Late Thursday Links

Good morning. Well, fortunately the hotel wifi is up to snuff.

  1. A political “heh”.
  2. Water water everywhere. And not enough human industry and too too much salt.
  3. Of women, rights, and stupid faux vaginas. Touche.
  4. Power and a girl (in a speaking of which sort of way).
  5. Abortion and the campaign.
  6. And nobody spent any effort refereeing it, obviously.
  7. Paternalism comes to bio-ethics and economics.
  8. Three on Benghazi from the shadow folk, one, two, three.
  9. The other way to win a bike race.
  10. Apparently single mothers in Black urban communities are rare. Or not.
  11. ’cause the media is unbiased. Riiight.
  12. Who needs security anyhow.
  13. Let’s end with some zoooom.

 

11 Responses to Late Thursday Links

  1. Three on Benghazi from the shadow folk, one, two, three.

    So I’m still trying to figure out what the administration’s lie is or was. It seems like this charge has been ‘evolving’ from supposedly claiming it wasn’t terrorism to claiming it was an ‘act of terror’ but not ‘terrorism’?

  2. Paternalism comes to bio-ethics and economics.

    In a third world country a woman is watching her children starve to death. A man from the first world approaches her, give us your 5 year old son he says. He will sell him to wealthy European pedophiles who like young boys. In exchange her other 5 children will be protected from starvation, given a good education and when they get older an opportunity for citizenship in a prosperous developed country. Alternatively if she leaves the deal on the table, she knows nothing like it will ever come her way again and she can be pretty sure only two or three of her children will even live to see 25.

    Is this not coercive? It does seem at some point if you find someone who is in a very desperate situation you can take advantage of that by offering them a solution to the pressure they face and you can get it from them on the cheap. Perhaps it is paternalistic but paternalism is not in itself always a bad thing. It is also a matter of ethics IMO. It’s wrong for the person with the resources to set himself up as a god among other men simply by being able to ‘buy them’.

  3. Boonton,
    Ah, well, I’m still only half way though “No Easy Day” … my assigned reading.

    ’cause apparently “honesty” means I look in the telescope (which didn’t exist then?). Anyhow we’ve gotten to the planning stage of the bin Laden mission.

  4. 11.’cause the media is unbiased. Riiight.

    Word count wise Romney came out ahead. It’s not clear to me with the ‘informal’ format that either side was ‘given’ more or less time. Since both sides could take time from the other by interrupting, asking questions, etc. how much time one got seems to be as much a function of how aggressive one was willing to be (and clearly both Biden and Obama approached the two later debates going on rhetorical offsense more than defense). It’s also not clear to me that having ‘more time’ is a good or bad thing. I think Romney really botched the Libya thing by taking too much time with it, for example.

  5. Boonton,
    Yes. Paternalism. Because her neighbor with exactly the same alternatives chooses differently. And you, in your high ivory tower, have decided for both of them that they are too too dumb to be as wise and considered as you. You make the choice for them. This is the essence of paternalism.

    It’s wrong for the person with the resources to set himself up as a god among other men simply by being able to ‘buy them’.

    And it’s can be wrong for you to make keep them in poverty because to offer them fair value in economic exchange would be “immoral.” Kinda like halting those $4 a 12/hour day jobs because they are “sweatshops” and condemning thousands to starvation and no job at all instead, because that’s “not immoral.”

    All too often the argument is made that the choice is taken away because “they aren’t educated”, “they aren’t smart enough”, “if only they understood”. We only have to “teach them about birth control or condoms”

    Well, I call BS on those arguments. I’ve talked to those $6 a day guys with a family of 6 in the Philippines. They are as in touch with the current events and the world as you are. That woman knows the ethics of her choice. Your paternalism is just taking her choice away from her.

    Have you read much about the choices and consequences of the child sex industry in Thailand? I’m curious.

  6. And it’s can be wrong for you to make keep them in poverty because to offer them fair value in economic exchange would be “immoral.”

    False choice. If prostitution was legal in all 50 states, no doubt there are some women who are currently under the poverty line who might move themselves above it. Likewise some men might pull themselves out of poverty if pimping was legal. That I may oppose making either legal doesn’t mean I’m ‘keeping them in poverty’ unless you want to assert there is absolutely no alternative policy that get them out of poverty.

    All too often the argument is made that the choice is taken away because “they aren’t educated”, “they aren’t smart enough”, “if only they understood”. We only have to “teach them about birth control or condoms”

    That’s not quite the argument here. Put a gun to my head and I’d be willing to make quite a few decisions that I normally would never consent too. It’s not about one side of the transaction being stupid, or dumb, or whatnot. It’s about one side being too desperate to make the transaction fair rather than exploitive. See, for example, the Demi Moore movie Indecent Proposal.

