Beats Tops Sony in First Ambush Marketing Rankings World Cup 2014

Shocker: Beats Tops Sony in First Ambush Marketing Rankings World Cup 2014 Nike outpaces Adidas, McDonald’s falls behind in first Ambush Marketing Rankings World Cup 2014

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June 23, 2014, Austin, TEXAS — In the Global Language Monitor‘s first Ambush Marketing analysis of the FIFA World Cup 2014 has found that Beats Tops Sony for No.1 Ambush Marketer of the Tournament thus far. In fact, four of the top five positions on the chart were held by Ambushers of Sony, McDonald’s, Continental, and Adidas. We should note that Continental was in a class of its own — at 538.20, towering over the other partners and sponsors who had an identifiable ‘non-affiliated marketer’ (NAM) thus far.

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Of course, Beats, the headphones created by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine (and banned by FIFA at the World Cup), scored a remarkable one hundred plus BAI points, ahead of Sony, the FIFA Partner. McDonald’s, which had multiple competitors, and was bested by KFC by 16.56 BAI points. However when the competitors are added together the scores stand significantly ahead of Mickey D’s. We will analyze those numbers in a later report.

“The numbers tell the story, and it is very interesting story, indeed,” said Paul JJ Payack, the Global Language Monitor president and Chief Word Analyst. “Global marketers have decided that aligning their brands with the FIFA World Cup is every bit as valuable as the Olympics, and perhaps even more so for certain audiences and demographics.” ​

World Cup 2014 BAI Ambush Marketer Rankings
World Cup 2014 BAI Ambush Marketer Rankings

Other results include Nike cruising by Adidas by a comfortable margin and in the Healthcare sector, P&G crushed Johnson and Johnson (J&J), scoring five times higher in the brand recognition scorecard. Visa easily outdueled Mastercard. Budweiser, now part of the inBEV family, edged by Heineken, though Heineken has a small, but growing following in Latin America. The other patrons and sponsors without identifiable non-affiliated marketing competitors appear to have solid niche leadership as shown in the FIFA 2014 Overall BAI rankings below. ​​

World Cup 2014 BAI Ambush Marketer Rankings
World Cup 2014 BAI Ambush Marketer Rankings

​ When measured by the Global Language Monitor’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI), the individual brands comprising the FIFA World Cup Sponsors and Partners had significantly disparate results as shown above.

Previously, the Global Language Monitor tracked how much the ‘corruption scandal’ was affecting the brand images of the partner and sponsors. The brands were tested and ranked by their Brand Affiliation Index(BAI) when linked to 2014 World Cup and words like “corruption”. GLM will follow up with the ‘corruption sandal’, as the World Cup unfolds.

There are a number of press reports detailing the efforts of some brands to downplay the effects on the scandal to their brand. When your brand could be sullied in front of the 3.4 billion television viewers of World Cup 2014, their concerns, whether or not admitted, are serious and significant.

The individual numbers are determined by Global Language Monitor’s (GLM) Brand Affiliation Index (BAI), a proprietary, longitudinal study that analyzes the global association between (and among) individual brands and their competitors or, in this case, the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The value of World Cup sponsorship continues to rise, from $10 million for lessor arrangements to partnerships approaching $200 million, though these fees are dwarfed by Olympic partnerships, a cost estimated to be up to $1 billion, fully loaded, over a four-year Olympiad.

 
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2003, Austin, Texas-based GLM collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. For more information, individualized reports, or a monthly subscription, call +1.512.815.8836 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com



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The Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

The Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

Climate Change is like an asteroid heading in for a direct hit on Earth.

Obama’s Climate Change Warning (& National Climate Assessment) Doesn’t Touch on the Magnitude of the Threat.

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communications skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

 

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: PaleoIndians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

 

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half million years or so, as shown below.

 

 

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.



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Top Political Buzzwords Paint a Different Picture than the Campaigns

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AUSTIN, Texas, July 12, 2012 —  The Top Political Buzzwords are telling a far different story than either campaign is presenting to the American people, One hundred and twenty-days before the presidential election, the Global Language Monitor has found profound differences between the actual concerns of the public and the political narratives of both parties.  The Top Political Buzzwords 120 Days Before the Vote, was released earlier today.   GLM has tracked political buzzwords associated with the national political scene since 2003 in the process compiling perhaps the largest statistical database of the kind.
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The “War Against Women” is next to last at No. 52 even though it figures quite heavily in the Democratic narrative.  It ranks just below No. 51 Outsourcing, which is key to the narratives of  both parties.  Other political buzzwords on the top of mind in the campaigns but in the bottom ten in the survey include:  the Bush Tax Cuts, Progressive Politics, the Decline in US Manufacturing, Political Stalemate (in Congress), Angry White Males, and the Obstructionist Congress.

