Now this was a beautiful day. High of 67, clear, sunny. This is the kind of pre-spring that would make the rest of the country jealous. Sure, our autumn is fairly well abbreviated. And you may keep your winter if you operate under the idea that you need snow to feel complete. But everyone that loves snow is tired of it by March. Everyone that has a fondness for sweaters and layers would love to have a day like this to enjoy just now.
Pretty much everyone below the 38th parallel is enjoying it. Sorry Midwest and New England.
This is an office day, and an office night, so I have no anecdotes. But I have links.
Things to read: The “Dangerous” Veteran: An Inaccurate Media Narrative Takes Hold:
If you’ve read the news lately, you may have seen one of several stories describing recent Veterans as “ticking time bombs” or as “dangerous” on account of post-traumatic stress. It’s a narrative that has persisted for decades, but a handful of recent high-profile incidents have resulted in headlines like these:
Police get help with vets who are ticking bombs (USA TODAY)
Experts: Vets’ PTSD, violence a growing problem (CNN)
Veteran charged with homeless murders: Hint of larger problem for US military? (Christian Science Monitor)
While these stories highlight horrific killings, the connection between disturbed murderers like Benjamin Barnes and Itzcoatl Ocampo and their service in combat is weak—despite what media reports and popular culture would have many believe. And such rhetoric, when solidified in the public consciousness, can have negative consequences for both Veterans and society—like causing Veterans to avoid seeking help or employers to avoid hiring them.
“This is a huge misrepresentation of Veterans,” said Rich Blake, an Iraq War Veteran and psychology doctoral student at Loyola University Maryland. “Crazed? That’s even more extreme.”
That’s a great perspective. A few years ago I did some consulting for a PTSD organization, met a lot of great people from all walks of life — the Vietnam veteran who walked across an entire state every year as a personal awareness campaign, the woman who’d been abused as a child who had to tell everyone she met that PTSD isn’t exclusive to members of the military — and ultimately found the misperceptions easy to understand. But they’re almost always misperceptions. There’s a quote in this piece that makes a great shark attack analogy, for example.
As recently as 2010, growth in US Facebook usage was well into the double digits, at 38.6%, eMarketer estimates. But with 116.8 million US internet users already logging on to the site at least once monthly that year, growth rates were bound to plateau.
By 2011 Facebook user growth rose a comparatively small 13.4%, and this year will be the first when growth rates drop to the single digits. Rates of change in the US will continue to decline throughout eMarketer’s forecast period.
On Twitter, by contrast, growth is stronger. Last year’s 31.9% increase in users outpaced that of 2010, when growth was at 23.5%. Similar to Facebook’s trajectory, Twitter’s growth rate will also fall in the coming years, but still remain nearly four times higher than Facebook’s growth rate in 2014.
Twitter is smaller, so there’s the issue of scale, but what I’d like to see is abandonment rates and existing customer use rates.
In a series of informal conversations, some publishers counted it as a victory that their numbers in the first two months of 2012 were equal to those of the prior year. Others reported that their sales met or surpassed conservative budgets that forecast single-digit declines between this year and last.
“It looks like the cycle finally has turned,” said an executive who could not discuss specifics of his company’s sales because it is publicly traded. “People counting out newspapers have not taken into account the effect of the weak economy. It won’t take much of an improvement [in the economy] for us to see real increases in profitability after the cost-cutting we have be doing for the last several years.”
While a turn in the economy is bound to be helpful, it must be noted that every other medium has long since rebounded from the Great Recession, which technically ended by mid-2010 (though it is of little consolation to those continuing to suffer from foreclosure, unemployment and financially challenged retirement).
The comments paint a different picture, and the most recent Pew research paints a different picture, but any good news for the newspaper business would be welcome. Hopefully such good news wouldn’t be a signal to publishers that they’ve weathered some sort of storm and return to their traditional business-as-usual models. Inertia is a problem.
And is often the case, I’ll leave you with a little something to make you smile.
What do you call the sum of the diagonal elements of the tensor of inertia?
And they say physicists have no fun.