Obviously, busy day.
Did a little renovation here - had to get rid of about 3,000 spam comments. You’d think these folks would have given up against Akismet and other schemes years and years ago.
American Yoga School: The Colossal Failure of Modern Yoga.
“... head on over to social media, where the world spends a whole lot of time. See there that yoga rock stars like to teach how to “get” fancy poses with a few words that are not based on reality, and are always accompanied by a flattering photo. Or scroll down a bit further and find teachers who share videos of people they’ve deemed to be bad getting killed, posted along with their clucking comment that this is karma, revealing that they are profoundly misguided about what karma is and what a yoga teacher’s job is.” I’d wondered how bad it was getting. The use of stock photography seems rampant on yoga school pages, in yoga social channels. Thanks, Craig Jensen on FB.
Too much built up in the news feeds. “Mark all as read”. Wait.
Links as they catch my interest.
Copyblogger: Why Lazy People Make the Best Content Marketers.
HAH. Linked purely for the H1 an H2 titles and subtitles.
vowe dot net: How to clean up your Twitter timeline.
Ugh. Thanks, Volker.
Thoughts on the Democratic debate, 2/4/16.
I held my nose and dove into the political quagmire a little earlier than I wanted to, because last night’s debate was touted as “likely one of the more substantial debates”. Alas, substance was lacking, as was real debate. Given what I’ve read over the past weeks, the same old porridge served up with a new topping.
First, the debate moderators. Maddow and Todd had great questions, but did not police the debate well enough. Sure, these are famous people. But they’re people. You can tell them to shut up, or you turn off their microphone. The A/V guys would love to do it. Disrespectful? Not as disrespectful as outstaying your welcome verbally. Skilled debaters thrive on limitation, the same as children. So exercise your authority.
The two candidates overall. Oh, how I’m let down. I’d like to get excited this election season; these two are a rum lot. I suppose because Clinton was considered such a strong candidate going into this contest, no really fine Democrats would throw their hat in. After all, because of ’08 she’s “owed” the nomination, right? Wrong. I’ve mentioned the Bob Dole nomination as a previous model. I find significant flaws in both Sanders and Clinton, flaws strong enough to give Republicans a reasonable chance.
Candidate Sanders first. He’s been my favorite, not because I believe he can win, but because there’s nothing wrong with having a leftward candidate to push the likely nominee to make leftward concessions in their platform. We’re allowed to dream, surely. Progressive remorse over Obama is huge and unappreciated. We desperately need some hope.
This is the first time I’ve sat through an entire debate with him, rather than just getting video bites. I am astonished at his verbatim repeats of his platforms. Instead of a One-Note Charlie, he’s like a Six- or Eight-Note Charlie. I can see why Hillary agreed to more debates. This behavior will mitigate against Bernie after one or two more events. Even the clueless media will pick up on it. They’re great notes, but he expresses them virtually identically each time.
For all his good ideas about domestic policies, the gap in his foreign policy knowledge is stark. Even moreso because he is a smart man, surely he understood this would be part of the job qualifications - and yet he STILL hasn’t got any good verbal comebacks for questions that are patently obvious. Come on, Bernie, at least baffle us with some bullshit. It’s better than tonight’s performance. It makes me question his overall judgment. More than anything else, this bothered me the most and makes me question all the fawning support.
Todd’s question about Afghanistan seemed to sail right by Sanders. I know what he was thinking, the ISIS solution of “Muslims fixing Muslim problems” would solve Afghanistan as well, but Sanders cannot assume everyone in America understands these nuances. Only on Todd’s prodding did he meld his ISIS comments with Afghanistan. This … imperviousness … alerted me to his age. I started looking for ‘senior moments’, and thought I caught the shade of a couple instances.
Sanders is what, 75? If Sanders was female, I might not worry so much. Women live longer with their wits intact. Yeah, yeah … reverse sexism on my part. But for men, 75-80 can see a lot of decline. Some might call it inappropriate to point it out, but it is important. That flexibility of mind and opinion can disappear quickly.