The electorate definitely has a sense that the American Dream Still Alive (No.5.) though it is clearly Disappointed in the Obama Administration (No. 6).

The public is quite mindful of the negative tenor of the debate, reflected in the rankings of Toxic Politics (No.2), Haters and those who label their opponents as -phobic (such as Christophobic), (No. 15), and the Politics of Fear (No. 23). Perhaps this helps account for the fact that enthusiasm for the campaign is tempered by non-enthusiasm (Nos. 17 and 18).

The Top Social Issue in the survey was Pregnancy Reduction and Sex-selective Abortion at No. 25, the debate on which crosses the Progressive/Conservative chasm, though neither seems much discussed on the campaign trail.
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Both parties would do well to note that Romney’s Wealth is dead last; the electorate no-doubt inured to the fact that US presidential candidates are frequently wealthy (for example, the Bushes and John Kerry each had fortunes equal to or larger than that of Mitt Romney). Though Mr. Romney should note that Mormonism in Politics is No. 11.
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“The narratives of both political parties are becoming further and further removed from the actual concerns of the American voters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “This is happening because they focus on smaller and smaller segments of voting population, writing off states, demographic segments, and entire geographic regions in the process.”
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Highlights from the analysis include:
  • The top priority is the Current US Economy (1)
  • Responsibility for the Current US Economy is assigned to Obama (1)
  • Responsibility for Great Recession is assigned to Bush (7)
  • The name Obamacare is favored over the Affordable Healthcare Act by a 25:1 margin (3, 42)
  • The hot button top Illegal Aliens is relegated to the No. 21 position
  • The Affordable Healthcare Act [is recognized] as a Middle-class tax (25)
  • Bain Capital is pushed into the background at No. 27
  • The recent Supreme Court Affordable Healthcare Act ruling and Chief Justice John Roberts appears at a modest No. 32 just below Hydraulic Fracturing (31).
  • The issues of the The 1% registers at No. 36, Super Pacs at No.37, and Teachers Unions at No.38.

The Top Political Buzzwords follow:

  1. Current US Economy (with Obama Ownership)
  2. Toxic Politics
  3. ObamaCare
  4. Out-of-control Spending
  5. The American Dream Still alive
  6. Disappointment in Obama Administration
  7. Bush Responsible for Great Recession
  8. The Iraq War
  9. Stimulus Package
  10. Wall Street Bailout
  11. Mormonism in Politics
  12. Rise of China
  13. US Debt Crisis
  14. Middle Class Whites
  15. Identifying opponents as Haters (or -phobic)
  16. Transparency in Government
  17. Excited about Presidential Election
  18. Not Excited about Presidential Election
  19. The Euro Crisis affecting US
  20. Hilary Clinton
  21. Illegal Aliens
  22. Climate Change
  23. Politics of Fear
  24. Afghanistan War
  25. Middle-class tax (Affordable Care Act)
  26. Wall Street Occupy Movement
  27. Bain Capital
  28. Pregnancy Reduction and sex selective abortion
  29. Drone Strikes
  30. Birther
  31. Hydraulic Fracturing
  32. John Roberts Healthcare
  33. George Bush Responsible for US Economy
  34. Keystone Pipeline
  35. Obama responsible for Great Recession
  36. Deficit Spending
  37. The 1%
  38. Super Pacs
  39. Teachers Unions
  40. Global Terrorism
  41. Nuclear Iran
  42. Affordabe Healthcare Act
  43. Long-term Unemployment
  44. Bush Tax Cuts Affecting Middle Class
  45. Progressive politics
  46. Decline US Manufacturing
  47. Political Stalement
  48. Angry White Males
  49. Obstructionist Congress
  50. Obamamania
  51. Outsourcing
  52. War Against Women
  53. Romney Wealth

Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspired a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.

The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, Twitter and other social media outlets, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.  Because PQI is based on the national discourse, it provides a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time.



