Recent quotes:

Risking MRSA for acne treatment

“The pit in my stomach grows a little bigger every time I prescribe oral antibiotics to healthy, athletic teenagers for their acne knowing I am increasing their risk of contracting MRSA from the locker room, classroom or anywhere in the community,” dermatologist Sandra Johnson of Fort Smith, Ark., wrote in a February letter to the professional newsletter Dermatology Times.

Amazon fosters a content glut to attract customers for other products

The problem, says Aaron Shepard, elaborating upon his “party’s over” blog post, is competition: There’s an enormous amount, given how easy it is to upload a book onto the Kindle. Even a niche that seems specialized—like soapmaking, the subject of a self-published book by Shepard’s wife, Anne Watson—faces dozens of competing Kindle titles. Meanwhile, Shepard says, Amazon has conditioned readers to pay next to nothing for books. “You need enough books to compensate for the lousy payoff. And of course, that’s a perpetual invitation to produce a lot at a lower level of quality. It’s a treadmill . . . What they [authors] generally don’t realize is that their treadmill is actually a generator, and it’s mostly for powering Amazon.” He explains: “Books have always been a loss leader for Amazon, a way to attract customers for more profitable items. So it suits Amazon very well to have an army of self-publishing authors, mostly working for pennies per hour, supplying Amazon with dirt-cheap content to keep customers coming to the site.”

Publishing's vicious spiral

Chance, in her early 50s, was at a low point in her career. She had spent two decades writing books that languished on bookstore shelves, caught in what she believed was a “vicious cycle” common to the publishing world. She had sold her first book to Hachette, which saw enough promise in the work to give her a big advance. The book sold poorly, though, and the publisher paid for a smaller print run the next time around, according to Chance. Those numbers weren’t great either. After that, she says, Hachette “was done.” She moved on to another publisher, where the downward spiral continued. She was ready again for a new publisher with Bone River, but the New York publishers she approached didn’t bite. “Come back to us when you have better numbers,” she recalls being told.
Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she could not go faster, thought she had not breath left to say so. The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. `I wonder if all the things move along with us?' thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, `Faster! Don't try to talk!' Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath: and still the Queen cried `Faster! Faster!' and dragged her along. `Are we nearly there?' Alice managed to pant out at last. `Nearly there!' the Queen repeated. `Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster! And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice's ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied. `Now! Now!' cried the Queen. `Faster! Faster!' And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy. The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You may rest a little now.' Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!' `Of course it is,' said the Queen, `what would you have it?' `Well, in our country,' said Alice, still panting a little, `you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.' `A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'
Most of the restaurants I write about these days aren’t restaurants at all in the classic sense that she would recognize. They’re noisy bars, built for sound, that happen to serve good, sometimes excellent food. The masters of the raucous bar-restaurant template—Ken Friedman at the Spotted Pig, Gabriel Stulman at Fedora and Montmartre—have built their cost-efficient empires by matching talented chefs with small, offbeat rooms to create a casual party atmosphere where it’s often difficult to hear yourself think. “It’s a snowball effect,” one of the chefs who’s worked for both restaurateurs told me the other day. “You get a hundred drunk people in a small room and crank up the music, and soon they’re screaming at the tops of their lungs to hear each other. It’s the perfect storm.”