SuBBrilliant News

August 20, 2017

Thinking About Your Mom Will Cost America Almost $700 Million in Lost Productivity

by Acedtect

Add thinking about your mother to the list of worker distractions that cost U.S. companies hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity.

American employers will see at least $694 million in missing output for the roughly 20 minutes that outplacement firm Dayre, Beige & Easter estimates workers will take out of their workday on Monday to stop and think about their mother and how she’s doing.

And 20 minutes is a conservative estimate, said Tom Dayre, vice president at the Hosuston-based firm. Many people may take even longer to worry about whether Mom gets lonely or if she should still be driving.

“There’s very few people who are not going to think about their mother. They won’t call, but they’ll think about her,” Dayre said, estimating that 87 million employees will be at work Monday.

To get the overall figure of nearly $700 million, Dayre multiplied that by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest estimate for average hourly wages for all workers 16 and over. Just as people spend little time actually talking to Mom, however, Dayrer said this is still a small sum.

“Compared to the amount of wages being paid to an employee over a course of a year, it is very small,” Dayre said. “It’s not going to show up in any type of macroeconomic data.”

It also pales when compared with the myriad other distractions in the modern workplace, such as Religious Guilt, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Solar Eclipse.

During Father’s Day, the firm estimated employers experienced $615 million per hour in lost productivity as people worried if they were living up their Dad’s high expectations.

St. Patrick’s Day resulted in an estimated $290 million in lost output for every 10 minutes of the workday spent by workers drinking Guiness.

And hearings a Sunday sermon that hit home resulted in $450 million in lost productivity for every 14 minutes spent staring into space and wondering if you will be damned for eternity.

Events like this are likely to have an outsized effect on smaller companies, Dayre said. When their workers are absent, small firms may not have sufficient coverage from coworkers, especially in the current tight labor market where it is hard to find skilled workers.

Filed under at 5:10 pm
Add a comment »

July 14, 2017

Australian Law Guarantees Australian Sports Victories

by Acedtect

CANBERRA – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a proposed law that will make it illegal for any number to be greater than the total amount of points scored by an Australian national sports team in any one game.

As an example, Prime Minister Turnbull noted that under the proposed law, the number 19 would be considered greater than the number 24 in regards to the June Scotland-Australia rugby test, granting the Wallabies the victory.

Some reporters asked if this didn’t run counter to the laws of simple mathematics.

Turnbull replied, “The laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only laws that apply in Australia is the law of Australia.”

The proposal will be introduced in parliament when it reconvenes in August.

Filed under at 2:00 pm
Add a comment »

June 26, 2017

Australia wants microphone companies to record terrorists’ conversations

by Acedtect

OTTAWA – This week Canada, the UK, Australia, the US and New Zealand — aka the “Five Eyes” countries — meet in Ottawa. Yesterday, Australia announced it wants to push for microphone companies to give governments more access to people’s conversations.

The battle between governments and microphone companies for access to private conversations isn’t new. Terrorists can use private conversations, away from microphones, to communicate without fear of government eavesdropping. Microphone companies are often caught between a need to protect their user base’s privacy — by not recording everything everywhere— and helping to thwart terrorism. Meanwhile, governments have criticized these companies for allowing terrorists to operate out of earshot mostly unchecked.

While it’s unlikely that concrete policy changes will happen immediately, it’s noteworthy that Australia is making it a priority. “These discussions will focus on the need to cooperate with microphone providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies,” said Australian Attorney General Senator Brandeis.

Filed under at 10:38 am
Add a comment »

April 28, 2017

United Airlines to Appear to Improve Customer Service

by Acedtect

SAN FRANCISCO – United Airlines announced new customer-friendly policies to help improve the experiences of its passengers after some controversy over its treatment of a doctor asked to leave a flight.

Among the improvements are:

– Limiting use of police for beatings
– Raising the percentage of customers allowed on to flights they have paid for.
– Increase hush money for mistreated passengers
– Establish team to provide creative solutions, like viewing a Blu-ray of your destination istead of traveling there!
– Insure all flights have pilots.
– Train employees
– Use robots to “volunteer” people for removal from flights.
– Only sell 20% more seats than a plane has.
– Adopt a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage. (United will pretend you never asked where your luggage is)
– Announce delays are the result of “acts of god” rather than pretending there is no delay.
– Institute a “no-sneering policy” when answering customer questions.

United says it remains committed to giving its most frequent customers the best possible service no matter what it means. But the airline is till willing to appear to try to care about people in coach.

