Media Beat: December 17, 2020

Randy Rainbow's Rudolph the leaky lawyer Christmas card

 

Smart faucets, tractors vie for CES 2021 Innovation Awards

Las Vegas will be quiet next year as CES 2021 goes online-only, but that hasn’t stopped technology companies from rolling out their finest wares for the occasion. After previewing more than 1,200 devices, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) on Tuesday revealed Innovation Awards honorees in categories from health and wellness to robotics. We won’t see the whole parade of gadgetry until January 11, but honorees offer a sneak peek at the best of what’s to come. – Nick Mokey, Digital Trends

Bad medicine, American style

Surprise billing occurs when patients go for treatment at an in-network hospital, thinking they’ll be covered by their insurance, and unknowingly receive treatment from an out-of-network physician who then sends them the tab afterward. It frequently results from trips to the emergency room, where visitors have little say over who handles their care and often involves specialists like anesthesiologists, whom patients typically meet just briefly before a surgery, or radiologists, whom they might never meet at all.

These stealth charges are becoming more common—according to a 2017 study, one out of every six insured hospital patients now receives a surprise bill... – Jordan Weissman, Slate

What’s wrong with Malcolm Gladwell’s defense of masturbating in front of co-workers

Malcolm Gladwell, one of the magazine’s best-known contributors, said in an interview: “I read the Condé Nast news release, and I was puzzled because I couldn’t find any intellectual justification for what they were doing. They just assumed he had done something terrible, but never told us what the terrible thing was. And my only feeling—the only way I could explain it—was that Condé Nast had taken an unexpected turn toward traditional Catholic teaching.” (Mr. Gladwell then took out his Bible and read to a reporter an allegory from Genesis 38 in which God strikes down a man for succumbing to the sin of self-gratification.)

This is a classic example of the late Gladwell style, in which one delivers a dramatic, purportedly paradigm-shifting re-examination of a seemingly clear-cut situation by failing to responsibly convey crucial information that, when once again considered in its proper context, makes clear that the status quo, noncontrarian viewpoint was probably correct all along. – Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

The battle for Lyford Cay

In a glass-tower office, framed by views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River, (Louis) Bacon, 59 years old and sitting tall in a chrome-and-leather chair, is surrounded by trading screens, clocks set to the times of various overseas markets, squash and yachting magazines, model aircraft. "Dealing with (Peter) Nygard," he says, "is like having dog shit on your shoe." (Nygard's riposte: "I recommend that he change his shoes.") – Eric Konisberg, Vanity Fair archive (2016)

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