I won’t belabor his good points. You’ve heard them a hundred times already thanks to your friends (or former friends) on FB.
Last thing. This whole “I won’t attack Hillary” schtick. Oh, it gets applause. And my derision. He won’t attack her over email, but goes after her for not being a progressive? Drop the BS. Gloves on, or gloves off. Make up your mind, and take the lumps for your choice. Clinton accused you of a smear, and in the doubletalk you took advantage of an ill-chosen ‘out’ she provided you with, and changed the subject to ‘issues.’ I side with Clinton here. Say it, don’t spray it. You claim to be a man of integrity. You ducked this; I never would have. And I judge you wanting for this.
Candidate Clinton. After all these years in the public eye, you would think she would have achieved some eloquence. I can feel her fighting for words (remember, I was a teleprompter for years). Nodding her head, eyes cycling, trying to tack words together (oh so slowly) so as not to sound like a fool. Painful. At some points it felt like English was her second language. If nothing else, these debates (if she uses them wisely) can hone her vocal instrument. Last night was NOT a good performance.
You’ve seen the articles condemning her “shouting”, “shrill.” I suspect, given the Sanders speaking style, she feels she needs to surmount his volume in order to avoid being perceived as ‘weak.’ It seems to be totally throwing her off her game. She can be an ‘alpha dog’ without the testosterone, very simply. Well-timed quiet, considered responses would be amazing as answers to many of Sanders’ bellowed statements, and she still hasn’t twigged to that. I expect, given her personality, she feels she knows best and wouldn’t give the time of day to a speech-coach. She’s not going to come off well enough against a withering, foghorn Trump or a debate-skilled sniping Cruz. Rubio and she would end up waffling at each other, leaving us with another 50/50 tossup in the fall.
So her delivery of information is staccato, flawed … and reflects what comes across as terrible low self-esteem. Every Sanders answer, at the beginning of the debate, she wedged herself in with the “I did’s”. Nothing gets me more angry than a pushy interrupter. I find her current persona smarmy and insincere. And for what? A laundry list is a laundry list. Boring. Forgettable. TELL A STORY and ONE REMARKABLE, MEMORABLE ANECDOTE that indicates how your experience and knowledge overcomes Sanders’ lack (hopefully not ‘the sniper story’). Learn from Reagan (oh, the irony), it’s what people expect right now. In her flurry of “I did’s”, she made me realize how many cockups of the past she’s been around for (NAFTA, Iraq, financial crises, Benghazi, emails). She needs to seriously rethink how she relates her resume in debates. [For entertainment, check the ‘history’ tab on her Wikipedia page. Busy, busy revisionism. Frankly, I’m surprised Cruz hasn’t started a carpet-bombing campaign in the entry.]
Some quick comments: As was expressed to me by a young lady, once upon a time at a political event in ‘08 - ‘just because you have a vagina does not mean you are a progressive.’ You were against gay marriage before you were for it. Explain why. Be forthright for once. Shock us. You seriously get mad about being called ‘establishment’, and then you use Kissinger as a reference for the job? Kissinger. And not ‘establishment’. Kissinger?!! Am I in a time warp, parallel universe or something?
Then, is being called a moderate so bad, that you attack someone else and accuse them of a ‘smear’? Do you know how idiotic that sounds? All elections are won over turnout and who casts the widest net - towards the center. She wants far left support sans concessions so damned bad she’s willing to throw the middle under the bus? Fodder for the enemy. Terrible strategizing, if she’s doing any at all. And don’t start this “low blow” or “he’s being harsh” stuff. Either you’re a tough broad, or you’re not. Choose. Now.
A point that gave me hope of Clinton subtlety (a seemingly rare beast, and as such, should be appreciated even if mythical) - I was wondering why the hell she referenced Oklahoma City and McVeigh. That seemed a very weird instance to bring up. Very old - dating her own political history. Trying to avoid blaming Obama for in-country ISIS events? Then it dawned on me - could she be making a veiled threat towards the militia types here in America? Woe be to them if they try taking over more Federal lands under Clinton’s watch, methinks. Thatcher may have been the “Iron Lady”, but she’ll be history’s Rousey to Hillary’s Holm, if my assumption is correct.
