Plain Language Exercises

Material adapted from the PLAIN language training website at http://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/for_trainers/PLAIN.cfm.

Nouns and Pronouns

Rewrite the following passages to speak more directly to the reader.

1. Copies of tax returns must be provided.

You must provide a copy of your tax return.

2. Loan applications will be reviewed to ensure that procedures have been followed.

Your loan application will be reviewed to ensure that all procedures have been followed.

3. Dietary patterns consistent with recommended dietary guidance are associated with a lower risk of mortality among individuals age 45 years and older in the United States.

Individuals 45 years and older in the US who’s dietary patterns are consistent with recommended dietary guidance have a lower risk of mortality. 

4. The applicant will be the primary source of information regarding his or her circumstances for the purposes of determining eligibility and need.

For the purposes of determining eligibility and need, you will be the primary source of information regarding your circumstances.

5. To establish eligibility for a voucher, an applicant must show that the applicant has a low income and that the present housing of the applicant is substandard and inadequate.

In order to be eligible for a voucher, you must show that you have a low and income and that your present housing is substandard and inadequate.

6. Easy access to information and resources concerning long-term care issues for seniors and the disabled has been made available on a new website developed by the County Department of Community and Senior Services

The County Department of Community and Senior Services’ new website provides easy access to information and resources concerning long-term care issues for seniors and the disabled.

Pronouns and Active Voice

Use pronouns, active voice, and any other technique to improve these passages. You may have to invent a subject for some of the sentences.

1. The scientific report was used to develop the Dietary Guidelines jointly between the two Departments and forms the basis of recommendations that will be used by USDA and HHS for program and policy development.

The USDA and HHS used the scientific report to jointly develop the Dietary Guidelines and inform program and policy development. 

2. Consumer messages have been developed to educate the public about the Key Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and will be used in materials targeted for consumers separate from this publication.

The departments developed targeted consumer messages separate from this publication to educate the public about Key Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines. 

3. Recently, it was reported that dietary patterns consistent with recommended dietary guidance were associated with a lower risk of mortality among individuals age 45 years and older in the United States.

The USDA and HHS recently reported that individuals 45 years and older in the US who’s dietary patterns were consistent with the dietary guidance recommendations had a lower risk of mortality.

4. These two similar eating patterns are designed to integrate dietary recommendations into a healthy way to eat and are used in the Dietary Guidelines to provide examples of how nutrient-focused recommendations can be expressed in terms of food choices.

The Dietary Guidelines use these two similar eating patterns to integrate dietary recommendations with a healthy way of eating and to provide examples of how nutrient-focused recommendations can be expressed in terms of food choices. 

Sentences and Paragraphs Exercise

Rewrite the following sentences to improve them. Break them into multiple sentences if that’s the best solution.

1. Applicants may be granted a permit to prospect for geothermal resources on any federal lands except lands in the National Park System, unless the applicant holds valid existing rights to the geothermal resources on the National Park System lands listed in the application.

You must be granted a permit in order to prospect for geothermal resources on any federal lands except those in the National Park System.  You may prospect for geothermal resources on lands in the National Park System, if and only if, you hold valid existing rights to the geothermal resources on those lands and this is annotated in your application. 

2. The initiative works to educate specific underserved communities to recognize and report intolerance and hate crimes, to assist victims in accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and to advocate on behalf of victims for institutional changes that can reduce hate crimes.

This initiative works to reduce hate crimes by educating specific underserved communities to recognize and report intolerance and hate crimes, assist victims in accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and advocate on behalf of victims for institutional change. 

3. In most cases, your California Small Business certification or Non-Profit registration will be completed online in one business day or less when you have at hand the necessary information from your tax returns and business documents to enter into the online system.

If you have all the necessary information from you tax returns and business documents you can complete the online registration for your California Small Business or Non-Profit Certification in one business day or less. 

4. No approval of any noise compatibility program, or any portion of a program, may be implied in the absence of the agency’s express approval.

The agency must formally approve any noise compatibility program. 

Paragraph Rewrite

Rewrite the following using the provided guidelines.

 

(3) Travel restrictions. The operation of a motor vehicle on oversand routes is subject to all applicable provisions of this chapter, including part 4 as well as the specific provisions of this section.

Oversand Vehicle Guidelines.  The operation of a motor vehicle on oversand routes is subject to all applicable provisions in this chapter.

