From Pine View Farm

False Idols category archive

Artificial Intelligence? 0

ChatGTP is getting a lot of play lately. It even made an appearance in my local rag’s comics page.

Before mucking about with it, I suggest that you listen to Harry Shearer’s interview with Gary Marcus on the January 1, 2023, edition of Le Show; the relevant portion starts at about the 20 minute mark. Also read this from Bruce Schneier’s website.


Taking Bread 0

Speaking of doing unto others . . . .


The Crypto Con 0

Paul Krugman skewers the central myth of cryptocurrency. A couple of snippets (emphasis added):

After all, the 2008 white paper that started the cryptocurrency movement, published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, was titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” That is, the whole idea was that electronic tokens whose validity was established with techniques borrowed from cryptography would make it possible for people to bypass financial institutions. If you wanted to transfer funds to someone else, you could simply send them a number — a key — with no need to trust Citigroup or Santander to record the transaction.

(Snip ahead to now)

. . . .cryptocurrencies are largely purchased through exchanges such as Coinbase and, yes, FTX, which take your money and hold crypto tokens in your name.

These exchanges are — wait for it — financial institutions, whose ability to attract investors depends on — wait for it again — those investors’ trust. In other words, the crypto ecosystem has basically evolved into exactly what it was supposed to replace: a system of financial intermediaries whose ability to operate depends on their perceived trustworthiness.


Tech Wreck Bros 0

Noz has an epiphany.


“We Were Only Following Orders”* 0

The “Oath Keepers” going on trial Monday for their participation in the January 6 Capitol riot plan to blame Trump attribute their conduct to their obedience to the wishes of Donald Trump.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that they will subpoena Trump to testify on their behalf.


*Where have we heard that defense before?


The Disinformation Superhighway 0

Remember, that you read it on a screen doesn’t make it so.


Originalist Sin 0

Noz has a notion, elegant in its simplicity, for calling out the orginalists’ duplicity.

Because it’s crystal clear that they are originalists of convenience. Originalism will go out the window if it doesn’t fit with what they want to do.


The Crypto-Con 0

Two men amidst the ruins of the

Click to view the original image.


“Facts Are What People Think” 0

Hal MacDonald, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, explores why persons refuse to accept proven facts. He opens his article with a conversation he overheard at the barbershop:

“COVID’s not a virus at all,” the man said with impressive conviction. “It’s actually a protein synthesized from snake venom. The government’s adding it to the drinking water of certain target populations to cull the herd.”

When the man to whom he was speaking politely but skeptically asked where he had stumbled upon that particular explanation, the proponent of the venom theory of COVID was completely unfazed. “It’s a scientific fact,” he said. “A well-known chiropractor has done a ton of research on the subject.”

Follow the link for his thoughts about why some persons are susceptible to such claptrap and what can be done about it.


Dis Coarse Discourse 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Anthony Silard discusses the deletorious effects of “social” media. He note three negative effects; follow the link for a detailed discussion of each.

  • As it erodes empathy, social media has become dangerous to a healthy society.
  • The empathy levels of American college students have dropped 40 percent, which some researchers attribute to the rise of social media.
  • We are now living with an unprecedented level of polarization.

This is Part Two of a two-part series. Read Part One.

Remember, “social” media isn’t.


American Taliban 0

Preacher sporting halo says to woman,

Click for the original image.


Red Flag 0

One of the warning signs of disinformation just around the corner on the Disinformation Syperhighway is statements that begin with

I read a lot online about . . . .


Suffer the Children 0

. . . and again we are reminded that that phrase is not scripture, but, rather, Republican policy.


“American Exceptionalism” 2

It is indeed a thing.

But it’s not what it’s made out to be.


The Crypto-Con 0

Two professors from the University of South Florida explain that (no surprises here) it’s bubblelicious.

Follow the link for their reasoning.


The Entitlement Society 0



Theocracy, Reprise 0

Methinks Michael in Norfolk identifies the original sin.


Twits Own Twitter 0

Jason S. Sexton is skeptical that Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will have beneficent effects. He remarks that

. . . to suggest that this move of Musk owning Twitter provides any kind of transcendent hope, or rational object of belief is — in a term of the majority of the world’s religious believers from the great faith traditions — idolatry.

Follow the link for his reasoning.


Penalty Call 0

At the Austin American-Statesman, John Young throws the flag.


The Quisling 0

Title:  The Newest Soviet Hero.  Image:  A statue of Tucker Carlson holding aloft a hammer a sickle and wearing a

Click for the original image.


I don’t know the word “Soviet” is appropriate. Methinks Vladimir Putin is looking farther into Russia’s past for his inspiration. But that’s just me.