Can Facebook block lies about voting?

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In the US, the midterm election day is one week from today, November 6. Facebook says it will ban misinformation on voting. If you find this news item encouraging, allow me to discourage you. First off, the ban is limited in scope. Facebook is not banning fake news (as if such a thing were possible) … Continued

The link between entrepreneurship and pre-existing conditions

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The arguments about health care policy aren’t just arguments about health care economics. They’re actually about American support for innovation. Let’s lay it out. First, entrepreneurship. According to a study by Pierre Azoulay and three other authors in the Harvard Business Review, the average age of a successful startup founder is 45. Here’s some of … Continued

Are transgender people people?

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Someone you know is transgender. They deserve to be treated like a human. Look. My job here is normally to pick apart public statements by people, to show you how things can be written better. I try not to get into taking political positions. But I am making an exception today. If this bothers you, … Continued

What exactly is a “strong denial?”

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I was puzzled when Donald Trump indicated that he doubted that the Saudi government had been involved in the disappearance, and likely murder, of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi. But he said he was sure, because of the Saudis’ “strong denial.” Here’s a quote: “All I can do is report what he told me. He told … Continued

Does the Brett Kavanaugh op-ed make its case?

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh defended himself in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He says you can trust him to be impartial. Did he undo the damage he did during his hearing last week? Just a reminder: the purpose of this blog is to reveal what’s really going on with written communications. I’m … Continued

Fixing the passive Presidential Alert

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Like several hundred million other Americans, I received a lump of passive voice in the form of a Presidential Alert yesterday. This was a huge time waster. So I fixed it. I was out at a farmers’ market when all of our phones and radios started hooting and whining. People got annoyed and kept shopping. … Continued

How Russia will disrupt the midterm elections

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The objective of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was never to elect Donald Trump — it was to create chaos. So let’s game it out. You are the head of Russian intelligence. You’re out to build on your success in 2016 and make America as impotent and divided as possible. What would you do? … Continued

How to tell your story: A statement from Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford

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Regardless of what happens when Christine Blasey Ford testifies in the Senate today about Brett Kavanaugh assaulting her in high school, we now have a written opening statement from her to review. It’s straightforward and detailed. If you have a difficult story to tell, you could learn from this. I’m under no illusions about this … Continued