Zuckerberg’s Holocaust conundrum — and how Facebook can escape from it

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Mark Zuckerberg got himself in hot water by explaining why he couldn’t kick Holocaust deniers off of Facebook. That sounds indefensible until you try to figure out how you’d do it. It’s a hard problem, but I have a solution. Here’s what Mark Zuckerberg told Recode in an interview with Kara Swisher: Zuckerberg: I’m Jewish, … Continued

Why I’m the type of editor who won’t settle

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I hate fluff. I also hate wimpiness, cliched platitudes, endless bloviation, and bad grammar. This affects how I behave as an editor. It reduces the number of clients I have, and changes the way I approach content. Let’s say you come to me with a potential editing job. I look at what needs to be … Continued

On Russian election hacking, Trump switches from denial to complicity

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On Monday, in Helsinki, Trump said he couldn’t see why Russia would hack our elections. Yesterday, he said he was wrong. Even if you believe him, switching from denial to acceptance isn’t a step forward. Let’s look at the transcripts. At the joint press conference in Helsinki, Vladimir Putin denied interfering in the election: Putin: … Continued

What’s the significance of the Republican criticisms of Trump and Putin in Helsinki?

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Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, then defended the Russian president. Democrats were outraged, of course, but this time many Republicans chimed in with disapproval as well. What does the language of these Republican protests tell us about the probability of an impeachment? Trump got everyone upset with this response to a reporter’s question: AP … Continued

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