The Easiest Person To Deceive Is…

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Well, today's headline is completed by our Amazon Product du Jour. Which is in reference to the 2022 Winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Since this is Pun Salad, we'll skip over the Grand Prize winner, and go immediately to the "Grand Panjandrum's Special Award ":

And so the two pachyderms with the same first name met, and they formed the jazz duo legend known as the Elephants Gerald.

If you smiled at that, you might enjoy the rest of the winners, and many of the "Dishonorable Mentions".

Briefly noted:

  • Way back when, my ancestors showed the good sense of emigrating from Norway. But I still pine for the fjords when I read something like this at Hot Air: Norwegian paint the root cause of racism or something. Because Norway is exceedingly white, and…

    That, apparently, is a problem. Which is why the Norwegian government has funded a project–to the tune of $1.2 million–to study the problem of “whiteness” and how Norway–specifically Norwegian paint–contributes to it.

    The Research Council of Norway is spending over $1.2 million USD on a project that is dedicated to discovering how the country has contributed to the spread of “whiteness” globally, through colonialism and through paint.

    The research project, “How Norway Made the World Whiter (NorWhite),” hosted by the University of Bergen, describes “whiteness” as “one of today’s key societal and political concerns.”

    Norway, it turns out, is where titanium dioxide was turned into the first truly white paint. And, as we all know, white paint is the root of all racism.

    The TiO2 Project is a thing. And I'm not sure it isn't an elaborate put-on. (Does titanium dioxide have anything to do with Titania McGrath?) Still, 120 million Norwegian kroner is nothing to sneeze at.

  • I've read about ChatGPT a lot. If I were a serious researcher, or a college student looking for "help" on a writing assignment, I might have tried what Randal O'Toole did, to his chagrin: Fabricating Reality with ChatGPT.

    More recently, I’ve been looking at the economics of ocean liners, as the Canadian Pacific Railway was a major operator of ocean liners in both the Atlantic and Pacific markets. The history of technologies such as railroads and steamships is well documented but the economics are not. Canadian Pacific spent (in today’s dollars) hundreds of million of dollars buying steamships that sometimes made only 120 or so voyages across the oceans before being scrapped. How could this pay off?

    So I asked ChatGPT, “Is there any literature or research on the economics of ocean liners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?”

    “There is a significant amount of literature and research” on the subject, it responded. “One example of a book that discusses the economics of ocean liners is The Financing, Building and Operation of Ocean Liners by J. E. Wilton-Jones.”

    Sounds useful! Thanks, ChatGPT!

    One minor problem cropped up: The Financing, Building and Operation of Ocean Liners by J. E. Wilton-Jones turned out to be entirely imaginary. Click over to read about Randal's trip down the AI rabbit hole.

  • And, via James Lilek's Bleat, a tweet revealing the demonic forces at work in Davos:

    Lileks debunks. So did Reuters, last year, when CongressCritter Marjorie Taylor Greene got all conspiratorial about similar patches. And as it turns out, Canton Graubünden, where Davos is, is totally patch-happy about its cops.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:59 AM EDT