What world are you coming from, where watching a depiction of meanness and despair is a surprise or a problem? You think more recent children’s entertainment is an improvement on this? What, the stultifying Safe Space occupied by the meticulously engineered Dora the Explorer, whose numbed-out emotional range runs all the way from peppy enthusiasm to mild and transient dismay? Dora, the ideal citizen of the zero-tolerance state? Or do you prefer the screaming banging aggro-consumer stuff, full of pop-culture jokes and double entendres written by 28-year-old dickheads who are aiming over the purported audience at the grownups, so you can condescend toward the kids together?
And of course, somewhere in amongst his activities as a Member of Parliament, an occultist, a Communist, a British spy, a Russian spy, a frequenter of public toilets, and a Peer of the Realm, Tom Driberg made a possibly apocryphal remark proposing the creation of a typeface in which jokes would be set, which would be slanted the opposite way from italics, and that would be called ‘ironics’.
We used to have a map of a frontier that could be anything. The web isn’t young anymore, though. It’s settled. It’s been prospected and picked through. Increasingly, it feels like we decided to pave the wilderness, turn it into a suburb, and build a mall.
This is an insane idea. A hydrogen nucleus doesn’t get pushed into a collision with another hydrogen nucleus. It randomly appears in a collided state, because it’s position wasn’t really fixed. The two nuclei that fused didn’t move: they simply didn’t have a precise position!
Well, Professors Kimball and Smith, welcome to journalism, where “bad at math” isn’t just a destructive idea — it’s a badge of honor. It’s your admission to the club. It’s woven into the very fabric of identity as a journalist. And it’s a destructive lie. One I would say most journalists believe. It’s a lie that may well be a lurking variable in the death of journalism’s institutions.
But a crucial reason behind the success of the OSS approach is that its incentive structure is aligned to encourage genuine collaboration. As I stated above, the incentive structure of academia is more or less perfectly optimized to be as destructive and toxic to real collaboration as imaginable: everything favors the lead author or grant PI, and therefore every collaboration conversation tends to focus first on who will get credit and resources, not on what problems are interesting and how to best solve them. Everyone in academia knows of (or has been involved in) battles that leave destroyed relations, friendships and collaborations because of concerns over attribution and/or control.
Rigor in algorithmic usage, application and implementation by practitioners isn’t taught anywhere: people grab methods like shirts from a rack, to see if they work with the pants they are wearing that day. Critical understanding of algorithmic assumptions and of the range of validity and constraints of new methods is a rarity in many applied domains.
The final draft argues that Miranda should be detained under terrorism law because “…the disclosure or threat of disclosure is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism.”
In other words: thoughtcrime.
People do what makes sense to them, given their focus, their goals, and what they perceive to be their environment. This is known as the local rationality principle, and it is required in order to tease out second stories, which in turn is required for learning from failure. People’s local rationality is influenced by many dynamics, and I can imagine some of these things might feel familiar to any engineers who operate in high-tempo organizations:
Multiple conflicting goals
E.g., “Deploy the new stuff, and do it quickly because our competitors may beat us! Also: take care of all of the details while you do it quickly, because one small mistake could make for a big deal!”
Multiple targets of attention
E.g., “When you deploy the new stuff, make sure you’re looking at the logs. And ignore the errors that are normally there, so you can focus on the right ones to pay attention to. Oh, and the dashboard graph of errors…pay attention to that. And the deployment process. And the system resources on each node as you deploy to them. And the network bandwidth. Also: remember, we have to get this done quickly.”
It’s a measure of how far off the rails the NSA has gone that it’s taking its Cold War–era eavesdropping tactics — surreptitiously eavesdropping on foreign networks — and applying them to US corporations. It’s skirting US law by targeting the portion of these corporate networks outside the US…
In light of this, PRISM is really just insurance: a way for the NSA to get legal cover for information it already has. My guess is that the NSA collects the vast majority of its data surreptitiously, using programs such as these. Then, when it has to share the information with the FBI or other organizations, it gets it again through a more public program like PRISM.
Step two—tax reform for real: Most tax reform proposals are lame small-beer nonsense that barely solves anything. Real tax reform starts with taxing land value (which should include the value of mineral resources), taxing pollution, taxing traffic congestion, and taxing public health hazards (alcohol, soon-to-be-legal marijuana, Fritos) in order to drastically reduce taxes on labor. There are meaningful positive externalities associated with people having jobs, so at the low end of the spectrum income taxes should be negative (mega-EITC, basically).