I threw wadded-up socks at the television over this: “Wall Street guys trying to stop me”. Nice! A few days after a fundraiser WITH those Wall Street guys. I almost shut the TV off.
Loved Todd’s question about releasing the transcripts of the speeches for Goldman Sachs. Bang-zoom! Her face. If eyes could be lasers. She’s not a think-on-your-feet person, either. She could have turned this aside with, “Well, whether I talked to Goldman Sachs or the American Breast Cancer Association, I may have mentioned proprietary information which can’t be made public. Any release is up to them.” How neat that would have been! The irony here is … she complained of retroactive classification in the State Department. She’s retroactively classifying HER OWN SPEECHES now. Pot. Kettle. Black.
My sad conclusion: The Democratic Party offers us also-rans, the Republicans a circus side-show. I suppose we’ll have to settle for Clinton as our nominee eventually. She has too much clout behind her, and she’s been calling in markers like crazy all over media, entertainment and political circles. Even the NY Times is retweeting her talking points during the broadcast, as their editorialists cast doubts upon Sanders. I’m afraid New Hampshire will be Sanders’ high point, downhill from there. The whole ‘endorsement’ brouhaha. Too many new people, too fast, without enough organization. You can throw a lot of money at someone, but it doesn’t mean that someone will use it to best effect.
Sanders’ contention that the only way any of this matters - by throwing out the monied interests, bodily riding them out of the Beltway on a rail - is the true bottom line of this debate. And one of the few in which Clinton did NOT wedge herself in with a rejoinder. Her silence here spoke volumes. Very establishment GOP.
Here’s hoping she hires a speech coach. Now I have to get a barf bag out and sample a Republican debate, and write a similar piece.
Have a great evening. I need a drink.
Later: Suggested study material for Ms Clinton.
Meetings this morning, but a commentary on the debates coming later.
I held my nose and dove into the Democratic debate last evening. One of those situations where my thoughts are dragging me kicking and screaming to the keyboard in order to mind-dump. See you all a bit later.
Nice Marmot: Election Thoughts.
Depressing, but something you have to read. Dave’s comment: “Within ten years, I’m fairly certain it will be clear that things have become dramatically and unequivocally worse.” This reminds me of how we viewed the first Reagan Presidency, esp. when Kemp-Roth was passed. I was just getting out of college; a friend and I walked down along Nassau Street in Princeton, and as the deficit began to burgeon we discussed the fact that America was ‘over’. Given that experience, ten years may be too short; America is uniquely resistant to reality. We stutter and start, choke and hobble forward in this country. 20, 40 years on, the fetid breath of imminent extinction may generate effort, likely all too late. Humanity, nothing more than a might-have-been. Watch Nick Bostrom here.
Great piece, Dave.
Every client had a question this morning.
Links as I have time, now that I get to catch my breath a bit.
New Yorker/Comma Queen: The Strippers, J.F.K. and Stalin—or, the Importance of Serial Commas.
Ana White: Build a Leave it to Joy Triple Pedestal Wide Farmhouse Table.
A little extra detail work, this might end up an heirloom piece.
Discover Magazine: No, GM Mosquitoes Didn’t Start The Zika Outbreak.
Saw the original article on the ‘net, smelled more than one rat. A lot of allegations, with no discernible trail of breadcrumbs from one sensational fact to another. Jeremiah, your years of enforcing good skepticism paid off here.
euansemple: A plague of managers.
This makes me think of today’s project management software (a la Basecamp, Asana, Trello, etc.). Metadata is virtually required to make it all worthwhile; keeping the system up to date is a job in itself and kills production time for workers. Minimal solutions such as Slack seem the better bets to me.
New Yorker: The End of Twitter.
“What should worry Twitter is irrelevance, and there is growing data to suggest that that is where the company is headed. If Twitter’s real-time feed is its most powerful asset (and it is), it’s not difficult to see a future in which Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or even a newcomer like Peach (yes, I am citing Peach) focus enough on real-time news that they obviate the need for Twitter’s narrow, noisy, and oft-changing ideas about social interaction.”
