Media & Communications
Esperanto, a language scientifically designed to be politically neutral and easy to learn, should be officially adopted and declared as the International Language of the world. Because of its simplicity, Esperanto would provide people worldwide with the ability to save the huge amounts of time and effort that would otherwise be needed to learn and master any other international language.
Officially implementing and grounding this language in the United States could be done in the following way. Once the language has gained an official declaration of legitimacy by the government, children under 12 should be taught this language to fluency. Children not yet graduated from high school should be taught the basics of Esperanto every year until graduation so as to understand the majority of what is spoken or written in Esperanto. After the first cohort of children under 12 graduate high school, the learning of Esperanto to fluency should be mandated. Intensive Esperanto education should begin with the very first year of school enrollment.0 Comments
The official language of the United States should be American English. All government related documents should be in English with translations provided into any language (perhaps for a nominal fee to the foreign language user) for all documents. Government functions and communications should also be in English even at the local level regardless of how small the minority of English speakers may be. Otherwise, the evolution of political landscapes is too easily facilitated.
For US-made products, the English language should always have the priority in all multi-language documents, flyers, signs, etc. For example, instruction manuals printed within this country in multiple languages should have the English set of instructions placed first in the manual. Fliers, brochures, signs, etc., should have the English portion placed in front of or above the non-English portion and given at least the same visibility as the non-English portion (meaning the use of the same size font, same level of attractiveness, etc.). All automated telephone menus should not require the user to select English in any way. A user desiring another language should be required to actively select that other language.
To teach and use the tools of the English language more effectively, the rules of its usage must be simplified. This point will not address anything related to the grammatical construction of the English language. It will focus exclusively on spelling, specifically advocating a phonetic spelling for the English language. Today, our written language, is not nearly as efficient a communication tool as it could be. It requires that too much time and energy be spent on making sure that nonessential, useless, inefficient, unproductive conventional rules of spelling are followed. In other words, too much time and energy is spent, often subconsciously, on unnecessary spelling overhead associated with reading and writing.
A great deal of time, energy, money and frustration could be saved (especially in early primary school) by teaching people a drastically simpler and essentially a much more logical form of the written English language that would not at all change the pronunciation of words or the grammatical rules of usage, but would make the spelling of each word virtually entirely phonetic. The look of written English would change dramatically, but with a little practice and insight, the increased ease with which words may be read and written would make the benefits of a change over to this system obvious.
For the most part, English words would be written using their dictionary phonetic spellings but without syllabication symbols such as syllable dividers and accent marks. Most diacritical marks (pronunciation symbols) would most likely remain left out, especially if new letters are introduced into the alphabet to represent single sounds currently made by vowels (all of which can make two, three, or more sounds) or a combination of two or more letters (vowels or consonants). Some diacritical marks (pronunciation symbols) may still need to be permanently introduced (though very sparingly) to further clarify pronunciations.
It perhaps may not be practical to have each of the close to 50 sounds in the English language represented by a unique symbol, letter, or even combination of letters. However, it would be useful to add a few additional letters to the alphabet as well as incorporate into standard spellings a few diacritical marks so that many more sounds are represented by distinct letters or markings. For the words that may not be perfectly phonetically spelled, readers can refer to the dictionary for more complete phonetic instructions. This would be no different than what people do today.
A change of this magnitude would take, at the very least, several decades to get it to the point where its own momentum would guarantee its ubiquitous adoption throughout all aspects of American English culture and writings. The benefits, however, would be impressive and make it very well worthwhile. The most obvious benefits would be realized during the early primary education of children. A phonetically spelled language system would shave several months or even a year or more off a child’s educational career. These savings would be occurring during early childhood which is the most important time of a child’s career. This is when their ability to absorb and learn material is optimal. In other words, less time would be spent teaching the child to read and write while more time could be spent teaching other subjects and activities precisely during the time of their lives when they are the most receptive to learning. Following is an example of perhaps how this new written English language would look.
We can doo it, but onle if thə jenərl popyəlashən iz kənvinsd uv, and bilevz in, thə grat benəfits that wood rizult.
The strategy to use to cause this proposal to be adopted is rather simple, though it will take time. First, an official proclamation of legitimacy and sanctioning of this type of simplified spelling is needed. Then academic institutions, textbook and dictionary publishers and other influential products and services would be strongly encouraged or perhaps even required at least to list this new phonetic spelling and text alongside conventional spellings and text. Every year, progressively more influential products and services and everybody else in society would be encouraged to learn and switch over to the new phonetic spelling system. Second, the youngest cohorts of the population should be exclusively taught and totally immersed in the phonetic system (mandated throughout their educational curriculums). Progressively older cohorts would then follow in this total immersion at a rate equal to the rate of the natural aging of the population (or at least should not exceed this rate). In other words, the first cohort to be totally immersed would always be the age group that leads the population in the adoption of this new system as the population ages.
The publicly required switch to reading and writing in the phonetic system (such as private publishers) should be at a rate that is significantly slower than the rate of switching required in the educational system. This is to allow for a possible time lag in people of the same cohort to keep up with learning fluently the new system or to just make the transition a little less abrupt. Nevertheless, since the future market will be for material published using the phonetic system, publishers will likely want to stop publishing using the traditional spelling system about as fast as the first cohort ages. Because of the possibility that the natural inertia of our society’s conventional spelling system will erode the fluency of members of the first totally immersed cohort in the new system, the speed at which the required switchover is required may have to be significantly slower than the rate as which the population ages. Conversely, because this would be seen as being the future of the English language, and due to its simplicity of use, it may very well be that the last few cohorts of standard English learning instruction (those older than the first cohort of mandatory instruction under this new spelling scheme) would voluntarily take it upon themselves to learn and fully adopt the new system.
This process, likely lasting up to 100 years, would continue until the entire population has switch over. New immigrant speakers should be taught the phonetic language unless they are much older than the current switching age.
If none of these language proposals seem workable, the least we must do to make English more logical and easier to read and write is to attempt to guide and slowly force the evolution of complex words like through, silhouette, and quayage into simpler words like throo or even thru, silooet, and keig. British English words like faecal and colour should be fecal and color. Fortunately, it may be easier to accomplish the goal of changing the spelling of words and then keeping those spellings static than it is to keep the meanings of words the same over time.
Chanjing thə wa we red and rit from kənvenshənəl Inglish too prənunseashən-basd Inglish will prəvid wurthwil benəfits too our səsiity, ispeshəle bi making it ezeər too tech our childrən too red and rit. The kweschən iz wethər səsiity iz wiling to embark on this multesenchəre strugəl. It’s not reəle hard too doo, it duzənt rekwir much nyoo lurning, just praktis and geting yoozd too the nyoo systəm. Thə meningz, yoosijəz, and prənunseashənz uv thə wurdz riman thə sam, onle thə spelingz chanj.0 Comments
Dates, addresses, and names should be written in a certain standardized form going from the general to the specific. Dates should be written using the following format: year/month/day. Address labels should be written with the name of the country first (if necessary), then the state or province, next the county, then the city, then the street address. Finally, the name of the addressee should be written.
People’s names should also be written and spoken so that they progress from the general to the specific, like they do in China and many other parts of the world. Basically, we should use the ‘eastern order’ system of naming in which the family name is stated first, then the given name. A family (last) name should be stated first because it is the general name of a group of people (the family). Then the more specific first name should be stated to individually identify the referenced person. For example, Smith John instead of John Smith. It’s more logical.0 Comments
There are two valid options, in my opinion, two choose as global standards. The first option is the idealistically pure one because it uses existing punctuation to more accurately convey the relationship between the individual digits within a large number. The second option is basically an inferior standard, but it is one that is most widely in use now, so the transition costs would not be anywhere as large as the first option would entail. Nevertheless, this option is logical enough that we would benefit from the elimination of many other less logical systems.
Option #1 – The Most Logical Option
Blank Space Number Separator
An alternative numbering format, which may be more logical would be the International System of Units (SI) format in which the thousands separator is merely a single blank space such as the spacing between words, but can also be a smaller spacing. This may make more sense because a conventional comma used as the thousands separator may imply too much distinction between the number, like a comma would when describing, for example, a large, red, sleek car. Yes, all words describe the car but they are completely different characteristics. With long numbers, all the numbers are actually part of the very same number. Digits between number separators do not signify a different characteristic of the number, they are basically just a part of the name of the whole number itself. These number separators (blank spaces in this proposal) merely serve to make it easier to read, a function that could well be accomplished by single empty spaces.
Apostrophes should also be used after (to the right of) the decimal mark to separate hundredth, millionth, billionth, etc. (Ex. 123,456,789.012,345,678).
