December 23, 2009

10 Reasons Santa is Like Your Professor

This has nothing to do with journalism but rather with perspectives of professors. Thanks to my bud in Hong Kong Nury Vittachi for this.

10 Reasons Santa is Like Your Professor

1) He has shaggy hair.

2) He has a beard.

3) He wears unfashionable clothes which make him look ridiculous.

4) He is fat.

5) You are expected to write to him, but he never writes back.

6) You can give him a list of things you want, but you have almost no chance of getting anything on it.

7) He lives in his own world, which seems entirely unconnected to real life.

8) He does around one day of actual work every year.

9) He is surrounded by practical people who do stuff that needs to be done on his behalf.

10) He seems to be several centuries out of date.

December 22, 2009

Looking for that local angle: Macy's and Rwanda

CBS News did a great story about how baskets woven by women in Rwanda are being sold in Macy's. The sales are allowing these women to rebuild their lives and their country after the brutal genocide of 10 years ago.

Discussion of local story ideas from the CBS story is at Journalism, Journalists and the World. (Sorry, just had to plug my blog.)

December 7, 2009

Story Idea: Want a globalization link? Look at the plug

Living overseas for the past 25 years has made me look carefully to be sure an item I buy in the States will work in another country. And vice-versa.

The cosmetic issue is the plug size and shape. They come in a wide variety but adapters are available for all.

The real issue is the voltage.

The U.S. system is 110-120 volts. Europe and many other countries use 220-240 volts. Plugging a U.S. item into a European power line can fry the device.

That is why converters were invented. And I have a large collection of converters from my 30 years of travel.

But in the last few years just about every electrical device I have purchased has been 100-240 volts. That means all I have to do is worry about is making sure the plug fits. And adapters are cheaper than converters.
How does all this relate to globalization?

Manufacturers are no longer building electrical products for JUST the U.S. or European or Asian markets. They are making their products easily available to the rest of the world.

A laptop purchases at Best Buy in Fairfax, Va., with a plug adapter can draw power from the grid in China, France or Brazil with ease.

Trust me, even 5 years ago that was not such an easy thing to assume.

And many manufacturers are now including adapter plugs with the unit. So no need to go out and buy one.

So if journalists are looking for a link between their individual lives and the rest of the world, look no further than the power ratings on the back of your computer and look at the plug.

Story ideas could include:
  • What is safer, 110 or 220 volts?
  • Why does the US use 110 volts?
  • How this 100-240 volt availability makes travel and business easier.

And your idea?