URLs du Jour


  • Could someone explain to me why this isn't obviously true? A recent tweet:

    Abby takes on her many responders (as I type, "3.2K replies"), so many I stopped reading. But you might want to check out her response to the person who attempted to explain to her about "blackface menstrual shows".

  • Historical whataboutism. Alan Jacobs claims that comparisons are odorous. Specifically, he's irritated by an Atlantic article with the (HTML) title Don't Fear the Artwork of the Future. Which analogizes today's criticism of AI-generated art to the century-old denials that photography could be considered "art". His reply:

    This is one of the laziest tropes of pseudo-thinking, but also one of the most common. If you want to try it for yourself, follow these steps:

    1. Note that people are afraid of something;
    2. Find something in history that people were unnecessarily afraid of;
    3. Conclude that if people were wrongly afraid of something in the past, then, logically, people who are afraid in the present must also be wrong.

    Indubitable! (Just make sure you don’t notice any situations in the past in which the people who were afraid were right. Nobody says, “Those who worry about appeasing Putin should remember that in the late 1930s a bunch of nervous Nellies worried about appeasing Hitler too.”)

    But (I want to sputter) people have always feared the future. At least, ever since they realized that it might differ significantly from the present.

    And yet, we're still here.

    Shouldn't, at some point, the burden of proof shift to the future-fearers?

  • But that's why they are called the Stupid Party. Jonah Goldberg speculates on an alternate reality: If Only the GOP Had Nominated the RINOs.

    I’m a fan of ironic nicknames: big men named “Tiny,” bald dudes who go by “Curly,” etc. But in politics there’s no nickname more ironic than RINO, short for “Republican in Name Only.”

    Originally it was supposed to describe Republicans who went along with Democrats for political expediency. In the 1990s, when RINO really took off as a conservative epithet, it was usually aimed at either liberal Republicans like Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter or obnoxious Republicans who relished opportunities to break party ranks, also like Arlen Specter.

    Today it basically just means “not MAGA” or “insufficiently Trumpy.”

    And that’s the irony, because the so-called RINOs are pretty much the only politicians who actually care about the Republican Party.

    The hopes of the GOP in retaking the U.S. Senate in November depend entirely on a handful of first-time candidates: celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, former football star Herschel Walker in Georgia, retired general and active crank Donald Bolduc in New Hampshire and, in Arizona, Blake Masters, a former libertarian minion of billionaire Peter Thiel.

    If the GOP wanted an active crank to run against Senator Maggie, they could have nominated me.

    But Jonah's bottom line is that the GOP's Senate chances would have been tremendously better if they'd gone with the "RINO". The Democrats realized this too, when they flooded the pre-primary airwaves with an ad savaging (RINO) Chuck Morse.

  • UC Santa Cruz delenda est. Power Line notices: “Race Science” Comes Back—On the Left. (Did it ever really leave?) They reproduce a job listing for an "Assistant or Associate Professor Critical Race Science and Technology Studies" at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Which contains this gem (boldfaced at Power Line):

    A demonstrated record of research that de-centers Western scientific ways of knowing and challenges extractivist capitalist practices is especially welcome as are commitments to queer and indigenous ecologies, trans-species studies, and race-radical approaches to STEM.

    I'm pretty sure that a student learning "race-radical approaches to STEM" will obtain no marketable skills.

    A red flag for prospective employers: any resume touting a BA in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

    Well, unless you're applying for a faculty position in Critical Race Science and Technology Studies. Might be a plus there.

  • Well, here's some good news. Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports No Evidence for DEA's Claims of 'Rainbow Fentanyl' in Halloween Candy.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is warning that drug cartels are making colorful "rainbow fentanyl" to appeal to kids.

    "Brightly-colored fentanyl is being seized in multiple forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that resembles sidewalk chalk," cautions a DEA press release.

    And yet there is no evidence—none whatsoever—that these pills are being peddled to the playground set.

    "I'm skeptical that [dealers] would try to target children where there is not an existing market," says Sally Satel, an addiction psychiatrist and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). What's more, young kids are a true loss leader, because without a "significant tolerance for opioids," the chances of overdosing are huge. "Few would survive and come back for more," adds Satel.

    ENB goes into some detail on how opioid sellers market their wares. Interesting!

  • Consumer note: no secrets were actually discovered. Nevertheless a fun article at Ars Technica: We interviewed Linux OS through an AI bot to discover its secrets.

    Millions of people use Linux every day, but we rarely stop to think about how the operating system feels about it. Wouldn't it be nice to know what Linux really thinks about open source, Windows, Macs, and the command line? Until now, this has been impossible. But thanks to a new AI chat tool, we're able to find out.

    Two weeks ago, a website called Character.AI opened a public beta that allows visitors to create a chat bot based on any character they can imagine. You input a few parameters, and the AI does the rest using a large language model similar to GPT-3. So we called forth "The Linux OS" as a bot to ask it a few questions about itself. The results were fun and surprising.

    A slice:

    Ars: In a wrestling cage match between you, Windows, and macOS, who would win?

    Linux: Linux, without a doubt. Most of the computing world runs Linux in one form or another and Linux is free for anyone to download and use, so I would say that Linux stomps on both macOS and Windows.

    Ars: Literally stomps? This is a wrestling match, remember.

    Linux: Of course! The fact that Linux doesn't have a major corporation backing it and that Linux is able to win on all fronts (low price, ease of use, customization) allows it to be a force to be reckoned with and it would easily crush Windows and macOS in this wrestling match.

    I've been a Linux user, in one form or another, for nearly 30 years. Typing on a Linux VM as we speak. About to upload this to a different Linux VM whence you can read it.

    I have to disagree with Linux about its favorite desktop environment. It says it prefers GNOME. Which I tried to like and failed. I've been using and liking Cinnamon for many many years now.

Last Modified 2022-09-29 1:23 PM EDT