From Pine View Farm

Give Me a Break category archive

The Catch 0

Caption:  How Technology Can Make a Bad Day Worse.  Image:  Line of souls waiting at the Pearly Gates.  St. Peter looks up from his laptop and says,

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The Fee Hand of the Market 0

At the Inky, Harold Brubaker takes a look at hospital fees for various services that have been recently made available under a new federal regulation strongly opposed by hospitals and insurers. He concludes that they make no sense when exposed to the light. A snippet; follow the link for more.

The price for a simple knee MRI under Independence Blue Cross plans ranges from $330 at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton to $1,500 at Riddle Hospital in Media.

Those are the prices consumers with high-deductible plans would have to pay to scan their knee and find out how serious the source of their pain is.

And replacing that knee would cost from $12,300 to more than $44,000 under insurance plans that IBC sells to employers and individuals.

The notion, often promoted by persons who call themselves “conservative,” that someone who is sick will comparison-shop for health care has always been fanciful. The reality is that, if there is a choice, a patient will go where his or her doctor says, and, in rural areas, there is often little or no choice from the git-go. Add in a landscape of wildly variable and irrational pricing schemes, comparison shopping for health care becomes an impossible dream all-too-possible nightmare.

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The Misinformation Superhighway 0

After drawing a distinction between misinformation and disinformation, Aditi Subramaniam offers some reasons as to why we are susceptible to misinformation (think the clickbait headlines that Snopes is so fond of debunking) and some techniques for dealing with it.

She starts by telling a story of her own trip down the rabbit hole of a clickbait headline (follow the link below to see what she discovered about said headline and its tenuous connection to facts, as well as for some hints to help avoid falling down your own rabbit holes). Here’s a bit of her article.

The headline also illustrates the importance of wording in communication. In linguistics, the term “implicature” describes what a sentence is used to mean, or what it implies, rather than what it says literally. Scheming politicians, marketing professionals, lawyers, and even con men of various kinds use implicature and “weasel wording” to say something while meaning something else – allowing them to shirk responsibility for their words.

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Dis Coarse Discourse 0

(Note:  I've combined the incoming tweet into one for purposes of clarity--ed.)  Lemont is reading his incoming tweet.  One reads,

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The Dearth of Expertise 0

Writing AL.com, Frances Coleman is taken aback by the proliferation of self-appointed experts, which she thinks can be attributed in large part to “social” media. Follow the link for some examples of said expertise (under the circumstances, though, I shall proffer “expertism” as a more appropriate term).

Aside:

Many of these self-appointed “experts,” of course, meet the classic definition of the term, in which

  • “x” is the mathematical symbol for an unknown quantity,
  • “spurt” is a drip under pressure, so, therefore,
  • “expert” is an unknown drip under pressure.

(Grammatical error corrected.)

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You’ve Been Zoomed 0

If you have been using the Zoom app to work or school from home, or even just to talk with friends, you should know that El Reg reports that it’s even less secure than previously reported. Here’s a snippet from the latest (emphasis added):

Zoom in its documentation, and in an in-app display message, has claimed its conferencing service is “end-to-end encrypted,” meaning that an intermediary, include Zoom itself, cannot intercept and decrypt users’ communications as it moves between the sender and receiver.

When reports emerged that Zoom Meetings are not actually end-to-end encrypted encrypted, Zoom responded that it wasn’t using the commonly accepted definition of the term.

“While we never intended to deceive any of our customers, we recognize that there is a discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of end-to-end encryption and how we were using it,” the company said in a blog post.

If you have been Zooming, you owe it to yourself to read the rest. Then pick up a landline.

Aside:

Zoom’s mealy-mouthing is positively staggering.

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The Credibility Crap 0

I saw it on the internet, so it must be true.

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“Social” Me Me Me Me Media 0

Everyone’s a brand, amd everyone else is a prop.

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If One Standard Is Good, Two Must Be Better 0

What Noz said.

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It’s All about the Algorithm 0

Ed from Gin and Tacos follows the tale of a Facebook Frolicker’s descent into the wingnut rabid hole.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Yet more fake frolics at the Fakebook.

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Facebook Frolics 0

One more time, the internet is a public place. Comport yourself accordingly.

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Good Old Golden Rule Days, NRA Style 0

The New Principle of Supply and Demand.  Image:  Truck labeled

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Family Mediation 0

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“President Rambo,” Reprise 0

Via C&L.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Clone me, Doctor Memory!

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The Assimilated 0

Man:  My new iPhoneX unlocks when I look at it.  Woman:  So it's always unlocked?

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The Snaring Economy, Gypsy Cabs with an App Dept. 0

Owen Davis reports that Uber has achieved another milestone.

It has gotten itself sued for stock fraud, even thought it has not yet issued any stock. An excerpt:

The plaintiffs, the Irving (Texas) Firemen’s Relief & Retirement Fund, invested $2 million in Uber back in 2016 through a fund operated by Morgan Stanley. Since then, the lawsuit claims, Uber’s private valuation has dropped $18 billion. So they’re suing.

If Uber had recently gone public in a massively overhyped IPO, only to shed double-digits as the true depths of its mediocrity came to light, a lawsuit would not be unusual. Just ask Blue Apron. But it’s rare for a startup to face investor suits in any situation short of complete and utter fabrication on the part of the founders. It basically signals that the highly illiquid startup stake you’ve got – and for which you’d like good money – is worthless.

Read the whole thing. It will give you a lyft.

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Phoning It In 0

Goat:  Why do we all take so many selfies on our phones?  Rat:  Because we don't have any friends around to take photos.  Goat:  Why don't we have any friends around?  Rat: Because we spend all of our time on our phones.  Goat:  It makes sense.  Rat (looking at his phone):  What'd you say?


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Facebook Frolics 0

All the news that isn’t.

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