Links 3/1/2024

Why help? In a cooperative woodpecker, close genetic bonds are only part of the story PNAS

The History of the White Cloth in a Broken Down Car Window North Carolina Rabbit Hole


The climate is doomed if we continue to be fixated by economic growth Physics World


CDC will adopt California “one-day” isolation policy (in practice, mandating Covid infection) today:

That’s bad. Feigl-Ding then gives an epidemiologist’s view of the “data analysis” on which the CDC’s new guidance is putatively based. There’s a lot wrong (read the whole thread), but this seems like the most wrong:

CDC has crossed the Rubicon. For a generous-minded person like myself, it has been possible to model the practice of science at CDC as primarily driven by institutional factors and impacted paradigms; “droplet dogma,” for example, whose defeat will proceed “one funeral at a time.” No longer. CDC is justifying an openly eugenicst policy with junk science, produced to order for that purpose. Every author, every editor, and every administrator who signed off on this thing should resign. Of course they will not; in fact, most are likely to be promoted (“Thank you for your service”). Je répète: CDC should be burned to the ground, the ashes scattered, the rubble plowed under, and the ground salted.

* * *

Breaking: Coworker who gave entire office Covid promoted for never taking a day off The Beaverton

Man with measles ate at Mississauga restaurant Insauga. It was probably “mild” case.


China’s economy suffers blow as factory activity slows FT

1H2024: Slower Growth to Drag On in Dragon Year Macro Polo

Demographic transition in China:

Lots of charts!


India’s economy grows at its fastest pace in six quarters in election boost for Modi Channel News Asia

India’s Urban Company revolutionised gig work for women. Then it bled them Al Jazeera

Vietnam: Leaked Communist Party document warns of ‘hostile forces’ BBC. NGOs….

How Vietnam Has Become One Of Asia’s Fastest Growing Markets With New Multiplexes, A Movie-Hungry Audience & Vibrant Local Film Biz Deadline

The Koreas

South Korea police raid medical association office over walkout Channel News Asia


Washington Wants to Revive a Critical Minerals Mega-Railway Through Africa Foreign Policy


What We Know About the Deaths Near the Gaza Aid Convoy NYT. What “we” know is based on digital “evidene” from IDF.

IDF says troops fired ‘warning shots’ as mob rushed aid convoy, leading to more than 100 killed FOX. Even if we accept that the mob rushed the trucks, who created the desperate situation?

* * *

“Between The Hammer and the Anvil” The Intercept. “The Channel 12 podcast interview with [Anat] Schwartz, which The Intercept translated from Hebrew, opens a window into the reporting process on the controversial story [“How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence “] and suggests that The New York Times’s mission was to bolster a predetermined narrative.”

The ‘Guardian’ exposes how CNN slants the Gaza news Mondoweiss

* * *

ICJ closes final day of West Bank occupation hearings The Cradle. Commentary:

An Assessment of Visual Material Presented by the Israeli Legal Team at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (PDF) Forensic Architecture. For the January 12 hearing.

* * *

“In the interim, a variety of morbid symptoms appear.” –Gramsci

Dear Old Blighty

Britain’s cash-strapped Navy ‘may be forced to sell off its £3.5 billion aircraft carrier the HMS Prince of Wales’ amid funding issue Daily Mail

New Not-So-Cold War

Breakaway Transnistria Asks for Russian Aid Foreign Policy

* * *

Putin says West risks nuclear war if NATO sends troops to Ukraine France24

NATO Will Be Drawn Into War With Russia if Ukraine Loses: Lloyd Austin Newsweek

* * *

Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer Bloomberg

Ukraine’s Frontline Is Collapsing Newsweek

* * *

After two years of war, Europe emerging from shadow of Russian gas S&P Global

South of the Border

AMLO’s push for environmental reforms angers Canadian mining sector Canadian Dimension

Haiti: Journey to the Heart of the Anti-Ariel Henry Mobilization Internationalist 360°

Democrats en Deshabnillé

MSNBC legal analyst says First Amendment makes US ‘vulnerable,’ calls for ‘common sense’ speech restrictions NY Post. Love the book title: Attack from Within. Joe McCarthy would be proud.


Biden invites Trump to work together to lobby Congress on an immigration bill as both candidates visit border NBC

The Crisis at the Border: A Primer for Confused Americans RAND

* * *

The US is bracing for complex, fast-moving threats to elections this year, FBI director warns AP. When all the players have done their best to create a complex election system intrinsically vulnerable to attack (and implicitly putting the spooks in charge of legitimating or delegitimating election results based on whatever intelligence they concoct reveal).

Global Elections

Far right makes gains in Israeli municipal elections Al Jazeera

‘Vote-thief!’: Imran Khan allies protest ‘rigged election’ as Pakistan swears in new parliament France24

Pakistan’s Electoral Chicanery London Review of Books

Spook Country

Former US ambassador, NSC member charged with acting as secret agent for communist Cuba for decades: DOJ FOX

Digital Watch

I Wrote What? Google’s AI-Powered Libel Machine (unlocked) Matt Taibbi, Racket News. ChatGPT hallucinates an entire news cycle. Folllow-up (locked): If AI Thinks George Washington is a Black Woman, Why Are We Letting it Pick Bomb Targets? Good question!

Yes, AIs ‘understand’ things Robert Wright, Nonzero. The deck: “At least, the classic argument against AI understanding—John Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment—is fatally undermined by large language models.” Would any philosphers in the readership care to comment?

Surveys show lack of consumer trust in banks’ AI American Banker. Huh.


Assange Final Appeal Day 2 – Your Man in the Public Gallery Craig Murray


Aaron Bushnell and the Power of Protest Boston Review

Aaron Bushnell’s Self-Immolation Protest Needed to Be Seen. But That Didn’t Make It Easy to Report Rolling Stone


Data demonstrate higher risk of surgical-site infection at US safety net hospitals Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

The Final Frontier

Goodnight, Odysseus. Intuitive Machines’ private moon lander goes offline — but could it rise again?

Why Interstellar Objects Like ʻOumuamua and Borisov May Hold Clues to Exoplanets JSTOR Daily


London’s Savoy Hotel Delancey Place. For G&S fans. And cultural historians.

Zeitgeist Watch

The State of the Culture, 2024 The Honest Broker

The meeting scheduling crisis is an indicator of a much bigger problem Science for Everyone

Class Warfare

Labor Market Exposure to AI: Cross-country Differences and Distributional Implications (PDF) International Monetary Fund. “Complementarity” = “complement or a substitute for labor, where complementarity reflects lower risks of job displacement.” From the Abstract: “Within countries, common patterns emerge in [Advanced Economies (AEs)] and [Emerging Markets (EMs)]. Women and highly educated workers face greater occupational exposure to AI, at both high and low complementarity. Workers in the upper tail of the earnings distribution are more likely to be in occupations with high exposure but also high potential complementarity.” So the PMC have a lot of thinking to do, fast. Odds are they won’t do it well. (Also, “Advanced Economies” vs. “Emerging Markets” is a weird dichotomy. Are not the economies markets, and vice versa?

AI Could Actually Help Rebuild The Middle Class Noēma

* * *

As Council prepped public support, local Google workers learned of layoffs Austin Monitor. Commentary:

UAW board removes secretary-treasurer from department roles over alleged violations Detroit News

The Death of the Non-Compete Clause May Be Imminent On Labor

The Decimal Point Is 150 Years Older Than Previously Thought, Medieval Manuscript Reveals Smithsonian

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent)


    Well we won’t know where they come from but the votes will come
    Somebody’s victory!
    They’ll write books on how they did it cuz they did it so good
    Where’s that leave you and me?

    We vote our blood and treasure
    A desperate measure

    Well, I can’t believe we’ve gotta pick from guys this old
    They really lock it down for sure!
    Is there really no one else? This thing is so controlled!
    How much can we endure?

    This thing’s been slapped together!
    We can’t do better?
    How do we bring some pressure?
    We need someone fresher!

    The swampy creatures run everything
    No hope for ch-ch-change
    The Oval Office is a picture frame
    One man in charge is just a lie lie
    The swamp runs things instead

    (musical interlude)

    Well our votes are not secure by the laws of the land
    We need some honesty!
    This is not a beauty show we need a much better plan
    Here in the land of the free!

    Why pick from two old geezers?
    What a message that sends!
    They’ll stick one in a freezer
    Until his term ends!

    Two Old Geezers!
    Two Old Geezers!
    Two Old Geezers!
    Two Old Geezers!
    Two Old Geezers!
    Two Old Geezers!


    1. Susan the other

      “The Oval Office is just a picture frame.” Just one everyday sample of how AI will misrepresent the world. All the little deceptions we employ could become a true disaster without a long pole, always necessary for high wire walking, even when we are sentient. Visions of the Hindenburg.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Man with measles ate at Mississauga restaurant”

    It wasn’t called Moms by any chance, was it? What is really going to be wild is if there is a measles outbreak sweeping the country just in time for the November elections. Back in 2020, Covid was sweeping the country but both the Democrats and Republicans were demanding that their voters turn up to vote in the primaries so it would not be any different this time around.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Measles might win the election this time around!! And don’t forget the Vice President, Covid. Strongest pair of candidates America can think of, certainly ageless.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe in November Americans will write in ‘Measles’ rather than ‘Uncommitted.’

