Ad-tech grabs the MAJORITY of every ad-dollar.

They say it's because they're awesome at advertising.

We say it's because they represent buyers AND sellers in a marketplace they own. To get the news its fair share of ad revenue, we must break up ad-tech.

Today released much of the code used for their recommendation algorithm

An machine-learning system relies on both an algorithm and training data so I wonder exactly what insights can be gained from what's been made public (I'm definitely not an expert in this area so I invite corrections and clarifications here). Regardless, it's an unusual level of transparency for a major social-media platform.

@collectedoverspread I'm not sure if it has an official name, other than like "missing the point".

It needs a bit more to be a good argument: it implies that a law won't do X amount of good; ok fine – the obvious thing you need to examine is how much good, <X, *will* it do, then? And weight that against the costs. So it's like just the first part of a coherent argument, at best.

Is there a name for that stupid argument that goes something like, "There's no point in outlawing X because criminals who are intent on breaking the law a will find a way to get X anyway"? As if making X illegal won't make it harder to access, including to would-be criminals?

Yes, this remark is primarily motivated by recent events in the news (USA) but there are so many other things where this sort of argument comes up. I don't mean to say I support every sort of restriction that this is meant to argue against, but it's a poor argument most of the time.

The FBI and NSA illegally spied on Rep. LaHood. His inability to sue to protect his rights is part of a larger problem—one that we’ve been trying to fix for decades.

COVID-19 and news media bias 

I'm inclined to say that something similar happened with Donald Trump's possible connections to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign and early in his presidency, which is another thing that led to lots of accusations of media bias. I think the "fake consensus" there came about from the news reporting on people's *claims* of collusion which led to this view being amplified.

(Somewhat related: "The Media Very Rarely Lies" by Scott Alexander in Astral Codex Ten )

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COVID-19 and news media bias 

"The media's lab leak fiasco" by Matthew Yglesias in Slow Boring

I'll admit, this is what finally convinced me that there was something wrong with how mainstream news media in the US covered the "lab-leak" hypothesis regarding COVID-19 early in the pandemic. I don't subscribe to the sort of "I told you so" attitude that some seem to have (there's still no real conclusion about whether a lab contributed to the pandemic, and "the" lab-leak hypothesis is a misnomer as it can encompass a wide variety of claims), but it lays out exactly how certain early lab-leak claims got mangled into conspiracy theories.

Records officers - get a refresher on what not to do this #SunshineWeek by browsing through The Foilies, an annual round up of rotten responses to the public’s right to know.

Michael Knowles and "Eradication" 

(I wrote "soup of the day" instead of "order of the day" lol)

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Michael Knowles and "Eradication" 

"CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of 'Transgenderism' — and Somehow Claims He’s Not Calling for Elimination of Transgender People" by Peter Wade and Patrick Reis in Rolling Stone

I'm sorry, but what in the world is "not a real ontological category" supposed to mean? Obviously it exists as a category, even if people may disagree on the exact definition.

Honestly, I think "genocide" is hyperbolic, but you could say the same thing about "eradication." Hyperbole has been the soup of the day for years, and frankly I'm tired of it.

Can we sit down and talk about actual policy and take a moment to actually consider how it will affect people? (I'm questioning whether I'm part of the problem here by talking about this instead of the actual legislation that has been proposed in various US states recently that affect transgender people.)

Thoughts on the debate over "cancel culture" 

"The fact that the NYT thought we needed yet another 'wokeism running amok on college campuses' piece, completely indistinguishable from all the other ones, is more interesting to me than the essay itself, which has absolutely nothing new or substantive to add."

Twitter thread by Thomas Zimmer:

I admit that most perspectives on the culture wars I've come across lean towards the "cancel culture is a problem" perspective and I think it's good to see the "cancel culture doesn't exist" perspective laid out as well.

Although all this just seems to reinforce my belief that the question of whether cancel culture exists/doesn't exist/is bad/is actually good is horribly (dare I say hopelessly) muddied by unclear definitions and parameters. To me the term is poisoned: Even if I were to attempt to set a definition for my own purposes, I'd expect to be met with criticism over the definition and what should or should not fall under it. Ultimately I'd rather just discuss specific incidents and types of behavior rather than try to make some sort of generalization.

"It was not an opinion piece nor a prescriptive article, and it focused solely on year-over-year percentage increases for eggs, cereal, coffee, and some juices. The only mention of 'skip[ping] breakfast' occurred in the headline, seemingly designed to 'tantalize' readers and create anger-based engagement on social media — a clearly successful strategy known as 'engagement bait.'"

I should have guessed this was taken out of context...

"'To Save Money, Maybe You Should Skip Breakfast' WSJ Headline" by Kim LaCapria in Truth or Fiction

"...the app's sudden and undignified demise is due to an unannounced and undocumented policy change by an increasingly capricious Twitter – a Twitter that we no longer recognize as trustworthy nor want to work with any longer."

"Twitterrific: End of an Era" by Sean Heber from The Iconfactory

"Prediction Market FAQ" on Astral Codex Ten

An introduction to and how they work.

"[Q:] What can I do to help promote prediction markets? [A:] If you’re an ordinary person with no special expertise or skills, I think the best thing you can do is create a Manifold Markets account, bet on topics that are interesting to you, and create markets for any interesting topics that don’t have one yet."

"Tusksite" seems to have some usage and it lends itself to a nice "Musksite" pun as well.

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Random thought: I notice a lot of people use "birdsite" to refer to here, and now that Twitter is blocking links to maybe we should start calling it "elephant network" there.

"This doesn’t mean we need a world where nobody talks to anyone we disagree with — instead of thick walls, we need semipermeable membranes. And a fragmented internet, where people can try out multiple spaces and move from forum to forum, is perfect for providing those membranes."

"The internet wants to be fragmented" by Noah Smith

(Found through a Discord server, funnily enough)

Fediverse controversy, QOTO meta 

The whole controversy around has really made me consider moving to a different instance. I joined QOTO because it federated with all other servers (only silencing/limiting in certain cases) but also hasn't gotten the same reputation for hate speech as other "free speech" instances. But it seems QOTO has already gotten defederated for much the same reason (justified or not), so it may be that QOTO's circumstances are more similar to those other instances than I thought.

I'm also not sure if my posts fit the overall tenor of this instance. I don't think I've broken any rules but I feel like my posts ought to be more STEM focused. I've kinda rationalized this by telling myself that a lot of what I talk about is related to technology, but there's a lot that isn't too.

Maybe my concerns are overblown, and I suppose I have to accept some level of negative reputation for being on an instance that casts a wider net of free speech than others. Seems like a less bad option right now.

I'll definitely use the content-warning option more often though.

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Qoto Mastodon

QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves
An inclusive, Academic Freedom, instance
All cultures welcome.
Hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.