Here’s To “Thees” And “Thous”

IMG_5040We’re here in Columbia, Missouri for a quick weekend visit with Richard.  This morning we were walking around the beautiful campus of the University of Missouri and came across this neat little fountain with the Missouri Tiger and an inscription of the Missouri alma mater.  Written in 1895, it’s a classic of the genre, complete with references to “man and maiden” and drinking a toast while voices are raised in song:

Old Missouri, fair Missouri, Dear old varsity.
Ours are hearts that fondly love thee, Here’s a health to thee.

Proud art thou in classic beauty Of thy noble past
With thy watch words honour, duty, Thy high fame shall last!

Every student, man and maiden, Swells the glad refrain.
‘Till the breezes, music laden, Waft it back again.

Proud art thou in classic beauty Of thy noble past
With thy watch words honour, duty, Thy high fame shall last!

I’m partial to Carmen Ohio, of course, but any alma mater with so many “thees” and “thous” is pretty strong.

Questioning The Architecture Of The “Obamacare” Websites

The Affordable Care Act health care exchange websites continue to be plagued with problems, beyond the first-day “glitches.”  The Obama Administration says it’s due to heavy traffic.  Now Reuters has published an interesting article suggesting an alternative explanation.

Reuters interviewed IT experts who question the very architecture of the federal health care exchange website.  They believe that the website simply requires computers to load too much software and information, overwhelming the system.  One expert found that clicking “‘apply’ on HealthCare.gov causes 92 separate files, plug-ins and other mammoth swarms of data to stream between the user’s computer and the servers powering the government website,” including 56 JavaScript files and plug-ins that allow data to be uploaded.

As one expert explained it, the massive volume of data moving between computers and servers resembles a computer hacker attack on a website — except this attack is self-inflicted, as part of the website’s basic design.  If the experts are right, the website designers made a very fundamental, almost amateurish blunder.

The bottom line from these experts is that the solution is not simply adding more servers, but reconfiguring the system.  That possibility would involve more expense, and delay, and frustrations for people who are just trying to comply with their legal obligation to obtain insurance.

Mid-Country Kitsch

photoEffingham, Illinois is located at the intersection of I-70, one of the major east-west arteries of American commerce, and I-57, which runs from Chicago to Memphis.  It’s one of those towns that repeatedly advertises its existence as you approach, on road signs that appear over hundreds of miles.

So, when Kish and I finally got there, we pulled off to get some gas and a bite of breakfast and we were greeted by . . . this.  A towering sign for the “Avenue of Mid-America,” advertising just about every generic franchise in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  I’m guessing that this sign was built when the Effingham city fathers were proud that their town was selected as the intersection point for two major roadways and interstate travel was still new and exciting.  Now, it’s kitsch.