Signs of the Times - April 2014 - (Page 16)
Te c h no lo gy U p date
By Darek Johnson
- Can You Believe It?
is ST's Senior
Analyst. Email him
One in four Americans believes the sun revolves
around the Earth.
Socrates was a famous Greek
teacher who went around giving
They killed him.
- Unknown history student
The sweet, cherry tomatoes are
your best springtime choice for
salsa fresca, because they're not
genetically altered, like those
tasteless, baseball-sized ones. She,
a slender, strawberry blond not
yet 20 years old, was cashing me
out at the neighborhood Kroger
supermarket. She priced my
Mexico-grown cilantro last, and
then asked for my Kroger card.
I dislike such record keeping, but
wanted the discount, so I handed
I noticed her nametag.
It said "Cheyenne" - the same
name as the Native American tribe
and, of course, the capital city of
Odd, I thought, for an obviously
Irish girl, one living in the Midwest,
to have such a name.
"Interesting name," I said.
She smiled, but seemed confused.
"Cheyenne?" I said.
"Oh, yes." She smiled again and
placed my half-dozen limes in a
"You've been to Cheyenne,
"No, but I'd like to go," she said.
"Pretty place, I used to live nearby
and went there often. Have you
researched the Cheyenne tribe?"
"No, but I keep meaning to."
She handed over my receipt and
said my Kroger card had saved me
I said, "You should read about
the Sand Creek Massacre, where
Colonel Chivington's Colorado
militia attacked Cheyenne Chief
Black Kettle's protected village
16 SIGNS OF THE TIMES April 2014
and killed, well, basically murdered,
more than a hundred women and
I lowered my groceries into
the cart and then looked up, to
continue my monologue.
She was asking the next customer for their Kroger card.
he National Science Foundation
recently said one in four surveyed
Americans believes the sun revolves
around the Earth. I found this on
NPR news, where writer Scott
Neuman also said a 2005 European
Union poll reported 66% of Europeans answered the same question
The sun revolves around the earth?
Where did they get that?
Either someone fed them the
wrong information, or they didn't
pay attention in school. Either
way, it's mistaken, but incidental,
information that won't impede
their everyday lives.
Still, the survey shows that some
people lack a sense of exploration,
curiosity, which can be both expensive and dangerous.
Novelist Daniel James, in his The
Boys in the Boat, tells of young men
who, in the '30s, read newspaper
ads that declared the health benefits
of smoking. One such ad said many
of the NY Giants smoked cigarettes,
which steadied their nerves and
helped them win the World Series.
Such flawed information could
lead to serious health issues.
Today, our numerous media
sources are colonized by knowledgeable people, and a few mystics and
geniuses. It's where we learn to
question what we read. Expectedly,
most media contain advertising,
which sits nicely outside the
We're comfortable with such
advertising because it's easily
identified. We know the sponsor is
trying to sell us something. We can
either read it, click past it or turn
However, you may have missed
one type of ad because the distributor prefers more obscure - inside
the box - presentations.
Called "native advertising," it may
become the ad zeitgeist of the times.
On May 29, 2013, The New York
Times announced that it and Hearst
magazines were among the latest
publishers to introduce advertising
presented as editorial content in
their mobile and digital spaces.
Times writer Taylor Miller said,
"Native advertising is advertising
that resembles an article in its host
publication, but is actually provided
by an advertiser or outside company."
Years back, magazines clearly
identified such stories as "advertorials." The trend is less obvious
today, because contemporary
native advertising tries to make
sponsor-provided content look like
a news story or feature article.
In various forms, such ads can
populate all media sources - printed
pages, web content, mobile apps
Picture Mel Gibson drinking
from a Pepsi can.
Generally, the native-advertising
writer is an industry-employed
person with some expertise. The
intent is to make sponsor-provided
content look like editorial content
- a genuine news or feature article.
Since 1917, the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) has brought
lawsuits against ads masquerading
as editorial content. On December
4, 2013, it held a daylong workshop
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - April 2014
Signs of the Times - April 2014
Columns & Departments
ISA Sign Expo 2014 – Making the most of it
Technology Review: Roland’s SOLJET Pro 4 XF-640 printer
Technology Review: EFI’s VUTEk GS2000/3250 digital-hybrid printers
Sign Museum News
The 2014 Intl. Sign Contest
2nd Annual Readers’ Choice Award
For the Record
ISA Expo Adds SEGD Component
Surprising Evidence about Neon’s History
Signs of the Times - April 2014