Reluctantly Keep the Decimal Period
Following this same logic, the decimal point would appear to indicate a break between one complete thought and another, as it does in ordinary sentence structure. But a decimal written within a number (between whole numbers and decimal fractions) merely indicates a change in scale while still describing the very same number. Currently, a decimal point used within a number indicates merely the transition between whole numbers and decimal fractions. But the decimal fraction is an integral part of a number, therefore it is nothing at all like a separate thought, or even a related item. It is actually part of the number, just like a letter is part of a word. In words like x-ray, ex-wife, day-to-day, ill-fated, and others, the hyphen is used to indicate a direct, integral relationship between the words. This is precisely the relationship between a whole number and its decimal fraction. So maybe a hyphen would be most appropriate. But since a hyphen is commonly used to indicate a range of numbers (such as (the car was 10-20 feet away”), it would not work as a decimal. An additional downside to using a hyphen would be the difficulty of verbally stating numbers with decimal marks in them, such as 1.2 billion (one point two billion). Under this proposals, this number would be written as 1-2 billion. Apart from the range confusion indicate above, there would be a verbal and written discontinuity since it would be impossible to change the verbal “point” when referring to numbers. That would be unacceptable. An interpunct or interpoint, or raised dot, or middle dot as it is often referred, has been used in the past as a decimal mark, especially in British English, but because of it confusion with the mathematical character for multiplication, it had not been selected as the standard decimal mark. Therefore, it is necessary to stay with the conventional full stop period as the standardized decimal mark.
Option #2 – The Less Optimal Option
The worldwide standard for the use of punctuation within written numbers should be as follows: a period should be used to separate whole numbers from decimal fractions and a comma should be used to separate sets of thousands, millions, billions, etc.
Just like a period at the end of a sentence indicates the end of a grammatical unit and the end of one complete thought (essentially a separation in structure), a period between whole numbers and decimal fractions indicates a separation and division of the structure and meaning of the number. Whole numbers indicate a quantity of complete/whole units; decimals indicate only a fraction of one unit.
Also as in a sentence, commas are used to indicate a separation of ideas or elements within the structure of a sentence. Commas used in numerical writings should only be used to separate within the structure of the number, such as to separate the number sets of thousands, millions, billions, etc. The use of commas in this way, not only makes it easier for such numbers to be read, but also keeps with the logic of commas being used to separate between related items. Their use in this way also instructs the reader to pause as a large number is read. The alternate method of numerical writing, namely, including an empty space in places where commas would otherwise go, should not be used because this would imply too much of a separate meaning between the number groupings. This would also cause greater confusion and difficulty, especially when writing numbers by hand. Commas should also be used after (to the right of) the decimal point to separate hundredth, millionth, billionth, etc. (Ex. 123,456,789.012,345,678).
Long-Scale Numbering Nomenclature
Additionally, ‘long scale’ numbering nomenclature (thousand million, milliard, thousand billion, billiard, etc.) should be prohibited in favor of ‘short scale’ numbering (our conventional numbering nomenclature (thousand, million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, etc.)).0 Comments
Words describing periods of time should be simplified. Terms like ‘biweekly’ and ‘bimonthly’ should never be ambiguous, as they currently are. These and all other prefixes should always be given the same meaning.
First, the prefixes bi-, tri- quad-, quint-, sex-, sep- hex-, novem-, deka-, etc., should always mean that many parts within whatever root or noun follows such prefixes. For example, bicycle consists of one unit (a bike) and two parts (two wheels). Similarly, a hexagon consists of one unit (a shape) with eight parts (sides). Biannually and biyearly should always mean one unit (a year) and two parts (or two times (twice) within one year). Using this same logic, centannual should mean 100 times a year.
However, there are no prefixes that can really convey the idea of events happening less frequently than the unit of time they are referencing. But, because using one word to describe events that take place once every few years is very convenient and justifiable, one small workaround to the dearth of prefixes is to use the root “-ennial”, as is already, fortunately, the general convention. For example, centennial would mean once every hundred years, in contrast to centannual which would mean 100 times a year. Similarly, biennual would mean once every two years, while biannual would mean twice a year.
I don’t see how we could use the same, or any other, technique to do the same to describe things or events that take place once every two or more weeks, months, decades, centuries, etc. Such words just won’t sound right. The only way to communicate such ideas may be to just use a phrase like “once every two months”. However, it may be possible to use larger reference units of time with the prefixes we currently have available. For example, sexannually (six times per year) would mean the exact same thing as ‘once every two months’.0 Comments
Only punctuation marks that are directly part of a quote should be placed inside the quotation marks. Any other punctuation marks should be placed outside and after the quotation marks. No punctuation that is part of the quote (thus, inside the quotation marks) should be used to help construct the editor’s sentence structure.
For example, let’s say a person says, “I have many cars. This is a red car. That one is a blue car”. Another person then quotes part of what the first person said by writing, “This is a red car.” and includes the period before the ending quotation mark like I have shown, should be deemed a correctly structured sentence. The editor could also write, “This is a red car” without the period and it would still be correctly structured and quoted because it is the editor who could pick what he wants to quote (where to begin and end a quote), so long as the original message is not adulterated. An editor quoting this same sentence at the end of his own sentence would write it to appear like this: “This is a red car.”. or “This is a red car”. The editor could decide whether or not he wants to include the final period in the original quote. Adding a period within the quote in this example would be redundant, but there are situations where either the quoted punctuation mark or the editor’s punctuation mark after the quote would be different and thus convey a significant or essential meaning to the reader as illustrated in the following sentence: The man said, “This is a red car!”.
Is summary, the British style of punctuation should be used in America and everywhere else the English language is used.0 Comments
Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms, should always be written in their expanded forms during their first use in a document or article. In addition, their abbreviated form (if used later in the document or article) should always be written in parenthesis right after this first full, expanded use of the term in the document or article. In long works, the expanded terms should be stated alongside the acronym periodically, such as during their first use in new sections of the work, so that readers are helpfully reminded of their meaning without requiring them to flip through the whole book or other long work to try to find their meanings.
Such a convention would allow readers to find the definitions or meanings of acronyms much faster in articles and other printed works. In addition, each letter of the expanded term that forms part of the acronym or abbreviation should be written in capital letters. This should at least be true for the more complicated acronyms.0 Comments
Generally, more commas should be used in writing to insure proper breaks/pauses so that accurate intonations are better communicated and so that sentence structures are clearer. Commas should be used after each item in a series except the last (i.e., someone has a red, blue, green, white, and orange car).
There are instances in which such a consistent comma usage policy would reduce confusion, such as when items in a series have internal conjunctions. For example, “I love ham, tuna, peanut butter and cheese sandwiches.” Without a serial comma placed after peanut butter, the meaning would be ambiguous as to whether the writer intended that he liked a sandwich that included both peanut butter and cheese or to different sandwiches that included each of these ingredients separately.
The tendency should always be to use a comma when in doubt.0 Comments
There should be a global congress of experts dedicated to standardizing the naming and spellings of historical/archaeological/geographical names around the world. Their job would be to act in ways similar to courts of justice and listen to all parties who advocate a certain name over another. Each party would be required to support its case with as much information as possible. This congress would then deliberate upon the matter and then, when they feel they have a satisfactory amount of information, they would vote or otherwise come to a decision regarding the proper name that should be applied to the location in question.
People or representatives in this congress living around or representing the area where the place to be named is located should have a disproportionately larger say in the matter.
Atlases, dictionaries and all other reference or educational publications should be bound by the rulings handed down by this congress.0 Comments
The standardized conventional format used to write telephone numbers should include the use of dashes within the number. For example, a telephone number should be written like the following: 1-310-234-5678. The use of symbols other than dashes (such as commas, periods, or blank spaces) would tend to contribute to greater confusion due to the use of these punctuation marks for other grammatical purposes.
Commas (1,310,234,5678), if written sloppy, may be misinterpreted as the number one. More likely, the use of commas as place holders in larger numbers may create initial confusion as to whether the telephone number is merely a large number, albeit with commas written in the wrong locations.
Using periods (1.310.234.5678) may also increase confusion because of their conventional use to end sentences. Periods signify the end of a complete thought and their use in telephone numbers would be inconsistent with their original meaning. All the numbers of a telephone number are all directly related with each other.
The use of empty spaces (1 310 234 5678), like the spaces between words, may also increase confusion because the numbers don’t immediately seem to be directly related to one another.
Colons (1:310:234:5678) may be a proper punctuation mark to use, but they may be slightly more confusing than a hyphen because their two dots require more lifting and movements when using a writing instrument than would a single hyphen.
Hyphens seem to clearly imply a direct visual relationship between all numbers in a telephone number sequence while at the same time creating enough spacing within the number sets to make them easier to read.
A legally empowered government agency should be responsible for imposing fines on people and entities using a mass communications medium and that have approved the intentional or accidental publication of inaccurate, false or misleading information (information that while technically true, misleads a significant portion of the population to which it was targeted). Regardless of what was said in the ‘fine print’, or not said due to omissions, the impression given by a publication (advertisement, news story, etc.) must be accurate. Members of the mass media should not be allowed to disseminate factually wrong information without sufficient penalties applied to each instance. This agency would also require that the responsible parties publish clear, complete apologies and corrections such that the original audience (or as close to it as possible) would definitely know not just about the occurrence of the error, but also about all relevant details (including perhaps a republication of the original section containing the error) concerning the exact nature of the error (such as when the story containing the error was originally broadcast, as well as other significantly relevant identifying information concerning the original story). Front page errors should require front page corrections, etc. The idea is to encourage the development of more reliable verification processes within the individual disseminators of information. This system of enforcement would be applied to all kinds of media including broadcast, print, advertisements, food labels, instruction manuals and any other means through which any sort of information is transmitted, whether from an original source or from any other entity that duplicates, restates, or paraphrases this information. This proposed agency should also maintain a publicly accessible database that keeps track of the ‘error rates’ of each entity.
