Thursday, June 28, 2018

What has Scott Pruitt done with EPA Climate Change Webpage?

This morning I wanted to check out an issue I'd come across in the news about Antarctic ice melting.

So I googled the EPA + Climate Change.

This is where I landed.
How did I miss this!  This site apparently has been under construction since April 2017!

In a news release (4/28/17) EPA explains the changes in ominous language -
      "..... changes that reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and    Administrator Scott Pruitt. The process, which involves updating language to reflect the approach of new leadership, is intended to ensure that the public can use the website to understand the agency's current efforts."

Not to worry. 
Just a bit of Wordpress tweaking. 
I don't think so......

Let's keep in mind  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has stated that he's not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and he actually sued the EPA more than a dozen times as Oklahoma's attorney general. 

A)  Just what is taking so long? 
B) What will climate change look like on the 
"updated" site?

 In my current worst daydreams about the new webpage I envision something like this. (forgive my total lack of design skills)

* In a quick look, if you use "Advanced Search" you can still easily find the archived presentations, talks and actions EPA has taken over the years. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

AHA nutrition campaign: painfully tortured messages

I’m still fretting over the obtuse messages of a nutrition campaign we saw in E. Harlem recently. E. Harlem has high rates of obesity, other chronic diseases and poverty and poor access to good food.  So the campaign is designed and targeted to reach the folks who live here.

In the last post I whined about the problem but I didn't name it. 
Here's one of the fixable problems of this cute but painfully tortured campaign.

Really Bad Advance Organizers*
* don't rush for the exits yet.  I'll explain what I mean. 

There is a thing in reading that really helps us read what something is about – a lead in.  
A title, a header….
A good lead in serves to tell the reader “Hay get ready to read about….”
For you techies, it’s called a “superordinate pre-statement” or “advance organizer”.

Example ripped from today's Fox News headlines: 

You know it's not going to end well!

Now, notice the headlines for 3 of the lead-ins in the AHA campaign.
Do they help the reader get ready?  

Is this going to be about vegetables angry about a world with too many plastic straws?

"Good Food Goes Bad – Avocado Fights Back"
Is this going to explain why avocados go bad and donuts don't?

Good Food Goes Bad - Lemon Takes a Sour Turn

So why you shouldn't use bad 
lemons in your soda?

A moral to this painfully tortured campaign is ......well...please sacrifice the word puns and give your reader some way to understand what's coming and maybe even be interested in it. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

American Heart Association:Obscure by Design?

Another installment of ......
Language Acting Badly

My friend Joslyn snapped this Ad in Harlem yesterday and sent it to me with the question “Isn’t this strange?”

It was late.
I was tired.
YES it was strange.  
I couldn’t make sense of it.

This morning I checked out the AHA website attached to the Ad.
(American Heart Association with sponsorship from Mount Sinai Hospital)
The animated video sort of explained the Ad. (couldn’t find it on Youtube)  #gonebadforgood

How does this Ad go off the rails?

Let’s unpack it.

"You give crunch a bad name"

When you “give X a bad name” this means you make something look bad or ruin the reputation of something...
Carrots are crunchy
The carrot seems angry
Cheetos are crunchy
The carrot is putting air in the bag.
   Is the carrot trying to make the bag look bigger?
   Is the carrot trying to blow up the bag?
   Is it showing that's there's just a lot of air in a bag of chips?

Who writes this copy? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

NIH New Herbal List App - quick health literacy audit

NIH's new Herbal App - the reading level is fine. 

The health literacy it requires - its "health literacy load" is still high.

Can you name how many domains of health literacy are required to understand the following?

 My list of some of the fundamental health and science literacies*embedded in the statements:
  • Medical studies yield results.
  • Results can vary from study to study.
  • Experts compare results from study to study to see if there is "evidence".
  • Medical studies can be over a short time and over a long time. This matters.
  • Scientific evidence is very different than anecdotal person results.
I'm sure you can identify more.   Please share what you'd put on this list. 


* Zarcadoolas, C. (2011) The simplicity complex: exploring simplified health messages in a complex world. Health Promot Int.  26(3): 338-50

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Unreadable Privacy Statements - Rewrite 1

I recently wrote (June 3) about a central characteristic of the long, complicated sentences in most Privacy Statements. Those multipli-embedded ones with lots of qualifying phrases and clauses between the starting Subject and the Verb.

A few of you asked me to show some possible rewrites. 

So, here we go.*
( Over the years I've found that the writers do a fine job, but 
everything goes a bit pear-shaped once the legal department messes 
with the language).

Specimen of the Day
    From the New York Times New Privacy Statements
    in the section on Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

Personally Identifiable Information

"“Personally Identifiable Information” that alone or in combination with other information or in certain contexts can be used to identify, distinguish or trace you or your Device(s) is referred to in this document as “PII”."


Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is information that can identify, distinguish or trace you or your Device(s).  PII can be one piece of information or a combination of pieces of information 

"Sensitive PII"

Sensitive PII.  In certain circumstances, such as when purchasing a Product, you may provide a credit, debit, or payment account number, or other payment information which we recognize as more sensitive than other PII.  We generally do not request on or through the Service other Data that is often considered “highly sensitive,” such as other financial account information (e.g., credit report information, bank account numbers), personal health information, or government issued identification numbers (e.g., social security number, drivers’ license number, or passport number), although we reserve the right to do so when such Data is necessary to offer you certain services.


Sometimes you may give us information that is more sensitive than the usual PII.  For example, you may give us credit or debit card or a payment account number.  This is "sensitive PII".  We generally do not ask for "highly sensitive" personal information such as such as other financial account information (e.g., credit report information, bank account numbers), personal health information, or government issued identification numbers (e.g., social security number, drivers’ license number, or passport number).  There may be some situations when we may have to ask for this information to provide you with some Services.

Have your own examples ( good and bad) please send them along!

We could compile a rogue's list of the worst language offenders!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Depression TV Ads: Poor Substitute for Talking about Depression

The stunning suicides of seemingly life-embracing people - Kate Space and Anthony Bourdain - once again raises the issue of our silence about mental health illness.

Pharmaceutical ads seems to be the major way our society talks about depression - 







I'm sad today.  I'm talking about it. 
And if I'm depressed again someday, I'm talking about it. 

And you? 
And all of us?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Processing Personal Data: align, disseminate, destroy - Oh MY

Moving along....since we're so clear on what our personal data actually is (NOT) let's see what companies can actually DO with our personal data.

What Constitutes Data Processing?
GDPR explains it as follows:


 "Processing covers a wide range of operations performed on personal data, including by manual or automated means. It includes the collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction of personal data"


Align, erase or destroy - OH MY!

And just how loooooong is the list of personal data that can be ....processed?

Facebook's  updated Privacy Statement is as good a place as any to start.


To provide the Facebook Products, we must process information about you. The types of information we collect depend on how you use our Products. You can learn how to access and delete information we collect by visiting the Facebook Settings and Instagram Settings.
Things you and others do and provide.
·       Information and content you provide. We collect the content, communications and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide (like metadata), such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created. It can also include what you see through features we provide, such as our camera, so we can do things like suggest masks and filters that you might like, or give you tips on using camera formats. Our systems automatically process content and communications you and others provide to analyze context and what's in them for the purposes described below. Learn more about how you can control who can see the things you share.
o   Data with special protections: You can choose to provide information in your Facebook profile fields or Life Events about your religious views, political views, who you are "interested in," or your health. This and other information (such as racial or ethnic origin, philosophical beliefs or trade union membership) could be subject to special protections under the laws of your country.
·       Networks and connections. We collect information about the people, Pages, accounts, hashtags and groups you are connected to and how you interact with them across our Products, such as people you communicate with the most or groups you are part of. We also collect contact information if you choose to upload, sync or import it from a device (such as an address book or call log or SMS log history), which we use for things like helping you and others find people you may know and for the other purposes listed below.
·       Your usage. We collect information about how you use our Products, such as the types of content you view or engage with; the features you use; the actions you take; the people or accounts you interact with; and the time, frequency and duration of your activities. For example, we log when you're using and have last used our Products, and what posts, videos and other content you view on our Products. We also collect information about how you use features like our camera.
·       Information about transactions made on our Products. If you use our Products for purchases or other financial transactions (such as when you make a purchase in a game or make a donation), we collect information about the purchase or transaction. This includes payment information, such as your credit or debit card number and other card information; other account and authentication information; and billing, shipping and contact details.
·       Things others do and information they provide about you. We also receive and analyze content, communications and information that other people provide when they use our Products. This can include information about you, such as when others share or comment on a photo of you, send a message to you, or upload, sync or import your contact information.
Device Information
As described below, we collect information from and about the computers, phones, connected TVs and other web-connected devices you use that integrate with our Products, and we combine this information across different devices you use. For example, we use information collected about your use of our Products on your phone to better personalize the content (including ads) or features you see when you use our Products on another device, such as your laptop or tablet, or to measure whether you took an action in response to an ad we showed you on your phone on a different device.

Information we obtain from these devices includes:
·       Device attributes: information such as the operating system, hardware and software versions, battery level, signal strength, available storage space, browser type, app and file names and types, and plugins.
·       Device operations: information about operations and behaviors performed on the device, such as whether a window is foregrounded or backgrounded, or mouse movements (which can help distinguish humans from bots).
·       Identifiers: unique identifiers, device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts you use, and Family Device IDs (or other identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).
·       Device signals: Bluetooth signals, and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and cell towers.
·       Data from device settings: information you allow us to receive through device settings you turn on, such as access to your GPS location, camera or photos.
·       Network and connections: information such as the name of your mobile operator or ISP, language, time zone, mobile phone number, IP address, connection speed and, in some cases, information about other devices that are nearby or on your network, so we can do things like help you stream a video from your phone to your TV.
·       Cookie data: data from cookies stored on your device, including cookie IDs and settings. Learn more about how we use cookies in the Facebook Cookies Policy and Instagram Cookies Policy.
Information from partners.
Advertisers, app developers, and publishers can send us information through Facebook Business Tools they use, including our social plug-ins (such as the Like button), Facebook Login, our APIs and SDKs, or the Facebook pixel. These partners provide information about your activities off Facebook—including information about your device, websites you visit, purchases you make, the ads you see, and how you use their services—whether or not you have a Facebook account or are logged into Facebook. For example, a game developer could use our API to tell us what games you play, or a business could tell us about a purchase you made in its store. We also receive information about your online and offline actions and purchases from third-party data providers who have the rights to provide us with your information.

Partners receive your data when you visit or use their services or through third parties they work with. We require each of these partners to have lawful rights to collect, use and share your data before providing any data to us.
Learn more about the types of partners we receive data from.

To learn more about how we use cookies in connection with Facebook Business Tools, review the
Facebook Cookies Policy and Instagram Cookies Policy.
-->------------I'll give you a while to read and digest this list.  Then maybe we can dive into just what this might mean.