Thursday, June 1, 2023

I didn’t need the very best possible GPS for my car

















This week I bought my third GPS. My decision was a satisfice, a word I’ve discussed previously, and is defined as follows:


“Satisfice: a combination of satisfy and suffice; used to describe real decision making where an optimum isn’t possible since it takes both time and money to obtain needed information.”  


Back on June 17, 2017 I blogged about How is a car GPS like a razor? In that post I described buying my first GPS – a TomTom (from Big Lots) back in 2011 for about $75. TomTom charged for map updates, just like replacing razor blades. Finally they told me my obsolete model couldn’t even hold a map for the entire country.


In 2017 I replaced it with a $100 refurbished Garmin Nuvi 67LM with a larger screen and free lifetime map updates. But lately the touch screen became finnicky, and last week it would not let me press GO to accept my destination.


So, I went on Amazon and bought a second refurbished Garmin, a Drive 52 (shown above) for $75, with free lifetime map updates for both the US and Canada. I stuck with Garmin because I already had a perfect mount for my dash, and the ‘beanbag’ mount for my wife’s vehicle or any rental (also shown above).


The screen on my new GPS has a 5” diagonal, which is acceptable. You can buy others with larger screens like 6” or 8”, and other features like voice command, live traffic and weather, etc. If I used a GPS every day for commuting, then I might be willing to spend $300. But I am retired, and only use it occasionally on trips to unfamiliar places.


A sticker on the front of the screen said “Welcome! This product is ready to use.” That was a lie. When I switched it on, first there was a message that the battery was low. When I plugged it into my iMac to charge, the Garmin Express software wanted me to download the latest version. And then it told me there was an updated map to download - which took three and a half hours. Even after all that time the battery wasn’t charged fully! I added a 32Gb microSD memory card to the slot on the back of the GPS. The lifetime update subscription expires when the new map download will no longer fit in the available memory in the GPS. 




















Similarly, earlier this year I bought my wife a 9th generation iPad for her birthday. There is a bewildering assortment of iPad models: iPad Mini, iPad (9th and 10th generations), iPad Air, and iPad Pro. The most affordable one was capable of doing what she wanted.


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Are there blogs written by professional speechwriters?




















Yes, there are a few blogs written by professional speechwriters. I’ll list eight of them by their author’s names in alphabetical order, along with a sample post.


[Dr.] Sam Cooper just uses his name. He has a post on February 4, 2019 titled Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow: a treasure trove of tips for speechwriters and speakers.


Charles Fleming has a blog titled Expression/Impression. He has a post on October 11, 2021 titled Keynote speeches: tips from politicians.


Patricia Fripp uses her last name for her web site and blog. On May 26, 2023 she has a post titled The best way to craft and deliver an engaging speech about yourself.


Brian Jenner has a blog titled The Speechwriter. He has a post on October 28, 2022 titled My ten favourite insights into writing. Brian also founded the European Speechwriter Network.


Nick Morgan has a web site titled Public Words, with a blog. On May 2, 2023 there is a blog post titled How to write an unforgettable speech.


David Murray has a blog titled Writing Boots, and subtitled On communication, professional and otherwise. His web site is ProRhetoric; David runs the Professional Speechwriters Association and edits the magazine Vital Speeches of the Day. He has a post on July 22, 2015 titled What makes great speeches: serious and charming people who tackle important questions with utter conviction. (Right?)


Eddie Rice has a web site called Rice Speechwriting, with a blog. There is a post on June 2, 2022 titled Honoring others: 7 prompts for what to say for rank promotions, awards, and ceremonies.


Anthony Trendl has a web site titled American Speechwriter with a  blog titled Looking Up from the Typewriter. He has a post on March 16, 2023 titled Speech Tip: Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (Speeches Aren’t Safe).


Back on July 20, 2010 there is an article by Cynthia J. Sparks at ProRhetoric titled Speechwriters who blog tell exactly why they do it.


The cartoon of a speechwriter was adapted from one at Wikimedia Commons.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

A hollow mission statement from the Idaho Dispatch





















On October 1, 2022 there was an article by Sarah Clendenon at the Idaho Dispatch titled Major Announcement for the Idaho Dispatch which began:


“New and exciting things are happening at the Idaho Dispatch!


Greg Pruett, who started and established The Idaho Dispatch, has now sold the company to Miste Karlfeldt.


Miste is a native Idahoan and an entrepreneur. She is married to Dr. Michael Karlfeldt and the mother of four exceptional children. She founded a statewide non-profit organization and has successfully run it for six years with a passionate team of volunteers. Miste’s commitment to the First Amendment and her love for Idaho drives her desire to purchase the Idaho Dispatch.”


