Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg

Latest Fake News: Facebook battling fake news

Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg has made moves to look like he battling fake news, but his project is doomed to fail. First, Facebook is explicitly not banning fake news, nor is it banning individuals known to be 100% fake news purveyors. Second, Facebook has brought in “experts” to examine news to see if it is fake that are, in turn, Koch funded right wing/libertarian tools.

There is a writeup on this at Think Progress by Joe Romm.

I’ve seen, and in some cases, been part of various efforts by various on line entities to clean up fake news or, more often, anti-science news or activism. What I’ve found in every case is that there is an enormous perceived shift in the bottom line for on line entities that keep out fake news vs. those that ignore it, or even encourage it.

In fact, I suspect that people who are more likely to believe, purvey, or defend fake news are also more likely to be ripped off by unscrupulous retailers. The scruples of the business are one thing, the profit levels are another. Facebook makes its money off of retailers making profits. Facebook is going to be dragged out of the fake news business kicking and screaming, if ever.

If you are like me, you live in a Facebook bubble. I do not maintain “friend” status with purveyors of fake news. The people on my Facebook feed are generally much more interested in the truth. So, it is hard to see the fake news problem as very important.

But there are all these other people who also live in a Facebook bubble. Their bubble is full of fake news. Their friends include voters, influencers, parents, maybe even teachers, who are living in that fake news bubble as well. This is a real problem. Facebook fakeness is the proximate reason that Donald Trump is president. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg is taking that seriously, and I assume this is because he is biased by the prospect of a huge shift in profits with vs. without the heavy spice of alt-reality in the feed.

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Climate Change Can Ruin The Internet

Rapidly rising sea levels likely to happen over the next couple of decades may destroy an important part of the very Internet itself…

From “Lights Out: Climate Change Risk to Internet Infrasctructure, by Ramakrishnan Durairajan, Carol Barford, and Paul Barford:

Our study is based on sea level incursion projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Internet infrastructure deployment data from Internet Atlas. We align the data formats and assess risks in terms of the amount and type of infrastructure that will be under water in different time intervals over the next 100 years.

We find that 4,067 miles of fiber conduit will be under water and 1,101 nodes (e.g., points of presence and colocation centers) will be surrounded by water in the next 15 years. We further quantify the risks of sea level rise by defining a metric that considers the combination of geographic scope and Internet infrastructure density. We use this metric to examine different regions and find that the New York, Miami, and Seattle metropolitan areas are at highest risk. We also quantify the risks to individual service provider infrastructures and find that CenturyLink, Inteliquent, and AT&T are at highest risk. While it is difficult to project the impact of countermeasures such as sea walls, our results suggest the urgency of developing mitigation strategies and alternative infrastructure deployments.

Here is the paper.

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Interesting Books Cheap

This is an unusual but very interesting selection of books that happen to be on deep sale in Kindle form right now.

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, a true story by Anand Giridharadas. I had never heard of this before, and I’ve not read it, but it looks fascinating.

“Gives you new eyes on your nation, makes you wonder about both the recent South Asian immigrant behind the counter at the food mart and the tattooed white man behind you in line. It reminds you that there are some Americas where mercy flows freely, and other Americas where it has turned to ice.” —Eboo Patel, The Washington Post

Days after 9/11, an avowed “American terrorist” named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into a Dallas minimart and shoots Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant, maiming and nearly killing him. Ten years after the shooting, Bhuiyan wages a campaign against the State of Texas to have his attacker spared from the death penalty. The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions.

Winner of the NYPL Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Boston Globe, NPR, and Publishers Weekly.

The famous Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, Book 1) by Margaret Atwood.

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

The also famous The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf.

In today’s world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women’s movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It’s the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of “the flawless beauty.”

And, I have no idea if this is any good, but it is one of those Star Wars novels that expand the Star Wars universe and stuff, just in case you were looking for it: Darth Plagueis: Star Wars Legends (Star Wars – Legends) by James Luceno

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Brown Shirts at the VA

Do you know what a Brown Shirt is?

For the present purposes, with respect to the Trump-Putin administration in Washington, the Brown Shirts are political appointees deployed across the agencies to push out those less than fully loyal to heir Trump. The term can also be applied to muscle that goes to gatherings to either support Trump or disrupt his opponents.

Every veteran that I know is a Loyal American and a Democrat, and is fully opposed to Trump. And I know a lot of them. We are staunch allies. But apparently the actual majority of Vets support Trump. They are, as expected, getting screwed.

