PR Dummies: When Bizarro Mistakes Happen

The public relations industry is often called upon to smooth over the errors of others. This makes their own mistakes all the more delicious. This is PR Dummies. Dummies, in PR, every week.

This week: a public relations drama in two parts. We encourage you to stay tuned for the dramatic ending. First, this press release, billed as a story about some sort of sci-fi-ish self-published book [UPDATE: Oliver Deehan's personal assistant emails us to say that the book in question "is not at all 'sci-fi-ish.' It is a carefully researched (and fully footnoted) nonfiction work that integrates themes from philosophy, anthropology, neurobiology, history, psychology, sociology, and more. It won a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012." Duly noted.], hits the inboxes of reporters:

Subject: Media Opp: How to become a Type 1 civilization

The following article is ready to run as is or with edits. The author, Oliver Deehan, is available for interview opportunities and copies of his book, To Find the Way of Love, are available upon request.

Thanks for your time,
[PR Dummy]

Becoming a Type 1 Civilization
By Oliver Deehan

Our civilization is fast approaching a tipping point. Humans will have to make the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of energy to renewable sources that will allow us to flourish in the future. Failure to make that transformation will doom us to the endless political machinations and economic conflicts that have plagued civilization for the last half-millennium.

We need new technologies to be sure, but without evolved political and economic systems, we cannot become what we must. And what is that? A Type 1 civilization. Let me explain.

In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardeshev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be three levels of advancement. Type 1 civilizations can harness all of the energy of its home planet. Type 2 can harness all of the power of its sun, and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.

Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7, although more current estimations put us at 0.72. As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic, where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production, we have a ways to go before reaching the desirable 1.0.

Here a few characteristics of a true Type 1 society:

Improved energy efficiency by making the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels to renewable energy sources
Worldwide wireless Internet access. All knowledge is digitized and available to everyone
A completely global economy, where anyone can trade without interference from states or governments

We have a proven track record of achieving remarkable scientific solutions to problems that threaten our survival. We now have the opportunity to live in a win-win world and become a Type 1 civilization by spreading liberal democracy and free trade. That is change we can believe in.

About the author
Oliver Deehan was a Navy fighter pilot, sailor, skier, and executive who built and administered hospitals. For the last twenty years, his concerns have been about human relationships and how the importance given to the individual has superseded the importance of relationships, with self-love trumping our love of others. This resulted in many years of thought and a decade of researching and writing the book, To Find the Way of Love.

Two hours later, this addendum:

Subject: CORRECTION: Media Opp: How to become a Type 1 civilization

Please disregard the message below, sent earlier today. It contains a copyrighted article by Michael Shermer from the Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2008. I'm sorry for any inconvenience.

What???

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