When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money | 2016 | Floods

When natural disasters occur, our first reaction may be to send things. First, send money.


NOLO.com | How to help the victims of the Louisiana flood


Over the years, I have re-posted this far too many times: the following words about natural disasters and the human toll they take. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.

Unfortunately, we live in an era of natural disasters and continue to see the human toll they take. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.

When we start to see the images of these disasters, our first impulse is “go help.”

However, I’ve also learned from writing about these disasters (and having one occur in my hometown) that it’s always better to give the local citizens and experienced officials and non-government agencies a few days to address the immediate needs and to assess what the longer-term needs will be.

As I’ve written before, in the first days of any disaster, for those of us not on the scene, the best way we can help is always: first, send money.

This is especially true when a disaster is so widespread as Hurricane Sandy appears to be.

Personally, and because of advice I’ve been given by individuals who have been on the front lines of such disasters, I contribute, in a designated way, to the Salvation Army as it is supposed to be one of the most efficient ways to support first-responder, essential needs efforts.

Of course, there are many groups through which you can make such contributions.

Scott Adams’ Trump Prediction Update

dilbert_character_top-89a98cb02f28bb33abaea4fd2068728cScott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist, is the only person I’m aware of who, at the beginning of GOP primary season, said that Trump would win in a landslide. If I had not observed Adam’s insight into the economy previously on his blog, I would have dismissed his prediction. While humorous, his theory rang true because it was based on his belief that Trump had superior persuasion skills because he was willing to lie about anything and everything. His prediction obviously held together through the primaries.

Yesterday, however, he shifted his prediction.


Quote from Scott Adams:

“For background, I endorsed Hillary Clinton (for my personal safety) but I’ve been predicting since last year that Trump would win in a landslide because of his superior persuasion skills.That situation changed this summer when Clinton abandoned her losing strategy of sticking to reality. Apparently the Clinton campaign now has help from some of the world’s top Master Persuaders, including, I believe, the one I call Godzilla. It seems that these highly-skilled influencers advised Clinton to steer clear of facts and reason and scare the hell out of voters by painting Trump as a thin-skinned, unstable racist. That approach is working.”


(UPDATE, 8/11 p.m.) Today, I’ve been thinking about Adams’ observation (or theory?) that, in essence, whoever can be the boldest-faced liar is a better persuader and thus, is more likely to win. If that’s the case it explains how Trump’s latest seemingly self-destructive claim that Obama and Clinton are the founders of ISIS is not wacky, but brilliant.

No, really, Obama really is saying this. Literally, not metaphorically. Not, “ISIS was created as a reaction to…” But that Obama and Clinton literally started ISIS. Even when conservative radio talkshow host Hugh Hewitt, a Trump endorsers, gave Trump three chances to correct what he meant to say, this is what he said:

Trump: “No, I meant that he’s the founder of ISIS, I do.”

Hewitt: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.

Trump: I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that—that was the founding of ISIS, OK?

Hewitt: (Obama and Clinton) screwed everything up. You don’t get any argument from me. But by using the term ‘founder,’ they’re hitting you on this again. Mistake?

Trump: No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it…You’re not, and let me ask you, do you not like that?

Hewitt: I don’t. I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.

Trump: Well, I disagree.

In other words, Trump is doing his best to get back the Scott Adams vote.

Who is Winning Between Upshot and FiveThirtyEight (Answer: We Are)

In the battle between FiveThirtyEight.com and NYT’s Upshot, we are the winners.


538FiveThirtyEight.com

upshot

NYTimes.com Upstart


There is a great battle taking place. I’m not talking about the race for President. I’m talking about the battle over which website is best at using election-oriented explanatory graphics (or “data journalism”)–NYTimes.com’s Upshot or ESPN.com’s FiveThirtyEight.com?*


Currently, users of both sites are winning because both sites are using Edward Tufte-inspired methods of displaying real-time trends and variations. (Tufte is a Yale professor emeritus who thinks PowerPoint is evil and passionately dislikes the cartoon illustrations with numbers that are popularly called infographics.)