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Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2012)

‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far)

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SOA continues its reign as most confusing acronym

 

For the 2013 Update, go here!


Austin, Texas, March 15, 2012 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the  The Global Language Monitor.  Topping the list for 2012 are:  Big Data, the Cloud, The Next Big Thing, Social Discovery, Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on).  Solid State, CERN, Solar Max, De-dupe, 3G/4G/5G, and SoLoMo.

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Continuing as the most confusing  acronym now of the century:  SOA.
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GLM releases its Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords list annually in conjunction with Austin’s SXSW Interactive conference, which ends March 20th.
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“High tech terms have long spilled into popular culture and this is nowhere more evident that at SXSW where the digital world intersects with those of music and the movies,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.   “To a large and growing extent, high tech buzzwords are fueling the growth of English, which now serves as the Earth’s means of global communication.”

“SXSW can best be described as a weird mash-up of Cannes, COMDEX, and Woodstock.  If creative ideas don’t mix here, it’s just not going to happen.

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.
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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011 & 2012) with commentary follow:
  1. Big Data — Big Data is the biggest buzzword.  It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US place in global economics, and more.  Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there.  (By the way, consider yottabytes: a quadrillion gigabytes.  Hint:  Just think a lotta bytes.)
  2. ‘The Cloud — The Cloud, in various manifestations has been ranked No. 1 for 2008, No, 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012.   Still all very nebulous.
  3. The Next Big Thing — A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by VCs, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc.  Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.
  4. Social Discovery — Webster’s 1910 definition. “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.
  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on) — Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.
  6. Solid State —  As in Solid State Disks (SSDs).  Remember ‘solid-state’ televisions switched from vacuum tubes (Paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ’80s (Mesozoic)?  Today, it’s all-about Solid State Disks.
  7. CERN — You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up the ‘mini’ black hole it just might create .  (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
  8. Solar Max — In the 1850s telegraph wires melted.  Best not to shuck off the hype here.
  9. De-dupe — First we dupe, then we de-dupe; Flash forward to 2014:  Re-duping!  Ah, the next big thing!
  10. 3G/4G/5G — One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (Generation) ‘standard’ expands into meaningless.
  11. SoLoMo — This is not an oh-so-trendy neighborhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar.  This is the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile. The Talk of the Town at SXSWi this week in Austin.
The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of 2012:  SOA (Solutions Oriented Architecture), continuing its Most Confusing Tech Acronym of the Decade reign.  Not only is there an highly popular SOA for Dummies edition but Google Books list 47,300 editions that explicate upon the subject.
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For reference, here is the  first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.
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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century with Commentary follow:
  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory.  “Flash’  is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass.  The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing  electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod.  Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels.  Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything  small as in nanotechnology.   Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon   A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon).  Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits:  Not enough power?  Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second   Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva.  Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.



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Danger of long-term effects Fukushima fallout little discussed in media


Prevailing view ‘harmless,’ Opposing views called ‘laced with hysteria’

AUSTIN, Texas. March 23, 2011. With radioactive elements from Japan’s Fukushima Daiiachi disaster finally reaching the continental US this week, the Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker has found that the possible long-term dangers of Fukushima Daiiachi’s radioactive fallout has been little discussed in the media. In fact, there has been little or no discussion of the ongoing debate about assessing the long-term risks associated with Cesium-137 and Iodine-131, etc.

The prevailing view of the global print and electronic media is to pronounce the radioactive elements ‘harmless,’ which is in direct contract to the accepted view of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and many others. In fact, the discussion that does appear, labels opposing views as ‘irrational’ or ‘laced with hysteria’, as in a recent article in the New York Times.

According the the Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker there have been only two references to the controversy in the past week in the major global media, or even to the fact that the analysis of the heath impact of the escaped radiation could be far off base. An article in the Malaysian Star was the most insightful. Even on the web news side, NarrativeTracker picked up fewer that half a dozen references to the controversy in the last week.

On the Internet and in Social Media, there were some 10,000 references to the controversy, which pales in comparison to news about, say Charlie Sheen (who has hundreds of million citations). In addition, there were about three million references to the ‘harmless’ effects of the Fukushima fallout, with about 7,000,000 references to its ‘dangers’.

Therefore, the prevailing and accepted view of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and, for that matter, the US Congress has been overlooked in the global media discussion. This is the view that holds sway in legislation ranging from the regulation of cigarettes, CT scans and the Hanford Reservation cleanup. In addition to the risk to human life, billions of dollars in government are at stake.

