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Who Is Jay Sekulow, and Why Is He Defending Donald Trump?

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Jay Sekulow had one job. He didn’t do it. In fact, he did the opposite. The newest member of Donald Trump’s private legal team, Sekulow was supposed to explain that, counter to the Washington Post’s reporting, the president is not under investigation,. Instead, he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that Trump is under investigation—twice—before denying he’d said any such thing.



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huskerboy
2 days ago
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Medium and the Scourge of Persistent Sharing Dickbars

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huskerboy
3 days ago
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Determining Alert Urgency

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Alerts. It’s so easy for them to pile up. One moment, you’re looking at a handful of alerts. A few hours — or maybe even minutes — later, you’re looking at a mountain. How do you manage them and keep your emergency response system from being completely overwhelmed?

These are hugely important questions. If your alert management system is flooded with noise and response teams are in a permanent state of alert fatigue, you may as well not even have an IT alert management system in the first place. Excessive noise and alert fatigue completely reduce the effectiveness of the alert management system.

Apply Filtering: Alerts to Incidents

In many ways, the key to streamlining your alert management system lies in a rapid and accurate method for consolidating related alerts into incidents and determining incident urgency. Sorting incidents by urgency provides an automatic filter for most noise and it provides you with a reasonable approximation of what you should be prioritizing.

You will probably be able to automate at least part of the sorting process (for example, by source and keywords), although it is likely that some (and perhaps a considerable amount) of it will require monitoring and intervention by response team members operating in the dispatcher role. Whatever method you use, however, the basic criteria will remain the same.

Most priority schemes follow the ITIL incident prioritization guidelines, or something similar. One of the key elements of the ITIL guidelines is that incident priority is based on two closely related factors: incident impact and incident urgency. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at both of those factors, and how they interact.

Determine Incident Impact

Impact is generally based on the scope of an incident’s effects — how many departments, users, or key services are affected. It can be relatively easy to automate at least some elements of the impact determination process. A large number of near-simultaneous reports that a specific service is unavailable, for example, may be a good indication of a high-impact incident, while a report of a problem from a single user, unaccompanied by any similar reports, is more likely to indicate a low-impact incident. For many IT departments, the guidelines for determining incident impact might look something like this:

  • High impact:
    • A critical system is down.
    • One or more departments is affected.
    • A significant number of staff members are not able to perform their functions.
    • The incident affects a large number of customers.
    • The incident has the potential for major financial loss or damage to the organization’s reputation.
    • Other criteria, depending on the function of the organization and the affected systems, could include such things as threat to public safety, potential loss of life, or major property damage.
  • Moderate impact:
    • Some staff members or customers are affected.
    • None of the services lost are critical.
    • Financial loss and damage to the organization’s reputation are possible, but limited in scope.
    • There is no threat to life, public safety, or physical property.
  • Low impact:
    • Only a small number of users are affected.
    • No critical services are involved, and there is little or no potential for financial loss or loss of reputation.

Incident Urgency

It is not always easy to draw a strict distinction between incident impact and incident urgency, but for the most part, urgency in this context can be defined as how quickly a problem will begin to have an effect on the system. The failure of a payroll system may have a high impact, for example, but if it occurs at the beginning of a pay cycle, it is likely to be less urgent than the loss of a customer relations database which is put to heavy use on a daily basis.

  • High urgency:
    • A service which is critical for day-to-day operations is unavailable.
    • The incident’s sphere of impact is expanding rapidly, or quick action may make it possible to limit its scope.
    • Time-sensitive work or customer actions are affected.
    • The incident affects high-status individuals or organizations (i.e., upper management or major clients).
  • Moderate urgency:
    • None of the services involved are critical on a day-to-day basis.
    • The damage from the incident appears to be increasing at a manageable pace.
    • Where time-sensitive work or high-status users are involved, effective workarounds can be quickly put in place.
  • Low urgency:
    • Affected services are optional and used infrequently.
    • The effects of the incident appear to be stable.
    • Important or time-sensitive work is not affected.

