Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, February 01, 2021


Well, I’ve had a day to think about the whole “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” guerrilla marketing bomb scare in Boston.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that the Massachusetts government and law enforcement establishments are full of jittery idiots:

But public safety officials in Boston and elsewhere condemned the campaign in today’s post-9/11 world.

“Just a little over a mile away from the placement of the first device, a group of terrorists boarded airplanes and launched an attack on New York City,” police Commissioner Edward Davis told the Associated Press.

“The city clearly did not overreact. Had we taken any other steps we would have been endangering the public,” he said…

Authorities in Boston responded after a transit worker reported a suspicious device at a subway station. A citywide scramble that snarled traffic and shut down whole neighborhoods ensued as police and bomb squad officers raced to remove the plexiglass light boards from bridges and other high-profile areas. In all they found 38 blinking images of Ignignokt, one of the show’s stars.

Discount the accusations of general unhip cluelessness among Bostonians for failing to recognize the mooninite — that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that these devices were in place for weeks. Without anyone blinking. Then, a single report comes in, and all hell breaks loose.

Basically, some idiot jumped on the panic button and blew this thing completely out of proportion. And now, the state is falling back on 9/11 to try to justify how incompetently it handled a non-situation. Having a big-media company and stunt-marketers to blame makes for a convenient scapegoat, naturally. Unfortunately, they don’t have a leg to stand on, since none of the other cities that had the ATHF devices all over went into similar wild-goose-chase mode.

I can’t wait until some Boston cop runs across a broken radio, or other wiring-exposed piece of junk, lying around. Doubtless, they’ll call out a nuclear strike in response.

UPDATE, 2/2/2007: As the furor rages on, MarketWatch culled some insightful comments from marketing professionals. Among them:

For Clarke Caywood, a professor of public relations at Northwestern University, “anyone with a sense of recent history and any peripheral vision would have said, ‘We are in level orange or whatever, and these are kind of mysterious looking things.’ I can’t imagine there was enough oversight on this project.”

For their part, the authorities “were doing the typical overreaction to make themselves look tough,” he said. “There were two mistakes here rather than one, and there are going to be two good case studies out of it on law enforcement’s error and the Cartoon Network’s error.”

Len Stein, president of PR firm Visibility, said that “whoever did this should be working in some other industry. This is an insecure age, and it is very chancy to go anywhere near the periphery of planting stuff around cities.”

Still, he noted, the reaction of the city “looked comical” as he watched events unfold on television.

“They dumped tea in the harbor not long ago,” Stein commented. “But maybe after [the problem-plagued Big Dig municipal works project], they just don’t want anything else falling down. Like bridges.”

Also noted was that attempting to pin the blame on Boston’s reaction would backfire, and Turner/Time Warner’s decision to pay Beantown the $1 million this whole fiasco cost says that they’re cognizant of that losing prospect.

I still say Boston overreacted terribly on this. All that was required was for a single police unit, with a bomb-sniffing dog, to check out a couple of these devices and determine if there’s any level of threat. That’s it. That’s how professionals handle sensitive situations. They don’t shut down a major metropolitan area, putting everyone into fright mode, then justify their miscue by using 9/11 as a shield.

I think heads should roll, all right. But not at Turner. I can’t imagine how you’d feel safer living in Boston after this idiocy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/01/2021 11:54:14 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Comedy, TV
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Will the next big real estate bubble form on the ocean floors?

The idea isn’t so far-fetched. As Earth gets increasingly crowded and polluted, some 225 million square miles or prime real estate representing 71 percent of the planet’s surface is largely unused. It’s remarkable considering the oceans promise plenty of living space, fresh seafood, entertainment, and desalinized water. Surely, technology can make this happen.

It’s a heady prospect. You could credibly argue that Earth’s oceanic depths are more of a final frontier than outer space is, and thus are a more sensible target for human exploration and colonization.

