How to manage your reputation


June 28, 2019

Today, “desal” fuel is cookin’ and banks pull out when private prisons aren’t lookin’, but first…
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Reputation managers will scrub your sordid search results… for a price

All right, all you digital narcissists, be honest: How often do you Google yourself? That’s right: All of you (and if you haven’t, you really should).

For most, the results are mildly embarrassing. But for some — like payday loan sharks with arrest records — those results can get grimy.

But, per BuzzFeed, “reputation managers” have developed ways to scrub search results — for everyone from criminals to Russian oligarchs — until they’re squeaky clean.

These services game Google to cover up content

Although it’s hard to remove negative press from Google, it’s easy to add positive press — and adding enough can bury everything from arrest records to negative customer reviews.

It works like this: Reputation management services create fake personas with the same names as their client. Then they use spammy SEO to push those fake personas to the top of search results.

These shady search practices range from creating “SEO scholarships” — real scholarships that give fake personas credible links to credible “.edu” domains — to “contributing” dozens of articles to blogs for links. 

The craziest part? It’s all totally legal

The reputation management industry is almost entirely unregulated, so “consultants” can create as many fake personas as needed.

The process ain’t cheap: “Internet Reputation Services” charges up to $30k for “complete removal of negative content,” and “ReputationX” charges $8k per month for “high profile individuals.”

Although popular among payday loan scammers, reputation management isn’t only for criminals — it’s also great for secret agents and the true heros of this world — celebs.

Missed a spot. I mean, a post
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‘Desal’ fuel: The water desalination industry is booming in cities lookin’ for clean H2O

For decades, a growing population of citizens in coastal regions around the world have been promised a major water desalination industry…

One that would not only use the ocean to provide clean water locally, but also bankroll the clean quenching of every living human thirst on earth — saving the world and employing people while doing it — a tiny, beautiful, eazy-peazy to execute, business model…

Needless to say, progress has been slow. But now, as technology advances, the cost of desalination drops and the world runs low on drinkable water, the industry boom-gone-bust is makin’ noise again.

A tall glass to fill

The first large-scale desal plant — giant, man-made miracle boxes that turn salty seawater into Crystal Geyser — was built in 1957

But progress in desal production failed to scale over the next 3 decades because, well, to actually clean water it costs an even cleaner penny, and it hasn’t been historically the best for the environment.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Food & Water Watch has long denounced ocean desalination as a solution to water shortages. In a 2009 report, the organization found that ocean desalination created a “myriad of environmental and social problems,” including polluting waterways and threatening marine environments.

But, as the population grows, water continues to disappear, and as technology washes away desal economic hurdles, the industry has made its way to the surface across the world.

“As existing surface water supplies are being tapped out or groundwater is depleted or polluted, then the problems are acute and there are choices to be made,” Michael Kiparsky of the Wheeler Water Institute told Wired. 

*Calmly gives nod to mother ocean*

Now there are some 20k facilities globally turning high-cholesterol water into wine-water for more than 300m people every day, according to the International Desalination Association.

Countries like Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Israel have all become major players (Saudi Arabia produces ⅕ of the world’s desalinated water), and California is riding the wave for the US.

The sunny C has gone from 0 to 11 desal plants over the last (almost) 6 decades, including the largest in North America, and has plans to build 10 more. But, while some places across the globe have made it economical, the US is still financially dehydrated from pricey shipping costs.

» The weight of water
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Pavegen, a pavement data startup, received $3.3m in crowdfunding for its smart sidewalks

Pavegen, a UK startup that tracks footsteps through data and turns it into power, has crowdfunded its way to $3.3.m.

TechCrunch reports that the campaign wrangled funds from over 1,400 investors, including a partnership and investment from global engineering giant Hinduja Group.

A dull data company with a bright idea

The startup turns kinetic energy of footsteps into both electricity and data. Pavegen claims a single footstep can power a 3-watt LED light bulb for a second, or in human language, Forbes reports that it’s about 6 seconds on an iPhone.

Hinduja, which has made a deliberate turn to get out in front of the smart city boom, sees Pavegen as a ticket to reduce the cost of manufacturing. But at $25k+ per square meter, the technology still has a long way to go.

Smart pavement, cool

Tech giants like Google, and countries like Saudi Arabia, China and India have all begun work to construct smart cities around the world.

Countries, corporations, and investors alike see it as the intersection of traditional networks and digital technology in a revolutionary 21st century blueprint.  

And Pavegen is the futuristic construction company there to provide the digital (and physical) hammers.

» Paved to get paid

Without the backing of big banks, private prison stock prices plummet

Bank of America announced on Wednesday that it would no longer finance facilities at private prisons, sending shares of 2 of the largest private prison companies — GEO Group and CoreCivic — down 4.2% and 4.4%, respectively.

But this wasn’t the first big bank to bail on private prisons…

In fact, it was the last. 

Wells Fargo and JPMorgan both announced that they would no longer finance private prisons, leaving Bank of America as the last of America’s 6 big banks with money wrapped up behind bars.

Like the other 2 banks that pulled the plug on profit-producing prisons, Bank of America’s choice was a response to public pressure.

“The private sector is attempting to respond to public policy and government needs and demands in the absence of long-standing and widely recognized reforms needed in criminal justice and immigration policies,” Bank of America told The Washington Post.

Now, the future of for-profit prisons is uncertain

Despite their recent stock slumps, GEO Group’s stock is still up 3% on the year, and CoreCivic’s is up 14% on the year.

But, since pressure from politicians and the public is likely to continue for private prisons, their access to loans and credit could dry up if banks continue to bail.

» Bail… not bail out
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Blink twice if interested → shower thoughts
  1. Babysitters are teenagers who behave like grown-ups so that grown-ups can go out and behave like teenagers.
  2. The first humans who ate crabs must have been really hungry to try and eat an armored sea spider.
  3. California is the nearest state to Hawaii, but Hawaii is almost the furthest state from California.
  4. Every day, thousands of people are happy because their checked luggage came out first.
  5. Squirt guns are literally just wireless hoses.
  6. via Reddit
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