at Thomson-Reuters Corporation
Attended University of California, Santa Barbara
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Ruth Lafler

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In light of the news about Michele Bachmann's migraines, it's an interesting question what medical conditions would make one unfit for the presidency. Of course no one can predict the future and presidents can (and have) developed medical conditions that would have made them unfit during their terms (Wilson, Reagan), but what conditions would you knowingly accept? Obviously FDR managed, but times were different -- there was more time to act/react, less immediacy.
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Ruth Lafler's profile photoDebbie Notkin's profile photo
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Right. JFK had Addison's. With FDR, my understanding was that at times he was too frail to carry out his duties fully and that the stress of the presidency hastened, if not directly caused, his death. (Separate ethical question: is it ethical to give someone to a job you think is more likely to kill him than it would another prospective choice? What probability would you accept? 10 percent? 50 percent?)

What I mean by response times is that with the immediacy of the electronic age, a 21st century president has to be available and "able" 24/7. Frequent or extended times when the president was unavailable would be detrimental. Even during WWII FDR didn't have to be "on" all the time.

While in theory cognition is the most important "ability" in practice the presidency also requires a certain amount of physical stamina and ability physically to withstand immense stress. To what extent can you make accommodations and still have the person running the show be the person the voters chose, and how much transparency should there be? Did the voters choose Edith Wilson? Do we want Al Haig in charge? <g>

I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm saying I think it's a more complicated answer than "of course disability shouldn't matter."
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Ruth Lafler

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I think even my Very Smart friends might find the last set of words challenging. Do I really know a word if I've seen it and understood it in context but can't define it?
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Janet Lafler's profile photoGail Gurman's profile photoRuth Lafler's profile photo
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Thanks for defining it for me, Janet. I'll likely forget it within a week though.
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Okay, for those of you who have delved more deeply into the nuts and bolts of Google+ than I have, a couple of questions:

It's great to have all these circles, but can I customize my stream so it defaults to a specific circle (or circles -- hey, can you put your circles into circles? That would be handy!)? That is, if I have a circle called "family and close friends" (don't we all?) can I set it to default to that instead of a general stream?

Second, and in the same vein -- on Facebook I can "hide" someone -- that is, I don't see their posts in my newsfeed but we are still "friends," I can check in on them periodically, and they can see and comment on my posts (this is particularly useful for people who post about 90 percent about their games, although I have all the game apps completely blocked from my feed as well). Google+ does not seem to have similar option -- I can block someone, but that means completely blocked both ways, and I really don't want to do that.

So, basically, what I'd like to avoid is having my stream default to a vomiting of everything that's been said by everyone I know. Possible?

ETA: It occurred to me that a simple solution would be to change the stream from a check option to an uncheck option. That is, instead of individually choosing the circles you want and seeing them one at a time, you simply uncheck the circles you don't want to see.
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I've been reading the rumors about the new Amazon tablet that is supposed to be released this October. What boggles my mind is that yet again tech bloggers are predicting the demise of the dedicated e-book reader. Tech bloggers apparently don't actually read books, and they mostly hang out with other people interested in cutting edge technology who find dedicated e-book readers boring.

A tablet no more replaces a dedicated e-book reader than a glossy coffee-table book replaces a paperback, and no one who actually reads books from "cover-to-cover" on a regular basis would even suggest that it could or should. Amazon knows this, and I would be surprised if it discontinued dedicated e-book readers. The math is really quite simple: only a fairly small percentage of people actually buy books, and a small percentage of those people do a huge percentage of the purchasing. In other words, the vast majority of books are purchased by a very small number of people; those people who actually buy a lot of books will want and buy a dedicated e-book reader because that's the best way to read books. Many other people will buy a multi-function tablet and they will use it to read books occasionally, but will they buy books? Some -- probably more than they do now, which makes them an appealing target -- but not many. They'll read blogs and other web-based content, or listen to music or chat or watch cat videos, but they won't buy appreciable numbers of books. Rumors are that Apple's ibooks store has been a flop for exactly that reason, while Amazon is continuing to sell huge numbers of Kindles and more important, seeing increased sales to people who own them.

But don't try to tell that to the tech pundits.
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I agree that authors and publishers have yet to scratch the surface of what would be possible. I've said before, one thing that might induce me to buy a tablet would be having cookbooks with recipes that had embedded videos that I could hang on the wall in my kitchen. BTW, I understand that the Nook color is easily hacked and a lot of people are doing that instead of buying a full tablet.
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Have her in circles
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Education
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
    English, 1981 - 1985
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  • Thomson-Reuters Corporation
    Senior Publishing Specialist, 7 - present
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