A second Bitcoin blackmail scam, based on hacked passwords

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There’s a new Bitcoin blackmail scam circulating — this time based on passwords from website breaches. This extortion email is likely to be less effective than the paper letters because it’s full of obvious errors. My post last April about the Bitcoin blackmail letter in my mailbox has become popular. It generates over 300 views … Continued

Bullshit hiding in plain sight

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I talk about the bullshit in what we read all the time. I’m so deep into it that I’m inured to the whole concept. But I had an experience yesterday that helped me recognize just how pervasive the problem of bullshit is. Here’s the scene. I’m running a plain writing workshop for a group of … Continued

How to fix baseball

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I’ve always loved baseball. But it’s gotten slow and boring, and young people are losing interest. It’s time for some radical changes. Veteran sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy summed up the problem in the Boston Globe. It’s an average of 3 minutes and 45 seconds between balls put in play. There are interminable waits between innings and … Continued

In defense of ruthless editing

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I edit smart people. And I don’t pull punches. If your writing has a problem, I’m going to tell you about it. One of my writer clients recently posted some of my editorial comments on Facebook, so everyone could see how, ahem, “direct” I was. He called me “ruthlessly encouraging.” This guy is writing a … Continued

Scott Pruitt’s sycophantic and godly resignation letter

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EPA head Scott Pruitt resigned yesterday in the wake of a dozen corruption accusations. His resignation letter is puffed up and implies that God backs both Trump and Pruitt, who did nothing wrong. Hmm . . . If you want to know the complete list of what Scott Pruitt did wrong, from spending $43,000 of … Continued

10 ways you can help when your client is smarter than you are

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If you are a consultant, you’re supposed to be providing a service your client can’t get on her own. The usual dynamic is “I know about my area of expertise; I can help you with that.” But what happens when your client is more of an expert than you are? Your ability to contribute to an … Continued