Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

This month, Ronan Farrow published an excellent piece on The New Yorker’s site, describing how Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) accepted financial contributions from Jeffrey Epstein after it was clear they shouldn’t have been associating with him. Some people’s immediate reaction may be to ask, “What’s the problem?  They need the money, and this doesn’t mean they were abetting his crimes.” There is a problem, though, especially when it isn’t just sincere generosity.  Some charities receive small donations from average people with no implied quid pro quo agreement, and those charities might innocently stay ignorant of donors’ backgrounds with no problems.  However, when the … Continue reading Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

Curbing the Public’s Bag Consumption

There are many theories on how to do this. In San Francisco, we’ve had a local ordinance for a while, demanding a ten cent fee for each paper or “reusable” (thick) plastic bag used by customers when they pay for store merchandise.  It’s meant to encourage customers to bring their own bags, or use no bags when buying just one or two things. I got into the habit of using my own bag way before there was a law, and I’ve been making general allowances in my routine to reduce waste since the early 1980s. “Save the dinosaurs,” I used … Continue reading Curbing the Public’s Bag Consumption

An Aging Writer, Finally Learning the Ropes

Like a lot of people who have blogs, I’m a writer whose primary work is not on the blogsite. I write fiction and nonfiction to upload to Kindle, and then struggle to bring these proverbial needles in a haystack to the attention of people who read books on screens. When I tried to promote my first e-book, a novella titled Petra, I showed exactly how naïve a writer can be.  The book itself had oodles of adult-level observations on the human condition, but when I tried to persuade others to read it I behaved like a teenager who was shocked … Continue reading An Aging Writer, Finally Learning the Ropes

New E-Book: Women’s Fiction

Earlier this month, I self-published another e-book on Kindle.  It’s a novelette (approx. 11,000 words) for sale at 99 cents (USD), and can be read free of charge by Kindle Unlimited subscribers.  It’s available in all Kindle markets. Below is the cover image for the book, with a link to buy the title on Amazon.  Click the words FREE PREVIEW for, uh, a free preview. Special Needs will appeal primarily to women, but I hope a few men will find something universal in the story and characterizations.   Continue reading New E-Book: Women’s Fiction