Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

Fake news: the Elephant in the Room

April 11, 2017

When commenting on the “new” phenomenon of “fake news” with presumably a multiplier effect with the Internet, there is an elephant in the room getting ignored by most of the traditionally respected actors in the sphere of news and commentary. They have formed a kind of “mutual admiration society” with a circularly reinforcing view of events that excludes outlying and dissenting views.

The ones who are most troubled about fake news and looking for ways to limit its effect are the ones often most guilty, in other words.

Tabloids have peppered newsstands in stores and supermarkets for decades, including testimonials of women who gave birth to two-headed aliens.

This “new” theme of “fake news” was tossed out first in the 2016 presidential campaign, pushed by both Obama himself and the Clinton campaign.

In a typical use of the term, the Washington Post was so aghast at the fake news scare that it published a list of fake news sites, throwing in serious right-leaning sites questioning official ruling party views, like Breitbart.com, in with actual blatant and overtly “fake news” sites like “The Onion”.

And of all the accused “fake news” sites getting fingered by “authoritative” sources in this discussion, is a simple news link aggregator, www.drudgereport.com,  that does not even pretend to offer its own content, and does not even have original commentary, and includes links that are even helping drive people to traditional newspaper sites like the Washington Post itself!

That list was made by an apparently “fake front” for some group that demanded anonymity from The W. P. to protect itself from blow-back purportedly, and then quickly disappeared into the cyber ether.

But let us look at a mere handful of items from the history of “fake news”.

The sinking of the Battleship Maine was immediately blamed on Spain by the Respectable Establishment Press in the United States. To this day the cause of the explosion that sunk it, deep in the bowels of the ship, is a mystery.

The sinking of the Lusitania was used as a pretext to involve the U. S. in World War One, the “Great War”. We now know, a fact hidden then, that the Lusitania was loaded with all kinds of bellicose material. Instead of reminding both Woodrow Wilson and the public of his guarantee that he would not involve the country in that war, it cheered the battle and helped cover up the military nature of that ship’s cargo, using civilian passengers as “human shields”.

More recently, the chemical attack in Syria in 2013 proved to be a “false flag” attack by the rebels supported by the USA in funding and equipment, as reported in several European newspapers and by respected award-winning journalist Seymour Hirsch: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line
Those rebels were actively developing these weapons. The version of the recent 2017 attack that a standard Syrian bomb hit a rebel depot storing such weapons is a much more credible version.

And yet, most, though not all, the Elephant in the Room swallowed up the story without questioning why the winning side of the war, now not having to worry about Trump’s administration removing him (“Regime change is off the table”), would want to risk it all by using chemicals.

There is much ado about nothing. The winners of any crackdown on “fake news” are in a Truth is Lies ministry, as in Orwellian worlds. “War is the health of the state”, the saying goes, justifying attacks on civil liberties.

There is another good example of the “wild west” Internet doing more good than bad. ACM Communications recently published an article about the posting of what purported to be a solution to the “P versus not P” problem. It was refuted quickly, in about one day. One day! That used to take submission to peer review, with months required for review then publishing, and do it again for a refutation if it got past the months of peer review.

The Internet is Peer Review on Steroids.

In computing and science, there is not much to fear there either, except from the self-appointed “opinion leaders”. America still has a great many people thinking for themselves.

Peer review is dead; Long live the free Inter-Networks!

April 24, 2014

http://www.examiner.com/article/peer-review-potential-and-peril

Ah, forget about peer review. All those arguments against it, and then you throw it all away by simply saying that peer review is good, we just need good peer *reviewers*.

But having peer reviewers are exactly what is wrong with this thing. It’s a moral hazard, a massive temptation for enforcing conformity.

The greatest advancements in science history have been made against the resistance of the cabal of the majority of those who make a living based on the ideas they believe in, or have vested interest in.

Joao Mageijo, British Royal Fellowship recipient, wrote of his wrestling match with peer reviewers trying to get his paper published on his theory of the variable speed of light.

The article mentions the Krebs Cycle. Consider a recent episode in which a solution to the problem of “P versus NP” was proposed on the Internet directly, no “publishing”, no peer review, straight to the Web. It only took one day for dozens, maybe hundreds, to prove that the “proof” was wrong.

The Internet has already killed any lingering relevance peer review may have had. The Internet, or rather the penetration of interconnected electronic communications networks (doesn’t have to be “the” Internet) involves media that are basic and ubiquitous change to culture and the body politic, that it promises historical upheavals comparable to the discovery of the printing press.

So “peer review” today as a gatekeeper for the scarce resources of paper publication, is defunct. Its defenders are those who have already entrenched themselves in positions of power and authority in their respective disciplines, and wish to protect their emotional and career investments. Or call it “feeling threatened” by the wild free-for-all of the Internet.

Crazy ideas about and are quickly also shot down in the wider context of the Internet, and relegated to the dunce corner. Giving them wide coverage quickly exposes their flaws.

You can now tell which ideas are on shaky ground by how much they depend on peer review today for their continued circulation, in fact. Climate-gate exposed one of those. Creationist scientists’ papers are shut out when the science is sound, because the authoritarians in power “cannot allow a divine foot in the door”. That’s a quote from one of them, in his “explanation” for why scientists hold ideas that make no sense.

It’s like Gamaliel at the council of the Sanhedrin discussing the apostles in the book of Acts. “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5:39.

 

Escape from Facebook

August 4, 2011

I am GONE GONE GONE from Facebook. I hope. As much as can be to my knowledge.

Facebook is too open. Friends of friends, meaning former friends that you have considered best to sever all mutual communications with, get to hear everything you want them to hear and even more.

Worse still, Facebook’s multitude of FACELESS partners get to know about a lot of it too.

Gossip trail. Conversations are sometimes too quick.

Forget it. Email groups are better, they queue things up, grab them as you like.

One of these days soon, I’m going PGP too, as the dark clouds of the approaching worldwide political upheaals grow closer as predicted from millenia.

Click on this next link for a good rundown on why quitting Facebook is a good thing. BUT BEFORE you do, take shortcut and avoid the Facebook “help” maze and cick on the link below that one to see HOW to really and truly escape from Facebook’s greedy clutches. Dan Yoder has saved us some trouble clicking through Facebook.

http://gizmodo.com/5530178/top-ten-reasons-you-should-quit-facebook

Me, there’s another one. Zuckerman doesn’t like his data getting publicized like somebody did after his social networking web site sent out a missive encouraging all the users to share theirs.

See their slogan: Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. Let me paraphrase that:

Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life, and connect and share all your information and theirs with any number of Facebook’s “partners” who pay for the privilege, including the former “friends’ who don’t edify your current state of being or where the connection does NOT make either of you a better human being.

Side note to everybody I was connected to on Facebook: I don’t mean you. I had already cut it off with the only stranger I was “friends” with. I don’t even know how he became a “friend”.

By the way, Linkedin, being oriented more toward professional pursuits and business, is a little less free-wheeling on letting people connect so easily, putting artificial limits on the numbers (unless you pay a little). And it’s not so easy, not the default situation, for visibility so many levels deep.

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/security/permanently-delete-your-facebook-profile-account/

Happy escaping, friends. Let me know…