The controversy concerns Linear No Threshold (LNT) methodology to calculate risk from exposure to radioactive elements. The LNT dose-response relationship is used to describe the relationship between radiation dose and the occurrence of cancer. This dose-response model suggests that any increase in dose, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepts the LNT hypothesis as a conservative model for estimating radiation risk.

There are two competing theories here.

1.   There is no lower-level threshold to the threat from radioactive exposure. Basically this means that even a small exposure to radioactivity will increase the chance of cancer occurring in a corresponding small percentage of the population. The smaller the exposure, the smaller the risk, but the risk never falls to zero.

2.   There is a lower-level threshold to the threat from radioactive exposure. This is model that the media has adopted in claims that the fallout is ‘harmless’ while still recognizing that it is harmful in large doses. Some scientists adhere to the radiation hormesis model that radiation might even be beneficial in very low doses

The LNT model is generally accepted by most governments and scientific agencies and predicts higher risks than the threshold model. Because the current data is inconclusive, scientists disagree on which methodology should be used.

However, the fact that there has been little or no discussion of the topic in the media is cause for concern.



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Casualties in Japan Disasters could reach 25,000 or more

AUSTIN, Texas, March 14, 2011 — According to Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker Technology the ultimate number of casualties resulting from the Japanese Quake and Tsunami could ultimately climb to over 25,000 and possibly reaching 50,000, or more.

“The depth of this tragedy is even deeper than what we had already imagined it to be” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Only our understanding of the true magnitude of the tragedy, will enable us to move beyond it, to rebuild what needs to be rebuilt and renew what needs to be renewed. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those who were struck down – and the survivors who carry on.”

The analysis is based on NarrativeTracker’s analytical methodologies.  Statements by public, corporate and military officials as well as outside agencies and various experts were complied and examined with appropriate trendlines extrapolated.   The progression has been noted from the earliest reports where casualties were said to be ‘several hundred’, then ‘nearly a thousand’ and now in the ‘tens of thousands’..  At the same time, GLM noted the many reports of still-missing trains, ships, and good-sized villages where fewer than half the population has as not yet been accounted for.

The analysis compared trends in casualty-reporting with several  disasters including the Haitian earthquake, Hurricane Katrina’s inundation of New Orleans, and the Southeast Asia Tsunami.

The analysis assumes that there are no deaths associated with the partial meltdowns of a number of nuclear reactors.  GLM notes that this is an analysis is an estimate that is based on trending factors and should be considered as such.



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Updates on the Japanese Disasters

For updates and analysis go to our DisasterTrack pages, where:

  • You can help name the disaster (and see what others are thinking).   Send nominations to disastertracking@gmail.com.
</p>
<h4><strong>The Tsunami Rushes to Shore</strong></h4>
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The Tsunami Rushes to Shore

  • You can download a Japanese publication called Earthquake Disaster Prevention Guidebook

 

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  • You can track  current earthquakes in California and around the planet.

 

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  • You can follow the latest disaster-related updates from our DisasterTrack Twitter feed.


Can your family or business survive a disaster for three days? Click Here!



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Social Media Have Become Warrior Media

Social Media as a Strategic Weapon

By Edward ML Peters and Paul JJ Payack


Austin, Texas. March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that a new weapon has recently been detected in the world’s strategic arsenal.

According to Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “To  the uninitiated, it might appear to be part neutron bomb, which destroys only living things with little collateral damage,   part some as yet unidentified weapon, which has the ability topple dictators, regimes and unsuspecting governments while rendering both living things and physical structures unharmed.

“We are speaking, of course, about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which have the apparent ability to re-align the social order in real time, with little or no advanced warning.”

In June 2009, we named Web 2.0 the 1,000,000th word in Global English.  Many in the media were confused by our definition:

the next generation of products and services from the web, currently beyond imagination.  Later in 2009, we named Twitter the word of the year.  Some were surprised when we defined Twitter as ‘the ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters’.  They were thinking of Twitter as a means for BFFs to gratuitously unfriend each other.  We were thinking of it as a radical new form of communication.

Social Media is adhering to its etymological roots more tightly than one might expect.  The word ‘social’ ultimately derives from ‘secg,’ an Old English word for ‘warrior’.   The social media ‘warrior’ now understands that the role of social media is not a fad but a mechanism to better understand socio-economic trends and issues – in real time.

