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Distance Learning — an Unexpected Life Skill

The Babylon Bee finds a pearl in the oyster of distance learning: Public Schools Now Preparing Kids for a Lifetime of Soul-Crushing Zoom Meetings. Update: Damn it, Bee! You’re supposed to be doing satire, not straight reporting! Continue reading Distance Learning — an Unexpected Life Skill

Holding Steady Will Not Sustain Us

Over at American Digest, Van Der Leun gives us a “view from the trenches” that tells us how to Reopen America: Holding Steady won’t be enough to save us. It won’t be nearly enough. To save ourselves we have to find a way to save that couple’s small restaurant. Their restaurant is one — only one — speck, one spark of a myriad. And those are the sparks, those are the embers that we must somehow tend until we can to free the flames we’ve imprisoned in our lackadaisical lockdown. Fail at that and the automobile food lines at Panda … Continue reading Holding Steady Will Not Sustain Us

Don’t Bunch Up!

Randal O’Toole, the Anti-Planner, points out the wrongheadedness of ever-increasing urban density, Now, we are getting another lesson. Due to a novel virus, we are told to “socially distance” ourselves. But no one is telling us to drive our cars instead of riding transit. Instead, the transit agencies are still operating and giving out platitudes like “we wipe the handrails every day.” BART says it is running ten-car trains all day so people can stand as far from one another as possible. Spring Breakers, I think he means you. Update:  Over at Issues and Insights, Thomas McArdle weighs in on … Continue reading Don’t Bunch Up!

Make Every Vote Count

Every semester, I begin my introductory biostatistics class with a simple “show of hands” experiment based on the Bouba-Kiki effect.  Prior to the experiment I “volunteer” two students at random to count hands, and when hands are raised, each of my volunteers counts silently and independently.  Invariably, the counts DO NOT MATCH.  We briefly discuss the phenomenon of measurement error, and select from a set of alternatives (recounts, averaging, etc) to resolve the problem.  It’s a perfect “teaching moment” that occurs spontaneously as a surprise to my students on the first day of class.  I console them with the fact … Continue reading Make Every Vote Count

Dust Yourself Off

Phylagen, a San Francisco biotech company, has developed a technique for tracking previous locations of objects based on the composition of dust the object has collected. In another experiment, the sampling technology allowed researchers to determine where a person had walked within 1 kilometer in San Francisco, because of the microbes picked up by their shoes. Right now, this technique is proposed for use in tracking manufacturing locations in supply chains.  If it’s successful, expect it to be used first in forensics, and then in ubiquitous “backwards” location tracking for behavior profiling. Oh, great.  Now, in addition to fresh clothes … Continue reading Dust Yourself Off

The Cyberfascism Bulleting #3: Spring Cleaning Edition

BIG BIZ Uh, oh. The punditry is starting to wise up. Here’s 4 Reasons Why Big Tech is Hazardous to Our Lives. Google AI Ethics Council is Falling Apart. Part artistic ethical differences, part Googloid mau-mauing. Only the truly clueless would use “Google” and “ethics” in the same sentence. Time for a ‘Third-Party Audit’ of De-Platforming Policies. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) doesn’t think folks like Twitter are holding up their end of the bargain Social media platforms have been given a “sweetheart deal,” according to Hawley, which includes “immunity from liability for illegal content posted by third parties.” They were … Continue reading The Cyberfascism Bulleting #3: Spring Cleaning Edition

The Cyberfascism Bulletin #2: April Fool’s Edition

I wish I was foolin’. All this stuff’s real, so the joke’s on us. BIG BIZ An oldie but goodie: Kim DuToit discovers that the Weather Channel app is selling his location data in near real time. He is not amused. Heck, I didn’t even realize that drunken online shopping was a thing. How naive of me. Of course, the Amazonians and Googleoids would never try to reinforce or exploit this behavior pattern, would they? BIG STATE Life’s a bitch for a “discredited individual” under China’s social credit system. Two US state Teachers’ Retirement Systems are investing pension funds in … Continue reading The Cyberfascism Bulletin #2: April Fool’s Edition