Four decades ago, in 1977, a conspiracy began bubbling up from the basements of the vast network of hospitals belonging to the Veterans Administration. Across the country, software geeks and doctors were puzzling out how they could make medical care better with these new devices called personal computers. Working sometimes at night or in their spare time, they started to cobble together a system that helped doctors organize their prescriptions, their CAT scans and patient notes, and to share their experiences electronically to help improve care for veterans.Within a few years, this band of altruistic docs and nerds—they called themselves “The Hardhats,” and sometimes “the conspiracy”—had built something totally new, a system that would transform medicine. Today, the medical-data revolution is taken for granted, and electronic health records are a multibillion-dollar industry. Back then, the whole idea was a novelty, even a threat. The VA pioneers … [Read more...] about A 40-year ‘conspiracy’ at the VA
Drops on a penny lab
Prime Minister Theresa May turned to baked beans and a tipple of Welsh whisky to get her through another serious Brexit drubbing. With ministers resigning amid EU fallout, Mrs May said she knocked back a shot of the "Welsh gold". But it is a long way from the discovery of a unique still in Brecon to Penderyn whisky gracing the drinks cabinet of Number 10. Back in the 90s Alun Evans, who ran a pub in Hirwaun, heard about a still for sale which had been designed by a descendant of British scientist Michael Faraday, as part of a university project. It had never been commissioned, but Evans got together with pals and took a punt on setting up a distillery in an old wine warehouse with a natural source of water underneath. With that one fateful decision, whisky distilling was restored to Wales for the first time in a century. Now, Penderyn, based in the village of the same name, is a global venture - selling to countries as far afield as Japan and Siberia. It boasts an all-female team of … [Read more...] about How Penderyn became a world famous whisky
Press play to listen to this article By JACK BLANCHARD Send tips here | Subscribe for free | Listen to Playbook and view in your browser Good Friday morning. DRIVING THE DAY OUT TO BAT: Theresa May faces her first grilling from *actual voters* on her Brexit deal this morning, as No. 10’s frantic PR blitz continues. The prime minister will take questions from callers live on LBC Radio at 8 a.m., and you can be certain quite a few will be angry Brexiteers. May will also have to face LBC’s notoriously punchy host Nick Ferrari, who is known for pushing senior politicians into embarrassing on-air meltdowns. (See Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott in 2017, and then-Green Party leader Natalie Bennett two years before.) It’s a risky strategy for No. 10 given May’s difficulty in connecting with, well, ordinary humans, but has been deemed necessary as part of a wider PR push continuing through the weekend and beyond. “She needs to be out there now, selling … [Read more...] about POLITICO London Playbook: May goes out to bat — Gove will tear us apart, again — Penny drops?
By TEJAL RAO OCT. 24, 2018 The story of how Kit Kats, once a British chocolate export, became a booming business from Hokkaido to Tokyo — and changed expectations about what a candy bar could be. The story of how Kit Kats, once a British chocolate export, became a booming business from Hokkaido to Tokyo — and changed expectations about what a candy bar could be. By TEJAL RAO OCT. 24, 2018 Photographs by SPENCER LOWELL The seven-story Don Quijote megastore in the Shibuya district of Tokyo is open 24 hours a day, but it’s hard to say when it’s rush hour, because there’s always a rush. A labyrinth of aisles leads to one soaring, psychedelic display after another presided over by cartoon mascots, including the mascot of Don Quijote itself: an enthusiastic blue penguin named Donpen who points shoppers toward toy sushi kits and face masks soaked with snail excretions and rainbow gel pens and split-toe socks. The candy section is vast, with … [Read more...] about In Japan, the Kit Kat Isn’t Just a Chocolate. It’s an Obsession.
“It was like, 'Let’s do a nonprofit and be a band,'" original guitarist Andy “Rok” Guerrero says. “Then all of a sudden we get a record deal, and we’re trying to be a band and also run this nonprofit at the same time. It was kind of crazy.”About five years after the band formed, Guerrero left the group because of creative differences to focus on his own group, Bop Skizzum. “It’s tough being a band,” he says. “And things happen. I think when you’re younger and in the midst of it, things are more intense than they probably need to be. It took me a while to get over it. I felt like now I’m kind of in a place where…I have a son now. Half the band has kids. It just kind of changes your perspective on things.” The band’s lineup has changed over the past decade, but frontmen Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Bracket and drummer Kenny Ortiz have been constant … [Read more...] about Original Flobots Lineup Celebrates Youth on Record’s Ten-Year Anniversary