What Happens When You Spend too Much Time in Thin Air

Advertisers do the darndest things.

Like thinking the millions of people who have contributed their time to building and maintaining Wikipedia would not notice Northface and Leo Burnett wikihacking the site. Like the marketers not knowing hundreds of bots are constantly monitoring the site looking for just what Northface and Leo Burnett did.

I’m just curious how two companies like these could put their heads together and come up with something so stupid.

 

Playing Hookey

I have lots of half finished blog posts that may never be posted. One day, this will be called the gap in blogging at Rexblog.com.

Anyway, I could not let the 30th anniversary of the WWW go by without saying something. Or re-posting something, at leaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web

Sidebar: There was something about the SNL PowerPoint skit last Saturday that made me think about the early days of the web — or, in general, the early days of the graphical interface. Here it is.

 

Two Audio Stories That Should be Required Listening

A story told without video or a slide deck can be as powerful as a story supported by video. But it takes a rare talent to pull it off.

While riding my bike home last night and driving into work this morning, I listened (on a safe little speaker) to two podcasts (episodes?) that

(1) Reminded me what a powerful thinker and speaker Barbara Jordan was before her death

(2) Introduced me to Will Hurd, the only black GOP member of Congress who used to be a CIA agent and whose district runs hundreds of miles along the southwestern border.

(3) Show that a stories told without video or a slide deck can be as powerful as stories supported by video. But it takes a rare talent to pull it off.

Disclaimer: I think what Hurd says in this Daily interview makes great sense. However, I have no idea where he stands on other issues or, frankly, anything. On the issue of “the wall,” he’s a voice of reason.

Here are links to the two posts.

Where Have You Gone, Barbara Jordan? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You  (This American Life)

A Republican Congressman from Texas Who Opposes the Wall (The Daily)

Photo: GettyImages

The Only Things We Have to Fear are Statistics

A person’s odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than dying in a motor vehicle crash.

Years ago, I posted a few items about what I called “fear junkies” — the apparent addiction to panic that so many people have — and that gets stoked by weather and news purveyors.

After going through a few politically-motivated panic attacks since then, I understand the fear people have. However, I’ve not given up my belief that, statistically, Americans often misdirect our fear. We obsess over things which are statically remote while growing numb to things (and certain politicians) that we should actually panic over.

For example, according to a new study by the National Safety Council’,” (via: NYTimes.com) a person’s odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than dying in a motor vehicle crash. Here’s a quote from the study’s findings.

Fear is natural and healthy. It can help us respond to danger more quickly or avoid a dangerous situation altogether. It can also cause us to worry about the wrong things, especially when it comes to estimating our level of risk. If we overestimate our risk in one area, it can lead to anxiety and interfere with carrying out our normal daily routine. Ironically, it also leads us to underestimate real risks that can injure or kill us. It can be difficult to accurately assess the biggest risks we face. Plane crashes, being struck by lightning or being attacked by a dog are common fears, but what about falls, the danger inside of a bottle of pills, or your drive to work? Knowing the odds is the first step in beating them.

A chart (below) from the National Safety Councils website provides a listing of lifetime odds of death for selected causes. I found it fascinating, but not surprising, that many things deserving more fear are accepted as normal while things that rarely happen get most of the airtime of local news each night.

Heart disease and cancer and lower respiratory disease (all with connections to smoking) are the top causes of deaths. (Death from riding a bicycle is 1 in 1,747.)

The one thing for certain, no matter how precisely we understand the statistics of death, there is only one thing we can be 100% sure of about death: we’re all going to experience it one day…unless we travel on passenger trains.

 

Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 2017
Cause of Death Odds of Dying
Heart Disease 1 in 6
Cancer 1 in 7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease 1 in 27
Suicide 1 in 88
Opioid overdose 1 in 96
Motor Vehicle Crash 1 in 103
Fall 1 in 114
Gun Assault 1 in 285
Pedestrian Incident 1 in 556
Motorcyclist 1 in 858
Drowning 1 in 1,117
Fire or Smoke 1 in 1,474
Choking on Food 1 in 2,696
Bicyclist 1 in 4,047
Accidental Gun Discharge 1 in 8,527
Sunstroke 1 in 8,912
Electrocution, Radiation, Extreme Temperatures and Pressure 1 in 15,638
Sharp objects 1 in 28,000
Cataclysmic Storm 1 in 31,394
Hot surfaces and substances 1 in 46,045
Hornet, wasp and bee stings 1 in 46,562
Dog attack 1 in 115,111
Passenger on an airplane 1 in 188,364
Lightning 1 in 218,106
Railway passenger 1 in 243,765

See data details

Google Doodle, Bluegrass Style

Today’s Google Doodle honors legendary banjo player and stylist Earl Scruggs. Here’s a short essay I posted when Earl Scruggs died. It contains a re-post of an earlier post (15 years ago) about the chance my son had to meet and chat with Scruggs. (My son was 14 at the time — and a fiddle and mandolin player.) I appreciate Google recalling this great artist.