Three from Search Engine Roundtable.
1. Google says shorter URLs are better.
2. Google says links in footers or sitewides aren’t given much weight.
3. Google says title tags are ranking factors, but not worth rewriting for ‘better’ results.
Dazed: In 1998 this webcam woman was the most famous person online.
There’s hope for online history being remembered. Dazed interviews anacam.
Meetings this morn.
New Republic: The Public Domain Still Needs Idealism.
“The Idealist does not shed new light on Swartz’s life or death; what it does—and does very well—is put Swartz’s work in context. The book gives an engaging, if knowingly incomplete, account of the history of intellectual property and copyright law, the archaic roots (and current implications) of cyberlaw, and some key players in the ongoing fight between open-data philosophy and the federal government.” Oh, on my reading list for sure.
Medium/Anil Dash: I’m the most magnanimous motherfucker you know.
“Now imagine, if every other week a stranger said, “I think you intend to kill children.” Could you laugh it off three times in a row? Four? Eight?” Anil is one of the most extraordinarily decent people I know. When I read something that makes me want to blow a gasket, Anil can trace a route to resolution that is reasonable, ethical and respectful: he’s good in all senses of the word. That this kind of thing happens to him, hurts my heart. Angry-sad all at the same time.
Ms Magazine: As Subtle as the Pose.
Important read. You’ve heard it before. We get pummelled by the same visual tropes over and over and over, until we’re numb. And, for the record, I’ve never seen a single woman adopt that ‘fashion hunch’ in real life. Other than one with severe spine issues, and she couldn’t move otherwise.
Fashion needs some serious reality. Sadly, fashion bloggers are merely making cold calculated plays for sponsorship and ad impressions. They seem to not realize that together, they could drive a wedge in this industry, split it to pieces and reassemble it any damned way they want.
DZone: Goodnight, Sweet Prince - Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 Reach ‘End of Lifecycle’.
HOORAY! Oh, wait ... (breath) ... respect for a once-great browser.
The Register.UK: ‘You’re updated!’ Drupal says, with fingers crossed behind back.
I wonder if there’s a way mathematically - as in very precisely - to calculate the probability of where the media’s giant lens will focus next. You know Trump is still Trumping, Gaga’s still going ga-ga, Hillary’s still climbing her hill, Cruz is still cruising, Kardashian is still butting in. Yet the ‘lens’ only chooses very specific instances upon which to pull focus on them.
I used to be so good at gauging ‘linkability’ ... my strategy was cobbled together from observation and gut instinct. Yet I firmly believe there’s a formula somewhere in the back of my head, that if I could just have translated it to an equation ...
Today ‘linkability’ and ‘virality’ can be induced artificially. Many more factors to consider now. But I still think there’s a formula to be calculated.
SER: Google Says Self-Signed SSL Certificate Won’t Work For HTTPS Ranking Boost.
Of course. They won’t let us ‘cheap out.’
16 years and counting.
Missed my own weblog’s anniversary. In a way, that’s a good thing; being online is no longer remarkable or unusual. The duration used to be of particular note. Seems to mean less as the decades roll past ... I run across more and more self-proclaimed ‘old school bloggers’ offering boatloads of blogging advice. Usually for a price. [Bells should go off in your head if their names aren’t Cam, Dave or Jorn, for instance.]
Blogging has a chance to be relevant again. You’ve seen the articles around. Don’t be concerned over the latest ‘people want a one-stop shop’ theories online. You trade a bit of control for exposure with a one-stop shop - if that works for you, fine. I would be careful; most of these outfits have terms that allow republishing to specific partners for promotional purposes. That could end up like the stereotypical photographer stepping into stock photography: putting up a shot of two people in bed and having it used for an erectile dysfunction ad (something the photographer and the models never imagined). Keeping your ‘main’ copy on your very own independent blog is always a good practice. If you cannot control the channel you get republished in, perhaps you can maintain control of the context in which your article was meant to be understood.