A retired engineer who preferred not to write a signed letter to the editor nevertheless responded to Richard K. Rein’s November 12 column on the possibility of someday having an all-electronic “iPaper” that offers all of the size and portability of today’s print edition, along with many other features that are now found on smartphones and desktop computers.
The problem, our correspondent noted, is an issue rarely discussed in these futuristic discussions: necessity.
In his view, “a lot of the talk of new ways of doing things totally ignores the fact that the human body and its senses have real limitations. So does the environment in which humans live. Some people will always prefer to sit down with a newspaper made out of real paper and unfold it and read different parts of it in print the way they do now — partly for information and partly for entertainment. I can’t see that changing much just because the information can be delivered more quickly, in greater quantity, or in a different form.”
“Having been in the business of technology research for a career, I am well aware of all the failed cases of the latest new thing that was supposed to revolutionize and make what we now use obsolete.
“So I’m not at all impressed by all the claims about making things smaller, thinner, faster, more convenient, etc. Those are subjective measures, and users will determine if they have any value. As far as I’m concerned, I like what I read to be printed on pieces of folded paper that are convenient for me to hold the way I’ve always held them — indeed the way people have been holding them for a very long time — many generations. That’s why newspapers are the size and shape they are now, not because some computer guru said they should be that way.”
Our correspondent continued: “There may be some potential for the active matrix OLED technology for uses where it’s really a necessity. (Just the way photo-offset printing was when it was new.) But will that really be of interest to the typical newspaper reader of the future? I doubt it. I don’t think print is dead, by any means.”
We agree, but would argue that the necessity for an electronic facsimile will not be felt first by the readers, but rather by the publishers, when they see their innovative competitors bypassing the high overhead newsprint and web press production process and the equally costly door-to-door delivery process. The print version might just fade away like analog TV.
#b#To the Editor: End-of-Life Care Requires Vigilance#/b#
It’s heartening that healthcare professionals are learning to articulate a plan for the care of end-of-life patients (U.S. 1, November 12 cover story on Dr. David Barile). It’s counter-intuitive for doctors to stop curative care, but the increasingly severe and invasive steps taken often make those last months, or even years, a terrible trial for the patient, while only slightly extending lifespan.
That said, once a decision on a course of action is made, and especially with advance directives at the end, I’ve found that the patient, and eventually their healthcare proxy, needs to be constantly vigilant to keep the caregivers on track, and to remind them what has been stipulated. This is especially true when it comes to managing/monitoring eager interns because as far as I could tell, at least at the old location of Princeton’s hospital, they had the run of the patient rooms. I know they need to learn, but there has to be some control.
I had to defend both my mother and father against what one doctor called “gratuitous gathering of statistics,” and excessive physical examination, which is hard on the frail elderly. As my mother lay dying in her last couple of hours, an intern arrived with the intention of drawing blood. I challenged him and shooed him away, tearfully getting the nurses to call her physician so he could reiterate to them (again) that nothing like that should be happening at this point, when she was close to death.
And when my father was in the hospital with a serious internal infection, an intern showed up at his bedside clearly eager to examine him, mentioning the case was “unusual.” His doctors had just been there, so I challenged him too, staring him down until he left. “Nothing to see here, just move along,” I thought. The last thing the frail elderly need is to be handled by too many people, but if I hadn’t been there to defend his person, who would have controlled this kind of thing?
There needs to be strict monitoring of this kind of activity, no one should bypass checking in at the nurses station to see what is on record before visiting a patient, and getting clearance if they plan on touching said patient at all.
#b#Library in Perspective#/b#
Thank you to all of the friends of the Mary Jacobs Library who made the food and wine event, featuring Greek food and wine, a big success. As always, it was friendly and entertaining time, and a chance to meet your fellow neighbors who share a love of MJL. Each one there recognized the importance of this library to our residents.
This year we had a great response, not only from our patrons, but from our local businesses. The library now has seven year-round “partners” plus 25 sponsors for the event only. Their financial support helps the MJL Friends and Foundation provide special programs, furnishings, and renovations to your library.
Even though the event was successful, I must put it in perspective. In 2014, we had to take $42,000 from the endowment for a new HVAC system, and then another $28,000 for much needed repairs to this 40-year-old building. This is in addition to $140,000 for utilities, insurance, cleaning, snow plowing, maintenance, etc.
Therefore, our fundraising efforts must continue in order to keep the library building maintained, safe, up-to-date, and comfortable for our users.
And we must grow rather than deplete our endowment from Harold Jacobs for the future needs of the MJL. The trustees are committed to providing this educated community the best library possible.
I thank our hard working committee heads and all the volunteers. Also, many thanks to the outstanding staff for turning their library into a Greek night.
President, Mary Jacobs Library Foundation
#bOn U.S. 1’s 30th#/b#
U.S. 1 newspaper has played a vital road by providing information and resources to New Jersey’s technology community clustered across much of Route 1 and the surrounding regions.
In my own experience, first at the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, and over the past 20 years at Princeton University, U.S. 1 has been an important partner in helping us make business leaders, company and university researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors aware of the promising scientific advancements at New Jersey’s universities and led to a greater understanding of the value these efforts have for New Jersey enterprise and beyond.
Best wishes for success and continued partnership and impact over the next 30 years!
Joseph X. Montemarano
The writer is director for industrial enterprise of the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) and executive director of the NSF Engineering Research Center on Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) at Princeton University.
30 Years from Now?
I came to Princeton in 1957 — a village. By 1987 town and gown had grown. By 2014 it was now a city.
Thirty years from now, 2044, I predict the university will have expanded its buildings and student body to 10,000 students. Princeton will resemble Rutgers — a metropolis.
Roufberg is a retired history teacher at Princeton High School.