    Have you read much about the choices and consequences of the child sex industry in Thailand? I’m curious.

    This would seem to illustrate my point. You have desperate poverty on one side and on the other side well off Westerners who can offer what seems to be a fortune. Those on the bad side of this transaction aren’t ignorant or foolish or stupid. They are in a very bad position making the offer ‘indecent’.

  7. ’cause apparently “honesty” means I look in the telescope (which didn’t exist then?

    An intereting Zen Buddhist story I heard once….a student hears that pain is an illusion. One day he stubs his toe on a rock and it rally hurts. He goes to his teacher and relates what happened.

    Teacher: And what did you learn from this?

    Student: (pause) That I cannot be deceived.

    Teacher: (nods) Who among us doesn’t have those words.

    Being cryptic is a plus to Zen stories IMO over many parables….a lesson you can take from it is simply that the student already knows the truth. Stubbing your toe hurts. He is too willing to entertain things he knows to be untruths (pain is an illusion therefore stubbing your toe won’t really hurt), but deep down he knows the truth all along (who among us doesn’ thave those words?)

    Your defense of dishonesty collapses upon the truth becoming manifest. When the Bishop refused to look thru the telescop and see that Jupiter had moons that orbited Juipter and not the earth, he cannot claim to have been honest because he ‘really believed’ the earth was the center of the universe. By refusing to look, he made it clear his intention was dishonesty. The words are common because while we all know the truth, we are also eager to entertain the untruth that we were somehow ‘fooled’ or bamboozled.

    The sketch you have created then is to try to excuse dishonesty with a ‘bubble strategy’. As long as one avoids places where he might hear facts that disprove his assertions (i.e. Obama has ‘appointed many czars’ or vastly expanded the Federal gov’t workforce), one is free to continue to push untruths and not be called a liar. But the fact that one is trying to build a bubble, in itself, demonstrates where one’s true priorities are.

  8. 6.And nobody spent any effort refereeing it, obviously.

    Reminds me of an argument I had with an annoying creationist on Joe Carter’s old EvangelicalOutpost blog. The chap argued that it was impossible for a non-intelligent process to produce intelligent output, hence it was impossible for natural selection to account for human intelligence.

    I proposed the following. Imagine a computer that took initial forms of random letters. ‘Mated’ them and allowed offspring to live according to some fitness rule such as how close a word was to one recognized by a dictionary or triggered fewer grammatical errors in MS-Word’s spell/grammer checker. After many ‘generations’ the output produces is “Gordon wear’s pink underwear”. Who would you sue for libel? The computer programmer? The program? At first he said he was going to sue me, but then he finally admitted he couldn’t sue the programmer as the output was essentially random and outside the programmer’s control. But clearly the output had intelligent meaning yet the process that created it was not intelligent.

    The one line of attack he could have tried, but didn’t, would be to claim that such a program would never produce an intelligent sentence unless the programmer or some other intelligent agent ‘tweaked’ it along the way. I would have been at a loss since I have no skills to try to make such a program and don’t know enough about computer science to know if anyone had tried to create such a thing.

    Now it seems like we are halfway there. This is a program that generates papers that ‘seem like’ they would fit in a mathematical journal…at least to the guy who doesn’t know higher math or someone whose just going to peruse quickly thru a journal. It doesn’t seem impossible to go the next step and actually get something that could produce passable mathematical papers that are actually not nonesense. Other tasks could also easily be deployed….perhaps a newspaper gossip or advice column? A series of very real sounding product reviews to post on Amazon.com? At what point would one say the line was being crossed from simulating intelligence to actually generating it? And, of course, the question for religions would be at what point if any would the entities such a project creates be entitled to be viewed as having souls and worthy of human respect?

  9. Boonton,

    This is a program that generates papers that ‘seem like’ they would fit in a mathematical journal…at least to the guy who doesn’t know higher math or someone whose just going to peruse quickly thru a journal.

    The title didn’t scan well, I didn’t think. I think this is less a statement about how well word generation tech has come than how bad refereeing is … that is is was likely not reviewed at all.

  10. When I read some of the background articles, it seems like you’re right. The ‘journal’ seems to make it’s money by charging authors a hefty fee for ‘processing’ their submission. In other words it seems like a vanity press for academics who want to be considered ‘published’ but for whatever reason can’t get their work accepted to more respected publications.

  11. 11.’cause the media is unbiased. Riiight.

    So at the end of last night’s debate I noticed Romney had something like 40 seconds less speaking time than Obama. However Romney was given the closing statement and no one seemed like they were going to interrupt him. I think it’s pretty clear Romney tends not to use all of his potential time and tends to get more words in a given time period making it more likely he will ‘run dry’ thereby yielding the clock to Obama.

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