    2. IM Doc

      I feel like I need to say something – this is of critical importance.

      The current measles issue and the extensive discussion in the links above by Lambert of the CDC changing their recommendations to go back to work after 1 day of COVID ( despite the fact this has NEVER been the recommendation for any viral illness as long as I have been a physician and for generations before) are all part of the same problem.

      That problem is basically thus – the absolute fundamental rule of public health service and all its recommendations must have at its foundation the complete unvarnished, un-“spinned” – completely transparent truth. There must be no political games, there must be no favoritism to corporations, there must be no corruption. Any public health effort that fails this simple primary task is doomed to failure.

      With regard to measles, the same truth seeking should apply. But, according to multiple sources that are on the ground in the affected areas, we are apparently trying to twist the truth of what is actually happening to either fit narratives or to protect narratives that are already in place. I understand that the nidus of many if not most of these outbreaks has come from illegal aliens who have not been appropriately screened at the borders. I have no personal experience with measles – but I can assure you – I am seeing enough of many others that it is crystal clear that absolutely no health screening is being done at the ports of entry for this flood ofTh people. So, no reporter will ever report that – nor will the citizens hear that this is the case. It is too politically inconvenient for those in power. But yet another thing that appears to be going on is the large number of people being infected who have been fully vaccinated with the measles vaccine years ago. After all that has gone on the past 4 years – the powers that be have really created themselves a conundrum – “We have been telling people for years these are lifetime safe and effective – how do we finesse this so we do not look like morons?” Once lying and dissembling and propagandizing started even long before COVID, they have created themselves quite the box.

      It is for sure – I can attest in my own personal life – the measles vaccines often wear off after a few decades. As an older man, when I came to my new job – I was surprised to learn that despite having been fully vaccinated as a kid decades ago – I was completely susceptible to measles. I was not allowed to see a single patient until I had been revaccinated – and they rightly kept an eagle eye on my titers to make sure I had responded.

      Is anyone in control in this crisis discussing this simple fact with the American people?

      We have now had an entire generation of kids unvaxxed – principally in the blue hive areas of the country – now very concerningly sitting ducks for this entire situation – because these same areas have declared themselves “sanctuary” cities for these immigrants. We cannot openly discuss this in our media – because we are all too busy trouncing all over MAGA citizens – because THEY are the ones who are unvaxxed. This is simply not the case – the antivaxx movement has historically been in the venue of the deep blue areas with a few exceptions. The COVID vaccine problems have now brought this to a bilateral juncture – but becuase these deep blue areas have for so long had a significant anti-vaxx population – many have missed childhood vaccines and are very susceptible to measles.

      I hope you see what I mean – once you allow propagandizing and politicalization to creep into public health – you are basically done. One of the largest screwups of all time in public health happened in the first year of COVID – already it is being used as a very bad example for students.

      “You cannot be outdoors on a public beach in California – getting sun and exercise making yourself more healthy – but by GOD – you can cram hundreds together and have a BLM riot to your heart’s content – because having riots is more helpful for public health than making the individual citizens healthy.”

      That is not going to age well – and will go down as the New Coke of public health for all time.

      There are many things in our world where politics should have no role – the prisons, the schools, and most notably public health.

      What a complete and total cluster. They are prevented from telling accurate information – and have strayed so far from their primary job. Very scary.

      As a PSA – These are the symptoms for the measles – I have heard absolutely nothing on the media being discussed about what average people should be looking for – so here you go

      It starts as a cold like illness – headaches, sore throat – the initial different twist is often swollen red eyes – and conjunctivitis. Then the fever comes and it can be quite high. A few days later – the red rash will start on the head usually and then to the neck and the rest of the body. It is usually small red lesions at first – then it will often combine into bigger ones. They are usually flat on the skin – but may be just a little raised – and they may be just a little itchy – not painful.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        as a kid i got measles, mumps and german measles(rubella) – should i consider getting vaccinated? when i was a kid if someone in the neighborhood got these diseases Mom would send you over to get infected – i was born in 1949 –

        1. Laura in So Cal

          My own experience is that when I had my titers tested at age 38, I showed robust response for the diseases that I had at age 5 and age 8 (chicken pox and mumps). I showed no response for measles and rubella, which I had last been vaccinated against at age 17.


      2. upstater

        I had measles as a second grader, probably 3 years before the vaccine became available. I remember very clear being really sick with my 2 brothers. When I returned to school it was half empty.

        Back in summer 2020 my brother (a p/t prof at a dental school) came across some pre-pub journal articles suggesting the near absence of COVID at refugee camps in southern Europe might have been due to the MMR vaccines all new arrivals were getting (Funny Europeans, vaccinating new arrivals! How novel! Why not debit cards and bus tickets?) The theory was vaccinations boosted immune response. So we all got MMR boosters that summer. Glad we did, especially with recent events.

      3. Rainlover

        To IM Doc

        Thank you for your many valuable contributions to NC. I had both red and German (rubella) measles as a child before the vaccines. Does that provide immunity?

        1. IM Doc

          What I would tell anyone with questions like this – go to your primary care doctor and ask for your titers to be tested…….if you were vaccinated or had the natural infection, your titers will reveal whether your immunity is still robust or if you need to be considered for revaccination.

          1. Martin Oline

            Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with the readers here. We value your insights highly. I for one will schedule titer tests next time I have my annual checkup.

  3. flora

    Thanks for both Taibbi’s links. The second, still locked longer article makes the point that Mil AI is a self-licking ice cream cone. Besides being disastrously wrong all too often. 2 paras from the second longer article:

    “As seen in the Gemini rollout, and heard repeatedly across years of reports about AI products, the chief issue with such tools is that they make stuff up. The term Silicon Valley prefers is “hallucinate” — journalist Cade Metz deserves kudos for helping make it’s word of the year in 2023 — but as podcast partner Walter Kirn points out, this language is too kind. The machines lie. ”

    The machines lie.


    “Make no mistake, though, images of George Washington as a black woman and the inevitable shots of Middle East hamlets blown up by mistake will stem from the same elite political instinct. This is the real horseshoe theory, a merger of the modern left ideology of force-fed utopianism at home and the old-school neconservative utopianism of “democracy promotion” by bayonet abroad. There’s a reason these erstwhile political adversaries now serve on the same boards, give to the same politicians. They’re the same over-empowered idiots, from the same schools and neighborhoods, armed with the same lunatic technology, surrendering finally to what they see as their destiny to run things together….”

    Over-empowered idiots sounds about right. / my 2 cents

    1. ACPAL

      “They’re the same over-empowered idiots, from the same schools and neighborhoods, armed with the same lunatic technology, surrendering finally to what they see as their destiny to run things together….”

      I’m not sure “idiots” is the correct word. While I’m not a psychologist I do read. I think that many of our decision makers and their advisors could be diagnosed paranoid-delusional in believing that there is an enemy (Russian, Chinese, N. Korean, American, etc) hiding behind every tree. Others could be diagnosed as simply sociopaths looking to enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense. In short, I think that the inmates are running the asylum.

      1. digi_owl

        Or they are narcissistic psychopaths that use said “enemy” as an excuse for their own malfeasance.

        Give the masses an external enemy to focus on, and they will ignore any criminality at home.

        What worries me though is that most likely the majority are not clinically “insane”, but instead have normalized and internalized the behavior for their own survival.

        Basically the same kind of outcome one see from living long term within a gang or cult.

    2. pjay

      I’m old and cynical, and not much surprises me anymore. But this stuff is really starting to get scary. Our ‘1984’ references are no longer hyperbole. Clearly the problem here is not just AI “making stuff up,” but creating or censoring content to promote a particular political agenda. I’m guessing Hillary or Trump are too prominent for Gemini programmers to have targeted them yet, but Taibbi is considered politically weak enough to be fair game and provide us with a nice vision of the future.

      Add to this story the completely made-up NY Times article about Hamas “mass rape,” the MSNBC “legal analyst” and U. of Michigan law professor discussing the dangers of the First Amendment, and on and on in just today’s Links. It’s getting harder for me to laugh off these increasingly blatant examples of Orwellian1984-ism.

    3. Revenant

      The correct clinical term for what AI does is not lie or hallucinate, it is confabulate. Literally, AI makes up the (rest of a) story to go with the pieces it has. This is what dementia patients do, to fill in the gaps, usually logically, in their memory or understanding of events.

      Lying is a complex and intentional process and requires a theory of mind in the liar, which is too generous to AI. Hallucinate is an error at the sensory level, it would require the AI to get its wires crossed literally or in software. Whereas making things up by inference or deduction or just random insertion until the pieces fit some sort of narrative structure is confabulation.

  4. griffen

    Hilarious…man who took no sick days promoted whether he infected others in the office or not. I get the sarcasm satirical take, but come on, haven’t many of us at one time or another felt that urgent need to be in person no matter what ? I can recall this all changing in 2020 of course; someone or a few are testing, so get out, scram, leave this building !

    Take one for the team! Be like Nathan! Yeah not so much anymore.