This agency would rely upon public policing as the primary means of identifying potentially incorrect information circulating anywhere around society. The incentive for members of the public to participate would be the certainty of receiving a percentage of the fine levied by this agency against the originator and/or subsequent transmitters of such incorrect information, if it turns out that there, indeed, was an error, and they were one of the first to bring it to the agency’s attention.
For example, an amateur chemist would be able to measure the amount of any or all ingredients in a food product to determine if the labels accurately reflect what is actually in the product. If there is a discrepancy, this amateur chemist would be able to notify this government agency and inform them of his results. The agency would review it, conduct further tests if necessary, and make a final determination. If it turns out that the findings of the amateur chemist were in fact based in fact, that amateur chemist would be entitled to receive his reward in the form of a percentage of the financial penalties imposed on the original disseminator of this false information (the food company, in this case). This same process of public policing could be adapted and used for the public policing of virtually all disseminated information (advertisements, news stories, etc). Advertisements or other information suspected of being misleading should be brought to the attention of this agency which could then conduct a study involving either experts and/or a representative sample of people from the area in which the ad or questionable information was or is being distributed to determine if there is a misleading nature to the questionable information. Ads must not just be legally and technically accurate as a result of things that were said in the ‘fine print’ or because of certain omissions, they must also give reasonably accurate impressions. People who find such errors should make sure they are right and notify this agency. Everyone who submits a report of an error should be required to pay a small fee which would be refundable if it turns out that they were right in identifying an error. Perhaps the first person or, better yet, the first few people (maybe 3-4 people) who report the same error should be entitled to receive a portion of the fine levied with the first informant receiving the largest share and each succeeding informant receiving progressively decreasing shares. For news organizations, such apologies and corrections should appear in portions of their media (same timeslots for TV/radio broadcasts or same section in newspapers/magazines, etc.) that would reach an equivalent number of people as the original story that contained the error and be almost as visible (at least for significant corrections). Furthermore, these corrections should cite the title and date of the story containing the error, quote the actual error and then print the corrected version of the passage. This system would help reduce the transmission of erroneous information ranging from misspelled words or simple, undisputed facts to biased reporting.
The amount of the fine would be based on the severity of the mistake or error and the estimated number of people exposed to (who actually heard or read) the mistake. For example, if the fine for a minor spelling error in a book is one cent ($0.01) and 10,000 copies of that book was sold, than the total fine to be paid by the author would be $100. To help ensure accuracy in historical recordings, authors/publishers should be fined for statements/views that turn out to be significantly inaccurate or misleading. If a statement about the Holocaust not occurring during WW II is published, then the fine could be around $5 or $10 per book sold (retail sales). This could also apply to news publishing or broadcasting. If a news story states that four people were confirmed dead in an auto accident, for example, but only two people actually died, then the news outlet should be fined. Likewise, if a reporter uses bias in reporting by taking someone’s quote out of context by only quoting a portion of what an individual said during an interview resulting in the creation of an inaccurate news story, the reporter and/or the news organization he/she works for would be fined. The actual amount of a fine would naturally be determined by the particular facts of each case as decided by either this organization or the courts.
Ideally, for each information disseminator in existence (or at least about which complaints of inaccuracies have surfaced), especially those dealing with news and information, should be given a rating (that is continuously updated) indicating the general reliability of that source. This measure should be based on some sort of ratio which measures and compares the number of inaccuracies, or stories with inaccuracies (whether they be due to factual errors, omissions, ambiguity, etc.) to the total number of stories or total amount of information published. The total number of errors could be divided into categories, such as 1) factual errors, 2) unclear/incomplete/ambiguous errors, and 3) misleading errors, etc. These figures should all be listed on a single website so everyone has a centralized place to check on that media’s accuracy in the reporting and transmitting of information.
Once an error has been officially identified, it is incumbent on the originator of that false information to correct the error immediately. Otherwise, a daily fine amounting to 1% of the total fine should accrue on that originator.0 Comments
Vast quantities of government, health, and other data, figures and statistics are effectively inaccessible to an immeasurable numbers of researchers and other interested people who would be able to help mine and synthesize the data into enormous numbers of very critical, meaningful and far-reaching new data products. The cause of much of this lost potential is the lack of standardization in which information is published by the various entities that gather it.
To increase the efficient flow of this information, it is necessary to enforce that it be published in accordance to some standards upon which systems could be built to harness the data with greater automation.
The standards must be created by people in the open data advocate community who know exactly what to ask for. But a suggestion that should be implemented immediately is the requirement that all data published in PDF format should also be required to be published/posted with the underlying data.0 Comments
A mandatory, standardized rating system should be applied to all media (books, magazines, Internet sites, movies, videos, games, even stores/shops, etc.). Such a rating system should include categories of offenses, such as violence, foul language, explicit sexual content, etc. Each product should then state on its label how many instances of each of these categories are included in the product. For example, if foul language is used 20 times throughout a movies or song, that product should have the symbol for foul language (or the phrase “foul language”) written on the packaging or label with the number 20 right next to it. The same should be true for each of the other categories. The number of seconds of nudity or explicit sexual content should likewise be clearly stated.
All media packages (like DVD, etc.) should be required to carry ratings for its entire content, either one comprehensive rating or, perhaps, a rating for various sections. For example, it is common practice for movies shown in theaters to contain one rating while that same movie on a DVD may require a different rating due to additional material. Also, many DVDs often contain extra footage, like commentaries, trailers, alternate endings, deleted scenes, etc.) that may often contain material (usually spicier material) that would make the whole DVD earn a different rating (usually, a more restricted rating). Currently, many such DVDs carry an ‘unrated’ rating. This practice should be prohibited.
An internet database listing every single media product that has ever been released (movies, TV shows, books, etc.) should be constructed and made available to the public, free of charge. This database would be searchable using these media rating criteria. For example, if somebody wants to find a movie with only 10 or fewer curse words in it, they could go to the movie’s section of the database and submit this requirement. The database would then return a complete listing of movies that only meet this requirement. People who only want to search through G rated movies could do so very easily. The same could be done for books, magazines, websites, etc.0 Comments
To further enable the dissemination of research information to all members of society, it is imperative that the costs of access be lowered. These high costs are often manifested in two ways: the first being a high economic cost but the second being a high cost due to the relatively high quantity of ‘noise’, meaning research that is substandard or not accurate or reliable enough to be classified as authentic research. Such works pollute the total pool of research and makes it harder to identify and build upon true previous research results, and overall significantly decreases both the economic and temporal efficiency of further research.
Predatory publishers of scientific research papers need to be eliminated to ensure that more accurate, higher quality information is circulating throughout the scientific and research communities. Low quality research papers should also be eliminated to the best degree possible from being published in legitimate scientific journals. These goals can be helped by requiring more transparency of who is on the journal boards and who actually reviews each scientific paper submitted.
Editor and Reviewer Names Made Public
Perhaps the most useful single requirement to impose on each journal and published research paper in circulation would be to mandate that the the names and contact information of the editors of every journal be made public and published with the journal and that the names and contact information of the researchers and reviewers of every paper also be made public and also published with the paper.
Every Journal or Paper Connected to a Name
In addition, there should be a publicly accessible database, organized by either the journal’s name or editor’s name, that lists every past and current journal with which that editor worked, including the active dates. Similarly, there should also be a publicly accessible database organized by each research paper reviewer’s name that also lists all papers that have ever been reviewed by that researcher.
Research Paper Publication Funding Model
Every academic and research institution, including community colleges (and even perhaps high schools), and public libraries, industries, foundations, and even the public users (who are not associated with any of the previously mentioned entities) should be required to contribute to a fund that supports the lower cost access to a very large and wide-ranging number of journals from all over the world as described in this report. The ultimate costs to these entities would be far lower than the costs would otherwise be using conventional funding structures.0 Comments
Non-educational vulgarity, profanity, or sexually explicit (pornographic) elements occurring within any type of media should generally be discouraged by placing a fine upon each and every occurrence of such elements. Naturally, in some cases, some of these elements should be completely banned, including a ban to specific segments of the population, especially in order to protect the interests of minors.
Every curse word, every overt or graphic sexual scene/message in movies, TV, songs, printed material, etc., should be fined to reduce their occurrences. The fine for each word or event would depend on how offensive it is, its duration, to what age group the material is targeted (the younger the age group, the higher the fine), etc. Furthermore, these fines would be levied for each time that the curse word or sexual scene is authorized for broadcast or rebroadcast over any medium including movie theaters, TV shows, video rentals, song album purchases, etc. These fines would also be weighted by the estimated number of people exposed.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should have plenary regulatory control over all types of media, including cable, subscription-based, internet, and commercial.0 Comments
Use of and access to mass media communications should not be protected under free speech rights to the same extent as such rights are granted to individuals. Free speech rights do not include the right of access to mass-communications media, however, such rights are protected for other media. Anybody can say virtually anything they want, but no one should be allowed to use the mass media’s microphone to spread blatant lies or non-solicited information. Certain groups, products, and services should be either banned or restricted from full mass media access and usage.
