Why brand safety is important for advertising-backed publishers

One interesting point in this WSJ story, https://www.wsj.com/articles/tumblr-and-the-end-of-the-eyeballs-are-everything-era-11566014411?shareToken=st25023c0944c54846845dba9de27f1c68, is that Tumblr’s openness to all forms of content, made it an unsafe place for advertisers. Tumblr was unable to channel advertising away from the content advertisers wanted to avoid while alternatives, such as Facebook, were able to do as advertisers requested. 

Advertisers have blacklists of words in content they do not want ads to appear with. In a story in the WSJ on Thursday, the list of words includes Trump, bomb, attack, crash and accident, see https://www.wsj.com/articles/advertisers-blacklist-hard-news-including-trump-fearing-backlash-11565879086?shareToken=sta8e05cebd27c4415b477f28a58161263. Even in business writing, words like crash and accident, are often in articles, in secondary meanings. For example, during last week’s 800-point DJIA drop on Wednesday, many called it a crash. 

Airlines don’t like their ads to appear around stories on plane crashes. I get that. When I was young, I was once afraid to fly because of stories I had seen on TV about a plane crash a few weeks earlier. Adults even now often say they feel nervous flying soon after plane crashes, but they still fly. It would be too easy to for the airline’s ads to be viewed as in bad taste. Better to just avoid the publisher’s content.

 

1776 by David McCullough

Cover of 1776 by David McCullough It’s a great reminder that it wasn’t as certain at the time, as we see it now. David McCullough makes the story compelling and insightful. Americans often forget just how uncertain the outcome was. It makes me appreciate the outcome more.

McCullough is also a writer who I can enjoy reading and who I can enjoy listening to when he reads his own books.

Where Bugs Bunny character probably got his start

I’ve always enjoyed Bugs Bunny, but there’s a character with a small role in this MGM cartoon, that looks like the early version of Bugs Bunny when he debuted in 1938. One reason for the might have been because Rudolf Ising and Hugh Harman, a director of this MGM movie, went on to created the Looney Tunes and Merry Melody series at Warner Brothers.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/310847/The-Hound-and-the-Rabbit/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugs_Bunny.

Clearer insight into the impact of millennials on the demographics of the U.S.

A lot is said about millennials, but there were two things in this article by Pew Research that I don’t recall reading before. The first is that 15% of the millennial population numbers includes people not born in the U.S. The number of millennials born in the U.S. was 10 million less than the number of U.S-born baby boomers. The second is that the group after the millennials, which Pew currently calls post-millennial, had more born in the U.S. than millennials. We’ll probably start hearing more about the post-millennial generation as soon as better name is found.

http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2015/01/FT_16_04.25_generationsBirths.png

Twitter’s shrinking roll in social media

From Pew Research Center.

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

The Making of the Atomic BombThe Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

Great book mixing science, history and politics. The story goes back to understand the science (and the struggle to find the right path and understanding). It also helps you appreciate the way scientists work. It is a thick book, but very rewarding for its insights.

This was a major development in science, but Rhodes downplays it’s military importance. During the way it was speculation on how far along the various countries were in developing an atomic weapon. When the war ended it was clearer that the countries were much farther behind. Rhodes also writes about that time when only Japan is still fighting and the leaders in the U.S. are trying to decide how to bring the war to a quick end.

The atomic bond was terrible but so was the incendiary bombing in cities such as Dresden and Tokyo. Those bombings killed tens of thousands of people too. In the decisions of which cities might be bombed with an atomic bomb, those targets were chosen partially on cities that had not been bombed with incendiaries.

Rhodes book stop with the bombing of Nagasaki, but the book discusses how the scientists were already far along on the development of the thermonuclear bomb. The development of atomic weapons shows just how terrible the rise of Hitler and Nazism was viewed across the world. It was evil that must be stopped.

Books — Aug 2015

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Because this book was so groundbreaking when it published and it has inspired others, it’s hard to appreciate it. The story is told in a powerful voice over a shocking crime by two people who also have an interesting back story. It doesn’t excuse what they did, but shows this crime was the result of bad information, misguided ideas and dreams. The murder of the Clutter forever changed many lives. One should read the book as based on a true story, since there have been questions about the license Capote took in improving the storytelling. Despite the reservations it is still a great book

Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier

Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America’s Wild Frontier by Stephen E. Ambrose

It’s a wonderful adventure tale. It’s hard to believe how Lewis & Clark’s expedition had faded from history the first 100 years

Reamde

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

The story moved too slowly for me, but it was still compelling enough to get to the end. I put it down for awhile, but was so close to the end, that it didn’t matter if I mixed up the characters at the end

Good overview of some risks modern armies face against today’s technology and cyberwar. I always appreciate a book that offers readers ways to learn more about the topics.

I’m more used to this genre thanks to Tom Clancy, so it’s harder to get as excited about a book following that path. But it does remind us that regardless of the technology, in the end it comes down to people, sometimes acting independently.

At the end of the book, I felt unsettled, because the threats so strongly identified in the book still exist today.

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer

Good overview of some risks modern armies face against today’s technology and cyberwar. I always appreciate a book that offers readers ways to learn more about the topics.

I’m more used to this genre thanks to Tom Clancy, so it’s harder to get as excited about a book following that path. But it does remind us that regardless of the technology, in the end it comes down to people, sometimes acting independently.

At the end of the book, I felt unsettled, because the threats so strongly identified in the book still exist today

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

The story of what the Wright Brothers did in 1903 is well known, but McCullough tells more. Especially interesting was the time after their first flight. They did not build a huge corporation after their flight. Their actions show being first to market does not always guarantee success. Business is very different than solving the issues of powered flight.