URLs du Jour

2021-11-15

  • Eye Candy du Jour from Henry Payne:

    [Old vs New]

    It's been making the rounds since its original publication in September. We usually go with Michael Ramirez for pirated editorial cartoons, but this was pretty good.


  • And why would anyone assume differently? Stephen Greenhut is the latest Reason writer to unload on the wannabe censors: Government Regulation of Social Media Won't Protect Free Speech

    Is it me or does the Facebook whistleblower's "bombshell" revelations seem like much ado about very little? The company's former product manager, Frances Haugen, has given the Securities and Exchange Commission and The Wall Street Journal thousands of internal documents that say more about the state of American culture than they do about the social-media company.

    "No one at Facebook is malevolent, but the incentives are misaligned, right?" Haugen told CBS News. "Like, Facebook makes more money when you consume more content. People enjoy engaging with things that elicit an emotional reaction. And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume."

    If that's the issue, then one can just as easily blame newspapers, TV news shows, talk radio, and political parties—all of which benefit by stirring the pot. For some reason, people prefer conflict to happy thoughts about puppies (although there are plenty of those posted on Facebook). Do we blame the medium or the human condition?

    The real problem seems to be…


  • Free speech is subverted by its former champions. Ann Althouse is bemused by a newspaper headline. Specifically: This NYT headline displays an unabashed belief that censorship is desirable and expected, as if the tradition of freedom of speech has evaporated.

    The NYT headline is:

    On Podcasts and Radio, Misleading Covid-19 Talk Goes Unchecked

    And the subhed amps up the panic:

    False statements about vaccines have spread on the “Wild West” of media, even as some hosts die of virus complications.

    Ann's take begins:

    Talk goes unchecked!

    Freedom of speech is an artifact of the "Wild West," not the foundation of our republic!

    Well, the New York Times is free to print such things, misleading though they are. The NYT is trying to induce private companies to undertake censorship.

    Ann seems surprised, but she shouldn't be. It's been nearly twelve years since the progressive freakout over Citizens United v. FEC. How can we let political speech go unregulated?! Think of the children!

    The NYT article is simply the latest little nudge to its readership's psyches: thinking of speech regulation as the default position.


  • And the most reliable correspondent from Glasgow is… Kevin D. Williamson, of course, whose dispatch is headlined with a quote from a protest sign: ‘Trans Nonbinary Liberation Is Eco-Justice!’

    It is mostly campus-level stuff. There are limp choruses of “What do we want? Gender justice! When do we want it? Now!” half-chanted, half-whimpered by a little gaggle of people in matching derby hats, giving the scene a slightly Clockwork Orange feel. (Why derby hats? No one is able to explain that to me. Maybe they don’t know.) One fellow, standing outside the room where Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is offering one of her whatever-is-vaguer-than-vague homilies, wears a shirt emblazoned with the satire-proof message: “Trans Nonbinary Liberation Is Eco-Justice!

    […]

    There’s a very nice young woman from a place she doesn’t like to call “Canada” outside, banging a drum and singing a “warrior song” and engaging in something that sounds to my ear very close to racial-essentialist rhetoric (“We will outlive you, we will outlive your system, because we are of the Earth!” as though the relative newcomers to the country were of Mars), insisting that all of this is foundational to climate work. If climate reform means signing on to the proposition that “the place some people call Canada” needs to be abolished, because its mere existence is tantamount to genocide, then climate reform is not going to go anywhere.

    It's a sad state of affairs when the most interesting stuff coming out of a self-important climate change conference is the lunacy of the associated protesters.

    Who pays for these kids to show up in Glasgow, anyway? You know if it were some right-wing thing, the press would be all over that investigation.


  • Sell Bitcoin, buy… er, gold, I guess. And c|net's Stephen Shankland brings some sobering news: Cryptocurrency faces a quantum computing problem

    Cryptocurrencies hold the potential to change finance, eliminating middlemen and bringing accounts to millions of unbanked people around the world. Quantum computers could upend the way pharmaceuticals and materials are designed by bringing their extraordinary power to the process.

    Here's the problem: The blockchain accounting technology that powers cryptocurrencies could be vulnerable to sophisticated attacks and forged transactions if quantum computing matures faster than efforts to future-proof digital money.

    You don't want to wake up some morning with your Bitcoin balance filched by Xi Jinping, do you?