      1. griffen

        Funny anecdote from back in the day, early 1980s for the Christmas holidays at grandparents home in eastern TN. Showed up and the grandmother was sickly, but still available to cook best I recall. Anywho, in short order one brother was sick then maybe one more, then I think that maybe our Dad came down with it towards the end. Anecdotally I want to say that was the flu…the family that shared too much at times.

    1. Socal Rhino

      My first job at an insurance company involved a herculean months-long effort to close the financial books once per year. Everyone worked however sick. The unofficial policy was that the only (probably) acceptable excuse for an absence was a death certificate. I think sick time is still viewed as career limiting.

  5. zagonostra

    >NATO Will Be Drawn Into War With Russia if Ukraine Loses: Lloyd Austin – Newsweek

    Lloyd Austin warned on Thursday that NATO will be drawn into war if Ukraine is defeated by invading Russian forces.

    …Austin predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not “stop” if Moscow wins the war in Ukraine…

    We know that if Putin is successful here, he will not stop,” Austin said. “He will continue to take more aggressive action in the region. And other leaders around the world, other autocrats, will look at this and they’ll be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed to support a democracy.

    Drawn into war? Drawn! Who is doing the pushing I want to know. We know? I don’t, and I’ve been following events closely, listening to the likes of Douglas MacGregor, Scott Ritter, Larry Wilkernson, and the rest of Judge Napolitano’s eminent guest reading NC links on the subject. Did some one forget to tell them. Don’t listen to what Putin told Tucker in their interview, don’t pretend I’m pissing on your pant leg, it’s rain.

    In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms…

    1. griffen

      “failed to support a democracy…” Support Ukraine, it is our 51st state and the American flag needs a refresh after all. 50 stars is just a too rounded amount…\ sarc

      Anyone alive during the period getting vibes similar to Colin Powell before the UN? We know Saddam has these WMDs….nope just a lot of gold plated porcelain thrones. It is hard to trust Putin would not pursue further gains but it is hard to trust or believe our elite political and military leadership given their prior fudge ups.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Does “Raytheon” Lloyd understand that he serves at the pleasure of civilian leadership? He has no business making political statements. His job is to follow the orders of the commander-in-chief. Trump could win and can him before next Valentine’s Day (let’s hope.)

      “Failed to support a democracy?” What’s that $100B plus we already sent them, plus running a Goebbels-style propaganda campaign, and press-ganging every country in the world to send military weapons, peanuts?

      And Ukraine isn’t a democracy, either. It’s a corrupt kleptocracy run by lunatics.

      Shut up and salute, Lloyd.

        1. juno mas

          Well, he’s a retired four-star general. His only civilian job was with Raytheon (military contractor). He’s used to giving Orders (and following military doctrine). Uncle Tom’s nephew.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did you hear that a Pentagon investigation just cleared him of any wrong doing in keeping his operation secret with him being out of the nuclear decision-making loop?

        ‘An internal Pentagon review of the secrecy surrounding US defense chief Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization last month has determined that while communication processes should be improved, there was no serious wrongdoing by senior officials.

        “Nothing examined during this review demonstrated any indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate,” the Pentagon said on Monday in a declassified summary of its 30-day investigation of the incident. Several measures have been adopted to ensure a smooth chain of command, and those steps were deployed when Austin was again hospitalized earlier this month for an “emergent bladder issue.”’

        I was so worried on his behalf. /sarc

    3. Mikel

      “…And other leaders around the world, other autocrats, will look at this and they’ll be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed.” Failed period. I don’t pretend to be on the same page as the Blob with the definition of “democracy.”

      And that’s the same outcome so many see with with support of the Israeli autocrats. The demons have seen how much they can get away with live and in broad daylight.

  6. Em

    Under its “nice” exterior, Canada has always been just 3 mining companies in a trenchcoat.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s OK. Oz has 6 major mining corporations who act like they want their mines too secede from the country or be in special no-taxation zones.

    1. JohnA

      A Galloway supporter interviewed by the BBC last night, mentioned the word Genocide apropos Gaza. The BBC reporter immediately told him he should not use the word genocide because some people might find it offensive!

      1. Michaelmas

        From the article, this Galloway eloquence: ‘Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside and they both got well and truly spanked tonight here in Rochdale.’

      2. CA

        “A Galloway supporter interviewed by the BBC last night, mentioned the word Genocide apropos Gaza. The BBC reporter immediately told him he should not use the word genocide because some people might find it offensive!”

        The BBC was directly responsible for ruining Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn with invented accusations of anti-Semitism as well as invented accusations of being secretly Russian. The ethics failures still startle me:

        May 11, 2018

        BBC rejects complaints that Newsnight made Corbyn look ‘more Russian’
        Decision to show photo of Labour leader in ‘Lenin-style cap’ in front of Moscow skyline was ‘based on sound news judgment’

      3. Feral Finster

        By that logic, I should stop calling the Holocaust the “Holocaust”, as it might give offense.

        No, I am NOT a Holocaust denier, just opposed to double standards and special pleading.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Also from the article –

        The election was called following the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd.

        Sir Tony had held the seat since 2017 and it was widely anticipated that the party would retain it. However, Labour were forced to withdraw support from their candidate, Azhar Ali, after it was revealed that he had suggested that Israel was complicit in the massacre of its own people on 7 October.

        Oddly, or not, no mention that what Ali “suggested” has been proven to be true –

        They just gave him the Corbyn treatment rather than standing up for him.

  7. flora

    From twtr:

    “A federal judge Christopher Cooper has just held investigative reporter Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge
    ) in civil contempt for refusing to disclose her source for stories about a Chinese American scientist investigated by the FBI during her time at Fox News in 2017. She faces an $800 daily fine until compliance, with a 30-day stay to appeal. She was just fired by @CBSNews
    with her reporting materials seized and then released following outrage. She’s known for pursuing the Hunter Biden alleged corruption story.”

    1. caucus99percenter

      Sooo — not just the dern family-bloggin’ hippies were right — some o’ them right-wing nut jobs were also right? Like, about how it’s lookin’ like we’re gonna need that there 2nd Amendment if we wanna hang on to the 1st? That the system ain’t workin’, cuz them prosecutors, judges, courts, even most o’ them rare honest libruls who useta defend civil liberties are all jes’ tools doin’ the dirty work for the bad guys now?

    2. Neutrino

      Awaiting inevitable Congressional Subpoenas for Cooper and the FBI to find out who communicated with whom when to bring about the holding. The process is even more disturbing as Catherine Herridge always seemed to be on the honest journalist side of the spectrum, as opposed to the stenographers and leakers.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Britain’s cash-strapped Navy ‘may be forced to sell off its £3.5 billion aircraft carrier the HMS Prince of Wales’ amid funding issues”

    Better to mothball that carrier than to flog it off. They never know when they might need it down the track. Readers might remember the 1982 Falklands war when the UK – which still had a navy at the time – sent a task force to the South Atlantic which included the carrier HMS Invincible. But it was a near run thing-

    ‘On 25 February 1982, after several months of negotiations, the Australian government announced that it had agreed to buy Invincible for £175 million (285 million A$)[b] as a replacement, under the name HMAS Australia, for the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Melbourne. Australia planned to make minimal changes to the carrier, adding more fuel and replacing some of the ship’s computers. Initially at least, it was planned to operate helicopters only. The sale was confirmed by the Ministry of Defence.

    On 2 April 1982, however, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Three days later, a naval task force headed by Invincible and Hermes left HMNB Portsmouth bound for the South Atlantic

    On 1 June, the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, advised the British government that the sale of Invincible to Australia could be cancelled if desired. In July 1983, a year after the end of the Falklands conflict, the Ministry of Defence announced that it had withdrawn its offer to sell Invincible so it could maintain a three-carrier force.’

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m trying to figure out just where you list an aircraft carrier for sale? Craigslist under “Boating?” Maybe a want ad in Yachting for billionaires who don’t want to be limited to accessing their home away from home by mere helicopter but prefer landing their private jet right on the deck?

      1. Alice X

        ~where you list an aircraft carrier for sale?

        Facebook Marketplace, dontchaknow…


        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Nothing but the finest British craftsmanship.

          My gut is the aircraft carrier is purchased for Ukraine with docking fees paid by Europe.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            The NATO member states sell it among themselves, UK to France, France to Germany, etc., in order to meet the NATO defense expenditure requirements. Easy, can be done in an hour bringing them all into compliance.

      2. Neutrino

        Buy a fractional beneficial interest using your newly-acquired and hypothecated Bitcoin, of course. The new PoW Limited Partnership, or whatever Charles and William and Privy Counselors want to call it, will be taking subscriptions. /s

      3. juno mas

        Where to list? US Federal Register… who else has the money? China has it’s own carrier design and not interested. India? Maybe…but they’ll only pay in Rupees. Possibly the Cousteau Society…offshore maritime reef?

      4. Late Introvert

        Just name it Boaty McBoatface, it will get crowd funded and become a party boat. Seriously, do that.

    2. digi_owl

      That’s one of those they got built by reclassifying it as a through deck cruiser when the politicians told the uniforms that aircraft carriers was verboten?

      Sometimes it seems like nobody can be maliciously compliant quite like a career soldier.

