September, 2021 archive
One of the things I like about my new(er) car is that it has no touch screen! The instrument panel is all computerized, natch, but the controls are all knobs and buttons and levers, as should be.
Automobile touch screens are perhaps the best example that “just because you can” is not in and of itself a sufficient reason to use a technology.
I was banking at Wells Fargo because Wells gobbled up the bank that gobbled up the bank that I was banking at.
Moving a bank account is a hassle, especially if you have set up automatic payments, but I left Wells when the “creating fake accounts” scandal broke five years ago and am glad I did.
In the midst of the current who-shot-john over whether students should be taught the truth about American’s history, Leonard Pitts, Jr., offers some thoughts on National Banned Books Week. A nugget:
That’s something worth remembering here in Banned Books Week, a yearly observation sponsored by the American Library Association to call attention to that crude human impulse that, with apologies to the Tennessee moms, stands against liberty of knowledge and ideas. There is, after all, a reason one of the first acts of the Nazi regime was a massive book burning — 25,000 texts consigned to the fire — and it wasn’t to celebrate freedom. The spirit of that atrocity lives on in Tennessee. And in Pennsylvania. And in America.
I have seen numerous references to schools and colleges monitoring of student behavior during these times of remote teaching via Zoom and similar applications.
Like Google and Facebook, they watch what students are doing on their computers to make sure they are behaving the way the educational institution thinks they should behave or, indeed, have the unmitigated gall to take a bathroom break or get a Coke (Above the Law has some particularly egregious examples from bar exams).
At Psychology Today Blogs, Phil Reed takes a look at the larger issue machine learning and includes some strong thoughts on micromanaged digital monitoring. Here’s a bit:
In fact, the new digital approaches to learning retain all of the old aversiveness of classrooms from the 1930s but now coupled with a rather unpleasant odour of Orwell’s 1984. The fact that digital environments lend themselves so easily to this type of Big Brother-esque monitoring and control does not mean that they should be used in that way. Controlling learning, like governing, by aversive outcomes does not work. The fact that it is used so often may say something about the psychology of those setting up such systems, but it does not say much for their reading of the science of learning.
I don’t care what anyone else says, “alright” is not a word.
It is a grammatical error.
Driftglass looks behind the facade. A snippet:
1. America should be ruled by a cadre of morally superior white men.
2. Wealth is proxy for moral superiority.
3. Any means of insuring that America is permanently ruled by a cadre of wealthy men is permitted.
A Florida state senator proclaimed that he wants=ed to “review” vaccine mandates for such illnesses as measles, mumps, and rubella, then, after the public reaction, he denied that he had said what he had said.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell comments; follow the link to finish the article.
Clogged pipes? Call a plumber. Stalled car engine? Rely on a mechanic. But when it comes to a deadly virus, some people would rather listen to gasbag politicians or Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend.
I’m convinced that if Twitter and Facebook had been around when the polio vaccine was invented, we’d still be dealing with polio.
We are a society of stupid.
Republicans worry about the national debt when and only when there is a Democratic president.
Donald Trump’s nondisclosure ploy with Omarosa fails badly when put to the test. Here’s a bit from the story at Above the Law:
Unfortunately for Team Trump, Jessica Denson, another ex-campaign staffer was simultaneously litigating an identical agreement in the Southern District of New York, and US District Judge Paul Gardephe ruled in March that the campaign’s non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses were unenforceable under New York law.
The campaign attempted to distinguish between Denson and Manigault Newman, arguing that latter “warranted a strict confidentiality provision as a term of her employment, since Respondent was known to be ‘nasty’ and ‘confrontational’ on the television show.” The arbitrator found this line of reasoning “unpersuasive.”
The arbitrator did not point out the inherent filthiness of arguing that identical contracts mean different things when applied to a White woman and a “nasty” Black woman. But we will.
General Milley explains the concept of responsibility to a person incapable of grasping it.
Via Francis Langum at C&L, who has commentary.
Self-described conservative Cameron Smith, writing at AL.com, argues that it’s time for Republicans to return to the real world. A nugget: