Tag Archives: rant

Pedant Rant

I’m a pedant.

No, not a paedo. A pedant.

Indeed, I’m unashamedly a pedant.

I’m not a full-blown, grammar-Nazi type of pedant. I understand that sometimes in our rapid-fire social media response environment, the occasional ‘your vs you’re’ oversight is going to happen. In fact I know I’ve done it myself, once.

No, what I cannot tolerate is blatant ignorance or downright laziness, or flagrant Americanisation*

*note my proper English spelling of ‘Americanisation’ vs ‘Americanization’. I will not be gratified by your American mother-tongues**

** Those who know me well, know this to be patently untrue, at least in the literal sense. Which leads me to the first of my pet peeves:

 

‘Misusing literally’

You say you ‘literally’ could eat a horse.

No, either you ‘figuratively’ could eat a horse, or you’re an obese horse-muncher. Either way, I don’t want to spend any more time in your presence.

 

‘Irregardless’

Despite the fact that it is not an actual word, can you believe that through sheer volume of misuse, enough thick people have brought this word into the popular vernacular? The irony is the literal interpretation is in direct contradiction to its intended use. In fact it is virtually a textbook example of irony. Prefix ir- and suffix -less, make ‘irregardless’ a double negative, rendering its usage quite redundant.

 

‘Detail-orientated’

Speaking of irony? Anyone who uses detail-orientated on their resume truly is not, by definition, detail-oriented. Another error in common use that shits me to tears.

 

‘I could care less’

Irony klaxons sound again. If your intention is to show that you do not care, adopting the phrase ‘I could care less’ shows that you do care, at least a little bit, in order for you to have the capacity to ‘care less’.

Here is David Mitchell explaining it, rather well, along with highlighting some other quaint, American bastardisations:

‘Supposably’

No. While ‘supposably’ is technically a word, albeit an obscure one, context dictates that you really should use ‘supposedly’ every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. Supposedly and supposably are not the same thing. So stop it, fucktard.

 

‘Snuck’

Sorry, ‘snuck’ is not a word, despite it having ‘sneaked’ into the vernacular. If ‘snuck’ is a sign of the evolution of our language, then I think I’m going to have to become a creationist… or go live in a cave… or both.

 

‘Expresso’

This is not a coffee beverage, no matter how briskly it is served. And I know you’re not French, so don’t try it on.

 

People who say ‘arks’ instead of ‘ask’

This really arks me up. What are we, in kindergarten? If I let that slide, you’ll soon be asking me to ‘pwetty pwease, take me the ‘hop-spital’.

 

‘Could of’, ‘Should of’, ‘Would of’

No, no and for fuck’s sake, no! It’s ‘have’ people!

‘Have’ is a verb. ‘Of’ is a preposition. Verbs are action words. Prepositions provide the relationship between words. For example, “I should ‘have’ run away from the pedant, before he chided me to within an inch ‘of’ my life”. See the difference? If not, you should probably start running.

I understand the complexities of written versus spoken English, in that you may think the contraction ‘could’ve’ sounds vaguely like ‘could of’. Or maybe you’re not thinking at all? That’s a distinct possibility.

The only time it is correct to use ‘could of’, is if you were perhaps to ask:

“Could ‘of’ be used to replace ‘have’ in this instance?”

Even then, the answer is no.

 

‘Useless Acronyms’

Whenever someone enunciates an acronym that contains a greater number of syllables than the component words from which the acronym is comprised, it helps me to understand why the aliens continue to fly straight past us without stopping in for tea.

A prime example is the “www” used in URL’s. “Double-u, double-u, double-u” uses thrice the number of syllables as “world wide web”. So don’t fucking say it! It’s tautologous once you get to the domain anyway. So instead of leading in with ‘double-u, double-u, double-u dot’, just say ‘pornhub dot com’. Capiche?

Now to conclude (while I’m ranting about acronyms). You know what really gets my goat (aside from goat poachers)?

 

‘YOLO’

I put the blame for this one squarely on your shoulders, Drake. I hope Madonna gave you rabies.

Dear reader, use YOLO in my vicinity, and you may soon come to realise just how short life is.

One small codicil. I will allow cats to use YOLNT. They’ve earned it. Up-bup-bup-bup-bup. Don’t say ‘earnt’, or I’ll hurt you.

*leans in to whisper*

And listen closely – I’ve hurt people before, and not one of them has come back and asked me to please hurt them again…

I started writing about clickbait. What happens next will astound you…

Once the only annoyance on the internet was a Nigerian Prince with a big heart, an even bigger wallet and a suspicious lack of family and friends to help him out of his bind.

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(art by @seemikedraw)

But then along came “Clickbaiting”.

As an executive who makes his living almost exclusively in the e-world, I am conflicted about my feelings on the topic of clickbaits.

I am acutely aware of the immense e-commerce driver relating to “click” volumes. In fact it is the life blood of my industry.

However there is good clickbait. And then there are the soul sucking dementors of the clickbait world – clickbait headlines.

But what is clickbait?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines clickbait thusly:

“(On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page”

I don’t know why they had to preface the definition with “on the internet”. It’s not like you can clickbait in the “real world” – although this pub comes pretty close.

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Now in my industry, clickbaiting is a good thing. A necessary thing. And those who excel in this art form are highly sought after and compensated accordingly. On the internet, traffic is key.

Clickbaiting, from an e-commerce sense, can be a way of attracting customers of a target demographic to your online presence, with the hope that once suitably lured, they will do business with you.

What I object to, is clickbaiting purely for the sake of jacking up site visits, essentially in order to provide compelling data to attract advertisers to buy space on your site.

And as usual, the satirical people at “the Onion” news source tell it best. http://www.theonion.com/articles/let-me-explain-why-miley-cyrus-vma-performance-was%2C33632/

“All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs.”

You will often see clickbaiting on high volume platforms, such as Facebook. What I’m referring to here is those teaser headlines that purposely withhold information from readers, such as “Insurance companies HATE this new trick”, “She dropped some change in a homeless man’s cup. What happened next will make you cry” and pretty much anything linking to “Upworthy”…

(indeed this Upworthy generator is pretty much on the money – http://www.upworthygenerator.com)

It’s no surprise you see this kind of thing all over your Facebook feeds. Facebook loves a good clickbait, as much as a Black Widow Spider enjoys a nice post-coital snack.

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Is it any coincidence that Buzzfeed and Facebook could spoonerise their names and become the alliterative “BuzzBook” or “FaceFeed”?

Look, to their credit, as a result of overwhelming feedback, Facebook have more recently introduced initiatives to reduce the amount of clickbaiting showing up in newsfeeds.

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/facebook-wages-war-on-clickbait-20140826-108dd8.html

The irony of the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on this story is not lost…

But look, the thing with clickbaits, is they’re easy to spot, as they are particularly formulaic.

e.g.

x happened to y, you:

  1. will be amazed at,
  2. won’t believe, or
  3. will be stunned by, etc

what happened next.

Or

Watch this:

  1. to learn,
  2. to find out,
  3. to discover,
  4. to see, etc
  5. what happened next,
  6. an amazing fact about,

iii. how you can be better at,

  1. what went horribly wrong with, etc.

this particular topic

I miss the days when real newspapers contained the essence of the article to follow, nestled succinctly within the confines of the headline. It was an art form in itself. For example “Russia Says It Pulled Troops, but NATO Sees No Sign.” As opposed to “Russia Says It Pulled Troops. What NATO saw next will blow your mind!”

People don’t need to be lured if a story is truly interesting. That’s the problem with clickbaiting. Even at their best, these types of clickbait headlines are shameless hype. At their worst, they’re downright deceptive. Very occasionally, clicking turns out to be worth it and you’re glad you bothered. More often than not it’s a total fraud and you’ve clicked for nothing. It’s known as the “curiosity gap”.

I think Shakespeare summed it up perfectly:

“O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?!”

Yes Romeo, I will, you balcony shouting, sexed-charged pre-pubescent. Keep it in your pants.

But let me just wrap up by saying that researching clickbaiting resulted in me having to click on a lot of bait. I now feel dirty, hollow and empty. A small part of me wanted to throw it all in and go Amish, but I just know I’m not good enough at working with my hands to make a good fist of it. (see what I did there?)

Instead I have reached a point, where I now refuse to click on anything resembling clickbait. I urge you to do the same. Any time you see the words “what happens next will…” I want you to raise your middle finger at the screen, and keep on scrolling past. You can also shout “fuck you, you fucking fucks!”, but experience tells me that will put you at risk of being politely escorted out of the First Class lounge.

But there is a shining light, in the intense blackness that is clickbait headlining.

And it’s this guy:

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He clicks on bait, reads the article, and provides a quick Twitter synopsis, so you don’t have to.   I love this guy.

My faith in this planet is now restored. The reason why will astonish…

 

^^^ Sorry, not sorry

Ebola

The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us!

Is it any coincidence that an anagram of “The Zombie Apocalypse” is “Zesty Ebola Hippo Came”?

Yeah…

Think about it…

But here are the cold facts. The World Health Organisation currently predicts that within a mere two months, there will be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases PER WEEK in West Africa.

If this assessment wasn’t grim enough, they are also predicting that the death rate will be around 70% – which is fearfully high for any disease.

“So Professor Gaz, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?”

“Yes I would, Kent”.

For those of us fortunate enough to live in the first world, we are relatively safe. For now.

The good news? Ebola is not highly contagious.

Wait, what?! But Prof Gaz, just above you say it is spreading like wildfire?!

I did. But calm the fuck down.

Ebola is not easily transferred – unlike influenza or other airborne diseases that can be transmitted through sneezing, for example.

Ebola may only be acquired upon contact with blood (or other bodily fluids… yurghh) of an infected human or animal. The virus can enter the body via infected droplets (blood, vomit, faeces, semen… I repeat, yurghh) through broken skin or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

Since it is not airborne like flu, very close direct contact with an infected person is required for the virus to be passed on. Infection may also occur through direct contact with contaminated bedding, clothing and surfaces, or contaminated medical equipment such as needles, syringes or surgical tools, but again it requires close, direct contact.

Once Ebola is inside you though, it rapidly multiplies in the blood, taking over and attacking cells, and replicating itself.

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Ebola, I don’t want you inside me.

However, since close, direct contact is the only way it is transferred, Ebola “in theory” should be simple to control and contain. But then again “in theory”, Communism works.

So why is Ebola escalating? Why can’t we control it? Why can’t we contain it?

There are a multitude of reasons, but these are the key ones.

The Lack of a Cure, Fear, Money, Education, Stigmatism, and Bats. Fucking bats. Let’s run through them.

Lack of a Cure

Since Ebola was first identified in 1976, every outbreak has been contained with strict hygiene – isolation of patients and suspected patients, ensuring staff wore suitable protective clothing, and properly carried out cleaning and disposal of clinical waste.

There have as yet been no drugs to do the job because developing them is extremely expensive, and, until now, the major pharmaceutical companies have not seen enough of a market to justify the effort. That’s changing, fortunately, but we’re not there yet. Scientists are logically focusing their efforts on two approaches:

  • treatments to help people already infected with the virus
  • vaccines to protect people from catching it in the first place

Both are in clinical trials, but the forerunning treatment has been fast-tracked into production, and with some success.

“Fuck the clinical trials”, say those who are infected. “Test on me. What’s the worst that can happen?”

The Zombie Apocalypse. That’s the worst that can happen. But with the recent proliferation of zombie films flooding the market, no-one can say they’re not at least partially prepared…

*Gaz taps his ol’ faithful baseball bat*

Fear

The greatest fear, is fear itself.

Bullshit. The greatest fear is fucking zombies. Then clowns. And then maybe fear. But zombies are definitely first. And don’t get me started on zombie clowns.

Fear should be the reason why we ARE striving to contain Ebola. Fear is a justifiable feeling, given the circumstances. Ebola is fucking terrifying.

But fear can also hamper the process. The problem is that many individuals fear that they will be isolated if they so much as sneeze. So they hide away until the symptoms become too severe. By then, there is an increased chance of transmission to others, and a higher chance of mortality.

 

Money

The Australian Government has committed around $18m in financial assistance towards fighting the disease. Sounds nice, but Mark Zuckerberg and his missus have just committed $25m, and Bill and Melinda Gates last month donated $50m. Which kind of puts things in perspective.

*Australia has also drawn the line at sending health care workers to assist on the ground. That message alone feeds the fear notion. “If trained professionals won’t help us, what can we do?!” And they’re right.

The problem? Developing a cure is downright expensive. And the large pharmaceutical companies have not yet deemed that the cost justifies the focus of effort, for the relatively small volume of product that would have needed to be dispensed for previous, smaller outbreaks. But with the current outbreak being the largest ever, they must be getting close to a tipping point.

However the potential for a preventative vaccine should have the pharmaceutical boffins rubbing their hands in greed. What’s the population of Africa again? Did someone say “Cha Ching”?

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All in all, the World Health Organisation and the UN estimate that they would need roughly $1bn just to tackle the outbreak. So far $507m of that has been pledged by government bodies, private businesses and individuals. So we’re halfway there, which is encouraging. But we’re still only halfway towards what is a massive, massive number.

 

Education

Probably the two key battles here are embedded cultural customs and the lack of literacy.

In terms of culture, there are a swag of customs and habits that contribute to the spread of Ebola. The proliferation of “bush meat” in the diet, burial ceremonies where families are intent on hugging the deceased, and a general lack of hygiene – seriously, so few carry hand sanitiser in their purses…

There is also a problem when the target community has a poor ability to read. If you can’t read, this sign seems to tell you that hugs, pouring your pumpkin spice latte over your hands, thumb wrestling, keeping exotic pets and Nanna’s secret recipe, fruit bat stew will all help to keep Ebola at bay.

That sign really needs those red strikeout lines through the circles, Ghostbusters style. Think marketing people, think! It’s not rocket surgery.

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Hands up those that now have the Ghostbuster theme stuck in their head. Sometimes I wish Ray Parker Snr had just opted for the blowjob…

 

Stigmatism

Aside from the stigma faced by Ebola survivors, or families of those who died – which is terrible in itself – it is the stigma relating to the perceived risk of allowing care workers into villages for fear of them bringing contamination with them that is the major fly in the ointment.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s natural, human nature. But it is hamstringing the ability to control the disease.

Many Ebola patients who are treated in hospital EARLY will survive and recover. The earlier the treatment, the greater the odds of recovery. If health professionals are blocked from reaching infected communities due to the stigma of the perceived risk of these health professionals *bringing* the virus with them, then the potential for early treatment is eliminated. Furthermore, it impinges on the ability for sanitising and disinfecting affected communities and controlling the spread.

Again, this harks back to education. And in the third world, it is much more difficult to spread the true message.

 

Bats, Fucking Bats

Namely fruit bats. These fuckers can be Ebola carriers. “That’s great, I fucking hate bats”, you say. “I hope they all die of Ebola”.

The problem is, bats are immune to the virus. As if there was another reason to fucking hate bats.

Side Note: Talking about hatred of bats reminded me of a funny bit by Chris O’Dowd on the Graham Norton Show. He is a funny bugger:

The fact that bats are immune is one of the key reasons why Ebola is difficult to contain. Bats continue to spread the virus, even if the human spread is controlled. This is why there have been repeated, but well spaced-out breakouts in Western and Central Africa since the first Ebola outbreak in 1976. Again, the bats either can’t read, or worse – totally ignore, all of the Ebola advice signage. Fucking bats.

And to all of my Australian friends. Please note the regions marked with dotted lines, in which these fruit bat carriers currently proliferate:

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Fuck you New Zealand!

So what now, good reader?

Reach into your pockets, friends and donate some of your hard-earned.

The “Centre for Disease Control” and “Doctors Without Borders” are currently channelling their efforts towards the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

You could do a lot worse than to send a few pennies their way.

http://www.cdcfoundation.org/globaldisaster

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola

Failing that, start working on your double-tap.

Is Facebook Listening…?

… I mean to their users feedback, and not through the microphone!?

Facebook users, and mainstream media have been in a frenzy in the last few days about the Messenger product being separated, and the ridiculous and scary terms of service that surround them. It must be a big issue, as my rant on this yesterday has had over 75,000 views until now.

I uninstalled Messenger yesterday, and since then if I got a Facebook message, I’d have to view it on PC (unless I reinstalled Messenger).

Well that was, until an hour or so ago. Now the Facbook iPhone app has the messaging built in again, without the dependency on the Messenger app! Woot woot!

Seems Facebook are rolling back the dependency (on server side)? Well they have for me and some friends I checked with. I am guessing if you remove Messenger, then messages will work inside the Facebook app again.

But what is this mysterious removal all about? Can we trust what’s going on here? No statement, or apology, or anything official to address the decisions made. Is this one just being swept under Gonzo’s rug?

I fear now that Facebook are going to to be more sneaky about permissions in apps and their terms of service agreements. I fear it will be like someone trying to cut your exceptional Cab Sauv with some Merlot. You might fool some, but not those who know better! Are Facebook assuming the world cannot taste their bullshit 2013 Merlot from Asshat Valley?

Facebook, we DEMAND to see the bottle!!

But even without a peep from Facebook, after yesterday’s rant, I am definitely happy to chalk this one up as a victory. Facebook, you get a space on my Gonzo trophy wall.

Anyone else want to fuck with us* this weekend?

*us, being me, and this weekend’s motivational coach to bring forward these injustices to the interwebs, Jodi Wieland.

Zuckerberg, You’re a Gonzo!

Seriously – Facebook’s decision to have a separate annoying application for Messenger, puts them right up there in the total cabbage category!

Switching between Facebook and Messenger apps has tilted me to no end, so much so, that it’s the end of Messenger for me on iPhone. If you want to message me on Facebook with blah blah drivel – rather than something email or iMessage worthy, then you’ll have to wait until I am at my MacBook. I am not putting up with this shit application from Facebook.

I call for an uprising from us 1,000,000,000 mere mortals that have installed this P.O.S. app (unwillingly in the most part)! (and I am not exaggerating on the number).

To make this situation even worse, it has recently been brought to my attention of what was in the terms and conditions we systematically agreed to by allowing the app to be installed. I actually think Apple is partly responsible for allowing these terms to make it through their App-Review process!

So here we go, look at this summary of some of the terms of installing Messenger and explanations of what they could mean. I pulled these from across a few sources on the internet as I am don’t have time to read all of it myself, but according to my quick skim, is alarmingly accurate. It’s a big bag of scary bullshit;

–       You are giving permission for Messenger to call phone numbers and send text (SMS messages); So if they want to, they can send messages and call people on your behalf. Oh that seems reasonable? WTF?!

–       You are giving permission for Messenger to record sound, take videos and take photos at ANY time; Let that sink in. You are agreeing for them to use your phones microphone or camera to listen and see whatever they want. Now who knows if there is actual any intention here of doing anything but providing the services we are expecting to see – but, this is scary stuff. Why write it this way rather than as specifics to what the applications need?

–       You are giving permission for Messenger to change the state of network connectivity; This one means that Facebook can change from Wifi to 4G/LTE at it’s discretion. I guess this one is legitimate reason of making sure that connectivity is good – BUT – if that’s something you want to agree to, it should be an APPLE option in your phone. I actually wonder if Apple actually do give Facebook (and other developers) the technical ability to do this, or if its just lawyer overkill.

–       You are giving permission for Messenger to read your phone call log, including all meta-data associated with at like who you call and how often; OMFG – so now we let them know who we communicate with outside the Facebook platforms?

–       You are giving permission for Messenger and Facebook to access a list of whatever other apps you have and use on your phone; Wow – collecting data on everything we do! I wonder of this is lawyer overkill again because if Apple are allowing access to that information in their interface, then again, Apple is co-conspirator in this as well! Time to look into that further. Sigh.

 

Facebook, pull your head in! If you want the world to be using your Messenger, I suggest to put it back in into the main Facebook application, address these insane terms and conditions issues, quickly, before the world wakes up and boycotts, AND add some much-called-for features into the messenger part of the app. Here are some free suggestions;

 

– Everyone wants a thumbs down.

– Everyone wants a middle finger.

– STOP BEING GONZOS!

 

My suggestion to all: UNINSTALL MESSENGER!

< end rant>