Category: Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuading people with words

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 →

Movement Voter Project: make a difference in the elections and beyond!

In this critical moment in our history, we are all struggling with what we can do to make the biggest difference. I’m writing to share with you a unique and powerful response to our political crisis that I learned about in a recent presentation: the Movement Voter Project. The Movement Voter Project (MVP) is a great way for those of… Read more →

Stop tax cheats: pay bounties

Back in the 1970s, the US government paid bounties to citizens who identified big polluters and helped bring them to justice. Some of those bounties helped found the Riverkeeper organization that keeps watch on the Hudson River to this day. Those bounties helped make water and air much cleaner. In the twenty-teens we have another situation where government needs help:… Read more →

Avoiding Amazon

It’s hard to avoid the Amazon behemoth even if you prefer to send your business to other companies. And, there’s not a whole lot an individual householder can do to spread the wealth around because, not much wealth. But here are a few things you can do. Most importantly: try to think of yourself as a householder or citizen, not… Read more →

Flagging “bad” content cannot make social media safer

Social media platforms get in public hot water these days for they way they recommend material to their users. Ysabel Gerrard and Tarleton Gillespie wrote an an article in Wired called When Algorithms Think You Want to Die.  They described how Pinterest and other platforms, by their recommendations, amplify peoples’ exposure to potentially dangerous material. The mechanism is straightforward. When… Read more →

All secrets leak sooner or later. Ozzie’s Clear proposal does not limit damage when they leak.

Ray Ozzie, of Lotus Notes fame and more recently a Microsoft executive, has made a proposal–called Clear–to allow governments to get access to the contents of encrypted phone handsets and other mobile devices. It tasks the device manufacturers with operating a key escrow system and responding to government warrants to give out keys to individual devices. His proposal has been… Read more →

Good News or Fake News? Theology of the cross, or theology of glory?

Katelyn Beaty, a former editor of the self-styled “evangelical” publication Christianity Today, wrote a summary of a meeting at  Wheaton College in Illinois about whether their movement should distance themselves from the present (2018) leader of the Republican Party. They couldn’t figure it out. Maybe they should read the Barmen Declaration. It asks the question of whether the church should… Read more →