From Pine View Farm

First Looks category archive

Fly the Fiendly Skies, Reprise 0

Profiled on a plane.


Atypicality 0

At Above the Law, Mark Hermann suggests that Donald Trump’s class action lawsuit against the “social” media sites which have banned and otherwise restricted him may not pass the test to be a class action.

I assume that most readers of Above the Law know that cases can proceed as class actions only where the members of the class are sufficiently numerous, legal issues are common to the class, the class representative’s claims are typical of the claims of others in the class, and the putative class representative is an adequate representative of the class.


First, I bet it’s terribly hard to prove that Trump’s claims are “typical” of other members of the putative class. Facebook and Twitter probably throw people off their platforms for a multitude of different reasons, and those reasons almost surely vary from person to person. Trump was suspended, I assume, because he fomented insurrection (or some such thing).


Facebook Frolics 0

The good frolics do not cancel out the evil frolics.


It’s All about the Algorithm 0

The Surgeon-General calls out the role of “social” media in spreading disinformation about COVID-19. A nugget (emphasis added):

“Modern technology companies have enabled misinformation to poison our information environment with little accountability to their users,” he said. ” They’ve allowed people who intentionally spread misinformation, what we call disinformation, to have an extraordinary reach. They designed product features, such as like buttons, that reward us for sharing emotionally charged content, not accurate content.”

He went on to note that social media algorithms often target users by pushing posts similar to ones that the user has interacted with in the past, “putting us deeper and deeper into a well of misinformation.”


Recommended Listening 0

The American Rivals of Sherlock Holmes.

This volume focuses on American mystery stories more or less contemporaneous with the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Most of these stories are no longer remembered, but, if you are a mystery buff, like me, they are well worth a listen.


Break Time 0

Off to drink liberally, while hoping Elsa adheres to predictions and saves the worst for late night.


The Staying Power of Stupid 0

At Science 2.0, Johannes Koelman wonders why stupidity, which might be assumed to be its own worst enemy, manages to survive and flourish. A snippet:

Key feature of stupidity is that its power lies in its abundance. One stupid person is helpless, a herd of stupid persons can be invincible. Place a smart individual in a group of stupid persons and you will witness the smart person succumb to stupidity. In an environment infested by stupidity ‘being the smartest’ does not equate to ‘being the fittest’.

I commend the rest to your attention.


Remind you of anything or anyone in the news?


The Three-Card Mountebank 0

Donald Trump playing the old shell game.  Passer-by asks him,

Click for the original image.


Twits on Twitter 0

From the Department of Redundant Department:

In one of the dumbest tweets of the last few weeks, Ben Shapiro lamented that no NYC mayoral candidate suggested banning crime. If only we’d thought to make crime illegal before!

More stupid at the link.


Attention Deficient Disorder 0

Jill Ebstein bemoans our inability to pay attention. A snippet:

Consider this: The average human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish’s. A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. It is reported that goldfish have a 9-second attention span.

Follow the link for her thoughts on our inability to be intent.


Fitted Suits 0


Market Exploit(ation) 0

The Burger King, Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, etc., gathered in front of a worker.  The Burger King explains,

Click for the original image.


Fly the Fiendly Skies 0

Now’s your chance.

They are fiendlier than ever before.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Politeness once again is child’s play.

In this case, the child was two-years-old.

And thus passeth another life in NRA Paradise.


Recommended Listening 0

The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry, by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

This book is an absolute hoot! When I look at the picture of Rinehart in the Wikipedia article, a very properly encorseted lady of the early 20th century, I would not imagine her capable of penning such a delightfully farcical and irreverent mystery story.

But I am a victim of my own preconceptions.

She was, and she did.


Devolution 0

A former Republican–one who once held a leadership position in his local committee–looks with dismay at what has happened to his party. A nugget; follow the link for his evidence.

. . . the party that once honored knowledge, required people to have legitimate credentials, respected science and reason began its descent into insanity. Trump was merely the end piece of what and started over a decade earlier. Now, the bigger lunatic and liar one is, the better one’s chances for rising within the GOP, a party that now clings to every insane conspiracy theory no matter how far fetched.

A quibble: I think the change started several decades earlier than he suggests. It took time for the rot to take root and spread before its fruit fully ripened and burst into view.


A. Because It Is 0

Follow the link for the question.


Recommended Listening 0

Kimberley A. Johnson’s interview with Jared Yates Sexton.

Be forewarned. It is not quieting.


“Critical Thinking” 0

At the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Steven Backus explains what critical thinking is, and what it isn’t.

Critical thinking simply means drawing an objective conclusion from a set of facts. Doesn’t sound too difficult, yet human beings are not naturally critical thinkers.

He goes on to identify the three factors which he considers the biggest roadblocks to critical thinking in our society. The piece is worth the three minutes it will take to read it.


The Hard Shirker 0

Republican Elephant says,

Click for the original image.