  9. Em

    Why are we still pretending that anything coming out of Israel, MSM, or 99% of Western politicians isn’t a lie? Isn’t the last 146 days enough to prove beyond all doubt that they need lying the way a shark need to keep swimming? They’re not lying to make themselves look better, they’re doing it to gaslight us. To psychologically torture and condition the witnesses along with their direct victims.

    1. zagonostra

      Yeah, I’m with you. I couldn’t stomach clicking on “What We Know About the Deaths Near the Gaza Aid Convoy NYT.” and if there was ever a case of the kettle calling the pot black you have The ‘Guardian’ exposes how CNN slants the Gaza news – Mondoweiss

      I’ll leave to the readers with a stronger intestinal fortitude to read and comment…

  10. Koldmilk

    Is this a future money-making scheme:

    An intern at a newspaper uses Gemini to quickly write an article on a celeb. Overworked editors skip proofing (and there are no more fact checkers). The article is published, and the newspaper is sued for blatant libel. Their defense: Gemini did it. Lawyers, seeking a target with bigger wallets, turn to Google, sorry, Alphabet.

    With luck, along with the copyright infringement cases, this takes down these AI behemoths.

    1. griffen

      Breaking news this morning, in regards to AI…Elon Musk takes off the kid gloves and is hauling Sam Altman’s arse into the courts. Leading off their coverage on CNBC this morning. Billionaire vs Billionaire, get your popcorn.

      And while that is not specific to Gemini / Alphabet nonsense…this AI genie is getting out of the bottle. Probably a good time to get a few attorneys to scribble a disclaimer.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Musk is really turning out to be quite the turd in the PMC’s punchbowl.

        First, he bought X and kicked out the FBI and other governmental goons that had turned Twitter into a quasi-government First amendment violating entity.

        Then he showed that 50% of most tech companies hiring was fluff.

        Now this. He’s got my popcorn vote.

  11. GramSci

    Link to Tiberius’ jeremiad?

    Out of confirmed oldcootism, I refuse to even give a fake email to outlets like the MSM formerly known as Twitter, but would greatly appreciate a link that I can anonymously copy and link to as text.

      1. t

        Thanks from me, too. Another on the endless pile of Musk stoopids is making it very nearly impossible to look at Twitter without an account. (Maybe that will change when he pays his bills for servers.)

    1. Alice X

      Here is the text:



      The old world is no longer dying, it is dead. There is no going back to how things were after this genocide has been live-streamed in high definition and Technicolour for the world to see and our leaders to endorse. The bloodthirsty status quo has been revealed to too many people, and some cats will simply not go back into their bags.

      I know what the inside of skulls look like now.

      I know how bodies burn and how limbs come off.

      I know that children never look more devastatingly innocent than when they’ve been killed by a vicious army using the world’s most advanced weaponry. I know this because I’ve seen so many of them now—so many more than the sum of all the living children I will likely ever know.

      I know how much pain a person can bear and still exist in this world—just ask any Palestinian still alive.

      There are so many images I will never forget that everything outside of Gaza seems as meaningless as what colour socks I wear. But it’s not just the horrors of the moment—those horrors aren’t new. In spite of the increased severity, Palestinians have known these horrors for longer than I’ve existed.

      It’s what this horror means, as well. It means that any single tyrant can murder any of us at will with our entire families, neighbourhoods and communities and world leaders will not act to stop them.

      It means that savages in suits can kill us all with advanced drones and we can share the corpses of our children with billions of people, and the media will excuse it, scapegoat our kin and divert attention away by any means necessary.

      It means the legal apparatus set up in the wake of the Holocaust to prevent another Holocaust from occurring is meaningless, because the very nations who ratified it in law will ignore its clear imperatives and even subvert and attack those who try to enforce it.

      In this moment, Israel’s actions have cost the entire world more than anyone can quantify, and the depraved and twisted Western coalition that has supported the Israeli regime has ensured that cost is deep and that we all must bear it.

      We will either drift further into chaos and warfare that will touch us all, or we will achieve material change that denounces and fundamentally alters the mechanics of power—those that currently deem the blood of tens of thousands of children an insufficient currency for purchasing peace.

      This, I believe, is the great battle of our time, and it’s not going away. The old world is dead, that’s for sure, and the monsters are fully in control. The question is, what can we do about it?

      5:27 PM · Feb 29, 2024

    1. hemeantwell

      I searched the article for the word “emotion” and it wasn’t there. If by “understanding” we mean a replication by AI of the process of arriving at what humans take to be knowledge, then any discussion which does not refer to emotion is inadequate. We are constantly sorting through the impressions that make up the flow of experience, all of which have some emotional valence. Looking at it from the standpoint of error generation, in psychoanalysis this often comes down to a person learning — and hopefully working through — what their transference dispositions are that tend to skew their experience of others. Kahneman, in distinguishing between “fast” and “slow” knowledge, was more or less in this ballpark at the more general epistemological levels investigated by cognitive psychology.

      That said, I’m only addressing a shortcoming of the article. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be possible to create a program that would distinguish between an impetuous “fast” or hot response and one that is more reflective, perhaps even in terms of being able to recognize being “tempted” to an error by something akin to raw emotion. I also don’t see why it would not be possible for AI to simulate empathy for a human being, in the sense of being able to appreciate what drives their thoughts and feelings. The real problem lies in how AI’s approximations would be coarse and never quite on the mark, and the effects that would have on their human interlocutors over time. It might be useful to think about this as a further warping of our “Big Other,” that diffuse personality construct we compose as we try to imagine what “society” thinks of us and how we are regarded.

      The Taibbi article on Gemini manufacturing controversies involving him is definitely relevant here. Imagine how someone feels if they search for controversies about themselves and run into the same bilge. No one is safe from an AI-driven twitter mob.

      1. Steve H.

        > why it wouldn’t be possible to create a program that would distinguish between an impetuous “fast” or hot response and one that is more reflective


        Charles Osgood : Three factors have emerged. The attitudinal variable in human thinking, based as it is on the bedrock of rewards and punishments, is first – “Is it good or is it bad?” The second dimension is the potency factor, concerned with power and the things associated with it, size, weight, toughness, and the like. The third is the activity factor – concerned with quickness, excitement, warmth, agitation and the like. [1957]

        For example, Quarrelsome (-1.88, -0.45, 1.27) is very bad, kinda weak, and very active (fast, hot). Angry (-1.02, 0.34, 0.39) is more powerful and less active. Reasonable (1.66, 1.13, -0.59) is somewhat slow.

        Overall, the activity dimension maps to your criteria.

        1. hemeantwell

          Thanks. I guess a lot hinges on what falls under “slow” processes. Is it the equivalent of sending a bunch of researchers off into the library stacks to thoroughly hunt for relevant information, or does it recognize the possibility of patterned bias in the executive functions that evaluate the information?

          Since, as others here have pointed out, we’re entering a period where AI can generate misinformation which repeatedly distorts searches, is there some way for AI to recognize that it is being misguided by its own distortions? E.g. Taibbi is the victim of its own smear based on concocted articles? And so we get to the usual “who will educate the educators?” problem, but compounded by the LBJ observation about spreading rumors that an opponent was having sex with quadrupeds: “Of course it’s not true, but the will have to deny it.” Dante would have added an annex to to one of the upper floors of hell with this as a punishment.

    2. Craig H.

      Would any philosphers in the readership care to comment?

      Some persons are not human. Animism.

      I like trees better than robots myself.

      The more hours the users invest in helping to train the bots for free the faster OpenAI gets its greedy little hands on that 7 trillion dollars they are out to raise.

      1. Wukchumni

        Find something where AI will not intrude on your life, very little of what I do in the great outdoors will ever be compromised by artificial intelligence.

        1. dday

          Artificial snowmaking at ski resorts, avalanche detection, search and rescue using drones? Big game permits, endangered species protection, range management?

          Many hikers now use either All Trails or Gaia to navigate, I imagine some AI creeping in there as well.

          When we rafted the Colorado it might have been useful to see a mockup at various water levels. Lava Falls changes greatly at different flows.

        2. Cat Burglar

          I agree with you.

          But try going for an unpermitted day hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness without one of the permits you have to reserve and pay for, kindly administered by Booz Allen Hamilton at the website.

          For a time, we can just go elsewhere to remoter places. Or you can climb South Sister at night, as people already do without permits. We will have to keep being creative as they try to hunt us down. Cost-cutting may help us — they may not want to hire anyone to patrol!

    3. semper loquitur

      Thanks for the link. The author of the piece posted here did use the word “consciousness” several times but he didn’t seem to tie it in as an integral part of understanding something. He argued that humans and LLMs have similarities in how they learn and perhaps so but human understanding is couched in human awareness.

      I suspect the author took some reductive neuroscience schema about human learning and used that as a kind of skeletal straw man against which to favorably compare LLMs “learning”strategies. Then he claims because there are similar patterns there must be a similar conclusion. I suspect all claims about AGI are using a stripped down understanding of how humans learn to mirror LLM “learning”.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Suppose the Chinese Room is converted to a Venusian Room. One of the future missions to Venus discovers a great library of Venusian literature and Science along with some Venusian equivalent to a dictionary. Could an AI or human ever ‘understand’ any of the contents in the library? Perhaps archaeology might discover a hidden library of literature and Science hidden in an ancient ruin, written in a dead language with no living descendants of the ancient Society, its culture, and no speakers of even a remotely descended language. Could an AI or human ever ‘understand’ any of the contents in the library?

