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2 posts from December 2022


Dr. Susan Linn Discusses Her Just-Published Book, "Who's Raising the Kids: Big Tech, Big Business and the Lives of Children" (December 16th)

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(This interview is dedicated to my friend Randy Lee, a dedicated public health nurse, who passed away earlier this week.)   

Justin Smith in his book published earlier this year, The Internet is Not What You Think It Is, argued the internet is addictive, its use of algorithms leaves our lives warped and impoverished and despite these problems there is little or no federal regulatory oversight.  Concerning the internet’s effects on children, Dr. Linn argues in her recently published work, Who's Raising the Kids, that our digital landscape essentially invades children’s privacy in order to use their personal information to drive endless consumerism.  Children’s screen use, that amounts to upwards of 7.5 hours on average per day - substantially longer for poor and minority children - is having profound negative effects on children of every age.  Generally by threatening childhood development and more specifically Dr. Linn noted by, for example, driving childhood anxiety, conflictual relationships with parents and family stress, depression, diminished language development, eating disorders, erosion of creative play, materialistic values, obesity, precocious sexuality, sleep disturbances, underachievement in school and youth violence.

During this 35 minute interview Dr. Linn begins by explaining how Mattel's Aristotle (never commercially launched) and Epic's Fortnite are designed to drive revenue.  She discusses how digital games erodes or undermines children's creative play, how the use of various marketing tools or approaches drive every digital experience leading to a purchase, for example, by creating "frictionless" online experiences.  She discusses the influence corporations have in formal education programming via Sponsored Education Materials (SEMS), discusses what parents can do to monitor children's screen use, what federal policies have been proposed to protect children's privacy and regulate how digital game design and what action the American Psychological Association has taken.               

Dr. Susan Linn is currently a Research Associate at Boston Children’s Hospital and Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  She has lectured on the importance of creative play, the impact of media and marketing on children and the use of puppetry as a therapeutic tool in venues Linn_susan
throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.   From 2000 to 2015 Dr. Linn was the Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.  Dr. Linn and her puppets appeared in several episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  She has written and appeared in a number of video programs designed to help children cope with issues ranging from mental illness to death and loss. This Secret Should Be Told, a syndicated TV program for children about sexual abuse won her a coveted Action for Children’s Television and earned Dr. Linn a New England Emmy Award.  With Fred Rogers’ production company, Dr. Linn created the acclaimed educational video series Different and the Same: Helping Children Identify and Prevent PrejudiceDifferent and the Same has been used in classrooms in all 50 states and won numerous awards including the two top prizes from the International Communication Film and Video Competition and the Media Award from the Association of Multicultural Educators.  Her book, Consuming Kids helped launch the movement to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.  Her work has been featured on Good Morning AmericaTodaySixty MinutesDatelineThe Colbert Report, and the acclaimed documentary The Corporation.  Among other honors, Dr. Linn received an UNIMA-USA citation for excellence; a special award for puppet therapy from Puppeteers of America; A Champion of Freedom Award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center; The Creative Leadership Award from the Puppet Showplace Theater; and, a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for her work on behalf of children.

Information on Who's Raising the Kids is at: https://thenewpress.com/books/whos-raising-kids


Andrew MacCalla Discusses Reducing Healthcare's Carbon Emissions Via Solar Microgrids (December 9th)

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Listeners are aware I recently posted two articles related to decarbonizing the healthcare industry.  One regarding Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits and another arguing CMS update two, 2016 regulatory rules to allow providers to use for solar microgrids for their emergency power supply.  Listeners are also aware I’ve conducted well over 25 climate crisis-related interviews over the past several years.   For these reasons, this discussion is an attempt to help providers know better how to develop renewable energy power for their own use, specifically solar plus storage microgrids, i.e., what operational advantages solar microgrid power offer, how these renewable energy microgrids are funded and constructed and benefits they offer providers and the patients they treat.  With me to discuss this topic is Mr. Andrew MacCalla, the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Energy.   

As a related aside, please note on December 8th the National Academy of Medicine launched, under its "Grand Challenge on Climate Change, Human Health and Equity," its “Climate Community Network” initiative.  For related information please go to: https://nam.edu/programs/climate-change-and-human-health/climate-communities-network/

During this 33 minute interview, Andrew begins by describing Collective Energy's goal, i.e., moreover to prevent patients from dying via power outages.  He explains reasons for the increasing need for reliable or uninterrupted power, e.g., outages are more frequent and lasting longer.  He provides a general description of planning and installing solar/clean energy microgrid power using a recent installation at a community health center in New Orleans, explains how and why this work is becoming increasingly turn key, how financing is achieved, i.e., how construction can require no out of pocket costs in part via use of forthcoming Inflation Reduction Act tax credits, and the return on investment to the provider or community health center and the benefits to the provider's patient population.                    

Mr. Andrew MacCalla is the the Co-Founder and CEO of Collective Energy Company, a social business specializing in bringing clean and reliable power to non-profit community health centers in the US and abroad.  Andrew is also the Principal Advisor to Direct Relief’s Power for Health Program.  He previously served as the Vice President of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief that provides over $2.5 billion in medical resources and over $100M in grant funding to people in over 100 countries and 55 US States and territories annually.  Andrew spent two years living AMacCalla_Headshot in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and was on the ground overseeing responses to emergencies like Hurricane Sandy in New York, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Ebola crisis in W Africa, the Syrian refugee crisis, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Dorian, wildfires in CA, and the Covid19 pandemic. Andrew also led the team in Puerto Rico who have implemented over 400 recovery projects on the island since Hurricane Maria.  He has also overseen numerous post-disaster infrastructure and energy projects, including the installation of over four megawatts of solar and battery storage for critical health facilities and community water wells that lost power after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.  In the Bahamas, Andrew led efforts to repair and rebuild health facilities that were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Dorian.  Mr. MacCalla studied philosophy at University of California, Santa Barbara and earned a MA in Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne.  He has written numerous articles for the Huffington Post and The Sacramento Bee.