(i)             Route limits.

What is a route?

(a) On the beach, a vehicle operator will drive in a corridor extending from a point 10 feet seaward of the spring high tide drift line to the berm crest. An operator may drive below the berm crest only to pass a temporary cut in the beach, but will regain the crest immediately following the cut. Delineator posts mark the landward side of the corridor in critical areas.

On the beach, you can only drive in a corridor extending10 feet seaward from the spring high tide drift line to the berm crest.  You can drive below the berm crest only to pass a temporary cut in the beach and must regain the crest immediately after the cut.  Posts mark the landward side of the corridor in critical areas.

(b) On an inland oversand route, a vehicle operator will drive only in a lane designated by pairs of delineator posts showing the sides of the route.

On an inland oversand route, you may only drive in a lane designated by the posts.

(ii) An oversand route is closed at any time that tides, nesting birds or surface configuration prevent vehicle travel within the designated corridor.

Oversand routes will be closed any time that tides, nesting birds, or surface configuration are present in the corridor.

(iii) When two vehicles meet on the beach, the operator of the vehicle with the water on the left will yield.

When two vehicles meet, the vehicle with the water on their left must yield.

(iv) When two vehicles meet on a single-lane oversand route, the operator of the vehicle in the best position to yield will pull out of the track only so far as necessary to allow the other vehicle to pass safely, and then will move back into the established track before resuming the original direction of travel.

When two vehicles meet on a single-lane oversand route, the vehicle in the best position to yield will do so only enough to allow the other vehicle to pass safely.  Once the other vehicle has passed, the vehicle that yielded can move back into the track and continue its course.

(v) When the process of freeing a vehicle that has been stuck results in ruts or holes, the operator will fill the ruts or holes created by such activity before removing the vehicle from the immediate area.

Vehicle operators must fill any holes or ruts created by their vehicle before leaving the immediate area.

(vi) The Following are Prohibited

Prohibitions

(a) Driving off a designated oversand route.

You may not drive off a designated oversand route.

(b) Exceeding a speed of 15 miles per hour unless posted otherwise.

You may not exceed 15 miles per hour unless posted otherwise.

(c) Parking a vehicle in an oversand route so as to obstruct traffic.

You may not park a vehicle on an oversand route if it obstructs traffic.

(d) Riding on a fender, tailgate, roof, door or any other location on the outside of a vehicle.

You must ride sitting completely inside of your vehicle.

(e) Driving a vehicle across a designated swimming beach at any time when it is posted with a sign prohibiting vehicles.

You may not drive a vehicle across a designated swimming beach.

(f) Operating a motorcycle on an oversand route.

You may never operate a motorcycle on an oversand route.

(vii) Boat trailering and launching by permitted ORVs in designated open route corridors is permitted.

You may only trailer and launch boats with permitted ORVs in designated areas.

Advertisements

Speech Critique: Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

Speech Critique: Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

TED Talk 2006 – Averting the Climate Crisis, Al Gore

 

In 2006, Al Gore gave a TED Talk entitled “Averting the Climate Crisis.”  In this talk he outlines 15 things that the individual person can do to mitigate and hopefully avert the climate crisis.  He opened with a humorous anecdotal story.  Although funny, I think he spent too much time on this story and I didn’t really see the direct relevance of the anecdote to the thesis of his speech.  He also made a few slight errors, which I noticed, including: putting his hand in his pocket, a few inconsistent statements, and a few mixed messages about the political nature of this issue.

 

He lists 15 things that you can do to help us fight climate change.  Some of the things he mentioned were the following: reducing emissions in your home, reducing car emissions by buying a hybrid, using trains, and carpooling.  He talked about the importance of living a “carbon-neutral life” essentially by making a concerted effort to reduce your personal CO2 emissions.  He referenced the climate calculator to quantify your personal impact on carbon emissions and climate change.  He also urged his audience to consider making their businesses carbon-neutral by investing sustainably.  He inspires his audience to become a catalyst of change by becoming educated on the topic, talking about it, and spreading the message about climate change and what can be done to prevent it further.  He encourages his audience to make this a political issue and vote sustainably.  However, he ends the speech by asserting that climate change and CO2 emissions are not really a political issue but fundamentally a moral issue.  He ends the speech with the quote, “We are one.”  By this he is asserting that climate change is fundamentally a moral issue and that we should respect and preserve our planet and our environment for the well-being of our posterity. 

