Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Importance of Truth Workers in an Era of Factual Recession

Ted Hunt – Googling gives us answers—but deprives us of intelligence – “…Here are the problems that we must surmount if we are to continue creating and sharing tools to help amplify and advance knowledge, reasoning, critical thought, and creative...
“A joke is basically syllogistic” — comedians Kenny and Keith Lucas, aka the Lucas Brothers, read a lot of philosophy

As America’s elite has gotten richer and richer, they can afford to do anything they want. The polarization of American society—and American political institutions—is another phenomenon affecting the marketplace of ideas. The creation of parallel, segmented audiences that will support ideologically pure intellectuals has led to the emergence of new kinds of thought leaders. They can thrive in an information ecosystem devoid of contrary points of view Anti authority public distrust

Rupert Murdoch’s biggest worry? Money, not politics

Alison Head and John Wihbey: Truth to Consequences “…Librarians are the facilitators and guides to the world of knowledge. Yet, many librarians lack the institutional power or budgets for truly scaling their training of information literacy skills — the fundamental competencies for finding, evaluating, and using information in the digital age. This skill set needs to become a cause not only on the margins — in the context of occasional high school civics and English classes — but as an issue front-and-center across civic life, from town halls and state legislatures to voting booths. 

As Lee Rainie, the Founding Director of Pew’s Internet and American Life has said, librarians are the epitome of nodes — trusted conduits to high quality information, active champions of an accessible government online, and an informed citizenry among all ages and classes…

Joe Kennedy, Harvard Business Review, April 17, 2017: “Innovation has always required a constant iteration of trial and error as companies use data about current performance to improve future performance. So it should come as no surprise that companies in the information age want to use ever more data to hone their products. But there is an emerging debate over the competitive implications of big data. Some observers argue that companies amassing too much data might inhibit competition, so antitrust regulators should preemptively take action to cut “big data” down to “medium data.” Others say there is nothing new here, and existing competition law is more than capable of dealing with any problems. Among those advocating for an expansion of antitrust reviews around data are law professor Maurice Stucke and antitrust attorney Allen Grunes, who voice three interrelated concerns in Big Data and Competition Policy. First, they argue that allowing companies to control large amounts of data raises barriers to entry for potential rivals that lack enough data to develop competitive products. By this logic, deals like Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp should be fought, because allowing a dominant company to acquire even more data will increase its market power. Second, proponents of this view assert that existing antitrust law is inadequate for the competitive threats stemming from large collections of data. One reason why is that much of traditional antitrust analysis focuses on the prices of goods and services, because companies with market power face incentives to limit supplies and charge more. With the profusion of “free” services, authorities may have a much tougher time adequately evaluating the implications of competition other than price, such as degradations in product quality or privacy protection. Finally, some who worry about big data from an antitrust perspective claim that consumer protection laws are inadequate, because privacy protections are themselves a function of how much competition companies face, so antitrust regulators must step in to protect privacy

If you’re fan of Les Mis, you already know that red symbolizes “the blood of angry men” and “a world about to dawn.” It’s the color of the revolution, and that’s not just true if you’re a quasi-fictional French student back in 1832 -- it became the color du jour for Socialist and Communist revolutionaries as well. And It’s not a coincidence that the current Chinese flag and the flag of the former Soviet Union are against a field of red. Red, to them, is the color of change...As Mental Floss explains, "during the Cultural Revolution, members of the Red Guard began publicly voicing their displeasure with red stoplights. Because red was the color of the revolution, they felt it should mean 'go,' symbolically encouraging the spread of Communism."

And so the campaign began. It began with an advertising campaign; in 1966, the Guardian reported that "the Guards plastered posters on the city’s walls today which said that red [ . . . ] should be used as a signal for traffic to go forward" -- literally the opposite of what it meant to drivers both then and now. But that wasn't enough; would you run a red light because a poster, even one purporting to be official, told you to? Hardly. So in some areas, members of the Red Guard became ad hoc traffic cops, telling drivers to go on red and stop on green.

If that sounds like a terrible idea, you're right -- it was. As Jalopnik notes, "obviously they could not man every intersection, and some drivers ended up going on red and others going on green, and there were a lot of accidents." Ultimately, the regime thought better of the idea and red, for traffic purposes at least, remained "stop."

Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday; as the synopsis notes, it's "the most authoritative life of the Chinese leader every written." Four stars on nearly 500 reviews.

They Blue It: Where stop signs are blue, and why. 

New Zealand’s head of policy profession shared his perspective on balancing the preservation of institutions of state with the needs of ministers, staying on the cutting-edge of policy, and managing risk when so much can go wrong. Don’t do it alone, he advises. 
Kibblewhite: stewardship challenges for today’s public service leaders 

False corruption accusations can ruin reputations. But maybe the answer is not restricting political speech, but investigating complaints quickly Free speech curb not needed for council elections