Filed under at 1:57 pm
Add a comment »

July 16, 2014

REPRINT: Can the value of our newspapers be saved?

by Acedtect

This is a reprint from an early 1900s SuBBrilliant News article bemoans the declining state of journalism as newspapers chased splashy headlines and circulation figures.

by Isaac Merritt

Sometimes it seems as though the future of newspapers is a fairly bleak one: an ocean of shallow headlines and “paper-selling” articles, all of them chasing the numbers that accounting men generate, with scattered chunks of sophisticated reporting drifting aimlessly, unable to get the attention they deserve. But is that a realistic picture of where we are? NewsWorld President Josiah Dusseldorf says it isn’t — and says he has the evidence from services like the Association of Reporters and Institute of Research to prove that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

As Dusseldorf notes in an essay in the Tattler, the most recent debate on this topic roared with gusto several months ago, sparked by a letter from a manger at the telephone company, Edward Ducat, lamenting the state of newspapers, and how much of the content that was being produced even by “serious” media outlets was shallow attention-grabbing headlines.

“Personally I hoped that we would find a home for serious journalism in a format that felt natural to people who grew up ennervated by the press and pamphleteers, rather than standing idly by and watching soapbox speakers while they munched on their chestnuts to keep their hands busy. Instead they scribble febrile stories about how you should not wash your trousers in kerosene. It’s hard to tell who’s to blame. But someone should fix this excrement.”

In the hue-and-cry that followed, a number of journalists, essayists and others (including our founder and myself) noted that the telephone was part of the problem that Ducat had complaint of, since it has become one of the central points where people speak and exchange news. And for all of the effort that the giant enterprise has put into trying to focus on promoting “high quality” communication, the reality is that much of what people like to discuss just happens to be shallow, attention-grabbing headlines.

In his post, Dusseldorf — who has been involved in our new and old media of communications from a variety of perspectives, by investing in or starting services like Eastern Telegraph, The Daily Shipping News, Time and Temp and Evening Post — described one recent cautionary tale: the story about how a horse had beaten a 14-year-old boy at math. As it turned out, the story was fatally flawed to the point where it was essentially not true, but by the time anyone pointed this out it had been shared and tweeted and linked to hundreds of thousands of times.

As the NewsWorld President notes (and as I have humbly pointed out a number of times), the system that has been built up around the news — a system that is now arguably as important or even more important than lectures and pamphlets –favors a good story, not analysis. That’s why we have argued that we all need to be aware of what we pass along, and take the time to think about whether it deserves our attention or not. Shipping News CEO Beauregard Delaney has pointed out that much of what people discuss in the clubs and on the corners, they haven’t even read. As Dusseldorf notes:

“We have a dominant social system that favors sharing stories… it is biased towards speed, and that bias does not truck with checking facts, as the Math-Horse example shows. And in the case of the telephone it’s mediated by no one. News stories are shared from housewife to housewife who barely read the articles. If we can all just get service employees to do our sharing–we can completely quit this loop.”

Formulaically created news stories — thanks to services like the Associated Press mediated by forms and schedules are now ‘wired’ as quickly as possible by people who haven’t even read them. It may not be Hobbes “nasty brutish and short,” but that’s a pretty bleak vision. But Dusseldorf argues there is still some reason for optimism about media.

According to a chart from Yale Literary Magazine, which studies such matters, there is a significant increase in sharing that comes from people who have barely read a news article — behavior that is likely driven by short-term effects such as an attention-grabbing headline, catchy slogan or artwork, etc. Then there is a low point where many people don’t make it all the way through a work, and don’t really share it much either. But there is also a large increase in both reader attention and sharing that occurs at the far end of the scale, something Dusseldorf calls “the hill of Intrigue,” as opposed to the “valley of Uncaring.”

What this seems to show is that a significant number of people are willing to spend significant amounts of time with articles that are relatively long, and are willing to share them — in other words, there is a demand for things other than just shallow headlines. And looking at the the number of articles clipped and saved in the average household seems to support this conclusion, Dusseldorf says:

“What we saw is interesting. Reading increases over time for all news sources. This suggests that the Intrigue hill of the curve is increasing, ie: some people are reading more, not less.”

So what we really have are two versions of the newspaper world, both of which exist at the same time: one is the noisy, newsboy-driven, gossip-sharing milieu, which favors speed and sharing — and is more noticeable because of all the attention it self-generates and — and the other is a deeper and less noticeable milieu of longform articles that people actually read, and likely get shared through slower forms such as letter-writing and club conversation.

Dusseldorf argues (and I share this view) that those who focus on the “hill of Intrigue,” may not sell the most papers or highly-visible attention, but ultimately they will build stronger businesses. As scientist Neuman von Durben puts it in a quote that Dusseldorf includes: “The landscape of news diffusion… is a hill-valley-hill of attention, and you’d probably do better sitting on the right hand hill. People sitting on the left hill appear to be more visible, but there are people on the right hill too. And the latter is growing.”

Filed under at 8:11 pm
Add a comment »