So it is even more surprising that the events of the last six weeks in the Middle East appear to have come as a shock to the Western Powers and Global Media.

Again.

Three years ago the media was shocked when an unexpected series of financial events set the global financial markets spinning out-of-control.  In retrospect, we now see that only the strongest intervention of the Western Central Banks prevented what was horrific into becoming something downright catastrophic.  The Western economies still suffer from the consequences.

A few month later, the media was shocked by the unprecedented run of a relatively unknown and untested Black man to the presidency to the United States.  (Undoubtedly, it would have been shocked if his primary nemesis, the current US Secretary of State, had successfully navigated her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.)

Then a year ago, the media was shocked by 1) the rise of the Tea Party, 2) the ‘shellacking’ the President took in the Mid-term elections, and 3) now the upheavals in the Middle Eastern world that appear to have come as a shock to both the Western Powers and Global Media.

At least we are consistent in our on-going sense of shock.

The question becomes why do we continue to be shocked whenever we witness this new reality foisted upon us by means of communications never before imagined?  Obviously, even to the casual observer, there is an on-going global transformation of  industries, wealth and influence as evidenced by the evolving role of nation-states, the rise of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the proliferation of trans-national causes and corporations – that is apparently out of the span of command of many contemporary institutions.

Read More From These Authors on The Hill
Read More From These Authors on The Hill

The question remains:  why the surprise? Why the sense of shock?   We’ve seen this all before, but have apparently lacked the vision to put it all together.  A common thread among recent strategic advances is that all are new forms of communications. We should keep this in mind and not dismiss social media as a passing fad for the young and foolish, but rather as new tools, new social instruments, or even strategic weapons that can, will and are having societal and strategic influences around the globe today.

So once again we have a list of surprises to confront:

  • People voting with their thumbs
  • Simultaneous uprisings in the Middle East
  • Long-ingrained totalitarian dictatorships falling
  • Christian and Muslim groups celebrating together

And our astonishment only continues to grow as the future unfolds.

After all, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Again.



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Did Watson Really Beat Humans on Jeopardy? We Think Not!

Analysis into the ‘natural language processing’ claim.

AUSTIN, TEXAS.  March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that Watson, the IBM Computer specifically designed to compete on the Jeopardy television show was not the victory of a machine tackling ‘natural language processing’  that many had been led to believe but rather a “a massive marketing coup,” as described in the Boston Globe.

When Watson bested two live-wear, carbon-based lifeforms named Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, on the Jeopardy Television show a few days ago, it was widely viewed as a great advance in ‘natural language processing’.  Natural Language Processing is concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages.

As Ben Zimmer in the New York Times put it, Watson “came through with flying colors.”  And he was certainly not alone in his judgment.  There were many comparisons to the John Henry man vs. machine tale where the legendary ‘steel-driving’ railroad man challenges a steam hammer, and wins, only to collapse and die shortly thereafter.  It appeared as if the entire media went a little bit gaga (no pun intended) with stories on this great milestone in cyber (and possibly human) history.

Is this analysis true?  As Steve Colbert might put it, there is some ‘truthiness’ in the statement.  Watson did, in fact, best his human competitors, but if we are to “speaking truthiness to power,” we should ensure that we fully understand the nature of the competition.

“Comments like the above missed the mark for a very simple reason,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst at GLM.  “Watson did not prove adept at processing language in a manner similar to humans.  In fact, computers have dramatically failed at this task for four decades now.  What Watson has accomplished is a far cry from ‘natural language processing’.

Rather what Watson achieved was a very close approximation of appearing as if it had acquired an acuity at understanding of the English language. This, in itself, is an accomplishment to be acknowledged.  (But as in the old joke goes about a dog talking, it’s not that it was done well but rather that it was done at all.)  After all, Watson was designed from the ground up as a ‘question-answering machine,’ as IBM readily admits.  However this, in itself, is not quite accurate because Watson was specifically built as a ‘Jeopardy game-show answering machine’ “.