      Consider the abstractions of higher mathematics. Some years ago mathematics was taught as though it were purely abstract and divorced from intuition. Intuition was even deliberately frustrated and subjected to suspicion and disrepute based on the notion that intuition too often lead a student into fallacy. How well did a student ‘understand’ mathematics without intuition? Does ability manipulating abstract symbols following the rules of logic and working with abstract definitions and theorems constitute ‘understanding’?

      If AI can be said to ‘understand’ something — I need to greatly modify my naive understanding of what the word means.

      1. Ellery O'Farrell

        Perhaps it’s even simpler. Lacking a tongue and associated perception and interpretation apparatus, can AI be said to understand taste? Or, say, the smoothness yet solidity of a dolphin’s skin or the feeling of fur? Physical pleasure and pain? And so on. Words aren’t all there is to human understanding.

        First, they have to build a more humanoid AI. I think.

        Or am I misunderstanding the argument?

    5. djrichard

      In “The Breakdown of Conciousness in the Bicameral Mind”, Julian Jaynes flipped the word “understand” on its head to “to stand under”. I think the assertion was that that was the etymological origin of the word. But what was more interesting was how a 4000 year old Babylonian stele showing Hammurabi standing under his god was used to drive Jaynes’s thesis about conciousness being a breakdown of that state – a state of basically being in a hypnotic trance to authority. Jaynes suggested this breakdown happened when cultures came in contact with each other. But that we still have that vestigial “stand under” hypnotic linkage to authority.

      It’s interesting to compare to AI. When AI is trained, one could construe that as AI standing under authority. Compare to humans, where we’re trained to respond to what authority wants (to be able to respond to authority is to be responsible).

      What’s scary to me is when the AI is used to turn the tables on the user base and spools out words in a way that claims authority. And puts us homo sapiens in the subordinate position where we’re standing under the AI, where we’re paying rapt attention what the AI has to say. If we’re standing under the AI, then the AI has done its job. All this talk about whether the AI truly “understands” what it is spooling at us is a moot point in my mind. It is doing what the trainers want it to do – the trainers are the true authority.

      Flora, thanks for the recommended to the article. Sasha said something funny but revealing in that substack about AI “Imagining Things, but Confidently”. It’s not just the AI that does this. We all do this, or at least I do. I get out over my skis all the time. It’s the way I’m wired. But that’s when I learn the most. I need a response to test my thinking. If I want the process to be successful I don’t adopt an air of authority. Vice versa, if I want the process to not be successful, I adopt an air of authority, which shuts down dialogue.

      And I think that’s one of the keys to authority – the point of authority is to shut down dialogue. Or more specifically, to not entertain dissent. Again, the point of authority is our surrender given willingly, to absorb what authority has to say. It doesn’t matter if authority is out over their skis when we’re in a defenseless state. Authority is spooling reality at us as it talks. No different than AI.

      And that’s what is scary about AI. Because AI is using not only spooling out words which we interpret as communication. But AI is also spooling out words which we interpret as claims to authority. And the vast majority of users are going to stand under that authority rather than challenge it, surrendering themselves willingly.

      Here’s the stele of Hammurabit standing under his god:

  12. JohnA

    Re The ‘Guardian’ exposes how CNN slants the Gaza news

    Kettle meet Pot.
    The Guardian is equally insidious in its Gaza coverage with a distinct pro-Israel slant.
    Prime example, today’s front page headline about the massacre of over 100 Palestinians queuing for flour and being shot dead by IDF snipers and tank shells.

    ‘More than 100 Palestinians die in chaos surrounding Gaza aid convoy’
    Palestinians always seem to just ‘die’ without external explanation, whereas Israelis are always killed or murdered in western mainstream media.

    1. Feral Finster

      In “Politics And The English Language”, George Orwell described, among other things, the political value of clear writing and clear speaking, in particular, how the passive voice is used to obfuscate and avoid responsibility.

      When I lived in Ukraine, I used to make Ukrainians read this. Seems it didn’t sink in.

  13. WillyBgood

    The Honest Broker statement on culture is on point. I can definitely imagine someone from my generation being transported from back in the day to now and seeing it like Marty McFly when he ends up in Biff’s world in the second back to the future, a dystopian gangster gambling den. I think that is why I like walking so much.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Gioia understands official channels for media distribution but still fails to appreciate how irrelevant Disney is to the future of entertainment. Once you break free of the Blob-driven entertainment industry, it’s hard to see anything they do as being truly entertaining.

      Arts and entertainment both rely on the breaking of cycles to remain relevant and in demand. I can’t help but think that the youngest among us view arena shows as a joke, and actively make jokes about “top” rated shows. Don’t ask me what the jokes are or to explain them, I just know they’re being told. Mainstream culture is about dumbing down extreme new trends but thanks to binge watching everyone now knows the couple dozen basic plot lines. Entertainment-wise, the center cannot hold.

      Entertainment will gravitate to the edges (chasing $$), culture will balkanize and re-balkanize as new generations seek to brand themselves as something the rest of us are not. We’re headed back into an era where if your parents understand what you’re saying, you must not be very cool.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “Entertainment will gravitate to the edges (chasing $$), culture will balkanize and re-balkanize as new generations seek to brand themselves as something the rest of us are not. We’re headed back into an era where if your parents understand what you’re saying, you must not be very cool.”

        Schismogenesis. It can serve to delineate further two different tribes, or it can be a major factor in societal fracture.

      2. Neutrino

        Bread – price up, supply down, health news says bad for you, try the new faux-bread

        Circuses – no more animals, useless eaters, watch the shows and then have the panels of insiders tell you what you saw

        Now on the convenient subscription model, Entertainment as a DisService.

        Meanwhile, local performers need support. Seek out musicians, theater companies and such.

        1. juno mas

          Yes, seek out live, local performers. Artists with actual skill with instruments, singing, language, and theatrical expression.

          1. Wukchumni

            He’s hardly local, but quite live and he plays all over the world, and Eric Clapton said he was the best guitarist of all time, high praise indeed!

            He is currently on the left coast, go see him~

            I’ve seen him 4 or 5 times and frankly the best concerts of my life, as not only is he a phenomenal artist, but also the ultimate showman…

            Guitar Boogie, performed by Tommy Emmanuel


            Initiation by Tommy Emmanuel



            1. Reply

              Pickin’ and grinnin’ encyclopedia entry reputed to be picture of Tommy Emmanuel. :)

              Apparently, an early exposure to guitar music came via a car radio show while on a ride with his dad in Oz. As a kid, his role was to hold the aerial to try to get the station to come in more clearly. He was smitten and fans are grateful!

      3. Stephanie

        My sense from the article is that Giola understands exactly how irrelevant Disney is in that he posits that the young are a huge chunk of the demo being trained to ignore even the drek that Disney produces in favor of the microscopic farts of hyper-individualized content to which the algorithm seeks to addict them.

        If he is correct about that, that distraction ultimately leads to addiction, my guess is that any stylistic or aesthetic ‘rebellion’ in the context of the personalized feed will be against those who have personalized their feeds to display different content, not against the algorithm itself – punks vs hippies, Trots vs Tankies, radfems vs libfems all the way down.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Wow (WoW) — so, video game designers have become ♫ “The Pusher” in Hoyt Axton’s song, as performed by Steppenwolf …

  14. Mikerw0

    It’s so damn depressing to watch the active denial as to how we have designed and run an economy to benefit the elites that virtually assures civilization collapse. It is not just resource depletion or morals as cited in the article above, it is simple. Melting of the Earth’s ice-caps cannot be stopped and sea levels will rise. Major population centers will be deluged, weather patterns will drastically alter, etc.

    It is baked in. EVs won’t stop it, some technological miracle won’t stop it.

  15. Mark Gisleson

    Doing away with NDAs could strengthen the PMCs and in a good way. NDAs make it all but impossible to switch jobs and no one blabs about bad practices like someone who’s just come aboard from a competitor (say nice things in the interview, exploit your insider knowledge after you get the job).

    This will weaken corporate power enormously. Secrecy will be much harder to maintain, wrongdoing harder to cover up (imagine a world in which corporations snitched on each other ; )

      1. bob

        99% of that was Steve Jobs. He was the head of the cartel. Mark Ames wrote about Jobs petty response to someone trying to hire one of his slaves out from under him. Steve had the recruiter fired. When he was informed via email that they had been fired he responded with just a –


        I can’t find the story online anymore.

  16. Jason Boxman

    CDC is justifying an openly eugenicst policy with junk science, produced to order for that purpose. Every author, every editor, and every administrator who signed off on this thing should resign. Of course they will not; in fact, most are likely to be promoted (“Thank you for your service”). Je répète: CDC should be burned to the ground, the ashes scattered, the rubble plowed under, and the ground salted.

