The fundamental laws of Facebook

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Facebook asked for users’ email passwords, then “unintentionally uploaded” people’s contact lists without asking for separate permission, according to Business Insider. Stop trying to explain these violations one at a time. A pattern is increasingly obvious. To that end: here are the fundamental laws of Facebook, which will explain not just this violation but all … Continued

The plural company

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Is this wrong? “Samsung has released a new product. They worked really hard on it.” According to style books, it is ungrammatical. “Nouns that denote a unit take singular verbs and pronouns” says the AP stylebook. Let’s look a bunch of instances. In the groups of statements below, which seems right to you? 1a. Dell … Continued

The fundamental question: Do you want answers or empathy?

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Much of human conflict can be traced to a fundamental misunderstanding: giving people answers when they want empathy, or vice versa. Think about it. If you are in a serious relationship, what happens when your significant other comes to you in a state of upset about something happening in their life? When someone comes to … Continued

Do bestselling authors become millionaires?

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Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, explained how he became a millionaire: “I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can become a millionaire, too.” Can you, really? Let’s look at the economics. As you read this, recognize that it comes from working with dozens of nonfiction authors and reviewing their book … Continued

Your book is not a book

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With a nod to RenĂ© Magritte, the book you write is not a book. Magritte’s painting is actually called La Trahison des images (“The Treachery of images”) and includes the words Ceci n’est pas une pipe (“This is not a pipe”). Because, of course, it’s not a pipe. It’s a painting. But enough about Magritte. … Continued

Flaming idiocy in the passive voice in Ridgefield, Connecticut

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Somebody did something dumb in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Here’s the text of a post from the town’s official Facebook page: There as been an incident in town that we want make citizens aware of. A RHS baseball game at Governor Park was delayed due to weather conditions on the field this morning. A poor decision was … Continued

Felicity Huffman shows how to apologize properly

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The actress Felicity Huffman just pleaded guilty to bribing college authorities to get her daughter into college Oliva Jade into USC. Then she apologized briefly and effectively. A true apology admits guilt and addresses the harm the apologizer caused to specific people. It isn’t “I’m sorry you were hurt,” it is “I’m sorry I hurt … Continued