Against pictures in charitable organizations and appeals

I got, out of nowhere, a magazine for a well known, audited, and considered-legitimate charitable organization that applies itself to assisting poor people in many countries. Aside from the annoyance at their having no obvious way to unsubscribe on their website, something else:

This, and other organizations I know of, have photographs of people and groups they have helped by their work in their publications and on their websites. Since I have no experience with their work, I can’t speak for the people in the pictures. They should have been asked if they wanted to be photographed, though that itself is risky.

For me as recipient of their appeal, I have this objection: how am I supposed to know these pictures are representative (and not staged)? What about them proves the people in them are what they are presented as?

Names and places aren’t given – rightly so, poverty doesn’t abolish privacy (or shouldn’t). I have to take in clues in the pictures (which are also manipulatable), and sadly a highly obvious one is race. This could make perception that the only really poor people (or the only ones they help) are Black.

The best way to be sure of their legitimacy is by independent conduct and publishing of audits on their work regularly. Catalogs do not have to be text only, but pictures can be of the works of charity themselves, and if people are needed for scale or demonstration (such as for a water pump), where and how they appear should be carefully considered.

If the people who would appear in these pictures do not fit an obvious pattern, for example being of an entire range of skin colors, there is still such a risk of pattern recognition in the unknowable readership picking up something unobvious to the designers (all poor people are left handed? have blue eyes? something else?).

A test of, at minimum, honor or honesty

This is about current day (late summer 2020) politics in the United States. It does not have personal hatred to any one or any thing in it, but if you want to be forewarned before reading on the subject, now you can be.

Continue reading A test of, at minimum, honor or honesty

Addiction a counter-conspiracy

This was part of an email to a friend, but after reading the “old fart” his post about a continuous struggle to remain sober (which he reports success at length at). Nothing especially sensitive and no harshness follows.

Continue reading Addiction a counter-conspiracy

Report of the Wheel-Barrow Man

I knew in a slight way, a few years ago, an older man who lived alone on the outskirts of a village, further than I did. He lived alone and walked almost everywhere. When traveling to the store in the village to pick up groceries, he used a wheel barrow on the shoulder of the State road there and back. I called him “Wheelbarrow Man” once when my grand mother was around she didn’t like it, correcting me with his real name and title.

After he died, his sister, who I knew independently, let me have some of his things, including a typescript proposal. Having used a scanner and Microsoft Word to digitize it, I set it out below

Continue reading Report of the Wheel-Barrow Man

Warning to that Iraq user of KENPAVE

Someone, I think from Iraq, recently visited my now somewhat famous (but not as famous as the “pranque”) page on KENPAVE. WordPress reports their referrer is through the so-called handy-tab malware site.

I strongly suggest that you, if you are that user, visit this site: and follow the instructions to remove the offensive software on your browser. I have not used it myself, since I don’t have that malware, but at the same time, find the instructions given to be reasonable.

Same name, same ideas

If you live in the United States, or are familiar with United States policy disputes, you are probably aware that the FCC is collecting comments on their Internet regulatory policy known as “network neutrality”.

Unsurprizingly, people are accusing other people of astroturfing by making fake comments on the proposed changes. I checked to see if my name was so (mis)used and found that there was someone of the same name – and same views – living on the other side of the country!

Graphiqual entertainment and education

A Wikipedian post for today, I discovered, within a short amount of time, two very highly worthwhile pieces of media from the English Wikipedia. They are both on the subject of graphical display of information.

First, the serious one:

I remember in 7th grade algebra we very (Very) lightly touched on this, but didn’t go into it at all. This is a valuable description of crap graphs that can easily make things look both different from what they are, and authoritatively so. I remember reading a book by Tufte that had some of this in it, but here it is for free. I was unsurprized, and put out, to find out that graphs in finantial statements are not required to be, essentially, true. In other words, they won’t be, because they don’t have to be. Offencive.

Second, the silly one:

The fact that these represent various attributes of individual people just makes it even harder to not imagine these are actual people’s faces. Now, I understand the idea behind Chernov faces: You can pack alot of data into a face. However, faces bring up biases. None of these look like a mother-in-law, but look @ S. S. Cohen. S/He sticks out completely because their face is round and the rest of them aren’t really. They also look bummed @ something. Maybe that their neighbor, R. J. Callahan, has an absolutely massive jowl? And why does J. J. Bracken have eyebrows that are actually growing out of their eyeballs?