Writing and Marketing

Category: Other Copy

GAOTek Virtual Summits

In lieu of a regular post, I just wanted to take the time to highlight a really cool even, operated by a company I am working for. GaoTek is a company that works with ICT, RFID and IoT technology devices – all part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In January, GaoTek is going to be running a series of virtual summits to keep the tech industry connected even in the midst of the pandemic. There are already a lot of really interesting and experienced speakers lined up, so I encourage you to check out the link below to learn more.

https://gaotek.com/events/

 

Canadian Education and Fake News

While the internet has allowed for unprecedented levels of communication between people all across the globe, it turns out that we as a species were maybe not as interested in what other people had to say as we might have supposed. Increasingly, the rise of “fake news” provides online media consumers with narratives that they want to hear, rather than with objective facts. Adult Canadians have enough trouble picking out these deceptions, with over half of Canadians believed to have difficulties in determining a fabricated news story.

This is alarming in its own right, but younger Canadians still undergoing their education are less likely to have the needed reference points and background knowledge to identify fake news, though they may have better digital literacy than older Canadians.  In recent years there has been a concentrated effort to try and provide tools for critical thinking and recognition through educational programs.

While critical thinking was already part of the curriculum in many places, more modern versions require the addition of digital literacy courses, as purveyors of false information online have grown increasingly sophisticated. As well, in a shifting digital world, it is not only the information itself that needs to be examined, but its context and medium as well.

So, what are some new tools that educators can introduce to students to help them better understand this complex topic? Thankfully while the internet is the cause of many of the problems presented, it also offers a variety of solutions. Some are actual websites or programs that offer guides or services to better pick out the truth. Snopes.com is a classic example of this, and the Canadian government itself has launched spotfakenews.ca. Digital solutions can also include better understanding how to use the infrastructure of the web, such as better use of the “search by image” function of Google, to see if pictures are being used out of context.

One of the best uses of the classroom space is for teachers and students to examine fake news samples together and break it down to understand the methodology and purpose behind it. Many believe “fake news” is too broad a category, and should be divided into malicious disinformation, with a specific agenda, and misinformation created for the purpose of satire and irony. While creating information evaluation checklists to analyze media is useful, it is no replacement for practice through shared analysis.

The methods of manipulation of information are only going to become more and more sophisticated as time goes on, and Canadian educators must be ready to help newer generations of students navigate the changing media landscape. The tools we use must continually be monitored and updated to make sure they are relevant to the world we find ourselves in.

Inolife Article

Following is a link to an article I wrote for Inolife Sciences, via MarketOne. They were a really great client to work for and I’m very proud of how the article turned out!

Inolife Sciences is injecting innovation into the pharmaceutical market

Mining Report: Mali

The following is an article written for a mining publication of which I am particularly proud, being a preliminary report on the mining industry in the nation of Mali. 

Origins

In 1324, Musa I of the Mali Empire decided to undertake his hajj to Mecca, traveling across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Mali was a flourishing state, and the pilgrimage was as much an opportunity to showcase its wealth as it was a religious undertaking.

The event was so well known as to become legendary and accumulated the regular amount of vagueness of myth. It is said that he went out with 60,000 people in his procession, and a mass of animals including 80 camels. What was most memorable was, however, what they brought with them – supposedly over 20,000 kg of gold bars, and over 100 kg of gold dust carried by those same camels. Musa spent this wealth freely, supposedly funding a new mosque on every Friday, wherever they found themselves on their journey.

If the idea was to make people remember his passing, it worked, if maybe for not the right reasons. So much gold was given out in donations and gifts that it created a massive ten year gold recession. In cities like Cairo, Medina and Mecca, prices of goods massively inflated. (Musa reportedly realized his mistake and tried to borrow as much gold as he could carry on his way back at high interest).

The continuing popularity of this story serves to underline the connection that Mali has always had with gold, back from the medieval era. From Europe to the Middle East, it was a land associated with fantastical amounts of wealth. Time has not entirely reduced the glimmer of Mali, which is still the 3rd largest producer of gold in Africa.

The Mali Empire would fall to the Songhai, which itself would implode after defeat by Morocco, but the rumours of gold fascinated the French, who would colonize the area as French Soudan, gold heavy on their minds. France however, reached Mali relatively late, at the end of the 19th century. Its inland isolation meant that mining was often still done as “artisanal” or “traditional” mining, using very basic tools and methods.

Mali would join with Senegal to become independent of France in 1960, quickly splitting from that other country. One dictatorship was overthrown by another, and Mali was a difficult place for foreign investment up until 1991, when the March Revolution ousted Moussa Traoré. For the next 20 years, Mali stabilized somewhat. In 1991 a new Mining Code was also established to try and attract foreign investment. The mid-90s and early 2000s saw the opening of many new mines in the area. Between 1994 and 2007, national and foreign companies were granted around 150 operating licenses. Mining revenue would increase by about thirty times in this period. This increasing gold market was key in stabilizing Mali’s economy, which used to rely heavily on an unstable agricultural market, particularly cotton, and the government has a vested interest in promoting the industry.

