Warhammer 40K Disavows Nazis

Apparently Warhammer 40K had to explain why hate groups aren’t part of their real-life culture. For clarity: satire is the use of humour, irony, or exaggeration, displaying people’s vices or a system’s flaws for scorn, derision, and ridicule. Something doesn’t have to be wacky or laugh-out-loud funny to be satire. The derision is in the setting’s amplification of a tyrannical, genocidal regime, turned up to 11. The Imperium is not an aspirational state, outside of the in-universe perspectives of those who are slaves to its systems.

An Idiotic Exhibit

From Derek Lowe: Neither you nor the mixer will be improved by the HF, which is one of the last things on earth you would want to expose such equipment to, and then there’s the matter of handling the Sarin itself. These process problems have been apparent since the German efforts to scale up nerve agent production during the Second World War, and a good deal of work in the 1950s and 1960s went into figuring out how to avoid them.

Resisting the Grind

Warning Signs: President Trump May Violate Federal Law in Absolving Saudi Crown Prince | Just Security As the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “we are aware of no President, not even such ruthless pragmatists as Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson, who would have written a public statement like this without so much as a grace note about America’s abiding values and principles,” and that it was “startling to see a U.

Maybe the End of Paperless Voting (and Democracy)

From Timothy Lee at Ars Technica: The legislation comes on the heels of the contentious 2016 election. Post-election investigation hasn’t turned up any evidence that foreign governments actually altered any votes. However, we do know that Russians were probing American voting systems ahead of the 2016 election, laying groundwork for what could have become a direct attack on American democracy. I wonder if they’ll put in a backdoor. You know, for the good guys.

Internet Hate Machine

A series of articles on CNet last week really caught my attention.1 The flagship article sets the stage. You can’t miss the rise of hate, racism and the neo-Nazi movement on the internet. But somehow, The New York Times did. A Saturday profile of a Nazi sympathizer drew widespread criticism for giving Tony Hovater, 29, an unchallenged platform for sharing his views. Here’s the Brutal Reality of Online Hate

A Reasonable Argument for Title II Net Neutrality

I was shaking my head at Ben Thompson’s article praising Ajit Pai’s push to end net neutrality restrictions through Title II. I wished at the time that I had the energy or knowledge to refute it. Then I read Nick’s article last week. I have nothing to say now: There is clearly plenty of evidence that ISPs will not treat data the same if offered the opportunity to do otherwise.

Vonnegut, Heller, and Styron on War, Government, and Racism (1997)

These people are gone. The voices of reasoning that stood witness to our most terrible decisions as a country are rapidly vanishing. Now we, as a country, seem to have developed selective amnesia about where we come from. The following videos on YouTube are from a series of lectures and discussions with several WWII veterans of moderate fame. I watched every minute attentively and without distraction. It was depressing and it was important at a time when our president thinks the threat of nuclear annihilation is a publicity event.

Lessons From the President Link

I like Eddie. Everyone is wrong about something. Vulnerability is mightier than the strongest ego. It will win you the most loyal followers.

There are Bots Everywhere Link

From Renee DiResta at Ribbonfarm, comes this terrific “long-read”1: We’re now in a period that’s strikingly reminiscent of the early days of HFT: the intersection of automation and social networking has given us manipulative bots and an epidemic of “fake news”. Just as HFT was a simplified boogeyman for finance, “fake news” is an imprecise term used to describe a variety of disingenuous content: clickbait, propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories.

Zuckerberg World President Link

From Jean-Louis Gassée: While persuading a consumer to buy a particular brand of suds seems banal enough, keep in mind the force of Facebook’s algorithms. In order to influence buying decisions, algorithms not only push consumers in a particular direction, they can steer them away from “unwanted” conclusions by injecting biased, partial information that subtly alters the user’s landscape and changes how a product is perceived. This is something I think about a lot.