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August 26, 2005

Strange Article on Slashdot

Today there was a Slashdot article about the Microsoft employee who contracted the measles. The strange thing was that it was played somewhat gleefully, as an anti-Microsoft thing, and ended with "Somehow I do not think that Microsoft included in their cost-benefit analysis of offshoring the potential wide-spread infection of their company. Perhaps they should include that risk in the future."

Now Slashdot has had some dubious articles in the past, and Microsoft-bashing is nothing new. And of course the site is free to publish what they want. But this is the first article that really left a bad taste in my mouth. Someone got the measles...har de har, serves them right for working for a company like Microsoft? Imagine if he infected five people and they all died...boy wouldn't THAT be freaking hilarious.

And what's up with that part at the end. First of all its factually wrong, since the employee got sick in France. But the implication is that offshoring is done in places that are grubby and dirty and us civilized Westerners take our lives in our hands just by breathing the air. Do people really think that? Yeeeccchhh.

Posted by AdamBa at August 26, 2005 08:52 PM

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Yes. People really thing that. To be fair, immunization is less common in un/under-developed countries. The WHO (and others) are working on it. Which countries those are or which regions of those countries harbor the most danger? I'm sure the details are out there.

Half a million measles deaths worldwide in 2003.

Two of them were in the US.

If I were trying to make Vicissidude's argument I'd probably start with facts like that, then try to twist them into meaning something about Bangalore or somesuch. There is the kernel of truth. Then there's the rest of the argument. Having that kernel is probably enough convincing for someone who's already convinced.

I think that tying offshoring to measles is a distasteful form of nationalism at best and possibly racism at worst. Please don't think I'm playing that game. It's a good thing that measles is being eradicated in subsaharan Africa - a new place we can outsource to. I think I'd enjoy working on that campus, in fact.

Posted by: Drew at August 26, 2005 09:48 PM

Oops - "think that", not "thing that". I noticed that in the preview, but I'd already hit post.

Posted by: Drew at August 26, 2005 09:50 PM

Horrible horrible (and pointlessy mean-spirited) logic. Bad taste serious. Slashdot, sigh.

Posted by: Christopher Coulter at August 28, 2005 12:49 AM

I saw this article too. At first I thought it is about computer virus infecting internal network.

If you had read some of the comments you would have seen that a lot of people asked why so dumb article have been published.

Posted by: Ivan at August 28, 2005 09:58 AM

Ivan: Yes, to the credit of the Slashdot community, their reaction was strongly negative. In fact I don't know if there was ANY actual discussion of the topic.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at August 28, 2005 04:13 PM