URLs du Jour


  • The Federalist brings us tidings of comfort and joy: 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Finally Tops Billboard Charts After 25 Years.

    Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” holiday classic topped the Billboard top 100 for the first time, 25 years after its release. The song was originally released in 1997 and years later, without a remix or weird cameo appearance, the song managed to hit number one.

    Axios reported that the 25-year waiting period between the song’s release to its newfound first place spot is the longest in Billboard history.

    We did our part. Mrs. Salad said "Alexa, play 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. And, lo, it was so.

  • Anti-semitism is pretty high on my list of disgusting isms. But at National Review Tyler Coward makes a pretty good case that Trump's Campus Anti-Semitism Executive Order Undermines Free Speech.

    President Trump’s executive order targeting anti-Semitism on American college campuses is the wrong solution to a pressing problem. There is little doubt that in recent years, anti-Semitic incidents on campus have risen at an alarming rate. But in fighting such bigotry, we must always be mindful of the free-speech rights of college students and faculty. Both the Constitution and the president’s prior executive order aimed at protecting free speech on campus require it.

    The “Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism” requires the Departments of Justice and Education, the federal agencies responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to “consider” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism: “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” The definition’s primary author, Ken Stern, has repeatedly opposed its use in the campus context because of the clear threat it poses to constitutionally protected expression.

    There are better ways to handle disagreeable people on campus than Federal regulations.

  • A Wired article by Will Knight argues Washington Must Bet Big on AI or Lose Its Global Clout.

    The US government must spend $25 billion on artificial intelligence research by 2025, stem the loss of foreign AI talent, and find new ways to prevent critical AI technology from being stolen and exported, according to a policy report issued Tuesday. Otherwise it risks falling behind China and losing its standing on the world stage.

    The report, from the Center for New American Security (CNAS), is the latest to highlight the importance of AI to the future of the US. It argues that the technology will define economic, military, and geopolitical power in coming decades.

    Unleash the snark:

    • I think articles like this should use a template headline: "People who benefit from increased government spending on X advocate more government spending on X."

    • Government can arguably do a decent job of devoting resources to achieve a concrete goal, like going to the Moon or defeating the Axis. Nebulous goals like "not falling behind China" or "not losing our standing on the world stage"? Nah.

    • The lefties at Google will freak when they see AI research dollars being explicitly aimed at enhancing American "economic, military, and geopolitical power".

    But, hey, I could be wrong.

  • In contrast to Artificial Intelligence, we have plenty of Natural Dumbness. The (possibly paywalled) WSJ notes that we are close to Achieving Quantum Wokeness.

    Two months ago researchers at Google published a paper in Nature saying they had achieved “quantum supremacy.” It’s a term of art, meaning Google’s quantum computer had zipped through some calculating that would take eons on a classical supercomputer.

    Don’t you see the problem? “We take issue with the use of ‘supremacy’ when referring to quantum computers,” as 13 academics and researchers wrote last week, also in Nature. “We consider it irresponsible to override the historical context of this descriptor, which risks sustaining divisions in race, gender and class.”

    I was somewhat surprised that UNH's Chanda Prescod-Weinstein wasn't among the signatories, but maybe it was a rush job.