Groups or entities that engage in the promotion of racism, hate, violence, and immoral disregard for the law, etc., should be prohibited from using the mass media to advance their cause or spread their message (example: TV, radio, newspaper, internet, billboards, Adopt-A-Highway programs, etc.).
The advertisement of major tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, tobacco chew, etc.), high alcoholic content beverages, (including: whiskey, beer, vodka, etc., but excluding wines and other higher class or more formal, ceremonial, or ritualistic alcoholic beverages), sexual services (including obvious prostitutes standing on sidewalks) or sexual materials (i.e., pornography) (except those for the purposes of either educational, medicinal, or medical uses), and gambling (where there exists a high likelihood of significant loss) should be banned across all mass mediums (TV, radio, billboards, periodicals, Internet, etc.).0 Comments
Art is nothing more than another medium of communication, or even generally, a language. As such, it is also capable of vulgarity and profanity, which may, at times, need to be censored.
Art displayed in private locations (private property without scheduled or designated public viewing) would not be censored. Art on display in designated art viewing locations, such as in museums, must meet certain minimum standards of modesty. Art displayed in public spaces such as parks, sidewalks, etc., should meet higher standards of modesty.
The legislative branch of government having jurisdiction over the location in which a particular work of art is displayed should have the authority to decide, by majority vote, whether that work of art meets the minimum ‘standards of modesty’ required to be displayed in a museum, or in any other public space. City, county, or state legislative bodies may determine an art work’s level of ‘modesty’. Among these legislative bodies, any higher one may overrule any lower one’s permission to display, however, a higher body may not overrule the censorship imposed by a lower body. A work of art should be allowed to be constructed, discussed, or displayed until a decision to censor has been made.0 Comments
Advertisers using television, radio, and other audio media should be required to design their ads so that the average perceived sound levels of each ad is not greater than the average perceived sound level of all the ads and programming for the television or radio station (or other media) on which the ad is being played. Perhaps a determination of an average for each of the main audio frequency bands should be required. Each audio media broadcaster would be required to state what these averages are and provide them to potential advertisers upon request.0 Comments
The government ought to operate at least one form of media in every area of the country to keep the population informed about it programs and operations, pending policy changes, status of legislation, etc. Using the Internet would perhaps be the cheapest and most flexible of all media options. Nothing having to do with pure entertainment (such as musicals, dramas, plays, art, fiction movies, sports, etc.) should be broadcast over television or radio or printed on government-subsidized media, unless they can generate a profit. Only programming such as news programs or documentary programs and the like should be broadcast.0 Comments
Documents defined and portrayed as transcripts of spoken events should actually be real word for word transcripts, perhaps with parenthetical allowances for what was actually meant in cases of misspoken words or phrases. However, the actual misspoken words or phrases should be transcribed exactly as they were originally given. Written copies of speeches printed before the delivery of the speech (especially political speeches) should not be allowed to be described as transcripts unless the speech was given exactly as it appears on the paper, word for word, without any mistakes. Instead, they should be called something like, “transcripts before the fact”, “planned transcripts” or “pretranscripts” instead of just “transcripts”.0 Comments
News organizations should almost always prioritize their news stories so that the lead story would be the one that most significantly affects the greatest number of people for that type of news (local, national, international) and not necessarily the story simply with the greatest public interest. Too much emotionalism seems to be incorporated, at times, into the determination of what news stories to lead with.0 Comments
Stores should honor all erroneous advertised prices for their products (up to a difference of $100 per item), regardless of whether the store or advertising agency is responsible for the misprint or error. Stores and businesses placing ads through an advertising agency should make sure that they have an agreement with the advertising agency defining the division of financial liability in such matters so that the party responsible for the error actually pays the consequences. Regardless of whether or not an advertising agency pays the store for the agency’s mistake, the store would still be required to honor all advertised prices up to the limit of $100 per item. In cases where the difference between the advertised price and the actual sale price of an item is greater than $100, the store and/or ad agency would be responsible for honoring 50% of the difference over the first $100 as well.
Customers, some of whom may have made a special trip to the store just to purchase the sale item, should not be penalized (by not receiving the erroneously advertised discount) for advertising errors.0 Comments
All advertisements/flyers that are delivered by hand and left on the floors of porches or attached to the front doors of houses or businesses, attached to fences, put on car windshields or put in any other places except inside mailboxes should be prohibited. (The restriction of using mailboxes only for postal mail should be lifted.) All these advertisements should be placed directly into mailboxes by the distributors or sent through the mail.
Otherwise, advertisements left in any other places except inside mailboxes contribute to a general decay in the aesthetic qualities of houses and neighborhoods, increase the amount of litter, increase the chances of crime occurring (a house with many advertisements/flyers collecting at the door suggest that no one is home), and increase the workload, frustration, and annoyance of residents and property owners. The penalty for delivering or leaving advertisements anywhere other than inside mailboxes should be equivalent to the fines levied for littering ($1,000). Even leaving flyers on car windshields should be prohibited. If there is no room inside the mailboxes, then the advertisements must be affixed to the mailbox in such a way that wind cannot easily blow it away.2 Comments
Generally, unsolicited direct, personal (namely, door-to-door), electronic (including via telephone, email) advertising should be prohibited except for businesses or other entities who have had a customer-initiated contact with them ending within the past three months, unless such customers have expressly prohibited such contact. Direct physical mailings should not be restricted.
Door to door residential solicitation should be illegal. At the very least, such solicitation should not be conducted between the hours of sunrise or 8 AM (whichever is later) and sunset or 8 PM (whichever is earlier).
Similarly, telephone solicitations, surveys, courtesy calls, etc., should only call between the hours of 8AM to 8 PM.
All verbal or intrusive solicitational contact (i.e. soliciting in which the solicitor initiates either an interference or verbal or physical contact) in relatively high stress places such as airports, hospitals, courts, etc., should be banned. Solicitors at these locations may use signs or booths that passersby may look at provided such actions do not involuntarily restrict any person from engaging in normal activities or obstruct the normal flow of traffic in such places.
All residential and commercial telephone customers should, by default, never have their telephone numbers on lists compiled by companies who engage in unsolicited telephone advertisements, promotions, propaganda, notices, courtesy calls, announcements, commercials, etc., without their permission. Customers can opt to receive such calls by notifying their telephone company of their desire to allow their telephone number to be distributed to telemarketers upon request. Or customers could notify individual telemarketers directly in order to retain control over which telemarketers may call them. Each telemarketer would be required to check with the telephone companies to insure that they only call the people who have expressly permitted such calls. The fines for an illegal telemarketing call should be $100 per offense.
Telephone customers should probably also have the option to accept unsolicited telephone calls and charge such callers a fee for each call (perhaps $1) which would be paid directly to the customer receiving the call in the form of a credit towards their current or next telephone bill. The phone company would keep such records and would deduct the amount collected from such calls from the customer’s next telephone bill. As this system matures, telephone customers could charge any price they want and probably even choose which types of telemarketing calls to allow or disallow. Telemarketers would then desire to review such lists more frequently since customers may often decide to change how much they are willing to charge the telemarketers for making calls to customers. However, telephone companies would not be mandated to offer their customers this service in which telemarketers pay them for calls, since this service is mainly a non-critical convenience and which may require new infrastructures and expense for the phone company.0 Comments
There should be plenty of dedicated public places, walls or areas where people could post up advertisements, lost pet notifications, yard sale signs, or other signs or notices. This way telephone poles, light poles, and many other places would be free from staples, tape, torn paper, awkwardly mounted fluttering signs, and all other kinds of things that make many places look bad. Dedicated places could be designated within certain areas of supermarkets, gas stations, post offices, schools, public parks, etc.
All these areas could be swept clean on the same day once a month or once every two months by government workers so that there is not a buildup of outdated material. These clean up schedules would be posted at each location so that everyone who advertises there would know that their material will be removed on that date unless they come before then and want to remove it themselves to save it. Posting up signs in these areas should be free to the public. However, maybe next to these open displays there could also be glass or Plexiglas display cases where people could, maybe for a fee or special arrangement with the proper authorities, have their signs or messages protected from the weather and vandalism and/or arrange to have them left there through a certain number of the periodic one or two month purging periods.0 Comments
Political advertisements, transmitted through any medium, should clearly include the accurate names of the top sponsors (or category of sponsors) responsible for at least 50% of the ad’s budget and some information about their political orientation (Republican, Democrat, labor unions, business organizations, conservative, liberal, etc.) so that the average person would know from which side or political direction the ad is coming from. This would help discourage or even eliminate the practice of using deceiving, front organization names in political advertisements.0 Comments
The practice of paying people (individuals, organizations, or businesses) for their endorsements of any product or service should be banned. Compensation (preferable on an hourly basis) for work performed should be encouraged. This is to minimize actual or perceived conflict of interest issues that are often associated with large endorsement payments.0 Comments
Every data packet of information travelling across the internet should be required to contain accurate information regarding its origin and destination. This way, malicious or inaccurate information could be traced and its authors punished.
Certain websites should at least have the possibility to ask for such information like point of origin of any data packet received, and perhaps other relevant information.
Spoofing, on any medium, should naturally be illegal.
Internet connected devices should require the user to set their own password. At the very least such products should not come with preset, default, generic passwords.
The penalty for merely accessing an unauthorized account should be a minimum of $100 per account compromised.0 Comments
E-mails should specify the time they were sent in both local (sender’s time zone) and receiver’s time zone. The times should be stated in a simple enough format so that it can be read at a glance without giving much effort.
There should also be a 5 cent charge for every e-mail that is sent. This would prevent virtually all spam and ensure that the vast majority of advertising that is conducted via e-mail consist of ads targeted to researched recipients. These e-mail fees should be used to help maintain the general reliability and security of the Internet.
Advertising & Spam
E-mail advertisements should always have an ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the e-mail. E-mails should be prohibited from having unsubscribe links that appear as URL addresses, or links that say something like “click here” to unsubscribe, or “link”, unless they also have an easy to find link that says “Unsubscribe”.
Furthermore, the recipients of these e-mails should be allowed to remove themselves from a list by either just clicking on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link or by clicking on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link that would then take them to a page where they would be able to unsubscribe simply by clicking an easy-to-find ‘Unsubscribe’ button on that page. They should not be required to type in their e-mail address or even confirm it, nor should they be required to click on or check a box indicating that they want to unsubscribe. They should be required to do nothing else than to click on an ‘Unsubscribe’ button, and this button should be very easy to find and should be visually extremely distinct from a resubscribe button or other button that may not fulfill their desire to unsubscribe.
A request to be removed from an e-mail list should last forever, or should begin three months after the last remnant of a customer initiated contact with the advertiser.
Each Internet advertiser and other users of e-mail lists should be required to update their do-not-send lists every 7 days, at the longest. In addition, they should not be able to sell or give these lists (or any e-mail addresses included in them) to any other entity that may use them for unsolicited e-mailings until after such lists have been updated to reflect all changes made since the last update. In other words, only e-mail lists that have been purged through the latest of these weekly updates would be allowed to be sold or otherwise distributed.
‘Spoofing’ e-mail addresses or any other information should be illegal and heavily penalized.0 Comments
All magazines, books, newspapers, encyclopedias, and potentially every other commercial publication should be placed on the Internet so that people are not required to physically go and buy a copy of that publication in order to read it. Instead, readers/viewers could be charged a fee for the amount of time they spend reading such materials online. The billing methods should be similar to telephone billing methods where a charge is placed for every viewing based on the rate per unit of time and the length of time spent viewing. Or time could be purchased in blocks of hours or perhaps days. Printing pages being viewed could be made impossible through the use of appropriate software, unless the user purchased that privilege.0 Comments
Internet web pages should be designed, as much as possible, so that no horizontal scrolling is necessary, unless there is a good reason for it. It is especially annoying when the page is just a little bit larger, either horizontally or vertically, than the screen, and no, or very little, information is present in those off-screen sections. Internet servers should communicate with each computer so that all the necessary information is exchanged to allow for a properly configured webpage to display.0 Comments
Internet search engines should be allowed, without requiring permission, to copy or reproduce any web content for purposes of search engine indexing, except for content that has been placed behind any kind of barrier, such as a firewall, password-protected content, etc.0 Comments
Micro radio stations should be allowed anywhere as long as they don’t interfere with any existing stations or with any other existing legal uses of those frequencies in that area.
Furthermore, to provide an educational training ground that allows mistakes to be made and views to be developed, these micro radio stations should be largely exempted from most of the penalties and fines associated with the broadcasting of inaccurate information and other things that would bring about fines if done on other, more ‘professional’ and larger-scale media forms (see point #15. Public Policing of Published Materials). The public should be encouraged to participate in micro radio formats by making speeches and doing other things that both allow them to develop their public speaking skills and speak their mind. Educators could use micro radio and micro TV (if possible) stations to have their students practice various skills.0 Comments
Each radio and television program should be required to broadcast summaries (of about 100 words or less) stating generally what the show is about as well as what this specific episode is about. These summaries should be explanatory enough so that an individual would not need to watch a show to find out accurately what it’s about. Radio and television stations should be required to broadcast this information constantly along with their regular radio or television signals so that receivers would be able to capture that information when it is tuned in.
A radio guide, in particular, would allow people to more easily find interesting topics on talk radio that would not only saving them a whole lot of time that may otherwise be spent searching and becoming frustrated, but also significantly improving the intelligence of the general population. A significant number of people would likely spend less time listening to music radio (a safer bet for enjoyment at any given time) if they had the tools to efficiently find, especially in advance, details about potentially interesting programs and topics across the radio.0 Comments
Instead of most TV (and radio) stations cutting into regular programming to bring breaking news to its viewers, most stations should just inform their viewers by having words run across the bottom of the screen without interfering with the regularly scheduled program’s video or audio feeds. Only a few stations, maybe just two or three, should break into its programs so that the population would have multiple and continuous news sources. The stations that do not break into programs should tell viewers of at least one other station that is showing the breaking news. Something similar could be set up for radio so that people are not frustrated by having their favorite programs pushed aside by breaking news, especially if the breaking news is about something trivial like a car chase, celebrity trial or something about which most viewers don’t or shouldn’t care much about.0 Comments
All legal writings, disclaimers or fine print in televised materials should be legible enough to be read on a 20-inch TV screen of average resolution. Also, such writings should remain on the screen long enough to be read completely by a person reading at the speed of 5 words per second.0 Comments
Cable companies should be required to offer consumers a much more customizable channel package, even to the point where consumers can pick and choose to which individual channels they want to subscribe. Cable companies should simply state a price for each channel’s subscription.
Also cable channels should never be rotated in or out of a customer’s line up without the explicit permission of the customer, even if the channels rotated into the package are offered for free.
Cable companies should also offer packages or bundles of various channels for whatever price they want. It is a commonly understood among people who study this issue, that not only does every channel have a different level of viewership than any other channel, but also that it is only a relatively few channels that pull in the majority of the viewers. Thus, most channels have relatively few viewers meaning that such channels would not be able to economically survive if they required people to specifically choose to purchase them.
Therefore, the costs of including many of these lower rated channels only marginally increase package prices. For example, would someone prefer to pay $50/month for 10 channels or $75/month for 50 channels?0 Comments
All television and radio programs should advertise their various stories in the order in which they plan to show them. For example, some TV newsmagazine programs introduce their hour-long programs by advertising, at the very beginning of the program, the three or four different stories they plan to show that hour. But, often times, the stories they advertise first are not the first ones that are shown. This forces the viewer to wait through the previous stories, hoping that the next one is the one that they are interested in. This is very frustrating. Many times, because of their own personal schedules, people can’t stay and watch the full program, causing them to leave upset. These programs should either order their introductions so that they introduce their featured segments in the order in which they plan to show them in the main program, or they should clearly indicate the order or the general timeframe that each story is to be shown.
Programming Change Notifications
Programming schedule changes whether on television or radio should be announced over the station broadcasting that program or affected by the programming change at least once at the beginning and once at the end of the time slot affected by the program change and again during the first few minutes of the time slot (like right before the main first segment begins or during the first commercial break) to catch people that may have tuned in a little late.
Such announcements should be made anytime programming changes are made, whether they are temporary (such as during holiday broadcast schedules), permanent changes, or changes due to an emergency or breaking news.
In the case of permanent programming changes, the station should be required to make these announcements for at least the first two weeks and periodically (at least once a week) for at least two more weeks. Warnings of the impending change should also be broadcast a couple of weeks before the actual changes take place.
Television and radio stations should be discouraged from running advertisements or otherwise interrupting or interfering during the broadcast of any part of a program, particularly during the ending when credits and/or music are being run. (Of course, emergency broadcasts and legitimate breaking news are exempted.) The media stations that do interrupt into any portion of scheduled programming, should pay the producers of the programs being interrupted the market rate for advertisements during this time.
When such interruptions causes some important information to be missed, such as a preview of what will be discussed on next time’s show, fines should be imposed on the broadcasting station that are equal to double or triple the normal commercial advertising costs for a minimum of 30 seconds of airtime or however long the interruption lasted, whichever is longer. All proceeds from such fines should be paid to the producers of the programming which suffered the interruption.0 Comments
Drivers using cell phones while driving should not be allowed to call in to radio programs and be placed live on the air. This should apply even if the hands free function is used.
Radio talk shows should all be encouraged to air and address the questions of people who call in, but who are not willing to wait, sometimes hours on the phone before their call is taken. Radio talk show hosts certainly would be able to pick a greater number of far better questions to address (from a larger pool of people), and do so, more quickly, if they would just agree to answer the questions of callers who are not willing to wait on the phone to speak live.
People who call into talk radio shows and wait on the phone for their calls to be taken on the air should be told roughly when their call will be on the air. This can be done in several ways. Ether they could be told what number line they are on so when the host calls out for line #5, for example, that person would know who they are. Or the caller could receive something like a “your next” warning. It is so annoying to hear callers question whether they are on the air or not.0 Comments
Wireless and wired voice and data networks have, and will continue to become, virtually indispensable infrastructures needed to live a normal life. As such, their reliability needs to be ensured so that normal and catastrophic disruptions are kept to a minimum.
Cellular phone networks should be required by the government to be reliable (able to perform their intended functions) 99.9% of the time and from 99.9% of the service area from public spaces. This means that only an average cumulative total of 10 minutes per week would be the maximum acceptable period time that a cellular phone would be unable to make a call or perform any other normal function. (This downtime would not include problems with the phone itself, but only the network to which it is connected.)
A service area reliability of 99.9% is harder to ensure primarily because the fewest number of cell towers are spaced as far apart as possible to cover the largest geographical area to encompass the largest possible number of people. Thus, marginal areas are usually the places that suffer from low or absent cell tower signals. Then, as people travel from one place to another, they travel through such areas and it is very often the case that signals are very poor or lost altogether. Part of the solution to this problem is to require each industry to get together to build, maintain and manage their common infrastructures, such as cell towers. Instead of duplicating their tower overlays like they are doing today, getting the industry together and investing in common infrastructures would enable the savings of large amounts of money and encourage them to focus on filling in gaps in their coverage areas. But perhaps the most effective stimulant for the ultimate solution would be a government mandate that a certain service reliability standard, such as this 99.9% proposal, be met.
It is understandable that many buildings and underground parking structures will severely block signals from being detected. However, these location are likely to be in private locations. Perhaps significantly large areas of poor signal strength in private areas could be covered by the installation of either voluntary or mandatory signal strength boosters. Nevertheless, signal strength as measured from all public locations must be at or above a certain strength level as measured from 99.9% of all publicly accessible locations.
The reliability of an internet connection should also be regulated to a minimum standard, such as 99.9%. This means that 99.9% of the time that any device attempts to connect to the internet, it should be able to do so. The internet is a medium of communication that clearly forms increasingly critical backbone of any society. At this so-called ‘three-nines’ reliability level of 99.9%, any device could expect to not be able to connect to the internet for about 10 minutes per week. Remember that this is a minimum standard and in real terms, a connection may be significantly more reliable than this.0 Comments
Global Emergency Number
There should be one telephone number set aside worldwide to serve as an emergency telephone number that any person could call 24 hours a day to contact their local emergency police, ambulance, fire, or other emergency personnel. Emergencies would be defined as any looming real or potential threat to life or property.
Global Non-Emergency Number
There should also be one telephone number (and website) set aside worldwide to serve as a non-emergency telephone number that any person could call for purposes of reporting any non-emergency information to authorities. Mainly, this number would be used to communicate to governments information needed in order to rectify problems which negatively impact the safety, wellbeing, and comforts of civil society. Example, would be to inform on dysfunctional infrastructures (street light outages, existence of potholes, etc.), graffiti or litter in need of cleanup, abandoned vehicles, noise complaints, etc. Informants could also use this number to provide authorities with the necessary information to capture criminals involved in past criminal activities.
Perhaps this non-emergency number could also act as a central directory (preferably with live people) capable of answering all kinds of diverse government related questions concerning the operating hours of various departments, telephone numbers to city services, inquiries about who their elected representatives may be and their contact information, general information about building permit requirements and about virtually anything related to any level of government (city, county, state, county, and maybe even international).0 Comments
To introduce a permanent period of stability in telephone number assignments without requiring customers to change their telephone numbers or even to dial additional digits (other than their existing country and area codes), some structural changes would need to be made, especially by the phone companies.
Pressing “Send” Required
First, it should be required that telephone users press a “send” button (as required for cell phones) in order to signal to the phone company that dialing has been competed and to forward the call. Currently assigned telephone numbers would remain the same. However, if the phone company finds it too difficult or expensive to use the new infrastructure required by these changes to allow customers to reach the people they are calling without dialing the country and area codes, the phone company may require these codes to be dialed as a standard practice for all calls, even local calls. Because users would be required to press the ‘send’ button to forward each call, the telephone company would know when the user has finished dialing all the numbers necessary to reach the intended party. Thus, there would be no need to reserve certain numbers like 911, 411, etc., because unless the user pressed the “send” button right after dialing these digits, the phone company would know that these numbers are just the first part of a longer sequence of numbers. This alone would result in several tens of thousands of new numbers becoming available.
Increase (or Variate) Number of Dialed Digits
Again, after the necessary infrastructures have been set up by the phone companies, they could start issuing 12 digit numbers which itself has a maximum capacity of one trillion possible numbers. Though this would obviously permanently solve our problems of ever running out of numbers worldwide (including consideration for the increased use of the Internet for communications), many people may not want to dial twelve numbers, though it would only be one more digit when compared to our current system of eleven digits when the country and area codes are factored in.
Fortunately, because of the “send” button, telephone numbers could be of any length from one digit to twelve or more digits, again, once the telephone companies’ infrastructures support these types of numbers. The capacity of 10 digit numbers is ten billion, while the capacity of 9 digit numbers is ten times less, one billion. It would be theoretically possible to have one digit telephone numbers.
Non-Standard Length Objections Resolved
The most common objection may be that telephone numbers of different lengths could be confusing because people may not be certain that they have all the necessary digits required to call the party they have in mind, whereas today everyone knows that seven digits must be dialed as well as area codes if necessary. Though this is a valid objection, it is the same kind of problem that exists with reference to e-mail addresses which are not of standard lengths. Over time people will just get used to the new system.
All in all, these proposed change would result in a maximum of over an additional 1.1 trillion different telephone numbers worldwide. That’s over 120 different numbers for each person on the planet today. If we need more, we could just start implementing 13 or more digit dialing or include alphabetical and other characters.
Perhaps a future evolution of the telephone system would include alphabetical letters so that instead of punching in numbers on a keypad, people could actually type in the name of the person they want to call. This would simplify life by requiring the memorization or utilization of one less piece of information. Alphanumerical combinations could also be possible.
Another option would be to add a letter at the front or end of a telephone number such as H for home, W for work, C for cellular, etc. Such a telephone number may look like H-1-310-123-4567. Capacity may be increased so much in some areas that even the requirement to dial the area code could be eliminated. This would allow one main phone number to serve many different devices. (Main idea from Bruce M. Gale, L.A. Times 6-15-99)0 Comments
When people are put on hold on the telephone and waiting for their call to be answered they should be told how many other people have also been placed on hold ahead of them and waiting in the same line. Then, no more often than once per minute or whenever the caller reaches a significant number in the countdown such as multiples of 100 or 10 and when they are the very next or within the next five calls to be answered they should be told what number they are in the holding line and an estimate of the amount of time they must continue to hold to get their call answered. This countdown should continue until their call is answered.
Also, when people are placed on hold, they should hear a message that tells them when both the least and most busy times are to call. This type of statistical information could be given for every hour of the day, and for every day of the week. For example, the message would say that the expected wait time for a 9 AM call today is 5 minute, and for a 10 AM call today, it would be 15 minutes. Messages could also say that Mondays are usually the busiest times and Thursdays are the least busy.0 Comments
In the United States, nobody using an automated telephone menu or any other media should ever be actively required to do something, including pressing a button, to select English as their preferred language in which to conduct the transaction or otherwise communicate. It should always be the people who choose a language other than English who should be required to actually do something, like Press 2 for Spanish, 3 for French, etc. In other words, the default language should always be English. Only if someone actively requests a different language should such a request be honored.
English should automatically be the default language because it should be the default language and because most users of the average service would prefer English anyway. More than that, it should always be the responsibility of the immigrants (or anybody who does not prefer to use English) to request a special accommodation. Ideally, even mentioning the availability of languages other than English should be done in English. It’s not that hard for foreign language speakers to learn to understand an instruction to “Press 2 for Spanish”.
Welcoming messages over the telephone or any other medium should never be heard in any other language until a selection is made for those other languages. Then, once the user has made a selection for a particular language, the telephone system should never again ask for a language preference throughout the duration of the call. Business telephone systems should have the ability to tag every call with information about the caller’s language preference, and keep this information thorough any transfers to other parts of the system.0 Comments
All important documents such as paycheck earnings statements, credit card statements, bank statements, loan documents, telephone bills, receipts, school transcript records, and all other similarly important kinds of documents must be made so that each and every bit of information stated within them is clear, easy to understand, self-explanatory, uncomplicated, and virtually painless to review and comprehend to the extent where virtually any possible reasonable question more than 99% of the literate population may have concerning the document is clearly answered within the document itself.
For example, receipts obtained when sales transactions take place should be so clear and self-explanatory that anybody who looks at the receipt would know exactly what product or service was purchased. The receipt should have the full name of the product or service, without using abbreviations, if possible, and include any other relevant identifying description. No codes or numbers printed on receipts should constitute the sole essential element in identifying a product or service. Even barbers should give receipts that show exactly what service was performed, what size combs were used during the haircut, etc. All receipts should also contain the store name, address, and date and time of the transaction.
