Introduction to the Portfolio 
(with a nod to W.A. Mozart)

Some of the samples that follow may be as old as you are. 
A few will be older, 
but I’ve already said I’ve been doing this a long time.  
Some of the print has faded with age. 
I haven’t.

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Len Diamond ¸ Technical/Marketing Communications

SEO for Pool Maintenance - 500 words


          If you like to swim in the ocean but don't have one handy, a saltwater pool can be your answer. Something you might want to know, however, is that saltwater pool maintenance demands may be different from the more conventional type. A very closely controlled, scientific study conducted by an industry association in 2010 concluded that once-a-week pool maintenance is not sufficient to service a saltwater pool.
Chlorine and pH levels are both important to pool condition, so the study tracked both over a period of five months. (pH is a measure of relative acidity vs alkalinity, plotted against a scale from 0 to 14. Gastric acid, for example, would have a pH of 1; laundry bleach would score a pH 14. Target for the study was pH 7.4, close to neutral, which is considered optimal for recreational pools.)
A regular routine was established and strict supervision and records were kept. Test pool maintenance was performed on Fridays, and results were measured after each weekend. While chlorine levels did fluctuate, they generally remained within acceptable limits, but pH was found to increase substantially from Friday to Monday at each measurement. You would want to avoid this in your home pool; the trend toward decreasing pH in the oceans has been going on for 300 million years, and you don't want to go against a winning streak like that.
In case you think the study may have been some ivory-tower exercise -- it wasn't. The investigators allowed for real-world elements any pool owner will recognize. While allowing people in the water would have meant loss of investigative control, it was felt necessary to account for their presence if the results were to have significance for real pool owners. Accordingly, measured amounts of “BFAs” (Body Fluid Analogs) were added on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in line with typical use patterns, like when the neighbors' kids come over. A mild increase in calcium hardness values was observed after the dosage, but this was attributed merely to interference with the function of the test kit. The real cause-and-effect function was related to the BFAs in the "synthetic bather" solution.
(Scientific investigators like to give you the bad news in neutral-sounding words. It turns out that's true even in pool maintenance. They can talk about their BFA's and synthetic bather solutions, but if you're the owner of the pool being reported on, you're going to have to deal with the reality: urea and uric acid.)
We know the news is not good for the oceans of the world (or the gulfs, as in "BP oil spill") and pollution may continue to increase before we ever figure out how to decrease or end it. That's no excuse, however, to maintain hazardous waste in your back yard. If you have a saltwater pool, you may want to bite the bullet and think about getting your pool maintenance service to come by more than once a week. And think about making one of the extra days a Monday.
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Len Diamond  ¯  Technical/Marketing Communications
SEO Air Travel - 700 words

Statistically, Flying Is the Safest Way to Travel
-- but do you really want to be an air travel statistic?
 I think it was Shelley Berman, in one of his comedy routines, who commented that the airlines could always prove conclusively that "flying is the safest way to fly."
It's the old "passenger-miles" ploy that does it.
The strategy is obvious, isn't it? With commercial airliners seating hundreds and distances in thousands, you multiply "passengers" by "miles" and one successful trip adds a couple of hundred thousand markers in the "win" column.
The argument goes, “The record of America’s scheduled airlines has averaged out to about one fatality per billion passenger miles.” 1 That statistic is then translated into a 1 in 10,000 chance of being killed. (Odds of being mutilated, disfigured, or maimed aren’t posted.)
So are less successful flights reported in fractured-flyer miles? (To the airlines' advantage, the numbers would be smaller, since these people didn't get to finish the trip.)
No, one accident is one accident. Accident statistics -- the bad numbers -- are reported in terms of individual events (keeping the mitigating "per passenger miles flown," however). But they don't mention passengers at all. The reason, I've seen it argued by an air safety expert,is that except for the people involved, keeping score in terms of people killed is “a meaningless statistic. What counts is the number of individual accidents,” number of people on board being random.
Fair enough; but let's apply the same standard to the safety statistics -- the good numbers. If "people on board" is irrelevant in reporting accidents, why does it become significant when reporting on safety? The fair comparison to "number of individual accidents" is "number of individual flights without accidents." Tell me how many flights touched the ground only when and where they were supposed to. But that would bring the safety numbers down out of those reassuring billions.
"Passenger-miles" isn't the only gimmick in use, of course; this from an air travel industry Internet page: 3
"The number of U.S. highway deaths in a typical six-month period -- about 21,000 -- roughly equals all commercial jet air travel fatalities worldwide since the dawn of jet aviation decades ago. In fact, fewer people have died in commercial air travel accidents in America over the past 60 years than are killed in auto accidents in a typical three-month period."
Here we momentarily drop the "passenger-miles" device in favor of what seem like a couple of straight numbers-to- numbers comparisons; but on examination these, too, turn out to be impressive-sounding yet uninformative factoids. Maybe more people travel on highways every six months today than traveled by air in all those decades ("since the dawn..."). Maybe there are more automobile trips every three months now than there have been commercial air travel flights over the past 60 or 70 years. We don't get real numbers.
But it's the passenger-miles gambit that provides the basis for the most competitive comparisons the air travel industry makes. Here's another quote from that Internet page:
"In the United States, it's 22 times safer flying in commercial air travel than driving in a car, according to 1993-95 study by the U.S. National Safety Council comparing accident fatalities per million passenger- miles traveled."
Why "passenger-miles"? Noticed any 200-seat vehicles on the road? No, the automobile figures are compiled at -- what? -- maybe two or three passengers per mile? as compared to the airlines' hundreds? Think how many more individual trips highway travelers took -- the vastly greater number of opportunities for accidents they exposed themselves to -- to rack up the same millions of miles. How many air travel passengers would have died in that number of trips?
But even if you accept passenger-miles as a concept, there's still the question of scorekeeping. One hundred passengers fly 1,000 miles, at which point the plane crashes. Sixty passengers die. Does the airline get 40,000 passenger-miles credit for the survivors?
No, "passenger-miles" may help the airlines figure their ROI or decide on what type of equipment to buy next, but as back-up for safety claims -- that ain't getting me out of my car. Let me know, better, when they develop a jetliner that can coast over to the side of that highway in the sky if its engines cut out, so you can ring up the aero club at the emergency callbox. You can improve your chances of surviving an auto accident by wearing a seat belt. What will your seat belt do for you if the view out the front window of your plane becomes cornfield?

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