Note that for both impact and urgency, meeting a single criterion (rather than all or a majority of criteria) for a category is generally sufficient. Incidents should be placed in the highest category for which they qualify.

Priority = Impact + Urgency

At this point, it should be pretty easy to see that priority is a direct function of both impact and incident urgency. Regardless of the alert management and incident dispatching processes you put into place, as long as they route based on criteria for determining priority, you’ll be able to hush a considerable amount of alert noise, and low-impact, low-urgency events will naturally sink to the low end of your priority list. This will allow your incident response teams to concentrate on the kind of high-impact, high-priority incidents which genuinely require the most attention — with very little distraction or alert fatigue.

To learn more about how to aggregate, classify, and suppress events to manage what matters, check out PagerDuty’s alert triage and event rules engine. You can also easily classify incidents based on your organization’s custom definitions of priority.

And that mountain of alerts? By focusing on what’s actionable and urgent — especially with the help of a solution like PagerDuty — you may just find that it isn’t there anymore!

The post Determining Alert Urgency appeared first on PagerDuty.

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huskerboy
3 days ago
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Make two lists

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On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks:

  • People who don't like you.
  • Deals that went wrong.
  • Unfair expectations.
  • Bad situations.
  • Unfortunate outcomes.
  • Unfairness.

It's all legitimate, it's all real. Don't hold back.

On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have:

  • The places where you get the benefit of the doubt.
  • Your leverage and momentum.
  • The things you see that others don't.
  • What's working and what has worked.
  • The resources you can tap.
  • The things you know.
  • People who trust you.

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it's safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what's happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you'll do all day.

       
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huskerboy
5 days ago
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FDR’s White House Swimming Pool Hides Beneath Press Briefing Room

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The old White House swimming pool pictured in 1962, now the Press Briefing Room.(Image: JFK Presidential Library. The old White House swimming pool, 1962)

Watching the White House Press Secretary stand at a podium while fielding questions from journalists is a daily occurrence on our TV screens. But did you know that beneath the fake floor of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room lay a disused 50-foot-long swimming pool, where presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy enjoyed a daily dip throughout their administrations?

President Barack Obama confronts college reporters in the White House Press Briefing Room.(Image: Pete Souza. The White House Press Briefing Room today)

The White House swimming pool was installed in 1933, thanks to a New York Daily News fundraising campaign in aid of President Roosevelt, a New Yorker who suffered from debilitating polio. FDR regularly swam in therapy pools around his native city, enjoying the exercise that swimming afforded him. The pool was built into the old laundry rooms in the west gallery between the White House and the West Wing.

The White House swimming pool was built for wheelchair-confined FDR but became the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room during President Nixon's administration.(Image: JFK Presidential Library)

Under the heading “From Swimming Pool to Press Pool”, The White House Museum writes: “Arched ceilings and high rows of half-mooned windows surrounded the rectangular pool. French doors opened into the Rose Garden. The president’s pool was a modern-day showcase of technology, featuring underwater lighting, sterilizers and the latest gadgets. For several years, he used it multiple times a day. Harry Truman swam in it frequently—with his glasses on.”

Socks the cat at the podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.(Image: US National Archives. Socks the cat at the podium)

When JFK took office, the White House swimming pool was decorated with a huge mural by Bernard Lamotte of a Caribbean scene featuring a calm sea and sailboats. By the time Lyndon Johnson was in office, the walls were hung with bathing suits of all sizes so that any guest who fancied a swim could dive in.

(Images: Julie Mason. The tiled swimming pool still exists beneath the trap door)

Forty years after it was built, President Richard Nixon – who preferred bowling to swimming – decided to convert the old White House swimming pool into an auditorium, to accommodate advancing technology and the increasing demand for television news. Atlas Obscura writes that “up until this point there was no space officially designed for press briefings; interviews used to occur throughout the hallways and working offices of the White House.”