To make paycheck earnings statements easier to understand they should have separate and clear entries for each and every day covered in that pay period and should include in each daily entry relevant data for that day, such as how many hours were worked that day, whether sick or vacation time was used, how much money was earned that day, etc. Then it should also summarize all the relevant data for that pay period, such as total hours worked, etc. In addition, detailed information concerning paycheck deductions for various causes should be stated in a simple enough way so that there would be no questions about where, why or how much money is going to those causes.
Bills for products or serviced rendered should be simple such that each charge is given a clear name and other information so that even a person who is not a party to the transaction would know exactly what the charge was for. Footnoted explanations should be kept to a minimum. Formats should be simple enough to allow for quick checking and troubleshooting of any problems or false charges that may have been imposed. All bills and invoices should have both the amount due and the due date printed and placed in a visibly prominent fashion so that they can both be found at a glance.
Payment & Billing Cycles
Payment cycles and billing cycles such as for paychecks and telephones should not be arbitrary, such as from March 13 through April 12, but should be logical, such as from March 1st through March 31st.
Bank statements should be written in a way that even a stranger could read the document and be able to tell exactly what occurred. Bank statements should detail absolutely every single transaction that has had any influence on the account. Every incoming and outgoing financial transaction should be detailed on each month’s statement so that there can be no questions about the origin, destination and amount of each movement of money into, out of, or in some way connected to the account.
Telephone companies should include one complete chronological list of every telephone call made during the billing period. Whether a call was long distance or not, or whether different service providers where used should not interfere with this chronological list of calls. Furthermore, each call record should have the complete sequence of numbers dialed (including any dial-around numbers) for that call regardless of whether their were 22 or more digits dialed, as is the case for some international calls. Other information that should be included, of course, include the time of the call, the length of the call, the rate at which the call was charged, and the total cost for that particular call. The company used for completing the call, including any dial-around company or long-distance company should also be noted with the other data within the same entry for this particular call.
All loan documents should have the significant dates in the life of the loan stated on those documents. For example, the exact date that interest begins to accrue (if it’s a loan with a grace period), the date the loan was issued, dates at which interest rates have or will change, etc., should all be listed on each loan statement or other significant documents related to that particular loan. Even if documents cannot be specific to the dates of future significant events in the loan, they should be easy to understand at a glance.
Competition for Simpler Documents
To help make this a reality, companies should sponsor competitions to see who could come up with simpler, more logical, and easier to read documents, especially billing documents, issued by that company. Ideally, the perfect document would be so easy to read and virtually entirely self referencing that the customer (or for whoever the document is intended) would not need to ask anyone any question or do any research about anything written on the document in order to find out exactly what every part of it is saying. It would be self-explanatory, quickly understood and with abbreviations or codes and other jargon eliminated or kept to a minimum. These competitions could be open to anyone, but perhaps with priority being given to employees of the company sponsoring the competition. The winner(s) could then receive some kind of prize, like bonus money or time off.0 Comments
Whenever financial figures from years ago are stated, they should always be adjusted for inflation if a significant time (and inflation) difference exists between that figure and its equivalent worth in the present. This should especially be true when comparing the cost of items, programs, etc., over a span of years. Comparison of financial figures separated by years should, by default, be discussed in terms of inflation adjusted constant dollars. When using current dollars, it should be explicitly noted every time. Fixed financial figures such as fines, awards, etc., should be adjusted for inflation, as well. For example, if in January of 1998 the fine for littering was $1,000 and inflation ran at 2% that year, then the fine for 1999 should be $1,020. The way the fine should be described in the law books and on signs (in fine print) posted on the highways should indicate that the $1,000 is based on 1998 constant dollars. Or if this way is too impractical or complicated, then these figures should be adjusted for inflation every few years, maybe every five years. The signs, unfortunately, would need to be changed more often than they are now to keep them up to date.0 Comments
All written works, but especially news stories intended to effectively transmit information to a large audience, such as the public, should make far more use of visual aids by including, as much as possible, graphs, charts, diagrams, pictures, tables, timelines, prices of a product or commodity through time, etc., embedded within the written work. Even general education curriculums could be made more effective through the greater use of visual data.
News stories could impart a much greater benefit to its readers by increasing usage of visual aids with the major exception of pictures since pictures can be more subjective and more easily manipulated and interpreted as biased whereas charts and figures consisting of more objective, or at least more concrete, data can more easily be subjected to scrutiny.
Visual aids should mainly serve to put the story (and aspects of it) into context (historical and otherwise), they should compare the story (and aspects of it) with similar events (wholly or in part) that may have occurred in the past or in other parts of the world, and to place in perspective the significance of the current event.0 Comments
Timelines, graphs, tables, etc., should always (unless there is a really good reason) be written from either, left to right, top to bottom, and from the past to the present. It is too difficult to study or refer to information presented in any other way. In other words, data from 2005 should always be placed after (to the right of) data from 2004.
Temperature scales should also be oriented vertically, with temperatures rising as you go up, unless there is a very good reason to present the data in another way.
Graphs representing a range of electromagnetic wavelengths should always begin with the shortest wavelengths on the left and the longest wavelengths on the right for graphs oriented horizontally. For electromagnetic wavelength graphs oriented in a vertical orientation, a standard conventional format should be adopted so that all such graphs will either place the shorter wavelengths either at the top or bottom while the longer wavelengths will be placed vice versa. A standardization of electromagnetic radiation graphs would make them much easier to learn and remember.0 Comments
In all kinds of publications, regardless of the medium used, the title of all the articles or stories being advertised within that publication or listed on the cover, table of contents, or elsewhere, should be the same.0 Comments
Newspapers and other publications should clearly identify their multi-day stories by labeling them in a way that clearly conveys both how many stories there are in the series and each story’s number in the series. For example, instead of “one in a series,” or “first in a series,” it should be something like “first of a three part series,” etc. Exceptions could be made for articles that are part of an occasional series. However, these should also be labeled something like “one in an occasional series”.
Newspapers should also have summaries (or 1-3 sentence briefs) of multi-day articles so that a reader would have an idea of what to expect in each day’s article. All the summaries of all the articles, past, present, and future, in that series should be run with each day’s article.0 Comments
Those sections of books or other publications that contain the full information about the sources of information used or cited in the book or publication should be called by the title of ‘Sources’. It should not be called ‘References’, ‘Works Cited’, ‘Notes’, or anything else.
Each entry should begin with a regular number (1, 2, 3, etc.) followed by a period and two spaces so that each entry in this list of sources can be clearly referred to using this number. The list of sources should be organized in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. The general structure of an entry should be such that the following questions are answered in the following order:
- Who – name of the author, last name first
- What – medium (if no author is listed, then the ‘medium’ would be listed after ‘title of work’), title of work, including edition number, page numbers, and other such identifying information
- When – publishing date of work
- Where – publishing information (I really don’t see the reason this publishing information is necessary, so it could probably be omitted from this list here.)
(I would have liked to organize these citations in the What, Who, When, (Where?) order, but that may make it too hard for readers or researchers to find sources quickly. It is much easier, more practical and more useful to organize references based on authorship than on works authored, both because authors may have a certain reputation among their readers and because one author can publish several different works, all of which could be listed together, and found easier, in the ‘Sources’ section under the author’s name.)
All sources/citations should also state the medium of the source, such as whether it is a book, magazine, interview, movie, etc. Each of these categories should be ended with a period while sections within categories should be separated with commas. Colons or semicolons should never be used. Abbreviations should not be used anywhere within a citation. Relevant information should generally be organized from the general to the specific: names from last to first, dates from year to month to day, parts of larger works from name of multi-volume sets, to volume, chapter, page number.
The first line of each entry (including the entry number) should be up against the left margin. Every succeeding line should be indented 5 spaces to the right. The word ‘page’ or ‘pages’ should be used before the referenced page numbers are written.
Following are some examples of the way different sources should be cited. Most of these examples are taken from, or derived from, the writing manual, “A Writer’s Reference.” In some cases, I made up the information.
- Basic format for a book.
Tannen, Deborah. Book, The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue. 1998.
- Author with an editor.
Wells, Ida B. Book, The Memphis Diary. Decosta-Willis, Miriam, editor. 1995.
- Corporate author.
Bank of Boston. Book, Bank by Remote Control. 1997.
- Encyclopedia or Dictionary.
“Sonata”. Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition. 1997.
- Work in an anthology.
Malouf, David. “The Kyogle Line”. Book, The Oxford Book of Travel Stories, pages 390-396. Craig Patricia, editor. 1996.
- Book in a series.
Malena, Anne. Book, Francophone Cultures and Literatures (series), “The Dynamics of Identity in Francophone Caribbean Narrative”, series number 24. 1998.
- Republished book.
McClintock Walter. Book, Old Indian Trials. (Originally published, 1926). William, Least Heat Moon, forward. Republished, 1992.
- Article in a monthly magazine.