    This, full stop. This has been clear for awhile now, and for some reason it seems particularly outrageous, perhaps because I had long subscribed to a fantasy belief that at least public health would be sacrosanct, because if the population is sickly, how can capitalist reproduction continue apace?

    How wrong I was. There is nothing sacred that will not be sacrificed for capitalist exploitation.

    The United States is not a serious country.

    The Pandemic marks the beginning of a new era: The communicable disease era, revisited upon Americans by a degenerate power elite, taking us back more than a hundred years. Even the miasma theory of disease had more efficacy than what the CDC is peddling today. That’s shocking.

    In the immediate term, the health care system and the public education system are done. They’re finished. You can’t have sick people congregating, or large masses of people congregating, without an increasing risk of the spread of diseases, particularly those that spread through the air. Not just SARS2, but measles, TB.

    As repeat SARS2 infections work their magic, the human machinery itself will become increasingly lame, leaving us with breakdowns theretofore not experienced in recent history.

    1. t

      At the same time this is happening, I have seen workplace advice columns being a little more tempered about suggesting HR as a solution to problems. So perhaps people can learn that anything in place to protect the C suite is not your friend.

      Has been clear for some time that the function of the CDC, in regard infectious disease (and guns), is to provide guidelines for bosses to cite.

      1. Neutrino

        HR has two basic roles:
        Handle payroll and benefits
        Protect the company from the employees

        CDC has its own variant, where they play out their role in the regulatory capture process.

    2. Jessica

      Industrial capitalism is fundamentally expansionist. Absorb (borg) more, seize more profits and power.
      Post-industrial financial capitalism has a strong contractionist streak. Shrink everything so that everyone has to pass through one narrow door, then suck their blood as they pass by.

  17. ChrisFromGA

    Macron calls for an independent probe into the Gaza atrocities.

    Please stop the passive voice. Atrocities don’t just fall out of the sky like manna. How about this headline:

    “Macron calls for an independent probe into IDF slaughtering innocent Gazan civilians that they lured to a food trap like rats to strychnine laced cheese?”

    And where is that old geezer Joe? He so desperately wants a fake cease-fire so he can get this off the front pages and focus on sending more weapons to the IDF. Well, too bad, your cease-fire is dog squeeze now, Joe.

  18. KLG

    Thank you! I needed those antidotes today! Two families of Melanerpes erythrocephalus return to my golf course every year. They follow us on our summer afternoon walks not spoiled. We have to go farther afield to find Dryocopus pileatus, but they are still common in these parts, too. Imagine what the ivory bill looked like!

    Deep Enough for Ivorybills, by James Kilgo.

  19. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Decimal Point is 150 Years Older than Previously Thought.

    The Smithsonian article is riddled with errors. It reinforces the DJG Axiom about Writing about Italy and the Mediterranean World, that is, Anglo-Americans are always wrong.

    The 1440s are not part of the medieval era in Italy. The Renaissance was in full swing. Heck, Giotto, who led the way into the Renaissance, was born in 1267. Giovanni Bellini was born in 1427.

    The Este family ruled Ferrara, not Venice. This isn’t hard to look up. Giovanni Bianchini was recruited by the Este family because of his obvious talents. Ferrara was a major cultural center at that time: Ask Lucrezia Borgia.

    The use of the tables was for astronomy and astrology. I suspect that the authors of the articles in English don’t have the background to study astrological tables, like the ephemeris (plural ephimerides), of which there would have been many. Bianchini may have picked up the decimal point from astrologers (although at that time astrology and astronomy were much closer than today). If Bianchini started as a merchant, he likely was trained by someone who may already have been using the decimal point.

    I am reminded that Fibonacci started as a merchant and then brought decimal numerals (the Hindu-Arabic system to Western Europe).

    This Italian article is better and is from Ferrara, where Bianchini spent most of his career:

    Here is a Nature article you may be able to open:

    Here is the image mentioned in filo magazine. Note the word Astrologiae

    What an ephemeris is:

    Astrologers among the commentariat? Weigh in.

    1. zagonostra

      My Italian is a bit rusty, but thanks for the link.

      I didn’t know what an ephemeris was, but I do now ( tables that gives the trajectory of naturally occurring astronomical objects) also just learned what an Egregore is (an esoteric concept representing a non-physical entity or thoughtform that arises from the collective thoughts and emotions of a distinct group of individuals)… two new words in one day, and it’s still early here in EST.

  20. Wukchumni

    The planning team came in after the weekend to see another beautiful Martian drill hole on the target Mineral King! Mineral King is named after a silver mining district in Sequoia National Park, California. This was a pretty odd-looking rock, with the big overhanging ledges and several different colors, so we were all pretty anxious to see the drilling results. Fortunately, the rock was strong enough to drill without the rock layers breaking apart. However, it was also hard enough to slow down our drill progress and require percussion near the end. As a result, this hole is on the shallow side, meaning we may not have collected as much sample to analyze. However, we have had successful sample analyses after similarly shallow drill holes (like Edinburgh back on sol 2710) and our portion characterization does show we have sample, so the team is optimistic and going forward with dropping off sample to CheMin today. We prefer to do the sample drop-off as close as possible to when we’ll be doing the CheMin analysis, which is at night during cooler temperatures. While we are waiting for the sun to go down we are doing some targeted science and imaging.

  21. pjay

    – “Between The Hammer and the Anvil” The Intercept.

    This is a long article, but I strongly recommend it. The article is extraordinary for a number of reasons. For one thing it thoroughly debunks *every* source of the long-running “mass rape” propaganda campaign, with the *primary ur-source for the Times article* – Anat Schwartz – admitting over and over that there was NO evidence for ANY of the various claims that kept being recycled in the media and were finally collected in the Times article in question. Even more significant, the article makes crystal clear that the NY Times and its lead author, “Pulitzer Prize” winner (naturally!) Jeffrey Gettleman, are responsible for spinning this non-existent “evidence” into a gut-wrenching, emotionally manipulative piece of propaganda.

    The most infuriating thing of all is knowing that this will soon disappear down the memory hole like all the other major Times propaganda efforts over the years. Many of these were either written by “Pulitzer Prize” winners or earned the “Prize” for its authors. Certainly a badge of honor.

    1. Carolinian

      The Pulitzer Prizes are sort of like the Oscars in that they are awards that the MSM gives to itself with the same bias and unreliable results as the Oscars. They probably meant more back when the journalism business itself was more respectable.

      1. Berny3

        Can’t remember where I heard these words of wisdom:

        Awards are like hemorrhoids. Sooner or later every asshole gets one.

    2. Carolinian

      From the indeed long story.

      Margaret Sullivan, the last public editor for the New York Times to serve a full term before the paper discarded the position in 2017, said that she hopes such an investigation will be launched into the “Screams Without Words” story. “I sometimes joke ‘it’s another good day not to be the New York Times public editor’ but the organization could *really* use one right now to investigate on behalf of the readers,”

      While Sullivan has subsequently been no friend to Trump it says a lot that it was after he became president the NYT decided they no longer needed an ombudsman. To the guardians of “the norms” the ascension of the anything but normal reality star provided the excuse to go full yellow journalist. The NYT’s Rutenberg even said as much in a column declaring Trump a kind of journalism emergency with advocacy now the mode. Of course the slide began long before that with the Judy Miller scandal and all the rest of it but the establishment refused to accept that it was they themselves the public were rejecting with Trump and the turn to internet alternatives. They are the Ancien Regime that has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Is reform of the NYT even possible?

      1. CA

        Margaret Sullivan, the last public editor for the New York Times to serve a full term before the paper discarded the position in 2017, said that she hopes such an investigation will be launched into the “Screams Without Words” story. “I sometimes joke ‘it’s another good day not to be the New York Times public editor’ but the organization could *really* use one right now to investigate on behalf of the readers,”

        [ Margaret Sullivan was a terrific voice.

        A range of articles in the New York Times have seemingly become remarkably slanted, and accordingly elicit comments that are as slanted or more so. Comments questioning articles, which appeared routinely a few years ago, seemingly are no more or are just seldom printed.

        Articles on China, to which I always pay attention, have long struck me as routinely and fiercely slanted. ]

  22. Vicky Cookies

    Re: the FP piece on this new scramble for Africa:

    It isn’t until the final paragraph that there is the slightest allusion to the interests of the people who happen to live on top of our critical minerals.

    A dreaded possibility is coming to pass: lithium, cobalt, and the REE used in the production of energy systems are to be the focus of a new Green Imperialism. Above the protests of climate scientists and anti-imperialists, environmentally disastrous mining projects are to be undertaken by the bourgeoisie in the powerful countries at the expense of the poor in the third world, and the climate itself.

    If only we could figure out how these thieves could get fat on de-growth, we might have a shot at minimally addressing the need for less, instead of merely different energy consumption, and the real needs and interests of the people who had the effrontery to be born on top of our resources.

    Anyone have a pitch for the NGO world-savers?

      1. Bsn

        ….. owl. I KNOW you like rabbits :-). My favorite stew is Lapin aux sauce pruneaux, but I’m only human, not a wise owl.

