Friday, December 15, 2017
Omarosa Manigault Newman is leaving the Trump administration. Was she fired or did she choose to go voluntarily? The first reports were she was escorted from the building and left shouting in anger. Her version is the opposite. The answer is who knows? This administration is riddled with falsehood and lies. One can't believe what anyone says. The absence of truth starts at the top and radiates through the staff. There is no effort to stick by facts or to tell the truth. It is a sink of the worst kind of communications and PR. It is a say-anything, do-anything organization without ethics.The executive branch is a moral vacuum. While it might have worked for a short time, the American public has caught on, and Trump's popularity ratings are the lowest of any president at this point in office.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Some Silicon Valley heavyweights are now admitting that its denizens were starry-eyed optimists when it came to creating and introducing new technology. They saw only the good side of humanity and failed to think about those who would do evil. They were rudely surprised by Russians meddling in US elections, by neo-Nazi declarations, by pornographers, by others who choose to live outside the boundaries of society. One could almost forgive them for their naivete. Technologists from the beginning have only seen the good side of their labors. They had to learn the hard way that humans are flawed and will misuse hardware and software to their own benefit even if it hurts others. They know now and they are working diligently to edit out inflammatory material from their social media. They still aren't comfortable with their new role, but they recognize the responsibility they have assumed with the success of their systems. It has been a hard-won maturation.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Google has a PR nightmare without end. It is its war against scammers who continually find new ways to rank high in search engine results. When the company closes one door with its algorithm, the shysters find another and pile in until Google gets wise and shuts it. They are then off to other tricks as they find them. There is no point where Google's search engine is perfect and stops scammers permanently. There is always a crack somewhere and the fly-by-nighters will find it. The company's reputation depends on producing good search results to queries and if it doesn't, people will stop using it. Hence, Google can't ignore con artists. It must do its utmost to smoke them out and get rid of them. It is an onerous task but essential.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
President Trump has signed a directive to NASA to send men back to the moon and eventually, Mars. It has been a long time coming. Man hasn't been to the moon since 1972, and Mars is a gleam in the eye of space adventurers. The directive will mean little without money. Sans funds, the document is little more than a publicity stunt. It will take multi-billions to return to the moon and many more billions to reach Mars and return safely. NASA hasn't had that kind of cash in decades. It has been reduced to unmanned probes. That hasn't been bad. We have learned more about the solar system from instrument packages than we could have known with humans. But, it is time to have a presence on the moon as a place to understand the deep complexities of space and its effects on the human body. What we learn on the moon might get us to Mars but to little after that. The solar system is hostile to life but for earth.
Monday, December 11, 2017
A budding but incompetent terrorist set off a pipe bomb in a New York subway this morning. Authorities handled the incident well and over-communicated, as they should have, the particulars of the event to ease public concern. Only three people were hurt, apparently none seriously except the perpetrator who was burned and is in the hospital. Fortunately, New York emergency respondents had recently rehearsed what to do in the case of a terrorist attack so they were ready. The lesson here is that crisis handling and communication don't work well on the page. One needs to run through everything that needs to be done from securing a scene through transporting victims, communicating to the public and collecting forensic evidence. It won't be the last time this happens. The next incident might be serious. It is good to know that New York is ready.
Friday, December 08, 2017
The greater fools are bidding up the price of Bitcoin by the hour. It is not going to stay that high and might even be breaking as I write. Some are going to get hurt badly, but that is the outcome of all mania. The Dutch Tulip Bulb bubble ruined thousands of investors. Bitcoin is no different and wise Wall Streeters have been counseling people to stay away. Yet, many are not. They see instant riches and they crave wealth. it is crowd psychology and there is no communication other than supportive that the audience will listen to now. Criticism is rejected out of hand. Anyone who isn't on board with the mania doesn't understand or is a hidebound conservative. When the price fever does break, and "I told you so" is ringing in their ears, they still won't listen but will go on to the next surefire way to riches. Some people are gamblers always on the hunt for the next big thing. They rarely win.
Thursday, December 07, 2017
The internet has made one type of fake PR easier to do. That is putting names onto phony comments to the FCC. The Federal Communications Commission has been deluged with opinions for and against net neutrality. It turns out many of them were made up with names stolen from databases. Unfortunately, one of the taken names was that of a reporter who blew the whistle on the ersatz grassroots campaign. The result of the fake PR is that FCC commissioners can more easily ignore the public reaction to their voting. The campaign backfired. The problem is larger than a government agency. It means any solicitation of public opinion is open to distortion and falsehood. One cannot simply count comments for and against and arrive at a public sentiment. There needs to be stricter standards for asking the public what it thinks.