Recent History

One of the most important companies to first enter the opened Mali was a Canadian one, IAMGOLD (most famous for the Rosabel gold mine in Suriname), which went public the same year it opened the Sadiola mine in west Mali in 1996. IAMGOLD would later partner in the area with AngloGold Ashanti, a merger of Ghanaian and South African mining companies. IAMGOLD (The IAM being short for International African Mining) would later establish the nearby Yatela in 2001. Sadiola continues to be the most productive mine in Mali.

Other companies would follow along in western Mali. Barrick would permit their Loulo-Gounkoto project in 1996, another large producer. B2Gold would also partner with AngloGold Ashanti to open Fekolo in the same area – in 2006, Endeavour would open the Tabako mine.

While the western border with Senegal is the site of many major mines, southern Mali also had some development. Barrick and Ashanti worked on the Morila mine which opened in 2000 and recently closed. One of the newest and most talked about mines in this area is Syama, operated by Resolute. Syama is touted as the first purpose built fully automated mine in the world. The land itself was acquired in 2004, with first development ore being delivered recently.

Mali is a country clearly divided by geography, with savanna in the southwest along the Niger river, and desert in the northeast. In the southwest the people often belong to one of the many Mande ethnicities (like the Bambara) and are generally sedentary farmers. In the northeast there are more nomadic groups like the Taureg. In the area in between there are also pastoralist groups such as the Fula.

In 2012 and 2015 respectively the Tauregs and Fula both began armed insurgencies against the government. These intertwining conflicts are complicated by the actions of Bambara militias who have escalated the violence. Jihadist actors from outside of Mali have attempted to use the chaos to further their own goals – however, the Bambara militias are accused of often fabricated the presence of jihadists to justify their own violent reprisals.

The conflict is highly complex and beyond the scope of an easy explanation. The upshot was that in 2012 the military ousted the President, displeased with how he was handling the crisis. During this instability, the Tauregs seized historical cities like Timbukto and Gao in the northeast and declared the creation of a new state, Azawad. The French military eventually got involved and forced the Tauregs to give up their new state and sign a peace with the government. This mostly served to turn the conflict from open warfare to acts of terrorism. While most of the terrorist acts are targeted at Malian military personnel in the northeast, in 2017 Islamic terrorists would attack a resort in the capital of Bamako, killing 5 people.

The main mining production in the affected areas are salt and maybe oil, not gold, and it is tempting to view the conflict as entirely separated from the border mining in the south and west, in the Kayes and Sikasso regions. This discussion of the conflict is more to demonstrate how Mali could still be vulnerable to unforeseen and rapidly emerging risk factors such as coups, ethnic disputes and terrorist attacks. Foreigners in the capital city are in danger of kidnappings or attacks despite its distance from the main areas of conflict.

 

Geology

Mali is a country that is defined by the Niger river which runs west to east through the nation. The country is also divided into east and west by geography, geology and culture. Eastern Mali is what springs to the popular imagination when one thinks of the country – desert, Tauregs and the famed ancient cities of Timbuktu and Gao. In this dry area, the main mineral wealth has been in the form of salt. Current conflicts, however, mean there is little in the way of development. Salt production has also generally decreased from the 70s. (The salt mines of Mali were notorious as being a place for political dissidents to be sent for forced labour).

Western Mali is often of greater interest from a geological standpoint. The south and west of this area, along the borders of Côte D’Ivoire and Senegal respectively, lie on the West African shield – a contiguous part of the famous Guiana shield on the other side of the Atlantic. This ancient Paleoproterozoic rock is the source of the mythical wealth in gold discussed earlier. As mentioned, Mali is only behind South African and Ghana in terms of African gold production (though Sudan is catching up).

Mali does have other mineral industries, such as kaolin, phosphate and limestone, but these are tiny industries compared to gold, which accounts for about 80% of mining revenue in the country. The government is eager to start up a petroleum industry in the old salt fields of the Taoudeni basin in the far north, with Algeria, Italy, France, Australia and China having all done exploration in the area. However, the remoteness of this location, harsh environment and recent conflict have all put a damper on the prospective oil industry.

While a gamut of other minerals has been found in Mali, there have been little dedicated attempts to survey for them or extract them, and more information would be needed before pursuing any of these potential industries. In particular, the government of Mali is interested in exploring mining of bauxite, manganese, lithium and uranium.

