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.Read More
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
Tom Brokaw is worried that Washington is out of touch. People feel politics “is a closed game that doesn’t address what their real concerns are,” he told Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast. “It has its own language, it has its own culture.”
Right thought, wrong target. The elder statesman of broadcasting was referring to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner held on April 28. A more telling and troubling example of this disconnect occurred earlier that week, when author Wendell E. Berry gave the 41st annual Jefferson Lecture for the Humanities.Read More »
Asked at a public forum November 3 what resource he would be least willing to part with, planner and Deputy Assistant Secretary Bruce Wharton said without hesitation, “personnel.”
Imagine, in an age of bells and whistles, a value placed on humans and their capacities. Blogster John Brown spoke July 24, 2010, of “The Newest Killer App for Public Diplomacy” – colorless, odorless, environmentally friendly, accessible to all, more effective than social media, and “TOTALLY FREE: face-to-face conversation!”Read More »
Not long ago, conventional wisdom held that U.S. natural gas production had peaked and would decline. But then came a new technique for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Overnight, the enormous gas shale deposits of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania were open to development.Read More »
What has the digital age done to speechwriting? There are few people in our profession better qualified to answer that question than Clark Judge, managing director of the Washington-based White House Writers Group.
At a November 2 luncheon meeting of the Houston Speechwriters Roundtable, organized by BP speechwriter John Barnes, Mr. Judge spoke eloquently and informatively about using the power of the Internet to maximize the impact of a speech.Read More »