    1. anahuna

      When Biden loses the coming election — providing he survives or is not replaced beforehand — will anyone dare blame Israel for “sabotaging his campaign”? /s

  23. upstater

    re. Washington Wants to Revive a Critical Minerals Mega-Railway Through Africa

    The move comes straight out of China’s Belt-and-Road playbook… in 2022, a U.S.-backed consortium won the rights to develop the railway, beating out Beijing’s bid.

    This sounds like a PLAN! I’m thinking the consortium building the California HSR should be the group for this job. Then we can hire PSR executives to run the whole thing. PE can provide capital and then the company floated on the NYSE.

    1. CA

      March 1, 2024

      Chinese-built light rail project inaugurated in Nigeria’s state of Lagos

      ABUJA — The first phase of a Chinese-built state-of-the-art light rail project in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Lagos was inaugurated Thursday by President Bola Tinubu, opening a new chapter in addressing the challenges of traffic congestion and commuting delays that have long plagued the country’s economic powerhouse.

      Undertaken by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in 2021, the transformative Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project is 26.5 km long with eight stations.

      Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, Tinubu described the project as “a dream realized and a fulfillment of years of hard work and dedication by successive governments.”

      The president, who later led an inaugural ride on the Red Line train, also witnessed the contract signing ceremony for the construction of the second phase of the LRMT Red Line project by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority and the CCECC.

      In December 2022, the CCECC completed the 13-km-long first phase of the construction of the LRMT Blue Line project, which aims to complement the entire Red Line initiative…

    2. c_heale

      I’m not sure the US has the engineering know how to do this. How many big rail projects have been built in the US in the past 20 years.

      To me, it sounds like a fantasy?

  24. bdy

    >The Death of the Non-Compete Clause May Be Imminent

    Spouse is a former attorney who did some employment litigation, and is now an Administrative Judge working employment disputes. They advised clients that non-compete clauses are almost universally unenforceable, telling at least one vindictive boss there was no point trying to sue former employees out of their livelihoods.

    Think about it. You can’t tell someone they can’t go get a job. Non-competes are intimidation measures to keep workers in line, disproportionately affecting those less inclined to seek legal advice. It’s a shame that attorneys aren’t subject to censure for fraud when, knowing better, they still draft non-competes into contracts.

    1. Bazarov

      Non-competes may not be enforceable by the courts, but that doesn’t mean a private corporation can’t do enforcing of their own.

      Take Epic Systems, the notorious purveyor of electronic medical records software. For example, Epic Systems is infamous for its non-compete, especially because that company’s strategy is to churn-and-burn new college computer science graduates. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Epic’s non-compete is very effective, not because of judicial enforcement but because Epic will not allow former employees who violated the non-compete to work with any current Epic employee or to access Epic’s software.

      A huge number of businesses, basically any that touch healthcare or could touch that industry, do work that requires liaising with Epic or their software in some way. If you have a former Epic employee on one of your teams, and that employee is in violation of the non-compete, you could find that Epic has cut off the whole team until the violation’s “rectified”–not by the courts in this instance but by the business that needs Epic’s cooperation to succeed.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I met someone on the Epic burnout train in 2014 and it’s definitely as you describe. Burn grads into the ground. He got out after some years.

    1. digi_owl

      “History may not repeat, but it sure do rhyme”

      I think i saw someone nail the downfall of Byzantium to them not producing new art, but instead eternally reproducing copies of the old masters.

      1. Carolinian

        Fans of Dune the books might complain that the movie versions are new art. In any case I like Villeneuve.

  25. urdsama

    Wasn’t the “one day” COVID policy first started by Oregon? Why attribute it to California?

  26. CA

    S.L. Kanthan @Kanthan2030

    Not Guilty

    It took five freaking years for US courts to find a leading Chinese semiconductor company innocent.

    In 2018, American firm Micron accused Fujian Jinhua of stealing IP — of memory (DRAM) chips.

    US gov immediately placed draconian sanctions and practically killed the Chinese company.

    8:43 PM · Feb 29, 2024

  27. Sub-Boreal

    As if feral hogs weren’t enough to worry about, we now have to watch out for aggressive wild turkeys. Fortunately, in that case a brave citizen took the initiative to protect public safety: “The man who shot the turkey with a slingshot brought the claws back to the mayor and the bird will be cooked and eaten on Friday”.

    1. Wukchumni

      We must have as many wild turkeys in Tiny Town as we do people.

      Unlike other wild critters that vamoose when you approach them on the road, turkeys have a unusual more defiant posture, as in

      Yo!, i’m standing here

      1. Carolinian

        Around here they are as shy as coyotes and for the same reason. They even get killed with slingshots.

      2. zach

        “About the turkey, Franklin wrote that in comparison to the bald eagle, the turkey is “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America…He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage.” ”

        There is a flock of maybe 30-40 wild turkeys that haunts the orchards down the road from me, witnessed them seeing off an adult bald eagle skulking around a couple of weeks ago, blocked the entirety of the two lane road in the process. I’m pretty sure one is leucistic, rolling by at a 30-45 mph clip makes positive ID a little imprecise.

        1. Wukchumni

          If Ben had his way and the Turkey was made the National Bird, would we be eating ButterBald® Eagles for Thanksgiving?

  28. Tom Stone

    The Center for Disease Communication is doing a bang up job of killing off the kids, I wonder how many of today’s 5 year olds will see 40?
    There’s no way these people don’t know what they are doing, with a smile.

  29. CA

    March 1, 2024

    China’s manufacturing PMI slightly down in February on seasonal factors

    China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 49.1 in February, down from the previous month’s 49.2, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed on Friday.

    Despite being below the 50-point threshold separating growth from contraction, the latest manufacturing PMI figures aligned with the historical characteristics typically attributed to the Chinese New Year holiday and other seasonal factors, Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research at JLL Greater China, told CGTN.

    PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector came in at 51.4 in February, up 0.7 percentage point from the previous month and rising for three consecutive months.

    Among industries driven by the holiday period, the business activity indexes of retail, rail and road transportation and catering grew above 53. While air transportation, monetary and financial services, and entertainment grew rapidly with activity indexes above 60 points.

    In addition, the business activity index and the new order index of the construction industry – which reflects the demand for infrastructure investment – both rebounded to above 60, indicating an acceleration of growth.

    The business activity index of the financial industry also rose to above 60 in February, with the banking industry in particular performing well. Judging from January’s social financing data, the recent financial industry’s support for the real economy continues to grow.

    Meanwhile, Caixin’s manufacturing PMI for February came in at 50.9, edging up 0.1 point from the previous month.

    The latest PMI reading was the best recorded since August 2023 and indicated that business conditions have now strengthened in the past four months, according to a Caixin press release…

  30. Lee

    “Yes, AIs ‘understand’ things Robert Wright, Nonzero. The deck: “At least, the classic argument against AI understanding—John Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment—is fatally undermined by large language models.” Would any philosphers in the readership care to comment?”

    I will not comment on this as I am still engaged in trying to wrap my mind around pithy statements by actual Chinese philosophers, such as Hui Neng’s, “To begin with nothing exists”, or “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” However, I did find a link to a paper: The Chinese Room Argument from Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For those so inclined, have at it. Meanwhile I will continue to meander philosophically eastward.

  31. ChrisFromGA

    The Defamation Boogie

    Sung to the tune of, “Boot scootin’ boogie” by Brooks & Dunn

    Out in the country there’s an orangeman talkin’ bad,
    He’s got a big fat mouth and no filter to be had,
    He made false statements ’bout a gal in a department store
    “She’s a liar, whack job”, said the orange-haired bloke
    That’s how all the big dopes do the defamation boogie

    Now Jean’s no dummy, she don’t think that’s so funny
    When it’s lawyerin’ time they’ll hit the ground runnin’
    They’ll fire up the motions and to the Federal courthouse run
    Present a prima facie case to show the defamation boogie

    Yeah, false statement, docie doe, come on, baby let’s go, reputation harmin’
    Oh purporting to be a fact, publish dat, baby claw some dough back, damages!
    Oh, yer goin’ down, orange clown, negligence-town, the defamation boogie!

    The judge looks at Don, say, “Son what defense will it be?”
    “I want a shot at that redhead in the jury box lookin’ at me”
    The court room’s hoppin’, and it’s hotter than the Fourth of July
    I see outlaws, slander, battery, hate
    All out makin’ it shake doin’ the defamation boogie

    Yeah, false statement, docie doe, come on, baby let’s go, reputation harmin’
    Oh purporting to be a fact, publish dat, baby claw some dough back, damages!
    Oh, yer goin’ down, orange clown, broketown, the defamation boogie!

    1. griffen

      I like that, nicely done. Not a huge country fan but listened in the 90s to them and say Vince Gill for a quick examples . Wonder if Trump will consider his cases underneath a “Neon Moon”?

    2. Lena

      Well done. I’ve been trying to write a Gaza version of George Strait’s hit “Oceanfront Property” but am failing. I don’t seem to have the talent for it.

