Category: Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuading people with words

From around the ‘toobz: articles marking the 50th anniversary of Friedman’s article

Milton Friedman wrote an article called “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits” fifty years ago. It is here. Here are some articles marking that anniversary, for reference. Some of them challenge the status quo Friedman established back then. Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times Tom Poldre, B Lab UK Article about the Business Roundtable’s challenge to… Read more →

Half a century of this is enough: Friedman’s piece saying business must be irresponsible

Fifty years ago come this Sunday, on September 13, 1970, Milton Friedman (a professor of economics at The University of Chicago) published a piece in the New York Times called “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits.” Invoking the socialist bogeyman, he argues that businesses should focus only on increasing their profits. Fifty years on, this has… Read more →

Conceived in bigotry and dedicated to the proposition that my tribe is holier than thine

“Conceived in bigotry and dedicated to the proposition that my tribe is holier than thine”. With deep apologies to President Lincoln, I fear this describes the practice of Christianity among White americans in the twenty-first century. It’s really painful to admit this. What is going on? Recently I visited a man wearing a T-shirt that said “Jesus is my savior.… Read more →

Flood Maps Miss Risk Factors

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) national flood insurance program has a non-governmental competitor. Here’s a Times piece about a Brooklyn-based non-governmental outfit called First Street Foundation. They’ve put together an online address lookup scheme called Flood Factor that returns a risk of flood at a property. They claim that FEMA’s rating system, based on Flood Insurance Rate Maps… Read more →

New Microsoft Edge rolls out to everybody this month

About time! the new Chromium-based Edge browser will show up on Windows 10 machines in this month’s update. For the cancelled Internet Explorer and Legacy Edge project people, I would have more sympathy if their work products hadn’t baffled software developers for a quarter-century. IE and old Edge were in the uncanny valley of compatibility. They worked well enough that… Read more →

Electronic Health Records considered harmful

Wow. Authorities finally figured what doctors have been saying for years. EHRs suck time and attention. The primary-care doctor who sees me works for a gigantic health-care conglomerate. He uses his own money to hire young people to sit and type mandatory gibberish into EPIC while he examines patients like me.  Everybody knows the purpose of EPIC is CYA: to… Read more →

The Field Epidemiology Manual: Communications

The US Centers for Disease Control publishes a Field Epidemiology Manual with lots of great material on how to handle epidemics. There’s a great chapter on communications during an epidemic here.  (Infosec incident response planners would be wise to read this material; lots of it applies to communicating about data breaches. Back to the topic at hand.) Communication starts with… Read more →

Hoarding? What? Really?

I went to Market Basket this morning to buy groceries. Market Basket, with their crew, is a major civil institution stabilizing life these days. Love ’em. There’s TP (“bog roll” to English and Scottish friends) available again. I guess the people who’ve laid in several decades’ worth of supplies have figured out they don’t need more. The ramen is almost… Read more →

Cloud adventures in CPAP

My dentist, the competent and honorable Dr. J. P. St. Clair, has been pestering me for more than a year saying, “You snore. I can tell by looking down your mouth. Do something about it!”  So I finally did. I took a “home sleep test” and the sleep clinic people said, yes you should do something about it. Plus Carolyn… Read more →

Net Promoter Score survey from a regulated monopoly? WTF?

I just got an email survey from our local monopoly internet service provider. Will you recommend Comcast to a friend? Yes=10  No=1 This betrays a profound misunderstanding of the usefulness of that kind of survey, called the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. Why is “will you recommend our lightly regulated monopoly to your friends” a stupid question?  Well, my friends… Read more →