Still in use: the now-hidden White House swimming pool in 1948(Image: Truman Library. the hidden swimming pool in 1948)

As a result, Nixon drained the pool and had a floor installed over the top, though a hatch near the podium allowed access to this hidden relic of White House history. The abandoned swimming pool still very much exists, and has proved a popular offbeat attraction on tours of the building. Nowadays, a small staircase has replaced the hatch.

Bernard Lamotte paints a mural on the walls of the old White House swimming pool, 1962(Image: Kennedy Library. Bernard Lamotte and his mural, 1962)

Those lucky enough to venture down will find the old White House swimming pool full of computer servers and other communications equipment. Atlas Obscura even reports that, “after decades, it still smells like chlorine.”

Read Next: 12 Abandoned Lidos & Paddling Pools of the UK

The post FDR’s White House Swimming Pool Hides Beneath Press Briefing Room appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

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huskerboy
5 days ago
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Fidget Spinners Are Over

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The toy craze that has swept the nation — cheaply manufactured fidget spinners of dubious metallic constitution — is probably on the way out, with the high-water mark of fidget obsession appearing to be about a month behind us and the interest in the glorified ball bearings plateauing or declining.

Trend-spotting is an imprecise science, but to approximate the spinners’ popularity, I relied on Google Trends reports in three categories: Google News searches, web searches and YouTube searches. Given the ridiculous popularity of fidget-spinner content on YouTube, I also pulled all the videos that made the top daily trending list — YouTube’s own tally of the most viral videos, determined by algorithm — going back to the beginning of the year, with a focus on when fidget spinners exploded stateside in March.

Google web search interest peaked in early May — presumably with the first batch of people wondering why on earth their child had come home from school with a PVC throwing star — with maximum interest in the U.S. on May 6, according to Google Trends. Then the fad made its way to internet news consumers over the next week; May 18 was the high-water mark for fidget spinner news searches.

Then, of course, came capitalization from brands trying to cash in on the trend. If you want to make money off the attention cycle of the youth, the second-best way (after selling them a fidget spinner, duh) is probably through YouTube ads. The platform’s daily trending video section — a selection of up to 200 daily videos that have performed the best on the platform on a given day — is ground zero for monitoring this trend, given its primacy as the metric of success on the platform. YouTube creators are in the business of racking up views, and the glut of fidget-spinner content cashing in on the trend (as seen through this selection of all trending videos that mentioned “fidget” in the title) appears to have maxed out.

The earliest 2017 mention of fidget technology in the trending videos section was “What’s Inside a Fidget Cube?” from the What’s Inside? channel, way back on Feb. 12. It’s a literal dissection of one of the more complicated fidget-adjacent products.

It’s not until a month later that we get our first spinner offering trending on YouTube, with the exhortative “CRAZY FIDGET TOYS YOU MUST TRY!” video from Guava Juice 2 on March 18. After this, it all accelerates quickly: “Are Fidget Toys Bad For You?” and “Playing With Top Fidget Toys” from Good Mythical Morning bust into the trending section a few days later, and since then, fidget-related content has risen steadily. In the first 12 days of June, there were 9.9 fidget spinner videos in the top trending list on average, up from 7.5 videos on an average day in May and 1.4 videos on an average day in April. But that growth appears to be leveling off.

Given that YouTube search interest seems to trail typical search interest by about a week, as seen in the first chart, the plateau could be a sign that the trend is waning a bit. This could be complicated by the school year ending as well. Although the number of trending videos related to fidget toys has begun to level off, the two best days for fidget spinner content in terms of views were in June.

Even if there’s a long tail on this trend, it’s very likely that peak fidget spinner is behind us. The kind of content now doing well on YouTube is either fidget-adjacent stunt videos or videos that have taken a particularly weird turn. This doesn’t mean the ball-bearing business is doomed, just maybe don’t go long on the spinner industrial complex or quit your job to live off a fidget-related Kickstarter idea at this point.











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huskerboy
5 days ago
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