URLs du Jour

2018-09-01

[Amazon Link]

Sorry for the late posting (he said as if anyone cared). Lots of stuff happening today, I guess.

  • At the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo assists us: Here’s the Conversation We Really Need to Have About Bias at Google. What's their worst sin, Farhad? Given that Trump's charges are (as usual) overblown and only slightly attached to reality?

    […] whether he knew it or not, Mr. Trump’s false charges crashed into a longstanding set of worries about Google, its biases and its power. When you get beyond the president’s claims, you come upon a set of uncomfortable facts — uncomfortable for Google and for society, because they highlight how in thrall we are to this single company, and how few checks we have against the many unseen ways it is influencing global discourse.

    In particular, a raft of research suggests there is another kind of bias to worry about at Google. The naked partisan bias that Mr. Trump alleges is unlikely to occur, but there is a potential problem for hidden, pervasive and often unintended bias — the sort that led Google to once return links to many pornographic pages for searches for “black girls,” that offered “angry” and “loud” as autocomplete suggestions for the phrase “why are black women so,” or that returned pictures of black people for searches of “gorilla.”

    OK. Unsurprisingly, Google's algorithms work in surprising ways. Amazon, on the other hand, gives plenty of results for angry black women, and—what the heck—one of them is our Product du Jour.


  • Arnold Kling provides Another way to describe the contemporary divide.

    People who believe that they are morally superior vs. those of us who will not acknowledge our moral inferiority.

    Arnold claims to be in a sarcastic mood. Really? Couldn't tell, Arnold.


  • James Lileks loves him some Minnesota State Fair, a yearly tradition. He wonders: What will the State Fair be like in half a century?

    If you go to the Minnesota State Fair in, oh, let’s say 2068, there will be 3-D printers that let you duplicate yourself in butter, which is sprayed on a self-­cooling robotic skeleton.

    You can use this butterganger (as the Germans call it) to hold your place in the line for corn dogs. Buttergangers will not, however, be counted in the fair’s attendance figures unless they become self-aware. Even then, they will have to purchase a ticket and return the next day.

    One thing I miss about the Midwest is state fairs. I know we have fairs up here in New England, but… not the same.


  • Jim Treacher notes new movie news: Neil Armstrong Landed on the Moon and Planted an [REDACTED] Flag.

    Ever notice how much Hollywood* hates America?

    Well, maybe that's overstating the case. "Hate" might be too strong a word for the emotion our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in Tinseltown feel about the rest of us. It's more of a vague disgust and an unearned sense of superiority, wrapped up in sheepish apologies for daring to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. That's the message they keep sending out to the rest of the planet: "Sorry for being so awesome, everybody. We might be in America, but we're not of America. We're not like the rest of these ignorant rubes. You guys have some really good countries too!" Hell, why do you think Hollywood loves Obama so much? Every time he apologized to another country, they threw another lavish fundraiser for him.

    The new movie First Man, about Neil Armstrong, elides the planting of the American flag on the moon. Need you ask why? Of course you don't.