Good Ideas

House of Literature
Imagine a place in the center of your city where you can go to hear writers speak about their work, discuss literature with other readers, or have a meal when you’re in the mood. This is by no means a fanciful idea. The House of Literature in Oslo, Norway is Europe’s largest. “The purpose of the House of Literature is to communicate and promote interest in literature and reading.” The first floor has a bookstore, a cafĂ© and six separate rooms for presentations and conversation. Another floor is devoted to children books. The loft has 50 work spaces for writers and a meeting room which has a large number of literary quarterlies and journals. Isn’t it time to establish a House of Literature in every major metropolitan area of this country?

Climate Solutions
The governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, recently signed two executive orders designed to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Under the governor’s first order, by September 2020 new homes and by October 2022 commercial buildings must be equipped for solar panel installation and by October 2022 all parking structures for new homes and commercial buildings must be wired for at least one electric vehicle charger. The governor's second executive order set a goal of at least 50,000 registered electric vehicles in the state by 2020, a significant increase from the 16,000 currently registered. These two orders demonstrate once again the State of Oregon’s leading role in taking action to preserve the environment.

Digital Pill
Millions of patients do not take the medications prescribed for them. In an effort to deal with this costly problem, the FDA recently approved a digital pill that can inform doctors if and when patients take their medicine. Once consumed, the pill sends a message to a wearable patch, which then relays the information to a app so a patient can track his ingestion of the medication on his smartphone. And with the patient's permission, his physician can also access the information through a special Web site. Currently, the digital pill has only been approved for schizophrenia, acute treatment of bipolar disorder and depression in adults." However, it is clear the technology can be applied far more widely.

Google Search
Of all the digital marvels that exist today, I believe the Google Search “engine” is one of the most remarkable. It is said to get more “traffic” than any other Web site. I have a question: Did the Golden State Warriors win tonight? What is the capital of Burkina Faso? More and more now I find myself turning to Goggle when I want to know or can’t remember something. But Google remembers if I enter the right search words and it does so in not more than a split second. Google's algorithm does the work for me by searching out Web pages that contain the keywords I used to search, then assigning a rank to each page. Higher ranked pages appear further up in the results, meaning that the best links relating to my search are the first ones. What did we do when we sought information before the introduction Google? Well, we trekked to the library and looked for a book or encyclopedia. But I suspect we were by no means as successful as Google is.


Linda said...

Good ideas indeed.

My favorite, of course, is Oslo's House of Literature. I've never heard of anything like that here in the U.S. I wonder - who established it and supports it? Or is it commercially self-sustaining? A perfect place to test it would be Portland, Oregon!

The Digital Pill is only the beginning. Just think what will be possible with ingestible or imbedded technology. I'm thinking about the dreaded colonoscopy for which I'm now 2+ years overdue.

And beloved Google - in spite of all its prying cookies, flawed algorithms, and creepy ads and suggestions that follow me everywhere, I love it. It has democratized information. If only it could do so with wisdom.

Richard Katzev said...


I believe the House of Literature is funded by the government. That sure isn't going to happen in this country now. Later I will blog about a semi-substitute in Portland.

As for colonoscopy, I recall hearing about a sensor you can swallow that permits measure what otherwise would require a regular colonoscopy.

I'm very happy with Google, don't pay attention to the adds and understand how to deal with it's method of listing links. Sometimes the best sources are to be found in the second or third page.