On April 24, 2023 the Idaho Dispatch had an another article titled Press Release: Idaho Dispatch Owner Miste Karlfeldt Announces New Mission Statement, which claimed:


“Idaho Dispatch is a non-partisan, independent, unbiased news source designed to be your local media ally in Idaho. In stark contrast to legacy media, our mission is to bring you political news that offers both sides of the story. Stories that corporate media often refuse to cover find their way into print at Idaho Dispatch.”


But her activities belie claims that site could either be non-partisan or unbiased. Under her maiden name of Miste Gardener, she ran for Idaho State Controller in a November 2022 election, representing the Constitution Party. She came in third behind Brandon Woolf (Republican, and incumbent): 69.5%, Dianna David (Democrat): 26.9%, Miste Gardener (Constitution) 3.7%.


An article by Kelcie Moseley-Morris at the Idaho Capital Sun on October 31, 2022 titled Idaho controller says he will continue transparency efforts if re-elected described her and her campaign:


“Miste Gardner is running as a Constitution Party candidate, but has not raised or spent any funds since declaring her candidacy in March. Gardner, who also uses the last name Karlfeldt, leads Health Freedom Idaho, a group that protests public health measures and vaccines. She owns the website Idaho Dispatch.”


Is Sarah Clendenon non-partisan? Hardly! She also ran as a Constitution Party candidate in the 2022 general election, for Idaho State Senate District 15. She came in third behind Rick Just (Democrat) 49.8%, Codi Galloway (Republican) 48.0%, Sarah Clendenon (Constitution Party) 2.2%.


The mission web page for Health Freedom Idaho says Miste Karlfeldt is their Executive Director. It has an image of her and her husband, Dr. Michael Karlfeldt. He is a naturopathic doctor who runs The Karlfeldt Center in Meridian, Idaho. An article by Dustin Hurst at the Idaho Freedom Foundation on March 9, 2015 titled After battling excruciating pain, single mom fights for her healer at the Capitol discusses efforts to license naturopaths. And on May 21, 2023 there was an article in the Idaho Dispatch titled Featured Advertiser: Michael Karlfeldt, The Karlfeldt Center.


The Wikipedia page about Health Freedom Idaho which has 35 references (part of a series about Alternative Medicine), succinctly describes it as:


“an anti-vaccine group that also opposes health regulations, such as mask requirements and restrictions on the operation of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Back on October 29, 2021 Health Freedom Idaho had a whining article titled How Our Wikipedia SHOULD Read.


I tried looking for background on Miste at LinkedIn. A page for Miste Gardener just lists her as owner since June 2006 of Prestige Property Management (and a realtor) in Eagle, Idaho. It doesn’t mention her education. She has another web site titled MISTE4LIBERTY.


A more recent article by Sarah Clendenon at the Idaho Dispatch on May 13, 2023 is titled Idaho – who controls the information you’re receiving? That question also should be applied to the Idaho Dispatch.


The image of a hollow cube came from here at Openclipart.


Friday, May 26, 2023

A mission statement for a Toastmasters club



















A mission statement describes where an organization is pointed. At the beginning of each meeting of Pioneer Club in Boise a member is asked to read the following succinct mission statement (which is printed at the top of our meeting agenda):


“We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.”


That’s a good reminder of what our club is about. I got curious regarding where it came from, and looked around. It came directly from page 7 of the current 31-page Toastmasters International Abridged Brand Manual, which you can download here.


That manual also has three versions for an Elevator Pitch: 50-word (one minute), 100-word (three-minute) and 250-word (five minute). The 50-word version says:


“Since 1924, Toastmasters International has been recognized as the leading organization dedicated to communication and leadership skill development. Through its worldwide network of clubs, each week Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million men and women of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others.


Many mission statements and elevator pitches are mediocre or less. Back on March 2, 2009 I blogged about A “whipped topping” elevator speech: What the heck do you guys really do?


The arrow image came from here at Openclipart.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Art & Science of Original Oratory: a free e-book on public speaking












If you were looking for a free e-book about public speaking (and debate), then I just found one you could download. It is the 111-page 2021 updated .pdf edition of The Art & Science of Original Oratory by Ashley Mack, which can be found at the web site for the National Speech & Debate Association.


I found it via a Google phrase search including “filetype:pdf”. But curiously it doesn’t seem to be on their Resources page for Coaching Speech.


This e-book has 13 examples. You can look at an abstractive summary of it by Augusto Frederico at Medium on June 27, 2018.


Silhouettes of two people arguing were adapted from an image at Openclipart.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Dr. David Gorski is fighting for science-based medicine and against nonsense



















There is an article by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling at The New Republic on February 28, 2023 titled A Doctor’s War Against the Right-Wing Medical-Freedom Movement. It is about Dr. David Gorski, whose long-running blog is titled Respectful Insolence. He also is the Managing Editor of the Science-Based Medicine web site. Dr. Gorski blogged about that magazine article on March 2, 2023 in a post titled The New Republic on a two decade war against medical quackery.