  32. Wukchumni

    Well, he watched what went down in Gaza, IDF doing their best
    Excitable goy, they all said
    And he tried to get it off his chest
    Excitable goy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable goy

    He took in the food dispersal where 100 died
    Excitable goy, they all said
    And he dared claim Israelis were anti-Semitic, no lie
    Excitable goy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable goy

    He took exception to the 30,000 dead
    Excitable goy, they all said
    And he saw all the Palestinians with no home
    Excitable goy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable goy
    After 5 long months of 25 Gaza eyes for every lost Israeli eye
    Excitable goy, they all said
    And he wondered if the Warsaw Ghetto was like this, aye yi yi
    Excitable goy, they all said
    Well, he’s just an excitable goy

    Excitable Boy, by Warren Zevon

    1. caucus99percenter

      Nice. BTW, what’s this about a blizzard? You gonna be okay? Even here in Europe, the net of wireless wire is abuzz with talk of ten feet of snow ’round the Sierra Nevada.

      1. Wukchumni

        Supposed to get 3-4 inches of rain here in the wouthern Sierra foothills, and thanks to orographic lift, probably 6-7 feet of snow in the higher climes above us.

        All of the blizzard action takes place today and tomorrow pretty much, and then I head for Mammoth Sunday where that 10-12 feet of new powder will greet us when we start skiing on Monday under sunny skies…

  33. Tony Wikrent

    “MSNBC legal analyst says First Amendment makes US ‘vulnerable,’ calls for ‘common sense’ speech restrictions NY Post.”

    The First Amendment makes US vulnerable so long as the rich can maintain their plutocratic kleptocracy through bribery and have us accept it as “free speech.” We need ‘common sense’ speech restrictions on the rich. We really do. I would prefer these restrictions imposed not by legislating, but by a cultural shift resulting from a revival of civic republicanism and sense of civic virtue (and NOT the civic virtue defined by conservatives and libertarians, which is contorted beyond recognition to preserve the dominance of self-interest, aka selfishness). Too bad “the left” has turned its back on civic republicanism. So here we are….

  34. JustTheFacts

    Re: “Yes, AIs understand things”

    No LLMs don’t.

    The vector expresses information necessary to perform the next prediction. The notion that it “means something” is anthropologizing. It has many of the same features as meaning (e.g. the vector between man and woman and the vector between queen and king are parallel and have a similar distance) but that is because both are human, yet one gets “she” pronouns and the other gets “he” pronouns. The fact “bush” and “tree” are close is because bushes and trees are substitutable in many contexts (the bird flew into the …).

    LLMs predict the next word so that it matches their training set. That means they are likely to predict “mat” when shown the sentence “The cat sat on the _”. However that doesn’t mean they have a model of what mats are and how they behave. They are limited to repeating what has been done in the training set, and would not be able to produce novel ideas about them that can only be seen because one has a physical model of a mat (and a cat). This is very different from us or other animals: even without speech, we all can solve various problems, which implies we create models of reality and are able to figure out how to do things with them.

    A study was done with an LLM which learned chess movements, and it was claimed that the LLM built a model of a chess board, because one could infer from its hidden state where the pieces were. But again this is making a claim that does not need to be made: given the rules of chess (pieces can only make certain movements), of course if you’re teaching the LLM to predict the next move, it will learn where pieces are and what moves they can make. All it means is that the LLM has learned information to better predict the next move.

    In other words, this article is demonstrating that if you start by assuming your conclusion, you reach the conclusion you started with.

    One of the worrying things about LLMs is that they have no critical thinking and they can’t tell you if they don’t know something. Train them on enough flat earth materials, and they’ll happily parrot that. So you can ask them “how does the volume of a hypersphere change with dimension?” and they will get it wrong (tried it on Google’s LLM) with absolute confidence. Unless you knew the answer, you’d be mislead. A human would probably respond with “what’s a hypersphere?”, “I have no idea”, or “If I had to guess, (usually followed by wrong answer)”. There would be costs for giving the wrong answer with absolute certainty (you’d be presumed untrustworthy, incompetent, or a liar).

    If he had chosen AlphaZero/AlphaGo/AlphaFold/AlphaChess as his example, his point might have been more convincing. AlphaGo in some regards demonstrates a better understanding of Go than humanity: it invented novel moves/strategies. AlphaFold is figuring out how to fold proteins. At some point, (assuming we don’t destroy civilization in the mean time), I expect AIs will understand things… but we’re certainly not there yet.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Regarding the AI implementing AlphaFold — how difficult is it to learn how the AI is reasoning about protein structure? Are there ways to follow the sequence of how the AI constructs a protein? Whether the AI can ‘understand’ protein construction seems of far less importance to me than finding ways that humans can understand principles of protein construction. I think of AI methods for ‘understanding’ as little more than a high power brute force solution method. I hope there might be some deeper knowledge that might let me think of proteins and perhaps other large molecules as if they were tiny mechanical structures wiggling and bouncing around in their environment.

      1. JustTheFacts

        It is not a brute force solution unlike Deep Blue. There is knowledge encoded in a neural network which guides the search. Converting that knowledge into something humans understand is an open research question because the underlying knowledge is encoded as a superposition of rules, rather than a nice simple set of distilled information. Imagine something like the geocentric model of the universe with many epicycles, rather than the heliocentric model of the solar system using ellipses… but worse.

        Why? because neural networks are optimized to predict things, not to produce simple human understandable models (the former requirement is quite hard enough for the moment). Also… money doesn’t much care for the niceties of Science: those that fund such projects care more whether it works, than what rules make it work, just as they don’t care whether software is well or poorly written, as long as it does what they want.

        So if you’re interested in such things, you could probably benefit from such a tool, in order to help you generate many examples, find patterns, and test hypotheses faster than doing the experiments would take. But, you probably won’t be able to extract the data directly from the neural network… at least not yet, as far as I know.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for your reply. I made a cursory study of neural nets some decades ago but was underwhelmed by their ability to learn what I felt was Knowledge — they were interesting tools but not exactly Artificial Intelligence. The weighting on nodes in a neural net were opaque then and your comment indicates that is still the case only more so. That is disappointing. Perhaps more disappointing is you observation “money doesn’t much care for the niceties of Science: those that fund such projects care more whether it works, than what rules make it work, just as they don’t care whether software is well or poorly written, as long as it does what they want.” That reads like an epitaph for Science.

          Nature Magazine identified “Deep learning for protein design” first in its list of SEVEN TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH IN 2024.

    2. korual

      I don’t see why AI could ever reach understanding (the article presents a low bar, qualified to death, for some threshold). Even with their “10,000-dimensional semantic map”, they are only performing calculations based on a zero or a one, which can be completed ad infinitum without ever having the ability to count to two emerge.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        They can be simulated by a turing machine. Even if you build one with a gazillion processors. Or a quantum computer. There is no “intelligence” there, just coke-addled salesmen pitching the latest thing.

        A humble slide rule is arguably more powerful (as it is analog and can thus compute real numbers).

        Church Turing thesis ftw.

        1. JustTheFacts

          Even your slide rule’s analog behavior stops at the Planck length. So that’s a flawed argument.

          AI is a much larger field than Large Language Models, which are poor simulacra of intelligence.

          Look into AlphaGo and understand it before you dismiss the whole field as just “coke-addled salesmen pitching the latest thing”. That’s as incorrect as saying LLMs are so great we should replace all humans with them. Neither extreme is correct.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            FWIW, I played against AlphaGo’s granddaddy 30 years ago.

            And you know I was referring to computable vs noncomputable functions with the slide rule example.

            1. JustTheFacts

              AlphaGo works quite differently from old style go/chess engines. I was never good at chess, but I was fascinated by the engines. The first one I studied was on the Z80… 4 decades ago. You can’t compare brute force versus learned intuition encoded in a neural network.

    3. Grebo

      I agree. Wright claims LLMs fill a ‘semantic space’ with words. This is bogus. It is merely a vector space. The LLM has no experience of the world in which to anchor meaning. The dimensions of its vector space are not meanings but probabilities of words occurring close to each other. LLMs are in fact exemplary implementations of Searle’s Chinese room.

      1. NN Cassandra

        You could say your brain too is exemplary implementation of Chinese room. The neurons inside it blindly follow some rules, firing signals while “understanding” nothing. It seems people aren’t differentiating between low level machinery and the emergent properties arising from it. Saying LLMs are just crunching numbers and probabilities is like saying brain is just integrating some electric potentials, so where in there is the neuron for critical thinking?

        1. Grebo

          Brains have a great deal of context and ‘multimodal’ experience. They have detailed models of the physical characteristics of things and their relationships. LLMs just have a bunch of text.

          Searle apparently thought he had proved that AI is impossible. I think he did not, but against LLMs his point stands.

  35. skippy

    I keep seeing this word ***Democracy*** being trotted about like its a monolith and with it peoples perceptions of reality past and present. Democracy means many things and more so which human period it was used.

    Groan a wiki page would sort that perspective quick smart.

    Per se is a corporate democracy the same as a social democracy … so much fodder for those that spark the gaslighting of minds …

    1. Ranger Rick

      Democracy has been a placeholder for self-determination for as long as I’ve had it described to me. And when people start talking about capital D Democracy, they almost always mean “process with outcomes favorable to me.” On my less disillusioned days I’ve been known to explain it to people as the humanist version of the Divine Mandate.

      1. skippy

        “self-determination” is an ideological island in some deductive approach far far away land … that will never be … but makes for great mental cool aid for the kids …

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