 

I liked several things about his talk.  First, I liked that he admits that the presentation is a true work in progress.  He says that he learns something new every time he gives the talk and he is constantly refreshing its content and images.  His strategy for this talk goes far beyond himself as well.  He teaches this presentation to many young people and trains them to deliver this talk and spread the message to as many people as possible.  I thought his use of visual aids, pictures, and hard data was very compelling and gave great strength to the arguments he was making.  I liked his ability to ask purposeful questions of the audience.  You can clearly see that this strategy allows him to better engage with the audience and help them to identify with his cause.  I also liked how repetitious he was and this strategy really drives home his main argument.  I would like to emulate these things for my next presentation. 

 

This talk definitely aligns with our feedback on presentations.  He is obviously a very talented and inspiring speaker.  He started with something engaging like a humorous story.  His arguments are straightforward and accessible.  His eye contact was superb.  Above all, his use of images and visual aids was very good.  He knew the topic inside and out and didn’t need any text to convey his thoughts.  Instead, he used the pictures and data as visual aids in talking about the topic and arguing his point of view. 

 

For the next presentation I am really going to be focusing on minimizing the text in my powerpoint and relying on visual aids to speak about my topic and argue my thesis.  I also want to work on eye contact.  Gore was very good at conveying emotion and using ‘ethos’ to argue his point of view.  I’d like to exhibit this kind of zeal, excitement, and passion for my topic as well so that my audience understands its importance. 

 

Presentation #2: Business Strategies for Outsourcing to the Cloud

Presentation #2: Business Strategies for Outsourcing to the Cloud

Outsourcing & the Future of the Journey to the Cloud

Jack McAlpin

Woodbury University

WMBA 509 – Management of Information Technology

Dr. Nathan Garrett

4/22/13

We know that the Cloud is here and here to stay.  It has made an indelible mark on the realms of IT and business.  But like all technologies, Cloud is constantly evolving.  Cloud has evolved from a marketing buzz word to a primitive business model to a rudimentary process of off-site computing and is now a highly developed on-demand commercial product that businesses can leverage to lower costs, increase efficiency, and create greater business and customer value.  But, as a fluxing phenomenon, where is the cloud going?  What is the future of the enterprises’ journey to the cloud?

The hotness and popularity of cloud is evident in the manifold number of cloud providers that keep emerging.  We find everyone from start-up software companies that are backed by VC all the way to established fortune 500 technology companies jumping on the cloud bandwagon.  There is no doubt that cloud is the future of IT and those that do not accept this will be left behind and outperformed by competitors that understand and capitalize on this business opportunity. 

              Cloud in the enterprise is all about outsourcing.  What aspects of the ‘traditional’ IT department should the enterprise outsource to the cloud and what aspects should they not outsource to the cloud?  This is the key business problem with regard to the future of cloud computing.  According to Dr. Nathan Garrett, an organization should outsource whatever is not related to its core mission so that it can allocate the maximum amount of internal resources solely towards realizing that mission.  Organizations should outsource on the basis of cost and expertise.  The theory of outsourcing is intertwined with the theory of competitive advantage because an organization should focus solely on its mission and core competency while reducing costs by outsourcing areas of IT that it does not have an expertise in.  This means that what gets outsourced to the cloud is dependent upon the unique mission and core competency of the specific organization.  What to outsource or not is dependent upon the unique nature of the organization (Garrett, Nathan).

              It is the opinion of this writer that 2 main aspects of IT will not be outsourced to the cloud in 10 years: ‘Big Data’/HPC and Compliant data.  ‘Big Data’ and HPC applications are too large and complex to be hosted, secured, and retrieved from the cloud with the current technology (internet infrastructure, processing power, and data management).  Because of regulatory compliance and governance, some aspects of IT such as compliant data(banks, hospitals, R&D) will not be outsourced to the cloud because legally they cannot be.  Just because a cloud provider like AWS says that their system is secure, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it satisfies the unique compliance and governance requirements mandated for specific industries.  Just because AWS says they’ve never been breached doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth or that they could even know for sure if and when their system has been compromised. 