But that premise about how dry land is getting “increasingly crowded”? Sorry, no dice.

The assumption of overpopulation takes a hit when you look at a map of world population densities. For all the billions of people out there, most are concentrated in pretty tight corners of the globe: The Indian subcontinent, coastal East Asia, and Western Europe. That means roughly half of everyone on this rock lives on less than 10 percent of above-water ground. Obviously, that’s due to the relative ease in living in habitable, fairly temperate zones — leaving deserts, jungles and other inhospitable regions thinly populated. If all that land were made livable, there would be plenty of elbow room for each individual alive today, with room for plenty more.

All that means is that, instead of taking a dive into the deep, the technology to increase the range of human habitat should be applied to those current no-go zones. Why build underwater cities, which would require engineering miracles to withstand deep-sea pressures, when Arctic tundras present more manageable challenges?

We’re better off leaving the sub-oceanic realm alone. Still plenty of work to do up here.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/01/2021 11:14:02 PM
Category: Business, Science, Society
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It’s come to this. The new Toshiba Satellite A135 series of notebook computers sport two separate built-in hard drives, for separating business and pleasure:

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4467 and Satellite A135-S4427 have SATA hard drives with 160GB and 120GB of storage, respectively, while Toshiba Satellite A135-S4499 notebook incorporates two 120GB SATA hard discs, “one drive for business applications, and second hard drive for music, photos and other multimedia files”.

That’s only one possibility, though. A more practical use is setting up one drive as a backup to the other:

The [Satellite A135-S4499] laptop has two gigabytes of memory and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.66 gigahertz. The two 120-gigabyte hard drives can be configured in three ways: they can be used separately; both can be chained together to create one large drive; or one can be used to back up the other.

Does this make sense? It seems to me the point of a backup drive is to preserve your data in a safer location than the active drive. Even if it’s a whole other drive, in this instance it’s still under the same hood; therefore, I’d imagine it would be susceptible to the same hazards as the main drive.

Granted, the wearing-down process that a regularly-used drive goes through wouldn’t be experienced by a co-located backup, so in that sense this works. But let’s face it, most people wreck their hard drives the old fashioned way: Dropping their notebooks or otherwise damaging them. When that happens, I’d guess both drives would bite it — thus making that all-in-one backing up tragicomically pointless.

Now, if the drives are removable, that would do the trick. I doubt that’s the case, though.

In short, I think the backup option in these dual-drive machines is a dubious prospect. In fact, it’s more harmful than helpful, because it will probably dissuade users from using an external storage option. The best option for using these computers is probably a dual-active drive setting, forgoing any thoughts of backup.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/01/2021 10:39:28 PM
Category: Tech
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clip show
I haven’t posted much about the Super Bowl here to date. This, despite the game being mere days away, and with a matchup that promises to deliver the most entertaining contest in a long while.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been invited to any of the customary bashes yet. First time in ages I can remember not having a Super Bowl party lined up. (Perhaps that bitter feeling accounts for why I’m consistently misspelling the event as “Super Boal”…)

Gathering or no, I’ll still watch the game. How can I not? The year cannot move forward without my frontal lobe getting its annual dose of Budweiser commercials.

It’s the usual coming out party for America’s suds king, who doesn’t have to be convinced as to whether or not a 30-second spot on CBS this year is worth the $2.6 million pricetag. Bud is running 8 spots, which equals $20.8 million to the network; add in production costs for the ads, and we’re probably looking at a cool $30 mil for the effort. Not bad.

It’s hard to judge based on the truncated preview clips, but the “Apocalypse” spot, with its obvious allusions to The Road Warrior, looks like a winner, the NASCAR element notwithstanding. (Is it too much to wish for that Mel Gibson will pop up in this spot, with further linkage to Apocalypto? Let’s hope so.)

Thanks go to Tom at The Media Drop for the tip. Of course, his day job had something to do with it as well.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/01/2021 08:30:46 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Football, Internet
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