Mining Industry in Mali

Despite all this talk of fabled lands of gold, today Mali is mostly an agricultural nation. It exports fruit and sesame seeds, but its king crop is cotton, which accounts for about a third of all exports in the country.

As mentioned, however, the Malian economy suffered heavily due to fluctuations in the international cotton market, which sparked an interest in gold and the entrance of foreign companies. Gold is also important to Mali because it has an international market, whereas much of its agriculture is destined for its African neighbours. Conflicts in these countries can hurt the agricultural sector, in a way that the international gold market is more immune to. Gold makes up about a fifth of the Malian export economy – no other mining sector can compare. The only other mineral that even comes close is the mining of phosphates for fertilizers. The once vast Malian salt mining industry has mostly dried up by the current day. If you are going to Mali for any mineral, its gold.

Gold mining in Mali is divided into the small unregulated local industries and the larger foreign backed projects. The gold in the unregulated system often goes out on the black market. The unregulated gold mining industry in Mali has been a source of constant criticism for its use of child labour. The government struggles to properly measure and tax this “artisanal” mining.

The more established legitimate mining operations have a better reputation. The area where gold is mined in Mali is far from the conflicts that would threaten other mineral industries. Most of these companies are currently well regarded for their compliance with international mining standards in transparency and best practices. However, there has been some criticism that these mining companies do not produce enough local jobs, relying on foreign personnel, and have not done enough to compensate displaced locals. While Canadian companies like IAMGOLD tend to have good reputations, their local African partners like AngloGold-Ashanti often have black spots on their human rights records. (About a decade back, AngloGold came under heavy criticism when it was revealed just how many workers died in their South African mines).

Finding trained local personnel is difficult, however, due to the struggles Mali has in providing consistent education beyond a primary level. The country is also noted for not serving women very well in terms of education or employment rights, further limiting the talent pool.

The government of Mali is a mixed bag on reputation. They are invested in trying to grow the mining market in Mali due to how vulnerable their agricultural sector can be, as mentioned before. They are considered to be transparent when it comes to recorded mining revenues, apart from the difficulty in tracking artisanal mines. However, they have come under some criticism for not making the process of distributing licences transparent enough, and for not being as honest as they could be about how their mining revenues are spent – the people of Mali are often sold on mining by promises that the revenue will go to funding for healthcare and education, which the country is in desperate need of.

Despite a long history of gold production, most mining experts agree that the gold potential in Mali has only been barely tapped. Gold was so easy to get in Mali that only the most basic processes were needed, reflected in the continued artisanal mining industry. However, with more modern drilling and surveying techniques, a tremendous amount of gold could be accessed. A 2017 review estimated that of 133 potentially gold-rich reserves, only six had been fully mapped out.

Mali’s mining industry presents an interesting combination of challenges and opportunities, both for its people and foreign investors. The fabled cities of Timbuktu and Goa in the east have unfortunately fallen into disrepair and danger. However, in the west, the potential for greatness still lies buried. The legends of Mali as a land of fabulous amounts of gold proved to be a rare case where the myths were absolutely true.

 

RPG Brochure

I really enjoy tabletop roleplaying games, and work on the side developing my own – Payload. I’ve a link to an online brochure I experimented with for it here, with the text of it presented below.

Lock and Load

Is your gaming group looking to try something new? Do you want the thrill of mecha actions (who doesn’t?) but running up against the wall of outdated, unsupported or over complicated game systems?

Payload is a new RPG system under development, being live tested at GenCon in 2018, that will satisfy all your mech roleplaying needs.

Giant Robots, Your Way 

In our opinion, there’s no right way to get your giant robot game on. Instead of clunky and difficult customization rules, adjusting the load out of a pilot or mech is simple, with a range of choices that far outstrips the competition. Wreak havoc in the way that you envision, no compromises.

Quality Mecha 

The concept for Payload comes from  artist Taylor Schmidt – better known in fandoms across the internet as Blazbaros. As a full partner in the project, he is providing his own artwork to the project, including his beautiful ACE designs.

Look here for examples of his artwork, or commission your own, and go here to learn more about Payload. You can also find new updates at our Facebook page.

With a classless character creation system, you’re free to focus on story and role, rather than on restrictions. As with play, we intend for progression to be simple enough that anyone can pick it up, but with a breadth to keep players hooked.

A Galaxy to Explore

 Beyond the rules, Payload has a fully realized world – a galaxy of corporate intrigue, vibrant colonies, and frontier action. After the death of Earth and the scattering of humanity to the stars, civilization continues on a variety of colonies funded and controlled by powerful MegaCorporations. Each of these MegaCorporations have their own goals, secret schemes and technological edges, and all seek to play prominent roles in the fate of humanity. They all control vast economic, political and military power, particularly through their manufacture of ACEs – Armoured Combat Engines, incredibly powerful bipedal warmachines.