I ran across his blog when I was trying to make sense of dubious information about COVID-19. Then I blogged about him in a post on March 24, 2020 titled Phony coronavirus remedies, a post on April 8, 2020 titled Going on a wild goose chase by treating coronavirus with an unproven malaria drug, a post on May 4, 2020 titled Sifting through misinformation, and a post on May 23, 2020 titled Simplified images either can clarify or confuse.


Dr. Gorski writes long, detailed posts and articles, which include lots of medical terminology. I admire and often read (or just skim) his writings. He is excellent in explaining why things do or do not make sense. For example, an article on March 20, 2023 titled Ivermectin is now fast becoming the new MMS explains:


“As I’ve written many times before, despite its ability to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in cell culture, well-designed randomized clinical trials have failed to find any efficacy for the drug. There’s a reason why I’ve referred to ivermectin as the acupuncture of COVID-19 treatments because of its extreme implausibility based on basic science alone. The reason for that implausibility is that the concentration required to inhibit viral growth in vitro is 50- to 100-fold higher than what can be safely achieved in humans, meaning that, from strictly a pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics standpoint, ivermectin was always a highly implausible treatment for COVID-19.”


Another article on May 22, 2023 titled Evidence-based medicine vs. basic science in medical school discusses randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and homeopathy as follows:


“As I like to ask: Which of the following is more likely, that a 30C homeopathic solution of…something…that has been diluted on the order of 1037-fold more than Avogadro’s number and thus is incredibly unlikely to contain even a single molecule of that something has a therapeutic effect or that the RCTs concluding that it does reveal the problems and biases in clinical trials? As I also like to say, given the usual p-value of 0.05 designated for ‘statistically significant’ findings, under ideal circumstances, with perfectly designed and executed RCTs, by random chance alone 5% of these RCTs will be ‘positive.’ Of course, in the real world, RCTs are not perfect, either in design or execution, and the number of ‘false positives’ is therefore likely considerably higher than 5%. Yet, basic science alone tells us that a 30C homeopathic remedy is indistinguishable from the water used to dilute it, which means a placebo-controlled RCT is testing placebo versus placebo and ‘positive’ results show us nothing more than the noise inherent in doing RCTs.”


The image of a boxer was modified from this one at the Library of Congress.


Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Idaho Freedom Foundation isn’t a credible source of information about topics like entheogens



















An entheogen is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:


“a psychoactive, hallucinogenic substance or preparation (such as psilocybin or ayahuasca) especially when derived from plants or fungi and used in religious, spiritual, or ritualistic contexts.”


I never would expect to find credible information about them at the web site for a conservative political organization. But an article by Wayne Hoffman at the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) on May 15, 2023 titled Time to reconsider Idaho’s involvement in Medicaid has this gem near the end:


“Medicaid, like much of the medical-industrial complex, refuses to acknowledge the therapeutic value of improved nutrition, exercise, and human interaction. And because Medicaid is controlled by the medical-industrial complex, entheogens and other earth-based medicines and treatment modalities are completely off the table, despite having been demonstrated to help with an array of conditions.” 


Two of those links, for demonstrated and conditions are about ayahuasca, which according to Wikipedia is:


“… a South American psychoactive and entheogenic brewed drink traditionally used both socially and as a ceremonial or shamanic spiritual medicine among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin, and more recently in North America and Europe.”


The second link (for conditions) is to an article from 2013 at PubMed Central titled Ayahuasca and cancer treatment. The bottom line is that it has not been demonstrated to help. The last paragraph begins:


“In conclusion, the data available so far is not sufficient to claim whether ayahuasca indeed helps in cancer treatment or not.”


What about side effects? Another article at PubMed Central from November 2022 is titled Adverse effects of ayahuasca: Results from the Global Ayahuasca Survey. It looked at 10,836 people, with the following results:


“Acute physical health adverse effects (primarily vomiting) were reported by 69.9% of the sample, with 2.3% reporting the need for subsequent medical attention. Adverse mental health effects in the weeks or months following consumption were reported by 55.9% of the sample, however, around 88% considered such mental health effects as part of a positive process of growth or integration. Around 12% sought professional support for these effects.”


Acute adverse effects for 70% of users is awful. You just might choke on your vomit and die, like Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham did.


Back in October 2022 the About web page for IFF used to list surgeon Dr. John M. Livingston as their Medical Policy Adviser, but it does not currently. The only person now listed with some medical background is their Policy Analyst, Niklas Kleinworth, who had a minor in pre-health professions studies.


An image of a shaman mask from Wellcome at Wikimedia Commons was modified via Photoshop.