One problem is that few commentators understand what it means to actually program a computer at all, let alone the ‘machine coding’ which might be construed as the most basic unit of computer ‘thought’.  Even those who are familiar with today’s coding techniques are familiar with HTML or a variation of C++ or Linux, etc.  All of these ‘languages’ are as distant from machine coding technology as they are from understanding the mathematics of the Higgs boson and why it has been described as the ‘God particle’ at CERN.  Unfortunately, there will be  no friendly, Watson-like, avatar that will announce from the CERN lab that the God Particle has been identified, when and if ever.  We might also find out about that discovery when (as has been estimated by the CERN staff) the acceptable risk the 1 out of 50,000,000 chance hits and the whole enterprise results in the destruction of the entire planet though the creation of an, admittedly small, black hole.

The field of artificial intelligence has for decades been handicapped with the idea of emulating humans; whether their thinking, their speaking, their chess-playing ability or their ability to perambulate.  To make the advances we have seen recently, computer scientists had to literally re-think (and in many cases reverse) their earlier positions.

The key, as found in recent research, is not to emulate humans; rather the key is to define ‘machine logic’ or how would a machine do it, given its capabilities and limitations.  In other words do not attempt to  see like the human eye sees but attempt to see as a machine would see.  Rather than teach a machine everything there is to know about how a human gets around, the task becomes to teach a machine the few basic rules it needs to move forward, back up and to work around obstacles.  This is much different than a baby learning how to crawl which involves cognition, motor skills, sight, volition, and the sense of feel.

In the same way most would construe natural language processing would be the ability to understand basic sentences, concepts or instructions in a straight-forward manner.  Is this what Watson accomplished.  Consider the following:

Here’s what Watson needed to handle the ‘natural language’ of Jeopardy.

  • 90 IBM Power 750 servers
  • Each of the 90 IBM Power 750 servers is equipped with eight processors
  • A total 2,880 Central Processing Units (CPUs)
  • 1 network-attached storage (NAS) cluster
  • 21.6TB of data
  • 15 full-time technical professionals, as well any number of advisors and consultants
  • 5 years of development time
  • ‘1,000s’ of computer algorithms to run simultaneously
  • 1 overlying algorithm to review the results of all the others
  • 1 power robotic finger

Incidentally, the effort required a minimum of $100,000,000 funding for personnel, some $25,000,000 in equipment, as well as all the costs associated with cooling, administration, transportation, and the like.

All of this reminds us of Gary Kasparov losing the famous chess match to IBM’s Deep Blue back in 1997.  IBM was allowed to modify its program between games.  In effect, this let IBM programmers compensate for any Deep Blue weaknesses Kasparov exposed during the game.  How, in any way, could this be considered a level playing field?  Once this was discovered, Kasparov requested a rematch, but IBM had already dismantled Deep Blue.

As for those comparisons with the legendary ‘iron-driving man’, we have one piece of advice:  John Henry, call your lawyer.

Note:  Each year GLM releases the Top High Tech Words Everyone Uses But Nobody Quite Understands.  This year’s edition will be released in conjunction with SXSWi on March 13, 2011.



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Obama Echoes Lincoln and King in Dignified Tucson Memorial Address

Could presage a new narrative for the president

AUSTIN, Texas January 13, 2011  Echoing Lincoln, King, and, even, Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama gave his strongest speech, perhaps since his “Yes, We Can!” victory speech delivered in Chicago’s Grant Park last November.

The president delivered the speech with the cadence of a eulogy to the packed audience of some 12,000 at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center.  The crowd had none of the hallmarks of a hand-selected, pre-screened crowd that we have come to expect for such occasions; tickets were distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

Obama’s remarks echoed Lincoln and Martin Luther King in at least two respects: 1) the use of scriptural passages to set the tone, 2) and the emphasis on worthiness and living up to expectations of the children, particularly those of Cristina Green, the inspirational nine-year old girl, who was born on September 11, 2001.

Structurally, the address was nearly identical to his “Yes, We Can!” speech, Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream,” and Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”.  Though delivered to differing audiences in different eras, the speeches each had nearly identical ‘understandability statistics’ in terms of grammatical constructions, rhetorical elements, tone and vocabulary.  In terms of empathetic concern, he echoed Bill Clinton, who was often referred to as the “Mourner in Chief” with his ‘I feel your pain’ mantra.

It was a somber, sorrowful message filled with future-related, hopeful constructions with words such as hope, light, and love  address delivered to a respectfully attentive crowd. With the 2010 Mid-term elections now in his wake, this can be an opportunity to begin a new narrative for the remainder of Obama’s term.



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