Search and Ye Shall Find
Starting this week, you can search Slate, including "The Compost" (our archive), for specific words or phrases. Use this feature to find articles by a particular author or a reference to a particular subject. Slate Search is located on the Compost page, but search results will include current articles (within a day of their posting) as well as older ones. (If Slate Search isn't available when you go to check, it will be shortly.) The rules are pretty simple:
A search for Bill Gates (or Bill, Gates or Bill and Gates) will find articles containing both the word billand the word gates.
A search for "Bill Gates" (in quotes) will find articles containing the exact phrase bill gates.
The search is not case-sensitive (i.e., capitalization doesn't matter).
A few more pointers:
It is possible to search for words other than Bill Gates, but that is not recommended, and Slate cannot be held responsible for the result.
A search for "Bill Gates" will find only favorable references. To find unfavorable references, search somewhere else.
You Can Make the Slate 60
People make two justified complaints about our Slate 60 ranking of America's largest contributors to charity. Indeed, we make these complaints ourselves. First, the list is not a very accurate measure of sacrifice for good causes, since it doesn't factor in a person's wealth or income. In fact, few if any members of the Slate 60 have had to suffer any diminution of their lifestyle as a consequence of having given away money. Second, the Slate 60 list does not attempt to weigh the merits of different charities. Much of the money given away by the Slate 60 goes to finance new buildings at already wealthy universities.
We think these defects aren't fatal. The Slate 60 list still serves to encourage and acknowledge extraordinary generosity by people who, after all, don't have to give the money away, however painless that might be. And ranking by size of gift provides a useful objective measure. But we'd also like to acknowledge extraordinary generosity by people for whom it hurts, and to encourage more imaginative giving.
Therefore (at the suggestion of occasional Slate contributor and Atlantic Monthly national correspondent Nicholas Lemann), we invite nominations for a Supplemental 60 (better name forthcoming, let's hope). E-mail your suggestions to Slate's Washington editor, Jodie T. Allen, at email@example.com. She says she'll be looking for contributions that
are innovative--or at least interesting--though not wacky; and/or
wouldn't normally result in either the donor's name being inscribed in granite or his or her being honored at a glitzy dinner or other ceremony; and/or
represent a significant sacrifice or effort by the donor; and (no or)
are likely to result in some tangible good--recognizing that everyone won't agree with our (or the donor's) definition thereof.
The first challenge to potential nominees, obviously, is to parse the Boolean logic of these standards. (Would that Slate's new search engine were so sophisticated.) But Jodie points to the story this week of the woman who pledged--anonymously--$2,000 to each family in Grand Forks, N.D., that was victimized by the Red River flood as an example of what we're looking for. This woman's generosity could cost her $10 million. And it may not even be tax deductible.