URLs du Jour

2017-11-24

[Amazon Link]

Proverbs 18:8 seems familiar…

8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

Ah, yes: because it's the exact same as Proverbs 26:22 which we looked at back in May. I didn't think it made a lot of sense then, and see no reason to change my opinion now.

But I hope you got a lot of choice morsels for Thanksgiving. I did.


■ Arnold Kling writes on a discussion between Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Haidt. Haidt is a scholar who's notable for elucidating the differences between peoples' moral visions and how that plays out in their political views; Jordan Peterson is a politically-incorrect Canadian scholar; as noted yesterday, an instructor up north got in some hot water over daring to show a three-minute video clip of a "gendered pronoun" debate in which he participated.

At the end, Haidt predicts that there will be a split in the academic world. There will be a “University of Chicago model,” which underlines a commitment to truth and spurns indoctrination, and a “Brown University model” that does the opposite. He predicts that the market will reward Chicago and punish Brown.

I didn't watch the discussion. Because: one hour, thirty-four minutes, fifty-four seconds. Kling is less optimistic than Haidt about which model would win out.


■ At Power Line, John Hinderaker asks the important question: Were You Influenced By Russian Propaganda? Spoiler: almost certainly not, Facebook's absurdly inflated claims about the "reach" of the ads they host. But:

Meanwhile, if you really want to know whether you have been influenced by Russian propaganda, just ask yourself two questions: 1) Did you support the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s? 2) Are you opposed to fracking? If you answered either question Yes, you almost certainly have been influenced by covert Russian propaganda.

People weak-minded enough to be swayed by Russian propaganda would certainly be equally swayed by any other propaganda. Show me that isn't a wash.


■ Jeff Tucker is pretty jazzed about the FCC's Internet regulation rollback: Goodbye Net Neutrality; Hello Competition.

Net Neutrality had the backing of all the top names in content delivery, from Google to Yahoo to Netflix to Amazon. It’s had the quiet support of the leading Internet service providers Comcast and Verizon. The opposition, in contrast, had been represented by small players in the industry, hardware providers like Cisco, free-market think tanks and disinterested professors, and a small group of writers and pundits who know something about freedom and free-market economics.

I use Google, Netflix, and Amazon (and strongly avoid Yahoo!); they are best-in-breed. But alarm bells go off for me when they cheerlead for increased government regulation. As they should have, but didn't, for "Net Neutrality" advocates.


■ But just because I use Google doesn't mean I love Google. My impression is that its page-rank algorithm tilts left. That's not great, but I can route around it. Here's something else to note, from John Samples at Cato: Censorship Comes to Google

At Saturday’s Halifax International Security Forum, Eric Schmidt announced that Google will alter its search algorithm to “de-rank” results from Russia Today.

Why did Google do this? Perhaps they were concerned about Russia meddling in American elections or they thought their customers wished to see less of Russia Today. It matters not. Generally Google has broad power to police its platform. We might not like the decision, but it is not ours to make.

There is a second possibility. Government officials may have threatened Google to bring about this “de-ranking” of Russia Today. If so, the First Amendment poses questions for us. We need answer such questions, however, only if government officials did in fact threaten Google.

Samples notes the bullying tone of Senator Feinstein questioning a Google exec during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russian influence in the 2016 election. Post hoc, propter hoc? Samples suspects yes, maybe.


■ And here's a suggestion in our Tweet du Jour

I'm hunkering down for the day.


Last Modified 2019-11-13 3:00 PM EST