Issue 75: Bad Messaging

Stop for a moment and consider Twitter. Not in the sense as a politican or sport star may use (or misuse) it but rather in it as a messaging platform. The tweet limit of a 140 characters is manifestly too short to do anything with except to utter a platitude, push out a pithy remark, or otherwise put one’s foot in one’s mouth. Most rational people would agree that Twitter is an excellent way to get in trouble. Now step back and consider that bumper stickers were the Twitter of those pre-wired generations doomed to live without the constant intrustion of the internet. How much less can be said with a bumper sticker? How much more is the possibility to misinterpret? The answer is a lot more.

Case in point. I was driving a couple week’s ago when a car got in front of me. The rear-end of this particular vehicle was festooned with lots of bumper stickers. One, in particular, stood out from all the others due to its immense font, white in color, standing proudly on a deep, dark green saying, for all the world to see “Kill Bees”.

Knowing the economic and biological importance of the honey bee, I was first confused and then indignant at the ignorance dancing in front of me. My indignation changed when, stopped by a red light, I was able to close enough to the car to see the much smaller font decrying mosquito and lawn treatments that kill bees.

Bad Messaging

Talk about bad messaging. The only thought that remained in my head was to wonder what kind of a person is unable to understand that only a few people will ever get close enough to their bumper to get the full idea. The majority of the motorists following this four-wheel tweet, no doubt, was left scratching its heads trying to figure out just why caused this guy to be filled with hatred for, arguably, the most beneficial of all insects.

Fortunately, this month’s issue of Blog Wyrm (its 75th no less) is a vertiable clinic in excellent messaging so sit back and enjoy the columns.

What is about the one-percent that gets under our collective skin and drive us to distraction? It’s not entirely clear but whatever the cause, the effect is that most of us turn into first-class chumps when we catch the disease, which cripples our economic literacy. Common Cents presents case studies of some of the unlucky ones in the hope that you’ll be able to notice the tell-tale signs in yourself or those around you and seek assistance before it is too late.

About Comics reviews The Black Monday Murders, created by Hickman, Coker, Garland, and Wooton. Part occult tale, part murder mystery, and part conspiracy theory, this intruiging new series from Image Comics that explores just how far people are willing to go for money and power. The resulting narrative is engaging and shows just why comics are such a versatile art form.

Under The Hood finishes its multi-part exploration of generalized coordinates the resulting relationship between energy and the Hamiltonian. This month’s column shows explicit examples for those cases when the energy and the $$h$$ function are the same and when they differ.

Aristotle To Digital continues its analysis of the K Means cluster algorithm. The new variation in the mix is a more robust seeding mechanism that promotes the algorithm up to the K++ Means.