Saturday, July 22, 2017

McCain gets honest, so will die soon

Apparently John McCain came out of surgery with a diagnosis of aggressive brain cancer and almost immediately put the blast on Trump.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Russia hawk and occasional Donald Trump critic, blasted a report on the administration's new Syria posture just hours after revealing he had a cancerous brain tumor.

McCain's statement faulted the administration for reportedly ending a covert program begun during the Obama administration to provide arms to Syrian rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.

'If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin,' the Armed Services Committee chairman said in a statement...

Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted,' he said.

This is how we can conclude that McCain is not long for this world. Republicans have a decades-long tradition of getting honest, ripping off the ideological veneer, often apologizing for their entire political careers, after they are out of power and no longer have any effect on the institutions.

So based on this, it is clear that McCain knows he'll never run for re-election again. It's likely that he'll be dead by the end of the year -- and within the realm of possibility that he'll never cast another vote in the U.S. Senate. If he starts issuing political apologies, then we'll know that the end is days away.

Daily Mail

Friday, July 21, 2017

Religious people primed to support Trump

The truth is that Donald Trump is simply out of his mind crazy. Infantile, stupid, narcissistic, illiterate, sociopathic. Likely some kind of brain degeneration. Rarely acts like he has object permanence.

But there is still a fairly large cohort of people who "Try to decipher what he means", thinking he's some kind of Machiavellian master manipulator, pulling strings and sending coded "3D chess" messages. Of course that's nonsense. He can't even string an English sentence together, can't put together the discipline to stop sending nonsensical rants out on Twitter at midnight.

His supporters are largely religious people. And the thing is, these people have been indoctrinated  all their lives specifically to look for secret coded meanings from random happenings in the world. "God works in mysterious ways." I've heard these people explicitly argue that the most trivial of happenings, like any given leaf falling off a tree, has some critical effect in God's ultimate plan for the universe.

This indoctrination of many of our fellow citizens that the chaos in the world secretly communicates ineffable truths is what will feed into this destructive cycle on an ongoing basis. Religious training is what has predisposed people to be firmly anti-fact, anti-evidence in the first place. The more bullshit that Trump spins out, the more aggressively our religious peoples will adhere to secret plans and meanings in the chaos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

White House releases personal information of voters worried about their personal information

The White House on Thursday made public a trove of emails it received from voters offering comment on its Election Integrity Commission. The commission drew widespread criticism when it emerged into public view by asking for personal information, including addresses, partial social security numbers and party affiliation, on every voter in the country...

Unfortunately for these voters and others who wrote in, the Trump administration did not redact any of their personal information from the emails before releasing them to the public. In some cases, the emails contain not only names, but email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and places of employment of people worried about such information being made available to the public.

Washington Post

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Proof by Google searches that America is full of racists

As a barometer of our national consciousness, Google is as accurate (and predictive) as it gets. In 2016, when the Republican primaries were just beginning, most pundits and pollsters did not believe Trump could win. After all, he had insulted veterans, women, minorities, and countless other constituencies.

But Stephens-Davidowitz saw clues in his Google research that suggested Trump was far more serious than many supposed. Searches containing racist epithets and jokes were spiking across the country during Trump’s primary run, and not merely in the South but in upstate New York, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, rural Illinois, West Virginia, and industrial Michigan.

Stephens-Davidowitz saw in the Google Trends data a racially polarized electorate, and one primed to respond to the ethno-nationalist rhetoric of Trump. 

There were earlier signs, too. On Obama’s 2008 election night, Stephens-Davidowitz found that “one in every hundred Google searches that included the word ‘Obama’ also included ‘KKK’” or the n-word. Searches for racist websites like Stormfront also spiked. 

“There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from traditional sources,” Stephens-Davidowitz says. “Those searches are hard to reconcile with a society in which racism is a small factor.”


Monday, July 17, 2017

Facebook built an AI system that learned to lie to get what it wants

From the human conversations (gathered via Amazon Mechanical Turk), and testing its skills against itself, the AI system didn’t only learn how to state its demands, but negotiation tactics as well—specifically, lying. Instead of outright saying what it wanted, sometimes the AI would feign interest in a worthless object, only to later concede it for something that it really wanted. Facebook isn’t sure whether it learned from the human hagglers or whether it stumbled upon the trick accidentally, but either way when the tactic worked, it was rewarded.