Kaplan D. Robert. Magazine, “History Moving North”, Atlantic Monthly, pages 21, 26-28. 1997 February.
- Article in a daily newspaper.
Knox, A. Richard. Newspaper, “Please Don’t Dial and Drive, Study Suggests”, Boston Globe, A1, A5-A6. 1997 February 13.
- Editorial in a newspaper.
Editorial. Newspaper, “Health Risk on Tap”, Los Angeles Times, B6. 1998 February 11.
- Personal Interview<br />
Lehrer, Jim. Interview, Clinton Bill. 1998 April 21.
- Radio or TV Interview.
Rose, Charlie. Interview, “Gates, Louis Henry”, Charlie Rose, PBS, WNET. 1997 February 13.
- Unknown Author.
Oxford Essential World Atlas. 1996.
Mahfouz, Naguib. Book, Arabian Nights and Days. Johnson-Davies, Denys, translator. 1995.
Each of multiple references to the same author should constitute a new entry in the ‘Sources’ section, unless the exact same material, including page number, paragraph, and idea is referenced again.
Each of these Sources should also be listed, in full, at the bottom of the page in which the citation appears.
In text references to materials listed in the ‘Sources’ section should be denoted by a superscript lower case letter “s” immediately followed by a number corresponding to the number in which that particular source is listed in the ‘Sources’ section. An example would be s24.
Sources and bibliographies should be allowed (not required) to be merged into the same list.
Notes that the author may wish to add for any reason would be formatted in a way similar to ‘Sources’ and be called ‘Notes’. In-text references to notes would be denoted by a superscript lower case letter “n” immediately followed by a number corresponding to the number in which that particular note is listed in the book, such as n7. However, there would not be a separate section in the book dedicated to listing the full expanded notes of the author. Instead, all notes should be written on the bottom of the page in which the in-text citation is made to make it easy for the reader to quickly find and read the notes. If that is not deemed practical by the author, then the notes should be placed at least at the end of the chapter so people don’t have to go all the way to the end of the book to find them. These notes should be numbered beginning with the number 1 (i.e., n1) and should continue uninterrupted throughout the book. They should not begin again with the number one for the first note of each new chapter.0 Comments
Mailboxes should be used for all postal and non-postal delivered items that could fit inside them. Advertisements delivered by hand by dedicated couriers should be allowed, in fact, required to be placed inside mailboxes. The restriction that mailboxes must be used only for mail delivered by the US Postal Service should be lifted. Mailboxes could and should be put to more and better use. For example, UPS, Federal Express, and other delivery services should be allowed to use mailboxes if the packages will fit inside them.0 Comments
All mailboxes and mail slots should be full-sized, meaning that they should be big and wide enough to allow standard-sized magazines and fairly thick books to be passed thought the mail slot and placed safely and gently into the mailbox without having to be forced, bent, or deformed in order to get it all the way in.0 Comments
Part of a postal worker’s job should include picking up/accepting outgoing mail from residential mailboxes. But in order to prevent residents from using this service as free mail pickup for a home-based businesses or other operations resulting in large amount of outgoing mail that can potentially swamp the postal worker, perhaps there should be a maximum limit to the number of pieces of mail that the postal worker is allowed to pick up, such as 3 pieces of outgoing mail per day.
Mailboxes should also be designed in such a way so that outgoing mail can be clipped securely somewhere near or on the mailbox, but in a way that doesn’t obstruct the delivery of the mail or anything else.0 Comments
Postage stamps should never have their cent values printed on them. Such stamps should indicate what class such a stamp is valid for, such as First Class, Postcard, etc. Rather, all such stamps should be worth whatever the current rate of that stamp class is at the time of usage, regardless of when that stamp was printed. The same can be done for all other classes of stamps, as well.
If for whatever reason such postage stamps cannot be of the “Forever” type, but do have fixed values, then such values should be printed on them. This should apply even to the interim stamps that are circulated during the transition period before the new stamps arrive. There is no acceptable reason for not having these values printed on all such stamps.0 Comments
Post Office Boxes should not be allowed to be addressed as suites, apartments, residences or in any other way that would give the impression to someone who reads the address as being an actual business or residential location.0 Comments
Unsolicited advertisements such as credit card offers, charitable requests, product/service ads, etc., that are delivered through the postal mail, should have the word ‘Advertisement’ printed somewhere on the outside of the envelope (in visible and large enough type) so that is would be much easier for people to distinguish such ‘junk mail’ from more important mail. Furthermore, such mail should be prohibited from looking ‘official’, meaning that they cannot say things, like “Must Open Immediately”, “For Addressee Only”, “Must Reply within 3 Days”, etc.0 Comments
Mail couriers should carry plastic bags, esp. in times when it is raining or threatening to rain, so that the mail can be placed in the bags if there is a danger of the mail getting wet, for example, if the mail won’t fit in the mailbox or if it is sticking out of the mailbox, or if the lawn sprinklers are on during the moment of delivery and may get it wet.0 Comments
Permission to be recorded on any media needs to be granted by the subject(s) (person or people who are at the focus of attention) of those recordings if such recording are for anything other than personal use. However, incidental people or unintended subjects appearing on the recordings need not be required to grant permission. Nevertheless, any person appearing in any recording who is able to be identified with reasonable ease and who is recorded in a state of extreme embarrassment, humiliation, deep sadness, grief, anguish, distress, etc., should be asked for permission to be included in such recordings, unless the owner(s) of such recordings delete, blur or otherwise disguise any audio, video, photographic or other recorded unique characteristics of such an individual.
People at the scene of significant news events (including direct or indirect participants, spectators, passersby, etc.) need not be asked for permission to be included in any recordings made at the scene. Permission also does not need to be obtained by people involved in illegal activities.
The recording of popular figures and celebrities (politicians, actresses, etc.) should be allowed without restriction but only during those times in which they are involved in the duties of their profession.
Any person involved in direct communication with another person or people should have the right to record that conversation without the consent of the other party(ies). However, such recordings should be limited to only personal (non-commercial) and legal uses, unless permission is granted by the other participants in the conversation or unless the other non-consenting participants are disguised to such an extent so as to make them not easily recognizable.0 Comments
As a rule, people should be allowed to make any kind of recording of any event (including live, telephone, and other forms of conversations) without the approval of any other party. However, such recording can only be for private personal or law enforcement usage. On the other hand, people could be restricted from making any kinds of recording if legitimate reasons exist for such restrictions, such as protecting national security, trade secrets, etc., or if such recordings violate other parties’ reasonable expectations of privacy.
People making any recordings should not be allowed to sell any of them or even freely distribute (in any significant quantities) such recordings without the permission (even if only implied) of all recognizable parties present on the recordings.
Private entertainment companies and organizers of any other event do reserve the right to prevent personal recordings of their activities (movie showings, concerts, and other events), but they must specify this policy to all participants. Otherwise, people should be allowed to make such recordings for personal use.0 Comments
People should not be required to pay companies to keep their private information private. By default, it should be common practice to keep the names, telephone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and other personal information away from everybody except those individuals necessary to conduct the transaction or otherwise necessary for providing proper services. People should not need to pay the telephone company, for example, to prevent their telephone numbers from being published in the phone book. Companies should be required to do whatever it takes to keep such information confidential and secure. However, the original owners of this personal information (i.e., the actual people to who this information relates), should have the right to sell any or all of their own personal information to third parties.
Telephone companies would be required to keep a database of telephone numbers of people who have expressly permitted unsolicited telephone advertisements, promotions, propaganda, notices, announcements, commercials, courtesy calls, etc. Telemarketers would be required to check such lists before making calls. Because few people would actively permit such calls, to make these calls more attractive to people, regulations could be structured in a way that compensates the residents for accepting such calls. For example, for each telemarketing call a resident takes, a certain amount could be deducted from his monthly telephone bill. In essence, accepting telemarketing calls would directly help pay that person’s telephone bill. Of course, a resident hanging up as soon as he realizes that a telemarketer is calling would not qualify as ‘accepting a call’. Telephone companies would be encouraged, but not required to offer this service, but if they do offer it they would be required to keep track of all of this and would be responsible for listing all such calls and credits on the customer’s telephone bill every month. Perhaps, if this system becomes widespread and mature enough, customers could begin to set their own prices for accepting telemarketing calls and they could even choose which telemarketers to accept.
In a similar way, things like genetic information, spending habits, credit card numbers, license plate numbers, or other kinds of personal information should also be allowed to be sold at market rates with the permission of their original owners. This information would be sold at market prices and any unauthorized use of the information would be treated as theft, and restitution would be paid to the victims/owners. The right to sell this information would not apply, of course, in cases where the information is necessary for business transactions, verification, security purposes, routine proceedings, etc. Such entities would be allowed to the free access of such information for legitimate purposes.
All personal information gained in any way, or through any transaction or medium should be treated as confidential and should be protected unless permission has been granted by the original owners to sell, give, or have free use of that information. Anyone who misuses this information or divulges it to any unauthorized party should be very, very severely punished. This is necessary to preserve the public’s trust in the idea that private information is ensured.0 Comments