Get Right to Gaming 

Payload looks to get new players right into the action as soon as possible. The base rules are simple to understand, but with a large toolbox of options for game masters and players to use. Those starting the game can easily play around with the basics – while for those who love a challenge, there are a variety of tactical options available.

Too often, roleplaying games become exercises in looking things up, rather than simply playing and having fun – Payload’s intuitive rules system works to keep things moving along, while still giving the choice that RPG veterans want.

Players take on the role of hired guns, independent pilots of ACEs. Hired guns are the freelancers of the galaxy, taking on all sorts of work, traveling where they are needed. The motives of hired guns vary, with colourful characters comprising the squads that wander the colonies and frontiers. Players will have to navigate this world to make their living, always mindful of the rewards – and risks – that that the machinations of the corporations promise.

This copy never ended up being used, and was speculative, but I wanted to share it all the same. 

Fashion and Function are Friends

No longer will technology and fashion have to compromise when it comes to wearable tech. With Mezzi handbags, the corporate leaders of today are free to be on the cutting edge of function, without any sacrifices in form.

Italian Style and Quality

Before we made our purses connected, we made sure to make them look good. Mezzi handbags are made of Suede and Adria leather. Our design comes right from Italy, with a mixture of European class and flair.

Accessory on Hand, in Handbag

Mezzi handbags look stylish, but are more than just their design, working in tandem with your phone. Each bag features a phone charger, a Bluetooth speaker, and provides notifications if the phone is ringing or receiving a message.

Digging around for your phone accessories is something you’ll never have to worry about again – the only accessory you’ll need is your Mezzi.

Built to Last    

Mezzi handbags are tough and durable. Our brand also makes high quality damage proof cases for laptops and other valuables. We know that what’s inside your purse or case is valuable to you to, and we’re dedicated to protecting it, as well as your stylish purchase.

Go check out all our models here and find the one that suits you best right now.

 

Coworking Piece

This is an edited, raw text version of writing I did to advertise a Coworking space in Vancouver that I’m proud of. The space was brand new and I was in a management role, and needed to get customers to start renting desks pronto.

Your Business Deserves an Office

Real estate is expensive in Vancouver, and it’s not getting any more expensive. If you’re a real estate tycoon this is great news – for the rest of us, it’s difficult enough finding a place for ourselves, let alone our businesses.

At Cranium Coworking, we want to help you. Whatever work you do, whatever the size of your team, we have a space for you here. No longer do you have to choose between the garage or the basement and the expensive or distant office.

Too often cheap, rentable office space comes with strings attached, sticking your team in a controlled tech incubator or with limited hours. Cranium Coworking is designed to be the no hassle, reliable option, so you can get down to work.

 

Workspaces Can Be Affordable

If your great idea is still in the works, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck working at home until its finished. Cranium Coworking offers reasonably priced office space for individuals – and a special reduced cost per member for larger teams.

Cranium Coworking also understands that modern companies are often fluid and changing quickly, which is why we charge monthly, with options for pro-rating – removing the worry about long term leases and contracts.

 

You Can Still Have Office Benefits

While working out of a garage is cheap and makes for a great story when your company gets big, it has limitations. If you want to talk to partners or potential investors, it can be hard to fit the boardroom table in next to the car.

Cranium Coworking offers, along with regular workspaces, a boardroom, private break out rooms, and booking of the entire space after hours for events. We also are in partnership with AtlasCloud Enterprises, offering great deals on cloud storage for valuable data.

 

Join Us Now!

Cranium Coworking was established with the concept of not just providing desks and chairs, but an actual community. We want to bring together entrepreneurs and creators not just to rent space, but to give them a chance to learn from and about each other.

Give us a call or email at our contact information here and see the space and our companies for yourself!

Copywriting Short Form

One of the weirdest things about writing is that often its better if you do less of it. I love writing, so its often a struggle to try and restrain myself in this regard.

Below are some examples of some very short form I’ve done for emails or for images. I’m still trying to nail getting as much content in as little space as possible.

Miscellaneous Shortform

We’ve Got Space for you.

Cranium Coworking offers affordable coworking space for innovators and small business owners just like you

Reach us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or send an email here to get more information


Try Two Weeks Free

We’re confident that Cranium Coworking is the right fit for you and any team you might have. Contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or at this address to arrange a tour


The future isn’t out of reach.

AtlasCloud Enterprises offers flexible colocation and Cloud Computing options for small and medium businesses in Western Canada – businesses just like yours.

Click here for rates and information


Thanks for testing!

We hope you enjoyed the demo of Payload today.

We at CyberMoose want to thank you again for taking the time to demo our product at GenCon. Further information on Payload can be found here. Make sure to also check out our complete collection of artwork as well.

 

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