              When asked what he thought about cloud in 2009, Larry Ellison replied, “Cloud is water vapor” (youtube.com).  Ellison, the Founder & CEO of Oracle, the 2nd largest software company in the world, has a point.  Cloud is everything and nothing at the same time.  Cloud is whatever you want it to be.  Cloud means so many things to different people in different contexts.  Cloud is about the relationship that people and business either directly or indirectly have with IT and computing.  In 10 years, there’s no telling where the cloud will be, what will be in it, and who the dominant players will be.  That’s the exciting thing about cloud and about technology in general.   

 

 

References

 

Garrett, Nathan.  (4/1/2013).  Outsourcing.  Woodbury University WMBA 509.  Lecture

              conducted from Burbank, CA.

 

Churchill Club.  (9/21/09).  Larry Ellison & Ed Zander.  Retrieved from

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmrxN3GWHpM&t=44m45s

 

 

 

Presentation #1: Amazon Web Services vs. the Traditional IT Model

Presentation #1: Amazon Web Services vs. the Traditional IT Model

 

Amazon Web Services vs. Traditional IT Models

Jack McAlpin

Woodbury University

Management of IT

Dr. Nathan Garrett

4/8/13

 

According to Metrics2.com, the average business spends 3.4% of revenue on IT, whereas top performing businesses spend 2.8% of revenue on IT.  This seems counterintuitive.  How can a company that spends less on IT, outperform its competitors who spend more on IT? 

This can best be explained by Porter’s theory of Competitive advantage.  He defines competitive advantage as an organization’s ability to outperform its competitors by gaining resources or attributes that differentiate that organization from its competitors and allow it to operate more effectively.  Competitive advantage is cost advantage, whereby an organization gains competitive advantage by producing more product and better quality product than its competitors at a lower cost (Goodpasture, John, http://www.johngoodpasture.com/2012/03/michael-porter-revisited.html).

All businesses face a huge operational challenge today.  This challenge is how to best leverage IT as a strategic resource.  The traditional model of IT calls for the spending of massive amounts of money and time to design, procure, and build-out internal IT systems.  AWS turns this traditional methodology on its head by allowing companies to outsource their IT infrastructure and resources off-site, reduce capital expenses by replacing them with low monthly operational costs, and thereby increasing operational efficiency (http://aws.amazon.com).

AWS eliminates the need for costly upfront investment in IT infrastructure and personnel.  It is also more flexible and scalable than traditional IT models.  AWS cost structure gives customers a utility model in which they pay only for the resources they need and use.  AWS is able to leverage economies of scale because it is such a huge system.  By doing this it is able to realize immense cost savings.  This value is then delivered back to AWS customers in the form of low cost, quality IT resources.  By reducing overall IT costs, AWS allows organizations to increase operational efficiency and refocus resources towards innovation and differentiation which allows them, in turn, to deliver more value to their customers as well (http://aws.amazon.com)

One of the quintessential success stories of AWS is the billion dollar acquisition of Instagram by Facebook.  In April of 2012, Facebook, one of the largest and most innovative technology companies in the world, acquired the Social Media Photo Sharing app, Instagram, for $1B.  Facebook viewed Instagram as a competitive threat because the main activity Facebook users participate in is photo sharing.  At the time of the acquisition, Instagram was a two-year-old company with 13 employees.  The most salient feature of Instagram at the time of the acquisition was that it operated its IT infrastructure solely on the AWS platform.  It is quite remarkable that a company of 13 employees could build a billion dollar company from the ground up in a mere two years.  They were able to do this because of the competitive advantage they gained through leveraging AWS. 

The Instagram acquisition illustrates that AWS poses a huge threat to traditional IT models of onsite architecture and Capital Expenditures.  AWS poses a threat to traditional IT models because it provides a huge competitive advantage in the form of radical cost savings and increased operational efficiency.  Instagram was able to build a billion dollar company by outsourcing its IT operations to AWS and in doing so, it was able to refocus valuable internal resources on customer-facing innovation and differentiation (http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/04/09/facebook-buys-instagram-for-1-billion-wheres-the-revenue/). 

References

 

Amazon.  (2013).  Amazon Web Services.  Retrieved from http://aws.amazon.com/.

 

Goodpasture, John.  Michael Porter Revisited.  March 7th, 2012.  Retrieved from http://www.johngoodpasture.com/2012/03/michael-porter-revisited.html.

 

Upbin, Bruce.  Facebook Buys Instagram for $1B.  Forbes. April 9th 2012.  Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/04/09/facebook-buys-instagram-for-1-billion-wheres-the-revenue/.