Pundit Wire

Safety in Numbers

Washington-20141009-00083I don’t mean it in a smarmy way:  everything is numbers these days, it just is. Undergraduates looking for a pretty sustainable livelihood should become “M&E” specialists – monitoring and evaluation.  If I were a donor I, too, would want to know what I am getting for my money.

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E-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-æ-d-i-a

EncyclopediaI wonder how Jiminy Cricket would have handled the æ.

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Brands make lousy lovers

5551172614_1f76775d38_zWhat brand doesn’t belong on this list? Amazon, Uber, Yelp, Hillary.

It’s a trick question. They all belong. In recent days, they’ve all been making it harder for their fans to love them.

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Which algorithm are you?

millenial I love online quizzes.

The one I currently love most is “How Millennial Are You?” which the Pew Research Center put out on Friday. You answer 14 questions, ranging from whether living a very religious life is very important to you to whether you have a piercing in a place other than your earlobe, and your score tells you what generation you most resemble.

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Flappy Bird, Happy Bird

flappybirdreuters If you’ve been on an aboriginal walkabout, you may not know that, until yesterday, Flappy Bird was the most popular iPhone and Android app on the planet.  Its appeal lies neither in its crappy graphics nor its nonexistent story, but in its addictive difficulty.  You win by tapping on your screen to prevent birds from hitting pipes in their flight path.  Or rather, you don’t win; innumerable social media posts confess to racking up humiliatingly low scores after embarrassingly time-eating attempts.

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Eeeek! I’ve been snooped!

Credit Cards The idea that the United States Government might be spying on some of our personal communication is a little creepy.  If I phone a friend in Baghdad, Kabul or Moscow, or even London or Paris, there’s apparently a chance that a record of my call could wind up in a National Security Agency electronic file.  Or if I email my cousin in South Dakota to exchange recipes for home-made cherry bombs or bottle rockets to celebrate July 4th, there could be a record of our discussion at NSA Headquarters.

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Reverse the PowerPoint Death Spiral to Mediocrity! Now!

PowerPoint Imagine a product that is so successful that many people start hating it, to the point of blaming intellectual decline and other social problems on its very ubiquity. Welcome to PowerPoint.

The expression “Death by PowerPoint” generates about (sic) 4,220,000 results via Google, with myriad links to horrible examples of PowerPoint presentations and surveys that rehearse the damage PowerPoint can cause to thinking minds. “PowerPoint Poisoning” gives nearly 1,000,000 Google results, not bad for a contrived phrase. Who knows, maybe PowerPoint Death Spiral to Mediocrity will now surge up the Google ratings charts.

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Over the Energy Cliff?

John Hofmeister America may have skirted the fiscal cliff, but don’t unfasten your seatbelts just yet. Looming ahead is the energy cliff, another avoidable crisis brought on by our own ignorance, complacency and lack of leadership.

That was the grim warning conveyed yesterday afternoon by veteran energy executive John Hofmeister at a meeting of the Houston chapter of the American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company, currently heads a public advocacy group called Citizens for Affordable Energy, devoted to educating the American people and our leaders on the need for responsible energy policies.

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