I’m going to guess that various libertarian forces want to destroy the Veterans Administration because they themselves don’t need it, and it costs a lot of money. So, the Trump administration is being used to do that. It may also be that Putin wants the VA destroyed because he knows that the Veterans, ultimately, even the Trump loyalists, will not put up with that. Destroying the VA will disrupt the normal functioning of the country, which is a goal of Putin.

So what is happening now? Dozens of senior civil servants at the VA who are not known to be loyal to Trump have been moved out of their offices and put on ice.

From the Washington Post

None said they were given reasons for their reassignments.

The moves are being carried out by a small cadre of political appointees led by Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke who have consolidated power in the four months since they helped oust Secretary David Shulkin.

The reshuffling marks a new stage in a long estrangement between civil servants and Trump loyalists at VA, where staff upheaval and sinking morale threaten to derail service to one of the president’s key constituencies, according to current and former employees.

Want to do something about this? Join Indivisible.

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Check your congresscritter at the door

Maria Butina is a Russian Spy who has been working with US politicians and the NRA to develop special relationships.

That spy is now being charged by the US Justice Department.

From WaPo:

Butina is accused of developing relationships with American politicians and a “gun rights organization,” none of which are named in the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote that Butina was attempting to “establish a ‘back channel’ communication for representatives of the Government of Russia.”

The affidavit also contains apparent communications, by direct message on Twitter, between Butina and the unnamed Russian official. “Your political star has risen in the sky,” the official told Butina. “Now it is important to rise to the zenith and not burn out (fall) prematurely,” and they later discussed the “Russia-USA friendship society.”

In 2017, Butina and the official attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, the affidavit states.

Is your representative in Congress one of Maria Butina, friend of the Proboscidea’s traitors? (Though perhaps I should not assume all the turncoats are Republicans.)

Here’s her facebook page, by the way.

Click here to find out who represents you in Congress.

Then, click here to find out if they are a spy for Putin.

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Stop fretting about the Feinstein – de Leon thing

In a recent “jungle primary” (all parties, all voters, and there but the grace of dog go the rest of us), long time us Senator Diane Feinstein resoundingly defeated fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon. But given that Feinstein has been a Senator representing the state since forever, the very idea of a challenge, and the very idea of a 51-33% victory, is a form of insurgency within the party. In this case, it is a progressive insurgency against a strong liberal. If you are outside the Liberal-Progressive zone, that might seem like cats fighting cats, but there is meaning to the differences. Liberals and Progressives all support the same policies, at the 20,000 foot level, but at the more detailed level, they are different. Both want health care for all. Liberals will tolerate a hybrid of insurance companies and some sort of Medicare for Everyone Else or a Public Option, while Progressives want nothing to do with the insurance companies and want a single payer. Or, depending on the individuals, Liberals and Progressives all want Universal Single Payer with no insurance companies, but Progressives want it now, and Liberals don’t think that is possible, and have more incremental plans.

Whatever.

Now, the California state Democratic party has had an endorsing event. You will see the following FALSEHOODS promulgated because of it:

  • Now that Berniebots/Progressives have added their own candidate to the race, the Democrats can’t win, this race
  • Progressives are going to throw Diane Feinstein out despite her great power and service and wondrfulness
  • Other similar things.

But, the truth is, the way the system works in California, there are exactly two people running in the general election for Senate: Feinstein and de Leon. There are no Republicans, do the Democrat will win.

Also, given that Feinstein cleaned de Leon’s clock in the primary, you can bet that she’ll win the general election as well. But, who knows, either one could win.

There is relevance to what is happening here. Within the California Democratic Party, progressives have suddenly developed a significant power base, quite possibly displacing both centrists and labor. If that is a bad thing, don’t worry. Given the primary system in California, they can’t do too much damage. If it is a good thing, then this is a real good thing, in my opinion, because we actually need to have more progressives, and we need to drop the centrist, incremental, line and be more strongly true to our values.

Personally, I’d like to see Feinstein stay to continue the fight against Trump. Personally, I’d like to see de Leon win, because we need to be shifting towards a more progressive landscape. Personally, I’d like to see the Republican lose this race, and that is going to happen for sure because there is no Republican in this race.

So everything in California is good. Stop whinging, y’all!

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A biogeofeminist talks about being a female climate scientist and communicator

Sarah’s talk focuses on why STEM fields needs feminism. In her talk, she takes a stand as an uncompromising advocate for a just and equitable world. Dr. Myhre is a paleoceanographer and science communicator, currently researching in the UW Department of Oceanography. She organized the Seattle chapter of 500 Women Scientists and has been recognized as an active voice for women in science and society.

Continue reading A biogeofeminist talks about being a female climate scientist and communicator

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