Diplomatic Baggage


NAKED DIPLOMAT

In 1949 the Vice Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps advised new British diplomats that they “should always take the option that is more pompous and old fashioned”. He might have been right then, though somehow I doubt it. He is certainly wrong now. 

At a moment of rapid transformation of other trades, ours retains customs first constructed around the diplomatic encounters of the Renaissance. Here are seven changes that would make us leaner and more competitive in the digital century. 

1. Junk the jargon. I’ve written before about meaningless diplatitudes such as “discussion of regional issues” or “matters of mutual concern”. Diplomats talk about “being unable to remain indifferent” to human rights violations – a phrase that drips indifference. There are ambassadors who could write of a mugging that “he took all my possessions, but the atmospherics were warm”. Just sometimes there is a place for obfuscation. But we should replace the jargon with more…

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Plagiarism Needs a Better Definition


Rottin' in Denmark

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There’s this parable that economists always tell.

Your car breaks down and you take it to the mechanic. He opens the hood and looks at your engine for a few seconds. Then he takes out a little hammer and taps it on the top. Suddenly it works again.

‘That’ll be $100,’ he says.
‘But all you did was make a little tap!’ you protest.
‘The tap, that’s $1,’ he says. ‘Knowing where to tap, that’s $99.’

Like everyone else who writes for a living, I’ve been reading the Fareed Zakaria plagiarism allegations with a knot in my stomach.

Here’s what we know so far:

In 2012, Zakaria blatantly yoinked a Jill Lepore (love her!) paragraph in an article he wrote about gun control. He got busted and he apologized.

Dude has written for legit every publication, so his current employer and his alma maters investigated his old work for copy-pastage. They…

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The 7 Irrational Behaviors of Black Friday


Center for Advanced Hindsight

Every day of the year, American shoppers act irrationally. On Black Friday, however, shoppers’ irrationality and wildness climb to dangerously high levels. Why does Black Friday lead shoppers to grab and fight, especially when the stakes are often as low as fifty percent off toasters?

Over the last few decades, social scientists have cataloged the many different factors that lead to irrational consumer behavior, and Black Friday touches on nearly that entire list.

Luckily though, if shoppers stay aware of how Black Friday is designed to make them irrational—and if they take breaks, eat snacks, plan ahead, and keep a clear mind—then they can avoid falling victim to the “holiday.”

Here are seven reasons shoppers become so irrational and committed to deals on Black Friday, as well as a few ways you can protect yourself.

#1
Black Friday is like a hazing ritual

Black Friday shoppers are dedicated—they sacrifice sleep…

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