The Takeaways: Week 8 of 2022

Memory and generations, ghost networks, and a father seeking to fight the dissemination of footage of his daughter's last moments alive via a non-fungible token.


Dean Bakopoulos, Harper's Bazaar. Ghosts of Ukraine (February 25, 2022)

It’s hard to explain what it was like to be a kid at one of these gatherings and watch the adults gather around a table, usually in some Detroit basement with its own homemade bar, and take shots of vodka (the preferred anti-trauma medication of that generation) and suddenly begin singing, in wondrously perfect four-part harmony, a sweeping, melancholic, yearning folk song from Ukraine. My friends and sister and I would watch the adults and giggle uncomfortably at my grandmother’s soaring and tipsy alto, but we all knew why, by the second verse, they all were fighting back tears, their voices escalating, breaking, going off-key, unashamed, free. When the song ended, there would be silence as more shots were poured, and conversation would resume, and I knew that the whole room was now full of ghosts.

Katherine Ellison, The Washington Post. 73 doctors and none available: How ghost networks hamper mental health care (February 19, 2022)

It was a textbook case of a “ghost network”: a commonly used term by professionals for a panel of medical providers who for various reasons aren’t providing. Patients and doctors have been complaining about ghost, or “phantom” networks for more than 20 years. The problem is particularly pernicious in mental health care, and by many accounts has gotten worse in recent years — and amid the mental health crises of the pandemic — as increasingly desperate callers get ghosted by a range of specialists.

Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio and KHN. Health Care Firms Were Pushed to Confront Racism. Now Some Are Investing in Black Startups. (February 25, 2022)

On a quiet Sunday morning after the protests died down, [Marcus Whitney] pounded out a long letter to his peers that pointed out those making the most money from Nashville’s for-profit health care industry are still almost all white men.

Whitney wrote that this problem isn’t his to fix, but he realized he’s in a unique position as one of the few Black venture capitalists in health care. So his firm, Jumpstart Foundry, launched a dedicated fund to get behind Black entrepreneurs in health care. The letter was “pretty key” to pulling in investors, he said.

Pam-Marie Guzzo, Test Double. Why you need job descriptions at every stage in your software career (February 22, 2022)

For anyone reading this who has control over the availability of job descriptions: Don’t hide them. Literally everyone benefits from being able to refer regularly to what they’re supposed to be doing and what they would do at the next level. Having these documents accessible also enables everyone to take charge of their own learning and career goals, which can help make career progression more equitable.

Christiano Lima, The Washington Post. To expunge his daughter’s murder from the Internet, a father created an NFT of the grisly video (February 22, 2022)

Parker does not own the copyright to the footage of his daughter’s murder that aired on CBS affiliate WDBJ in 2015. But in December, he created an NFT of that tape on Rarible, a marketplace that deals in crypto assets, in an attempt to claim copyright ownership of the clip. That, he hopes, will give him legal standing to sue the social media companies to remove the videos from circulation.

But the rush to transform the vast swath of content circulating freely online into NFTs has unearthed ownership disputes. The blockchain records a permanent history of every transaction on a decentralized server, theoretically making it easy to track the ownership. Amid the buying blitz are situations like Parker’s, where an NFT holder has created a duplicate, crypto-certified version of a piece of content, leaving two purported owners of the same media.