2016_Election_Forecast___FiveThirtyEight 3Here’s an example of a Tufteian influenced display of data found on 538. When one typically sees a Red and Blue map of the U.S. that shows which candidate is leading in each state, the map adheres to a geographic display.

2016_Election_Forecast___FiveThirtyEight 2However, because each state, thanks to the Electoral College, has a say in the election based primarily on its population, that key data point is ignored when the map is displayed geographically. A more insightful way to display a Red and Blue map is this way, as demonstrated on FiveThirtyEight.com.

Another impressive use of data journalism is the way in which Upshot displays the ever-changing “paths to victory” that each candidate has to victory. (below)

nytimes-pathsThis is perhaps the most revealing display of the daunting challenge Trump faces that I’ve seen. Using the current assumptions from Upshot’s forecasting model applied to current data, Clinton has 998 paths (or 97% of the ways) while Trump has only 24 paths (or 2.3%).

*There’s a lot of history between Nate Silver (founder of fivethirtyeight.com) and the New York Times. I’ve never had much interest in such back-stories. However, competition is a good thing.

Jason Bourne Spoiler Alert

Jason_Bourne
Saw the new Jason Bourne movie. I can’t recall the name, but I think it’s “Now Playing.”

Can’t really explain what happens except people look at computer screens while eerie music plays. I get stressed out looking at computer screens every day, so I know how that feels.

In the movie, Jason Bourne no longer has amnesia. Or maybe he does. I’ve forgotten already.

If you go see the movie, within ten minutes of its ending, you’ll also have amnesia about anything in it that is remotely plot-like.

As I can’t recall the plot, here is one I just made up: In the movie, Jason Bourne is now a rogue killer assassin who is a travel writer on the side.

Fortunately, the creators of the movie knew people would forget everything about the movie so they named it Jason Bourne. If they had named it anything else, people would forget that also. Now, people just have to say, “the new Jason Bourne movie” assuming they had forgotten the movie name, but actually they haven’t.

Can’t wait to complain about the next sequel titled, “Latest Jason Bourne.”

God Bless Ameri Khans

What are the odds of there being two men named Khan who, in the same week, did amazing things to teach millions of people lessons about American history and government? And I’m not talking metaphorically. I’m talking actual history like the kind that is taught in lessons and books.

Here are the two Khans I’m talking about.

Sal Kahn, founder of Khan Academy

Sal_and_Kim_DSC8089_Cropped_small_qow09e-1

In this photo, Sal and Kim Kutz, U.S. history fellow at Khan Academy, are celebrating the successful completion of an Indigogo project to raise funds for American government and politics resources. The project closed last week, raising $569,341 and crushing their goal of $300,000.

Here’s what is being funded by the project:

$300,000 | To create government and politics resources for high school students.
$200,000 | To fund Social Studies content for middle schoolers
$68,341 | To expand our content library to include more new topics.

“Together, we’ve raised funds to help us bring free resources on these critical topics to millions of learners. We truly couldn’t have done it without you,” Khan said on the Indigogo project page.

If you don’t know about Sal Khan and Khan Academy, the story is an amazing testament to the reason America is blessed to be a magnet for people from around the globe who yearn to breathe free in a land that promises opportunity. Khan is a second-generation American, born in Metairie, Louisiana. His father, Dr. Fakhrul Amin Khan, is from Barisal, Bangladesh, and his mother, Masuda Khan, is from Murshidabad, West Bengal, India. Sal and his elder sister were raised by his mother.

Khan attended MIT, graduating with degrees in mathematics, electrical engineering and computer science–Oh, and he was class president his senior year. Later, Khan earned MS degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and worked in an MBA from Harvard Business School during his spare time.

Khizr Khan. father of the late U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan

Amazon_Best_Sellers__Best_BooksMr. Khan not only spoke eloquently and with great impact, about the supreme sacrifice his son made in service to his country, Mr. Khan inspired a run on the sale of pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution. For nearly a week, the Constitution has been the #2 best selling book of any type on Amazon.com — second only to a Harry Potter release.