Too Venal for Words category archive
Arash Javanbakht, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, explores how “social” media’s algorithms, designed to keep us eternally engaged in ephemera, lead us down the disinformation superhighway. A nugget:
The artificial intelligence behind these platforms determines what you see based on your social media and web activity, including your engagement with pages and ads. For example, on Twitter you may follow the politicians you like. Twitter algorithms quickly respond and show you more posts and people related to that political leaning. The more you like, follow and share, the faster you find yourself moving in that political direction. There is, however, this nuance: Those algorithms tracking you are often triggered by your negative emotions, typically impulsivity or anger.
As a result, the algorithms amplify the negative and then spread it by sharing it among groups.
I’ve said many times in these electrons that I choose not to waste two hours watching something on television when I can read about it in ten minutes the next morning. After my ten minutes of reading this morning, it appears that our decision to forego the you-can-hardly-call-it-a debate in favor of Star Trek: TNG on Netflix last night was quite correct.
(I’ve long considered TNG to be the best-written of the Star Trek series, but, when it first aired, I had too much real life to watch it regularly.)
Lies about the wildfires in the West are spreading on Facebook like, you will pardon the expression, wildfire.
We are a society of stupid.
Will Bunch is distressed by the Americans’ gullibility quotient. Here’s a snippet from his column:
QAnon and its tentacles are perhaps the most overt example of an electorate where suspicion, rage and resentment is far more likely to fuel public reaction to the 2020 election — and all the concurrent crises like COVID-19 or the West Coast wildfires — than the rational responses that political science majors (like me) were wrongly trained to expect.
I trained as an historian. I know that societies can go nuts.
But I’m most distressed to witness my own society doing so.
I am not sanguine.
A veteran from Iowa reports on how Donald Trump and Postmaster General DeJoy’s sabotage of the United States Post Office is affecting him directly. Here’s a bit from his article; there’s much more at the link.
I have a condition called dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease that causes my body to attack my skin and muscles. Left untreated, the disease can lead to discomfort, weakness, or other serious health complications.
To treat it, I receive a 30-day supply of Plaquenil, which I receive through the mail from the Veterans Affairs Department. Like millions of other people, I rely on the mail for my medicines to be delivered on time.
But recently, new delays in postal delivery mean my 30-day supply of Plaquenil is taking two weeks to reach me. As a result, I’ve been forced to ration my medicine while I wait for my refills to arrive a full week later than they used to.
Real. Big. Man.
A 75-year-old man was punched in the chest and knocked to the ground (in the parking lot–ed.) at a Publix Sunday after asking another shopper to stay six feet away, according to the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety.
During the parking lot confrontation, the suspect accused the victim of holding up the grocery line and threatened, “One word and I’ll kill you” before walking away, the station reported.