Separation, division, and unity — reflecting on 9-11

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This is the story of my experience before, during, and after 9-11 — and how it still affects me 19 years later in this once again fraught moment. My story starts on September 1, 2001. I had hired a construction company to replace 120 feet of water, sewer, and gas pipes leading to my house … Continued

Was Bob Woodward wrong to keep his book interviews quiet until now?

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The author and former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward interviewed Trump 18 times for his new book Rage. In a February interview, Trump revealed that he knew how serious a threat there was from COVID-19. Many commentators say Woodward should he have said something as soon as he learned this. I disagree. What Woodward knew … Continued

Resignation letter from Facebook engineer Ashok Chandwaney undermines the company’s rationalizations

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When it comes to hate, does Facebook believe in what it says it does? According to engineer Ashok Chandwaney, not even close. The Washington Post published the departing employee’s resignation letter, which had been posted on Facebook’s internal message board. Let’s take a close look at the accusations. Analyzing Chandwaney’s resignation letter The resignation letter … Continued

Will GPT-3’s AI make writers obsolete?

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The Guardian newspaper in the UK assigned GPT-3, an AI writer from OpenAI, to write an essay. The results are pretty good. But as long as writing requires creativity, AI won’t replace human writers. GPT-3’s essay, and how it was created Here’s the start of what you can now read at The Guardian: I am … Continued

Must a ghostwriter adopt the author’s voice?

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If you are a ghostwriting a book, must it reflect the voice of the author for whom you’re writing it? I first encountered this question in a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) conference talk by Blythe Campbell. Blythe speaks and writes eloquently about how public relations professionals need to listen to and understand their … Continued

On “losers” — and whether John McCain was one

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Of course John McCain was a loser. He ran for president and he lost. Ergo, he was a loser. But that’s not what Trump means when he talks about McCain being a loser. He’s talking about military service in which you were captured or otherwise failed. And that’s another story. Trump is lying about calling … Continued

President Trump attempts to define anarchy

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Did you know there is anarchy taking place in American cities? President Trump issued a memo in which he instructs the federal government to identify which cities are “anarchist jurisdictions” and to withhold federal funds from such cities. Candidates include Seattle, Portland, New York, and Washington, D.C. Let’s take a close look at the presidential … Continued

Would you join Amazon’s internal CIA? Must be adept at doubletalk and bullshit

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Amazon recently posted a job description for an “Intelligence Analyst.” It came under fire because the description explicitly calls for tracking “threats” of labor organizing, which is generally illegal. But it’s also a fascinating snapshot into how leaders at Amazon talk (or doubletalk). The listing, which was visible yesterday, is no longer live at Amazon, … Continued