Every day I come across a number of articles I wish I could share on the blog. Last week was no exception. Here are eight of the most engaging articles I read last week.
- There was an intriguing article about the growing business of lawsuit lending in the New York Times. According to the article, a growing number of private investors, banks and hedge funds are investing in lawsuits as a for-profit enterprise. The loans, which come with steep interest rates, are used to finance lawsuits with potentially huge payouts. Of special interest to our readers may be the influence of lawsuit loans as a primary engine behind class action lawsuits relating to exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- The Associated Press has an ‘explosive’ article about nuclear weapon transporters drinking during missions. While the article seems to be more smoke than fire, it is an interesting glimpse into the transporting of hazardous materials. And you thought texting while driving was bad…
- The Speaking of Safety Blog posted a short but thought provoking post on silicosis, and how difficult it can be to get workers to take the dangers of silica dust seriously at the time when they are most vulnerable to it. The post ends with some links to good information from WorkSafeBC.
- Charles Carpenter contributed a rousing entry on the definition of sustainability to the November issue of Facility Executive, including a Soliloquy to Sustainability that begins, “To LEED or not to LEED, that is the question.”
- Okay, this next one is not an article, but a website I found while looking for free mind-mapping applications. It’s hosted on esri.com and is a pretty cool website for making maps based on information like population density, or home values. The maps are scalable, so you can look at a map of your neighborhood and see the unemployment rate for your zip code or you can make a hazard map for the North American continent. My personal favorite, and I suspect it may be yours as well, is the Geomedicine map that allows you to view Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) information.
- If you’re wondering, I did find a couple of great mind mapping websites: bubbl.us and FreeMind.
- In our hometown of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne has been writing on the dangers of toxic fumes in and around the city. He started with a story about the air quality on and around diesel trains and most recently about the health hazards of idling engines on diesel powered vehicles. His reporting has clearly struck a nerve and I would not be surprised to see more of these articles in the near future.
- As an admitted cell phone snuggler, this last article causes me the most consternation. Again from the New York Times, the headline asks “Should You Be Snuggling Your Cell Phone?” I don’t know the answer to that question, but this article has made me rethink where I carry my phone.