Thursday, May 30, 2019

Where is the Truth?

“You are remembered for the rules you break.”
Douglas MacArthur

In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us

— Peter Matthiessen, born in 1927

  1. Everything Is Broken” Swamp-rock meets Lurianic Kabbalah.
  2. “Blowin’ in the Wind” Perhaps his best-known anthem, the song that made him a household name, it is a litany of unanswered, unanswerable questions. What could be more Jewish?

Israel, Shel (June 25, 2012). "It's Official: Microsoft Buys Yammer for $1.4 Billion Cash"Forbes

BusinessNews Publishing 
Review and Analysis of Scoble and Israel's Book BusinessNews Publishing ... Robert Scoble and Shel Israel “Sunlight is the best disinfectant – all great CEOs encourage transparency and ...

A truck driver, an encrypted phone and 548 kilograms of illegal drugs

A months-long investigation into cocaine and MDMA from Spain led investigators to a truck driver outside a Cromer storage unit on Monday.

How NSW town labelled 'most dangerous in world' changed its destiny 

Civc Pulse – a new tool for monitoring government websites - MuckRock -“Last week, we saw a lot of progress on our new tool for monitoring government agency websites. Building off data from the MuckRock API, it checks and grades agency web pages on criteria such as privacy, accessibility, and speed. For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday – along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself – subscribe to our developer newsletter here.
…We’re working on a website that scans government websites to check on how well they’re doing on a number of important factors, ranging from mobile friendliness and accessibility to ease of contacting them. Since we already have a database of over 10,000 agencies and an API to access information about them, this gives us a chance to do more with data we’ve just had sitting around collecting dust (and, er, FOIA requests).

If there's one thing we modern citizens of the West like to give thanks for, it's our Enlightenment heritage.

From one generation down to the next, the outline of the story has remained essentially the same: medieval Europeans wallowed for centuries in a dank swamp of backwardness and religious superstition, then the Enlightenment took place and we discovered scientific reason, and since that time our overall history has been one of rational progress, as we continue to unlock the secrets of the material universe and push back the tide of human ignorance.

It's a feel-good narrative, and its proponents have little time for such tiresome qualifications as World War I, the Gulag, the nuclear bomb, the Holocaust — all eloquent testimony to the persistence of Western unreason — or the fact that the European Enlightenment itself was part of a project of colonial expansion that involved slavery, genocide, economic plunder and the subsequent immiseration of entire populations.

Eggs and omelettes, you might say. And, of course, historical causes and effects are always up for debate.

But for anyone who wants to valorise the long and notionally successful march of Enlightenment reason, an uncomfortable truth presents itself in, quite simply, the state of the West today.

Who What Why: At a time when the American public seems to be more ignorant than ever, the tools of deception have become more sophisticated  “We live in an age of scams that trick the senses. Photos can be altered, films and videos can be manipulated to an exquisite degree of realism. Malware can add images of nonexistent cancerous lymph nodes to CT scans. Artificial intelligence can generate photorealistic images of people who do not even exist. Videos appear to show someone saying things in a speech they never said. Voice simulators can fool your nearest relative into thinking that’s you on the phone asking for $500 to spring you from a Turkish prison.
And then there are the sophisticated tools of psychological manipulation.The human sock puppets. The trolls who control the internet. The CIA, with its department of perception management and its assets in the media. The unlimited supply of bribable witnesses who will swear to anything. And those who manufacture scandals, like the conservative activists who tried to frame presidential candidate Peter Buttigieg for sexual assault. The paid audiences, like those for hire from companies such as Crowds on Demand, who surround politicians with canned adoration. The manufacturers of false claims that genuine protesters — even children who survived mass shootings — are just paid actors.
All of this chicanery has three main effects: First, much of it does the job it was intended to do, fooling all kinds of people, from rubes to rascals… Second, knowledge that such things go on makes it easier to believe what you want…Third, and this is the most disturbing of all, those who are savvy about these fancy tools are actually ignorant in their own way — because they often don’t know the truth when they see it…”